Re: virus: Making a monkey o

Ken Kittlitz (
1 Aug 1995 08:52:52 -0400

Reply to: RE>virus: Making a monkey o

Egads, I can see why David was pissed off. It would be
interesting to find out more about this author, and just
what he thinks his credentials are. Even more interesting
would be a debate between him and Dawkins. I can
imagine the blood now...

>But no sirree. Once a loon or a bat or a lobster, well that's it.
>You're stuck. For 500 million years, from first lobster fossil to the
>living model dropped in your boiling kettle- there's no change. The
>overwhelming impression to be gotten from a study of the fossil record
>is not evolution, but stasis. No one has ever found a maybe, or partly
>loon or bat or horse. You know-something on the way to becoming those
>species from whatever it was before.

Although it is true that the fossil record doesn't provide a continuous
series of snapshots of intermediate forms for all species, plenty
of intermediate fossils have been found. It would in fact be odd,
given how few animals actually become fossilized and the relatively
few numbers of fossils we've found, if continuous forms existed
for all species.

>Some argue that even the basic idea of gradual evolution is
>self-defeating because if species depend on optimal adaptation for
>survival, then anything on the way to becoming optimal couldn't
>urvive to adapt, could it?

"Some" think UFOs will be landing soon. Care to believe them?
A "non-optimal" creature can survive, if the creatures its sharing an
environment with are also evolving. The author is assuming that
has to be optimal from day one in order to survive.

>And then, there's the problem of simultaneity. The evolution of
>interactive parts of organisms (the iris, the cornea, the eyelid flap,
>say) would all have to change at once. How could a blind process
>orchestrate such harmony?

Consult any modern textbook on evolution, bozo.

>There is no good answer. That's why Darwin himself said that "the
>human eye, to this day, gives me a cold shudder," and, "the sight of a
>feather in a peacock's tail . . . makes me sick."

Are these quotes really in context? In any case, it is silly to to try
demolish a theory by attacking some of the doubts its founder had
140 years ago -- the theory itself has evolved since then.

Is anyone familiar with some of the other sources he quotes,
especially Richard Lewontin, and the context in which the quotes were