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Re: Unposted quotes: 2002-2004 #4 (was `The complexity of the organism was once the complexity of an ecosystem' ...)

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  • Stephen E. Jones
    Group Only ~2 more days to go! 80 new messages in the last 7 days. To paraphrase T.S. Eliot, This is the way CED ends. This is the way CED ends. This is the
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 20, 2005
      Group

      Only ~2 more days to go! 80 new messages in the last 7 days. To paraphrase
      T.S. Eliot, "This is the way CED ends. This is the way CED ends. This is the
      way CED ends. Not with a whimper but a *bang*"! Actually CED won't end, it
      has just metamorphosed into a blog <http://creationevolutiondesign.blogspot.com/>.

      On Wed, 20 Jul 2005 12:44:30 -0700, Cliff Lundberg wrote:

      CL>If we're going to focus on
      >defining amensalism etc, we will never have a clue about what
      >Margulis is saying.

      I later realised I had Margulis', "The Symbiotic Planet: A New Look at
      Evolution," Phoenix: London, 1998. It mentions "ecosystems" in several
      places and Margulis' understanding of what an ecosystems is is just straight
      biology and ecology.

      In fact for her definition she quotes a leading ecologist, Daniel Botkin:

      "My colleague Daniel Botkin would probably define any ecosystem as
      a set of communities of different species of organisms, living in the
      same place at the same time, enjoying an influx of external energy and
      matter. " (Margulis L., "The Symbiotic Planet: A New Look at
      Evolution," Phoenix: London, 1998, p.133)

      That could have come from any biology or ecology textbook.

      I checked all the places where "ecosystem" was mentioned in the index and
      there is nothing I can see (without reading the whole book) about "The
      complexity of the organism was once the complexity of an ecosystem."

      So unless Cliff can quote from her book, "Acquired Genomes" where
      Margulis *states* "The complexity of the organism was once the complexity
      of an ecosystem" (at least in the context of the origin of the free-living
      Von Neumann machines which were the already *enormously* complex
      components comprising the eukaryotic cell), then I will assume Cliff has
      misunderstood Margulis.

      Steve

      PS: More quotes from my Unposted quotes: 2002-2004 backlog. As it
      happens, the last quote is where Dobzhansky, et al., claim that a handful
      of experiments with bacteria in labs, "have settled this question definitely"
      that "mutations arise ... independently of whether or not they are favorable
      in the environment where they arise", i.e. that *all* mutations, *everywhere*
      in the *entire* ~4 billion-year history of life have been random in the sense
      of undirected! This, apart from Materialism (= there is no God) and
      Naturalism (=there is no supernatural to intervene from into the natural),
      is a primary article of *faith* on which evolution is founded!

      --------------------------------------------------------------------------
      "We feel, almost instinctively, that there is a pattern. The diversity of living
      creatures is neither complete nor random. All living things share many
      characteristics, and above this basic level we observe groups with every
      degree of resemblance, from near identity to great dissimilarity. There is, or
      seems to be, an essential order or plan among the forms of life in spite of their
      great multiplicity. There seems, moreover, to be purpose in this plan. The
      resemblances and differences among a fish, a bird, and a man are meaningful.
      The resemblances adapt them to those conditions and functions that all have
      in common and the differences to peculiarities in their ways of life not shared
      with the others. It is a habit of speech and thought to say that fishes have gills
      in order to breathe water, that birds have wings in order to fly, and that men
      have brains in order to think." (Simpson G.G., "Plan and Purpose in Nature,"
      [Scientific Monthly, Vol. 64, June, 1947, pp.481-495] in "This View of Life:
      The World of an Evolutionist," Harcourt, Brace & World: New York NY,
      1964, pp.190-191)

      "Of all the things which are made up of molecules, the most remarkable is
      man and, to be quite impartial, woman. In making this statement we may
      appear to be a little egocentric but, since we can claim no credit for the way
      we are made, we are really being modest about our own efforts in chemistry
      compared with those of nature. Quite apart from what we may think of man's
      achievement and his civilisation, looked upon purely as a chemical product of
      evolution, he is still the most wonderful and the most highly organised system
      of molecules in the universe we know. We have to believe in man because he
      is there. But it is perhaps asking more than our imagination is capable of, to
      believe at the same time that this great organism arose by chance out of a
      disorganised, chaotic, universe and subsequently out of a soup-like sea or a
      slimy shore. Yet the alternatives don't take us very far ... an earlier
      organisation or being, a God, would solve the problem except for the
      difficulty which arises in answering the question `Who Made God'?" (Porter
      G., "Molecules to Man," in Messel H. & Butler S.T., ed., "Molecules to Man,"
      Shakespeare Head Press: Sydney, Australia, 1971, p.257)

      "This is one of the first public occasions on which it has been frankly faced
      that all aspects of reality are subject to evolution, from atoms and stars to fish
      and flowers, from fish and flowers to human societies and values-indeed, that
      all reality is a single process of evolution." (Huxley J.S., "The Evolutionary
      Vision," in Tax S. & Callender C., eds., "Evolution After Darwin: Issues in
      Evolution," University of Chicago Press: Chicago IL, Vol. III, 1960, p.249)

      "In 1859, Darwin opened the passage leading to a new psycho-social level,
      with a new pattern of ideological organization-an evolution-centered
      organization of thought and belief." (Huxley J.S., "The Evolutionary Vision,"
      in Tax S. & Callender C., eds., "Evolution After Darwin: Issues in Evolution,"
      University of Chicago Press: Chicago IL, Vol. III, 1960, p.251)

      "The broad outlines of the new evolutionary picture of ultimates are beginning
      to be visible. Man's destiny is to be the sole agent for the future evolution of
      this planet. ... And he must face it unaided by outside help. In the evolutionary
      pattern of thought there is no longer either need or room for the supernatural.
      The earth was not created, it evolved. So did all the animals and plants that
      inhabit it, including our human selves, mind and soul as well as brain and
      body. So did religion. ... Evolutionary man can no longer take refuge from his
      loneliness in the arms of a divinized father-figure whom he has himself
      created, nor escape from the responsibility of making decisions by sheltering
      under the umbrella of Divine Authority, nor absolve himself from the hard
      task of meeting his present problems and planning his future by relying on the
      will of an omniscient, but unfortunately inscrutable, Providence." (Huxley
      J.S., "The Evolutionary Vision," in Tax S. & Callender C., eds., "Evolution
      After Darwin: Issues in Evolution," University of Chicago Press: Chicago IL,
      Vol. III, 1960, pp.252-253).

      "From the condensation of nebulae to the development of the infant in the
      womb, from the formation of the earth as a planet to the making of a political
      decision, they are all processes in time; and they are all interrelated as partial
      processes within the single universal process of reality. All reality, in fact, is
      evolution, in the perfectly proper sense that it is a one-way process in time,
      unitary; continuous; irreversible; self-transforming; and generating variety and
      novelty during its transformations. I am quite aware that many people object
      to the use of the term evolution for anything but the transformations of living
      substance. But I think this is undesirably narrow. Some term is undoubtedly
      needed for the comprehensive process in all its aspects, and no other
      convenient designation exists at present save that of evolution." (Huxley J.S.,
      "Evolution in Action," [1953], Penguin: Harmondsworth, Middlesex UK,
      1963, reprint, p.12)

      "Furthermore, with the adoption of the evolutionary approach in nonbiological
      fields, from cosmology to human affairs, we are beginning to realize that
      biological evolution is only one aspect of evolution in general. Evolution in
      the extended sense can be defined as a directional and essentially irreversible
      process occurring in time, which in its course gives rise to an increase of
      variety and an increasingly high level of organization in its products. Our
      present knowledge indeed forces us to the view that the whole of reality is
      evolution-a single process of self-transformation. Further analysis speedily
      reveals that this universal evolutionary process is divisible with three main
      sectors or phases- the inorganic or cosmological, the organic or biological,
      and the human or psychosocial. Each sector has its own characteristic
      mechanism of self-transformation and its own maximum rate of change, and
      each produces its own characteristic type of results." (Huxley J., "Evolution
      and Genetics," in Newman J.R., ed., "What Is Science?," [1955], Washington
      Square: New York NY, 1961, reprint, pp.294-295)

      "Darwin himself saw no limit to the extent of evolutionary change or to the
      power of natural selection to mould even the most complex of adaptations. At
      the end of the Origin he does not shrink from the ultimate implication that all
      life had evolved from a common source. Although he does not extend his
      theory in the Origin to include the origin of life, the possibility that life's
      emergence could also be explained in naturalistic evolutionary terms had
      occurred to him. In a often-quoted passage he speculates on the origin of
      living systems from a warm solution of organic compounds through a
      succession of increasingly more complex chemical aggregates: `It is often said
      that all the conditions for the first production of a living organism are now
      present which could ever have been present. But if and oh! what a big if!) we
      could conceive in some warm little pond with all sorts of ammonia and
      phosphoric salts, light, heat, electricity present that a protein was formed
      ready to undergo still more complex changes at the present day such matter
      would be instantly devoured or absorbed which would not have been the case
      before living creatures were formed.' (Darwin C., letter [1 February] 1871 to
      Joseph Hooker, in Darwin F., ed, "The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin", 3
      Vols., John Murray: London, 1888, Vol. 3, p.18). Darwin never claimed his
      theory could explain the origin of life, but the implication was there. Thus, not
      only was God banished from the creation of species but from the entire realm
      of biology." (Denton M.J., "Evolution: A Theory in Crisis," Burnett Books:
      London, 1985, p.53)

      "I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is
      preserved, by the term Natural Selection, in order to mark its relation to man's
      power of selection. But the expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer of
      the Survival of the Fittest is more accurate, and is sometimes equally
      convenient. We have seen that man by selection can certainly produce great
      results, and can adapt organic beings to his own uses, through the
      accumulation of slight but useful variations, given to him by the hand of
      Nature. But Natural Selection, as we shall hereafter see, is a power incessantly
      ready for action, and is as immeasurably superior to man's feeble efforts, as
      the works of Nature are to those of Art." (Darwin C.R., "The Origin of
      Species by Means of Natural Selection," [1872], Everyman's Library, J.M.
      Dent & Sons: London, 6th Edition, 1928, reprint, p.67)

      "Another significant factor also influences the products formed in an
      experiment of this type, but is less recognized: selection by the experimenter.
      We can be aware of its influence in this case because Stanley Miller has been
      quite candid in documenting the course of his work. His experiment is noted
      for the production of amino acids, yet in his very first attempt no amino acids
      at all were detected. He had used the same gas mixture and spark but had
      placed the various compartments in a different order. Let us continue with his
      own words `I filled the apparatus with the postulated primitive atmosphere,
      water, methane, hydrogen, and ammonia, turned the spark on and let it run
      overnight. The next morning there was a thin layer of hydrocarbons on the
      surface of the water, and after several days the hydrocarbon layer was
      somewhat thicker. So I stopped the spark and looked for amino acids by one-
      dimensional paper chromatography None were found. Miller did not then
      analyze the nature of the products that had been formed, but rather rearranged
      his apparatus and tried again. In his next attempt, he obtained a result that
      satisfied him. This arrangement was then adopted for further work. One
      modification, tried at a later date, was not helpful. The action of the spark
      discharge has often been compared to the effect of a thunderstorm. Miller
      made an effort to improve the analogy: `An attempt was made to simulate a
      lightning discharge by building up a large quantity of charge on a condenser
      until the spark jumped the gap between the electrodes.... Very few organic
      compounds were produced and this discharge was not investigated further.' As
      long as the proper design and components were maintained, however, the
      same product mixture, including the amino acids, was obtained. Miller took
      great pains in demonstrating that the products were exactly what he claimed
      them to be, and that they had been produced by the chemical discharge, not by
      an accidental introduction of biological material. The overall yields could
      vary, however. Twenty years after his first studies, Miller wrote: `It was
      surprising that the yields of amino acids from these first experiments are the
      highest so far reported in any prebiotic experiment of this type.' Thus on his
      first two tries, he had obtained the worst and the best possible results. One
      clear message should emerge from this discussion. A variety of results may be
      possible from the same general type of experiment. The experimenter, by
      manipulating apparently unimportant variables, can affect the outcome
      profoundly. The data that he reports may be valid, but if only these results are
      communicated, a false impression may arise concerning the universality of the
      process. This situation was noticed by a Creationist writer, Martin Lubenow
      who commented: `I am convinced that in every origin of life experiment
      devised by evolutionists, the intelligence of the experimenter is involved in
      such a way as to prejudice the experiment.'" (Lubenow M.L., "From Fish To
      Gish: The Exciting Drama of a Decade of Creation-Evolution Debates," CLP
      Publishers: San Diego CA, 1983, pp.168-169, in Shapiro R.D., "Origins: A
      Skeptic's Guide to the Origin of Life," Summit: New York NY, 1986, pp.102-
      103)

      The reasonable view was to believe in spontaneous generation; the only
      alternative, to believe in a single, primary act of supernatural creation. There
      is no third alternative.... Most modern biologists, having reviewed with
      satisfaction the downfall of the spontaneous generation hypothesis, yet
      unwilling to accept the alternative belief in special creation, are left with
      nothing. I think a scientist has no choice but to approach the origin of life
      through a hypothesis of spontaneous generation. What the controversy
      reviewed above showed to be untenable is only the belief that living
      organisms arise spontaneously under present conditions. We have now to face
      a somewhat different problem: how organisms may have arisen spontaneously
      under different conditions in some former period, granted that they do so no
      longer. ... To make an organism demands the right substances in the right
      proportions and in the right arrangement. We do not think that anything more
      is needed-but that is problem enough. One has only to contemplate the
      magnitude of this task to concede that the spontaneous generation of a living
      organism is impossible. Yet here we are, as a result, I believe, of spontaneous
      generation (Wald G., "The Origin of Life," in Bowen M.E. & Mazzeo J.A.,
      eds, "Writing About Science," Oxford University Press: New York NY, 1979,
      pp.289-291).

      "Why is nature so ingeniously, one might even say suspiciously, friendly to
      life? What do the laws of physics care about life and consciousness that they
      should conspire to make a hospitable universe? It's almost as if a Grand
      Designer had it all figured out. The fashionable scientific response to this
      cosmic conundrum is to invoke the so-called multiverse theory. The idea here
      is that what we have hitherto been calling `the universe' is nothing of the sort.
      It is but a small component within a vast assemblage of other universes that
      together make up a `multiverse.' It is but a small extra step to conjecture that
      each universe comes with its own knob settings. They could be random, as if
      the endless succession of universes is the product of the proverbial monkey at
      a typewriter. Almost all universes are incompatible with life, and so go unseen
      and unlamented. Only in that handful where, by chance, the settings are just
      right will life emerge; then beings such as ourselves will marvel at how
      propitiously fine-tuned their universe is. ... This idea of multiple universes, or
      multiple realities, has been around in philosophical circles for centuries. The
      scientific justification for it, however, is new. One argument stems from the
      `big bang' theory: according to the standard model, shortly after the universe
      exploded into existence about 14 billion years ago, it suddenly jumped in size
      by an enormous factor. This `inflation' can best be understood by imagining
      that the observable universe is, relatively speaking, a tiny blob of space buried
      deep within a vast labyrinth of interconnected cosmic regions. Under this
      theory, if you took a God's-eye view of the multiverse, you would see big
      bangs aplenty generating a tangled melee of universes enveloped in a
      superstructure of frenetically inflating space. Though individual universes
      may live and die, the multiverse is forever. ... How seriously can we take this
      explanation for the friendliness of nature? Not very, I think. For a start, how is
      the existence of the other universes to be tested? To be sure, all cosmologists
      accept that there are some regions of the universe that lie beyond the reach of
      our telescopes, but somewhere on the slippery slope between that and the idea
      that there are an infinite number of universes, credibility reaches a limit. As
      one slips down that slope, more and more must be accepted on faith, and less
      and less is open to scientific verification. Extreme multiverse explanations are
      therefore reminiscent of theological discussions. Indeed, invoking an infinity
      of unseen universes to explain the unusual features of the one we do see is just
      as ad hoc as invoking an unseen Creator. The multiverse theory may be
      dressed up in scientific language, but in essence it requires the same leap of
      faith." (Davies P.C.W., "A Brief History of the Multiverse," New York Times
      April 12, 2003. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/12/opinion/12DAVI.html)

      "However, even if we dismiss Goldschmidt's views as unproven or
      unnecessary, preadaptation of various kinds has clearly played a not
      inconsiderable role in evolution. How has adaptation been brought about?
      Modern science must rule out special creation or divine guidance." (Huxley
      J.S., "Evolution: The Modern Synthesis," [1942], George Allen & Unwin:
      London, 1945, reprint, p.457)

      "Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of
      nothing, one with the very delicate balance needed to provide exactly the
      conditions required to permit life, and one which has an underlying (one
      might say "supernatural") plan. Thus, the observations of modern science
      seem to lead to the same conclusions as centuries-old intuition. At the same
      time, most of our modern scientific intuition seems to be more comfortable
      with the world as described by the science of yesterday. Kind of interesting,
      isn't it?" (Penzias A., "Creation Is Supported by All the Data So Far," in
      Margenau H. & Varghese R.A., eds., "Cosmos, Bios, Theos: Scientists
      Reflect on Science, God, and the Origins of the Universe Life, and Homo
      Sapiens," [1992], Open Court: La Salle IL, 1993, Second Printing, p.78)

      "And so, if you wish to ask the question of the ages-why do humans exist?-a
      major part of the answer, touching those aspects of the issue that science can
      treat at all, must be: because Pikaia survived the Burgess decimation. This
      response does not cite a single law of nature; it embodies no statement about
      predictable evolutionary pathways, no calculation of probabilities based on
      general rules of anatomy or ecology. The survival of Pikaia was a contingency
      of `just history.' I do not think that any `higher' answer can be given, and I
      cannot imagine that any resolution could be more fascinating. We are the
      offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and
      interesting of conceivable universes-one indifferent to our suffering, and
      therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen
      way." (Gould S.J., "Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of
      History," [1989], Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, p.323)

      "Mutations are accidental, undirected, random, or chance events in still
      another sense very important for evolution; namely, in the sense that they are
      unoriented with respect to adaptation. Mutations occur independently of
      whether or not they are adaptive in the environments in which the organisms
      live. Microbiologists have known for a long time that confronted with adverse
      environmental conditions, bacterial cultures give rise to new genetically stable
      strains able to cope with the unusual environment. The regularity of this result
      inclined some bacteriologists to believe that the environment could induce
      specific mutations favorable in that environment. Ample evidence now exists
      showing that mutations arise with certain probabilities independently of
      whether or not they are favorable in the environment where they arise. The
      elegant experiments of Lederberg and Lederberg (1952) using "replica
      plating," as well as experiments by Luria and Delbruck (1943), Demerec and
      Fano (1945), and others, have settled this question definitely." (Dobzhansky
      T.G., Ayala F.J., Stebbins G.L. & Valentine J.W., "Evolution," W.H. Freeman
      & Co: San Francisco CA, 1977, p.65)

      Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol). http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones
      Blog: http://creationevolutiondesign.blogspot.com/ Book, "Problems of
      Evolution" http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/PoE/PoE00ToC.html
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    • Cliff Lundberg
      From: Stephen E. Jones ... Where is *Margulis s* definition? Presumably it s different, given the phraseology. In any case, the term
      Message 2 of 4 , Jul 20, 2005
        From: "Stephen E. Jones" <sejones@...>

        > "My colleague Daniel Botkin would probably define any ecosystem
        > as
        > a set of communities of different species of organisms, living
        > in the
        > same place at the same time, enjoying an influx of external
        > energy and
        > matter. " (Margulis L., "The Symbiotic Planet: A New Look at
        > Evolution," Phoenix: London, 1998, p.133)

        Where is *Margulis's* definition? Presumably it's different, given
        the phraseology. In any case, the term 'Symbiotic Planet' in the
        title
        implies a wide application of 'symbiosis' in Margulis's thinking.
        Actually she seems to avoid using 'ecosystem'. I don't know why.
        I've noticed that those who write about intestinal bacteria--which
        Margulis specifically cites as exemplifying symbiosis--often talk
        about an 'internal ecosystem'.

        > I checked all the places where "ecosystem" was mentioned in the
        > index and
        > there is nothing I can see (without reading the whole book)
        > about "The
        > complexity of the organism was once the complexity of an
        > ecosystem."

        No doubt Steve would grant that when symbionts become genomically
        integrated a la Margulis, the complexity of the symbiotic
        relationships
        becomes the complexity of the organism. So Steve's objection to my
        paraphrase relies on a distinction between symbionts and fellow
        members
        of an ecosystem. Again, this is a worthwhile distinction in the
        field and in the
        lab, but it'll never be satisfactory at the
        general/philosophical/evolutionary
        level, as it depends on the arbitrary drawing of a line.

        > "And so, if you wish to ask the question of the ages-why do
        > humans exist?-a
        > major part of the answer, touching those aspects of the issue
        > that science can
        > treat at all, must be: because Pikaia survived the Burgess
        > decimation. ... We
        > are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths
        > in this most
        > diverse and interesting of conceivable universes-one indifferent
        > to our suffering,
        > and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail,
        > in our own chosen
        > way." (Gould S.J., "Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the
        > Nature of History,"

        A profound excursion starting from bad science. Gould has not the
        least idea
        of how or whether Pikaia could be our ancestor. The thinking,
        based on Pikaia's
        simplicity, is not distinct from that which would embrace the
        biogenetic law.
        Enjoy the writing but let's not think that Gould has delivered the
        evolutionary
        goods. What the point is for the creationist who posted the
        excerpt, I can't
        imagine.

        Cliff
      • Cliff Lundberg
        From: Stephen E. Jones ... I would be delighted to think that The complexity of the organism was once the complexity of an ecosystem
        Message 3 of 4 , Jul 20, 2005
          From: "Stephen E. Jones" <sejones@...>

          > So unless Cliff can quote from her book, "Acquired Genomes"
          > where
          > Margulis *states* "The complexity of the organism was once the
          > complexity
          > of an ecosystem" (at least in the context of the origin of the
          > free-living
          > Von Neumann machines which were the already *enormously* complex
          > components comprising the eukaryotic cell), then I will assume
          > Cliff has
          > misunderstood Margulis.

          I would be delighted to think that "The complexity of the organism
          was once the complexity of an ecosystem" was an original idea, and
          was not just an obvious restatement of symbiogenesis.

          Cliff
        • Stephen E. Jones
          Group ... CL Where is *Margulis s* definition? In the context she means that is hers also (since she doesn t disagree with it and offers none of her own). As I
          Message 4 of 4 , Jul 20, 2005
            Group

            On Wed, 20 Jul 2005 19:52:38 -0700, Cliff Lundberg wrote:

            >SJ>"My colleague Daniel Botkin would probably define any ecosystem
            >>as a set of communities of different species of organisms, living
            >>in the same place at the same time, enjoying an influx of external
            >>energy and matter. " (Margulis L., "The Symbiotic Planet: A New Look at
            >>Evolution," Phoenix: London, 1998, p.133)

            CL>Where is *Margulis's* definition?

            In the context she means that is hers also (since she doesn't disagree with
            it and offers none of her own). As I said (which Cliff deleted), "for her
            definition she quotes a leading ecologist, Daniel Botkin: ... That could have
            come from any biology or ecology textbook."

            I don't have any more time to waste on this. If Cliff does not accept that
            he has misundersstood Margulis, then I regard that as *Cliff's* problen,
            not mine.

            >SJ>"And so, if you wish to ask the question of the ages-why do
            >>humans exist?-a major part of the answer, touching those aspects of the issue
            >>that science can treat at all, must be: because Pikaia survived the Burgess
            >>decimation. ... We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths
            >>in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes-one indifferent
            >>to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail,
            >>in our own chosen way." (Gould S.J., "Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the
            >>Nature of History,"

            CL>A profound excursion starting from bad science. Gould has not the
            >least idea of how or whether Pikaia could be our ancestor. The thinking,
            >based on Pikaia's simplicity, is not distinct from that which would embrace the
            >biogenetic law.

            "Pikaia" was at the time (and still may be) the earliest chordate (i.e. of our phylum
            Chordata) found in the fossils of the Burgess Shale (immediately after the Cambrian
            Explosion). Gould's "Pikaia survived the Burgess decimation" is a shorthand way of
            saying that if the phylum Chordata had been wiped out (as others were) then we
            would not be here.

            CL>Enjoy the writing but let's not think that Gould has delivered the
            >evolutionary goods..


            Well, I certainly do "not think that Gould has delivered the *evolutionary*
            goods".

            CL>What the point is for the creationist who posted the
            >excerpt, I can't imagine.

            "What the point is for the creationist" (me) is the paleontological *facts*
            that Gould's writings and that "excerpt" contain.

            There is also the point (as the evolutionist Cartmill realised-see tagline)
            that from the evidence that "the evolution [sic] of human beings was
            fantastically improbable and that a host of unlikely events had to fall out
            in just the right way for intelligent life to emerge on this planet". Gould's
            "conclusion that that the universe is indifferent to our existence and that
            humans would never evolve a second time if we rewound time's
            videotape and started over" "One might well take this as a sign of God's
            hand at work in the evolutionary [sic] process", as in fact I do!

            --------------------------------------------------------------------------
            "In his book Wonderful Life, Stephen Jay Gould argues that the evolution
            of human beings was fantastically improbable and that a host of unlikely
            events had to fall out in just the right way for intelligent life to emerge on
            this planet. One might well take this as a sign of God's hand at work in the
            evolutionary process. Gould, however, bends his argument to the opposite
            conclusion that the universe is indifferent to our existence and that humans
            would never evolve a second time if we rewound time's videotape and
            started over. But to reach this conclusion, you have to assume the very
            thing that you are trying to prove: namely, that history isn't directed by
            God. If there is a God, whatever he wills happens by necessity. Because
            we can't really replay the same stretch of time to see if it always comes out
            the same way, science has no tests for the presence of God's will in
            history. Gould's conclusion is a profession of his religious beliefs, not a
            finding of science." (Cartmill M., "Oppressed by Evolution," Discover,
            Vol. 19, No. 3, March 1998.
            http://www.godlesshouston.com/library/darwin.htm)
            Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol). http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones
            Blog: http://creationevolutiondesign.blogspot.com/ Book, "Problems of
            Evolution" http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/PoE/PoE00ToC.html
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