Browse Search Feedback Other Links Home Home The Talk.Origins Archive: Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy

The Quote Mine Project

Or, Lies, Damned Lies and Quote Mines

Gould, Eldredge and Punctuated Equilibria Quotes

by the newsgroup
Copyright © 2004-2006

As noted in the Introduction, our intent was to continue to add to our collection of quote mines. This is the second such addition and it primarily concerns one of, if not the, most fertile areas for quote mining by creationists: Punctuated Equilibria. If you have never heard of Punctuated Equilibria, it is a theory (or, more correctly, a related group of theories) first advanced by Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould that primarily concerns the mechanisms, frequency and rate of speciation events, especially as they are reflected in the fossil record. In Gould's words, the theory of Punctuated Equilibria calls for a "jerky, or episodic, rather than a smoothly gradual, pace of change" in evolution. There is, of course, much more to it than that and the theory has been and continues to be controversial (at least in some respects) within the scientific community. For anyone who wishes to know more about Punctuated Equilibria, an excellent place to start is: Punctuated Equilibria by Wesley R. Elsberry.

Almost all quote mines of Eldredge and Gould involve one aspect of Punctuated Equilibria or another. However, given such accomplished writers, who have (particularly in Gould's case thanks to his long-running monthly column in Natural History) written on many and diverse topics, there is ample opportunity, even if rarely taken, for quote mining them on other subjects. For simplicity's sake in continuing to add to the Quote Mine Project, any future quote mines of Eldredge and Gould will be added to this section, whether or not they deal directly with Punctuated Equilibria. The same is true of the list of quote mines from the original Project given below. Some of the quotes by Eldredge and Gould there (though relatively few) may deal with subjects other than Punctuated Equilibria. The quotes taken from others, however, are all related in some way to Punctuated Equilibria. It is a subject of such great, if distorted, fascination to creationists (about 40% of the original Project's quotes involved Punctuated Equilibria) that it is unlikely that any quotes of Eldredge and Gould from outside that particular area will constitute a major distraction.

Since these quotes are not from a single source, as was the case in the original Quote Mine Project, there are some differences in how they are organized. Before each quote there appears in brackets a brief description of the Editor's impression of the proposition that the quotes are cited for by creationists. That is followed by at least one link to a creationist site using the quote mine. Naturally, these descriptions cannot be exhaustive and are only as accurate as any impression. By all means, you are encouraged to check for yourself as to creationist usage of the quotes. The easiest way to do so is to go to the Google Advanced Search page and, in the "Find results" box designated "with the exact phrase," enter a short, but distinctive, phrase from the quote mine and click on the "Search" button. Of course, if you are here researching a particular use of a quote, you will already have an idea of how it is being used.

The numbering of the quotes is different as well. While the original set of quote mines was numbered simply 1 - 86, these are numbered 3.1, 3.2, . . . etc.

Finally, as noted, there are links at the bottom of the page to responses in the original Quote Mine Project concerning other quotes of Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould or that concern Punctuated Equilibria in general.

Quote #3.1

[Transitional forms do not exist and the evidence fits creation better than evolution]

"This notion of species as 'natural kinds' fits splendidly with creationist tenets of a pre-Darwinian age. Louis Agassiz, even argued that species are God's individual thoughts, made incarnate so that we might perceive both His majesty and His message. Species, Agassiz wrote, are "instituted by Divine Intelligence as the categories of His mode of thinking. But how could a division of the organic world into discrete entities be justified by an evolutionary theory that proclaimed ceaseless change as the fundamental fact of nature?" - (Stephen Jay Gould, Professor of Geology and Paleontology, Harvard University), 'A quahog is a quahog', Natural History vol LXXXVIII(7), August-September, 1979, pg. 18)

Representative quote miners: The Evolution of a Creationist: Ch. 4, "Missing Links" Are Missing, Stephen E. Jones: Creation/Evolution Quotes: Creation #2: Evidence, and Evolution Is Dead: Divisions In The Organic World

[Editor's note: A more accessible citation for this article is: Gould, Stephen Jay 1980. "A Quahog is a Quahog", The Panda's Thumb. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., pp. 204-13.]

This one is interesting because the dishonesty of the quote mine was exposed at least as far back as 1984 in an article, "Scientific Creationism: The Art of Distortion" by Laurie R. Godfrey that appeared in Science and Creationism (Ashley Montagu, ed. 1984. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 167-81). That was, in turn, a revision of an earlier article, "The Flood of Antievolution" that had appeared in Natural History, vol. 90, no. 6, pp. 4-10. Specifically, Godfrey addressed the use of this quote (along with David Raup's widely mined "120 years after Darwin" quote) by creationist Gary Parker in "Creation, Selection, and Variation," that appeared in the Institute for Creation Research's newsletter, Acts & Facts in 1980 and which is still available.

To better understand Gould's intent, here are the first two paragraphs of the article:

Thomas Henry Huxley once defined science as "organized common sense." Other contemporaries, including the great geologist Charles Lyell, urged an opposing view -- science, they said, must probe behind appearance, often to combat the "obvious" interpretation of phenomena.

I cannot offer any general rules for the resolution of conflicts between common sense and the dictates of a favored theory. Each camp has won its battles and received its lumps. But I do want to tell a story of common sense triumphant -- an interesting story because the theory that seemed to oppose ordinary observation is also correct, for it is the theory of evolution itself. The error that brought evolution into conflict with common sense lies in a false implication commonly drawn from evolutionary theory, not with the theory itself.

Thus, Gould made it plain from the outset that he was discussing something that he does not see as a difficulty in either the theory of evolution or the evidence for it. Immediately after this opening comes the section the quote is mined from:

Common sense dictates that the world of familiar, macroscopic organisms presents itself to us in "packages" called species, All bird watchers and butterfly netters know that they can divide the specimens of any local area into discrete units blessed with those Latin binomials that befuddle the uninitiated. ...

This notion of species as "natural kinds" fit splendidly with creationist tenets of a pre-Darwinian age. Louis Agassiz even argued that species are God's individual thoughts, made incarnate so that we might perceive both His majesty and His message. Species, Agassiz wrote, are "instituted by the Divine Intelligence as the categories of his mode of thinking."

But how could a division of the organic world into discrete entities be justified by an evolutionary theory that proclaimed ceaseless change as the fundamental fact of nature? Both Darwin and Lamarck struggled with this question and did not resolve it to their satisfaction. Both denied to the species any status as a natural kind.

Darwin lamented: "We shall have to treat species as ... merely artificial combinations made for convenience. This may not be a cheering prospect; but we shall at least be freed from the vain search for the undiscovered and undiscoverable essence of the term species." Lamarck complained: "In vain do naturalists consume their time in describing new species, in seizing upon every nuance and slight peculiarity to enlarge the immense list of described species.''

Gould then discusses two traditional responses to this seeming dilemma: 1) that the "world of ceaseless flux alters so slowly that configurations of the moment may be treated as static" (i.e. that evolutionary change, though constant, is so slow that species appear to be separate and distinct to ephemeral creatures as ourselves); or 2) to deny (as J.B.S. Haldane did) the reality of species in any context. To these arguments, Gould replies:

Yet common sense continues to proclaim that, with few exceptions, species can be clearly identified in local areas of our modern world. Most biologists, although they may deny the reality of species through geologic time, do affirm their status for the modern moment. As Ernst Mayr, our leading student of species and speciation, writes: "Species are the product of evolution and not of the human mind." Mayr argues that species are "real" units in nature as a result both of their history and the current interaction among their members.

It is clear from this that Gould is not saying, as the creationists would have it, that creationism better explains the evidence. While the "common sense" notion that species are real "natural kinds" is well suited to creationism, there are at least three possible resolutions of the apparent (but not substantial) difficulty with evolutionary theory that arises when it is viewed as requiring constant change. Gould declares himself to be "a partisan of Mayr's view" and proceeds to spend the next five-plus pages discussing non-Western folk taxonomies in support of that position.

When Gould returns to the issue, he states:

But are these Linnaean species, recognized by independent cultures, merely temporary configurations of the moment, mere way stations on evolutionary lineages in continual flux? I argue ... that, contrary to popular belief, evolution does not work this way, and that species have a "reality" through time to match their distinctness at a moment. An average species of fossil invertebrates lives five to ten million years (terrestrial vertebrates have shorter average durations). During this time, they rarely change in any fundamental way. They become extinct, without issue, looking much as they did when they first appeared. ...

Species are stable entities with very brief periods of fuzziness at their origin (although not at their demise because most species disappear cleanly without changing into anything else). As Edmund Burke said in another context: "Though no man can draw a stroke between the confines of day and night, yet light and darkness are upon the whole tolerably distinguishable."

In short, this is nothing more than Gould expounding on the implications of Punctuated Equilibria for what we should expect to see in the fossil record. To Gould, Mayr's view has the advantage of corresponding with the "common sense" view as to the reality of species, at least after an initial period of fuzziness, while speciation is underway. Of course, creationists are free to quibble with any or all of those resolutions to the issue, as long as they present them fairly. But to use Gould's words, intended merely to set up an apparent dilemma as an introduction to his discourse about the evidence for a particular solution (out of several possibilities) without mentioning those solutions or even their existence, is quote mining at its worst.

Gould closed his article with:

Evolution is a theory of organic change, but it does not imply, as many people assume, that ceaseless flux is the irreducible state of nature and that structure is but a temporary incarnation of the moment. Change is more often a rapid transition between stable states than a continuous transformation at slow and steady rates. We live in a world of structure and legitimate distinction. Species are the units of nature's morphology.

All this and more was noted by Godfrey in her article 20 years ago:

Gould's article is also about problems with Darwinian gradualism. It takes to task those biologists and anthropologists who argue that species boundaries are artifacts of the human capacity to classify, and construct artificial divisions. Gould argues, as Ernst Mayr did years before, that species are real biological entities, but he does not suggest that they are genealogically unrelated to one another or that they cannot give rise to new species.

Gould and his colleagues are widely cited by creationists in their effort to establish that the fossil record documents "no transitions." To creationists this is taken to mean that there are no evolutionary links between "created kinds." But Gould, Eldredge and Stanley are talking about the failure of the fossil record to document fine-scale transitions between pairs of species, and its dramatic documentation of rapid evolutionary bursts involving multiple speciation events -- so-called adaptive radiations. They are not talking about any failure of the fossil record to document the existence of intermediate forms (to the contrary, there are so many intermediates for many well-preserved taxa that it is notoriously difficult to identify true ancestors even when the fossil record is very complete). Nor are Gould, Eldredge, and Stanley talking about any failure of the fossil record to document large-scale trends, which do exist, however jerky they may be. Furthermore, fine-scale transitions are not absent from the fossil record but are merely underrepresented. Eldredge, Gould. and Stanley reason that this is the unsurprising consequence of known mechanisms of speciation. Additionally, certain ecological conditions may favor speciation and rapid evolution, so new taxa may appear abruptly in the fossil record in association with adaptive radiation. Since creationists acknowledge that fine-scale transitions (including those resulting in reproductive isolation) exist and since the fossil record clearly documents large-scale "transitions," it would seem that the creationists have no case. Indeed. they do not. Their case is an artifact of misrepresentation to the lay public of exactly what the fossil record fails to document.

All of this points to the shallowness of creationist use of quotes. In scholarly work, the use of quotations is intended to show an understanding of the relevant literature and is, in effect, a representation on the part of the person using the quote that she or he is intimately familiar with the author's work and positions. Not only are the people using this quote unfamiliar with the article it came from or Gould's work in general, they are even unfamiliar with the literature on the creationism/evolution conflict. Either that . . . or they are just being dishonest.

- John (catshark) Pieret

Quote #3.2

[The lack of transitional fossils represent real gaps]

"The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persist as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils ….We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life's history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we never see the very process we profess to study." - Stephen J. Gould - "Evolution's Erratic Pace," Natural History, vol. 86 (May 1987), p. 14.

Representative quote miner: Answers in Genesis: Hopeful monsters revisited, The Revolution Against Evolution: Transition Fossils?, and The UnOfficial Confessing Movement: eVOLUTION–"nO dEBATE aLLOWED" (sic)

A more correct and complete citation is:

Gould, S. J. 1977. "Evolution's Erratic Pace" in Natural History 86(5):12-16.

This is the same article as:

Gould, S. J. 1980. "The Episodic Nature of Evolutionary Change" in The Panda's Thumb, pp. 179-185. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

It shouldn't surprise those familiar with Gould's books that an article for the magazine Natural History would show up in one of his essay collections, but it is surprising that it has a different title and that there are some differences in the body of the article. And so, it's now obvious why the last sentence in the above is also in Quote #14 of the original Quote Mine Project. They both refer to the same article, and in fact appear in the same pages in "The Panda's Thumb" (pp. 181-182). John Wilkins certainly did more than an adequate job of clarifying Gould's beliefs in that entry, but a slightly different claim is being made here, so I'll do what I can.

A more complete quote would be as follows (words in square brackets ([]) appear in the "Panda's Thumb" essay, and not in the original):

The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils. Yet Darwin was so wedded to gradualism that he wagered his entire theory on a denial of this literal record:

The geological record is extremely imperfect and this fact will to a large extent explain why we do not find interminable varieties, connecting together all the extinct and existing forms of life by the finest graduated steps. He who rejects these views on the nature of the geological record, will rightly reject my whole theory.

Darwin's argument still persists as the favored escape of most paleontologists from the embarrassment of a record that seems to show so little of evolution [directly]. In exposing its cultural and methodological roots, I wish in no way to impugn the potential validity of gradualism (for all general views have similar roots). I only wish to point out that it is never "seen" in the rocks.

Paleontologists have paid an exorbitant price for Darwin's argument. We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life's history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we never see the very process we profess to study.

For several years, Niles Eldredge of the American Museum of Natural History and I have been advocating a resolution to this uncomfortable paradox. We believe that Huxley was right in his warning [1]. The modern theory of evolution does not require gradual change. In fact, the operation of Darwinian processes should yield exactly what we see in the fossil record. [It is gradualism we should reject, not Darwinism.]

[1] Referring to Huxley's warning to Darwin, literally on the eve of the publication of Origin of Species, that "[y]ou have loaded yourself with an unnecessary difficulty in adopting Natura non facit saltum [nature does not make leaps] so unreservedly." - Ed.

So it would seem that Gould has no problems with the fossil record. But did he believe that transitional forms are lacking? Note that in the quote originally presented, the claim is made that they are rare, not absent. Also, as anyone who is familiar with Gould's writings will know, the text quoted reflects his recognition that, while there is a scarcity of transitional fossils between species, there is no such lack of transitional fossils between major groups.

- Jon (Augray) Barber

Yet once again, this is Gould discussing "Punctuated Equilibria." It is best, perhaps, simply to allow Gould to defend himself, as he did in his article "Evolution as Fact and Theory", originally published in 1981:

[T]ransitions are often found in the fossil record. Preserved transitions are not common -- and should not be, according to our understanding of evolution (see next section) but they are not entirely wanting, as creationists often claim. [He then discusses two examples: therapsid intermediaries between reptiles and mammals, and the half-dozen human species - found as of 1981 - that appear in an unbroken temporal sequence of progressively more modern features.]

Faced with these facts of evolution and the philosophical bankruptcy of their own position, creationists rely upon distortion and innuendo to buttress their rhetorical claim. If I sound sharp or bitter, indeed I am -- for I have become a major target of these practices.

I count myself among the evolutionists who argue for a jerky, or episodic, rather than a smoothly gradual, pace of change. In 1972 my colleague Niles Eldredge and I developed the theory of punctuated equilibrium. We argued that two outstanding facts of the fossil record -- geologically "sudden" origin of new species and failure to change thereafter (stasis) -- reflect the predictions of evolutionary theory, not the imperfections of the fossil record. In most theories, small isolated populations are the source of new species, and the process of speciation takes thousands or tens of thousands of years. This amount of time, so long when measured against our lives, is a geological microsecond . . .

Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists -- whether through design or stupidity, I do not know -- as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups.

- Gould, Stephen Jay 1983. "Evolution as Fact and Theory" in Hens Teeth and Horse's Toes: Further Reflections in Natural History. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., p. 258-260.

Gould, in this article and many more over the next twenty years, consistently and extensively explained his position and the evidence for evolution, including transitional forms found in the fossil record. The constant abuse of the body of Gould's life's work in the face of this is not merely dishonest, it is despicable.

- John (catshark) Pieret

Quote #3.3

[Archaeopteryx is not a transitional fossil]

"Smooth intermediates between Bauplane [body plans] are almost impossible to construct, even in thought experiments: there is certainly no evidence for them in the fossil record (curious mosaics like Archaeopteryx do not count)" - Gould, S.J. and N. Eldredge. "Punctuated equilibria: the tempo and mode of evolution reconsidered." Paleobiology, 3 (1977): 115-151. (p. 147)

Representative quote miners: The Revolution Against Evolution: Archaeopteryx is No Transitional Form and Reason & Revelation: Archaeopteryx, Archaeoraptor, and the "Dinosaurs-to-Birds" Theory

A more complete quote:

At the higher level of evolutionary transition between basic morphological designs, gradualism has always been in trouble, though it remains the "official" position of most Western evolutionists. Smooth intermediates between Baupläne are almost impossible to construct, even in thought experiments; there is certainly no evidence for them in the fossil record (curious mosaics like Archaeopteryx do not count).

It's now obvious that Gould and Eldredge weren't arguing against Archaeopteryx being a transitional form, but arguing that it wasn't an example of a perfectly smooth change between body plans (or "Baupläne"). For instance, the wing of Archaeopteryx was in essence the forelimb of a dinosaur covered with feathers. This is what Gould and Eldredge meant by the term "mosaic": a creature that is a mixture of both primitive and advanced features. But mosaic forms are exactly what we should expect from evolutionary transitions, since there's no reason to expect every part of the body to evolve at the same rate or at the same time. Evolution has no destination in mind, just as the Wright Brothers didn't envision modern jet fighters when they flew at Kitty Hawk.

But did Gould believe that Archaeopteryx was a transitional form? He did indeed, as can be seen in his article "The Tell-tale Wishbone" (Gould 1980). Any claim to the contrary would be a misrepresentation.


Gould, S. J. 1980. "The Tell-tale Wishbone" in The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History, pp 267-277. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. (Originally published in the November, 1977 edition of Natural History)

Gould, S. J., & Eldredge, N. 1977. "Punctuated equilibria: the tempo and mode of evolution reconsidered." Paleobiology 3:115-151.

- Jon (Augray) Barber and John Harshman

[Editor's note: For a further discussion of this quote mine, see: Archaeopteryx: Answering the Challenge of the Fossil Record by Chris Nedin.]

Gould explains what scientists generally mean by "mosaic evolution" in his article: Gould, Stephen Jay 1977. "Bushes and Ladders in Human Evolution" in Ever Since Darwin. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, pp. 56-62.

After explaining the difference between the progressive "ladder" metaphor for evolution, a "Great Chain of Being" inspired notion of a single line of "progress" from simple to complex, and the "bush" metaphor, where any number of related lineages may exist at the same time, many of which were "side-branches" (in the sense that they became extinct) in the history of extant species (see the response to Quote #3.7 for more on this topic.), he then goes on to define "mosaic evolution":

Ironically, the metaphor of the ladder first denied a role in human evolution to the African australopithecines. A. africanus walked fully erect, but had a brain less than one-third the size of ours (see essay 22*). When it was discovered in the 1920s, many evolutionists believed that all traits should change in concert within evolving lineages the doctrine of the "harmonious transformation of the type." An erect, but small-brained ape could only represent an anomalous side branch destined for early extinction (the true intermediate, I assume, would have been a semierect, half-brained brute). But, as modern evolutionary theory developed during the 1930s, this objection to Australopithecus disappeared. Natural selection can work independently upon adaptive traits in evolutionary sequences, changing them at different times and rates. Frequently, a suite of characters undergoes a complete transformation before other characters change at all. Paleontologists refer to this potential independence of traits as "mosaic evolution." (p. 58)

- John (catshark) Pieret

* Gould, Stephen Jay 1977. "Sizing Up Human Intelligence" in Ever Since Darwin. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, pp. 179-85 - Ed.

Quote #3.4

[Evolution of the horse has no foundation in the fossil record]

"The popularly told example of horse evolution, suggesting a gradual sequence of changes from four-toed, or fox-like creatures, living nearly 50 million years ago, to today's much larger one-toe horse, has long been known to be wrong. Instead of gradual change, fossils of each intermediate species appear fully distinct, persist unchanged, and then become extinct. Transitional forms are unknown." "Ideas on evolution Going Through a Revolution among Scientists," - Boyce Rensberger: Houston Chronicle, 5 Nov. 1980, sec. 4, p. 15.

Representative quote miners: Darwinism Refuted: The Myth of Horse Evolution and Darwinism Watch: The Old Tale Of The Horse’s Evolution

The article is about a four-day meeting at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago attended, so the article says, by 150 scientists and a very few observers. The mechanisms of evolution were discussed at the meeting, but the article focuses on Punctuated Equilibria.

The following paragraph appears near the beginning of this article:

Recent discoveries have only strengthened Darwin's epochal conclusion that all forms of life evolved from a common ancestor. Genetic analysis, for example, has shown that every organism is governed by the same genetic code controlling the same biochemical processes.

The author goes on to note: "Exactly how evolution happened is now a matter of great controversy among biologists ... [and a discussion of the meeting], followed by:

No clear resolution of the controversies was in sight. This fact has often been exploited by religious fundamentalists who misunderstood it to suggest weakness in the fact of evolution rather than the perceived mechanism. Actually, it reflects significant progress toward a much deeper understanding of the history of life on Earth.

This is a rather serious omission, I think, from the context of the quote in question.

The article goes on to describe gradualism then segues to Eldredge's comments. It states, in regard to Gould and Eldredge's ideas, that:

As they see it, species remain largely stable for long periods and then suddenly change dramatically. The transition happens so fast, they [Gould and Eldredge] suggest, that the chance of intermediate forms being fossilized and found is nil.

Then comes the horse evolution paragraph. There are a couple of immaterial typos in the quote originally supplied. The following is what appears in the article:

The popularly told example of horse evolution, suggesting a gradual sequence of changes from four-toed, fox-like creatures, living nearly 50 million years ago to today's much larger one-toe horse, has long been known to be wrong. Instead of gradual change, fossils of each intermediate species appear fully distinct, persist unchanged, and then become extinct. Transitional forms are unknown.

It's a strange paragraph, in that it interrupts the flow of the article. The following paragraph reads:

Eldredge and Gould represent a school of thought called 'punctuated equilibrium,' and although many paleontologists are adherents, many evolutionists from other backgrounds still consider themselves gradualists closer to the Darwinian mold.

The article proceeds to discuss Thomas Schopf's view that what appears to be stasis is not really stasis, for example, because soft parts are not preserved in fossilization. The article closes by stating that population geneticists also dispute Punctuated Equilibria.

- Sarah Berel-Harrop

An article by the same writer appeared the previous day in the New York Times entitled "Recent Studies Spark Revolution in Interpretation of Evolution" (page C3). However, this quote isn't in it. But it does include the paragraph that appears in the Houston Chronicle article:

Recent discoveries have only strengthened Darwin's epochal conclusion that all forms of life evolved from a common ancestor. Genetic analysis, for example, has shown that every organism is governed by the same genetic code controlling the same biochemical processes.

- Jon (Augray) Barber

[Editor's note: Perhaps it is significant that the paragraph about the horse sequence, which does not appear at all in the New York Times article, appears to be "stuck in" out-of-place in the Houston Chronicle article. If its inclusion was an editorial decision, rather than the reporter's, the question arises just how objectively the quote itself was presented and whether the editing was fair and represented a complete thought on Boyce Rensberger's part.]

The quote appears to be more an explanation for the general public that the "horse sequence", did not represent an orderly "ladder" running from "primitive" forms to modern Equus, as was originally thought as far back as Darwin's time, but, instead, is a particularly prolific "bush" with many branches that all went extinct, except for Equus. As Kathleen Hunt points out in her article "Horse Evolution" in the Archives.

As new fossils were discovered, though, it became clear that the old model of horse evolution was a serious oversimplification. The ancestors of the modern horse were roughly what that series showed, and were clear evidence that evolution had occurred. But it was misleading to portray horse evolution in that smooth straight line, for two reasons:

  1. First, horse evolution didn't proceed in a straight line. We now know of many other branches of horse evolution. Our familiar Equus is merely one twig on a once-flourishing bush of equine species. We only have the illusion of straight-line evolution because Equus is the only twig that survived. (See Gould's essay "Life's Little Joke" in Bully for Brontosaurus for more on this topic.)
  2. Second, horse evolution was not smooth and gradual. Different traits evolved at different rates, didn't always evolve together, and occasionally reversed "direction". Also, horse species did not always come into being by gradual transformation ("anagenesis") of their ancestors; instead, sometimes new species "split off" from ancestors ("cladogenesis") and then co-existed with those ancestors for some time. Some species arose gradually, others suddenly.

Overall, the horse family demonstrates the diversity of evolutionary mechanisms, and it would be misleading -- and would be a real pity -- to reduce it to an oversimplified straight-line diagram.

Finally, it is a sign of the creationists' attitude toward the issues involved that they would quote a journalist from an article in the popular press on a question of science. As good a journalist as Mr. Rensberger may be, such an article can give only superficial treatment to complex issues. Just made to order for their agenda.

- John (catshark) Pieret

Quote #3.5

[There are no fossils showing transitions between species]

In the fossil record, missing links are the rule: the story of life is as disjointed as a silent newsreel, in which species succeed one another as abruptly as Balkan prime ministers. The more scientists have searched for the transitional forms between species, the more they have been frustrated.... Evidence from fossils now points overwhelmingly away from the classical Darwinism which most Americans learned in high school: that new species evolve out of existing ones by the gradual accumulation of small changes, each of which helps the organism survive and compete in the environment - Jerry Adler - Newsweek (1980, 96[18]:95).

Representative quote miners: Evolution Cruncher: No Transitions -- Only Gaps and Reason & Revelation: 15 Answers to John Rennie and Scientific American’s Nonsense

For the complete article, see post

The only "surprise" here is that creationists have so little shame.

Once again, this is an article about the (then relatively new) proposal by Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge of Punctuated Equilibria. It was apparently so new to these magazine writers that they (perhaps abetted by some of Gould's and Eldredge's scientific opponents) confused it with Richard Goldschmidt's "hopeful monsters" ideas, even though they note:

The paleontologists who have been in the forefront of the new theory don't necessarily believe in hopeful monsters. When they say that new species evolved rapidly, they are speaking in geologic terms. A single generation or 50,000 years is all the same to them. Either would be too short an interval for the intermediate organisms to appear in the fossil record.

In short, the article is nothing more than a report on the early arguments about Punctuated Equilibria. And the quote mine is just a snippet of the magazine writers' (not very clear) description of Gould and Eldredge's position, not a quote from any scientist.

In any case, the quote miners strangely fail to include the following:

While the scientists have been refining the theory of evolution in the past decade, some nonscientists have been spreading anew the gospel of creationism -- and the coincidence has confused many laymen . . . Having opposed Darwin for 120 years, fundamentalists tend to seize on any criticism of his theories as vindication . . . But the new theories are intended to explain how evolution came about -- not to supplant it as a principle. Says Harvard's Stephen Jay Gould, . . . "Evolution is a fact, like apples falling out of trees."

The irony of the miner's use of this article in the face of the above is obvious and demonstrates more about the miners' honesty than it does anything about evolution.

- J. (catshark) Pieret

Quote #3.6

[The appearance of an evolutionary pattern in the fossil record is due to circular reasoning]

"Paleontologists cannot operate this way. There is simply no way simply to look at a fossil and say how old it is unless you know the age of the rocks it comes from. And this poses something of a problem: if we date the rocks by their fossils, how can we then turn around and talk about the patterns of evolutionary time in the fossil record?" - Niles Eldredge in Time Frames: The Rethinking of Darwinian Evolution and the Theory of Punctuated Equilibria, pp. 51, 52, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1985)

Representative quote miners: Institute for Creation Research: The Vanishing Case for Evolution, Tucson Spiritual Quest: Geologic Column, and Watchman Magazine: Interpreting the Geologic Column

For an explanation of this quote mine, see Quotations and Misquotations by Michael Hopkins.

Quote #3.7

[Scientists admit a lack of transitionals in the human 'family tree', so humans are specially created]

What has become of our ladder if there are three coexisting lineages of hominids (A. africanus, the robust australopithecines, and H. habilis), none clearly derived from another? Moreover, none of the three display any evolutionary trends during their tenure on earth" - (S. J. Gould, Natural History, Vol 85, 1976, p. 30)

Representative quote miners: Women Central: Science Articles: The Scientific Collapse of Darwinism part 2, Harun Yahya: Darwinism Refuted: The Collapse of the Family Tree, and Evolution Cruncher: Evolution Encyclopedia Vol. 2: Ancient Man

[Editor's note: This is actually a misquote, though it does not change the meaning much. In the first sentence, the quote miner's "there are..." was "we must recognize..." in the original.]

[Editor's note: A more accessible citation is: Gould, Stephen Jay 1977. "Bushes and Ladders in Human Evolution" in Ever Since Darwin. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, pp. 56-62.]

Could it possibly come as a surprise to anyone who bothers to read Gould, instead of just quote mining him, that this quote involves Punctuated Equilibria? In particular, he is discussing one implication as to what we should expect to see in the fossil record if the theory is correct:

I want to argue that the "sudden" appearance of species in the fossil record and our failure to note subsequent evolutionary change within them is the proper prediction of evolutionary theory as we understand it. Evolution usually proceeds by speciation -- the splitting of one lineage from a parental stock -- not by the slow and steady transformation of these large parental stocks. Repeated episodes of speciation produce a bush. Evolutionary "sequences" are not rungs on a ladder, but our retrospective reconstruction of a circuitous path running like a labyrinth, branch to branch, from the base of the bush to a lineage now surviving at its top. (p. 61)

So the context of the quote is what Gould calls " . . . a fundamental, but little appreciated, issue in evolutionary theory -- the conflict between 'ladders' and 'bushes' as metaphors for evolutionary change." Well, what does having three species of hominids living at the same time mean to the "ladder" metaphor? Let's let Gould explain it (while, at the same time, exposing the basic dishonesty of the quote miners, since this passage follows directly after the mined quote and just before the explanation quoted above):

At this point, I confess, I cringe, knowing full well what all the creationists who deluge me with letters must be thinking. "So Gould admits that we can trace no evolutionary ladder among early African hominids; species appear and later disappear, looking no different from their great-grandfathers. Sounds like special creation to me." (Although one might ask why the Lord saw fit to make so many kinds of hominids, and why some of his later productions, H. erectus in particular, look so much more human than the earlier models.) I suggest that the fault is not with evolution itself, but with a false picture of its operation that most of us hold -- namely the ladder . . . (pp. 60-61)

Thus, instead of "admitting" that there are no transitional fossils between humans and "apes," Gould is pointing out that there are a lot of them, more than we can fit into a simple "ladder" progressing in a straight line from pre-humans to ourselves. Humans are the one surviving twig on what was once a more vigorous hominid bush.

Once again, no one is disputing the right of creationists to disagree with Gould's interpretation of this or any other evidence (certainly enough scientists do). What we are opposed to is the deliberate and premeditated distortion of what Gould and other scientists meant by the words being quoted.

- John (catshark) Pieret

Gould is making two arguments, one about Punctuated Equilibria ("sudden" appearance followed by stasis), and the other, more central argument (in this article) about the expected "topography" of evolutionary lineages. He notes that evolution generally proceeds by cladogenesis (splitting of a lineage into two or more descendent lineages) rather than anagenesis (morphological change within a single lineage, without splitting). He is critiquing a "Great Chain of Being"- inspired notion of a single line of "progress" from simple to complex. The notion (which is common among even some anthropologists) is that "simple" and "primitive" creatures must be directly ancestral to "complex" creatures. In such a misunderstanding, the topography of evolutionary lineages would contain no "side-branches", but instead would be a straight line.

Such a ladder model is predicated (in its more subtle versions) on the assumption of an extreme form of competitive exclusion that implies that only one species of hominid could exist at a time, since all hominid species would compete for the same resources in the same territories. Gould notes that multiple species of hominids did indeed coexist (e.g. the "robust" lineage of Australopithecus and the "gracile", and later A. robustus and H. erectus, and H. sapiens and H. neanderthalensis, etc.) so one could not reasonably have been directly ancestral to the other. Several species were contemporaries, so at least one, and probably more than one, are "side branches" that are not on the line of ancestors and descendants that lead to us.

The creationists certainly hope that by ripping the line out of context, they can emphasise the phrases "none clearly derived from another" and ", none of the three display any evolutionary trends". It's almost comical that Gould 1) knew the creationists would try to distort his meaning, 2) called them on it ahead of time, 3) offered a pretty accurate prediction of the arguments that the creationists would make, and then 4) went on to explain why that argument was wrong. And yet the creationists went ahead and made the argument anyway, snipping away the context wherein Gould answered their question. I challenge a single creationist to try to rationalise this behaviour for this particular quote. How is this anything other than knowingly and deliberately lying by omission?

- Floyd

Quote #3.8

[Common origin of humans and apes is speculation not supported by fossil record]

The oldest human fossils are less than 4 million years old, and we do not know which branch on the copious bush of apes budded off the twig that led to our lineage. (In fact, except for the link of Asian Sivapithecus to the modern orangutan, we cannot trace any fossil ape to any living species. Paleontologists have abandoned the once popular notion that Ramapithecus might be a source of human ancestry.) Thus, sediments between 4 and 10 million years in age are potential guardians of the Holy Grail of human evolution -- the period when our lineage began its separate end run to later domination, and a time for which no fossil evidence exists at all." - (Gould, Stephen Jay, "Empire of the Apes," Natural History, vol. 96 (May 1987), pp. 20-25. )

Representative quote miners: IntelligentDesign.Org: Origin of Man (quotes), Quotes, and Darwin Is Dead: Human Evolution: Reality Check

[Editor's note: This article can be found in Gould, Stephen Jay, 1993. Eight Little Piggies. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. under the title "Declining Empire of the Apes" p. 284-95, with the quote appearing on p. 290.]

The main aim of Gould's article is to discuss the concept of asymptotic curves of recovery. An asymptote is a statistical concept wherein two measurements are compared to each other. As one measurement (in this case, duration of investigation) gradually approaches infinity, the other measurement (in this case, number of fossils of a given taxon found each season) declines.

People who are not paleoanthropologists will still understand the concept. Any continuous measurement can produce a "normal" Gaussian curve. Height offers a good, familiar example. We know that there is a minimum height, zero inches/centimeters, whatever, but an upper boundary of maximum height is less obvious. There is obviously a "tallest man alive" but there is no clear limit to a "tallest man possible". It could be that the tallest man ever to live is still slightly shorter than the tallest man who could potentially live. Thus on a normal curve that measures the height of all people who have ever lived, some people will approach, but not quite reach the "tallest possible" limit. Some other people will be close to the "shortest possible" limit. Most people will be somewhere in between, neither tallest, nor shortest.

Those who are closest to the limits (height equals zero and height equals infinity) will be shorter/taller than the absolute theoretical possibilities (infinity and none at all, respectively) but a little bit of "slightly more" or "slightly less" will always be available for the record to be broken.

Thinking about such curves of distribution that always approach, but never quite reach the absolute limits is what inspired Gould in this article. Gould very explicitly states in the paragraph that follows the quote:

Richard Leakey almost surely has many square miles of good sediment from this crucial time in his field area in West Turkana. But he is not yet searching these beds. He is concentrating his efforts on older rocks of the early Miocene (15 to 20 million years ago) when the bush of apes had its great initial flowering in Africa. He is working before the time of maximal intrigue for several reasons. In part, he may be saving the best for later, perfecting his techniques and "feel" for the region before zeroing in on the potential prize. He also has the fine intuition and horse sense of any good historian -- it may be best to begin at the beginning and work forward. But most importantly, he has a professional's understanding that problems of maximal public acclaim are not always the issues of greatest scientific importance."

In other words, Gould suspects, as Leakey does (and as I do), that the details that will connect the living hominids (humans) to our closest living relatives may be found in the geological strata that he had not yet excavated (Note: excavations of those strata proved him right, as can be seen at "Hominid Species: Kenyanthropus platyops", which is an obvious example of yet another prediction about something that might happen in the future made by an evolutionary theorist that was eventually confirmed, and another blow to those who claim that evolutionary theory can not and does not make predictions).

Gould's main point in this article was that the closer we get to "complete" knowledge, the fewer pieces of evidence we find. In other words, evidence recovery forms an asymptotic curve when plotted against time. The implication is that the closer we get to complete knowledge about any subject, the fewer and farther between new discoveries should be. Since new discoveries in paleoanthropology are occurring at a very rapid pace, and since we know where we can look for more with a good probability of finding them, Gould was arguing that paleoanthropology has not yet achieved anywhere close to complete knowledge.

In short, in the quote above, Gould was noting that there is much still to learn, (so those creationists such as Behe who assume we know enough to make universal statements are wrong,) but that we know a little bit about some likely fruitful areas for future research (so those creationists who claim that evolutionary theory doesn't make predictions are also wrong). We have a good understanding of what we know, a bit of insight into how much we don't yet know, and a good idea about where to look to answer some of the questions that we still have.

- Floyd

[Editor's note: One item of interest about this article is that Gould starts off by reciting (and refuting) the commonly heard nonsensical (but, as Gould points out, instructive) question: "If evolution is true, and we did come from apes, then why are there still apes living?"]

Quote #3.9

[Evidence that humans evolved from apes is scanty, contradictory and open to other interpretations]

[m]ost hominid fossils, even though they serve as a basis for endless speculation and elaborate storytelling, are fragments of jaws and scraps of skulls." - (Gould, S. J., "The Panda's Thumb", 1980, p.126)

Representative quote miners: Access Research Network: "Icons Still Standing" Jonathan Wells Comes Up Clean Despite Harsh Criticism and Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness (IDEA) Center: Human Origins and Intelligent Design

Yes, most hominid fossils are fragmentary. Indeed most specimens of almost any kind of fossil will be fragmentary. In the previous sentence Dr. Gould mentioned the 40% complete Lucy which is not a mere fragments, but rather a skeleton. Furthermore in the quarter century since Gould wrote these words, more skeletons have been found: the 90% complete Nariokotome Boy (or Turkana Boy) specimen was found in 1984. A very complete australopithecine dubbed "Little Foot" is expected to be removed from a South African cave by late 2005. One could bring up many other fossils. See Jim Foley's "Fossil Hominids: The Evidence for Human Evolution" to see some of them. Or, better yet, find a copy of Donald Johanson's and Blake Edgar's From Lucy to Language (1996. New York : Simon & Schuster) which has many excellent photos.

- Mike Hopkins

[Editor's note: See: "Response to Casey Luskin" by Nic Tamzek et al. for more on this and related quote mines.]

This article is largely a discussion of the historical primacy of bipedality (two-legged walking, which occurred between 5 and 7 million years ago) over encephalisation (large brains, which developed around two million years ago), but Gould introduces his ideas by discussing a then current debate between the Leakeys and Johanson. Mary Leakey had found what were then the oldest known hominid fossils, a collection of teeth and jaws that dated between 3.35 and 3.75 million years ago. Largely on the basis of some of the details of the teeth, she classified these specimens as members of our own genus, Homo. Shortly thereafter, Donald Johanson and Tim White announced the discovery of a number of roughly contemporaneous fossils (2.9-3.3 million years old) that they named Australopithecus afarensis, after the Afar region of Ethiopia, where they were found. The most famous of Johanson and White's specimens is the skeleton AL-288-1, nicknamed "Lucy". Her fame is based not on her age (older material had already been recovered), but on her completeness. About 40% of her skeleton was recovered, and since mammals are bilaterally symmetrical (the left side is a mirror image of the right side), we know much more than 40 percent of her anatomy.

Johanson and White believed that "Lucy" and the other A. afarensis individuals that they had found in Ethiopia were members of the same species as Leakey's Laetoli (Tanzania) specimens. On the basis of the more complete anatomical knowledge offered by the Ethiopian discoveries, Johanson felt that the species (including both the Laetoli and the Afar material) should be classified as a member of the genus Australopithecus, rather than the genus Homo, as Leakey had suggested. Leakey apparently agreed with, or a least did not reject the idea that the material could all be grouped in a single species, but on the basis of the teeth, which were very human like, felt that the species should be assigned to the genus Homo. Johanson and White agree that the teeth of the specimens are human like, but other details recovered in Afar, details that were not available to Leakey in her Laetoli material, suggested a more "ape-like" form, and thus Australopithecus was a more appropriate name for the material. In other words, in Gould's article, the actual "debate" concerned the best interpretation of the material, and not the details of the material itself.

With that context in mind, the quote is drawn from the following paragraph:

Johanson worked in the Afar region of Ethiopia from 1972 to 1977 and unearthed an outstanding series of hominid remains. The Afar specimens are 2.9 to 3.3 million years old. Premier among them is the skeleton of an australopithicine [sic] named Lucy. She is nearly 40 percent complete -- much more than we have ever possessed for any individual from these early days of our history. (Most hominid fossils, even though they serve as a basis for endless speculation and elaborate storytelling, are fragments of jaws and scraps of skulls.)

In other words, the import of the quote, in context, was to highlight the remarkable completeness of the "Lucy" skeleton, which served as the basis of Johanson and White's preference for naming the material "Australopithecus" rather than "Homo".

Creationists may correctly note that fossil evidence of these very early hominids is largely in the form of fragments, and few complete or nearly complete articulated skeletons are available. However, this quote, in context, was written to emphasise one of the most well-known exceptions to this general rule, the "Lucy" skeleton.

- Floyd

Quote #3.10

[Humans existed before, and are unrelated to, "Lucy"]

...'mitochondral (sic) Eve' hypothesis of modern human origins in Africa, suffered a blow in 1993, when the discovery of an important technical fallacy in the computer program used to generate and assess evolutionary trees debunked the supposed evidence for an African source ... disproving the original claim." - Stephen J. Gould, Natural History, 2/94, p.21

Representative quote miners: The Interactive Bible: Fossil Man: Evolutionist-Converter Quotes, Creation Apologetics: Quotes From Scientists on Evolution [1], and Northside Church of Christ: Creation Versus Evolution: Fossil Man: No Evidence for Evolution

[Editor's note: A more accessible cite is: Gould, Stephen Jay, "In the Mind of the Beholder" in Dinosaur in a Haystack (1995. New York: Harmony Books) p. 101-02.]

This is a very clear case of thoughtless copying of quote mines by creationists, as the same misspelling of "mitochondrial" is repeated and the quote is led off with the same phrase (with the same capitalization) "Eve KICKED OUT, STEPHEN J. GOULD" in all examples found.

In any case, it is a rather strange quote mine, since it seems to be taking sides in an ongoing scientific debate over the precise origin of H. sapiens between those who argue for the "multiregionalist model" versus the adherents of the "out-of-Africa model," rather than attacking evolutionary theory itself. However, it usually appears under a heading, "Man Even 'Before' Lucy", and may be intended to suggest that the famous "Lucy" specimen of Australopithecus afarensis is not related to humans, since it was found in Africa.

On the other hand, it has been suggested that this quote mine may be simply intended to attack the out-of-Africa model because young-Earth creationists prefer an origin of humans in the Tigris-Euphrates area of Iraq based on their reading of where the Garden of Eden was located according to the Bible. Or it may be intended to disparage the methodology of science in general by playing up an error in interpreting DNA evidence.

If the motive is to cast doubt on the possibility that Australopithecus afarensis is a human ancestor, the quote miners are obviously misunderstanding the point of the scientific dispute, probably out of ignorance of the fossil evidence. As Gould says:

Everyone agrees that our immediately ancestral species, Homo erectus, moved out of Africa into Europe and Asia more than a million years ago (where they became "Java Man" and "Peking Man" of the old textbooks). Multiregionalists argue that Homo sapiens evolved simultaneously from Homo erectus populations on all three continents . . . [while] the "out of Africa" [proponents] argue that Homo sapiens arose in one place as a small population, and then spread throughout the world . . . [and] European and Asian Homo erectus, and the later European Neanderthals as well, played little or no role in our origin, but were replaced by later invaders in a second and much later wave of human migration.

Australopithecus afarensis existed between 3.9 and 3.0 million years ago, while Homo erectus lived between 1.8 million and 300,000 years ago. (See, for example, Jim Foley's FAQ "Hominid Species".) In short, the argument between the multiregionalists and out-of-Africa adherents has to do with events long after Lucy lived and died and certainly does not lend support to "Man" existing before Australopithecus afarensis. As Gould notes, both sides agree that human ancestors arose in Africa and only disagree where, when and exactly what population of our immediate ancestors became H. sapiens. While it is difficult or impossible to ever know for sure whether Australopithecus afarensis is a direct ancestor of H. sapiens, the multiregional / out-of-Africa debate never was intended to shed any light on that issue and has no logical or scientific relationship to it.

Given this, there is no need to go into a long explanation of Gould's article. Suffice it to say that Gould was discussing the impact of Punctuated Equilibria on certain issues and his bemusement at the surprise expressed in the popular press about certain results in science. One case he discusses is this ongoing debate between the multiregionalist model and the "out of Africa model. As he describes his bemusement:

. . . I am intrigued by journalists' representation of this debate - particularly in their attribution of surprise to one side and expectation to the other . . . Newspapers and science magazines invariably present multiregionalism as the orthodox or expected view, and out-of-Africa (or any other single place) as the surprising new kid on the block.

This is, according to Gould, a misconception that arises because:

We do not wish to view our global triumph as so fortuitously dependent upon the contingent history of a small African population; we would rather conceive our exalted intellect as so generally advantageous that all populations, in all places, must move, in adaptive unison, toward the same desired goal.

It is in this context that he drops in an aside, a complete paragraph in parentheses:

(The most famous version of the "Noah's ark" theory [2], the poorly named "mitochondrial Eve" hypothesis of modern human origins in Africa, suffered a blow in 1993, when discovery of an important technical fallacy in the computer program used to generate and assess evolutionary trees debunked the supposed evidence for an African source. But in so disproving the original claim, correction only dictated agnosticism, not a contrary conclusion -- that is, the new trees are consistent with origin in a single place, but Africa cannot be affirmed as the clearly preferred spot, though Africa remains as plausible as any other place by this criterion. Other independent sources of evidence, especially the greater genetic diversity measured among African peoples, continue, in my view, to favor an African origin -- see Stoneking [3], in the bibliography, for a thorough and fair review.)

The quote mine almost turns Gould's meaning on its head, making it seem that he is announcing the demise of the entire out-of-Africa model, when, in fact, the new interpretation of the data leaves human origin in Africa a distinct possibility. It also completely ignores Gould's mention of other evidence for out-of-Africa that he feels makes it more likely correct than not.

The highly selective nature of the quote mine makes it all but impossible to believe that the original miner did this out of mere ignorance or misunderstanding of Gould's point. Therefore, this is instructive of at least some creationist's attitudes toward honesty and the right of everyone not to have what they say misrepresented. The rest of the users either checked the source, and therefore are just as guilty as the person they copied it off of, or they are merely too intellectually lazy and irresponsible to be bothered.

- John (catshark) Pieret

[1] This site states that its list of quotes is "Compiled by: Sean D. Pitman M.D.". Dr. Pitman, a regular poster at the usenet group, informs us that he is not associated with that site nor has he ever been contacted by those who maintain it for permission to use his name. - Ed.

[2] Gould notes that the "out-of-Africa" model is sometimes called the "Noah's ark" theory (because it proposes "that H. sapiens arose in one place as a small population, and then spread throughout the world", at p. 101).

[3] Stoneking, Mark 1993. DNA and recent human evolution. Evolutionary Anthropology 2: 60-73.

Quote #3.11

[Even evolutionists doubt fossil record shows transformation of one organism into another]

The known fossil record fails to document a single example of phyletic evolution accomplishing a major morphologic transition. - Steven M. Stanley (Macroevolution: Pattern and Process, 1979 p. 39)

Representative quote miners: Missouri Association for Creation: What Do the Fossils Say?, Institute for Creation Research: The Vanishing Case for Evolution, and Bible Believers: The Case for Evolution Has NOT Been Proved!

The quote comes from the start of Chapter 3 (see Point 5):

Some distinctive living species clearly originated in the very recent past, during brief instants of geologic time. Thus, quantum speciation is a real phenomenon. Chapters 4 through 6 provide evidence for the great importance of quantum speciation in macroevolution (for the validity of the punctuated model). Less conclusive evidence is as follows: (1) Very weak gene flow among populations of a species (a common phenomenon) argues against gradualism, because without efficient gene flow, phyletic evolution is stymied. (2) Many levels of spatial heterogeneity normally characterize populations in nature, and at some level, the conflict between gene flow between subpopulations and selection pressure within subpopulations should oppose evolutionary divergence of large segments of the gene pool; only small populations are likely to diverge rapidly. (3) Geographic clines, which seem to preserve in modern space changes that occurred in evolutionary time, can be viewed as supporting the punctuational model, because continuous clines that record gradual evolution within large populations represent gentle morphologic trends, while stepped clines seem to record rapid divergence of small populations. (4) Net morphologic changes along major phylogenetic pathways generally represent such miniscule [sp] mean selection coefficients that nonepisodic modes of transition are unlikely. Quantum speciation or stepwise evolution within lineages is implied. (5) The known fossil record fails to document a single example of phyletic evolution accomplishing a major morphologic transition and hence offers no evidence that the gradualistic model can be valid.

The quoted text is part of a list that Stanley believes supports "quantum speciation". And what is "quantum speciation"?

For the present, we can define quantum speciation simply as speciation in which most evolution is concentrated within an initial interval of time that is very brief with respect to the total longevity of the new lineage that is produced. Implicit in this concept is the idea that during the rapid, early phase of evolution, the seminal population has not yet expanded from its small, initial population size. [bold in original] [pg. 26]

And since, as we see on page 39, Stanley writes that "quantum speciation is a real phenomenon", there should be no doubt that he believes that evolution has occurred. However, he doesn't believe that evolution happens by changing an ancestral species into descendant species, but rather by descendants branching off from ancestors, as we can see on page 211:

Major trends in evolution are the result, not of phyletic transition, but of divergent speciation. Most are phylogenetic trends: net changes produced by multiple speciation events.

He comes to this conclusion by examining the fossil record. But the mined quote would have the reader believe that the fossil record doesn't support evolution, where as Stanley believes that it does.

- Jon (Augray) Barber

[Editor's note: In a blurb on the back cover of the paperback edition of Macroevolution: Pattern and Process (1998. Johns Hopkins University Press; Reprint edition), Douglas J. Futuyama notes that Stanley's book "addresses from a paleobiologist's perspective, the question of whether punctuated equilibria or gradualism offers the best account of the history of life."]

Quote #3.12

[Progressive evolutionary change is not observed in the fossil record]

We can tell tales of improvement for some groups, but in honest moments we must admit that the history of complex life is more a story of multifarious variation about a set of basic designs than a saga of accumulating excellence. ... I regard the failure to find a clear 'vector of progress' in life's history as the most puzzling fact of the fossil record. ... we have sought to impose a pattern that we hoped to find on a world that does not really display it.", Natural His., 2/82, p.22

Representative quote miners: The Interactive Bible: Professor Knockout Quotes!, Institute for Creation Research: The Vanishing Case for Evolution, and Answers in Genesis: The Links Are Missing

This article can be found in The Flamingo's Smile, 1985 (New York: W.W. Norton & Co.) under the title "Death and Transfiguration", pp. 230-44.

[Editor's note: the very last line of the above quote appears in The Flamingo's Smile as "we have sought to impose a pattern that we hoped to find on a world that does not really acquiesce" but that may have been a change by Gould during the editing of the book, just as the title of the article was changed.]

First of all, let's note an obvious bit of dishonesty. This quote is used by creationists in a number of forms, from the relatively expansive example above to a single sentence: "I regard the failure to find a clear 'vector of progress' in life's history as the most puzzling fact of the fossil record." However, they all omit the very next sentence: "But I also believe that we are now on the verge of a solution, thanks to a better understanding of evolution in both normal and catastrophic times." No reasonable person can doubt that this omission was intentional.

Having hijacked Gould's name for the proposition that there is some mystery in the fossil record that contradicts evolutionary theory, the quote miners deliberately omit the fact that Gould sees a possible solution. This is chicanery under the most charitable interpretation. Of course, if they have an argument to counter Gould's position and wish to make a case that this "puzzle" is both real and a problem for evolutionary theory, then they are free to present it so that the reader can judge between them. That would be an honorable intellectual exercise. To simply mangle Gould's intent with omissions and ellipses demonstrates that honorable intellectual discourse is the farthest thing from the quote miner's mind.

So, what was Gould really discussing? It should not come as any surprise that his subject was Punctuated Equilibria and, in particular, the possible interplay between it and mass extinctions. These great extinctions have been known from the very beginning of geology as a science and they serve as the markers of the major divisions in the geological column. Gould begins by giving his opinion that paleontologists have tended to mitigate the effects of the mass extinctions, due to their preference (at least before Punctuated Equilibria was formulated) for gradual and continuous change. According to Gould, they tended to depict these events as merely larger and more abrupt examples of the everyday forces leading to extinction of individual species. In doing so, continuity across the mass extinction boundaries was emphasized and all signs of pre-extinction decline were touted as evidence that the peaks were neither high enough nor abrupt enough to support an inference of a catastrophic change.

In a fairly complex discussion of then-new data and interpretations, completely ignored by the quote miners, he argues that these traditional viewpoints are wrong. Relevant to the quote mine, he points to findings about "species-rich clades", evolutionary branches containing many species, versus those of "species-poor clades" that never contained many species. Species-rich clades tend to increase their numbers during normal times, winning increasing numerical advantage over species-poor clades. He asks: "[W]hy, then, don't species-rich clades take over the biosphere entirely?" He suggests that the answer may lie in data indicating that species-poor clades do better in mass extinctions because "The individual species in species-poor clades have wider geographic ranges and broader ecological tolerances than the narrow-nitched taxa of species-rich clades." In short, individual species that have remained "generalists", not adapted to some narrow means of making a living in a limited geographical area, have a better chance of surviving a radical change in the environment.

With that as the context, here is the passage that most of the quote mine comes from (pp. 240-41):

This contrary behavior of species-rich clades in normal and catastrophic times preserves a balance that permits both species-rich and species-poor clades to flourish throughout life's history. More important in our context, this distinction emphasizes the qualitative difference between normal times and catastrophic zaps. Mass extinctions are not simply more of the same. They affect various elements of the biosphere in a distinctive manner, quite different from the patterns of normal times.

As we survey the history of life since the inception of multicellular complexity in Ediacaran times (see essay 16 ["Reducing Riddles"]), one feature stands out as most puzzling -- the lack of clear order and progress through time among marine invertebrate faunas. We can tell tales of improvement for some groups, but in honest moments we must admit that the history of complex life is more a story of multifarious variation about a set of basic designs than a saga of accumulating excellence. The eyes of early trilobites, for example, have never been exceeded for complexity or acuity by later arthropods. Why do we not find this expected order?

Perhaps the expectation itself is faulty, a product of pervasive, progressivist bias in Western thought and never a prediction of evolutionary theory. Yet, if natural selection rules the world of life, we should detect some fitful accumulation of better and more complex design through time -- amidst all the fluctuations and backings and forthings that must characterize a process primarily devoted to constructing a better fit between organisms and changing local environments. Darwin certainly anticipated such progress when he wrote:

The inhabitants of each successive period in the world's history have beaten their predecessors in the race for life, and are, insofar, higher in the scale of nature; and this may account for that vague yet ill-defined sentiment, felt by many paleontologists, that organization on the whole has progressed.

I regard the failure to find a clear "vector of progress" in life's history as the most puzzling fact of the fossil record. But I also believe that we are now on the verge of a solution, thanks to a better understanding of evolution in both normal and catastrophic times.

What then is Gould's solution? That follows directly on the above:

I have devoted the last ten years of my professional life in paleontology to constructing an unorthodox theory for explaining the lack of expected patterns during normal times -- the theory of punctuated equilibrium. Niles Eldredge and I, the perpetrators of this particularly uneuphonious name, argue that the pattern of normal times is not a tale of continuous adaptive improvement within lineages. Rather, species form rapidly in geological perspective (thousands of years) and tend to remain highly stable for millions of years thereafter. Evolutionary success must be assessed among species themselves, not at the traditional Darwinian level of struggling organisms within populations. The reasons that species succeed are many and varied -- high rates of speciation and strong resistance to extinction, for example -- and often involve no reference to traditional expectations for improvement in morphological design. If punctuated equilibrium dominates the pattern of normal times, then we have come a long way toward understanding the curiously fluctuating directions of life's history. Until recently, I suspected that punctuated equilibrium might resolve the dilemma of progress all by itself.

I now realize that the fluctuating pattern must be constructed by a complex and fascinating interaction of two distinct tiers of explanation -- punctuated equilibrium for normal times, and the different effects produced by separate processes of mass extinction. Whatever accumulates by punctuated equilibrium (or by other processes) in normal times can be broken up, dismantled, reset, and dispersed by mass extinction. If punctuated equilibrium upset traditional expectations (and did it ever!), mass extinction is far worse. Organisms cannot track or anticipate the environmental triggers of mass extinction. No matter how well they adapt to environmental ranges of normal times, they must take their chances in catastrophic moments. And if extinctions can demolish more than 90 percent of all species, then we must be losing groups forever by pure bad luck among a few clinging survivors designed for another world.

Then comes the last bit of the quote mine and the conclusion of the article (p. 242-43):

Heretofore, we have thrown up our hands in frustration at the lack of expected pattern in life's history -- or we have sought to impose a pattern that we hoped to find on a world that does not really acquiesce. Perhaps now we can navigate between a Scylla of despair and a Charybdis of comforting unreality. If we can develop a general theory of mass extinction, we may finally understand why life has thwarted our expectations -- and we may even extract an unexpected kind of pattern from apparent chaos. The fast track of an extraordinary meeting in Indianapolis may be pointing the way.

Note again that the quote miners have separated this snippet from Gould's proposition of a possible solution in what can only be a deliberate attempt to sow confusion as to his opinion of how serious a problem this is for evolutionary theory.

This article appears to be the beginnings of Gould's argument, laid out in full in Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History, 1990 (New York: W. W. Norton & Company), as to the contingent nature of evolution and how, if we were somehow able to "replay the tape" of life on Earth since its beginning, we could not expect anything like what we see today to result. That issue is beyond the scope of the Quote Mine Project but I strongly recommend Wonderful Life to those interested in the question, if for no other reason than it is a good read. For a discussion of the subsequent debate over this idea of Gould's, see Chapter 12 of Sex and Death : An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology by Kim Sterelny and Paul E. Griffiths, 1999 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press).

- John (catshark) Pieret

Quote #3.13

[If evolution is true, species should gradually appear in the fossil record with millions of transitional forms]

No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long. It never seems to happen. Assiduous collecting up cliff faces yields zigzags, minor oscillations, and the very occasional slight accumulation of change -- over millions of years, at a rate too slow to account for all the prodigious change that has occurred in evolutionary history. When we do see the introduction of evolutionary novelty it usually shows up with a bang, and often with no firm evidence that the fossils did not evolve elsewhere! Evolution cannot forever be going on somewhere else. Yet that's how the fossil record has struck many a forlorn paleontologist looking to learn something about evolution. - Niles Eldredge, Reinventing Darwin: The Great Debate at the High Table of Evolutionary Theory (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1995), p. 95

Representative quote miners: Understand The Times: Evolutionary Leap Frog, Coalition of Christians for Biblical Creation: Two Models of Origins, and Genesis Park: Abrupt Appearance in the Fossil Record

This quote mine was made popular in creationist circles, I suspect, by Phillip Johnson in his Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997, at pp. 60-61). A related bit of quote mining by Johnson has already been addressed in "Another Dishonest Creationist Quote".

In a section of Chapter 4 of Defeating Darwinism with the subcaption "Critical Thinking in Evolutionary Biology", Johnson introduces the quote with the following:

I am not as impressed by such examples ["the venerable bird/reptile Archaeopteryx, the "whale with feet" called Ambulocetus, the therapsids that supposedly link reptiles to mammals, and especially the hominids or apemen, like the famous Lucy"] as Darwinists think I should be, because I know that the fossil record overall is extremely disappointing to Darwinian expectations. ... What is even more interesting is that the evidence for Darwinian macroevolutionary transformations is most conspicuously absent just where the fossil evidence is most plentiful -- among marine invertebrates. (These animals are plentiful as fossils because they are so frequently covered in sediment upon death, whereas land animals are exposed to scavengers and to the elements.) If the theory were true, and if the correct explanation for the difficulty in finding ancestors were the incompleteness of the fossil record, then the evidence for macroevolutionary transitions would be most plentiful where the record is most complete.

Here is how Niles Eldredge, one of the world's leading experts on invertebrate fossils, describes the actual situation . . . (p. 60)

By now it hardly needs to be said that Eldredge was discussing Punctuated Equilibria in the quote. The quote appears in a chapter entitled "Evolution in Real Time", subheaded "Punctuated Equilibria and the Eternal Species Wrangle", that begins:

No idea has excited more interest, sparked more debate, been more widely cited, and been more profoundly misunderstood in the post-1959 annals of evolutionary biology than the notion of "punctuated equilibria" that I published with Stephen Jay Gould in 1972.

As to the quote itself, after discussing the "gappiness" of the fossil record that has long been the traditional explanation for the appearance of stasis (but is no less real for that), Eldredge continues:

I simply thought that the time had come to take the fossil record -- the patterns of stability and change -- a bit more literally than had traditionally been the case. George Simpson had begun the process when he insisted that gaps do not explain away the abrupt appearances of large-scale taxa -- meaning, large-scale events of evolutionary change. Simpson was perfectly content to blame the absence of examples of gradual change within and between species on gaps in the record, but found (to his everlasting credit) that the argument could not be stretched to encompass large-scale evolutionary change, such as the derivation of whales or bats from terrestrial mammalian precursors.

I simply extended Simpson's argument to the level of the species. ... The persistent pattern of nonchange within samples, coupled with the abrupt appearance of new species -- organisms marked with anatomical innovations -- had to be telling us something about the way the evolutionary process works. After all, stasis was telling us that the old Darwinian picture couldn't really be entirely right.

But I needed something more than pattern. I needed to explain why evolution leaves an entirely different sort of pattern in the rock record than Darwin and his long string of successors, including many paleontologists -- had supposed. And I found a very ready source of explanation staring me right in the face. I found it in Dobzhansky's and Mayr's work on species and the nature of the speciation process, specifically the derivation of descendant species from ancestral species through geographic isolation. Thus developed the combination of pattern and process that Steve Gould and I called "punctuated equilibria" . . . Speciation, the fragmentation of an ancestral species into two or more descendants, is a component of the evolutionary process. It takes speciation, it seems, to break the stranglehold of stasis, providing the context for lasting evolutionary change. Punctuated equilibria is simply the notion of speciation applied as the explanation for evolutionary change interrupting vastly longer periods of monotonous stasis. It should have been noncontroversial. It wasn't. (pp. 96-97)

And yet, there is not a single mention of Punctuated Equilibria in the section of Defeating Darwinism containing the Eldredge quote. Could it be that Johnson himself is not aware of Punctuated Equilibria or what Eldredge was talking about? Hardly. Johnson himself gave a pretty good explanation of the concept at least four years earlier in Darwin on Trial (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2d ed., 1993):

[S]peciation (the formation of new species) occurs rapidly [2], and in small groups which are isolated on the periphery of the geological area occupied by the ancestral species. Selective pressures might be particularly intense in an area where members of the species are just barely able to survive, and favorable variations could spread relatively quickly through a small, isolated population. By this means a new species might arise in the peripheral area without leaving fossil evidence. Because fossils are mostly derived from large, central populations, a new species would appear suddenly in the fossil record following its migration into the central area of the ancestral range.

[2] Terms like "rapidly" in this connection refer to geological time, and readers should bear in mind that 100,000 years is a brief period to a geologist. ... (p. 52)

So why did Johnson skip an explanation of what Eldredge was discussing when using the quote in Defeating Darwinism? Perhaps the explanation lies in Johnson's own description of his aims in this book:

[T]here was one book I needed to write very soon. I had taken on the scientific evidence for Darwinian evolution in Darwin on Trial in 1991, and I had gone into the philosophical, moral and educational consequences of Darwinism in Reason in the Balance in 1995. Both books were successful and helped to open up a renewed public debate about whether Darwinism is really true. Both went into considerable detail about scientific and intellectual subjects, however, and a lot of readers who needed to know the basic message found them heavy going.

There was clearly a need for a short book aimed at a different audience, one not quite so familiar with university-level subjects. In particular, I wanted to write for late teens -- high-school juniors and seniors and beginning college undergraduates, along with the parents and teachers of such young people.

These young people need to take advantage of the wonderful educational opportunities our society offers, but they also need to protect themselves against the indoctrination in naturalism that so often accompanies education. Textbooks and other educational materials today take evolutionary naturalism for granted, and thus assume the wrong answer to the most important question we face: Is there a God who created us and cares about what we do? Young people need to be prepared for the indoctrination, and for that they need to know some things that the public schools aren't allowed to teach them. That's the main job of this book, and everybody I've talked to seems to agree that it's a job that needs to be done. (Defeating Darwinism, p. 9-10)

In other words, Johnson is giving a "stripped down" account of his case (or should we say "counter-indoctrination"?) for those too unsophisticated, in his opinion, to understand the scientific evidence. To be fair, as Terry Pratchett has famously quipped, all education is organized lying to children. The necessity for gearing education to the level of understanding of the student regularly requires that subjects be "dumbed down".

Still, the question remains: what level is appropriate for Johnson's target audience? Eldredge says of the concept:

Punctuated equilibria itself is a remarkably simple idea. It is a melding, in essence, of the pattern of stasis with the recognition that most evolutionary change seems bound up with the origin of new species -- the process of speciation. (Reinventing Darwin, p. 94)

If high school juniors and seniors cannot understand the explanation that Johnson himself gives (and leaving aside the issue of the contempt this displays for his intended audience) why, then, does he even drag Eldredge's quote into it? Is the quote or, more correctly, the idea behind it, any more understandable when separated from its context? There would seem to be no excuse for using the quote, except to lend an air of scientific respectability to Johnson's assertions about the fossil record. As such, it cannot be considered "fair comment". Good education simplifies without needless distortion.

Johnson is, of course, free to dispute the validity of Punctuated Equilibria as an explanation of the fossil record and it support of evolutionary theory. But to use this quote out of that context merely distorts what Eldredge was saying in a way that is exacerbated, not excused, by the supposed lack of understanding of the reader he is aiming to influence. The situation becomes even worse when it is propagated by other creationists who do not even have the scrap of justification provided by Johnson's "warning label".

- John (catshark) Pieret

Quote #3.14

[There is little or no evidence of evolutionary change in the fossil record]

The fossil record with its abrupt transitions offers no support for gradual change . . . - Stephen J. Gould, "The Return of Hopeful Monsters", Natural History 86:22 (1977)

[Editor's note: The article can be found on the web under the title "The Return of Hopeful Monsters". It appears in The Panda's Thumb (1980. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., pp. 186-93) under the slightly different title "Return of the Hopeful Monster".]

Representative quote miners: Institute for Creation Research: Evolution: The Changing Scene, Bible Believers Net: The Case for Evolution Has NOT Been Proved!, and Abounding Joy!: Scientists on Evolutionism.

First the necessary recital: this quote comes from a discussion of Eldredge's and Gould's proposed theory of Punctuated Equilibria. Here it is in greater context:

Many evolutionists view strict continuity between micro- and macroevolution as an essential ingredient of Darwinism and a necessary corollary of natural selection. Yet, as I argue in essay 17, Thomas Henry Huxley divided the two issues of natural selection and gradualism and warned Darwin that his strict and unwarranted adherence to gradualism might undermine his entire system. The fossil record with its abrupt transitions offers no support for gradual change, and the principle of natural selection does not require it -- selection can operate rapidly. Yet the unnecessary link that Darwin forged became a central tenet of the synthetic theory. [1]

Note how the quote miners must cut off the sentence in mid stride (not all bother with an ellipsis) lest their readers be confused by facts and learn that Gould, in speaking of "gradual change", is not talking about "evolutionary change" being unsupported by the fossil record.

What was he alluding to? Since Gould referred to essay 17 in The Panda's Thumb, entitled "The Episodic Nature of Evolutionary Change", let him explain it himself:

On November 23, 1859, the day before his revolutionary book hit the stands, Charles Darwin received an extraordinary letter from his friend Thomas Henry Huxley. It offered warm support in the coming conflict, even the supreme sacrifice: "I am prepared to go to the stake, if requisite ... I am sharpening up my claws and beak in readiness." But it also contained a warning: "You have loaded yourself with an unnecessary difficulty in adopting Naturra non facit saltum so unreservedly."

The Latin phrase, usually attributed to Linnaeus, states that "nature does not make leaps." Darwin was a strict adherent to this ancient motto. As a disciple of Charles Lyell, the apostle of gradualism in geology, Darwin portrayed evolution as a stately and orderly process, working at a speed so slow that no person could hope to observe it in a lifetime. Ancestors and descendants, Darwin argued, must be connected by "infinitely numerous transitional links" forming "the finest graduated steps." Only an immense span of time had permitted such a sluggish process to achieve so much.

Huxley felt that Darwin was digging a ditch for his own theory. Natural selection required no postulate about rates; it could operate just as well if evolution proceeded at a rapid pace. ...

As noted in the Introduction to the Gould, Eldredge and Punctuated Equilibria Quotes Gould is arguing for a "jerky, or episodic, rather than a smoothly gradual, pace of change" in evolution. But he also contends that evolution is fully supported by the empiric evidence, including the fossil record. [2]

Creationists are free to argue against Gould's conclusions, of course, but the fact that they are reduced to ripping his words from their context in a blatant attempt to distort his intent, only demonstrates that they don't have an argument worth stating.

- John (catshark) Pieret

[1] More about this article can be found in the response to Quote #41.

[2] See the response to Quote #3.2 and Gould's article "Evolution as Fact and Theory" in Hens Teeth and Horse's Toes: Further Reflections in Natural History. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., p. 258-260.

Quote #3.15

[Experiments would disprove evolutionary theory.]

"I can envision observations and experiments that would disprove any evolutionary theory I know." - Stephen Jay Gould, "Evolution as Fact and Theory," Discover 2(5):34-37 (1981).

A more accessible citation for this article would be: Gould, Stephen Jay 1983. "Evolution as Fact and Theory" in Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes: Further Reflections in Natural History. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., p. 258-260.

Representative quote miners: These Quotes Reveal The Credulity Of Evolutionists; Evolution Is Dead and Intelligent Design Evolution Awareness, Tri-Cities, WA: The Book of Quotes.

This is a spectacular case of dishonesty or a spectacular case of a failure of reading comprehension. Here is the context:

"Scientific creationism" is a self-contradictory, nonsense phrase precisely because it cannot be falsified. I can envision observations and experiments that would disprove any evolutionary theory I know, but I cannot imagine what potential data could lead creationists to abandon their beliefs. Unbeatable systems are dogma, not science. Lest I seem harsh or rhetorical, I quote creationism's leading intellectual, Duane Gish, Ph.D. from his recent (1978) book, Evolution? The Fossils Say No! "By creation we mean the bringing into being by a supernatural Creator of the basic kinds of plants and animals by the process of sudden, or fiat, creation. We do not know how the Creator created, what process He used, for He used processes which are not now operating anywhere in the natural universe [Gish's italics]. This is why we refer to creation as special creation. We cannot discover by scientific investigations anything about the creative processes used by the Creator." Pray tell, Dr. Gish, in the light of your last sentence, what then is scientific creationism?

Note that all of the above sites present the quote with a period at the end that does not appear in the text. This avoids tipping the reader off to the very significant phrase that follows the quoted bit.

But, beyond that, there is a clear attempt to confuse "disprovable" with "disproved" and represent this snippet as an admission of problems in evolution. Gould's statement is, instead, a strong argument for the health of evolutionary theory and against creationism masquerading as science, making this one of the worst examples of quote mining in our collection.

- John (catshark) Pieret

Links to Other Gould, Eldredge and Punctuated Equilibria Quotes

Gould, Eldredge and Punctuated Equilibria quotes from elsewhere in the Quote Mine Project:


Home Browse Search Feedback Other Links The FAQ Must-Read Files Index Evolution Creationism Age of the Earth Flood Geology Catastrophism Debates
Home Page | Browse | Search | Feedback | Links
The FAQ | Must-Read Files | Index | Creationism | Evolution | Age of the Earth | Flood Geology | Catastrophism | Debates