Whose theory is evolution anyway?.
It’s not Darwin’s or Wallace’s Theory, which was just brought to my attention, is a web site by Milton Wainwright BSc, PhD Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Sheffield, England, where he discusses the many precursors to Charles Darwin’s book Origin of Species. This is a great site, worth clicking and reading, with an abundance of quotes from authors of the pre “Darwinian” era. Darwin, Wallace and Matthew were thinking outside of the intellectual box of their era but only a little. They were the growing edge of the box—they were pushing it out just a little. If Adam Smith back with his Wealth of Nations more than a half a century earlier had only expanded his concepts to include living forms the modern term for evolution might not be Darwinism but Smithism. A couple of paragraphs would have done it. He already was using the concept of survival of the fittest. The fundamental ideas are so obvious, after being clearly stated, that when Patrick Matthew published them he didn’t bother to pursue them but only state them, and quite clearly. It was only when a person of connections and stature stated them in a large and difficult to read book with a title that captured the public’s imagination that the idea caught on. It is the person who makes an idea acceptable to the public that gets all the credit with the public. The public might be asked, “Wasn’t it Forrest Gump who landed on the moon and saved all the astronauts on Apollo 13?” We might be surprised with the public’s answers to that question. An exception is Gregor Mendel who got credit for something he published years earlier. It would have been as easy to ignore his work as it was Patrick Matthew’s published works. They too were quite obscure and might not have been discovered for a long time.
Jumping from one idea to another.
One problem the scientists seem to have trouble with is the idea of jumps in evolution (sometimes called saltations). Did evolution proceed smoothly by slow gradual changes or did it happen by sudden and massive shifts? That harkens back to the Catastrophists and the idea of God flooding the world and it was only Noah’s foresight to build an Ark that saved us and many other creatures from extinction. No modern scientist wants to go back to that theory but there might still be some energy in the sudden shift idea. It seems that it is a question rather similar to many other ideas where everything has some validity depending upon the flow of the previous assumptions.
Timing is everything so set the clock carefully.
A fundamental question for an evolutionist is the markings on his clock. If he is measuring evolutionary change with a second hand, evolution is very slow and smooth but if his unit of time is a million years then some evolution is more saltatious. If the extreme is taken and the unit of time is a billion years or more, then all evolution is virtually instantaneous.
What and when is a species?
Darwin consumed a huge portion of his Origin trying to define the word species but it is a question similar to that of the time scale, define it loosely enough and it includes everything which sprung from that first successful spark of life which managed to take over the world. Define species tightly enough and it can be limited to a single individual, living or long dead. Being such a protean word it becomes necessary to define its limits virtually every time it is used.
Evolution is a field of dead bones—many of them evolutionists’ dead bones.