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Quotes Of Power
Insightful Quotes From
Leading Evolutionists
© - 4/04

Quotes do not prove anything, but they do reveal many things. They reveal, as in this article, the honesty of some scientists to admit flaws, improbabilities, and assumptions in their evolutionary thinking. The following are quotes made by such evolutionists. When reading these quotes, remember that the individuals who made them were not discounting the entire theory of evolution itself, but only aspects of it, not the least of which is the neo-Darwinian viewpoint. The debate isn't simply between evolutionists and creationists. The debate, also, is between evolutions and evolutionists. The following quotes are also of relatively recent times, spanning the last 20 years or so, in order that the argument cannot be made that the information stated is antiquated or outdated. May they be a useful and enlightening tool for you in your studies and debates.


"No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long. It seems never 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 really 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 organisms did not evolve elsewhere! Evolution cannot forever be going on someplace else. Yet that's how the fossil record has struck many a forlorn paleontologist looking to learn something about evolution."

Niles Eldredge - Chairman and Curator of Invertebrates, American Museum of Natural History. "Reinventing Darwin: The Great Evolutionary Debate," (1995), phoenix: London, 1996, p. 95.

"Paleontologists had long been aware of a seeming contradiction between Darwin's postulate of gradualism, confirmed by the work of population genetics, and the actual findings of paleontology. Following phyletic lines through time seemed to reveal only minimal gradual changes but no clear evidence for any change of a species into a different genus or for the gradual origin of an evolutionary novelty. Anything truly novel always seemed to appear quite abruptly in the fossil record."

Ernst Mayr - Emeritus Professor of Zoology, Harvard University, "Toward a New Philosophy of Biology: Observations of an Evolutionist," Harvard University Press: Cambridge MA, 1988, pp. 529-530.

"Evolution answers some questions but reveals many more questions. Some of these questions at this stage appear to be unanswerable in the light of present scientific knowledge. In common parlance: `The more you know, the more you know you don't know.' "

Barry Price - Former Director, School Physics Project, Australian Academy of Science, "The Creation Science Controversy," Millennium Books: Sydney, Australia, 1990, p. 8.

"It looks to me as if Darwinians are like someone who, having observed that tugboats sometimes maneuver ocean liners in tight places by directing high-pressure streams of water at them, concludes that he has discovered the method by which the liners cross the Atlantic."

Peter Van Inwagen - Professor of Philosophy, Notre Dame University, "Doubts About Darwinism," in Buell J. & Hearn V., eds., "Darwinism: Science or Philosophy?" Foundation for Thought and Ethics: Richardson TX, 1994, p. 186.

"We believe that Darwinism has an identity within the area of biological systematics, that it has a history within that discipline, that it is, in short, a theory that has been put to the test and found false."

Gareth Nelson and Norman Platnick - Systematics and evolution. In Beyond Neo-Darwinism: An introduction to the new evolutionary paradigm. Edited by Mae-wan Ho and Peter D. Saunders. London: Academic Press. p. 143.

"The pathways that have led to our evolution are quirky, improbable, unrepeatable and utterly unpredictable."

Stephen J. Gould - 1999. Flipside first person singular evolution: Students have a right to the truth. Interview by Jared Lowe. Charleston (W.V.) Gazette. 11 December, sec. C, p. 1.


"The only illustration Darwin published in On the Origin of Species was a diagram depicting his view of evolution: species descendant from a common ancestor; gradual change of organisms over time; episodes of diversification and extinction of species. Given the simplicity of Darwin's theory of evolution, it was reasonable for paleontologists to believe that they should be able to demonstrate with the hard evidence provided by fossils both the thread of life and the gradual transformation of one species into another. Although paleontologists have, and continue to claim to have, discovered sequences of fossils that do indeed present a picture of gradual change over time, the truth of the matter is that we are still in the dark about the origin of most major groups of organisms. They appear in the fossil record as Athena did from the head of Zeus-full-blown and raring to go, in contradiction to Darwin's depiction of evolution as resulting from the gradual accumulation of countless infinitesimally minute variations, which, in turn, demands that the fossil record preserve an unbroken chain of transitional forms."

Jeffrey H. Schwartz - Professor of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh, USA, "Sudden Origins: Fossils, Genes, and the Emergence of Species," John Wiley & Sons: New York NY, 1999, p. 3.

"It is not surprising that large evolutionary innovations are not well understood. None has ever been observed, and we have no idea whether any may be in progress. There is no good fossil record of any. Because they are difficult, evolution has occupied billions, not hundreds of thousands of years."

Robert G. Wesson - Political scientist, "Beyond Natural Selection," 1991, MIT Press: Cambridge MA, 1994, reprint, p. 206.

"The bony-finned coelacanth, thought to be long extinct but rediscovered in 1938, has been approximately static some 450 million years (Avers 1989, 317). ... The nearly timeless species are not exempt from the changes of proteins that go on in all living beings, and they could surely vary in many ways without loss of adaptiveness, but their patterns have become somehow frozen. ... From the point of view of conventional evolutionary theory long-term stasis is hard to explain. Rapid evolution is comprehensive as species adapt to new conditions or opportunities but it is incongruous that species remain unchanged through changing conditions over many million years (Sheldon 1990, 114)."

Wesson, Robert G. - Political scientist, "Beyond Natural Selection," 1991, MIT Press: Cambridge MA, 1994, reprint, pp. 207-208.

"Many people suppose that phylogeny can be discovered directly from the fossil record by studying a graded series of old to young fossils and by discovering ancestors, but this is not true. The fossil record supplies evidence of the geological ages of the forms of life, but not of their direct ancestor-descendant relationships. There is no way of knowing whether a fossil is a direct ancestor of a more recent species or represents a related line of descent (lineage) that simply became extinct."

Knox B., Ladiges P. & Evans B. - eds., "Biology," 1994, McGraw-Hill: Sydney, Australia, 1995, reprint, p. 663.

"Zircon dating, which calculates a fossil's age by measuring the relative amounts of uranium and lead within the crystals, had been whittling away at the Cambrian for some time. By 1990, for example, new dates obtained from early Cambrian sites around the world were telescoping the start of biology's Big Bang from 600 million years ago to less than 560 million years ago. Now, with information based on the lead content of zircons from Siberia, virtually everyone agrees that the Cambrian started almost exactly 543 million years ago and, even more startling, that all but one of the phyla in the fossil record appeared within the first 5 million to 10 million years. ' We now know how fast fast is,' grins Bowring. And what I like to ask my biologist friends is, 'How fast can evolution get before they start feeling uncomfortable?' "

J. Madeleine Nash - Journalist, "When Life Exploded," Time, December 4, 1995, p. 74.

"The museum [British Museum of Natural History] is the primary source or authority for the general theory of evolution by natural selection, the theory that is taught in schools and universities the world over. Like millions of people in Britain, I have visited the museum many times to stare in wonder at its contents. But I have been unable to see with my own eyes the decisive evidence for the synthetic theory of evolution. I have been able to see many marvels and to study mountains of evidence: the Geological Column that reconstructs the geological and biological history of the Earth; the dinosaur skeletons and myriad other fossils; marvels like the skeleton of Archaeopteryx, seemingly half bird, half reptile; the reconstructed evolution of the horse family. But unlike its counterpart at Teddington [National Physical Laboratory], the museum is unable to exhibit the unchallengeable authority that conclusively demonstrates that evolution by natural selection has taken place and is established as fact. This is very far from saying that scientists have failed to make the case for neo-Darwinist evolution. On the contrary, no rational person can visit the Natural History Museum and not be deeply impressed by the evidence that has been painstakingly assembled. Evidence of historical development over geological time; of similarity of anatomical structure in many different species; of change and adaptation to changing environments. But, frustratingly, even with all this evidence, it is impossible for the genuinely objective person to say, 'Here is the conclusive scientific proof that I have been looking for.' "

R. Milton - Science journalist and engineer, "The Facts of Life: Shattering the Myth of Darwinism", 4th Estate, London, 1992, p. 2.

"Neo-Darwinian language and conceptual structure itself ensures scientific failure: Major questions posed by zoologists cannot be answered from inside the neo-Darwinian straitjacket. Such questions include, for example, 'How do new structures arise in evolution?' 'Why, given so much environmental change, is stasis so prevalent in evolution as seen in the fossil record?' 'How did one group of organisms or set of macromolecules evolve from another?' The importance of these questions is not at issue; it is just that neo-Darwinians, restricted by their resuppositions, cannot answer them."

Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan - 1997. Slanted Truths: Essays on Gaia, symbiosis and evolution. New York: Springer-Verlag, Inc. p. 100.


"The 'modern evolutionary synthesis' convinced most biologists that natural selection was the only directive influence on adaptive evolution. Today, however, dissatisfaction with the synthesis is widespread, and creationists and antidarwinians are multiplying. The central problem with the synthesis is its failure to show (or to provide distinct signs) that natural selection of random mutations could account for observed levels of adaptation."

Egbert G. Leigh, Jr. - Biologist, Smithsonian Institution, USA, "The modern synthesis, Ronald Fisher and creationism," Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Vol. 14, No. 12, pp.495-498, December 1999, p. 495.

"The ability of species to adapt by changing one base pair at a time on any gene, and to do so with comparative rapidity if selective advantages are reasonably large, explains the fine details of the matching of many species to their environment. It was from the careful observation of such matchings by naturalists in the mid-nineteenth century that the Darwinian theory arose. Because the observations were made with extreme care, it was highly probable that immediate inferences drawn from them would prove to be correct, as the work of Chapters 3 to 6 shows to be the case. What was in no way guaranteed by the evidence, however, was that evolutionary inferences correctly made in the small for species and their varieties could be extrapolated to broader taxonomic categories, to kingdoms, divisions, classes, and orders. Yet this is what the Darwinian theory did, and it was by going far outside its guaranteed range of validity that the theory ran into controversies and difficulties which have never been cleared up over more than a century."

Fred Hoyle - Late mathematician, physicist and Professor of Astronomy, Cambridge University, "Mathematics of Evolution," 1987, Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p. 137.


"Archaeopteryx probably cannot tell us much about the early origins of feathers and flight in true protobirds because Archaeopteryx was, in the modern sense, a bird."

Alan Feduccia - Professor and former head of biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 1993. Evidence from claw geometry indicating arboreal habits of Archaeopteryx, Science 259 (3 February): 792.


"Certain modern species are reasonably similar, in their anatomy, to fossils of winged insects dating back 325 million years. The problem is, wings appear in the fossil record already full formed . . . So miraculous a thing is insect flight that nearly all insect biologists believe it would have evolved only once."

James H. Marden - 1995. How insects learned to fly. The Sciences 35 (November/December): pp. 27-28.

"What could be more familiar than the hover and dart of a fruit fly, going about is business? And what could be more mysterious? Thirty-odd muscle pairs, in coordinated motion, flap the wings up and down 200 times a second - rapidly enough to sing a baritone G below middle C. Biologists have tried for decades to sort out the complexities of insect flight. The wing hinge, where the wing joins the thorax of the insect is, in the words of Michael H. Dickenson, a neuroethologist at the University of Chicago, 'the most morphologically complex joint in the animal kingdom.' "

Mary Beth Aberlin - 1995. Air Power. The Sciences 35 (November/December): 13.


"Bipedalism has traditionally been regarded as the fundamental adaptation that sets hominids apart from other primates. Fossil evidence demonstrates that by 4.1 million years ago, and perhaps earlier, hominids exhibited adaptations to bipedal walking. At present, however, the fossil record offers little information about the origin of bipedalism, and despite nearly a century of research on existing fossils and comparative anatomy, there is still no consensus concerning the mode of locomotion that precded bipedalism. Here we present evidence that fossils attributed to Australopithecus anamensis (KNMR-ER 20419) and A. afarensis (AL 288-1) retain specialized wrist morphology associated with knuckle-walking. This distal radial morphology differs from that of later hominids and non-knuckle-walking anthropoid primates, suggesting that knuckle-walking is a derived feature of the African ape and human clade. This removes key morphological evidence for a Pan-Forilla clade, and suggests that bipedal hominids evolved from a knuckle-walking ancestor that was already partly terrestrial.

"During knuckle-walking, chimpanzees and gorillas flex the tips of their fingers and bear their weight on the dorsal surface of their middle phalanges, permitting them to use their hands for terrestrial locomotion while retaining long fingers for climbing trees."

Brian G., Richmond and David S. Strait - 2000. Evidence that humans evolved from a knuckle-walking ancestor. Nature 404 (23 March): 382.

"The retention of knuckle-walking morphology in the earliest hominids indicates that bipedalism evolved from an ancestor already adapted for terrestrial locomotion. However, early australopithecines also exhibit a number of postcranial traits related to arboreal locomotions, including a long radial neck, well-developed brachioradialis insertion, superiorly directed glenoid fossa, relatively long forelimbs and relatively long, curved fingers and toes."

Brian G., Richmond and David S. Strait - 2000. Evidence that humans evolved from a knuckle-walking ancestor. Nature 404 (23 March): 384.


"It is fashionable to wax apocalyptic about the threat to humanity posed by the AIDS virus, "mad cow" disease, and many others, but I think a case can be made that faith is one of the world's great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate."

Richard Dawkins - 1996 Humanist of the year. 1997. Is science a religion? The humanist 57 (January/February): 26.


"Most disturbing, however, is the fact that despite numerous efforts, we have yet to directly observe the process of stellar formation. We have not yet been able to unambiguously detect the collapse of a molecular cloud core or the infall of circumstellar material onto an embryonic star. Until such an observation is made, it would probably be prudent to regard our current hypotheses and theoretical scenarios with some degree of suspicion."

Charles J. Lada and Frank H. Shu - 1990. The formation of sunlike stars. Science 248 (4 May): 572.

"Despite the capabilities of modern detectors, astronomers cannot definitively say that telescopes have actually recorded the infrared signals of protostars."

Steven W. Stahler - 1991. The early life of stars. Scientific American 265 (July): 50.


"What is a big deal - the biggest deal of all - is how you get something out of nothing.

"Don't let the cosmologists try to kid you on this one. They have not got a clue either - despite the fact that they are doing a pretty good job of convincing themselves and others that this is really not a problem. 'In the beginning,' they will say, 'there was nothing - no time, space, matter or energy. Then there was a quantum fluctuation from which . . .' Whoa! Stop right there. You see what I mean? First there is nothing, then there is something. And the cosmologists try to bridge the two with a quantum flutter, a tremor of uncertainty that sparks it all off. Then they are away and before you know it, they have pulled a hundred billion galaxies out of their quantum hats."

David Darling - 1996. On creating something from nothing. New Scientist 151 (14 September): 49.


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