by Denyse O'Leary
As I noted in the Introduction, The Science of God:, Schroeder assumes that everyone takes for granted that Darwin's theory was never really well established and is now on the way out:
Darwin realized that the staccato nature of the fossil record in no way confirmed evolution via natural selection. Rather, Darwin noted the morphological changes produced by breeders of pigeons and other domesticated animals, and assumed (quite likely in error) that if in tens of generations lean ancestral stock evolve into robust progeny, then gradually over tens of millions of generations vastly greater changes would have occurred, changes so great that phylum by phylum life rose ever higher on the imagined evolutionary tree. (page 9)
Macro-evolution, the evolution of one body plan into another - a worm or insect or mollusk evolving into a fish, for example - finds no support in the fossil record, in the lab, or in the Bible. (page 16)
In fact, Schroeder argues, the real history of life is a guided evolution that occurs as a series of jumps:
"The statement Darwin repeats several times in Origin of Species,"natura non facit saltum" - that nature does not make jumps - is simply false. Transitional forms are totally absent from the fossil record at the basic level of phylum and rare if present at all in class. Only after basic body plans are well established are fossil transitions observed. Darwin would have been much closer to the truth had he written "natura solum facit saltum" - that nature only makes jumps. (page 10)
Indeed, he charges that Darwin knew this perfectly well,
An accurate description of macro-evolution as presented by the fossil record is that it usually takes place somewhere else and all we are left with is the punctuations. Darwin realized this far better than his overly enthusiastic followers. On no less than seven occasions in the Origin of Species", he implored his readers to ignore the evidence of the fossil record as a refutation of his concept of evolution or to "use imagination to fill in its gaps. (page 31 )
and that his modern-day followers dedicate museums of natural history to keeping the fantastic Darwin cult alive:
The magnificent Natural History Museum in London devotes an entire wing to demonstrating the fact of evolution. They show how pink daisies can evolve into blue daisies, how gray moths change into black moths, how over a mere few thousand years, a wide variety of cichlid fish species evolved in Lake Victoria. It is all impressive.
Impressive, until you walk out and reflect upon that which they were able to document. Daisies remained daisies, moths remained moths, and cichlid fish remained cichlid fish. These changes re referred to as micro-evolution. In this exhibit, the museum's staff did not demonstrate a single unequivocal case in which life underwent a major gradual morphological change. (page 31 )
One story Schroeder tells that, for obvious reasons, is not part of the official saints' legends of materialism is the suppression, for decades, of the Cambrian fossils at the Smithsonian. C. D. Walcott, the Smithsonian secretary who found the fossils in the Burgess Shale in British Columbia, Canada, actually shelved them for decades because they did not support gradual Darwinian evolution.
Schroeder clearly did not have a crystal ball while writing The Science of God:. He did not foresee that, just as Walcott shelved the non-Darwinian fossils, the Darwin establishment would respond to challenges over the next decade by simply Expelling scientists who pointed out the deficiencies of their theory. In so doing, they have bought themselves at least another decade, and perhaps more.
He also probably did not realize the extent to which much of the popular media and commentariat is invested in Darwinism, as justifying an entire range of attitudes to life. For many, being pro-Darwin means being pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia, and pro-stem cell research, because we are all really just hair-challenged apes.
It almost feels like a historical oddity that Schroeder quotes the much maligned Michael Behe, whose Darwin's Black Box had come out a year earlier, also from Free Press, with respect:
Molecular biologist and observant Catholic, Professor Michael Behe stated the case for the believing biologist: "You can be a good Catholic and believe in Darwinism. ... Biochemistry has made it increasingly difficult, however, to be a thoughtful scientist and believe in it." (pages 26-27)
Of course it was right for Schroeder to quote Behe with respect, but in the subsequent decade, Behe has felt the full fury of the Darwin establishment for daring to put forward evidence that counters its free-floating theories. Behe's 2007 book, Edge of Evolution (also from Free Press), tracks the thousands of generations of simple life forms observed in the laboratory - with scant evidence of Darwinian evolution.
As Schroeder says, Darwinian evolution is always taking place ... somewhere else.
But now how does Schroeder himself see the origin and development of life? And what does he think of the many universes bubbling up from the quantum flux that are a staple of fashionable materialist cosmology, if not of reality?
Next: Part Two: Schroeder as recovering multiverse faddist?
Toronto-based Canadian journalist Denyse O'Leary (www.designorchance.com) is the author of the multiple award-winning By Design or by Chance? (Augsburg Fortress 2004), an overview of the intelligent design controversy. She was named CBA Canada's Recommended Author of the Year in 2005 and is co-author, with Montreal neuroscientist Mario Beauregard, of the forthcoming The Spiritual Brain: A neuroscientist's case for the existence of the soul (Harper 2007).
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