Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Jay Gould’

Man is insignificant in evolutionary theory

August 17, 2009

Darwin’s revolution will be completed when we smash the pedestal of human arrogance and own the plain implications of evolution for life’s nonpredictable non-directionality – and when we take Darwinian topology seriously, recognizing that Homo sapiens, to recite the revised litany one more time, is a tiny twig, born just yesterday on an enormously arborescent tree of life that would never produce the same set of branches if regrown from seed. We grasp at the straw of progress (a dessicated ideological twig) because we are still not ready for the Darwinian revolution. We crave progress as our best hope for retaining human arrogance in an evolutionary world. Only in these terms can I understand why such a poorly formulated and improbable argument maintains such a powerful hold of us today.

Stephen Jay Gould, Life’s Grandeur, Vintage, 1997, p.29

Evolution as a Faith

June 13, 2009

‘The general preference that so many of us hold for gradualism is a metaphysical stance embedded in the modern history of Western cultures: it is not a high-order empirical observation, induced from the objective study of nature.’

Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge, ‘Punctuated Equilibria: The Tempo and Mode of Evolution Reconsidered,’ in Paleobiology 3 (1977), 145.

Which is a high-falutin way of saying this: We like evolution not because we see it happening but because we choose it as our faith commitment.

Perhaps the explanation is found here (as given by an evolutionist):

‘Evolution itself is accepted by zoologists not because it has been observed to occur or . . . can be proved by logically coherent evidence to be true, but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible.’

D.M.S. Watson

Quoted in Herbert Schlossberg, Idols for Destruction: Christian Faith and Its Confrontation with American Society (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, [1983] 1993), 144-145.