Donald Prothero: Sometimes even a Darwinist must confront the pattern of the evidence
|May 22, 2013||Posted by News under Darwinism, stasis|
He just doesn’t have to learn anything.
Donald Prothero , geologist/paleontologist at the California Institute of Technology, has been a pretty good joe for Darwinism over the years. He is quoted here and
here, for example, affirming Darwin’s truths, and also affirming the miracle of Haeckel’s embryos (described by others as an imposture)* in his 1994 textbook with Robert H. Dott, Jr. Oh never mind, people have done worse for those they love.
But, late in their careers, Darwinists sometimes admit the very problems that they seemed anxious earlier to explain away. In 2012, Prothero admitted that in evolution, stasis (no change over vast stretches of time) is the general pattern. Gradualism (slow Darwinian change) is rare, and evolutionary biologists have known that for decades*:
In four of the biggest climatic-vegetational events of the last 50 million years, the mammals and birds show no noticeable change in response to changing climates. No matter how many presentations I give where I show these data, no one (including myself) has a good explanation yet for such widespread stasis despite the obvious selective pressures of changing climate. Rather than answers, we have more questions—and that’s a good thing! Science advances when we discover what we don’t know, or we discover that simple answers we’d been following for years no longer work. – Donald Prothero, “Darwin’s Legacy,” Skeptic, February 15, 2012: http://tinyurl.com/btsn796
He strenuously participates in Darwin’s battles today. Yet the broad pattern of stasis is the real message from the rocks.
Darwinism is apparently one of those things that must be believed in its utter absence, as a sign of faith. And that is what it is to be a Skeptic these days.
* For example: “one of the most famous fakes in biology,” Michael K. Richardson quoted in Elizabeth Pennisi, “Haeckel’s Embryos: Fraud Rediscovered,” Science 277 (1997): 1435.