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Section 3: Quotations from Scientists

Other Problems With the Theory

The Necessary Time Is Circular

Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species (J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd., London 1972), p. 455.

...The belief that species were immutable productions was almost unavoidable as long as the history of the world was thought to be of short duration; and now that we have acquired some idea of the lapse of time, we are too apt to assume, without proof, that the geological record is so perfect that it would have afforded us plain evidence of the mutation of species, if they had undergone mutation.

G.G. Simpson, The Evolution of Life, Sol Tax, editor (University of Chicago Press, 1960), p. 175.

...We cannot disprove the postulate that the universe was created one second ago, complete with all our apparent memories of our own earlier days, or that it was not created in 4004 B.C., with all the apparent record of earlier billions of years. But that would not make sense, and we must pretend, at least, that both we and the universe are sane.

George Wald, Scientific American, vol. 191, Aug. 1954, p. 48.

Time is in fact the hero of the plot. The time with which we have to deal is of the order of two billion years. What we regard as impossible on the basis of human experience is meaningless here. Given so much time, the "impossible" becomes possible, the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain. One has only to wait: time itself performs the miracles. ...

Carl O. Dunbar, Historical Geology, 2nd Edition (John Wiley and Sons, New York, 1961), pp. 47-48.

...Inasmuch as life has evolved gradually, changing from age to age, the rocks of each geologic age bear distinctive types of fossils unlike those of any other age. Conversely, each kind of fossil is an index or guide fossil to some definite geologic time....Fossils thus make it possible to recognize rocks of the same age in different parts of the Earth and in this way to correlate events and work out the history of the Earth as a whole. They furnish us with a chronology, `on which events are arranged like pearls on a string.'

D.D. von Engeln and Kennedy E. Caster, Geology (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1952), p. 417.

...The geologist utilizes knowledge of organic evolution as preserved in the fossil record, to identify and correlate the lithic records of ancient times.

E.M. Spieker, Bulletin, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, vol. 40, August 1956, p. 1806.

And what, essentially, is this actual time-scale--on what criteria does it rest? When all is winnowed out, and the grain reclaimed from the chaff, it is certain the grain in the product is mainly the paleontologic record and highly likely that the physical evidence is the chaff.

O.H. Schindewolf, American Journal of Science, vol. 255, June 1957, p. 395.

...The only chronometric scale applicable in geologic history for the stratigraphic classification of rocks and for dating geologic events exactly is furnished by the fossils. Owing to the irreversibility of evolution, they offer an unambiguous time scale for relative age determinations and for world-wide correlation's of rocks.

R.H. Rastall, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1956, Vol. 10 (University of Chicago Press), p. 168.

...It cannot be denied that from a strictly philosophical standpoint geologists are here arguing in a circle. The succession of organisms has been determined by a study of their remains buried in the rocks, and the relative ages of the rocks are determined by the remains of organisms that they contain.

Gareth V. Nelson, "Origin and Diversification of Teleostean Fishes," Annals, New York Academy of Sciences, 1971, p. 27.

That a known fossil or recent species, or higher taxonomic group, however primitive it might appear, is an actual ancestor of some other species or group, is an assumption scientifically unjustifiable, for science never can simply assume that which it has the responsibility to demonstrate. ...It is the burden of each of us to demonstrate the reasonableness of any hypothesis we might care to erect about ancestral conditions, keeping in mind that we have no ancestors alive today, that in all probability such ancestors have been dead for many tens of millions of years, and that even in the fossil record they are not accessible to us.

Donald R. Griffin, "A Possible Window on the Minds of Animals," American Scientist, vol. 64, Sept.-Oct. p. 534.

Likewise, paleontologists do their best to make sense out of the fossil record and sketch in evolutionary sequences or unfossilized morphologies without realistic hope of obtaining specific verification within the foreseeable future. ...

J.E. O'Rourke, "Pragmatism versus Materialism in Stratigraphy," American Journal of Science, vol. 276, Jan. 1976, p. 47.

The intelligent layman has long suspected circular reasoning in the use of rocks to date fossils and fossils to date rocks. The geologist has never bothered to think of a good reply, feeling the explanations are not worth the trouble as long as the work brings results. This is supposed to be hard-headed pragmatism.

Derek V. Ager, The Nature of the Stratigraphic Record (John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1973), p. 62.

It is a problem not easily solved by the classic methods of stratigraphical paleontology, as obviously we will land ourselves immediately in an impossible circular argument if we say, firstly that a particular lithology is synchronous on the evidence of its fossils, and secondly that the fossils are synchronous on the evidence of the lithology. ...

Derek V. Ager, "The Nature of the Fossil Record," Proceedings of the Geological Association, vol. 87, No. 2, 1976, p. 132.

We all know that many apparent evolutionary bursts are nothing more than brainstorms on the part of particular paleontologists. One splitter in a library can do far more than millions of years of genetic mutation. ...

Ronald R. West, "Paleontology and Uniformitarianism," Compass, vol. 45, May, 1968, p. 216.

Contrary to what most scientists write, the fossil record does not support the Darwinian theory of evolution because it is this theory (there are several) which we use to interpret the fossil record. By doing so, we are guilty of circular reasoning if we than say the fossil record supports this theory. ...

B. Schaeffer, M.K. Hecht and N. Eldredge, "Philogeny and Paleontology," in Evolutionary Biology, Vol. 6, Th. Dobzhansky, et al., editors (Appleton-Century-Crofts, New York, 1972), p. 39.

The prime difficulty with the use of presumed ancestral-descendant sequences to express phylogeny is that biostratigraphic data are often used in conjunction with morphology in the initial evaluation of relationships, which leads to obvious circularity. ...

J.E. O'Rourke, "Pragmatism versus Materialism in Stratigraphy," American Journal of Science, vol. 276, Jan. 1976, p. 51.

The theory of dialectic materialism postulates matter as the ultimate reality, not to be questioned. ...Evolution is more than a useful biologic concept: it is a natural law controlling the history of all phenomena.

Ibid., p. 53.

The rocks do date the fossils, but the fossils date the rocks more accurately. Stratigraphy cannot avoid this kind reasoning if it insists on using only temporal concepts, because circularity is inherent in the derivation of time scales.

Ibid., p. 54.

Structure, metamorphism, sedimentary reworking and other complications have to be considered. Radiometric dating would not have been feasible if the geologic column had not been erected first. ...The axiom that no process can measure itself means that there is no absolute time, but this relic of the traditional mechanics persists in the common distinction between `relative' and `absolute' age.

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