Michael Powell’s Washington PostÂ review of the new Darwin exhibition at New York’s American Museum of Natural History is generally praiseworthy butÂ Darwinists won’t like his singing offÂ key late in the piece: “…in its eagerness to declare the grand evolutionary questions settled, the show takes its lone stumble. Only four decades ago, most paleontologists rejected theÂ theory, now broadly accepted, that comets and volcanic eruptions delivered mass extinctions and so played a key role in speeding evolution. Nor are scientists clear on the mechanism by which one species evolves into another; curator Eldredge and the late scientist Stephen Jay Gould crafted the once heretical theory of punctuated equilibrium, which holds that species sometimes evolve in grand leaps.”
Then Powell notesÂ that oneÂ prominent scientist, Simon Conway Morris, is now arguing thatÂ “even very distant species share structural similarities and journey toward inevitable complexity. This suggests to himÂ that evolution adheres to an architecture.”
Architecture? Sounds like intelligent design.
Powell said the exhibit’s curator, Niles Eldridge, will “shrug” if you bringÂ these complications up to him.Â Not mentioned in Powell’s piece, thoughÂ alluded to in his noting that Eldridge is associated with the theory of punctuated equilibrium, is that EldridgeÂ once acknowledged in the 1980s that the fossilÂ record does not support Darwin’s expectation that it would eventually prove his theory of gradual transitions. “The pattern that weÂ wereÂ told to find for the last 120 years does not exist,”Â Eldridge was quoted in the New York Times as saying.
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