Archaeology and Paleontology
Traduzido por Simone Mordente de Souza
Archaelogy and Paleontology
Colin Patterson is a senior paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History and is also the author of the museum articles on the evolution according to Darwin. The museum commissioned him to give a lecture on Creationism and Evolutionism. The paleontologist characterized both as "a void of scientific concepts." "All their concepts," according to him, "are primarily structured, based simply on faith". Many of the specific issues of his lecture are technical, but two of them are particularly significant and deserved to be highlighted at the time. First, Patterson posed the select audience of expert biologists a question reflecting his own doubts about what has been considered by many as the ultimate knowledge on evolution.
"Can you tell me anything about evolution, any one thing, that is true? I tried that question on the geology staff at the Field Museum of Natural History and the only answer I got was silence. I tried it on the members of the Evolutionary Morphology Seminar in the University of Chicago...and all I got there was silence for a long time, and eventually one person said, "I do know one thing--it ought not to be taught in high school."
Patterson suggested both Evolutionism and Creationism are forms of pseudo-knowledge, concepts which seem "to have function of knowledge, but conveyed none". One point in his comparison was particularly shocking: Patterson disserted on the categorical objection to Creationists in pre-Darwinian times under the allegation that they could not say anything about the creation mechanism. They only presented facts and ignored the means.
“Now", Patterson went on, “Darwin and his natural selection are under fire, and the scientists are no longer sure of the general validity of this theory. Evolutionists are increasingly expressing themselves as Creationists do - they point out the facts but are not able to explain the means."
Patterson, deliberately using a provocative approach, received the heavy backfire charge of the Darwinian artillery, after his lecture was published, and he eventually retreated. Here is a transcript of excerpts of his lecture:
“Over the last 18 months or more, I have been entertaining non-evolutionary ideas, even ati-evolutionary ones.
"(...) for over twenty years I had thought I was working on Evolution in some way. One morning I woke up and something had happened in the night, and it struck me that I had been working on this stuff for twenty years and there was not one thing I knew about it. That's quite a shock to learn that one can be so misled so long.
"(...) the last few weeks I've tried putting a simple question to various people and groups of people: Can you tell me anything you know about evolution? (…) Any one thing that is true?" - Collin Patterson
In Collin Patterson's opinion, modern science assumes "a rationalist vision of nature (evolution) has replaced an irrational one (creation)". Before 1980, Patterson was a convict evolutionist. He confesses: "So I woke up and came to the conclusion that all my life I had been cheated into accepting evolutionism as the truth revealed in some way." Then "I experienced the change of evolution as knowledge into evolution as faith."
One of the puzzles facing this paleontologist turns out to be the same faced by many of his colleagues and about which they complain: the absence of real transitional forms in fossil records. For instance, the evolution of fish, gradually occurring with the progressive development of limbs until their total transformation into terrestrial animals.
Patterson shoots: "I do not believe we will ever have access to any (evolutionary) tree form we could call factual."
He still goes on proclaiming himself "an evolutionist", even though he is convinced the beliefs both in Creationism and Evolutionism are just a matter of faith."
The Discovery Channel, from time to time, shows a documentary in which an archaeologist and a speleologist, at the sites they are exploring, complain about the lack of existence of "fossil evidences" required for the factual demonstration of Darwin's theory. Darwin himself felt insecure about that embarrassing gap, according to himself, which hindered the total acceptance by science of his "Origin of Species" theory.
“But, as by this theory, innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth?" – Charles Darwin.
“We might wonder whether the doctrine of evolution would qualify as anything more
than an outrageous hypothesis." – Steven Stanley
"Without intermediates or transitional forms to bridge the enormous gaps which separate existing species and groups of organisms, the concept of evolution could never be taken seriously as a scientific hypothesis." – Michael Denton – Molecular biologist.
- Darwin on Trial – Philip Johnson
- Evolution: a Theory in Crisis – Michael Denton
- Macroevolution – Steven Stanley