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A Reply To A Statement Of Stephen Jay Gould, By An Amateur
by Jeremy McNabb
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Steven Jay Gould, a geologist, paleontologist and college professor, made this statement of evolution in an article featured in Scientific American:

“Natural Selection is an immensely powerful yet beautifully
simple theory that has held up remarkably well, under
intense and unrelenting scrutiny and testing, for 135 years.*”

In that statement, Gould makes no less than three statements. Breaking the quote down, he says that (a.) Natural Selection is an immensely powerful theory, (b.) Natural Selection is a beautifully simple theory and (c.) Natural Selection has held up remarkably well, under intense and unrelenting scrutiny and testing, for 135 years.
There is no doubt that Natural Selection is remarkably powerful. Hardly a week, or possibly a day, goes by without one hearing of it. This factor is not in debate and is only mentioned in fairness.
However, Gould also asserts that evolution is a beautifully simple theory. Why is it then, that one hundred articles are published every year, to explain this simple theory? Why then, is it necessary that almost one hundred new books are published every year, many of them in excess of five hundred pages, for the purpose of patching Darwin’s original work? Why is it that Origin of the Species needed to utilize between one hundred and fifty thousand to two hundred thousand words, just to explain this simple theory? Why is it that this "Origin of the Species," actually needed such an explanatory title such as "The Origin of the Species By Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life," with a total of twenty-one words or one hundred and eighteen characters, if you include the spaces?
Gould calls evolution, not just simple, but beautifully simple. Beautiful means attractive to the eye, and one might add, without blemish. Others might say that beauty comes in spite of blemishes, of which, in Evolution’s case, there are many. This brings me to my third and final point.
Gould states that Natural Selection has held up remarkably well, under intense and unrelenting scrutiny and testing, for 135 years. Is this the case? The evidence is plain. If natural selection has held up so well, then why have there been over one hundred books published every year, just to mend Darwin’s original works? A garment that has received in one year as many patches as evolution has could not be said to be holding up well.
Amazingly, this scrutiny has not been, as one would suspect, only from the outside. Mr. Stephen Jay Gould has punched many a hole and sown many a patch, himself. The idea of Punctuated Equilibrium, Gould's own theory, is totally absent from Origin of the Species.
Three points, pulled from one sentence, located on one of seven pages, in one article from Mr. Stephen Jay Gould, is hardly a rebuttal. Within the span of a day, Gould could write, proofread and schedule the publication of an article that would undoubtedly undo what is written here. Stephen Jay Gould could, were he alive, do that, but then, it would not be one hundred articles written to defend evolution, but one hundred and one.
Finally, it must be said, that there is yet another statement which is immensely powerful and beautifully simple, which has held up remarkably well, under intense and unrelenting scrutiny and testing, for almost two thousand years. That statement is that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Natural Selection has not endured the hatred that Christianity has. Darwin was not crucified, nor was he stoned, nor was he burned, or boiled, or hanged, or poisoned.

* Quote taken from The Evolution of Life on Earth, by Stephen Jay Gould; Scientific American Special, Volume 14, Number 2, 2004

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Member Comments
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Gregory Eckrich 27 Nov 2004
This article opens up an area of intense debate. Thank you for shining light here. As apologetics writers we must be aware of both form and substance. Scholarly form requires citing sources used (Dr. Gould's quotation), some information regarding the author where appropriate. If the audience does not know the author then birth, death and some history are important wheter in the text or in a footnote. Content requires that we present debate in a logical, step-by-step format because readers can not be counted on to understand jumps in reasoning. Here the jump from natural selection to evolution is made. Does natural selection equate to evolution? Is it important? Why? Marvelous area of study needing informed and vocal students. Keep studying and writing!! Greg. Eckrich


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