Thursday, 3 May 2012

Dr. Henry Gee: Fossil Lineages or Bedtime Stories?

This scenario does not have scientific merit. Image courtesy of José-Manuel Benitos, Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

Popular magazines and textbooks often use assumed evolutionary lineages as proof of the “fact” of evolution.

Most people know that this fact is not a fact. In his book In Search of Deep Time (Free Press, New York, 1999), Henry Gee, a senior editor of Nature , who has a PhD in palaeontology, wrote:

"To take a line of fossils and claim that they represent a lineage is not a scientific hypothesis that can be tested, but an assertion that carries the same validity as a bedtime story -- amusing, perhaps even instructive, but not scientific."

Darwinian evolution abounds with just-so stories based on assumptions of some kind of upward progression.