Friday, 24 February 2012

40 Years Ago: Eldredge and Gould Criticise Gradualism

Darwin’s gradualism is not supported by evidence. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

What do evolutionists do when the fossils do not support gradual Darwinian evolution? They try to salvage evolution by proposing an alternative approach that does not need to be supported by fossil evidence.

40 years ago, Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould published a paper entitled "Punctuated Equilibria: An Alternative to Phyletic Gradualism". In addition to criticising classical Darwinism, it also emphasised that scientists are not at all objective.

All observation is coloured by theory and expectation,” they write.

They quote Paul Feyerabend, who claimed (1970) that theories “act as ‘party lines’ to force observation in present channels, unrecognised by adherents who think they perceive an objective truth.”

They go on to say,

A theory often compels us to see the world in its light and support. Yet, we think we see objectively and therefore interpret each new datum as an independent confirmation of our theory.”

It is not difficult to agree with them. All too often Darwinists have “seen” evidence of evolution in humans, for instance vestigial organs and “junk DNA” that in real life have never even existed.


Eldredge, Niles and Stephen Jay Gould. 1972. Punctuated Equilibria: An Alternative to Phyletic Gradualism.