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Francis Galton  Stephen Jay Gould  Pierre Grasse  

Barry Gale  Science Historian at Darwin College, Cambridge University

Though often brilliantly and ingeniously composed, his argument was based, in many instances, on new and often unsubstantiated hypotheses, sometimes fuzzy analogies and metaphors, the repudiation of competing explanations, and a frequent plea to complexity and general ignorance, rather than compelling, clearly incontrovertible evidence in its own support; and it is clear that Darwin knew this.    Evolution Without Evidence (1982)  p.101

Yet even here, where Darwin’s arguments are strongest, nagging questions remain. For example, a reader of the Origin might be justified in wondering what Creationist view Darwin is referring to. Perhaps this is a problem more for the present-day reader. Darwin’s contemporaries may have known exactly what he meant, though I doubt it. Often the Creationist position seems merely a straw man-set up only to be knocked down. The constraints on space in the Origin, which led Darwin to abandon his original intention of arguing on both sides of the mutability issue, add to this feeling. The result is that the Creationist position is never clearly defined in the Origin.    Evolution Without Evidence (1982)  p.139

 

Galileo Galilei  (1564 – 1642)  Web  GBS

In questions of science the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.  

 

Francis Galton  (1822 – 1911)  Founder of Eugenics  Cousin of Charles Darwin  Web  GBS

Eugenics is the study of the agencies under social control that may improve or impair the racial qualities of future generations either physically or mentally. 

The feeble nations of the world are necessarily giving way before the nobler varieties of mankind.    "Hereditary Character and Talent" MacMillan's Magazine November 1864

Persistence in setting forth the national importance of eugenics. There are three stages to be passed through: (I) It must be made familiar as an academic question, until its exact importance has been understood and accepted as a fact. (2) It must be recognized as a subject whose practical development deserves serious consideration. (3) It must be introduced into the national conscience, like a new religion. It has, indeed, strong claims to become an orthodox religious, tenet of the future, for eugenics co-operate with the workings of nature by securing that humanity shall be represented by the fittest races. What nature does blindly, slowly, and ruthlessly, man may do providently, quickly, and kindly. As it lies within his power, so it becomes his duty to work in that direction.    Eugenics: Its Definition, Scope, and Aims  The American Journal of Sociology  July 1904 

The publication in 1859 of The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin made a marked epoch in my own mental development, as it did in that of human thought generally. Its effect was to demolish a multitude of dogmatic barriers by a single stroke, and to arouse a spirit of rebellion against all ancient authorities whose positive and unauthenticated statements were contradicted by modern science.     Memories of My Life  (1908)  p.287

I felt little difficulty in connection with the Origin of Species, but devoured its contents and assimilated them as fast as they were devoured, a fact which perhaps may be ascribed to an hereditary bent of mind that both its illustrious author and myself have inherited from our common grandfather, Dr. Erasmus Darwin. 

I was encouraged by the new views to pursue  many inquiries which had long interested me, and which clustered round the central topics of Heredity and the possible improvement of the Human Race    Memories of My Life  (1908)  p.288

We greatly want a brief word to express the science of improving stock, which is by no means confined to questions of judicious mating, but which, especially in the case of man, takes cognisance of all influences that tend in however remote a degree to give to the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable than they otherwise would have had. The word eugenics would sufficiently express the idea.    Inquiries into Human Faculty and its Development  (1919)  p.17

The chief result of these Inquiries has been to elicit the religious significance of the doctrine of evolution. It suggests an alteration io our mental attitude, and imposes a new moral duty. The new mental attitude is one of a greater sense of moral freedom, responsibility, and opportunity; the new duty which is supposed to be exercised concurrently with, and not in opposition to the old ones upon which the social fabric depends, is an endeavour to further evolution, especially that of the human race.
   Inquiries into Human Faculty and its Development  (1919)  p.220

In circumscribed communities especially, social approval and disapproval exert a potent force. Its presence is only too easily read by those who are the object of either, in the countenances, bearing, and manner of persons whom they meet and converse with. Is it, then, I ask, too much to expect that when a public opinion in favour of eugenics has once taken sure hold of such communities and has been accepted by them as a quasi-religion, the result will be manifested in sundry and very effective modes of action which are as yet untried, and many of them even unforeseen?    Nature  October 22 1908  p.647

(Eugenics) must be introduced into the national conscience, like a new religion. It has, indeed, strong claim to become an orthodox religious tenet for the future, for Eugenics co-operates with the workings of Nature by securing that humanity shall be represented by the fittest races. What Nature does blindly, slowly and ruthlessly, man must do providently, quickly and kindly.    Essays in Eugenics  (1985)  p.42  

The creed of Eugenics is founded upon the idea of evolution.    Essays in Eugenics  (1985)  p.68

 

Henry Gee  (b. 1962) Senior Editor of Nature  Web  Amazon  GBS  QMP

The intervals of time that separate fossils are so huge that we cannot say anything definite about their possible connection through ancestry and descent.     In Search of Deep Time  (2001)  p. 23

New fossil discoveries are fitted into this preexisting story. We call these new discoveries 'missing links', as if the chain of ancestry and descent were a real object for our contemplation, and not what it really is: a completely human invention created after the fact, shaped to accord with human prejudices. In reality, the physical record of human evolution is more modest. Each fossil represents an isolated point, with no knowable connection to any other given fossil, and all float around in an overwhelming sea of gaps.     In Search of Deep Time  (2001)  p. 32

Dinosaurs are fossils, and, like all fossils, they are isolated tableaux illuminating the measureless corridor of Deep Time. To recall what I said in chapter 1, no fossil is buried with its birth certificate. That, and the scarcity of fossils, means that it is effectively impossible to link fossils into chains of cause and effect in any valid way, whether we are talking about the extinction of the dinosaurs, or chains of ancestry and descent. Everything we think we know about the causal relations of events in Deep Time has been invented by us, after the fact.     In Search of Deep Time  (2001)  p.113

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.     In Search of Deep Time  (2001)  p.116-7

All the evidence for the hominid lineage between about 10 and 5 million years ago -- several thousand generations of living creatures -- can be fitted indo a small box.     In Search of Deep Time  (2001)  p.202

Fossil evidence of human evolutionary history is fragmentary and open to various interpretations. Fossil evidence of chimpanzee evolution is absent altogether.    Nature  July 12 2001  p. 131

 

Norman Geisler  (b. 1932)  PhD Philosophy  Web  Amazon  GBS  AV

The domain of origin science was taken over by operation science. Even the unique, unrepeated events of the origin of the universe, of life, and of new life forms were treated as though the were observed regularities in the present. The difference between unobserved past singularities (origin science) was obscured. The search for natural (secondary) caused for how the universe and life operate in the present was gradually extended to how they originated in the past. Overlooked was the fact that events of origin are not a recurring pattern of events against which a theory of origin can be tested. Hence, even the very naturalistic theories of origin, which had replaced the supernaturalisitic ones, would lack scientific status unless a special category is made for them. Such is possible by distinguishing origin science from operation science (as forensic science differs from empirical science). However, once this difference is recognized then the possibility of creationism as science is again resurrected, and we have come full circle.    Origin Science  (1987)  pp.86-87

 

Richard Goldschmidt  (1878 – 1958)  Professor of Zoology at the University of California at Berkeley  Web  GBS

Haeckel’s genius, with all its different facts, came out first when he wrote his theoretical magnum opus under the influence of the Origin of Species, which started him on his career as Darwin’s greatest apostle on the continent.    Portraits From Memory  (1956)  p.33

The present generation can hardly understand the influence Haeckel exercised through these books upon the minds of youth, of laymen in general, and also upon large sections of the professional world. Perhaps I may describe it best by my own experience. When I was a high school boy of about sixteen, I found myself in a period of doubt and revolution against traditional religion, a condition which was rather typical for the educated youth at that time. While in this stage, I got hold of some literature (paralleled somewhat in this country by Ingersoll’s writings) which violently attacked traditions and commended an extreme materialistic philosophy. My father was a member of a citizens’ club which owned a very large library, run as a lending library for the members. Once a week or so, I was sent there to exchange my parents’ books, which meant that I went to the stacks to pick out what my parents wanted. The books were then presented to the librarian for registration. Of course, once in the stacks, I began to browse and to look for books which might satisfy my interests, and thus I struck the revolutionary books by Karl Vogt and the wild Energy and Matter of Buchner, a kind of atheistic Bible. As I could not dare to bring home such books openly, I hid them under my coat, read them secretly, and returned them to the shelves the same way, some weeks later. In this way I found Haeckel’s history of creation one day and read it with burning eyes and soul. It seemed that all problems of heaven and earth were solved simply and convincingly; there was an answer to every question which troubled the young mind. Evolution was the key to everything and could replace all the beliefs and creeds which one was discarding. There were no creation no God, no heaven and hell, only evolution and the wonderful law of recapitulation which demonstrated the fact of evolution to the most stubborn believer in creation. I was so fascinated and shaken up that I had to communicate to others my new knowledge, and this was done in the school yard, on school picnics, and among friends. I remember vividly a scene during a school picnic when I stood surrounded by a group of schoolboys to whom I expounded the gospel of Darwinism as Haeckel saw it. Another boy, who was already destined to become a parson like his father, passed and remarked, "He is again at converting." Indeed my zeal, which was Haeckel’s zeal, was that of a missionary.    Portraits From Memory  (1956)  pp.34-35

Microevolution within the species proceeds by accumulation of micromutations and occupation of the available ecological niches by the preadapted mutants. Microevolution, especially geographic variation, adapts the species to the different conditions existing in the available range of distribution. Microevolution does not lead beyond the confines of the species, and the typical products of microevolution, the geographic races, are not incipient species. Species and the higher categories originate in single macroevolutionary steps as completely new genetic systems. The genetical process which is involved consists of a repatterning of the chromosomes, which results in a new genetic system. The theory of genes and of the accumulation of micromutants by selection has to be ruled out of this picture.    The Material Basis of Evolution  (1982)  p.396

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