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Reb Moshe asks whether paleontologist Niles Eldredge believes in Darwinian evolution …

Dr. Niles Eldredge
Niles Eldredge

Here (The Allgemeiner,, June 12, 2011). A good question, say many. Long gone are the days when Eldredge and Steve Gould hung out together, scoffing at Darwin dogma. It all got kind of dangerous later so …, but we digress.

Reb Moshe’s big thing is logic:

Please focus on this crucial distinction. Logic is not science. Logic is a commodity which cannot be hoarded or monopolized by any particular occupation or profession. Logic is an intellectual tool available equally to both scientist and non-scientist. If the issue at hand is not a question of scientific data or knowledge itself, but a logical comparison, deduction, or conclusion involving scientific data or knowledge, scientific credentials are for the most part irrelevant.

Commenting on Eldredge’s position, he homes in on the critical question: Is Eldredge in fact an utterly convinced Darwin believer? Is there truly a great long beard growing around his heart? Well, the Reb certainly doesn’t put it quite like that; he observes:

Moshe Averick
Moshe Averick

However, the most bewildering point in Eldredge’s approach is not anything that he predicts about evolutionary theory; it is what he does not predict that is most perplexing of all! The obvious “third grand prediction” should have been that if all life originated from one common ancestor, then the fossil record should provide the “smoking gun” evidence that shows the gradual transitions from one species, genus, phylum, etc., to another. What makes this even more astounding is that Niles Eldredge is a highly respected and world-renowned paleontologist! It is difficult to escape the conclusion that the reason he leaves this out, is because in his opinion as a world-class paleontologist, the fossil record does not provide evidence for Darwinian evolutionary theory. I want to make it clear to the reader this should not be misconstrued as a comprehensive analysis of evolutionary theory nor an attack on Eldredge’s credentials as a scientist; I am simply pointing out the flaws in his logic.

He goes after a few similar worthies:

Dr. Robert Hazen, in his book Genesis: The Scientific Quest for Life’s Origin, makes a similar blunder:

“How did life arise?…Barring divine intervention, life must have emerged by a natural process – one fully consistent with the laws of chemistry and physics.”

How is it possible that such a bizarre statement could be put forward by such a highly accomplished and intelligent scientist? There are only two possibilities to begin with; if you arbitrarily eliminate one, it doesn’t take a PhD level intellect to conclude that only one possibility remains. Dr. Hazen has presented us with none other than a meaningless tautology. He has, in fact, informed us of the following: If no other force is at work in the universe with regards to the origin of life except natural processes (“Barring Divine intervention”), then no other force is at work in the universe with regards to origin of life except natural processes. Hazen’s statement is about as meaningful, informative, and scientific as the following: “Barring natural processes, life must have emerged by divine intervention.”

But isn’t tautology the highest rung of materialist science?

IS ID the third rail of materialist science? Mung
Ah, but the rails of materialist "science" are question-begging and special-pleading. Ilion
But isn’t tautology the highest rung of materialist science? Actually, it is the lowest rung, without which it cannot get off the ground. Mung

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