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Note from a reader on free macroevolution excerpt

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Re the excerpt from Evolution: Making sense of life by science writer Carl Zimmer and evolutionary biologist Doug Emlen (from 2012, hardcover valued at $80): In response to the offer noted here, the reader kindly writes to say,

The free download is only the first part of the chapter, not the whole thing. Most of the discussion in this excerpt is about patterns in the fossil record (species diversity temporally and geographically, rates of origination and extinction, etc.)

Concerning possible mechanisms of macroevolution, the downloaded pages included this:

In Chapter 13 we saw how microevolutionary processes, such as natural selection and drift, can produce new species.

The only other references to possible mechanisms of macroevolution included “convergence” as an explanation for the similarity of Australian
marsupials to placental mammals on other continents; punctuated equilibria as an explanation for patterns in the fossil record; dispersal and plate tectonics as explanations for biogeographical patterns; and “evo-devo” as an explanation for the Cambrian explosion. But these references are all rather superficial; the main emphasis is on patterns in the fossil record.

So if “macroevolution” means that life had a history that is partially preserved in fossils, there’s some evidence here. But if “macroevolution” is supposed to mean how it happened, this excerpt is standard story-telling.

News’s response to friend: First, you are right re excerpt; it is not a whole chapter, as earlier reported, but pages 432 to 453 (Units 14.1 through 14.4), on macroevolution. Still free to interested readers, so far as we know.

Also, the function of standard Darwinian storytelling is often misunderstood. Insiders purse their lips at all those “just-so stories,” hoping perhaps that no one will guess their true role. (Maybe the insiders don’t understand it either.)

Because Darwinism (natural selection acting on random mutation generates huge levels of information, not noise) is assumed to be true (troo?), it is science irrespective of its fact base. All that any researcher or pop science writer needs is a Darwinian account of that fact base.

The critical controversy today is not between Darwin’s followers and the proponents of Noah’s ark. Rather, it is between a story of evolution where Darwinism explains almost everything about life vs. one in which a variety of mechanisms of change have operated throughout the history of life.

See, for example,

Horizontal gene transfer: Sorry, Darwin, it’s not your evolution any more


Epigenetic change: Lamarck, wake up, you’re wanted in the conference room!

In the present day, the burden of proof lies on the proponents of Darwinism—which in any other setting would be called “magic”—vs. the proponents of critical thinking. Only ruthless suppression of critics will save Darwinism from a long overdue accounting. But expect the Darwin lobby to continue to suppress and misrepresent the history of life unimpeded for quite a while yet.

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4 Replies to “Note from a reader on free macroevolution excerpt

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:


    Earth’s mineralogy unique in the cosmos – August 26, 2015
    New research predicts that Earth has more than 1,500 undiscovered minerals and that the exact mineral diversity of our planet is unique and could not be duplicated anywhere in the cosmos.
    Excerpt: 5,000 types existing today arose primarily from the rise of life. More than two-thirds of known minerals can be linked directly or indirectly to biological activity, according to Hazen.,,,
    The team predicted that 1,563 minerals exist on Earth today, but have yet to be discovered and described.,,
    Earth’s mineralogy is unique in the cosmos,” Hazen said.

    of note:

    The Creation of Minerals:
    Excerpt: Thanks to the way life was introduced on Earth, the early 250 mineral species have exploded to the present 4,300 known mineral species. And because of this abundance, humans possessed all the necessary mineral resources to easily launch and sustain global, high-technology civilization.

    Minerals and Their Uses
    Every segment of society uses minerals and mineral resources everyday. The roads we ride or drive on and the buildings we live learn and work in all contain minerals.

    Newly Discovered Bacterium Forms Intracellular Minerals – May 11, 2012
    Excerpt: A new species of photosynthetic bacterium has come to light: it is able to control the formation of minerals (calcium, magnesium, barium and strontium carbonates) within its own organism. ,, carbonate rocks that date back some 3.5 billion years and are among the earliest traces of life on Earth.

    (Calcium carbonate, of which chalk, limestone and marble are made, also makes up corals, shells of snails and other animals, and stromatolites. Strontium Carbonate is used in Ceramics, Pyrotechnics, Electronics and metallurgy. Barium carbonate is widely used in the ceramics industry as an ingredient in glazes. It acts as a flux, a matting and crystallizing agent and combines with certain colouring oxides to produce unique colours not easily attainable by other means. In the brick, tile, earthenware and pottery industries barium carbonate is added to clays to precipitate soluble salts. Magnesium carbonate also has several important uses for man.)

  2. 2
    Mung says:

    I found a nice hardback copy of Zimmer’s 2001 Evolution book in the trash. Free. Did I pay too much?

  3. 3
    Virgil Cain says:

    Just some random trash that you just happened to look in? That would be very Darwinian…

  4. 4
    Mung says:

    Well, I did select it. And so it survived.

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