Darwin’s major hypothesis concerning the idea of a biological continuum with its Ascent of Man narrative from ape to Homo sapiens (which I, in the company of doubtless numberless others, had previously accepted by dint of little more than passive osmosis) had, I now discovered, been cast into considerable doubt on a whole host of fronts by recent discoveries. In particular, the idea invoked of a crossover from one species to another appears highly problematical in view of the practical experience of animal husbandry, where selective breeding has considerably greater success in bringing about minor changes than major ones (which in fact remain unheard of to date). For it is now thought that the genetic code possesses what might for convenience be termed an inbuilt fail-safe system to ensure genetic homeostasis and the integrity of the species.
Darwin envisioned the momentous ontological change from ape to man occurring gradually by way of “transitional forms.” Pressing far too heavily on time itself as a causal agent, he advanced the untestable hypothesis that the changes will have taken place during the billions of years separating our present day from the supposed time of the first appearance of a simian species on our planet. Since this theory is beyond the reach of any possible empirical test, it requires alternative evidential back-up. Unfortunately for Darwin there is a dearth of any fossil evidence establishing the claimed evolutionary “missing links,” a large lacuna which Darwin was aware of but still hoped might be remedied in finds after his day (vainly to date, it must be added, and the notorious Piltdown fraud only served to underscore the evidentiary gap)Neil Thomas, “Darwin on Trial (Again)” at Evolution News and Science Today (November 6, 2021)
Hmm, yes. The thing about the Piltdown story was the trouble that was undergone to keep people from getting a really good look at it. Presumably, people would feel the need for such deception because they didn’t think a solution was just around the corner.
You may also wish to read: Was the exposed Piltdown fraudster framed?