Cornelius Hunter’s post includes quotes from Niles Eldridge, George Gaylord Simpson, Joseph Le Conte and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin saying that “evolution” is a firmly established fact. The inclusion of these names caught my attention, because all have made rather clear and dramatic statements to the effect that the fossil record does not support the idea of gradual change; the first three are quoted in my new book In the Beginning and Other Essays on Intelligent Design . These, plus a similar quotation from Teilhard de Chardin, are reproduced here, for those of you who do not want to buy the book.
Since nearly everyone agrees that “Nature does not make jumps,” I see only two possibilities:
1) When these scientists use the word “evolution,” they do not necessarily exclude intelligent design as a cause.
2) These scientists believe that gradual change is certain, despite the fact that the only direct evidence does not support this claim.
The last paragraph in the New York Times New Service quote makes it clear that Niles Eldridge belongs to group 2, and it is likely, from their other statements, that the other three also belong there.
Or perhaps they believe that Nature can indeed make jumps: that new species (even new phyla) can arise through entirely natural causes, in single mutations?