Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Why punctuated equilibrium did not rescue modern evolutionary theory


David Klinghoffer points to an explanation:

The theory of punctuated equilibrium — often abbreviated a bit too cutely as “punk eek” — was formulated by paleontologists Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge to shore up traditional Darwinism with its glaring difficulty of the missing fossil transitions. The personable new ID explainer Lukas Ruegger has considered that difficulty and some proposed paleontological solutions to it in his excellent Khan Academy-like series Basics of Intelligent Design Biology.

In the third episode, “Evolution by Jerks,” out now from Discovery Institute, Ruegger turns to the three problems with punctuated equilibrium, problems so serious that they resulted in Gould’s backing away from his own theory. By the time of his death, he had come full circle, in effect, returning to traditional Darwinism.

David Klinghoffer, “Lukas Ruegger: Three Problems with Punctuated Equilibrium” at Evolution News and Science Today (March 28, 2022)

In the 1970s, paleontologists Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge proposed a model of evolution called punctuated equilibrium, intended to resolve the lack of transitional forms in the fossil record. Can “Punk Eek,” as it’s often called, resolve the abrupt appearance of new animal phyla in the Cambrian explosion? This video explains why the answer is No—among many other problems, Punk Eek requires too much evolutionary change too quickly and lacks a biological mechanism to account for the rapid origin of anatomical novelty we see in the Cambrian period.

Note: Re Stephen Jay Gould returning to traditional Darwinism: Didn’t E. O. Wilson try escaping the vice grip of Darwinism with “group selection” and then dramatically returning to full orthodoxy, leaving many dozens of supporters stranded?

Complete academy acceptance is a powerful motivator…

You may also wish to read: Can the Cambrian Explosion be explained away by the earlier Ediacaran Explosion? David Klinghoffer: Lukas Ruegger is the personable new intelligent design “explainer” whose videos take an approach similar to Khan Academy’s. The latter’s offering on evolution is replete with junk science, as Casey Luskin has detailed. Ruegger’s treatment of the subject is much better, and I appreciate his clarity and brevity.

My memory of the details was blurred, but that the time that punctuated equilibrium was being devised as an explanation for the lack of transitional forms, big-A Atheists were answering the question, "Where are the transitional fossils?" by proclaiming that the backrooms of museums were full of them and that the people asking the question were "looking the other way." EvilSnack
Punctuated equilibrium always was the same thing as traditional Darwinian evolution. It just says the small changes were not expressed till the new proteins evolved which took a very long time. Then the combination of previously unexpressed proteins cause a major change. It solves nothing. It assumes the same impossible occurrences. It is a sham. This has been discussed here several times. I suggest anyone interested in why some still adhere to it explore Jurgen Brosius. He was chosen to eulogize Gould in the literature. jerry

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