Rumors of Evolution’s Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

In a recent post I directed readers to the many scientific papers on the web site of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. These illustrate the vibrancy of many scientific fields, including evolutionary biology.

In discussions on the Uncommon Descent blog, on the other hand (where it was refreshing to have William Dembski himself acknowledge up front that he does not believe in common descent), there is a close-knit community of people who declare that evolution is a dead field, even if most of those working in it refuse to admit it.

I was struck to find out that such claims of evolution’s imminent demise have been around a long time – a really long time. One web site provides quotes making such claims going back to 1825! Yes, that is right – even before Darwin offered an explanation of a key mechanism driving evolution in The Origin Of Species, there were people proclaiming it was a dead-end avenue of investigation. For critics to say such things then may not be all that surprising – but for anyone to still be saying it certainly is.

Then again, some Christians have had not problem maintaining that something is still going to happen “soon” 2,000 years later, and so these claims of evolution’s imminent demise could well persist for many more millennia. But then again, so will evolution…

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  • Christensen

    Rather misleading, Doc, since “Darwinism” as understood today…i.e., mainstream evolutionary theory… has many more components that Darwin imagined.His original theory would not stand on its own.

  • Sure, but physics has a lot more to it nowadays than Newton imagined. Darwin and Newton were both wrong about things that we can see now with the benefit of hindsight and further scientific progress. But both were spectacularly on the right track and without their contributions the later progress, including things that modified areas of their own contributions, would not have been possible then.