Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Evolution's "Best" Evidence For Denying The Obvious!

The notes from my recent evolution debate have upset a scientist (or "science expert") called Kristoffer Haldrup. Kristoffer is adamant that evolutionary theory is a scientific fact even though the missing link is still missing. But Kristoffer insists that transitional forms have been found and pointed to "Whale Evolution" as irrefutable proof. Kristoffer said:

VERY many examples of transitional forms [are] known. Transitional forms that are not only known from a sometimes spotty fossil record, but transitional forms that are completely in line with what we have nowadays learned from genetics about the evolution of existing species such as horses, humans and whales . . . And if I should pick just one transitional form, then Ambulocetus is kind of a nice one - something like a small whale with legs, legs well adapted for swimming. This very nicely illustrates how even transitional forms are superbly well adapted to the niche they occupy, like penguins are today . . . There is a plethora of transitional forms, all species or subspecies in their own right and all well adapted to their particular ecological niche.

So now Kristoffer demands that I check out the scientifically verifiable fact of "whale evolution". Behold the science of Whale evolution:

Whale Evolution vs. The Actual Fossil Evidence from Philip Cunningham on Vimeo.

I guess when you can't find a transitional form you have to invent one! How many more "missing links" are they going to trot out before they give up?

Kristoffer tried to put his best construction on the video by pointing out that:

the video actually does manage to underscore why paleontology/evolution is indeed an emprical science. Darwin put forth a theory - bears were the ancestors of whales - with an implicit prediction that intermediate fossils of such a transition should show up. None did, on the contrary, so the theory had to be discarded and was thrown on the midden heap. Later, based on clues from fossil skulls, a theory was proposed that the whale ancestors were more like a now-extinct class of predators called mesonychids, the hyena-like beasties of the video I guess. Alas, new evidence again showed up, this time from genetics, and the theory had to discarded as it was in conflict with the best available evidence. The genetic data predicted (a key feature of empirical science, in addition to falsifiablity like in the two preceding examples) that there should exist an ancestral species with traits similar to the ancestral species of hippos, and now THIS prediction actually held true. Rhodocetus and Pakicetus were found in the Afghan/Pakistani deserts, confirming the general theory of common ancestry with hippos or, more precisely, the artiodactyls. However, as the video shows, there was still room for refinement as early predictions about the anatomy of Rhodocetus were falsified (no flippers) and the theory was corrected to reflect the new evidence. And so it goes, theories are put forth, and as time passes they are either falsified, corrected or confirmed as they are held against evidence old and new. And through this arduous, slow process new knowledge is gradually formed.

Here's some new knowledge I derive from that "arduous, slow process" - maybe the whole theory is wrong! What Kristoffer just said there is long winded scientific code for "we have never found anything that proves our theory so we have to keep trying to find the evidence or invent some". Why won't they even consider the possibility that their theory is wrong? Perhaps zoologist D. M. S. Watson gave the real reason when he said that:

the theory of evolution itself, a theory universally accepted not because it be can proved by logically coherent evidence to be true but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible (D. M. S. Watson, Adaptation, Nature 124 (August 10, 1929), 233)

What we find on earth today is what the Bible has always taught. Life reproducing after its own kind. Cats giving birth to cats. Dogs giving birth to dogs. Humans giving birth to humans. And phony scientific theories giving birth to new phony scientific theories!

A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question (Atheist Astrophysicist - Sir Fred Hoyle).

There are gaps in the fossil graveyard, places where there should be no intermediate forms, but there is nothing whatsoever instead. No paleontologist . . . denies that this is so. It is simply a fact. Darwin's theory and the fossil record are in conflict (David Berlinsky).

Scientists concede that their most cherished theories are based on embarrassingly few fossil fragments and that huge gaps exist in the fossil record (Time Magazine 7 Nov 1977)

The evolutionists seem to know everything about the missing link except the fact that it is missing. (GK Chesterton)


Kristoffer Haldrup said...

I'm almost kind of flattered that it looks like you´re elevating my view on what is a good example of a transitional form to "Evolution's Best Evidence"...;)

And I can assure you, that I am not the slightest bit upset about these posts of yours, I find them to be great fun and a marvelous showcase of the Dunning-Kruger effect;) (

However, I am a little bit dismayed that you make it sound like I demand that you go and check out the evidence for yourself -- I never demanded such a thing, but I strongly encourage you and any readers to do so, this goes without saying:) Of course, I had hoped against all hope that you would actually pick up a decent book on the subject ("A Tangled Bank" and "Why Evolution Is True" are good ones), rather than just find a video on the internet that you liked...

Regarding your post, you again seem to have gotten the scientific process shown in the video somehow backwards. The actual evidence is the fossil(s) -- how it looked and its relationship to other species consitute scientific hypothesis that can be tested and through this be confirmed or refuted (see my comments to your previous post in this series for details). As an example, it was hypothesized based on the first Rhodocetus fossil (in particular the shape of the lower vertebrae) that it had a tail and flippers, even though that part of the fossil was missing. This hypothesis was then refuted as new evidence came up, showing that Rhodocetus actually had legs -- with legbones whose shape directly support common ancestry with the hippo, an added bonus to this discovery:)

Finally you are absolutely correct that on Earth today we see cats giving birth to cats and so on. However, if we look beyond the tip of our noses and follow our curisosity to look beyond the horizon and peer into our deep past, then the vista truly opens up. The last hundred years of scientific exploration of our planet´s past tells a story of profound vitality and variation expressed though evolutionary processes that is truly astounding and beautiful:) And I simply love to look at a silly-looking pigeon or a clever raven and find the traits that connect them to those giants of the ancient past, the dinosaurs:) And doing so, I marvel at the power of the scientific method to study our deep past through the clues left behind today.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Kristoffer but in the first 30 seconds of the video the presenter uses terms which indicate that Evolution is still very much a theory without any physical evidence.

Otherwise the Scientists would not need to suggest this or that.

Still a theory mate.

Kristoffer Haldrup said...

Hiding behind the veil of anonymity never does much for a persons credibility...but "Anonymous", could I encourage you to have a look at the comments section of the second part of this series of posts?

-I hope that will clarify the concept of a scientific "theory" a bit. Also, if you take a closer look at the video and its production background, you will realize that the presenter is pretty far from neutral on the issue of evolution.

Cameron Buettel said...

Kristoffer, once again stop lecturing people and taking some imaginary moral high ground. You cry about the bias of the reporter in the video. Are you completely blind to the bias in the world of Darwinian evolutionary? You refuse to even consider the possibility of a Designer as an explanation for commonalities between species, you say whale evolution is a fact and then admit that it is a theory in constant flux. Your presuppositions drive everything else you believe in your religion - don't you dare cry about biased reporting. C'mon, admit that evolution is an unproven theory and it is possible that there is a Creator. That would be an honest objective deduction that considers all the possibilities like true science is supposed to.

Renowned astrophysicist and atheist Sir Fred Hoyle said "A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question."

The difference between you and Fred is that he is an atheist who is honest on this subject.

Cameron Buettel said...

And Kristoffer, how can your morality have any credibillity when you support the murder of babies?

Kristoffer Haldrup said...

So much Anger...

Cameron, if you cared to read what I write in somewhat greater detail, I hope that you would see that some of the investigations I have mentioned could just as well have detected a common creation of all species a few thousand years ago. -The genetic methods do not in any way rely on the dating of fossils or some such -- they just measure variation between species over time and a common creation like the one you espouse would show up clearly in the data. It does not.

The same thing goes for geology. A massive flood like the biblical one would leave literally countless records in the present-day landscape. But this is not what is found. A very few geologic features can be interpreted to support the biblical view, under some rather weird assumptions, but the only theory that has been capable of providing a coherent picture of the geologic past is the one that involves a 4-6 bio. year old Earth. Today, we can find the remnants of "minor" catastrophes such as earthquakes and volcanoes many thousands of years back in time but a proposed and truly vast catastrophe such as a global flood has left curiously few traces. None, in fact.

The overall picture is that all of the methods used to investigate our past could just as easily have found that the evidence pointed to a young Earth and simultaneous creation of all species. It would actually have been MUCH easier to find evidence for this idea, but that is not what is found, sorry. IF there is a creator, then it is established beyond all reasonable doubt that this creator chose to work his miracle of creation over millions years, using evolution as the tool by which today’s life is formed.

As to the Fred Hoyle statement...well, I and many, many other physicists including a few astronomers of much greater stature that Fred Hoyle disagree with him on a very large number of issues. He did good work, fantastic work, on stellar nucleosynthesis back in the days, but his later work on cosmology was pretty low-quality stuff driven more by his philosophical inclinations than by data.

Cameron Buettel said...

Of course Kristoffer. Whale evolution is irrefutable. You might not have the intermediates but because your theory has to be right it is only a matter of time before you find the right fossils to fit your theory. And Fred Hoyle could not possibly be right when we consider that you don't agree with him or like his later work.

Kristoffer Haldrup said...

Whale evolutions is not irrefutable at all, it could easily be disproven by having a modern-whale fossil show up in a 40 million year old rock formation. But this is not what is found, rather we find early-whale fossils with a nice progression of the blow-hole position further forward on the nose as we go back in time. This is accompanied by the appearance of legs more suited for land-dwelling as we go back in time. THAT is what the evidence is, and as we find the more and more intermediates, the theory of how whales have evolved becomes more and more accurate. It is the fossils (and other evidence) that primarily drives the development of theory, as it should be:)

And yes, Fred Hoyle could in principle be absolutely right in the quote you gave. However, he was disastrously wrong on a range of scientific issues and is not much of an authority figure to appeal to.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kristoffer,

My name is Anonymous.

I don't have any evidence to prove this fact so you'll just have to trust me by faith, like you trust in your theory of evolution.


Cameron Buettel said...

"A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question" (Atheist Astrophysicist - Sir Fred Hoyle).

"There are gaps in the fossil graveyard, places where there should be no intermediate forms, but there is nothing whatsoever instead. No paleontologist . . . denies that this is so. It is simply a fact. Darwin's theory and the fossil record are in conflict" (David Berlinsky).

"Scientists concede that their most cherished theories are based on embarrassingly few fossil fragments and that huge gaps exist in the fossil record" (Time Magazine 7 Nov 1977)

"The evolutionists seem to know everything about the missing link except the fact that it is missing." (GK Chesterton)

Kristoffer Haldrup said...

Come on, Cameron -- if you want to do play the "pick and cite"-game you can surely do better than this:)

-Three quotes copied directly from a Ray Comfort book and one from a once-famous astrophysicist, who in his later years turned crank and panspermia-advocate? And, except for the random ID-guy Berlinsky, the quotes are all more than 40 years may be really surprised by this, but quite a few fossils have been dug up since then and the entire science of molecular genetics has come into being, supporting the fossil evidence.

But, just to show that I can cut´n´paste too, here is a another quote. It is about this dude berlinsky, but I feel that it has some relevance to your arguments in general:)

"The content of David Berlinski's article [From which your quote originally comes] does not differ from more traditional creation-science material, though his tone is more genteel and his writing a lot more literate. . . . But true to the creation-science genre, his approach consists of constructing strawmen, then knocking them down with misinterpreted, faulty, or nonexistent data as well as carefully selected quotations from evolutionary scientists"
(Eugenie Scott, 1996)

Cameron Buettel said...

I posted them because I think they are interesting quotes. They do show that evolution is not a certifiable fact and none of those people are Christians. But seriously, Eugenie Scott? The woman who had a big boohoo in an interview because Christian children in schools were asking questions that their evolutionary teachers could not answer? Get a life! You can argue away all you like Kristoffer, we have established my original point long ago - that evolution is not a proven fact. It remains an unproven theory. Along with we have learnt that there is evidence for a younger earth and for a global flood - not proof but evidence that warrants consideration. We have also established that evolutionists interpret their evidence through the lens of their presuppositions and other theories do not get a fair hearing. Regardless, this has been for your benefit. I know God created the world and He will judge it one day. He has revealed Himself to me. The evidence merely backs up what I already know.

Kristoffer, go and get a life! Better still, repent of your deeply sinful life, stop believing in the religion of evolution because the God of the Bible will judge you anyway, and cry out to God for mercy. Why not open a Bible and read the book of John? It's the best selling book ever and the most reliable document in antiquity. Isn't it at least worthy of your consideration?

Kristoffer Haldrup said...

I have long had a feeling that the points above might be all that you took with you from our discussion so far...incidentally, they were also the points you brought to the discussion, so no surprises there:)

It never ceases to astound me that people like you prefer to totally disregard decades and sometimes centuries of patient scientific inquiry into the history of our species, our world and our universe -- all just to preserve the worldview that you infer from a few passages in the Bible. A book I have read, and although it did shed a bit of light on the mental makeup of folks like you, I came away rather unimpressed...

While I cannot say that I feel especially honored that this discussion so far "was all for my benefit", I hope and trust that some readers of your blog may have learned a few things along the way. For instance, that in order to save the YEC point of view, it is necessary to sacrifice whole swathes of modern science and scientific disciplines. -Disciplines, that nevertheless seem to work extraordinarily well when we apply them to find oil reservoirs, build computers or do medical diagnostics:)

-And even if this trust is not warranted, I have had few good laughs along the way, and so have my friends who stopped by for a quick peek every now and again -- but they truly think I have a weird hobby, debating creationists on the web:D They and I look forward to your future evolution-related posts!

Cameron Buettel said...

Painstaking research? Painstaking because it is painful when you have to keep going back to the drawing board to preserve your presuppositions.

If you have read the Bible then I would appreciate if you explained to me what the main message is?

Cameron Buettel said...

BTW if you really like debating Creationists then why don't you debate someone from Answers in Genesis?

Kristoffer Haldrup said...

Huh? AiG has a debate section? I know there are quite a few websites more or less devoted to debunking AiG, but I never came across a debate section on their website. The ID website "Uncommon Descent" has a fairly lively debate, but of course these crazy fellows are almost mainstream scientists compared to you and your fellow belivers, and therefore less fun to play with;) And also, I tend to limit myself to debating Danish apologetics as I only have time to take on a limited number of cranks at the same time:)

By the way, research can be painstaking as you work long hours at the lab bench, at the computer or at some dig in a parching desert. It can also be literally, mentally painful, when a cherished result you worked hard to reach is rendered obsolete or flat-out wrong by a new and better theory based on, say, better data or new fossils. Such is the nature of research, sometimes you're proven wrong. But this is fully compensated for by developing and discovering the sheer beauty and massive explanatory power of succesful theories, like quantum physics and evolution:)

As to the bible, I didn't get much of a message out of reading it. Like other mythologies, it reads like a collection of stories with quite a tenous relationship to actual events. If anything, I found the message to be that the God of the Old Testament was a vengeful, unpleasant, cruel god and the God of the new testament a slightly nicer version of the old one. I can see why people of earlier times believed in such things, but to me it reads like quite a poor fairy tale. But, as with some other massively popular books, I felt I had to read it to understand what people were talking about all the time -- I may even read it again now, after having spent a few years debunking people like you and thus observing a deeply unpleasant aspect of modern christianity I only thought existed in the deepest and most backward reaches of the American Bible Belt...the Bible is thus better off than Moby Dick, which I will for sure never read again;)

Cameron Buettel said...

AIG have some guys who are very good at public debate. I attended one in Australia where the AIG guy absolutely demolished the leader of the Australian's sceptic society.

Cameron Buettel said...

Kristoffer, I know you can post quotes as well. My point is not to win a quoting contest, but to ask you if you are so sure that all these qualified scientists (many who are not Christians) are all wrong. Could there be so much questioning if the empirical evidence was 100% certain? Do they bring nothing to the discussion? Can true scientific method continue to not "allow a Divine foot in the door"?

George Ellis (British astrophysicist): "Amazing fine tuning occurs in the laws that make this [complexity] possible. Realization of the complexity of what is accomplished makes it very difficult not to use the word 'miraculous' without taking a stand as to the ontological status of the word."

Paul Davies (British astrophysicist): "There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all....It seems as though somebody has fine-tuned nature’s numbers to make the Universe....The impression of design is overwhelming".

Paul Davies: "The laws [of physics] ... seem to be the product of exceedingly ingenious design... The universe must have a purpose".

Alan Sandage (winner of the Crawford prize in astronomy): "I find it quite improbable that such order came out of chaos. There has to be some organizing principle. God to me is a mystery but is the explanation for the miracle of existence, why there is something instead of nothing."

John O'Keefe (astronomer at NASA): "We are, by astronomical standards, a pampered, cosseted, cherished group of creatures.. .. If the Universe had not been made with the most exacting precision we could never have come into existence. It is my view that these circumstances indicate the universe was created for man to live in."

George Greenstein (astronomer): "As we survey all the evidence, the thought insistently arises that some supernatural agency - or, rather, Agency - must be involved. Is it possible that suddenly, without intending to, we have stumbled upon scientific proof of the existence of a Supreme Being? Was it God who stepped in and so providentially crafted the cosmos for our benefit?"

Arthur Eddington (astrophysicist): "The idea of a universal mind or Logos would be, I think, a fairly plausible inference from the present state of scientific theory."

Arno Penzias (Nobel prize in physics): "Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, one with the very delicate balance needed to provide exactly the conditions required to permit life, and one which has an underlying (one might say 'supernatural') plan."

Roger Penrose (mathematician and author): "I would say the universe has a purpose. It's not there just somehow by chance."

Tony Rothman (physicist): "When confronted with the order and beauty of the universe and the strange coincidences of nature, it's very tempting to take the leap of faith from science into religion. I am sure many physicists want to. I only wish they would admit it."

Vera Kistiakowsky (MIT physicist): "The exquisite order displayed by our scientific understanding of the physical world calls for the divine."

Robert Jastrow (self-proclaimed agnostic): "For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries."

Cameron Buettel said...

Stephen Hawking (British astrophysicist): "Then we shall… be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason - for then we would know the mind of God."

Frank Tipler (Professor of Mathematical Physics): "When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics." Note: Tipler since has actually converted to Christianity, hence his latest book, The Physics Of Christianity.

Alexander Polyakov (Soviet mathematician): "We know that nature is described by the best of all possible mathematics because God created it."

Ed Harrison (cosmologist): "Here is the cosmological proof of the existence of God – the design argument of Paley – updated and refurbished. The fine tuning of the universe provides prima facie evidence of deistic design. Take your choice: blind chance that requires multitudes of universes or design that requires only one.... Many scientists, when they admit their views, incline toward the teleological or design argument."

Edward Milne (British cosmologist): "As to the cause of the Universe, in context of expansion, that is left for the reader to insert, but our picture is incomplete without Him [God]."

Barry Parker (cosmologist): "Who created these laws? There is no question but that a God will always be needed."

Drs. Zehavi, and Dekel (cosmologists): "This type of universe, however, seems to require a degree of fine tuning of the initial conditions that is in apparent conflict with 'common wisdom'."

Arthur L. Schawlow (Professor of Physics at Stanford University, 1981 Nobel Prize in physics): "It seems to me that when confronted with the marvels of life and the universe, one must ask why and not just how. The only possible answers are religious. . . . I find a need for God in the universe and in my own life."

Henry "Fritz" Schaefer (Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry and director of the Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry at the University of Georgia): "The significance and joy in my science comes in those occasional moments of discovering something new and saying to myself, 'So that's how God did it.' My goal is to understand a little corner of God's plan."

Wernher von Braun (Pioneer rocket engineer) "I find it as difficult to understand a scientist who does not acknowledge the presence of a superior rationality behind the existence of the universe as it is to comprehend a theologian who would deny the advances of science."

Antony Flew (Professor of Philosophy, former atheist, author, and debater) "It now seems to me that the findings of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design."

Frank Tipler (Professor of Mathematical Physics): "From the perspective of the latest physical theories, Christianity is not a mere religion, but an experimentally testable science".

Kristoffer Haldrup said...

Oh My, someone has been busy with ctrl-c/ctrl-v ;)

So I guess your point is that there is a lot of religious scientists? This is not news, as Eugenie Scott (who I quoted above) would be more than happy to tell you -- this point is something she is very keen on. However, I will gladly bet you a good dinner that about 90% of the folks you quote above would have good hard laugh if you tried to convince them about YEC. If you check out the studies of e.g. sociologist Elaine Ecklund you will see that the kind of religiosity exhibited by scientists in general is exceptionally far removed from your fundamentalism and is more a form of spiritualism.

Still, more than 90% of top-notch biologists and physicists do not belive in good or in an immortal soul. (For the data, see Larson&Witham, "Nature", 1998). And this number of non-believers has been steadily increasing over the past century:)

Kristoffer Haldrup said...


" not believe in good" should of course have been "do not believe in a god" :)

Cameron Buettel said...

Yes I love Ctrl C and Ctrl V, I also like Ctrl X. But Richard Dawkins stupidity is also very amusing . . .

The account of the origin of life that I shall give is necessarily speculative; by definition, nobody was around to see what happened. Dawkins, The Selfish Gene (1989) p.14

Evolution is very possibly not, in actual fact, always gradual. But it must be gradual when it is being used to explain the coming into existence of complicated, apparently designed objects, like eyes. For if it is not gradual in these cases, it ceases to have any explanatory power at all. Without gradualness in these cases, we are back to miracle, which is simply a synonym for the total absence of explanation. Dawkins, River out of Eden (1995) p.83

The illusion of purpose is so powerful that biologists themselves use the assumption of good design as a working tool. Dawkins, River out of Eden (1995) p.98

Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose. Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker (1996) p.1

All appearances to the contrary, the only watchmaker in nature is the blind forces of physics, albeit deployed in a very special way. A true watchmaker has foresight: he designs his cogs and springs, and plans their interconnections, with a future purpose in his mind's eye. Natural selection, the blind, unconscious automatic process which Darwin discovered, and which we now know is the explanation for the existence and apparently purposeful form of all life, has no purpose in mind. It has no mind and no mind's eye. It does not plan for the future. It has no vision, no foresight, no sight at all. If it can be said to play the role of watchmaker in nature, it is the blind watchmaker. Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker (1996) p.5

In the Cambrian strata of rocks, vintage about 600 million years (evolutionists are now dating the beginning of the Cambrian at about 530 million years), are the oldest in which we find most of the major invertebrate groups. And we find many of them already in an advanced state of evolution, the very first time they appear. It is as though they were just planted there, without any evolutionary history. Needless to say, this appearance of sudden planting has delighted creationists. Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker (1996) p.229

My argument will be that Darwinism is the only known theory that is in principle capable of explaining certain aspects of life. If I am right it means that, even if there were no actual evidence in favour of Darwinian theory (there is, of course) we should still be justified in preferring it over all rival theories. Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker (1996) pp.287-288 see also: Fark

It is almost as if the human brain were specifically designed to misunderstand Darwinism, and to find it hard to believe. Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker (1996) p.316

I want to return now to the charge that science is just a faith. The more extreme version of that charge—and one that I often encounter as both a scientist and a rationalist—is an accusation of zealotry and bigotry in scientists themselves as great as that found in religious people. Sometimes there may be a little bit of justice in this accusation. Dawkins, “Is Science a Religion?” The Humanist January 1997

As an academic scientist I am a passionate Darwinian, believing that natural selection is, if not the only driving force in evolution, certainly the only known force capable of producing the illusion of purpose which so strikes all who contemplate nature. Dawkins, A Devil's Chaplain (2003) p.10

It is forever true that DNA is a double helix, true that if you are a chimpanzee (or an octopus or a kangaroo) trace your ancestors back far enough you will eventually hit a shared ancestor. To a pedant, these are still hypotheses which might be falsified tomorrow. But they never will be. Dawkins, A Devil's Chaplain (2003) pp.17-18