Sunday, August 22, 2010

Endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful

by John A. Davison, Ph.D.


This work represents an elaboration of material presented by
the author in courses offered here at the University of Vermont,
especially Biology 255, The Comparative Physiology of Reproduction
and Biology 202, Quantitative Biology. It is my hope that this
treatise will reach not only the professional biologist but all others
who realize how little we really understand concerning the history of
life on this planet. I have assumed little in the way of background
and I have defined most technical terms as they appear. The basic
ideas put forth here were first published in 1984. I hope that this
expanded and more completely documented treatment will reach a larger
and more receptive audience.

My own background is in General and Developmental Physiology which
is to say that I am interested in how things work. Like others before
me, I have come to the realization that Darwinism simply does not
work. That conclusion has led to a series of questions which I pose
and attempt to answer. Answering one question often leads to asking
another. Only by asking questions is one compelled to provide
answers. I employ that approach throughout this presentation.

Among those questions are the following: Is evolution finished?
Is sexual reproduction incapable of supporting evolutionary change?
Is selection, natural or artificial, incapable of producing new life
forms? In contrast to the Darwinian view, has evolution proceeded by
means of leaps (saltation) rather than gradually through intermediate
forms? Is there an alternative to Darwinism which, unlike that
hypothesis, is compatible with all the facts revealed by paleontology,
embryology, cytology, taxonomy, physiology and genetics? Do internal
factors have a role in evolution? Is evolution irreversible? Is the
individual, rather than the population, the instrument of evolutionary
change? Are there laws governing evolution? Is there compelling
evidence that evolution (phylogeny), like the development of the
individual (ontogeny), involves the release or derepression of
preformed information? Finally, the most controversial question
of all: Has evolution been guided? With the exception of the last
question, to which no certain answer will probably ever be given,
I will answer yes to each of these questions.

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