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Re: Let's ignore the yahoos



The rather long post by Norman R. King defending (or at least proporgating)
the use of the term "Darwinian Palaeontologist" was, I think, in response
to my post asking the simple question of if we should be using such a term.
Don't get me wrong, I am certainly not a Creationist and I have the scalps
to prove it. I think that my point was entirely missed and that it is one
relevant to anyone who professes to accept evolutionary theory,
particularly in the face of the onslaught by Creationist.

My point was simply this: There cannot be, never has been and never will be
a "Darwinian Palaeontologist" as opposed to an "Evolutionary
Palaeontologist" (of which there are many and I count myself in their
ranks). An evolutionaty palaeontologist can observe evolutionary changes
through the fossil record and formulate evolutionary hypotheses to explain
observations from the fossil record. However the term "Darwinian
Palaeontologist" would imply that this practicioner observed and used
Darwinian evolutionary theory (ie natural selection) as the basis for their
science. I would challange anyone to demonstrate any Darwinian phenomenon
observable in the fossil record (overproduction of young, competition among
siblings, the struggle for survival and the selection of the fittest can
not be observed in the fossil record).

It may seem like I am making a pedantic, semantic point here but it is much
deeper than that. Evolutionary change is a widespread phenomenon. Darwinian
evolution is a subset of mechanisms invoked to explain evolutionary
changes. If we, as scientists operating in evolutionary biology, can not
grasp the profound difference between these two and use the terminologies
correctly, then how do we expect lesser mortals (ie the creationists) to
come to terms with the different concepts?

Cheers, Paul

pwillis@ozemail.com.au