Re: "Sagan and Velikovsky" to appear in local book stores

James G. Acker (
25 Jan 1995 19:10:41 GMT

Mark C. Chu-Carroll ( wrote:

I've read enough on the subject to offer a correction,
though others may have already. (Newsfeed running a day late)

: Relativity overturned Newton. Quantum mechanics overturned standard
: mechanics. A kind of catastrophic theory has overturned previous
: geological theory. Punctuated equilibrium overturned continuous
: evolution. And so on. In each case, there was a *lot* of resistance to
: the new idea at first. But in each case, the originator of the theory
: showed *overwhelming* evidence that they were correct. They took the
: time, and carefully demonstrated that they were correct. And in each
: case, they eventually won out, because they had evidence.

This isn't exactly correct, I think. Punctuated equilibrium
addresses the fossil record by means of more rapid "continuous"
evolution in small increments in a smaller population, followed
by rapid appearance of the "new" organism which evolved in
this fashion (replacing the main population of the "older" essentially
unchanged organism). It explains why there would be fewer
transitional fossils and why change _in the fossil record_ many
times occurs in what appear to be large, discrete jumps. So
punctuated equilibrium didn't really overturn "continuous"
evo, it refined it using the fossil record.

| James G. Acker |
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