(The Stream) He’s not giving up Darwinism without some remorse. “It means one less beautiful idea in our world,” says David Gelernter.
This isn’t someone you’d expect to reject Darwin. He lives and works at the heart of the intellectual establishment. He’s a renowned computer scientist at Yale University — the New York Times called him a “rock star” — and served on the National Council on the Arts. He explained in a recent essay in the Claremont Review of Books why he no longer believes Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. He makes similar points in a recent interview with the Hoover Institution’s Peter Robinson.
Gelernter, who is famous for predicting the emergence of the World Wide Web, credits three books with changing his mind. One is Darwin’s Doubt, by Stephen Meyer of The Discovery Institute. A second is The Deniable Darwinand Other Essays, by mathematician David Berlinski. A third is Debating Darwin’s Doubt, an anthology edited by David Klinghoffer.
Why did Gelernter reject Darwinism? For one thing, he points to the fossils missing from the record. This bothered even Darwin. Why is this a problem? The number of fossils of major animal groups exploded during the Cambrian era. That means we should have lots of fossils of simpler “transitional” creatures in the precambrian period. But we don’t.
“Darwin’s theory predicts that new life forms evolve gradually from old ones in a constantly branching, spreading tree of life,” Gelernter writes. “Those brave new Cambrian creatures must therefore have had Precambrian predecessors, similar but not quite as fancy and sophisticated. They could not have all blown out suddenly, like a bunch of geysers. Each must have had a closely related predecessor, which must have had its own predecessors.”
The Precambrian fossils that should have spawned the emergence of all those Cambrian fossils are not there.
Some argue that the Precambrian precursor fossils are missing because they were soft-bodied organisms that didn’t survive as fossils. But some Precambrian soft-bodied fossils did survive — they just weren’t the predecessors to the Cambrian fossils.
Gelernter says the incremental development of new species is largely not there. “Most species enter the evolutionary order fully formed and then depart unchanged.” Darwinism can’t explain that.
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[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Rachel Alexander. It originally appeared at The Stream, title and image changed.]
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