The public is overwhelmed with claims that evolution is a fact—from the classrooms to the courts and clergy. The late S. J. Gould even likened evolution to gravity:

Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein’s theory of gravitation replaced Newton’s, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from apelike ancestors whether they did so by Darwin’s proposed mechanism or by some other, yet to be discovered.1

In past decades, secularists, alarmed by the rise of those who question the unobserved idea of vertical evolution—as opposed to the minor horizontal changes that can be observed—have responded with panic. Television programs, educational supplements, and imaginative museum displays have all beat the drum defending the people-from-bacteria philosophy.

Michael Ruse wrote a book in 1982 titled Darwinism Defended2 in which he made the point that minor variation can be observed and measured. Indeed, the cover of Ruse’s book shows the finches Darwin found on the Galapagos Islands that expressed minor variation. But this is clearly not what vertical evolution is, or what the origins debate is all about. It’s not about going from small to large beak; it’s about going from no beak at all to having a beak. Such large change is vertical or “macro” evolution—or, as Darwin described it, descent with modification.

The Subject Index of Ruse’s book shows pages 210 to 228 as covering the word “macroevolution.” But pages 227 and 228 are either blank or just have the title of the book’s next section. That leaves the reader with 15.5 pages, or less than 5 percent of a 356-page book, to defend Mr. Darwin’s strange idea. Though only 5 percent of the book actually addresses the title subject, this is more than what Darwin accomplished in Origin of Species, which not one time addressed how species originated.

Ruse showed a diagram (Figure 9.7) of a “clade” that presupposes macroevolution, and minor change in the diameter of the foraminiferan Lepidolina (Figure 9.8)—but it’s still Lepidolina. Ruse makes much of corn (maize) variation (Figures 9.9 and 10)—but it’s still corn, and fruit flies remain fruit flies (Figure 9.11).3

Continue Reading on