Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Is Darwinian Evolution Scientific? an Interview with Eugene G. Windchy

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Is Darwinian Evolution Scientific? an Interview with Eugene G. Windchy

Article excerpt


Q: What is evolution? Is it a fact or a theory?

A: In biology, the word evolution refers to biological change over time. In that sense, evolution is a fact. A theory of evolution is an explanation of how evolution takes place. Charles Darwin's grandfather, the medical doctor Erasmus Darwin, published a theory of evolution in the 1790's. Charles Darwin published a different theory beginning in 1858. Rumors about Dr. Erasmus Darwin inspired Mary Shelley to write Frankenstein.

The confusion may arise because people often refer to evolution as biological change, as described by Charles Darwin. Like the American Paleontological Society, I prefer to keep the fact separate from the various theories.

Q: Was Charles Darwin a scientist?

A: Charles Darwin was a brilliant and wealthy scientist who did research at his home in rural England. He published on various subjects, including evolution. His father, Robert Darwin, was a prosperous medical doctor who married a Wedgewood heiress. Son Charles also married a Wedgewood heiress. That is how he was able to devote himself full time to research.

Q: Did Charles Darwin originate the theory of evolution?

A: Ideas about evolution can be traced back 2,500 years. Darwin wrote about evolution according to survival of the fittest, but he was not the first to think of that. Two men published on the subject ahead of him, and a third (Alfred Wallace) would have done so if he had not sent his manuscript to Darwin for forwarding.

Many false statements are made about the Wallace-Darwin relationship--all of them favoring Darwin. For example, a professor derided my book by saying that Wallace did not send his paper to Darwin and that both men were present when their works were presented to the Linnean Society. Actually, neither man was present. Darwin was at home in Kent, and Wallace was in the Malay Archipelago living with headhunters. The competing works were presented by Darwin's two best friends.

Q: Why did Darwin take theories from other people and claim them as his own?

A: Charles Darwin was not one to give credit where credit was due. He came from a high-achieving family on both the Darwin and Wedgewood sides, and he strove mightily to become a famous scientist.

Q: What is spontaneous generation? Is Darwinian evolution dependent on it?

A: Spontaneous generation is the origin of life in the wild. The history books tell us that Louis Pasteur disproved this. Nevertheless, the biologists depend on spontaneous generation for the origin of life. They call it abiogenesis. As explained in World Book Encyclopedia, the biologists assume that abiogenesis occurred only once. If such a thing were possible, I do not know why it would occur only once. Darwin said that the 'Creator' initiated life, but secretly he was agnostic, and he toyed with the idea of spontaneous generation.

Q: What is the "missing link"? Has it ever been found?

A: 'Missing link' refers to a transitional stage in evolution. It is a term loved by the popular press. In reality, most of the links are missing, and they might not even exist. Darwin and his friend Thomas Huxley used to argue about that. Huxley said evolution proceeded by jumps. Darwin insisted on the need for extremely gradual change, as occurs in artificial breeding. Darwin thought jumps would be miraculous. Actually, that is the way the fossil records looks.

My book gives dozens of examples of new organs and organisms that have appeared suddenly. The mysterious emergence of the winged insect is one of the most debated problems in evolutionary biology. The original insect is a mystery too.

Q: Have there been fraudulent discoveries of the missing link?

A: There have been some fake fossils. The fake Piltdown Man fooled the world's scientists for 40 years. My book has a chapter about that and about human evolution. …

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