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Tim Wallace answers Wayne Duck

Wallace’s response to Duck’s critique of Wallace’s rebuttal of Mark Isaak.
© 2005-2007 T. Wallace.  All Rights Reserved. 

“Scientists, like others, sometimes tell deliberate lies
because they believe that small lies can serve big truths.”

Richard C. Lewontin

“The Inferiority Complex,” review of The Mismeasure of Man
by Stephen J. Gould, New York Review of Books (October 22, 1981)


In December of 1997, Wayne Duck initiated an exchange with me, apparently intending to demonstrate the intellectual (or scientific?) superiority of his evolutionary, anti-Christian thinking and philosophy.  (Readers may judge for themselves to what extent—if any—Mr. Duck succeeded in this endeavor here.)  Apparently unhappy with the outcome of that exchange, Mr. Duck decided it easier to pen and publish a series of web pages critiquing my rebuttal of Mark Isaak’s “Five Misconceptions” essay, thus shielding his logic, methodology and bias from the scrutiny inherent in a one-on-one dialogue.

The following is a long overdue response to Mr. Duck’s critique.  Several people have asked me to reply in the two years since Duck published his piece, but I have resisted until now, mainly for two reasons:  1) The content of Duck’s critique was long on shallow, less-than-honest criticisms, false accusations, and semantic word games, and short on addressing evolution’s glaring scientific weaknesses as explained in my essay, and 2) My limited time and energy seemed better spent on other matters.

Although Duck’s content apparently has not changed [at this writing, his critique remains dated “Jan. 28, 1998”—though the server gives a “last modified” date of “April 30, 1998”(!)—and his links to my essay have been obsolete for over a year], I finally found the time to produce a response to it.  A response to Duck still seems almost an unnecessary formality, since much of what I have to say should be fairly plain to the average reader without my going to the trouble to point it out.

Duck’s content is treated here in the same order in which it appears in his document, using the same section headings, where applicable.  Whereas his critique is divided into five separate web pages, I use a single, unbroken document.  The five major section headings (which originated with Mark Isaak’s essay) remain as follows:

Mr. Duck introduces his critique as follows:

Wayne Duck: “Wallace has created a ‘FAQ’ rebuttal wrought with incorrectly defined terms, highly selective quotations, and all around confusion. NOWHERE IN HIS FAQ DOES HE POINT TO ANY DATA TO SUPPORT HIS POSITION. He merely attempts to ridicule data already presented by Isaak and others, but does so based on his misconceptions of evolution.”
The Truth:  As the reader will see in the balance of this reply, the above are false and unreasonable accusations.  With remarkable consistency, Mr. Duck’s critique falsely represents my positions and definitions of key terms, which remain clearly spelled out in my essay for all to see.  Complaining that my essay “does not point to any data” to support my position, Duck “overlooks” the fact that Mark Isaak’s essay (to which I was responding) “does not point to any data to support his position.”  Wayne Duck has invoked a hypocritical double standard in singling me out for such criticism.  Isaak’s lack of data renders all the more ludicrous Duck’s claim that “[Wallace] merely attempts to ridicule data already presented by Isaak...”!  The falsehood of Duck’s claim that my essay was “based on [my] misconceptions of evolution” is demonstrated by the fact that Mr. Duck has gone to great lengths to invent those misconceptions himself in the form of innumerable “straw man” arguments, which he deceitfully attributes to me throughout his critique.

I trust that most readers will readily see that Wayne Duck’s treatment of my essay has been less than honorable, and in fact less than honest.  This should be evident from a first-hand reading of my rebuttal of Isaak, but to whatever measure it may be of help, my aim is that this reply to Duck will further lay bare the true nature of Mr. Duck’s tactics and vindicate the intellectual and moral integrity of my original essay.

Evolution Has Never Been Observed

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Evolution or Variation?

Duck wastes no time in dispensing semantic subterfuge immediately after claiming to “think it best to define our terms before we begin.”  In the process of “defining” the terms, he uses a classic evolutionist tactic to blur the distinctions between the very same terms.  This is a popular approach among many of evolution’s proponents:  The more authoritative they can appear (by “defining terms” for their readers), and the more synonymously they can define various terms (by using technically legal but contextually inappropriate “definitions”), the better their chances of appearing to have a viable position.  So an analysis of Duck’s “definitions” is very much in order:

EVOLUTION
Wayne Duck: “changes in the genetic composition of a population with the passage of time”
The Truth:  Duck’s definition is broad enough to cover everything from a blue-eyed child with brown-eyed parents to the proposed change from a unicellular organism to trees, penguins, and humans.  While this definition is therefore technically correct, it must be noted that what is being argued is not mere variation but changes in body types and functions due to mutations and natural selection over long periods of time—i.e., macroevolution.

MICRO-EVOLUTION
Wayne Duck: “the shifting of gene frequencies in a local population”
The Truth:  This is exactly how breeders can breed selectively and how all natural variation happens.  It does not depend on either mutation or natural selection as the varieties present in sexually reproducing populations are due to the mixing of the two individual parents’ DNA.

MACRO-EVOLUTION
Wayne Duck: “major transformations of organisms over geological time”
The Truth:  To clarify, “major” refers to changes in body type or function (e.g., new organs or broad physiological changes).  This concept rests on the four legs of time, chance, mutations, and natural selection.  It is a purely theoretical phenomenon, and has not been scientifically observed.

GENETIC VARIATION
Wayne Duck: “the genetic difference between members of a population”
The Truth:  Genetic variation can be determined on an individual basis, on a population basis, or on a time basis.  Narrowly defining it only in terms of a “difference between members” wrongly ignores every other application, as if to exclude population-wide shifts in the manifestation of existing genetic information (which is essentially the same thing as micro-evolution).

Note that while the definitions used by Mr. Duck are technically permissible, they are unnecessarily more broad, narrow, or technical than is typical for normal usage, and are thus potentially misleading.

Now, on to Wayne Duck’s text...

Wayne Duck: “...[Wallace] goes on to imply that microevolution has never been observed as well...misrepresenting microevolution and macroevolution and then proclaiming both invalid.”
The Truth: In order to make such a claim, Mr. Duck must either lie or willfully ignore the following statements in my essay:

Tim Wallace:Genetic variation is a common phenomenon, perpetually manifesting itself as extant dominant and recessive genetic traits “appear” and “vanish” in successive generations within a population of organisms. A population’s adaptation through genetic variation is as much a fact of biological life as are genes themselves. Though some evolutionists like to call this phenomenon “micro-evolution,”...

“In other words, these are not examples of macro-evolutionary speciation... They serve to confirm the observable nature of genetic variation [i.e., micro-evolution], while saying absolutely nothing in support of Darwinian “macro-evolution,” which postulates not just variations within a type of organism but the emergence of entirely new organisms...

Wayne Duck: “Wallace defines evolution as ‘the introduction of completely new genetically-defined traits.’”
The Truth: The “definition” Duck cites here refers specifically to “macro-evolution”—the exact word appears earlier in the same sentence from which Mr. Duck is quoting.  But he deliberately uses the general term “evolution” so as to more easily blur the distinction between the micro- and macro- varieties, which he promptly does in his own next paragraph.

Wayne Duck: “The Theory of Evolution is not concerned with where variability comes from or whether it is ‘new.’”
The Truth: This is false.  Evolution is very concerned with where variability comes from.  According to the creation paradigm there was a great deal of variability in the original populations, whereas the evolution camp counters with the claim that all variability is and has been mutation induced.  Evolution is also concerned with whether any variability is “new” or not—whether all information and potential for variation existed from the beginning or was added later.  Duck is here pretending that the source of new genetic information (required for macro-evolution) is of no concern, and his claim is belied by his own words in the next sentence...

Wayne Duck: “Processes are known that allow for introduction of ‘new’ genetic information into a population...”
The Truth: Another falsehood.  Having claimed that the origin of new genetic information is something which evolutionary theory is “not concerned with,” he now nevertheless sees a need to attribute the generation of ‘new’ genetic information to a list of genetic phenomena.  Biologically, information has to have meaning that is coded, decodable, and followed in regard to cellular processes.  It has to have start and stop codes on either end of it; it has to integrate into the DNA without much cost of replacement if any at all, and the new form or function it introduces must also integrate with the functioning of the rest of the organism so as to produce selective advantage.  To lend some credibility to his claim concerning the “introduction of ‘new’ genetic information” Duck really needs to show where the processes he has cited have produced a net gain in this kind of biological information—but he does not.

Wayne Duck: “Wallace then incorrectly defines genetic variation as ‘the appearance and/or disappearance of existing genetic traits over time.’ This definition is very similar to microevolution and evolution itself...”
The Truth: Mr. Duck indicts himself with his own words here, exhibiting precisely the behavior described in the same paragraph from which he misquotes me:

Tim Wallace: “The postulation of “macro-evolution” (i.e., the emergence of entirely new and more “advanced” features through innumerable, completely new genetically-defined traits) is not to be confused with genetic variation (i.e., “micro-evolution”), which is the appearance and/or disappearance of existing and/or potential genetic traits through recombination of existing genetic code. Proponents of evolutionism often fail to note the important difference between these two, simply calling them both “evolution,” and thereby deliberately blurring the distinction between them.” [quoted from my essay]

Dobzhansky’s Fruit Flies

Wayne Duck: “Evolution has no direction: evolution is not a goal seeking process. It is not looking to make more complex things or even create species.”
The Truth: Mr. Duck is blowing smoke.  Nobody asked him initially to defend evolution as a “goal seeking process”—but if we are to believe that it can indeed “make more complex things or even create species” (whether it is “looking to” do so or not), a detailed explanation is in order.  Duck is side-stepping his responsibility as an evolutionist to clarify exactly how this happens.  Instead he resorts to the prose of scientism to iterate the doctrine of the directionless, purposeless nature of evolution.  He states (correctly), “Wallace is trying to tie the process of evolution directly to the introduction of ‘new’ information.”  And likewise, Duck is changing the subject from the net gain in genetic information to evolution’s purposeless nature.

Wayne Duck: “Evolution does not act in a capacity to affect the ‘quality’ and/or ‘quantity’ of the genetic information. It can only act on the variation within the population’s genetic information.”
The Truth: Evolution had better act in a capacity to affect quality and quantity or it is not going to happen!  On the other hand, to say, “It can only act on the variation within the population’s genetic information,” sounds remarkably like an acknowledgement that existing genetic information is all evolution is able to work with in the first place!

Wayne Duck: “I can grasp his meaning of ‘quantity’ as an increase in the number of bases or genes within the genome of individuals, however, I cannot grasp his concept of ‘quality’ as it relates to genomes. Quality implies that there is a finished product that is better than the rest.”
The Truth: Mr. Duck’s failure in comprehension here is directly related to a category error on his own part.  He narrowly ascribes to the term “quality” an attribute of relative value (i.e., good/bad, better/worse, etc.), whereas in this case the term refers to an attribute of a characteristic not necessarily tied to value (e.g., more/less complex or [in evolutionists’ own terms] more/less “advanced”).

Observed Instances FAQ

Wayne Duck: “[Wallace] is attacking the data with an invalid definition of evolution and variation, as I have already pointed out. This makes his objections to this section totally meaningless.”
The Truth: I believe I have already explained how my definitions are in fact quite valid, and why it is Mr. Duck who has resorted to ambiguous and questionable terminology.  He is relying on his earlier false accusations to avoid dealing with the weaknesses of evolution in a straightforward manner.

Wayne Duck: “Wallace makes the claim that a ‘speciation event’ requires ‘an increase in both quality and quantity of genetic information.’ I wish he would point out the source for this definition!”
The Truth: Mr. Duck again resorts to fabrications, falsely attributing the above definition to me.  (I can therefore point out the definition’s source for him:  it’s Wayne Duck!)  The above “definition” for speciation which Mr. Duck wishes to attribute to me is identified (in the same paragraph from which he quotes it) as specifically referring to “macro-evolutionary speciation”—it is nowhere stated as my universal definition for any and all speciation; that claim is based solely on Wayne Duck’s unsubstantiated assumption:

Tim Wallace: “Definitions of ‘species’ and (therefore) ‘speciation’ remain many and varied, and by most modern definitions, certain changes within organism populations do indeed qualify as ‘speciation events’—yet even after many decades of study, there remains no solid evidence that an increase in both quality and quantity of genetic information (as required for a macro-evolutionary speciation event) has happened or could happen. [quoted from my essay]

Bold Claims vs. Empirical Science

Wayne Duck: “[Wallace’s] views of course are based on his misrepresentation of the facts and his successful attack on his straw-man.”
The Truth: Wayne Duck has persistently misrepresented both my words and my views, which—in plain English—is called lying.

Wayne Duck: [Referring to authors Michael Denton and Michael Behe] “It should be noted that neither author provides in their [sic] books empirical data by which evolution can be struck down. Their books simply point out the inadequacies of current evolutionary theory. In fact, both of these authors agree that microevolution is a fact!”
The Truth: Duck’s original “straw man” returns to the scene here, in that he obviously still wants his readers to believe that I dispute the notion of micro-evolution, and he hopes to cast a disparaging light on me by implying that Denton and Behe are at odds with me because they “agree that microevolution is a fact,” while I (according to Wayne Duck) apparently do not.  Once again, anyone who has actually read my essay with some measure of objectivity will recognize that my position on micro-evolution is no different than either Denton’s or Behe’s—notwithstanding Wayne Ducks pretensions to the contrary:

Tim Wallace:Genetic variation is a common phenomenon, perpetually manifesting itself as extant dominant and recessive genetic traits “appear” and “vanish” in successive generations within a population of organisms. A population’s adaptation through genetic variation is as much a fact of biological life as are genes themselves. Though some evolutionists like to call this phenomenon “micro-evolution,”...

“In other words, these are not examples of macro-evolutionary speciation... They serve to confirm the observable nature of genetic variation [i.e., micro-evolution], while saying absolutely nothing in support of Darwinian “macro-evolution,” which postulates not just variations within a type of organism but the emergence of entirely new organisms...” [quoted from my essay]

And speaking of reading, I have to wonder whether Duck has actually read Behe and Denton.  Both do indeed point out substantial inadequacies in current evolutionary theory, both providing a good deal of empirical data as they do so.  That Duck would cite them as contradicting me seems to indicate an unawareness on his part of the substantial biological challenges (complete with empirical data!) they have effectively raised against evolution.

Wayne Duck: “[Wallace] is quick to imply Isaak and other evolutionist [sic] are dogmatic, unbalanced, and not objective...”
The Truth: The truth is that nobody can claim complete objectivity—Duck ought to know that!  Nobody comes to the table free from predispositions.  What really matters is whether an argument is based more on logic, empirical data, emotion, personal animosity, prejudice, etc.  The sooner Mr. Isaak substantiates his claims with empirical support, and Mr. Duck offers an honest treatment of what I have written, the sooner we’ll all be able to continue on a more scientific level.

Wayne Duck: “Macroevolution has been observed? - Not to my knowledge. Not directly.”
The Truth: It appears that Duck and I are in agreement here, and I appreciate that.  It’s always refreshing when the extant empirical evidence is the basis of arguments advanced on this topic, rather than the individual’s imagination.  Duck is to be commended here for not resorting to imaginary scenarios to try to bolster the evolution argument.

Wayne Duck: “...there is some strong evidence to support the [macro-evolutionary] position...”
The Truth: Note that in his entire essay, Wayne Duck cites not one single shred of that allegedly “strong evidence” (which he elsewhere describes as “overwhelming”).

Wayne Duck: “Why do intelligent scientist believe something that they have not seen? ...the biggest reason is...there has been no reasonable theory forthcoming to replace Darwinian theory.”
The Truth: Note that by “reasonable,” Mr. Duck means “based exclusively in naturalistic, mechanistic philosophy.”  In other words, having rejected supernatural creation on religious/philosophical grounds, Wayne Duck believes he has a basis for arbitrarily excluding supernatural creation from what may be considered a “reasonable” cause or phenomenon, though he has no sound scientific basis for doing so.

Wayne Duck: “Mr. Wallace surely did not put one [a reasonable theory to replace Darwinian theory] forth in his FAQ.”
The Truth: Mr. Duck is overlooking the fact that the purpose of my rebuttal (not “FAQ”) was (surprise!) to be a rebuttal—not an exhaustive presentation of the creationary paradigm.  A rebuttal, by definition, is a series of opposing arguments in direct response to assertions being rebutted.  Nevertheless, the creationary paradigm is articulated in some measure elsewhere at the TrueOrigin site, as well as at other creationary sites and in the creationary literature.  Readers need not be duped by Mr. Duck’s pretense that “no reasonable theory” has been adequately articulated simply because it was not found in my rebuttal to Isaak.

Wayne Duck: “It should also be noted that Darwinian theory has survived major advancements in biology... As theories go, Darwin’s is a masterpiece.”
The Truth: Mr. Duck is dreaming.  Both Denton and Behe (both evolutionist biologists, whom he has cited—but apparently hasn’t read earnestly or objectively), as well as several others, have continued to point out major flaws in traditional and popular evolutionary assumptions—flaws that have been brought to light by the very same “major advancements in biology” which Wayne Duck wants to credit Darwinian evolution with having “survived”!  Many (but not all) evolutionists are responding to these developments in the same manner as Wayne Duck; with some combination of denial, semantic game-playing, and outright deception.  As long as he continues to ascribe to Darwinian evolution the characteristic of “masterpiece,” Mr. Duck remains in a world of fantasy—and being deluded himself, he can only be expected to persist in trying to foist the delusion on others.

Evolution Violates the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics

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Wayne Duck: “Wallace does not point to any empirical data to support his position.”
The Truth: Mr. Duck apparently failed to notice that Mark Isaak was addressing matters in general terms (citing no empirical data), and I responded in like manner.  Though it would be a double-standard to require of me what he won’t require of Isaak, I’m pleased to say Duck will at least find supporting references in the balance of my essay and elsewhere on the TrueOrigin site.

Wayne Duck: “[Wallace] wants desperately to ally himself with the scientific literature as a show of credibility.”
The Truth: Duck is referring my citations of several respected evolutionists whose statements reveal in some measure the challenge posed to Darwinian macro-evolution by the Second Law of Thermodynamics.  Their words speak for themselves.  Perhaps Mr. Duck should make up his mind:  Does he want references or not?  Is my supplying them appropriate, or is it an act of “desperation”?

Wayne Duck: “[Wallace’s] selected quotations totally misrepresent the material presented as I am about to show. ...[they] are taken from sections where the authors are discussing a system that is not representative of a living system.”
The Truth: A specific citation about the Second Law need not directly address a “living system” in order to be valid.  The Second Law is universally applicable—no system (living or otherwise) is exempt from the entropy principle by which it operates.  That is why the Second Law’s practical applicability has expanded from mere heat and energy applications via the Generalized Second Law to address systems of all kinds, wherein entropy measures loss of significant measurable properties in those systems.  Mr. Duck is trying to impose a false limitation by pretending that a statement concerning the Second Law must specifically address a “living system” in order to be relevant to the notion of macro-evolution.  In any case, the Second Law is consistently involved with living systems at least inasmuch as there is always heat energy lost to the environment.  This, however, turns out to be only a small part of the overall effect of entropy in all areas of our physical universe, including life on earth.

Wayne Duck: “So it would seem that the Second Law’s application to a given system cannot be attempted without knowledge of the system.  ...Which type of system is an organism?” [answer: open]
The Truth: Following in Isaak’s footsteps (and demonstrating a stubborn refusal to seriously examine the arguments of another), Wayne Duck now launches into the classic “open system” ploy invoked by innumerable evolutionists.  In classic evolutionist fashion, he completely misses the most critical point at which the Second Law challenges Darwinian macro-evolution.  Simply put, the issue is not whether we’re dealing with an open system (regardless of whether we mean the earth’s biosphere or a living organism), or even the energy dynamics of that system—but from whence (i.e., by what empirically known mechanism) the order, the complexity, the genetic information came to be.  Granting “open system” classification in both counts, the challenge to the evolutionist has yet to be addressed.  To wit:

Question 1:
Evolution postulates the development of life itself and subsequent life forms from a purely natural process. Life does not function without the strictly controlled conversion of raw solar energy into useable energy. What are the specific, empirically evident original mechanism/process and pathway of specific, empirically evident mechanisms/processes that led from zero such conversion capability in raw matter to the multiple and varied mechanisms and processes that are inherent in every living organism as we know them?

Question 2:
Evolution postulates the development of ever more volume and ever greater variety and complexity of data in the genetic code of living organisms as they allegedly first emerged, then progressed from, simplest forms to the present broad spectrum of variety. What specific, empirically evident original mechanism/process and pathway of specific, empirically evident mechanisms/processes have led from zero genetic data in raw matter to the vast array of voluminous genetic data inherent in living organisms as we know them?

Wayne Duck agrees, as do many others, that the Second Law may be applied in various ways to various systems.  They gladly concur that it applies universally, everywhere.  When it comes to tying the Second Law in with evolution, they simplistically equate “evolution” with “living organism” and voila!  (“It’s an open system, stupid!”)  And they are able to do all this while deftly skating around the central issue posed by the principle of entropy.  In short, Wayne Duck has avoided the real question.

But wait!  That’s not all!!  The other critical issue so carefully avoided by most every evolutionist who invokes the “open system” smokescreen is the fact that energy coming into an open system only hastens the increases in entropy unless that energy is carefully controlled, and the system has the mechanism to deal with that energy in a productive way.  And of course, these elements are indicative of a previously designed system...

Wayne Duck: “these references (at least the one’s [sic] I could find) DO NOT provide any support to Wallace’s position taken in their entirety. How did he go so wrong? He only relied on what somewhat else told him about these sources. If he had read them, I am sure he would not have based his position on them.”
The Truth: Having demonstrated that he does not understand my position, Wayne Duck now has the arrogance to assume that my citations were selected based on hearsay.  Duck’s quoting from the same sources by no means negates the validity of the statements which I cited from the same writers; his citations raise nothing but smoke and mirrors in the face of the critical questions (above), which demand real-world answers if macro-evolution is ever going to stand up to the scrutiny of the Generalized Second Law.

Wayne Duck: “These are only the references I could find. I can only assume that the others were as grossly misrepresented as these.”
The Truth: Although Mr. Duck persists in making this false accusation in lieu of logic- or fact-based argumentation, he fails to show how I have “misrepresented” a single one of my references.  Some of them (understandably) articulate both the real challenge to evolutionary theory posed by the entropy principle, as well as the standard evolutionary response to that challenge, but for Mr. Duck to accuse me of having “grossly misrepresented” my sources is less than honest.

Wayne Duck: “This section deals with problems arising from abiogenesis not evolution.”
The Truth: While it is a popular ploy among defenders of evolution to separate abiogenesis from evolution (as Mr. Duck does here), it is not a reasonable or responsible tactic.  The sole purpose of this trick is to make things easier for themselves by pretending that the beginning of macro-evolution and the continuation of macro-evolution are widely different things—when in fact they are not.  By this means they hope to excuse themselves from answering at least a few of the questions for which they lack scientifically plausible answers.

Wayne Duck: “The second major problem with Wallace’s quotation is that he again takes it out of context...”
The Truth: This is another favorite ruse among evolutionists.  If an evolutionist is quoted with a statement that isn’t exactly favorable to evolutionary doctrine, the quotation is automatically labeled “out of context” and dismissed as irrelevant.  But that is not what “out of context” means.  To truly quote an individual out of context, one uses their words to say something they did not mean their words to say.  Wayne Duck demonstrates no such practice on my part.  The fact is, each of the citations I’ve used were meant by the source to say exactly what the source is quoted as saying.  The statement need not reflect the source’s ultimate views—and I have always been careful to indicate which of my sources are evolutionists, lest I misrepresent my sources as being otherwise.  Because I make known to my readers that the source is an evolutionist, any quoted statement by him that brings to light some challenge to evolutionary doctrine is not, by definition, out of context—the false accusations of Wayne Duck notwithstanding.

[In his haste to quote “my” sources’ inevitable references to the “open system” diversion, Duck unwittingly accentuates the fact that evolutionists at all levels tend to hold a simplistic view of the entropy problem.  By keeping a narrow focus on the open vs. closed system aspect, they avoid the fatal obstacle entropy poses to evolution’s postulated information gain.]

Wayne Duck: “I find it amusing that just a few sentences away from Wallace’s quoted material Blum presents a possible answer to the problem - ‘...many energy rich compounds could have been left behind in the general movement toward greater entropy which could have been utilized as sources of free energy...’”
The Truth: Duck seems to take much for granted here.  Note the use of the words “possible”...“could have been”...“could have been”...  After citing one of the many ways real-world empirical science is unfavorable to evolution, Harold Blum offers the standard tonic of some good old evolutionary speculation.  Imagination cannot take the place of scientific evidence, and Blum’s scenario has nothing to go on scientifically, notwithstanding the amusement it afforded Duck.

There are No Transitional Fossils

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Wayne Duck: “Of the five sections of Wallace’s rebuttal, this is the most difficult to understand. Not because the concepts are difficult, but because they are many and varied. ... It is, because of its varied and dynamic nature, a topic Wallace can exploit in his attempt to portray evolution as inadequate to describe nature.”
The Truth: If it is a form of “exploitation” to observe from the straightforward empirical facts of nature that evolution is inadequate to explain them, then I am guilty as charged.

Solid Ground or Shifting Sands?

Wayne Duck: “...Wallace insinuates that ‘authorit[ies]’ ‘often’ GROSSLY misinterpret and misplace fossils in ancestral-descendant sequences. If this happens often, then Mr. Wallace should be able to cite many references to back up his claim. Where are they?”
The Truth: Like Mark Isaak, Mr. Duck is pretending that the matter of transitional fossils is no problem.  He wants to place a burden of proof on me to document the weakness and uncertainty of the fossil record.  He can’t be blamed for this, since he surely can’t be expected to “point to any data” so as to produce credible, unambiguous “transitional fossil” documentation.  At the risk of suffering further (false) accusations for doing so, however, here are some relevant comments from a few published evolutionists:

“Stratigraphic disorder is produced by the physical or biogenic mixing of fossiliferous sediments, and the reworking of older, previously deposited hard parts into younger sediments. Since these processes occur to an extent in virtually all sedimentary systems, stratigraphic disorder at some scale is probably a common feature of the fossil record...
“The extent of disorder in modern and ancient sequences is not well documented; however, the widespread occurrence of anomalies in dated sections suggest that disorder should be taken seriously by paleobiologists and stratigraphers working at fine stratigraphic scales.”
[Cutler, Alan H., and Karl W. Plessa (both evolutionists), “Fossils out of Sequence: Computer Simulations and Strategies for Dealing with Stratigraphic Disorder,” Palaios, vol. 5 (June 1990), pp.227,234.]

“Any given body form or chamber arrangement apparently must be potentially derivative from almost any ancestral type. This, of course, is of fundamental importance and indicates that a critical reevaluation of foraminiferan micropaleontology is in order.”
[Langenheim, R. L., Jr., “Recent Developments in Paleontology,” Journal of Geological Education, vol. 7 (Spring 1959). p.7.]

“The simple fact that species can be classified hierarchically into genera, families, and so on, is not an argument for evolution. It is possible to classify any set of objects into a hierarchy whether their variation is evolutionary or not.
[Ridley, Mark (evolutionist), “Who Doubts Evolution?” New Scientist, vol. 90 (June 25, 1981), p. 832.]

The fossil record of evolutionary change within single evolutionary lineages is very poor. If evolution is true, species originate through changes of ancestral species: one might expect to be able to see this in the fossil record. In fact it can rarely be seen.
[Ridley, Mark (evolutionist), The Problems of Evolution (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985), p.11.]

“The record of evolution is still surprisingly jerky and, ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin’s time. By this I mean that some of the classic cases of darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information—what appeared to be a nice simple progression when relatively few data were available now appears to be much more complex...”
[Raup, David M. (evolutionist), “Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology,” Bulletin, Field Museum of Natural History, vol. 50 (January 1979), p.25.]

“As we survey the history of life since the inception of multicellular complexity in Ediacaran times, one feature stands out as most puzzling—the lack of clear order and progress through time among marine invertebrate faunas.”
[Gould, Stephen Jay, “The Ediacaran Experiment,” Natural History, vol. 93 (February 1984), p. 22.]

Wayne Duck: “Wallace wants you to think these ‘experts in morphology’ are different from ‘evolutionists.’”
The Truth: Hogwash.  By referring to “experts in morphology” I was merely indicating their specialization.  That they are evolutionists should have been understood.  (Add another “straw man” to Mr. Duck’s tally.)

Wayne Duck: “Wallace’s first point is ‘that one’s interpretation of the fossil record will invariably be influenced by one’s presuppositions.’ He is absolutely correct. Any historical science will be subject to interpretation because we can only test theories in the present, not the past... The fossil record does not, in the strict sense, provide evidence for evolution.”
The Truth: The origin of this brief moment of lucidity on Wayne Duck’s part is a matter beyond the scope of this document.

Wayne Duck: “The next six quotations cited by Wallace cover an aspect of evolution that is under intense debate. This is why he can find an abundance of material to misrepresent.”
The Truth: Mr. Duck’s tactic should speak for itself:  If the question of how evolution functions (and which hypothesis is best corroborated by the fossil record) is a matter of such “intense debate,” then it is no “misrepresentation” to point to this fact as unassailable evidence of the fossil record’s failure to yield unambiguous support of macro-evolution in at least one form, if not the other.

Wayne Duck: “Within the context of the whole paragraph, does it seem that Stanley thinks species do not evolve or that there are absolutely no transitional fossils? Clearly, Stanley is simply making a case for the punctuational model.”
The Truth: Mr. Duck returns to his “out of context” tactic again and again in this section, consistently failing to deal with the quoted passages themselves.  The Stanley quote is an excellent example.  Wayne Duck would have readers think that when Stanley wrote:

“Established species are evolving so slowly that major transitions between genera and higher taxa must be occurring within small rapidly evolving populations that leave no legible fossil record.”

and

“The known fossil record fails to document a single example of phyletic evolution accomplishing a major morphologic transition...”

...he did not mean to cite a substantial lack of transitional fossils as a property of the fossil record.  Only if Duck can show that Stanley’s meaning was something substantially other than a substantial lack of transitional fossils as a property of the fossil record can he justifiably accuse me of “out of context” quotations.

Wayne Duck: “Most [paleontologists] find it logical, if not scientifically required, to assume that the sudden appearance of a new systematic group is not evidence for special creation or for saltation, but simply means that a full transitional sequence more or less like those that are known did occur and simply has not been found in this instance.”
The Truth: At this point we would do well to remember Mr. Duck’s earlier moment of lucidity, in which he candidly admitted that one’s interpretation of the fossil record will invariably be influenced by one’s presuppositions and “any historical science will be subject to interpretation.”  Since most paleontologists are evolutionists, Duck is merely stating the obvious when he tells us what they will “assume” about their findings in the fossil record.  He fails to recognize his own philosophical prejudice, however, when he infers that evolutionary presuppositions are “scientifically required,” when in fact they are not “required” at all on the basis of “science,” but merely on the basis of a philosophical naturalism that tolerates only evolution as a possible framework of interpretation for any empirical findings.

Wayne Duck: “...it is abundantly clear from reading this reference that neither author [Gould or Eldredge] feels there are absolutely no transitional fossils.... Gould is not saying that evolution has not occurred or that there are no transitional fossils.”
The Truth: Another “straw man” attack.  Nowhere did I state that either Gould or Eldredge “feels there are absolutely no transitional fossils” or that Gould said “evolution has not occurred.”  Wayne Duck is once again putting words in my mouth, and refusing to let the words of Gould and Eldredge speak for themselves.  It is immaterial whether the authors were articulating punctuated equilibrium or explaining intermediate wash machine repair.  What matters is that they cited a substantial and significant shortage of transitional fossils, and Mr. Duck apparently wants to censor any citation of this fact outside of a discussion devoted exclusively to punctuated equilibrium.

Wayne Duck: “[Wallace’s] own reference do not substantiate his assertions...he confuses the issues involved and proclaims, on the basis of out-of-context quotations, that Isaak is misleading the public. I think an objective reading of Wallace’s own references will expose who is misleading the public.”
The Truth: “Objective?”  By whose standards?  “Out-of-context?”  Exactly how so?

Wayne Duck: “Wallace attempts to undermine a piece of work containing 80+ references with only 1 reference in rebuttal (see Whale Evolution in Wallace’s FAQ).”
The Truth: Duck apparently thinks he is entitled to whine because my deliberately brief treatment of “whale evolution” did not amount to an exhaustive response to Hunt’s essay.  [Readers interested in an in-depth look at this topic may look up The Overselling of Whale Evolution by Ashby Camp.]

Wayne Duck: “Wallace adds, ‘few—if any—[of Hunt’s cited phylogenies] are accepted among paleontological authorities.’ A statement like this cannot be taken seriously without supporting citations...”
The Truth: Did somebody say “out of context”?  Or how about “highly selective (mis)quotations”?  Consider what I actually wrote (emphasis added):

Tim Wallace: “What is missing from Hunt’s document is any honest acknowledgment that among the phylogenies she describes, few—if any—are universally accepted among paleontological authorities, and many remain tentative and subject to change, if not hotly disputed among authorities with differing viewpoints.” [quoted from my essay]

Mr. Duck apparently believes that the phylogenies described by Hunt are for the most part universally accepted among leading paleontological authorities.  My own examination of paleontological works, while admittedly by no means exhaustive, yielded a different picture:  Wherever more than one “expert” can be found, there is frequently more than one interpretation of the data, even if they share some similarities.  The point of my criticism of Hunt, then, is her giving the (questionable) appearance that the plethora of phylogenies she served up are universally agreed upon as fact by the paleontological community.

The Old Archaeopteryx Trick

Wayne Duck: “Isaak makes the statement, ‘[Archaeopteryx] is clearly a mix of bird and reptile features (with more reptile than bird features).’ Wallace then attempts to discredit this statement with exaggeration and misrepresentation.”
The Truth: I did not use “exaggeration” or “misrepresentation”—I merely cited a highly respected evolutionist authority on birds, who unequivocally contradicts Isaak’s claim.  Mr. Duck has once again invoked false accusation as a substitute for reasonable argument.

Wayne Duck: “...a full examination of the references shows them at odds with Wallace!...”
The Truth: Duck then apparently imagines himself effectively dismissing the conclusions of evolutionists J.A. Feduccia (a world authority on birds), H.B. Tordoff, J.M.V. Rayner, S.L. Olson, K.N. Whetstone, S. Chatterjee and M.J. Benton by citing four quotes (two of which are from an anthropologist!), and then disqualifying a statement made by Feduccia because it was not cited from an exhaustive treatment of Archaeopteryx by Feduccia.  This, he apparently believes, constitutes a “full examination of the references.”  It is noteworthy that the limited (but thorough) Feduccia study, the relevancy of which Duck hastens to dismiss, reveals Archaeopteryx’s claws to be unambiguously those of a percher (tree-dwelling bird).  This conflicts with the “dinosaur-to-bird” evolution hypothesis, in which birds’ “ancestors” are imagined to be ground-dwelling, cursorial (running) predators, whose foot and claw structures differ substantially from perching birds.

Wayne Duck: “Is Archaeopteryx more bird than reptile, or more reptile than bird? It is irrelevant! It being more birdlike is not going to remove the reptilian characteristics of the specimen. It will obviously always be an intermediate morphologically, whether Isaak is correct or not.”
The Truth: Duck does not hesitate to betray his bias by describing Archaeopteryx dogmatically as intermediate—but not before revealing the extent to which his prejudice dominates his views on the issue:  It doesn’t matter to him which (or how many) of Archaeopteryx’s characteristics are truly more bird-like or more reptile-like; nor does it therefore matter whether Mark Isaak is right or wrong!  All that matters to Wayne Duck is that Archaeopteryx will “always be an intermediate” in his own eyes.

[Readers may wish to see “On the Alleged Dinosaurian Ancestry of Birds” by Ashby Camp, and an Open Letter from the Smithsonian criticizing National Geographic’s “sensationalistic propagandizing” of questionable evidence for “dinosaur-to-bird” evolution]

Wayne Duck:Protoavis work has...never been published and the specimen has been studied very little. ...the nature of the Protoavis find is under some debate.”
The Truth: Chatterjee (whose students found the two Protoavis specimens), published a paper on the skull in 1991, another paper in 1995, and a book on Protoavis in 1997.  (I find it hard to believe that Mr. Duck, reference monger that he is, could miss these.)  His declaration that “the nature of the Protoavis find is under some debate” is somewhat of an understatement:  Chatterjee and Protoavis were both shunned and sharply attacked by the majority-ruled self-styled “scientific community” which largely resented the implications of the find.  (So much for letting the empirical data lead the way!)

Wayne Duck: “As a point of hypocrisy, I would like to point out that Wallace gleefully uses the age of the Protoavis fossil (some 75 million years older than Archaeopteryx) in rebutting Isaak. However, Wallace does not believe or even recognize current dating techniques (those same dating techniques used to date this fossil), and contends that the earth is but 12,000 years old. ...It is the high point of hypocrisy to use data that you do not believe to momentarily support your position.”
The Truth: It is perfectly acceptable in a debate to assume an opponent’s position for the purpose of the argument in order to show that it leads to inconsistencies (which is precisely what I was doing).  Mr. Duck appears unfamiliar with the reductio ad absurdum argument.  It is no more an act of “hypocrisy” for a creationist to cite evolutionary dates when discussing evolution, than it was “hypocrisy” for Duck to quote the Bible in the very same exchange from which he quotes me in his critique.  What is hypocrisy, on the other hand, is Wayne Duck’s shameless attempt to unilaterally pin that label on me, knowing that he is guilty of precisely the same practice he wishes to disparage!  (Chapter two of Paul’s Letter to Romans comes to mind...)

The Theory of Evolution Says That Life Originated, and Evolution Proceeds, by Random Chance

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Wayne Duck: “[Wallace] apparently thinks that Isaak’s statements that ‘chance plays a large part’ in evolution and that natural selection plays a ‘fundamental role’ are incompatible. Wallace does not base his remarks on any data. He bases his remarks largely on out-of-context quotations, as he has done throughout his FAQ.”
The Truth: Baloney.  Contrary to Mr. Duck’s arrogant (and erroneous) presumption, my remark was in fact based on the very logic espoused by Mark Isaak himself (whose original essay I was rebutting):

Mark Isaak:Chance certainly plays a large part in evolution, but this argument completely ignores the fundamental role of natural selection, and selection is the very opposite of chance.” [quoted directly from his essay, emphasis added]
Isaak has thus announced to his readers that natural selection is the antithesis of chance, and that these two “opposites” somehow function together in the evolutionary process.  But—remarkably—Duck carefully ignores his colleague’s definitions and instead proceeds to dish up the standard evolutionary dogma (complete with numerous real, corroborative quotes from authentic evolutionists!) about how chance variation and selection (plus time) have turned molecules into human beings.  Of course, the critical details are left out (as usual).

We may never get an explanation from either Isaak or Duck as to how exactly natural selection became the “opposite” of chance (i.e., is deliberate, non-accidental, designed, and purposeful, rather than random and undetermined), or how that aspect of natural selection functions in conjunction with the properties of chance.  In fact, it seems Duck was just contradicting that very concept, in the beginning of his critique.

Wayne Duck: “These quotations (and the books and journal articles from which they come) show Wallace’s criticism of Isaak to be unjustified.”
The Truth: But how?  My criticism of Isaak was as follows:

Tim Wallace: “Here we find a classic game of semantics and subjective re-definition of terms. On the one hand, Mark Isaak concedes that “chance plays a large part,” yet natural selection (now portrayed as if an inherently, non-accidental, designed, deliberate, goal-oriented process) plays a “fundamental role,” these two “opposites” somehow combining to make it all work out, precisely according to theory.” [quoted from my essay]

What I would like to know is exactly how have Duck’s routine quotations of evolutionary dogma render my criticism “unjustified”?  None of these quotations dealt with Isaak’s semantic transformation of the inherent properties of natural selection as described (and quoted) above.  None of them described natural selection in the context in which Isaak placed it.  It looks as if Mr. Duck has once again dealt bravely with dangerous facts by resorting to falsehood and evasion.

Wayne Duck: “If Isaak is guilty of ‘semantics and subjective re-definition of terms,’ he is in good company.”
The Truth: Duck accuses me of “semantics and subjective re-definition of terms”—the very practice for which I criticized Mark Isaak (immediately above, with documentation), but for his accusation to have any credibility, it seems he would have actually cited the specific incidents in which he believes I resorted to “semantics and subjective re-definition of terms.”  Instead, he just arbitrarily lets the (false) accusation fly...

Science History Speaks

Wayne Duck: “Documented history shows that Blyth was not the first to propose natural selection as Wallace claims.”
The Truth: I have no problem with Wayne Duck’s conclusion, based on the documentation that he has provided in support of his claim, that neither the concept, nor the observation, of natural selection originated with either Darwin in 1859, or with Blyth in 1835, but was first documented by Wells in 1813.  Upon confirming this history to my satisfaction, I will also gladly make the appropriate adjustments to my own essay.

Wayne Duck: “Wallace implies that ‘borrowing’ ideas and then adding to and/or modifying those ideas somehow cheapens the results. ...This does not lessen Darwin’s contribution to humanity.”
The Truth: My purpose in pointing out that Darwin was not the first to observe or articulate natural selection was to show that the man is credited with more than he deserved.  The most that can be honestly said for Charles Darwin is that he received, published and passed along natural selection as an empirically observed natural phenomenon, suggesting that it—along with some other (still unknown) mechanism (plus aeons of time)—explains the origin of creation’s varied and complex organisms.  To the best of my knowledge, his every original notion of a specific macro-evolutionary mechanism (besides natural selection, which by itself is entirely inadequate) has since been discarded, having been replaced (in “Neo-Darwinism”) with the (baseless) postulation that mutations generate new and useful genetic information.  All that endures from Darwin himself is the combination of natural selection (from Wells) and great spans of geological time (from Hutton via Lyell).  The former remains a natural phenomenon which was known before Darwin’s time, while the latter endures only as one of evolutionism’s most sacred, jealously defended, and unfalsifiable dogmas.  It is not his “borrowing” alone that “lessens Darwin’s contribution to humanity”—it is the actual contribution itself, notwithstanding the exaggerated acclaim with which it has been propped up by every subsequent generation of faithful believers.

Wayne Duck: “The reason [Alfred] Wallace and Darwin are credited with the theory of evolution is because they were the first to propose natural selection as a mechanism and to provide a full account of the data and predictions within the context of the theory. It is not enough to propose bits and pieces of a theory. A theory must explain the current data and predict future data. This is what Darwin and A. R. Wallace accomplished.”
The Truth: Duck may excel at catechism, but he has already contradicted himself by showing that neither Wallace nor Darwin were “first to propose natural selection as a mechanism,” and he has yet to unambiguously document how any form of Darwinism was ever able to “provide a full account” of the “current data” or “predict future data” in any compelling measure.

What Do The Experts Say?

Wayne Duck: “Wallace attempts to portray Stanley as having denied natural selection as a mechanism of evolution. However, in this paper, Stanley is simply proposing a theory called ‘species selection.’
The Truth: This is false.  Stanley is not merely proposing ‘species selection’—he is describing how the data fits with van Valen’s theory.  And contrary to Duck’s false (as usual) accusation that I used Stanley’s words “out of context,” the comments I quoted from Stanley were indeed his descriptions of observed phenomena which he cited in the process of describing van Valen’s ‘Red Queen’ theory:

Duck deceives his readers by quoting just a little more of Stanley than I originally did (thus appearing to be more honest or generous?), while making false statements about what Stanley is actually saying (as if he were “correcting” or “exposing” me).  Duck presents the following passage (w/ the portion I originally quoted in bold, and his comments in brackets):

“In other words [summarizing the Red Queen hypothesis], natural selection over the long run does not seem to improve a species’ chance of survival but simply enables it to ‘track,’ or keep up with, the constantly changing environment.”

But a look at the true context reveals that Mr. Duck actually lied about Stanley’s statement to lend credibility to his (false) “out of context” accusation.  Below is an even larger portion of the relevant passage, showing that Stanley was not merely “summarizing the Red Queen hypothesis” as Wayne Duck claims, but was describing what the empirical data indicate.  Please pay special attention to the last half (in bold):

“Evidence for the Red Queen hypothesis comes from an examination of extinction rates in a large number of evolutionary lines.  If natural selection were actually improving the fit of organisms to their environments, then we might expect the probability that a species will become extinct in the next time period to be less for species that have already been in existence for a long time, since the long-lived species are presumably the ones that have been improved by natural selection.  The data show, however, that the probability of extinction of a species appears to be a constant, characteristic of the group to which it belongs but independent of whether the species has been in existence for along time or a short one.  In other words, natural selection over the long run does not seem to improve a species’ chance of survival but simply enables it to ‘track,’ or keep up with, the constantly changing environment.

Obviously, Stanley finishes the paragraph with a description of what in actuality the data show, which he then describes in other words.  He is not merely “summarizing the Red Queen hypothesis” contrary to Duck’s claim.

In case it is not obvious to the reader, what this means is that my original quotation of Stanley was fully within the context of his original meaning.  This is just one of many examples wherein Wayne Duck has fabricated a false “out of context” accusation against me, and then lied to his readers concerning the true context of the passage in order make his false accusation appear to be legitimate.


More Truth: Wayne Duck repeatedly makes a point of urging readers to carefully read the sources themselves.  Perhaps he is banking on these comments to generate blind trust from his readers.  It is hard to imagine why else he would make such statements, when it is obvious that Mr. Duck so consistently and carefully ignores, conceals, and contradicts the truth about what the sources really say.  He accuses me of “out of context” quotations and misleading statements throughout his critique of my essay, while in fact it is he who is deliberately perverting the truth, misleading his readers, and misquoting and misrepresenting both me and my sources.

Wayne Duck: “The question is, however, does the current, Darwinian theory ‘say life originated, and evolution proceeds, by random chance.’”
The Truth: Wrong!  That may have been the original question addressed by Isaak (and myself)—the one to which Isaak answered, “...selection is the very opposite of chance.”  The real question continues to be why Wayne Duck fails to support and explain Mark Isaak’s claim that natural selection is “the opposite of chance” (being therefore an inherently purpose-driven, deliberate, goal-oriented process), and how exactly all of that makes macro-evolution work.

Wayne Duck: “Wallace charges that Koestler was a ‘prominent evolutionist scientist.’ Koestler was nothing of the sort. He was a novelist, political activist, and social philosopher. Although he had a scientific background, he could not be considered an ‘authority’ in biology or evolution.”
The Truth: Duck is correct.  I stand corrected, and have already made the correction on my essay (as of 04/02/00).

Wayne Duck: “In fact, a complete reading of his references will show that Wallace’s attack on Isaak is unfounded.”
The Truth: If Duck had known that I would eventually examine and expose his deceitful tactics, I wonder whether he would have repeated this false claim so many times.  Once again, he side-steps the issue raised in my rebuttal of Isaak, and once again, Duck’s only interest is in casting a disparaging light my references through his use of deception.

Science or Wishful Thinking?

Wayne Duck: “Wallace claims: (1) there is no record of beneficial mutations; (2) that mutations are ‘erroneous duplication of genetic code’ (3) that he has already dealt with variation leading to different species.”
The Truth: Whereas Isaak insisted that “chance ensures that such beneficial mutations will be inevitable,” (without explaining exactly how), my actual comment (omitted from Duck’s version) was:

Tim Wallace: “Yet there are no records of genuine, enduring, beneficial mutations even remotely suggestive of evolutionary progress.  Geneticists recognize mutations as erroneous duplications of genetic code, and there is no generally accepted collection of recorded ‘beneficial’ and enduring examples.  Isaak clearly goes out of the bounds of science to make his claim.” [quoted from my essay]

Let the reader note that Wayne Duck provides absolutely nothing in the way of relevant and compelling data, documentation, or argument that unequivocally challenges my position.  It should also be understood by the reader that by “beneficial” mutation we ultimately mean information-gaining mutations, since this is a necessary component of macro-evolution.

Wayne Duck: “At least one expert, Thomas Jukes, disagrees with Wallace’s contention that there is no record of beneficial mutations. Jukes writes, ‘Molecular biology provides us with concrete examples of ‘mutational improvements.’’...”
The Truth: Let the reader note that Wayne Duck still provides absolutely nothing in the way of relevant and compelling data, documentation, or argument that unequivocally challenges my position.

Wayne Duck: “Wallace italicizes ‘erroneous’ to suggest to the reader that an ‘erroneous’ mutation cannot be beneficial.”
The Truth: In the context of macro-evolution, that is precisely correct.  Mutations (including those that can be transferred between generations) are DNA copying errors.  They result in the loss of genetic information.  They do not produce new, meaningful, integrated genetic information.  Macro-evolution, by definition, must be able to produce new genetic information (in substantial quantities).  Happy stories about how a mutation ‘benefited’ a population of microbes or island beetles are a dime a dozen, but in the context of a discussion of macro-evolution, they are trivial and meaningless.

Wayne Duck: “Wallace sends the reader back to his section on ‘Evolution has not been observed,’ but adds, ‘Isaak’s ignorance is here again betrayed by his failure to differentiate between genetic variation within an existing gene pool (a fact of science), and genetic (mutational) evolution from one organism towards another, more complex, advanced organism (an hypothesis). The former has been observed and documented; the latter has not—and may not be justifiably extrapolated from the former.’  I, too, send the reader back to my first section, where I show that Wallace is the one who is ignorant. He defines evolution and variation incorrectly and then ridicules Isaak on this basis.”
The Truth: Suffice it to say Mr. Duck has revealed far less ignorance on my part than he imagines, he has yet to demonstrate what is incorrect about my definitions, and his accusations are rendered no less false by his incessantly repeating them.

Evolution is Only a Theory;
It Hasn’t Been Proved

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Wayne Duck: “In this section of his FAQ, Wallace does not present any references. Mostly, Wallace uses arguments already presented elsewhere in his FAQ to attack Isaak. Most of these arguments have been addressed within my critique, and shown not to be supported by scientific references as Wallace would have you believe. As such, I will not address most of this section.”
The Truth: Again Duck makes much of “scientific references”—these having been largely his focus, much more than than dealing directly and honestly with the arguments of either Isaak or myself.

Wayne Duck: “Wallace’s claim that there is no evidence is not true.”
The Truth: My claim was not that there is “no evidence”—but that there is a serious lack of truly supportive, unequivocal evidence.  If Mr. Duck thinks (as does Isaak) that “lots of” evidence abounds, unequivocally supporting evolution, why has he failed to cite any of it?  Duck began his critique of me by shouting, “NOWHERE IN HIS FAQ DOES HE POINT TO ANY DATA TO SUPPORT HIS POSITION.”  Yet in the end he turns out to have described himself.  If such an abundance of unequivocal empirical data existed, surely it would have been easy for him to include a handful of the most powerful examples in his essay, if only to really “put me in my place.”  But he produced no such overwhelming data, preferring instead to manipulate and moan about references.

(Hmmm.)

Wayne Duck: “Further, his claim that evolution is indefensible is not true.”
The Truth: I encourage readers to think twice before letting Wayne Duck tell them what is true and what is not.

Wayne Duck: “I invite the reader to pick up any scientific journal involved with biology. Within its pages you will find that science and scientists use evolutionary theory in every aspect of research.
The Truth: Duck means any evolutionary scientific journal.  And oh yes, these have many nice articles interpreting the data from an evolutionary perspective, if that is what the reader wants.  On the other hand, there are the creationary journals.  They’re not quite as fancy, frequently published, or heavily circulated as their evolutionary counterparts, but they are every bit as scientific (they even include biology!).

Wayne Duck: “Evolution is the backbone of modern biology.”
The Truth: Oh?  I wonder if Mr. Duck can name any major advancements in genuine biological knowledge (as opposed to evolutionary dogma) that are directly, exclusively, and unequivocally attributable to the theory of evolution as the empirical scientific/intellectual basis for their conception.  And if evolution is really the “backbone” of biology, perhaps Duck would care to explain why most biology texts barely touch evolution and in some it is absent altogether...?

Conclusion

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It has been a great disappointment to have to answer Wayne Duck’s critique of my essay.  I was not prepared for the shameful tactics found throughout Duck’s treatment.  It is saddening that this caliber of ethics (if it can be called that) is freely tolerated within the evolution camp.  I can honestly say I’m glad to be finished with yet another encounter with Wayne Duck.

 Timothy Wallace
April 2000


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