Volume 1, Number 4
A publication for the members of SOR
THE COMET CONNECTION
I had decided that I was not going to be sucked into the over-
commercialization of a big ball of ice and dirt that flies by the
earth millions of miles away once every 76 years or so. Then I
attended a lecture by space engineer and amateur astronomer,
Mr. Sarrafian pointed out that other comets
with shorter cycle times have been observed to decrease in
brightness as time goes on. This makes sense since it does not
take much to deteriorate an ice ball hurling through space. The
catch is that extrapolating these observed deterioration rates back
in time 4.5 billion years results in the original comets having a
mass several times that of our sun.
The question for evolutionists is where do comets come from if
they did not originate with the solar system?
Several hypotheses were discussed
by Mr. Sarrafian, including the most popular which
is a big pool of comets somewhere in the universe that occasionally
kicks out a new comet. He also went on to discuss the obvious
problems with most of the evolutionary scenarios.
An interesting source of documentation on the observed decay
rates of comets is a paper entitled, Brightness in Changes in
Periodic Comets by Fred L. Whipple and Diarmaid H. Douglas-
Hamilton. If you would like a copy send $5.00 to Smithsonian
Institution, Astrophysical Observatory Cambridge, Massachusetts
02138 and ask for SAO Special Report Number 181, August 9, 1965.
Since Halley's comet is such a media event, I suddenly
realized that the comet could provide many opportunities to discuss
theories of origins with people we come in contact with every day.
So I ran out and bought some inexpensive 7x50 binoculars and copy
of Astronomy magazine. So far I've been able to spot the comet 3
times. Its not much to look at right now, just a little fuzzy ball,
but I'll be ready for March and April when we are supposed to get
the best view of Halley's comet.
-Dennis Wagner, Executive Director
A TRIP TO SACRAMENTO
Textbook publishers have come under pressure from the
California State Curriculum Commission to increase their coverage
of evolution or face rejection of their science textbooks. Because
of the national impact that California has on textbooks, we felt it
was imperative to testify before the State Board of Education.
The focus of our testimony was the insufficiency of the neo-
Darwinian mechanism to account for anything but microevolution, and
an explanation of how natural selection leads to stasis, not
gradualism, on a macroevolutionary scale.
We recommended that the Board select textbooks that:
1. clearly distinguish between microevolution and
2. explain that the key features of the fossil record are
stasis and sudden appearance.
3. admit that a mechanism may not exist that can:
a. overcome the stabilizing effects of natural selection
on a macroevolutionary level.
b. overcome the deleterious effects of mutation.
c. overcome the genetic error correcting mechanisms found
in genetic systems.
4. expose our students to the serious problems that exist in
evolutionary theory so that they will be motivated to
develop better theories.
In addition, a copy of my essay "Resolving the conflicts
between natural selection and paleontology" was provided to each
member of the Board. The essay gave detailed documentation of the
thesis that natural selection is a contributing factor to
The Board of Education voted 10-0 to reject the more than 20
textbooks under consideration unless coverage of evolution was
Their justification was couched in terms of "quality of
instructional materials." Until the textbook writers admit the
inadequacy of the current evolutionary mechanisms, and better
explain what biologists and paleontologists know to be true
regarding stasis, it is our opinion that "quality" will take a
backseat to "quantity" in the textbook coverage of evolution in the
A copy of my essay along with newspaper articles covering the
textbook controversy are available to SOR members upon request.
- Art Battson, Director of Campus Activities
NOTES FROM PETER GORDON
Recent work from Germany. Squids (Order Teuthoidea of the
Class Cephalopoda) are among the most interesting and distinctive
of the ocean's animals, with their streamlined, torpedo-shaped
bodies, and great variation in size (the Giant Squid, genus
Architeuthis, can reach 24 meters in length).
Now a report in Nature, vol.
318: 53-55, 7 Nov. 1985, indicates that one form may
be a "living fossil" as well. W. Sturmer has discovered a fossil
in the Hunsruck slate (Lower Devonian) which is quite close in
appearance to a living species of squid. The fossil, designated
Eoteuthis elfriedae, "is very similar to the living Alloteuthis
africana of the Loliginidae [a family of squids]." Sturmer
This specimen of E. elfriedae shows that
Alloteuthis-like animals have not changed much
over the past 400 Myr [million years], and means that
previous concepts of the appearance of such forms must
Just another living fossil, you say? Maybe, but here are Sturmer's
If we consider the timetable and the fact that the
fossil record shows few closely related forms
[of cephalopods], then more questions arise,
especially as to the origin of these animals. How
long did it take to evolve from a primitive
nautiloid to Eoteuthis, and where might one hope to
find connecting forms?
A new history of the Creation/Evolution Controversy in
America. Edward J. Larson (Ph.D., History of Science, University
of Wisconsin) has written a richly documented history of the
American legal and legislative battles over the questions of
The book, Trial and Error: The American Controversy Over
Creation and Evolution (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1985, 222
pp.), may soon become a standard reference for the history of the
debate. The text is scrupulously fair, and refreshingly free of
the ridicule and ax-grinding which have often marred other books on
Larson, who also holds a law degree from Harvard, has
as his central thesis the failure of law to resolve the
controversy: Because the creation-evolution controversy remains
unresolved in popular opinion, it could not be settled in law...
In the long run...the law will be changed or ignored."
Another book to watch for. Mary Midgley is a philosopher at
the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in England who writes on
human nature. Her newest book, Evolution as a Religion: Strange
hopes and stranger fears, (London: Methuen, 1985, 196 pp.) is
described by the publisher as follows:
In this controversial study Mary Midgley takes
issue with a number of bizarre scientific doctrines
which are often mistakenly viewed as part of Darwin's
theory. While assessing the dangers inherent in
such distortions, the book, though not an attack on
science, raises important questions about the nature
of both science and religion and their relation to
American publisher found. In my last "Notes" I mentioned a
new book, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, by Australian molecular
biologist Michael Denton; I was uncertain whether the book had an
Well, I am pleased to report that Denton's
book will be published in April 1986 by Adler and Adler,
Washington, D.C. I learned this from a "review" (the word is used
loosely) in Nature (vol. 318: 124 - 125, 14 Nov. 1985), wherein
Mark Ridley, a zoologist at Oxford, discusses three creationist
books and one by Robert G.B. Reid, an evolutionist. One can almost
predict what such a review will contain, and sure enough, there it
is: creationists have "closed minds"; they "sift" through
evolutionary writings, "seize upon bits that look like difficulties
for Darwinism, and ignore everything else. Then, after surrounding
the difficulties with schoolroom rhetoric, sub-Kuhnian
psychobabble, and suitably simplified Victorian history, they send
the whole to press." (Sub-Kuhnian psychobabble?!)
Nowhere in the review does Ridley suggest that neo-Darwinism
might--just might--be less than adequate as an explanation. He
defends Darwin's position (e.g. Darwin's miserably ad hoc
explanation of the gaps in the fossil record) with dogged
consistency. So...let me encourage professor Ridley to take the
train to Cambridge, and pay a visit to the lab of geneticist
Gabriel Dover. Here's what Dover might have to say"
The writings of Darwin, and indeed those that
contributed to the formulation of the neo-Darwinian
synthesis in the 1930's, are not Old Testament tracts
to be pored over by the armchair exegesists. They
cannot supply, without resorting to too many ad hoc
assumptions, all the answers to the multiple causes
of the ebb and flow of evolution...Physics moved on
from Newton, and biology might need to move on from
Darwin, if we are to explain, satisfactorily, all
that we observe. (Dover, G. "Shadow boxing with
Darwin" Nature, vol. 318: 19-20, 7 Nov. 1985)
Finally, let me encourage both Ridley and Dover to consider that
biology might need to move on, not only from Darwin, but from the
general theory of organic evolution as well.
- Peter Gordon
This file originates from:
Origins Talk RBBS * (314) 821-1078
Missouri Association for Creation, Inc.
405 North Sappington Road
Glendale, MO 63122-4729
Also call: Students for Origins Research CREVO BBS
Index - Evolution or Creation1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73 | 74 | 75 | 76 | 78 | 79 | 80 | 81 | 82 | 83 | 84 | 85 | 86 | 87 | 88 | 89 | 90 | 91 | 92 | 93 | 94 | 95 | 96 | 97 | 98 | 99 | 100 | 101 | 102 | 103 | 104 | 105 | 106 | 107 | 108 | 109 | 110 | 111 | 112 | 113 | 114 | 115 | 116 | 117 | 118 | 119 | 120 | 121 | 122 | 123 | 124 | 125 | 126 | 127 | 128 | 129 | 130 | 131 | 132 | 133 | 135 | 136 | 137 | 138 | 139 | 140 | 141 | 142 | 143 | 144 | 145 | 146 | 147 | 148 | 149 | 150 | 151 | 152 | 153 | 154 | 155 | 156 | 157 | 158 | 159 | 160 | 161 | 162 | 163 | 164 | 165 | 166 | 168 | 169 | 170 | 171 | 172 | 173 | 174 | 175 | 176 | 177 | 178 | 179 | 180 | 181 | 182 | 183 | 184 | 185 | 186 | 187 | 188 | 189 | 190 | 191 | 192 | 193 | 194 | 195 | 196 | 197 | 198 | 199 | 200 | 201 | 202 | 203 | 204 | 205 | 206 | 207 | 208 | 209 | 210 | 211 | 212 | 213 | 214 | 215 | 216 | 217 | 218 | 219 | 220 | 221 | 222 | 223 | 224 | 225 | 226 | 227 | 228 | 229 | 230 | 231