Examine the Quotes

When we were kids, our folks taught us to always read the fine print. Otherwise, we might end up agreeing to something foolish. Unfortunately, Dr. McLeroy's list of quotes did not give his fellow Board members that option.

Those fellow Board members include successful professionals from all walks of life. They could not have achieved their sterling resumes without carefully reading the fine print in all of their dealings.

Texas voters have the right to demand that their elected representatives read the fine print, especially when making decisions in areas in which they have little expertise. For this reason, the "fine print" for each of Dr. McLeroy's quotes has been provided below. Simply click "reveal context" to read additonal context for each quote.

(The quotes are listed in the order they appear on Chairman McLeroy's handout.)

Quote from ScienceDaily
New Zealand’s "living dinousaur" – the Tuatara – is surprisingly the fastest evolving animal. It is unchanged in 200 million years

Quote as presented by McLeroy Additional Context
New Zealand’s "living dinousaur" – the Tuatara – is surprisingly the fastest evolving animal. It is unchanged in 200 million years Science Daily, March 23, 2008 [Stasis] Headline: New Zealand's 'Living Dinosaur' – The Tuatara – Is Surprisingly The Fastest Evolving Animal

…In a study of New Zealand's "living dinosaur" the tuatara, evolutionary biologist, and ancient DNA expert, Professor David Lambert and his team from the Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution recovered DNA sequences from the bones of ancient tuatara, which are up to 8000 years old. They found that, although tuatara have remained largely physically unchanged over very long periods of evolution, they are evolving - at a DNA level - faster than any other animal yet examined.

…"Of course we would have expected that the tuatara, which does everything slowly – they grow slowly, reproduce slowly and have a very slow metabolism – would have evolved slowly. In fact, at the DNA level, they evolve extremely quickly, which supports a hypothesis proposed by the evolutionary biologist Allan Wilson, who suggested that the rate of molecular evolution was uncoupled from the rate of morphological evolution."

…The tuatara, Sphendon punctatus, is found only in New Zealand and is the only surviving member of a distinct reptilian order Sphehodontia that lived alongside early dinosaurs and separated from other reptiles 200 million years ago in the Upper Triassic period.

"New Zealand's 'Living Dinosaur' -- The Tuatara -- Is Surprisingly The Fastest Evolving Animal"
ScienceDaily
Mar. 23, 2008

Quote from Scientific American
"…natural selection operates essentially to enable the organisms to maintain their state of adaptation rather than to improve it."

Quote as presented by McLeroy Additional Context
"…natural selection operates essentially to enable the organisms to maintain their state of adaptation rather than to improve it." Lewontin, Richard C., Adaptation, Scientific American (and Scientific American book Evolution), September 1978 [Stasis] "Van Valen's theory [the Red Queen hypothesis] is that the environment is constantly decaying with respect to existing organism, so that natural selection operates essentially to enable the organisms to maintain their state of adaptation rather than to improve it. Evidence from 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 that species has been in existence for a long 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…There is no way to explain and predict such evolutionary adaptations unless a priori niches can be described on the basis of some physical principles before organisms come to occupy them."

Richard C. Lewontin
"Adaptation"
Scientific American
Vol. 239, No. 3
Sept. 1978
Page 215

Quote about an article in Nature
"The hardest substance in your body is your teeth. The varieties of teeth among vertebrates is astounding, from the tiny incisors in a mole to the bone-crushing scimitars on a T. rex. Many fossils are known only from their teeth. One would think teeth are the best-studied objects in evolutionary theory, but a recent paper uncovers a near absence of explanation about how they arose."

Quote as presented by McLeroy Additional Context
"The hardest substance in your body is your teeth. The varieties of teeth among vertebrates is astounding, from the tiny incisors in a mole to the bone-crushing scimitars on a T. rex. Many fossils are known only from their teeth. One would think teeth are the best-studied objects in evolutionary theory, but a recent paper uncovers a near absence of explanation about how they arose." Koentges, Georgy, "Developmental Biology: Teeth in Double Trouble", Nature, , Oct 14, 2008

Note: This quote is not from the Nature article referenced by McLeroy. It actually comes from "Creation-Evolution Headlines," a website that offers commentary on scientific advances from a Creationist perspective.
The actual Nature article provides the following context:

"Almost all vertebrates have teeth of some sort. But where, in developmental terms, do teeth come from? Results drawn from experimental embryology provide an illuminating perspective on this contentious question.

Teeth are made of some of the hardest stuff in organic nature, and many fossil vertebrates are known only from their dental remains. So teeth are central for systematic classification and reconstruction of animal life-histories, not to mention forensic science, horror movies and musicals. But we know all too little about the earliest cellular and molecular events that initiate teeth and define their position, shape and patterns — a deficiency that Soukup et al. (page 795 of this issue) have set out to remedy by first sorting out some basic embryology."

Georgy Koentges
"Teeth in double trouble"
Nature
Vol. 455, No. 9
Oct. 2008
Page 747

Quotes from Ernst Mayr’s
What Evolution Is
Basic Books, 2001
"The fossil record provides abundant evidence for common descent."

Ernst Mayr
What Evolution Is
Page 22
"The earliest fossil prokaryotes (3.5 billion years ago) were cyanobacteria … [which] are morphologically [body type] indistinguishable from [the] still living species and nearly all of the them can be placed in modern genera."

Quote as presented by McLeroy Additional Context
"The earliest fossil prokaryotes (3.5 billion years ago) were cyanobacteria … [which] are morphologically [body type] indistinguishable from [the] still living species and nearly all of the them can be placed in modern genera." Page 47 [Stasis] "The earliest fossil prokaryotes (3.5 billion years ago) were cyanobacteria (see Fig. 3.1). What is most remarkable about the cyanobacteria is their morphological stasis. About a third of the early fossil species of prokaryotes are morphologically indistinguishable from still living species and nearly all of them can be placed in modern genera. There are a number of possible reasons for this constancy. They reproduce asexually, they have very large populations, and they are able to live under highly variable and often extreme environmental conditions. All this may favor stability."

Page 47
"The fossil record, in spite of its many gaps, is the most irrefutable evidence for the occurrence of evolution. However, continuous fossil sequences are still the exception; the fossil record remains woefully inadequate."

Quote as presented by McLeroy Additional Context
The fossil record, in spite of its many gaps, is the most irrefutable evidence for the occurrence of evolution. However, continuous fossil sequences are still the exception; the fossil record remains woefully inadequate." Page 69 [How can that which is "woefully inadequate", and which lacks "continuous fossil sequences" be "irrefutable"?] "What is most gratifying is that all findings are consistent with Darwin's theory of common descent. Together with molecular sequences, the fossil record, in spite of its many gaps, is the most irrefutable evidence for the occurrence of evolution. However, continuous fossil sequences are still the exception; the fossil record remains woefully inadequate. For instance, we have no fossil documentation of the human ancestry between 14 and 4.5 million years ago. The most recent coelocanth fossil is dated ca. 60 million years ago and, of course, everybody concluded that this group had become extinct that long ago, until two living species were discovered within the last 50 years. However, when even such an unexpected discovery has been made, it always fitted perfectly into the Darwinian framework."

Page 69
"a localized population … suddenly appear(s) on the scene and then continue(s) essentially unchanged until [they] become(s) extinct."

Quote as presented by McLeroy Additional Context
"a localized population … suddenly appear(s) on the scene and then continue(s) essentially unchanged until [they] become(s) extinct." Page 63; also page 196 [This related to horses and whales.] [Sudden appearance] "An even more complete gradation is presented by the evolution of the modern horse (see Fig. 2.3). A simple transitional genus (Merychippus) gave rise to no less than nine new genera, one of which (Dinohippus) gave rise to the modern horse (Equus). A beautiful series of intermediate stages also exists between the mosonychid ungulates and their descendants, the whales (see Fig. 2.2). In most cases new species seem to have originated by budding in a peripherally isolated population, but such a localized population is not likely to be preserved in the fossil record. It suddenly appears on the scene and then continues essentially unchanged until it becomes extinct. This mode of phyletic evolution is particularly well documented for the bryozoan genus Metaraptodos (Cheetham 1987). Futuyma (1998) describes and illustrates numerous such cases of nearly complete phyletic series."

Page 63
"stasis of a widespread populous species is widely observed in the fossil record."

Quote as presented by McLeroy Additional Context
"stasis of a widespread populous species is widely observed in the fossil record." Page 193 [Stasis] "The chance that such a localized, isolated population, and the new species produced by such peripatric speciation, will be found in the fossil record is, of course, exceedingly small. Even though the continuity of populations during this process of speciational evolution is complete, it will appear in the scanty fossil record as a saltation and has been described as such. This is clearly a misinterpretation, since speciational evolution is at every step a gradual populational process.

Eldredge and Gould (1972) have called this process 'evolution by punctuated equilibria.' They pointed out that if such a new species is successful and becomes effectively adapted to a new niche or adaptive zone, it may subsequently remain unchanged for many hundreds of thousands if not millions of years. Such a stasis of a widespread populous species is widely observed in the fossil record.

Page 193
"The complete standstill or stasis of an evolutionary lineage for scores, if not hundreds, of millions of years is very puzzling."

Quote as presented by McLeroy Additional Context
"The complete standstill or stasis of an evolutionary lineage for scores, if not hundreds, of millions of years is very puzzling." Page 195 [Stasis] "The complete standstill or stasis of an evolutionary lineage for scores, if not hundreds, of millions of years is very puzzling. How can it be explained? In the case of a living fossil, all the species with which it had been associated 100 or 200 million years ago had either changed drastically since that time or had become extinct. Why did this one species continue to prosper without any changes in its phenotype? Some geneticists thought they had the answer by ascribing it to normalizing selection, which culls all deviations from the optimal genotype. However, normalizing selection is equally active in rapidly evolving lineages. To explain why the underlying basic genotype was so successful in living fossils and other slowly evolving lineages requires a better understanding of development than is so far available."

Page 195
"[These] living fossils have hardly changed for millions of years."

Quote as presented by McLeroy Additional Context
"[These] living fossils have hardly changed for millions of years." Page 279 [These are long lived species that remain in stasis. For some reason these have not become extinct, so are called "living fossils".] [Stasis] "Once a species has acquired effective isolating mechanisms, it may not materially change for millions of years. Indeed the so-called living fossils have hardly changed for hundreds of millions of years. How can this be explained? It has been argued that this stasis was due to the operation of normalizing selection, which culls all the deviations from the optimal genotype. However, normalizing selection is equally active in rapidly evolving lineages. Stasis apparently indicates the possession of a genotype that is able to adjust to all changes of the environment without the need for changing its basic phenotype. To explain how this is done is the task of developmental genetics."

Page 279
"Bats … have hardly changed in basic body plan in the ensuing 40 million years."

Quote as presented by McLeroy Additional Context
"Bats … have hardly changed in basic body plan in the ensuing 40 million years." Page 196 [Stasis] "Bats originated from an insectivorelike ancestor within a few million years, but have hardly changed in basic body plan in the ensuing 40 million years. The origin of whales happened very rapidly, in terms of geological time, compared to the subsequent essential stasis of the new structural type. In all of these cases the lineage had shifted into a new adaptive zone and was for a while exposed to very strong selection pressure to become optimally adapted to the new environment. As soon as the appropriate level of adaptedness had been acquired, the rate of change was reduced drastically. The extreme variability of rates of evolution has been neglected by certain authors and this has led them to errors of interpretation."

Page 196
"there is no documentation of the branching event between the hominid and the chimpanzee lineages. To make matters worse, most hominid fossils are extremely incomplete. They may consist of a part of a mandible, or the upper part of a skull without face or teeth, or only part of the extremities. … virtually all of them are somewhat controversial."

Quote as presented by McLeroy Additional Context
"there is no documentation of the branching event between the hominid and the chimpanzee lineages. To make matters worse, most hominid fossils are extremely incomplete. They may consist of a part of a mandible, or the upper part of a skull without face or teeth, or only part of the extremities. … virtually all of them are somewhat controversial." Page 239 "Unfortunately, no hominid fossils—nor such of a fossil chimpanzee—are as yet known for the period between 6 and 13 mya. Thus there is no documentation of the branching event between the hominid and chimpanzee lineages. To make matters worse, most hominid fossils are extremely incomplete. They may consist of a part of a mandible, or the upper part of a skull without face or teeth, or only part of the extremities. Subjectivity is inevitable in the reconstruction of the missing parts. From the beginnings of human paleontology there has been a tendency to compare every fossil with Homo sapiens. A fossil (or particular parts of it) was then considered 'advanced' or primitive ('apelike'). These comparisons showed that hominid evolution tended to be highly 'mosaic.' A very Homo-like dentition may be associated with rather apelike extremities, and other rather incongruous combinations were also found.

A general text on evolution like this one cannot present the cons and pros of all interpretations of the controversial hominid finds (and virtually all of them are somewhat controversial!). This would be totally bewildering for the nonspecialist reader."

Page 239
"the various steps in the history of the change from ape to man … is entirely based on inferences and any part of it may be refuted at any time."

Quote as presented by McLeroy Additional Context
"the various steps in the history of the change from ape to man … is entirely based on inferences and any part of it may be refuted at any time." Page 240 "Yet, as far as the general trend in human evolution is concerned, the fossil record is of considerable assistance. By making use of the interpretations of numerous authors, but relying particularly on Stanley (1996) and Wrangham (2001), I am developing a sequence of historical narratives that reconstruct the various steps in the history of the change from ape to man. The resulting picture is entirely based on inferences and any part of it may be refuted at any time. But developing a cohesive story is far more instructive than merely compiling a list of unconnected facts. The most important certainty that has emerged from recent studies is that Homo sapiens is the end product of two major ecological shifts (habitat preference) of our hominid ancestors."

Page 240
"Australopithecus populations … did not change very much in this whole 1.5 million-year-long period; it was a period of stasis."

Quote as presented by McLeroy Additional Context
"Australopithecus populations … did not change very much in this whole 1.5 million-year-long period; it was a period of stasis." Page 243 [Stasis] "The gracile Australopithecus populations lived from 3.8 to 2.4 mya. In their body size and smallness of the brain they were apes. What is most noteworthy, however, is that they did not change very much in this whole 1.5-million-year-long period; it was a period of stasis. To be sure there were differences between the southern African A. africanus and the eastern African A. afarensis, who lived at somewhat different times, but the differences might also be attributed to geographic variation induced by climatic and other environmental conditions. There was no approach toward the characters of Homo over this long period."

Page 243
"with H. erectus another period of stasis was apparently reached, and changes in the 1.5 million years of its existence were relatively minor."

Quote as presented by McLeroy Additional Context
"with H. erectus another period of stasis was apparently reached, and changes in the 1.5 million years of its existence were relatively minor." Page 251 [Stasis] "One can summarize the history of hominid evolution from the ape origin to modern times by emphasizing the drastic reconstruction of man’s physique. Most conspicuous is the shift from the semiarboreal mode of living of Australopithecus to the strictly terrestrial one of Homo. Brain size more than tripled in 4 million years and this facilitated an astounding cultural revolution. The rate of change was not even, but was greatly accelerated in the shift to Homo. During the australopithecine phase, no conspicuous change occurred in more than 2 million years. With Homo, however, something new appeared, even though there is still some uncertainty about the relationship of H. habilis, H. rudolfensis, and H. erectus. Homo was strictly terrestrial and clearly had a larger brain than the apes. But with H. erectus another period of stasis was apparently reached, and changes in the 1.5 million years of its existence were relatively minor."

Page 251
"Cro-Magnons, were highly successful but did not change appreciably … in the nearly 100,000 years of their dominance."

Quote as presented by McLeroy Additional Context
"Cro-Magnons, were highly successful but did not change appreciably … in the nearly 100,000 years of their dominance." Page 251 [Stasis] "The H. sapiens invaders of western Europe, called Cro-Magnons, were highly successful but did not change appreciably anatomically, particularly in brain size (1,350 cc), in the nearly 100,000 years of their dominance. They had a highly developed culture, being the creators of the famous paintings in the Lascaux and Chauvet caves."

Page 251
"the human brain seems not to have changed one bit since the first appearance of Homo sapiens, some 150,000 years ago."

Quote as presented by McLeroy Additional Context
"the human brain seems not to have changed one bit since the first appearance of Homo sapiens, some 150,000 years ago." Page 252 [Stasis] "It has long been appreciated that it is our brain that makes us human. Any other part of our anatomy can be matched or surpassed by a corresponding structure in some other animal. Still, fundamentally, the human brain is very similar to other, far smaller and simpler mammalian brains. The unique character of our brain seems to lie in the existence of many (perhaps as many as forty) different types of neurons, some perhaps specifically human.

What is perhaps most astonishing is the fact that the human brain seems not to have changed one single bit since the first appearance of Homo sapiens, some 150,000 years ago. The cultural rise of the human species from primitive hunter-gatherer to agriculture and city civilizations took place without an appreciable increase in brain size. It seems that in an enlarged, more complex society, a bigger brain is no longer rewarded by a reproductive advantage. It certainly shows that there is no teleological trend toward a steady brain increase in the hominid lineage."

Page 252
"Only about 35 are now left, none of which has changed drastically (in the basics of their body plan) in the 500 million years since the Cambrian."

Quote as presented by McLeroy Additional Context
"Only about 35 [structural body types] are now left, none of which has changed drastically (in the basics of their body plan) in the 500 million years since the Cambrian." Page 267 [Stasis] "The astonishing slowdown or stasis or certain evolutionary lineages ('living fossils') is also rather puzzling, considering that all the other members of their biota evolved at normal rates. The opposite extreme, the rapidity with which certain genotypes were restructured in founder populations, is likewise puzzling.

All of the puzzling problems ultimately seem to be due to the structure of the genotype. Molecular biology has discovered that there is a variety of kinds of genes, some in charge of the production of certain materials (enzymes), others involved in the regulation of the activity of other genes. Most genes apparently are not continuously active but only in certain cells (tissues) and at certain times in the life cycle. Other genes seem to be neutral, while an amazingly large proportion of DNA seems to be totally inactive. The genes of the genotype, therefore, form a complex system of interactions. Owing to these multiple interactions among all the composing genes, such a system is highly constrained. It can respond to some influences or environmental pressures, though most would lead to unbalances and will be selected against.

There are suggestions that genotypes were less tightly constrained at the beginning of the existence of the Metazoa so that for 200-300 million years in the late Precambrian or early Cambrian no fewer than 70 or 80 new structural types evolved. Only about 35 are now left, none of which has changed drastically (in the basics of their body plan) in the 500 million years since the Cambrian. How can we explain such a seemingly drastic change in evolutionary rate? Within these surviving structural types, however, there have been remarkable radiations, such as the insects and the vertebrates."

Pages 266-267
"Once a species has acquired effective isolating mechanisms, it may not materially change for millions of years. … Stasis apparently indicates the possession of a genotype that is able to adjust to all changes in the environment without the need for changing its basic phenotype."

Quote as presented by McLeroy Additional Context
"Once a species has acquired effective isolating mechanisms, it may not materially change for millions of years. … Stasis apparently indicates the possession of a genotype [genes] that is able to adjust to all changes in the environment without the need for changing its basic phenotype [body]." Page 278 [This is not limited to fish, birds, mammals, insects, or plants; it applies to all living things.] [Stasis] "How can long-lasting stasis be explained?
Once a species has acquired effective isolating mechanisms, it may not materially change for millions of years. Indeed the so-called living fossils have hardly changed for hundreds of millions of years. How can this be explained? It has been argued that this stasis was due to the operation of normalizing selection, which culls all the deviations from the optimal genotype. However, normalizing selection is equally active in rapidly evolving lineages. Stasis apparently indicates the possession of a genotype that is able to adjust to all changes of the environment without the need for changing its basic phenotype. To explain how this is done is the task of developmental genetics."

Pages 278-279

Quotes from Stephen Jay Gould’s
The Structure of Evolutionary Theory
Belknap Press, 2002
"Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists—whether through design or stupidity, I do not know—as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups."

" … Anatomy may fluctuate through time, but the last remnants of a species look pretty much like the first representatives."

Quote as presented by McLeroy Additional Context
" … Anatomy may fluctuate through time, but the last remnants of a species look pretty much like the first representatives." (p. 749.) [Stasis] After recounting the story of scientific correspondence between Hugh Falconer and Charles Darwin, Gould wrote the following:

"I recount this story at some length, as an introduction to punctuated equilibrium, both because Falconer and Darwin presage in such a striking manner, the main positions of supporters and opponents (respectively) of punctuated equilibrium in our generation, and because the tale itself illustrates the central fact of the fossil record so well-geologically abrupt origin and subsequent extended stasis of most species. Falconer, especially, illustrates the transition from too easy a false resulution under creationist premises, to recognizing a puzzle (and proposing some interesting solutions) within the new world of evolutionary explanation. Most importantly, this tale exemplifies what may be called the cardinal and dominant fact of the fossil record, something that professional paleontologists learned as soon as they developed tools for an adequate stratigraphic tracing of fossils through time: the great majority of species appear with geological abruptness in the fossil record and then persist in stasis until their extinction. Anatomy may fluctuate through time, but the last remnants of a species usually look pretty much like the first representatives. In proposing punctuated equilibrium, Eldredge and I did not discover, or even rediscover, this fundamental fact of the fossil record. Paleontologists have always recognized the longterm stability of most species, but we had become more than a bit ashamed by this strong and literal signal, for the dominant theory of our scientific culture told us to look for the opposite result of gradualism as the primary empirical expression of every biologist's favorite subject - evolution itself.

Page 749
" … the greatest and most biologically astute paleontologist of the 20th century … acknowledged the literal appearance of stasis and geologically abrupt origin as the outstanding general fact ofthe fossil record and as a pattern which would 'pose one of the most important theoretical problems in the whole history of life. '"

Quote as presented by McLeroy Additional Context
" … the greatest and most biologically astute paleontologist of the 20th century … acknowledged the literal appearance of stasis and geologically abrupt origin as the outstanding general fact ofthe fossil record and as a pattern which would 'pose one of the most important theoretical problems in the whole history of life. '" (p. 755 quoting George Gaylord Simpson.) [Sudden Apearance, Stasis] "In what I regard as the most fascinating and revealing comment of all, George Gaylord Simpson, the greatest and most biologically astute paleontologist of the 20th century (and a strong opponent of punctuated equilibrium in his later years), acknowledged the literal appearance of stasis and geologically abrupt origin as the outstanding general fact of the fossil record, and as a pattern that would 'pose one of the most important theoretical problems in the whole history of life' if Darwin's argument for artifactual status failed. Simpson stated at the 1959 Chicago centennial celebration for the Origin of Species (in Tax, 1960, p. 149):
It is a feature of the known fossil record that most taxa appear abruptly. They are not, as a rule, led up to by a sequence of almost imperceptibly changing forerunners such as Darwin believed should be usual in evolution. A great many sequences of two or a few temporally intergrading species are known, but even at this level most species appear without known intermediate ancestors, and really, perfectly complete sequences of numerous species are exceedingly rare .... These peculiarities of the record pose one of the most important theoretical problems in the whole history of life: is the sudden appearance ... a phenomenon of evolution or of the record only, due to sampling bias and other inadequacies?"
Page 755
" … the long term stasis following geologically abrupt origin of most fossil morphospecies, has always been recognized by professional paleontologists."

Quote as presented by McLeroy Additional Context
" … the long term stasis following geologically abrupt origin of most fossil morphospecies, has always been recognized by professional paleontologists." (p. 752.) [Sudden appearance]

Note: This quote is not found on page 752, as indicated on Dr. McLeroy's handout. It actually appears on page 750.

See here for more about this discrepancy.
"The common knowledge of a profession often goes unrecorded in technical literature for two reasons: one need not preach commonplaces to the initiated; and one should not attempt to inform the uninitiated in publications they do not read. The longterm stasis, following a geologically abrupt origin, of most fossil morphospecies, has always been recognized by professional paleongologists, as the previous story of Hugh Falconer testifies. This fact, as discussed on the next page, established a basis for bistratigraphic practice, the primary professional role for paleontology during most of its history."

But another reason, beyond tacitly shared knowledge, soon arose to drive stasis more actively into textual silence. Darwinian evolution became the great intellectual novelty of the later 19th centry, and paleontology held the archives of life's history. Darwin proclaimed insensibly gradual transition as the canonical expectation for evolution's expression in the fossil record. He knew, of course, that the detailed histories of species rarely show such a pattern, so he explained the literal appearance of stasis and abrupt replacement as an artifact of a woefully imperfect fossil record. Thus paleontologists could be good Darwinians and still acknowledge the primary fact of their profession - but only at the price of sheepishness or embarrassment. No one can take great comfort when the primary observation of their discipline becomes an artifact of limited evidence rather than an expression of nature's ways. Thus, once gradualism emerged as the expected pattern for documenting evolution - with an evident implication that the fossil record's dominant signal of stasis and abrupt replacement can only be a sign of evidentiary poverty - paleontologists became cowed or puzzled, and even less likely to showcase their primary datum."

Pages 749-750
"The great majority of species do not show any appreciable evolutionary change at all. These species appear in the section (first occurrence) without obvious ancestors in the underlying beds, are stable once established and disappear higher up without leaving any descendants."

Quote as presented by McLeroy Additional Context
"The great majority of species do not show any appreciable evolutionary change at all. These species appear in the section (first occurrence) without obvious ancestors in the underlying beds, are stable once established and disappear higher up without leaving any descendants." (p. 753.) [Sudden appearance] [Stasis] "The paleontological literature, particularly in the 'summing up' articles of dedicated specialists, abounds in testimony for predominant stasis, often viewed as surprising, anamolous, or even a bit embarrassing, because such experts had been trained to expect gradualism, particularly as the reward of diligent study. To choose some examples in just three prominent fossil groups representing the full span of conventional 'complexity' in the invertebrate record, most microorganisms seem to show predominant stasis - despite the excellent documentation of a few 'best cases' of gradualism in Cenozoic planktonic Foraminifera (see pp. 803-810). For example, MacGillavry (1968, p. 70) wrote from long practical experience: "During my work as an oil paleontologist, I had the opportunity to study sections meeting these rigid requirements [of continuous sedimentation and sufficient span of time]. As an ardent student of evolution, moreover, I was continually on the watch for evidence of evolutionary change ... The great majority of species do not show any appreciable evolutionary change at all. These species appear in the section (first occurrence) without obvious ancestors in underlying beds, are stable once established, and disappear higher up without leaving any descendants."

Pages 752-753
" … but stasis is data … Say it ten times before breakfast every day for a week, and the argument will surely seep in by osmosis: 'stasis is data; stasis is data' … "

Quote as presented by McLeroy Additional Context
" … but stasis is data … Say it ten times before breakfast every day for a week, and the argument will surely seep in by osmosis: 'stasis is data; stasis is data' … " (p. 759.) [Stasis] "But how can imperfection possibly explain away stasis (the equilibrium of punctuated equilibrium)? Abrupt appearance may record an absence of information, but stasis is data. Eldredge and I became so frustrated by the failure of many colleagues to grasp this evident point - though a quarter century of subsequent debate has finally propelled our claim to general acceptance (while much else about punctuated equilibrium remains controversial) - that we urged the incorporation of this little phrase as a mantra or motto. Say it ten times before breakfast every day for a week, and the argument will surely seep in by osmosis: "stasis is data; stasis is data …"

Page 759
"Indeed proclamations for the supposed 'truth' of gradualism - asserted against every working paleontologist's knowledge of its rarity - emerged largely from such a restriction of attention to exceedingly rare cases under the false belief that they alone provided a record of evolution at all! The falsification of most 'textbook classics' upon restudy only accentuates the fallacy of the 'case study' method and its root in prior expectation rather than objective reading of the fossil record."

Quote as presented by McLeroy Additional Context
"Indeed proclamations for the supposed 'truth' of gradualism - asserted against every working paleontologist's knowledge of its rarity - emerged largely from such a restriction of attention to exceedingly rare cases under the false belief that they alone provided a record of evolution at all! The falsification of most 'textbook classics' upon restudy only accentuates the fallacy of the 'case study' method and its root in prior expectation rather than objective reading of the fossil record." (p. 773.) "Punctuated equilibrium does not merely assert the existence of a phenomenon, but ventures a stronger claim for a dominant role as a macroevolutionary pattern in geological time. But how can this vernacular notion of "dominant" be translated into a quantitative prediction for testing? At this point in the argument, we encounter the difficult (and pervasive) methodological issue of assessing relative frequency in sciences of natural history. If species were like identical beans in the beanbag of classical thought experiments in probability, then we could devise a sampling scheme based on enumerative induction. Enough randomly selected cases could establish a pattern at a desired level of statistical resolution. But species are irreducibly unique, and the set of all species does not exhibit a distribution consistent with requirement of standard statistical procedures. It matters crucially whether we study a clam or a mammal, a Cambrian or a Tertiary taxon, a species in the stable tropics, or at volatile high latitudes. Moreover - and especially - the 'ideal case study' method has often failed, and led to parochialisms and false generalities, precisely because we tend to select unusual cases and ignore, often quite unconsciously, a dominant pattern. Indeed, proclamations for the supposed 'truth' of gradualism - asserted against every working paleontologist's knowledge of its rarity - emerged largely from such a restriction of attention to exceedingly rare cases under the false belief that they alone provided a record of evolution at all! The falsification of most 'textbook classics' upon restudy only accentuates the fallacy of the 'case study' method, and its root in prior expectation rather than objective reading of the fossil record."

Page 773

Quotes from Donald R. Prothero’s
Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters
Columbia University Press, 2007
"The fossil record is an amazing testimony to the power of evolution, with documentation of evolutionary transitions that Darwin could have only dreamed about."

Donald R. Prothero
Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters
Page xx
"As Gould (1980a, 2002) pointed out, the persistence of fossil species through millions of years of intense selection pressure suggests that they are not infinitely malleable by selection, but instead have an integrity or some sort of internal homeostatic mechanism that resists most external selection. This is a radical notion for evolutionary biology, and still hotly controversial. Most paleontologists argue that the fossil record shows things that can't be seen in fruit flies or living populations, but many biologists are unconvinced that the fossil record can't be explained by some Neo-Darwinian mechanism."

Quote as presented by McLeroy Additional Context
As Gould (1980a, 2002) pointed out, the persistence of fossil species through millions of years of intense selection pressure suggests that they are not infinitely malleable by selection, but instead have an integrity or some sort of internal homeostatic mechanism that resists most external selection. This is a radical notion for evolutionary biology, and still hotly controversial. Most paleontologists argue that the fossil record shows things that can't be seen in fruit flies or living populations, but many biologists are unconvinced that the fossil record can't be explained by some Neo-Darwinian mechanism. Page 81 [Stasis] "When the original Eldredge and Gould (1972) paper appeared, it caused a storm of controversy in paleontology. Gradualism was a deeply embedded concept, and many paleontologists had been trying to study it for their entire lives. Example after example of possible gradualism was raised, but they all suffered from some problem in the analysis of the data, which Gould and Eldredge (1977) quickly pointed out. Eventually it became clear that gradualism was extremely rare among multicellular animal forms. (Microfossils, on the other hand, show a lot of gradualism, but they are not strictly sexual but largely clonal or asexual and so are not bound by the interbreeding criterion of Mayr’s allopatric speciation theory.) Fossils species do show and incredible stability over many millions of years of strata, which Gould and Eldredge (1977) called stasis. Some biologists tried to explain away this stasis with mechanisms such as stabilizing selection (selection against the extremes of a population, reinforcing the mean tendency), but this does not explain how some fossil populations persist unchanged through millions of years of well-documented climatic change (surely, a strong selection pressure), as documented by Prothero and Heaton (1996) and Prothero (1999). As Gould (1980a, 2002) pointed out, the persistence of fossil species through millions of years of intense selection pressure suggests that they are not infinitely malleable by selection, but instead have an integrity or some sort of internal homeostatic mechanism that resists most external selection. This is a radical notion for evolutionary biology, and still hotly controversial. Most paleontologists argue that the fossil record shows things that can't be seen in fruit flies or living populations, but many biologists are unconvinced that the fossil record can't be explained by some Neo-Darwinian mechanism (see chapter 4)."

Pages 80-81
"This stasis, in turn, is now causing discomfort among many evolutionary biologists, because there is not yet any good mechanism in Neo-Darwinian theory for it, suggesting that we still have a lot to learn about evolution and speciation. But this is good thing! If we had all the answers, and paleontology provided no new or interesting facts and ideas, science would be very boring."

Quote as presented by McLeroy Additional Context
This stasis, in turn, is now causing discomfort among many evolutionary biologists, because there is not yet any good mechanism in Neo-Darwinian theory for it, suggesting that we still have a lot to learn about evolution and speciation. But this is good thing! If we had all the answers, and paleontology provided no new or interesting facts and ideas, science would be very boring. Page 81 [Stasis] "We have seen that punctuated equilibrium is simply an application of modern biological speciation theory to the fossil record, which happened to explain and highlight the long-known fact of stasis in fossil species. This stasis, in turn, is now causing discomfort among many evolutionary biologists, because there is not yet any good mechanism in Neo-Darwinian theory for it, suggesting that we still have a lot to learn about evolution and speciation. But this is good thing! If we had all the answers, and paleontology provided no new or interesting facts and ideas, science would be very boring.

Through all this intense debate within evolutionary biology, the creationists are constantly on the lookout for some tidbit they could quote of out context to say just the opposite of the author’s meaning. Sure enough, many of the quotations about punctuated equilibria are misconstrued to indicate that Gould and Eldredge claim there are no transitional forms or that the fossil record doesn’t show evidence of evolution! Typically these "quote-miners" pull a single short section out of a longer quotation that gives exactly the opposite impression of what the author really said. Such a practice suggests that the creationists either can't read and don't understand the entire quote or are intentionally trying to deceive their own readers by claiming that Gould and others have said just the opposite of what they actually meant (which means they are dishonest and deceitful)!"

Pages 81-82
Quote from Johns Hopkins Magazine
"Once established an average species of animal or plant will not change enough to be regarded as a new species, even after surviving for something like a hundred thousand, or a million, or even ten million generations … Something tends to prevent the wholesale restructuring of a species, once it has become well established on earth."

Quote as presented by McLeroy Additional Context
"Once established an average species of animal or plant will not change enough to be regarded as a new species, even after surviving for something like a hundred thousand, or ammillion, or even ten million generations … Something tends to prevent the wholesale restructuring of a species, once it has become well established on earth." .M. Stanley, Johns Hopkins Magazine, Page 6, June, 1982 [Stasis]

Note: This quote is not found on page 6, as indicated by Dr. McLeroy's handout. It actually appears on page 7.

Interestingly, the same citation error can be found on several lists of quotes from anti-evolution sources (e.g., here, here, and here).
"When studying fossil data, we may at times fail to distinguish between closely similar species within genera, but errors of this sort have no bearing on the question at hand. Even if evolution does occasionally occur by a tiny step, such a small change cannot help explain the major shifts seen elsewhere. If two or more species are nearly identical, then collectively they encompass very little evolutionary change. In short, to explain large-scale evolution, we need to look at large-scale evolution!

Large volumes of fossil data now permit us to make the following generalization: Once established, an average species of animal or plant will not change enough to be regarded as a new species, even after surviving for something like a hundred thousand, or a million, or even ten million generations

There is a paradox here, for using generations as units of time brings us into the realm of population genetics, and the simple fact is that workers in this field have never envisioned the remarkable evolutionary stability that we can now document. Artificial selection favoring certain heritable features has indeed produced substantial restructuring of laboratory fruit flies in only tens or hundreds of generations, and experimental geneticists have always assumed that their fruit fly experiments in principle mimic events in nature. Theoretically, it has seemed a very small percentage of selective deaths in each generation should, over myriads of generations, amount to a total biological remodeling of any species in nature. But the fossil record suggests otherwise: Something tends to prevent the wholesale restructuring of a species, once it has become well established on Earth.

Steven M. Stanley
"The New Evolution"
Johns Hopkins Magazine
Vol. 33, No. 3
June, 1982
Page 7
Quote from Trends in Ecology & Evolution
"Whether or not you agree with Gould that punctuated equilibrium has become the conventional wisdom, it certainly has led to a healthy debate concerning the sufficiency of neo-Darwinian theory to explain macroevolution."

Quote as presented by McLeroy Additional Context
"Whether or not you agree with Gould that punctuated equilibrium has become the conventional wisdom, it certainly has led to a healthy debate concerning the sufficiency of neo-Darwinian theory to explain macroevolution"

(This quote was read aloud by McLeroy.)
"As Gould noted, no single, paleontological test of punctuated equilibrium will be decisive; it is an issue of frequency that depends upon objective sampling of ecologically and phylogenetically independent fossil lineages. Nevertheless, he spent much of Punctuated Equilibrium arguing that, despite this stringent requirement, there is overwhelming evidence that equilibrium (stasis) consumes the majority of the lifetime of most species, and that evidence for punctuation, despite being difficult to obtain, is too common to be dismissed. Although he repeatedly warned the reader of his partisan perspective, I still think Gould presented a convincing argument that punctuated equilibrium describes the fate of most species. Unfortunately, he omitted some important issues, including, for example, high evolutionary rates in contemporary populations, the potential for directional selection of only moderate strength to cause punctuations, and the ease with which natural selection can resist the homogenizing effects of gene flow.

Whether or not you agree with Gould that punctuated equilibrium has become the conventional wisdom, it certainly has led to a healthy debate concerning the sufficiency of neo-Darwinian theory to explain macroevolution, the analysis of biostratigraphic sequences, and the increased incorporation of paleontological data into evolutionary theory. By this criterion, which Gould advocated and I accept, the punctuated equilibrium model has been a rousing success."

Michael A. Bell
"Gould's most cherished concept"
Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Vol. 23, No. 3
March 2008
Pages 121-122

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