Art Battson

"I am well aware that there is scarcely a single point discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived. A fair result could be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts on both sides of each question, and this cannot possibly be done here."

Charles Darwin
The Origin of Species



Charles Darwin was well aware that scientists could come to directly opposite conclusions from those set forth in his Origin of Species. Although his theory could account for minor evolutionary change and the diversity of finches, Darwin knew that he had to virtually ignore the natural history of life on earth in order to maintain any hope of accounting for the origin of the phyla and the major disparity between arthropods and anthropologists.

Darwinian theory is in conflict with the most prominent features of earth's natural history. First of all, geology does not provide the transitional forms Darwin's theory demands. In 1859, the conflict with paleontology was the most serious objection to the theory and over the years the gap between data and theory has only grown wider; today scientists acknowledge fewer transitional forms than Darwin thought existed. Species typically arise suddenly and "fully formed."

The second conflict between Darwinism and natural history is the phenomenon of stasis. Geology reveals the stability of forms rather than their gradual transformation into substantially different body plans. The stability of the higher taxa in particular suggests the existence of natural processes which prevent major evolutionary change from occurring on a gradual step-by-step basis.

Finally, the pervasive pattern of geologic succession is systematically backwards from that predicted by the theory. Darwinian theory predicts that the gradual accumulation of minor evolutionary change and the increasing diversity of the lower taxa should ultimately produce the profound differences among the major body plans and the disparity of the higher taxa. Diversity should precede disparity. Geologic succession reveals the opposite: disparity precedes diversity. The major themes or body plans appear suddenly in the history of life only to be followed by variations on these pre-existing themes. The natural history of life on earth is systematically top to bottom, not bottom to top as Darwinian theory predicts.

Had Darwin developed a theory to explain the empirical data of natural history, he should have come to directly opposite conclusions. He should have developed a theory to explain why species do not gradually transform into substantially different body plans on a gradual step-by-step basis. The phenomenon of stasis and the stability of the major body plans is based upon an abundance of data and our theories describing the natural world should explain that data. The empirical evidence suggests the need to develop a theory which is based upon natural history rather than one which must explain away its key features. Although neo-Darwinian theory helps to explain minor evolutionary change, a theory of "macrostasis" needs to be developed which explains the stability of the major body plans.

We must first understand the ordinary rules of stability and the pervasive patterns of natural history before we can speculate on the origin of the major body plans. We must also understand that, ultimately, questions of origins are metaphysical. The questions of microevolution and macrostasis, however, are clearly empirical.