Death of Stephen J. Gould

With sadness I must report the recent death of Dr. Stephen Jay Gould, 61, Harvard professor and prolific author. Dr. Gould was a down to earth, affable man who wrote many books on the subject of evolution.

He attempted to bring evolution to the masses in simplistic terms. His work is reminiscent of that of Thomas Huxley (1825-1895). Huxley was called Darwin’s bulldog for his aggressive spreading of the Darwinian faith.

Why would a creationist as myself mourn the death of a man like Dr. Gould? I guess I regard death as a tragedy for any person and especially for a person who most likely did not know God. I prefer not to speculate as to where the soul of Dr. Gould presently resides.

Dr. Gould was a smiley faced writer who undermined the faith of millions. I don’t know if he ever repented and turned to Christ to receive forgiveness of his sins.

The Bible says “‘As I live!’ declares the Lord God, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways!…'” (Ezekiel 33:11 NAS).

Dr. Gould popularized a variation of evolution called “punctuated equilibrium.” Punctuated equilibrium is the idea that evolution was not a gradual change in animals (as Darwin postulated) but that evolution proceeded in periods of radical change in animals followed by periods of stability.

Gould’s theory was actually an attempt to refurbish UCal Berkeley professor Richard Goldschmidt’s 1940’s era “Hopeful Monster” theory. To illustrate the hopeful monster theory consider the hypothetical example of a lizard that lays an egg and out hatches a bird.

In other words a lizard changes into a bird in one generation. But what will the bird mate with to produce offspring? There are no other birds on earth at the time that supposedly happened!

The science of genetics was not kind to either Goldschmidt’s or Dr. Gould’s theories. A radical change in an animal would require changes in tens of thousands of chemical base pairs in the DNA.

Geneticists tell us that even one base pair out of place can be fatal. The probability that a radical advantageous change in DNA could take place randomly in one big step is so absurdly remote as to be incalculable.

The hopeful monster theory did rely on mega doses of hope. It is hopeful indeed to expect a random radical change in DNA to be nonfatal. How much more hopeful to believe that such a change could be advantageous!

Also remember the fact that genetic mutations virtually never add genetic information to the design of all life forms but simply scrambles preexisting genetic information in the gene pool. Hopeful monster and punctuated equilibrium crumble under scientific scrutiny.

Dr. Gould himself even ridiculed his own theory in addition to his ridicule of traditional Darwinism. He originally formulated his theory because he saw the lack of transitional forms in the fossil record.

Here is a quote from Dr. Gould: “The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of the fossils.” from “Evolution’s Erratic Pace”, Natural History, vol. 86 (May 1977), p. 14.

Gould and his colleague Niles Eldridge shook up the Darwinian establishment for decades by relentlessly pointing out the lack of transitional forms. The lack of transitional fossils (the missing links are still missing!) effectively disproves Darwinian gradualism.

Punctuated Equilibrium and Darwinian gradualism are both unsubstantiated hypotheses. Evolution is collapsing on all fronts and science is the wrecking ball! Evolution is in danger of extinction and I will not mourn its passing.

Bill Nugent has written many articles on Christianity, philosophy and science. He has also written books that give Bible based teaching on sanctification and that caution against the error of legalism. His books are available at his website


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