Web note: Two of the articles contained in this issue feature continuing dialogues from previous issues of Origins Research. At the time of this posting these issues were only partially available for posting to the ARN Web site. We anticipate these issues to be fully on-line in the near future, and will link these articles for completion of the dialogues.
Our second article referenced below, the excerpt from Wendell Bird's book, The Origin of Species Revisited: The Theories of Evolution and Abrupt Appearance, was originally printed as a special insert in OR 10:2. Time and space considerations prohibit posting it to the web at this time, however this excerpt can be obtained by ordering a back issue of Origins Research 10:2 from ARN.
It is a safe bet that no area of human knowledge is free of controversy and disagreement. This is particularly true when we consider the area of origins. Whether we are talking about the origin of the universe or the origin of mankind, our knowledge in these areas is characterized not only by a high degree of inference, but by a high level of emotional involvement, as well. Such a combination is guaranteed to produce differences in opinion.
In this issue we feature two different articles on the origin of the universe--each written from a different point of view. Our first article, by astronomer Hugh Ross, takes the point of view held by most cosmologists today: the Big Bang. In his article, he summarizes a large body of evidence supporting the Big Bang, and shows how this particular theory won out over several others, despite the reluctance of many cosmologists to accept a finite universe. Our second article, on the other hand, is excerpted from The Origin of Species Revisited: The Theories of Evolution and Abrupt Appearance, a new book by Wendell Bird, the attorney who defended Louisiana's Balanced Treatment Act before the Supreme Court. In this article, Bird argues that the Big Bang is not as solidly established as some might think. He also shows that while the majority of scientists accept the Big Bang Theory, there is nonetheless a minority of noted scientists who reject it altogether in favor of other explanations.
Is the Big Bang theory valid or not? You'll have to decide that for yourself. But we think these two articles will give you plenty to think about in the meantime.
In our last issue, we featured an open letter from Chris Foreman to Omni Magazine about science and censorship. Apparently, Foreman's letter struck a responsive chord in our readers. We received many positive comments about his letter. We also received a few negative comments, however. One of our readers, Paul Ricci, wrote us with a systematic critique of Foreman's views. We have printed his letter along with Foreman's response. We hope that our readers will find this exchange interesting as well as instructive.
We also have a continuing dialogue between J. Richard Wakefield and Arthur LaGrange Battson III on the role of natural selection in macroevolution. The dialogue began with Battson's article, "The Paradox of Natural Selection," which we printed in our Fall/Winter 1986 issue. In his article, Battson argued that natural selection is essentially a conserving process that produces stasis rather than macroevolutionary change. In the next issue (Spring/Summer, 1987), Wakefield responded with a letter arguing that Battson's thesis was only true for stable environments: the earth's history is full of unstable events (such as plate tectonics) which would produce macroevolutionary changes with the help of natural selection. Battson replied in the same issue that plate tectonics is a slow and gradual process and not a sudden unstable condition. Battson pointed out that no new phyla have arisen over the past 500 million years of drifting and buckling continents. He reiterated that any theory of origins must account for the two key features of the fossil evidence: stasis and the lack of transitional forms among the higher taxa. In this issue, Battson and Wakefield continue the saga.
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File Date: 3.4.97