Many years ago I heard Michael Denton speak about his book “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis” at Victoria University in Wellington. His story continues here. Introduction…..
In Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (Evolution), published in 1985, I argued that the biological realm is fundamentally discontinuous. The major taxa-defining innovations in the history of life have not been derived from ancestral forms by functional intermediates. This is the view that Sir D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson defended in On Growth and Form:
In short nature proceeds “from one type to another” [emphasis added] among organic as well as inorganic forms; and these types vary according to their own parameters, and are defined by physical-mathematical conditions of possibility. In natural history Cuvier’s “types” may not be perfectly chosen nor numerous enough but “types” they are; and to seek for stepping stones across the gaps between is to seek in vain, for ever.
The contrary view remained predominant among evolutionary biologists until, at least, the 1980s, and remains predominant as the view offered the public today.
There have been massive advances and discoveries in many areas of biology since Evolution was first published. These developments have transformed biology and evolutionary thought. Yet orthodox evolutionary theory is unable to explain the origins of various taxa-defining innovations.
This was my position in Evolution.
It remains my position today.