One has to read this quote in context, of course. It comes from the latest Discover magazine and is reviewed in a blog entry written by AiG speaker and researcher, Dr. Georgia Purdom. Dr. Purdom has a PhD in molecular genetics.
In this latest Discover magazine (Dick Teresi, “Lynn Margulis,” Discover, April 2011, pp. 66–71.), the interesting quote comes from Dr. Lynn Margulis.
Dr. Purdom states the following:
Dr. Lynn Margulis is an evolutionary biologist and professor in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She was married to the well-known atheist and astronomer, Carl Sagan. Dr. Margulis’ belief in what she has termed symbiogenesis—meaning evolution occurs by leaps resulting from mergers between different organisms—puts her at odds with many other evolutionists. The vast majority of evolutionists believe that natural selection and mutation over long periods of time gradually lead one kind of animal to evolve into another kind (e.g., dinosaurs to birds). In this Discover article, Dr. Margulis makes clear her problems with natural selection and mutation, which most creationists would agree with.
Dr. Purdom then quotes from the article.
Natural selection eliminates and maybe maintains, but it doesn’t create. (1)
I was taught over and over again that the accumulation of random mutations led to evolutionary change—led to new species. I believed it until I looked for evidence.
What they found [Grants’ research on Darwin’s finches] was lots of back-and-forth variation in the population and then—whoop—a whole new species. There is no gradualism in the fossil record.
They [Grants’ research on Darwin’s finches] saw lots of variation within a species, changes over time. But they never found any new species—ever. They would say that if they waited long enough they’d find a new species.
The critics, including the creationist critics, are right about their criticism [that natural selection is not a mechanism for the evolution of new species]. It’s just that they’ve got nothing to offer but intelligent design or “God did it.” They have no alternatives that are scientific.
Dr. Purdom continues.
While Margulis states plainly that the creationist view that “God did it” is not scientific, does that mean her view is more scientific? No. Both creation and evolution fall into the realm of historical science. Both depend heavily on starting points or worldview when interpreting the evidence in the present to understand how it came to be through the past. Margulis claims symbiosis did it, and creationists claim God did it—both are assumptions about the unobservable past. An assumption is only as good as the truthfulness of the source it is based on. Which do we choose—God’s unchanging, inerrant Word or man’s changing, fallible ideas?
Dr. Purdom has much more to say and I would encourage you to read her entire blog entry.
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