The Inadequacy Of Naturalistic Evolution

Darwin Retried, by Norman Macbeth (Gambit, 1971, 178 pp., $6.95), is reviewed by Rachel H. King, who until her retirement was professor of Bible and theology at Northfield School, Northfield, Massachusetts.

Norman Macbeth says there are two aspects of evolution. The easy aspect about which there is general agreement is that change has taken place and species have appeared and disappeared. Some species have multiplied while others have remained stable and still others have dwindled and died out. His book, Darwin Retried, is a carefully documented attempt to show that biological specialists are now by no means certain that they have all the answers to the more difficult aspect of the problem: why and how evolution took place. The current evolutionary view is in fact a synthetic theory that has drawn its materials from a variety of sources, says Macbeth. His thesis is simply that the mechanism of evolution suggested by Charles Darwin has been found inadequate by the professionals and that the American public needs to be informed of this important news.

Darwin’s famous theory held that, granted that inheritable random biological changes occur, the individuals more likely to survive would be those whose changes had better fitted them to obtain food and to cope with the rigors of the environment. Although the biological changes are small, their cumulative effect, over the vast reaches of prehistoric time, has produced the great variety of species in the world today, according to Darwin. In other words, he thought that natural selection was nature’s method of selective breeding.

The difficulty is that Darwin’s thesis is not fully substantiated. As Macbeth says, there are great gaps in the paleontological ...

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