Polemics & Exchanges

On Darwin Day

In his review of Darwin Day in America by John G. West (“Man on Holiday,” Reviews, December), Fr. Michael P. Orsi’s concerns and opinions are unassailable.  Yet in the course of representing the book’s statements, he repeats an outrageous falsehood that should not go uncontested.  Father Orsi writes that “West points out that there is actually scant evidence for . . . the gradual evolutionary change in species that Darwin himself postulated.  In other words, no ‘missing link’ has ever been found.”  But according to most paleontologists and biologists, many missing links have been found, and the pace of discovery of them is increasing.  I refer interested readers to two new books: Why Evolution Is True, by Jerry Coyne (Viking, 2009), a general explanation, and Your Inner Fish, by Neil Shubin (Pantheon, 2008), which is particularly concerned with the evolution of the animal body.

The Intelligent Design movement, of which the Discovery Institute is a propagandizing appendage, maintains the canard of the missing link, apparently on the theory that, if you shout the same lie long enough, it will be believed.  What do they think such ubiquitously trumpeted discoveries as that of “Lucy” by paleoanthropologist Donald C. Johanson, who is about to publish his fourth book on the subject (Lucy’s Legacy, Crown, 2009), are, if not the...

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