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Sudden Origins

February 19th, 2007 · No Comments

Pittsburgh professor thinks evolutionary change was rapid

Charles Darwin has taken a bruising these past few years.
His theory of evolution through natural selection has been knocked by proponents of “intelligent design,” which asserts that some features of creation are best explained by an intelligent cause. The Dover Area School Board in York County tried to put intelligent design alongside its science curriculum in 2004, but a federal judge rejected that intelligent design violates separation of church and state.

Now a University of Pittsburgh professor — and outspoken critic of teaching Intelligent Design — is issuing another challenge to the naturalist’s 148-year-old theory. Jeffrey H. Schwartz has written several books and articles questioning Darwinian evolution and furthers that challenge in an article published this month in the journal Biological Theory.

Schwartz, an anthropology professor, said he believes that evolutionary changes happen suddenly, not gradually and constantly as described by the Darwinian model of evolution. He’s fighting what he perceives as acceptance by the scientific community of Darwin’s theory as near-fact.

“Really I’m just saying, ‘Look, nobody’s saying that evolution is not happening, is not real. I’m just trying to figure out how change happens,’ ” said Schwartz, who gained acclaim for his leadership role in a recently completed project to determine the appearance of George Washington at ages 19, 45 and 57.

The seeds for Schwartz’s challenge were planted 25 years ago while he was listening to a biology lecture.

“The biologist, he was so adamant about Darwinism and rejected everything else,” Schwartz said. “That just burned a hole in my brain, and it just kept eating away. How can you expect science to go forward if you think that way?”

Schwartz is trying to verify his ideas by examining already-published research and through historical reviews.

Tags: Evolution

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