Donald Prothero

Paleontologist - Geologist - Science Writer - Lecturer


To a practicing scientist, a visit to the world of the creationists feels somewhat like Alice stepping through the looking glass. Ordinary people and objects look the same as they do in the real world, except that everything is backward and all the rules are reversed.

Through all this intense debate within evolutionary biology, the creationists are constantly on the lookout for some tidbit they can quote of out of context to say just the opposite of the author's meaning.

Although Charles Darwin deserves most of the credit for bringing about the scientific revolution in biology, he was no means the first to suggest that life had changed through time. As early as the fifth century B.C., Greek philosophers such as Empedocles promoted the idea that life is constantly transforming. In 50 B.C., the Roman philosopher Lucretius wrote the poem De rearm nature ("On the nature of things"), which postulated the existence of atoms and argued that everything in nature was in flux.

Charles Darwin was born on the same day as Abraham Lincoln--February 12, 1809. Like Lincoln, he was a liberating force for humankind, but instead of freeing people from slavery, he freed biology from the bondage of supernaturalism.

…the fact that 80-97 percent of the DNA in most organisms codes for nothing at all (so far as we know) says that evolution and selection must work entirely on that remaining few percent of the DNA that does code for something.