Simon, E. 2002.
BH 13:108-111. CELD ID 21432
|Book review: Not by Chance: Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution by Dr. Lee Spetner|
The theory of evolution via natural selection, especially as it regards human origins, has been a subject of controversy almost since it was first articulated by Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace in the 1850s. On the surface it seemed simple. Life arose spontaneously. (This was taken for granted in the Talmud, and until just over100 years ago most scientists agreed-at least for microorganisms.) Then random mutations introduced variation into the population. The "best" of those (as defined by a particular environment) were selected (survival of the fittest) and this led to the development of more and more advanced organisms. In time, different organisms became adapted to different niches. Some became plants, some adapted to life in water, others on land, and ultimately some began to think. Eventually, human life appeared. The stunning advances in genetics over the last fifty years, culminating in the sequencing of the human genome (the total genetic material of an organism), seemed to make this outline even more plausible. Indeed, we need not merely suggest that "mutations occurred"-we know in molecular detail exactly how this can happen. More than this, we understand how a genome can expand to allow room for new genes. We have even shown that retroviruses (the kind of virus responsible for AIDS) can pass genetic material between species and even between different genera. This was undreamed of twenty years ago, and allows evolution more scope than ever before.