The Triumph of Evolution


February 22, 2003

Teaser: By Niles Eldredge, Paperback: 224 pages; Dimensions (in inches): 0.60 x 8.74 x 5.55; illustrations: 3 b/w, Publisher: W H Freeman & Co; ISBN: 0716744783; (May 2001), List Price: $14.95

Creationism is like a multi-headed monster in a grade-B science fiction movie. When one of its heads is cut off, another appears somewhere else. Creationism's latest manifestation is in Cobb County, Georgia, where biology textbooks must carry the dire warning that evolution is "a theory, not a fact." The irony, of course, is that this disclaimer is perfectly true, though we can assume not in the way the perpetrators of this attack on science imagined.

The facts are the fossils, patterns of organic diversity, and DNA and the theory of evolution is what explains them. Just as the retrograde motion of the planets, Venus' phases, and variations in planetary brightness are among the facts the theory that Earth revolves around the sun explains. As Eldredge points out, if evolution theory applied only to nematode worms, fruit flies, and zebra fish, no one would bother.

But, of course, it applies to humans too, and there's the rub. Like a buzz saw, Eldredge deconstructs one creationist claim after another, revealing not an alternative theory to evolution but rather the corrosive political agenda of the radical right.


Peter Nevraumont

Peter N. Nevraumont is publisher of Nevraumont Publishing Company where he has produced books by many prominent scientists, including Donald Johanson, Niles Eldredge, Ian Tattersall, Lynn Margulis, and R. McNeill Alexander.

Prior to that he was a reporter for Women's Wear Daily (now W), an editor at Macmillan Publishing, Managing Editor of the Columbia University Forum, an assistant producer at Universal Pictures, National Director of Advertising and Promotion at Films Incorporated, and Vice President at Ruby Street.

Peter lives in the Wall Street area of New York with his wife, Ann Perrini.