Posts Tagged ‘Field Museum of Natural History’

Dr. Colin Patterson

August 2nd, 2009


On November 5, 1981, the late  Colin Patterson (who at the time was the senior paleontologist of the British Museum of Natural History in London, the editor of the professional journal published by the museum, and one of the world’s foremost fossil experts) delivered a public address to his evolutionist colleagues at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. In his speech, Dr. Patterson astonished those colleagues when he stated that he had been “kicking around” non-evolutionary, or “anti-evolutionary,” ideas for about eighteen months. As he went on to describe it:

One morning I woke up and something had happened in the night, and it struck me that I had been working on this stuff for twenty years and there was not one thing I knew about it. That’s quite a shock to learn that one can be misled so long. Either there was something wrong with me, or there was something wrong with evolution theory (1981).

Dr. Patterson said he knew there was nothing wrong with him, so he started asking various individuals and groups a simple question: “Can you tell me anything you know about evolution, any one thing that is true? I tried that question on the geology staff at the Field Museum of Natural History, and the only answer I got was silence.” He tried it on the Evolutionary Morphology Seminar at the University of Chicago, a very prestigious body of evolutionists, and all he got there “was silence for a long time and eventually one person said, ‘I do know one thing—it ought not to be taught in high school.’ ” He then remarked, “It does seem that the level of knowledge about evolution is remarkably shallow. We know it ought not to be taught in high school, and that’s all we know about it.”

Dr. Patterson went on to say: “Then I woke up and realized that all my life I had been duped into taking evolution as revealed truth in some way.” But more important, he termed evolution an “anti-theory” that produced “anti-knowledge.” He also suggested that “the explanatory value of the hypothesis is nil,” and that evolution theory is “a void that has the function of knowledge but conveys none.” To use Patterson’s wording, “I feel that the effects of hypotheses of common ancestry in systematics has not been merely boring, not just a lack of knowledge, I think it has been positively anti-knowledge” (1981; cf. Bethell, 1985, 270:49-52,56-58,60-61).

Dr. Patterson made it clear, as I wish to do here, that he had no fondness for the creationist position. Yet he did refer to his stance as “anti-evolutionary,” which was quite a change for a man who had authored several books (one of which was titled simply Evolution) in the field that he later acknowledged was capable of producing only “anti-knowledge.”

The above article was taken out of an article published in the Apologetics Press :: Sensible Science 

Is Evolution a “Fact” of Science?

by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.