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Punctuated equilibrium was ad hoc to justify gaps (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Punctuated equilibrium was ad hoc to justify gaps (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.


Claim CC201.1:

The theory of punctuated equilibrium was proposed ad hoc to explain away the embarrassing gaps in the fossil record.

Source: Yahya, Harun, 2003. Darwinism Refuted, The invalidity of punctuated equilibrium.


CreationWiki response:

The cited source does not call punctuated equilibrium an ad hoc theory, it simply explains how it was proposed to explain away the gaps in the fossil record. It needs to be noted that it only succeeds in explaining relatively small gaps, not the larger ones between major groups.

(Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

1. The theory of punctuated equilibrium is based on positive evidence, including extensive studies of living and extinct species groups.

Which does not change the fact that punctuated equilibrium was proposed to explain away the gaps in the fossil record. Also it shows that both living and extinct species groups do not objectively support evolution.

2. The idea of phyletic gradualism, which is invoked to justify a lack of gaps, fails to fit the evidence of population biology.

Which is exactly the point made by Darwinism Refuted and other creationist references to punctuated equilibrium. The fact is that like other evolutionary theories in astronomy, cosmology and geology, biological evolution repeatedly needs secondary hypotheses to save the theory from its disagreements with reality.

3. There is nothing wrong with proposing theories to fit the data.

While this is true, there is also nothing wrong with pointing out that a secondary theory was proposed to save the primary theory form its failure to agree with reality. Furthermore, it is a problem when the result is to render the primary theory harder to test or completely untestable.

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