According to Darwinian biologists, mammals evolved from reptiles by random variation and natural selection. The evidence for this includes (1) fossils which contain bones transitional between reptilian jaw bones and mammalian ear bones, and (2) embryological processes which seem to recapitulate this transition. Stephen Jay Gould concludes that ``every mammal records in its own embryonic growth the developmental pathway that led from jawbones to ear bones in its evolutionary history,'' and that ``we have no finer story in vertebrate evolution.'' [Natural History, March, 1990: 12-23.] As usual, however, the actual evidence is ambiguous, and alternate intepretations are both possible and plausible. This paper compares several of them, and analyzes the role played by naturalistic philosophical assumptions in the Darwinian interpretation.
Copyright © Jonathan Wells