Islands, Science and Creationism

John Grehan jrg13 at PSU.EDU
Wed Apr 3 07:47:25 CST 2002

>So ... their statement (below) is untrue, unproven, or what?
>"The Hawaiian Islands are far from any mainland or other islands, and on the
>basis of geological evidence they never have been attached to other  lands."
>   Geoff Read < at>

Their statement is one of geological conjecture where the evolutionary
implications are contingent. One of the problems in traditional
evolutionary biogeography is the treatment of historical geological
narratives as some kind of 'factual' foundation on which to build
evolutionary models whereas the geological narratives themselves are just
models or theories that are open to potential refutation, rejection etc. In
the case of Hawaii, acceptance of the view that the 'Hawaiian Islands' have
never been 'attached' to other lands could be problematic. If one were
referring to the extant Hawaiian islands the statement is unproblematic,
but extended into the past within a mobilist plate tectonic theory that
allows for the possibility of island arcs or 'microcontinental' or even
'continental' lands to have moved over the Hawaiian hotspot, then the
statement would not be correct. The same kind of statement has been made by
evolutionists for Galapagos, and yet the geological evidence I presented in
the Galapagos article suggests that historical contact with other lands by
ancestral Galapagos did indeed occur. I think if the statement had referred
to extant or 'modern' Hawaiian or Galapagos islands there would be no such
problem - although in the evolutionary context the statement would not have
been relevant to the question of historical origin for the islands' biota.
Whatever perspective one takes on this, the example illustrates the
weakness of presenting evolution as doctrine. It might have been better to
present the analytical methodologies used by evolutionists (and I mean
biologists as well as geologists!) to reconstruct the history of these
islands. But that would involve presenting non-Darwinian (panbiogeographic)
methods as well, and that is something that will just never happen in the
current political context of evolutionary biology.

John Grehan

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