George Gaylord Simpson on Continental Drift

Jonathan Wells

Thanks to Casey Luskin for writing on the article from the Smithsonian magazine on Alfred Wegener.
Far be it from me to impute a pro-Darwin bias to the Smithsonian, but the article conveniently neglects to mention that the nastiest attack on Wegener came from one of the chief architects of neo-Darwinism, George Gaylord Simpson.
Simpson wrote in 1943 that the paleontological evidence “definitely opposes” the hypothesis and “favors stable continents.” Simpson lamented the “irresponsibility” of much of the literature on the topic, “which consists too largely of statements that are demonstrably untrue or illogical,” and he claimed that Wegener’s “looseness of thought or method amounts to egregious misrepresentation.” Maintaining that “the verdict of paleontologists is practically unanimous” in rejecting Wegener’s hypothesis, Simpson was dismissive of its supporters:

It must be almost unique in scientific history for a group of students admittedly without special competence in a given field thus to reject the all but unanimous verdict of those who do have such competence.1

Sound familiar?
(1) Simpson, G.G., “Mammals and the Nature of Continents,” American Journal of Science 241 (1943): 1-31.

Jonathan Wells

Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Jonathan Wells has received two Ph.D.s, one in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California at Berkeley, and one in Religious Studies from Yale University. A Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, he has previously worked as a postdoctoral research biologist at the University of California at Berkeley and the supervisor of a medical laboratory in Fairfield, California. He also taught biology at California State University in Hayward and continues to lecture on the subject.