Christian Research Institute

Is Punctuated Equilibrium Legitimate Science?

Harvard’s Stephen Jay Gould posited that “a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors; rather, it appears all at once and ‘fully formed.’ ” In other words, species remain relatively unchanged for long periods of time (equilibrium) followed by intervals of evolutionary change too rapid to be captured in the fossil record (punctuation). To say punctuated equilibrium is a leap of faith into a chasm of credulity would be to understate its deficiencies.

First, though popular, this evolutionary postulate is motivated by what Dr. Gould referred to as the “extreme rarity of transitional fossils*.” Thus, it is a classic argument from silence.

Furthermore, punctuated equilibrium flies in the face of the science of genetics. The DNA for a reptile is not the DNA for a bird. Each is uniquely programmed for reproduction after its own kind.

Finally, even if the evolutionary jumps are from scales to feathers—rather than from reptiles to birds—the leaps are still too fantastic. The effects of jumping genes would not be a modern bird but a monstrosity.

Perhaps the greatest tragedy is that punctuated equilibrium is a theological paradigm pushed on children by such prestigious scientific think tanks as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Council on Education, and the Association for Childhood Education International.

If anyone causes one of these little ones who believe
in me to sin, it would be better for him to have
a large millstone hung around his neck and to be
drowned in the depths of the sea.

Matthew 18:6


For further study, see Hank Hanegraaff, The FACE That Demonstrates the Farce of Evolution (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2001).