In Response to: The People Who Saw Evolution [6]

After PAW’s fine article on Peter and Rosemary Grant (“The People Who Saw Evolution,” cover story, April 23), I was surprised that the only follow-up was a long, critical letter from Brian Solik ’84 (Inbox, July 9). Mr. Solik trots out familiar creationist talking points about evolution. He brushes aside the work of the Grants because, in a few decades, they did not witness speciation — a process that typically takes millions of years.

Mr. Solik dismisses the Grants’ observations as mere “microevolution.” That’s a term co-opted by creationists in an attempt to give their worldview credibility, given the fact of documented, real-time evolutionary changes — such as bacterial resistance to antibiotics, insect adaptation to pesticides, and, yes, the changes in the beak structures of the finches witnessed by the Grants in the Galápagos Islands.

But this so-called distinction between “micro” and “macro” evolution is widely discredited. As noted by Niles Eldredge, one of the nation’s leading paleontologists, in The Triumph of Evolution and the Failure of Creationism: “There is utter continuity in evolutionary processes from the smallest scales (microevolution) up through the largest scales (macroevolution).” 

The bottom line is that creationism — the belief that God created all species in their current forms, as described in the Bible — is rebutted by mountains of evidence. It has virtually no support in the academic and scientific world. That PAW would publish Mr. Solik’s letter as the last word on the topic — with no rebuttal by the Grants or anyone from Princeton’s distinguished Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology — is disappointing.