In fact, books are still being published by the lunatic fringe with the same explanation. In case this book should be read by some fundamentalist searching for straws to prop up his prejudices, let me state categorically that all my experience (such as it is) has led me to an unqualified acceptance of evolution by natural selection as a sufficient explanation for what I have seen in the fossil record.
It may be said of many palaeontologists, as Professor Hugh Trevor-Roper said recently of 18th century historians: “Their most serious error was to measure the past by the present”.
Though the theories of plate tectonics now provide us with a modus operandi, they still seem to me to be a periodic phenomenon. Nothing is world-wide, but everything is episodic. In other words, the history of anyone part of the earth, like the life of a soldier, consists of long periods of boredom and short periods of terror.
It must be significant that nearly all the evolutionary stories I learned as a student….have now been debunked.
Experts always tend to obscure the obvious.
Let us make an arbitrary decision (by a show of hands if necessary) to define the base of every stratigraphical unit in a selected section. This may be called the “Principle of the Golden Spike.” Then stratigraphical nomenclature can be forgotten and we can get on with the real work of stratigraphy, which is correlation and interpretation.
Sedimentation in the past has often been very rapid indeed and very spasmodic. This may be called the “Phenomenon of the Catastrophic Nature of the Stratigraphical Record.”
Changes, cyclic or otherwise, within the solar system or within our galaxy, would seem to be the easy and incontrovertible solution for everything that I have found remarkable in the stratigraphical record.Palaeontologists cannot live by uniformitarianism alone. This may be termed the Phenomenon of the Fallibility of the Fossil Record.
In the preface to his great History of Europe, H. A. L. Fisher wrote: “Men wiser than and more learned than I have discerned in history a plot, a rhythm, a predetermined pattern. These harmonies are concealed from me. I can see only one emergency following upon another as wave follows upon wave …” It seems to me that the same is true of the much older [geological stratigraphical] history of Europe.