Berg’s book is a serious, encyclopedic, well reasoned argument against Darwinian ‘evolution by chance’. Although Berg assembled his evidence more than forty years ago, evolution cannot meanwhile have eliminated the host of plants and animals, of every family and phylum, whose inconvenient habits described herein still need explanation. His bibliography and index of species and authors fills seventy pages.(Reviewed Work: Nomogenesis: Evolution Determined by Law. by Leo S. Berg; J. N. Rostovstov
For Berg, the crucial question is how variations arose. That chance or ‘random recombination’ alone could produce enough ‘fit’ forms for selection to work on seems to Berg incredible, and for good reason. His survey of the living world includes many variations that are neither random nor beneficial. He notes leaf galls which are not disorganised cell masses but mimics of the plant’s normal seed pods, cites multiple cases of similarly coloured plants and/or animals in given regions. He punctures the fallacy of selective evidence: for example, a toothless egg-eating snake whose vertebral processes serve as ‘esophageal teeth’ is a poor example of evolutionary providence, for other, non- egg-eating snakes have similar structures. And how, he asks, did this snake survive while waiting to become adapted? On the other hand, he finds many evolved structures which are unused, unusable, or even apparently detrimental: teeth which in many fish genera first develop at spawning season, when the time for feeding is past; crossed mammoth tusks which could not have functioned; winged insects which never fly, vegetarian insectivorous plants, and sailed fish which prefer to swim, to name but a few.
For Berg, this evidence supports development which proceeds according to an inner law—writing now, he might say 'programmed'—regardless of consequences. He distinguishes this law from teleology, vitalism, mechanism and other nineteenth century notions, and substitutes the concept of nomogenesis, or ontogenetic [the way that organisms or embryos develope and grow] and phylogenetic [the way that organisms can be traced back from descendant to ancestor] development by laws predetermining the organism’s response to stimuli. Whether these laws are inherent in the stimulus or in the respondent or in both is not always clear. This is less the fault of the author or translator than of the reader, for I had constantly to remind myself that Berg wrote long before the concept of programmed DNA molecules. Although his concept of nomogenesis needs some revision in terms of modern molecular biology, his data and reasoning demand serious consideration.
Although Berg says little specifically about man, the primates and human evolution, anthropologists need to understand the biological principles he discusses. Soberly considered, the post hoc explanations of the evolutionary status or selective advantage of many structures are somewhat weak.* Rather, it may well be that each taxon, including ours, has its built-in potentials and limits for variability and for response. The exploration of these limits and the mechanisms by which they operate will do more to advance the understanding of human variability, ancient and modern, than the too frequent assumption that if a structure is common it must be advantageous, with subsequent rationalisations about its utility.
Reviewed by Lucile E. St Hoyme
Man New Series, Vol. 4, No. 4 (Dec., 1969), :652)
What might a non-locomotor benefit [for bipedality] look like? A stimulating suggestion is the sexual selection theory of Maxine Sheets-Johnstone, of the University of Oregon. She thinks we rose on our hind legs as a means of showing off our penises. Those of us that have penises, that is. Females, in her view, were doing it for the opposite reason: concealing their genitals which, in primates, are more prominently displayed on all fours. This is an appealing idea but I don’t carry a torch for it. I mention it only as an example of the kind of thing I mean by a non-locomotor theory. [A theory, so it's probably just like gravity or somethin' according to the Darwinian mind...] As with so many of these theories, we are left wondering why it would apply to our lineage and not to other apes or monkeys. [Not to mention men and women at the same time, but that's not the first time that Darwinists have made historical claims based on little more than hypothetical goo that merges and blurs itself into any evidence. Then the half-wit mind is "overwhelmed" by all the mountains of evidence...and so on.](The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution
By Richard Dawkins :91)
Darwinian tales are somewhat weak, to say the least...but wait, that little thing is not a tail at all! Yet it is quite a tale the way that things evolve into something else by chance. In the Information Ages it may be that some little tales of deformation and supposed formation just don't have a chance anymore...so much for the little tails, they were amusing though.