The “Hopeful Monster” theory claims that one day, a reptile laid an egg and that quite by chance, a creature with brown fur hatched out of it. According to evolutionists, when this mammal grew up, it found a mate that had also suddenly emerged from a reptile egg—and a new species resulted.
The reaction from scientists with any common sense ran along the lines of “Is this a scientific account, or a Greek myth, or a Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale?” Yet for some reason, a number of scientists still imagine that it represents a solution to an evolutionary problem. What it actually represents, however, is total despair. One paleontologist, Otto Schindewolf, proposed that all major evolutionary transformations must have occurred in single large steps, like a reptile laying an egg from which a bird hatched.213 As you see, some evolutionists believe that a perfectly formed but totally different species can hatch out of any viable egg!
Of course, the sudden emergence of different living groups in the fossil record showed that living species did come into being with no evolutionary process behind them.214 Naturally, this was a source of major concern for evolutionists.
The “Hopeful Monster” theory was put forward in the 1930s by the European paleontologist Otto Schindewolf, who proposed that living things evolved not with the accumulation of small mutations over time, as neo-Darwinism maintained, but by sudden and very large ones. (See Macro-Mutation deception, the.) In citing examples for his theory, Schindewolf claimed that the first bird had emerged from a reptile egg by way of a gross mutation—by some enormous, random change in its genetic structure.215
According to his theory, some land animals may have turned into giant whales through sudden and wide-ranging changes. Schindewolf’s fantastical theory was adopted and supported in the 1940s by the Berkeley University geneticist Richard Goldschmidt, although it was so inconsistent that it was swiftly abandoned.
But due to the lack of any transitional forms in the fossil record, the Harvard University paleontologists Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge were again obliged to resuscitate the idea to account for that situation. Gould’s famous article “Return of the Hopeful Monsters” was an expression of this obligatory about-face.216
Although they did not repeat Schindewolf’s theory to the letter, Gould and Eldredge sought to come up with a mechanism for sudden evolutionary leaps in order to endow the theory with a scientific gloss. (See Punctuated evolution myth, the.) In the years that followed, Gould and Eldredge’s theory was adopted by some other paleontologists, who duly fleshed out its bones. In fact, however, that the theory of punctuated evolution was based on even greater inconsistencies and contradictions than the neo-Darwinist theory of evolution.
213 Dr. David N. Menton, “The Hopeful Monsters of Evolution,” http://www.gennet.org/facts/metro12.php.
215 Stephen M. Stanley, Macroevolution: Pattern and Process, San Francisco: W. H. Freeman and Co., 1979, pp. 35, 159.
216 S. J. Gould, "Return of the Hopeful Monster," The Panda's Thumb, New York: W. W. Norton Co., , 1980, pp. 186-193.