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Did Charles Darwin get it wrong? - Comments

wetbread's Avatar Comment 1 by wetbread

"Fodor is a philosophical flâneur: he loves cheap jokes and affects a kind of provocative insouciance. His 2003 book on Hume states at the outset that he "could even write a book on Hume without actually knowing anything about him," and then claims to have done so. "

I hate to dismiss things on thin grounds, but Fodor's remark is so staggeringly stupid that I have a lot of trouble feeling anything but contempt for the man.

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 13:53:00 UTC | #436662

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 2 by NewEnglandBob

I just posted a reply to this at Jerry Coyne's "Why Evolution is True" blog.

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 13:56:00 UTC | #436664

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 3 by crookedshoes

just once I'd like to see some one with a credential that I respect and understand as representing a pursuit of scientific truth come out with anything, something against Darwinian evolution. Instead I endure a bunch of butchers critiquing a surgeons work.

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 13:57:00 UTC | #436665

bendigeidfran's Avatar Comment 4 by bendigeidfran

Comment #456194 by NewEnglandBob

Did you? What did it say?

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 14:00:00 UTC | #436669

sdando's Avatar Comment 5 by sdando

I can only assume that "What Darwin Got Wrong" will be followed by "Some More of Darwin's Greatest Mistakes" and "Who is this Darwin Person Anyways?"

Seriously though I don't understand why the author acts like the various theories of the mechanism of evoluation have to be mutually exclusive. Why can't small mutations and large duplications exists together and both be mechanisms of genetic change?

Maybe I just don't get it but I don't think a complex system that has evolved over billions of years would ever be without a few surprises and exceptions.

Sure Darwin didn't know all of the genetics that we know today but I doubt we would either if he hadn't done his work. Give him a break and don't blame him when people extend his idea far beyond what he originally intended.

Sheesh

By the way I love the Steve Jones quote about philosophers and science

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 14:04:00 UTC | #436670

Mark Jones's Avatar Comment 6 by Mark Jones

This book has at least prompted a good Peter Forbes article. He talks about some of the problems with neo-Darwinism, such as the lack of gene difference, which as an ignoramus on biology I find interesting:


The problem is that the source of novelty is so dammed elusive. Most genes don't change very much at all, even the body-plan genes seem to be very similar in the mouse and blue whale. Or, to compare even less similar creatures: a mouse gene essential for building the eye can be inserted into the fruit fly to produce a fly eye! This refutes a key prediction of Neo-Darwinism, Ernst's Mayr's statement that it would be futile to look for similar genes in different creatures. Neo-Darwinism predicted that random mutations would pile up until the genes of mice and men were as different as, say, the Finno-Ugric and the English languages.

Any of the resident experts care to comment on this?

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 14:19:00 UTC | #436674

rokeisland's Avatar Comment 7 by rokeisland

For all the wrangling that this is sure to inspire, I would like to point out that there is a key difference between the arugments of scientists and what creationists will draw from this. Notice that none of the scientists are denying that evolution happens, they are arguing over the mechanisms of it, getting far deeper into the details than it was possible to conceive back when evolution was first proposed.

It seems that we may be on the verge of a paradigm shift in our understanding of evolution, if the proposed hypothesis works out. That would be a huge step for scientists.

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 14:25:00 UTC | #436677

emilem's Avatar Comment 8 by emilem

Why don't they just go all out and say: ... and this leads us to conclude that the Genesis account is true?

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 14:26:00 UTC | #436678

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 9 by crookedshoes

Mark Jones,
It is just a knee jerk on my part (no research or reference) but.... I do not know why anyone would expect hox genes in mice and whales to be all that different. They both are mammals and relatively closely related. Even a mouse and a fruit fly are not that far apart when it comes to these types of genes. One one hand it is because hox genes are not "mutation hot spots" like other places in the genome. One the other hand, because the genetic code "wobbles" even if there are changes in the hox gene sequence, it does not manifest as an altered gene product. These genes are conserved as are the genes for, for example, the glycolytic pathway. These genes are constituitively expressed and do not change that much compared to genes at other loci. Again, I am not looking at anything, but rather taking a shot...I am at work and just do not have more than a few minutes to dedicate. If anyone knows better, I certainly defer. But if this helps spur the conversation, it is a good thing.

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 14:50:00 UTC | #436688

wice's Avatar Comment 10 by wice

The problem is that the source of novelty is so dammed elusive. Most genes don't change very much at all, even the body-plan genes seem to be very similar in the mouse and blue whale. Or, to compare even less similar creatures: a mouse gene essential for building the eye can be inserted into the fruit fly to produce a fly eye! This refutes a key prediction of Neo-Darwinism, Ernst's Mayr's statement that it would be futile to look for similar genes in different creatures. Neo-Darwinism predicted that random mutations would pile up until the genes of mice and men were as different as, say, the Finno-Ugric and the English languages.


i'm as far from an expert as physically possible, so feel free to extract the root of my opinion, but i don't see any problems with it. i think it wasn't neo-darwinism's prediction, more like ernst mayr's personal judgement, a fairly rushed one at that. he probably didn't consider the need of compatibility. if mice, humans, and flies share a common ancestor, that had a gene for developing some kind of "eyes", then it's entirely possible, that this ancestor's different offsprings will have different genes, that build their own functions on the function of it's original "gene for the eyes". the more genes build on it, the more unlikely, that the original gene can change without causing a disaster for its carrier.

the so-called "gene for the eyes" that, when transplanted from a mouse into a fly, creates a fly's eye, is probably just the "base-gene for the eyes", that needs other genes to use its effects. since these other genes are different in mice and flies, they develop different eyes.

could someone please correct me if i'm wrong?

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 15:29:00 UTC | #436701

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 11 by crookedshoes

Blind cavefish do not generate eyes. They do, however, still possess the genes to make eyes. The reason that they do not make eyes is because the master control gene that times the "switching on" of the other, subordinate eye making genes has mutate to the switched off position. These master control genes are called hox genes (short for homeobox). If you took a hox gene from another species and substituted it in for the damaged gene in the blind cavefish.....eyes! The genese are called HOMEO genes for a reason.They are very conserved. Again for reasons above.

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 15:36:00 UTC | #436704

mixmastergaz's Avatar Comment 12 by mixmastergaz

Dear me but the Independent attracts some loonies to its comments section. Or perhaps it's just the deliberately provocative title of the book under review.

Several commenters don't seem to have noticed that the book's authors aren't actually creationism/I.D. proponents, which is to say that they haven't actually read the review that they're commenting on! The fools!

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 15:43:00 UTC | #436706

Drosera's Avatar Comment 13 by Drosera

You can argue about the origins of the genetic changes (small mutations, big jumps, viruses, or whatever), but ultimately it is still natural selection that determines their survival, unless the changes are neutral. I have never seen a plausible alternative to this basic idea. 'What Darwin got Wrong' is a hugely overhyped title. 'Some potential problems to the modern synthesis' would have been more honest.

EDIT: Even that title would be seriously over the top.

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 15:44:00 UTC | #436708

wice's Avatar Comment 14 by wice

Comment #456236 by crookedshoes:

hi,
was this an answer to my post? i'm a bit lost among the technical terms, but do you suggest, that it's a mystery, why the "genes for the eyes" are conserved in blind cavefish, since they don't use them?

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 15:51:00 UTC | #436711

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 15 by Jos Gibbons

Comment #456205 by Mark Jones

Mayr overestimated the percentage of genomes that would differ, but this is not so much a result of lack of genomes' adpative plasticity as an amazing array of different adaptations being possible with small changes, and the vast majority of genomes just being junk and ultraselfish DNA. We may not have guessed a few numbers correctly, but it's not as if the big picture is missing. If these "philosophers" want to claim common descent is messed up, they ought to tackle the really important questions, such as whether or not it is true (as descent predicts) that the pairwise DNA percentage dissimilarities in three species will be a, a, b <= a. They indeed always are (to within small differences; how big "small" is allowed to be can easily be calculated with some basic statistics.)

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 16:12:00 UTC | #436713

Dark Matter's Avatar Comment 16 by Dark Matter

"In their philosophical assault, Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini pursue several lines, one of which boils down to the old conundrum: natural selection demonstrates the survival of the fittest. What are the fittest? Those that survive."


This is the Old "Is the Survival of the Fittest" a Tautology?

This is an old rhetorical trick where Anti-Darwinists try to argue that if the theory is illogical linguitically then it was must be illogical and, therefore, impossible in practice.

Of course, that argument wholey depends on how the word "fittest" is actually defined.

From Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survival_of_the_fittest#Is_.22survival_of_the_fittest.22_a_tautology.3F

"Survival of the fittest" is sometimes claimed to be a tautology. The reasoning is that if one takes the term "fit" to mean "endowed with phenotypic characteristics which improve chances of survival and reproduction" (which is roughly how Spencer understood it), then "survival of the fittest" can simply be rewritten as "survival of those who are better equipped for surviving". While this is not exactly a tautology (we might imagine a benevolent deity or experimenter that would consistently favour the poorly adapted, and destroy well-adapted creatures, so that "survival of the fittest" might actually not occur), this is not a very informative statement: it simply reduces to a statement that the game of Life is not rigged in favour of the poorly adapted, which is not controversial. Furthermore, the expression does become a tautology if one uses the most widely accepted definition of "fitness" in modern biology, namely reproductive success itself (rather than any set of characters conducive to this reproductive success). This reasoning is sometimes used to claim that Darwin's entire theory of evolution by natural selection is fundamentally tautological, and therefore devoid of any explanatory power.

However, the expression "survival of the fittest" (taken on its own and out of context) gives a very incomplete account of the mechanism of natural selection. The reason is that it does not mention a key requirement for natural selection, namely the requirement of heritability. It is true that the phrase "survival of the fittest", in and by itself, is a tautology if fitness is defined by survival and reproduction. However, natural selection is not just survival of the fittest. Natural selection is the portion of variation in reproductive success, that is caused by heritable characters (see the article on natural selection).

If certain heritable characters increase or decrease the chances of survival and reproduction of their bearers, then it follows mechanically (by definition of "heritable") that those characters that improve survival and reproduction will increase in frequency over generations. This is precisely what is called "evolution by natural selection." On the other hand, if the characters which lead to differential reproductive success are not heritable, then no meaningful evolution will occur, "survival of the fittest" or not: if improvement in reproductive success is caused by traits that are not heritable, then there is no reason why these traits should increase in frequency over generations. In other words, natural selection does not simply state that "survivors survive" or "reproducers reproduce"; rather, it states that "survivors survive, reproduce and therefore propagate any heritable characters which have affected their survival and reproductive success". This statement is not tautological: it hinges on the testable hypothesis that such fitness-impacting heritable variations actually exist (a hypothesis that has been amply confirmed.)

Skeptic Society founder and Skeptic magazine publisher Dr. Michael Shermer addresses this argument in his 1997 book, Why People Believe Weird Things, in which he points out that although tautologies are sometimes the beginning of science, they are never the end, and that scientific principles like natural selection are testable and falsifiable by virtue of their predictive power. Shermer points out, as an example, that population genetics accurately demonstrate when natural selection will and will not effect change on a population. Shermer hypothesizes that if hominid fossils were found in the same geological strata as trilobites, it would be evidence against natural selection


From Talk Origins:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolphil/tautology.html

Natural selection is the survival of the fittest. The fittest are those that survive. Therefore, evolution by natural selection is a tautology (a circular definition).

The real significance of this argument is not the argument itself, but that it was taken seriously by any professional philosophers at all. 'Fitness' to Darwin meant not those that survive, but those that could be expected to survive because of their adaptations and functional efficiency, when compared to others in the population. This is not a tautology, or, if it is, then so is the Newtonian equation F=ma [Sober 1984, chapter 2], which is the basis for a lot of ordinary physical explanation.

The phrase 'survival of the fittest' was not even Darwin's. It was urged on him by Wallace, the codiscoverer of natural selection, who hated 'natural selection' because he thought it implied that something was doing the selecting. Darwin coined the term 'natural selection' because had made an analogy with 'artificial selection' as done by breeders, an analogy Wallace hadn't made when he developed his version of the theory. The phrase 'survival of the fittest' was originally due to Herbert Spencer some years before the Origin .

However, there is another, more sophisticated version, due mainly to Karl Popper [1976: sect. 37]. According to Popper, any situation where species exist is compatible with Darwinian explanation, because if those species were not adapted, they would not exist. That is, Popper says, we define adaptation as that which is sufficient for existence in a given environment. Therefore, since nothing is ruled out, the theory has no explanatory power, for everything is ruled in.

This is not true, as a number of critics of Popper have observed since (eg, Stamos [1996] [note 1]). Darwinian theory rules out quite a lot. It rules out the existence of inefficient organisms when more efficient organisms are about. It rules out change that is theoretically impossible (according to the laws of genetics, ontogeny, and molecular biology) to achieve in gradual and adaptive steps (see Dawkins [1996]). It rules out new species being established without ancestral species.

All of these hypotheses are more or less testable, and conform to the standards of science. The answer to this version of the argument is the same as to the simplistic version - adaptation is not just defined in terms of what survives. There needs to be a causal story available to make sense of adaptation (which is why mimicry in butterflies was such a focal debate in the teens and twenties). Adaptation is a functional notion, not a logical or semantic a priori definition, despite what Popper thought.

The current understanding of fitness is dispositional. That is to say, fitness is a disposition of a trait to reproduce better than competitors. It is not deterministic. If two twins are identical genetically, and therefore are equally fit, there is no guarantee that they will both survive to have equal numbers of offspring. Fitness is a statistical property. What 'owns' the fitness isn't the organism, but the genes. They will tend to be more often transmitted insofar as what they deliver is better 'engineered' to the needs of the organisms in the environment in which they live. And you can determine that, within limits, by 'reverse engineering' the traits to see how they work [Dennett 1995: chapter 8].

Moreover, fitness exists over and above the properties of the individual organisms themselves. There are three debated ways to construe this. Fitness can be a relation of genes to other genes. Fitness can be a supervenient property - that is, it can be a property of very different physical structures (of ants, aardvarks and artichokes) [Sober 1984]. Or fitness can be seen as an emergent property, a property of systems of a certain complexity and dynamics [Depew and Weber 1995]. Whether fitness is a genetic, organismic or system property is a hot topic in modern philosophy of biology. I think the system interpretation is the way to approach it [Weber and Depew 1996, Depew and Weber 1995].

Recently, there have been attacks on the very notion of adaptive explanation by some evolutionary biologists themselves (eg, Gould and Lewontin [1979]). These fall into two camps - those who think adaptation is not enough to explain diversity of form, and those who think that adaptive explanations require more information than one can obtain from either reverse engineering or the ability to generate plausible scenarios. The reason given for the former is a kind of argument from incredulity - natural selection is not thought to be a sufficient cause, and that macroevolution (evolution at or above the level of species) is a process of a different kind than selection within species. Arguments about parsimony (Ockham's Razor) abound.

Arguments for the second view - that selective explanations need supplementing - rest not on the causal efficacy of selection (which is not denied) but on the problems of historical explanation [Griffiths 1996]. In order to explain why a species exhibits this trait rather than that trait, you need to know what the null hypothesis is (otherwise you can make a selective explanation for both a case and its opposite equally well). Perhaps it has this trait because its ancestors had it and it has been maintained by selection. Perhaps it has it because it would be too disruptive of the entire genome and developmental machinery to remove it. Perhaps it has it for reasons to do with genetic drift, simple accident, or whatever. In order to make a good scientific explanation, says Griffiths, you must know a fair bit about the phylogeny of the species, its environmental distribution, and how the processes that create the trait work at the level of genes, cells and zygotes.

This leads us to the question of what a scientific explanation really is; indeed, it opens up the question of what science is, that it is so different from other intellectual pursuits like backgammon, theology or literary criticism.


However, I am not sure what this part of review is actually getting at:


"No, the problems for evolutionary theory are not philosophical. The problem is that the source of novelty is so dammed elusive. Most genes don't change very much at all, even the body-plan genes seem to be very similar in the mouse and blue whale. Or, to compare even less similar creatures: a mouse gene essential for building the eye can be inserted into the fruit fly to produce a fly eye! This refutes a key prediction of Neo-Darwinism, Ernst's Mayr's statement that it would be futile to look for similar genes in different creatures. Neo-Darwinism predicted that random mutations would pile up until the genes of mice and men were as different as, say, the Finno-Ugric and the English languages. "


He seems to be saying that the similarity of genes in different creatures is a problem for evolutionary Biology - is this right?

One evolutionary Biologist makes a prediction which is not true, therefore, this means that there is a problem with Evolutionary theory because it can't account for the similarity of Genes.

Have I understood this correctly, and is this true?

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 16:56:00 UTC | #436722

Fujikoma's Avatar Comment 17 by Fujikoma

Maybe physicists should get in on this book writing deal and put one out entitled "What Newton got wrong". Oh wait, we discussed that in our physics class when comparing Relativity vs. Newtonian mechanics and when it's better to use one over the other. I really think people miss the point of what Darwin said. Either that or they're distorting it, intentionally as the case may be.

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 17:25:00 UTC | #436732

spiderdancer's Avatar Comment 18 by spiderdancer

This article is unbelievable. I was furious this got through the editing standards in the Independent.

The article (or book) appears to be written by a creationist disguised as an atheist or a journalist deliberately, crassly perverting the truth to court creationist readers.

Under cover as an atheist and evolutionist the author unleashes a scattergun of deliberately perverted research, quotes taken out of context and non-sequiturs to create an illusion of mainstream disagreement that simply does not exist.

I'm not saying there are no disagreements among scientists over mechanism. There are, but not the ones suggested in the article and none that undermines Darwin.

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 17:28:00 UTC | #436734

Billy Sands's Avatar Comment 19 by Billy Sands

Did Darwin get it wrong?

No, now fuck off!

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 17:34:00 UTC | #436735

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 20 by crookedshoes

wice,
It is no mystery. Their ancestors were sighted. The remaining "eye construction genes" are sequestered through a mutation that was in a master gene and benefitted the fish who found themselves in total darkness. It is like the light bulb and light fixture works but the switch is broken. The blind cavefish is related to ocean "minnows" that have sight. An ancestral population was probably battered by a storm and washed into the cave system adjacent to the ocean habitat. There they faced the universal truth---ADAPT OR DIE. Many, many generations of fish ensued in the caves. They had eyes that were useless and further, a metabolic waste of energy. Then, a mutation in a master control gene caused one to stop wasting energy on eyes. BUT, and this is crucial, the eye construction genes stayed intact and viable. This individual gained a metabolic advantage over the rest of the fish (it dedicated it's food resources ---scarce in a cave---to other endeavors). They do not use them because pressure from the habitat caused eyes to be non necessary and even a liability. To hammer the point: "why would an intelligent creator put eye construction genes in an eyeless fish (would you)?"

Eyes became a frivolity.

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 17:38:00 UTC | #436737

glenister_m's Avatar Comment 21 by glenister_m

To give a simple answer to the question of earlier postings, there isn't a "gene for eyes". There is a gene pathway for the development of eyes, made up of numerous genes, some of which are also used by other pathways. Some are regulatory, telling other genes to turn on/off, while others are structural producing specific eye proteins like the ones that detect light, etc.

If something works in biology, it tends not to change (much). So if you compare the genes for light detecting proteins in distantly related species but in the same evolutionary pathway (after the development of eyes), then you would expect the genes to be similar or nearly identical.

An analogy might be headlights in cars or trucks. They may look somewhat different in cars of different eras, but the basic components (glass, metal, plastic, filament, wires, etc.) are the same with just slightly different shapes. If you could transfer the filament from one headlight to another it would work just as well.

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 17:49:00 UTC | #436739

Billy Sands's Avatar Comment 22 by Billy Sands

The reason that they do not make eyes is because the master control gene that times the "switching on" of the other, subordinate eye making genes has mutate to the switched off position.


Its possibly not quite that simple. Different populations appear to have different mutations, as some crosses produce offspring with eyes http://download.cell.com/current-biology/pdf/PIIS0960982207022622.pdf?intermediate=true
Nor would I say that they are particularly closely related to marine "minnows"

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 17:58:00 UTC | #436742

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 23 by crookedshoes

Billy Sands,
The correction is dead on....i was watering down a few things and I put minnows into quotes to show that, it was a type of small fish....anyway, i have the article on eyeless fish having eyed offspring. AWESOME STUFF. Thanks for putiing the right stuff out there. I am teaching a group of students and don't have time to really answer. At the end of one of the posts, I stated that if this spurs conversation, it is worth it....anyway. Your points are dead on.

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 18:10:00 UTC | #436746

Billy Sands's Avatar Comment 24 by Billy Sands

One the other hand, because the genetic code "wobbles" even if there are changes in the hox gene sequence, it does not manifest as an altered gene product.


This does not always hold to be true. A "silent mutation" in the MDR gene alters it's substrate specificity- possibly through affecting folding during translation.

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 18:12:00 UTC | #436747

Quine's Avatar Comment 25 by Quine

Comment #456254 by Dark Matter:

This is the Old "Is the Survival of the Fittest" a Tautology?
Thanks for your post spelling it all out.

I usually remind people that in Nature the "fittest" don't survive. No individuals survive; we all die. However, before death, some reproduce and the characteristics that make for more reproduction of future generations determine the nature of those future generations.

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 18:18:00 UTC | #436749

wice's Avatar Comment 26 by wice

Comment #456269 by crookedshoes

thanks, i already knew that, i just thought that you used it as an example of a real problem for neo-darwinian synthesis (unlike the one mentioned by Peter Forbes at the end of the article, which, i think, is not a real problem).

what i think would be a real problem (it came across my mind when i read your comment about the cavefish) is this: suppose, that e.g. we find a blind species (which is blind because this gene is "switched off"), that had enough time to evolve since the switching off of its ancestor's gene, so it would be extremely unlikely, that the gene didn't change, yet, the gene is intact.

of course, it still wouldn't necessarily discredit natural selection. for example, it could mean, that we don't entirely understand the "switching off" of a gene, so maybe this "switched off" gene is still part of an other gene pathway, and is only "switched off" for that particular pathway, that produces the eyes. i'm not sure whether it's technically possible, but testing several artificially modified versions of the gene in that species could show, that the gene (in its conserved state) is necessary for other functions of the animal.

also, even if testing every possible versions of the gene would show, that it doesn't affect anything else, it would still be possible, that some repair mechanisms make this specific gene very hard to mutate.

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 18:31:00 UTC | #436752

Dr. Strangegod's Avatar Comment 27 by Dr. Strangegod

Ay yi yi, this again?

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 18:38:00 UTC | #436754

Billy Sands's Avatar Comment 28 by Billy Sands

Any of the resident experts care to comment on this?


Some genes (eg cytochrome) have very little tolerance of mutation, so we would expect fewer differences between species. Others such as kinases may have an absolute requirement for basic pockets so that they can interact with phophorylated amino acids during their activation cycles. This limits the number of possible mutations to basic amino acid codons. Furthermore, some have requirements for amino acids such as lysine or asparagine in their ATP binding sites. Where there may be more room for manouver is in their substrate binding sites or scaffhold interaction domains. This allows the maintainence of a function, but allows new genes and pathways to evolve too.

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 18:48:00 UTC | #436758

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 29 by crookedshoes

wice,
Sorry,
When you referred to yourself as far from an expert I thought you meant really really far from an expert. As for your "problem for neo-darwinian synthesis" I always think that these events (your example in your last post) are snapshots. We need to watch the movie. Unfortunately the movie is in snapshots that are widespread over both time and place, so hard to assemble. As we assemble the bigger picture, we see Darwins genius.

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 19:16:00 UTC | #436762

Chris Roberts's Avatar Comment 30 by Chris Roberts

So because some genes cannot function at all with anything other than minor modification (ie hox genes, as mentioned in the article) and hence are homologous across species, then Darwinian (or neo-Darwinian) evolution is false?

If that's their argument, its one book I won't waste money on.

Especially as if Darwin had wrote abu=out horizontal gene transfer, it wouldn't have been a scientific work - it would have been more like divine revelation.

Fri, 29 Jan 2010 20:22:00 UTC | #436778