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McFadden, Geoffrey Ian December 1, August 1, Systematic Biology. March 1, Valentine, James W. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. Perspectives from fossils and phylogenies". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. June 21, July 28, December 29, Annual Review of Biophysics. January 2, Nature Reviews Cancer. Clinical Microbiology and Infection. Weed Research. International Journal of Medical Microbiology. Arjan G. June 28, January 18, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A. Bowler Zuckerkandl, Emile December 30, Journal of Geoscience Education.
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Berkeley, California: University of California Press. Browne, Janet Charles Darwin: The Power of Place. London: Pimlico. Burkhardt, Frederick ; Smith, Sydney, eds. The Correspondence of Charles Darwin. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing. Chapman, Arthur D. Numbers of Living Species in Australia and the World 2nd ed. Coyne, Jerry A.
Why Evolution is True. New York: Viking. Cracraft, Joel; Bybee, Rodger W. Brent In Lewis, C. Geological Society, London, Special Publications. Geological Society Special Publication. Darwin, Charles The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Darwin, Francis , ed. The foundations of The origin of species, a sketch written in PDF. Cambridge: Printed at the University Press.
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Does the Cambrian Explosion pose a challenge to evolution?
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Domestic dispatch time. It is a tenet of evolutionary biology that adaptations nearly always result from the substitution of many genes of small effect". Emphasis added Orr and Coyne, p. This is the "neo-Darwinian view" they are referring to. Orr and Coyne are not debating the whole of "neo-Darwinism" but a very specific claim as to the frequency of adaptations resulting from mutations to "one or a few alleles of large effect".
They are not, as Behe's vagueness would lead the unwary to believe, disagreeing with "the basis of modem evolutionary thought". Nor is there, to Orr and Coyne's understanding, any serious doubt that some such mutations occur. They are disputing only how often adaptations result "from the substitution of many genes of small effect". In case anyone doubts our interpretation of Orr and Coyne's intent in their article [ 5 ], Coyne himself has weighed in on Behe's quote a fact that Adam Marczyk was unaware of at the time he first posted the above.
What Darwin didn't know
I am painfully and personally acquainted with Behe's penchant for fiddling with quotations [quote omitted]. Apparently I am one of those faint-hearted biologists who see the errors of Darwinism but cannot admit it. This was news to me. I am surely numbered among the more orthodox evolutionists, and hardly see our field as fatally flawed. The paper in question actually by Allen Orr and myself 3 addresses a technical debate among evolutionists: are adaptations based on a lot of small genetic mutations the traditional neo-Darwinian view , a few big mutations, or some mixture of the two?
We concluded that although there was not much evidence one way or the other, there were indications that mutations of large effect might occasionally be important.
Our paper cast no doubt whatever on the existence of evolution or the ability of natural selection to explain adaptations. By inserting the period and removing the sentence from its neighbors , Behe has twisted our meaning. Our discussion of one aspect of Darwinism -- the relative size of adaptive mutations -- has suddenly become a critique of the entire Darwinian enterprise.
This is not sloppy scholarship, but deliberate distortion. It is difficult to believe that Behe was unaware of Coyne's complaint about being quote mined, since an article of Behe's "The Sterility of Darwinism" appeared in the same issue. And yet, the paperback edition of Darwin's Black Box , New York: Touchstone , published nearly a year later, contains the exact same text and quote without even an acknowledgment of Coyne's objection or even a correction as to Orr's co-authorship.
Whatever Behe's purpose really was in using this quote, it did not include an accurate and scholarly portrayal of other scientists' work. However, even stripped of most context, the quotes from Margulis are clearly only attacking a particular version of "neo-Darwinism" that, as she says, "insists on" a slow accumulation of mutations. This is slightly different from Orr and Coyne's understanding of "neo-Darwinism", as maintaining only that adaptations are "nearly always" due to slow accumulation of mutations of small effect this problem with terminology is further addressed in the fourth footnote below.
More important still is the fact that Behe equivocates between "Darwinism" and "neo-Darwinism", as where he cites Margulis as one of the "respected scientists who have found Darwinism to be inadequate". As pointed out by John Wilkins in a December "Feedback" article:. Is this [Margulis' view] "non-Darwinian"? Well, that's going to depend on whether you think everything has to be based on just those ideas Darwin proposed; Darwin himself would not have, and several times mentions hybridisation as a process in the Origin , for example, in Chapter 8, on hybrids.
Why he only mentions Coyne in the text is a mystery. It is no surprise then that Margulis may have a slightly different take on what "neo-Darwinism" is than Orr and Coyne. Of course, the differences in meaning are even greater in society at large. As Hull notes citing an earlier paper of his on the results of a conference of historians exploring the reception of Darwinism around the world :.
Darwinism was many things to many people. It was rank materialism, an atheistic attack on the Christian faith, unadulterated positivism, a death blow to teleology. Simultaneously it was irresponsible speculation, an outrage against positivistic science, a rebirth of teleology, proof of the beneficent hand of God, a Christian plot to subvert the Muslim faith. It was also an intellectual weapon to use against entrenched aristocracies, a justification for laissez-faire economic policies, an excuse for the powerful to subjugate the weak, and a foundation for Marxian economic theory.
Either Behe's knowledge of the very thing he is criticizing is scant and his desire to rectify that deficiency even less in evidence or he is knowledgeable enough to recognized the different meanings of "neo-Darwinism" and "Darwinism" but is nonetheless willing to exploit the confusion of the public at large. Of interest also is Orr's response to the flurry of articles in Boston Review following his original review:. The results of the last 20 years of research on the genetic basis of adaptation has led us to a great Darwinian paradox. Those [genes] that are obviously variable within natural populations do not seem to lie at the heart of many major adaptive changes, while those [genes] that seemingly do constitute the foundation of many, if not most, major adaptive changes apparently are not variable within natural populations.
Again, Behe has deceptively taken this quote out of context to support his central claim that "From Mivart to Margulis, there have always been well-informed, respected scientists who have found Darwinism to be inadequate" p. But McDonald is not such a scientist. He is not disagreeing with the fact of evolution or that it can be explained by naturalistic forces, but is offering an alternative view of the mechanism underlying it.
In this paper, McDonald holds that low levels of background mutation maintain a certain amount of selectable variation already present within a species' gene pool, which ensures that it is able to adapt to most environmental changes. So far, this is exactly the same as the standard neo-Darwinian view. However, he argues that at times of great environmental stress, various mechanisms cause the mutation rate to increase, and variation in major regulatory genes arises de novo and rapidly, leading to major adaptive shifts and the emergence of new species.
This view uses aspects both of punctuated equilibrium and of the somatic hypermutation phenomenon recently demonstrated in E. If the genetic material for major adaptive shifts is not present within species' gene pools, it must be provided de novo by some sort of mutational event s.
Evidence that just such events may accompany major evolutionary changes in eukaryotes has come from some recent intra- and interspecific surveys of families of multiple copy DNA. He surveys the evidence for environmentally triggered increases in mutation rates, then goes on to explain his view:. In fact, recent evidence suggests that the rates of many mutational events are not always low and constant, but rather that they increase dramatically during periods of environmental challenge and the consequent organismal stress.
The implications for adaptation of such a scenario are significant; at precisely those challenging moments in evolutionary history when major adaptive shifts are required, genetic mechanisms exist that increase the probability that the appropriate variants will be provided. Again, contra Behe, McDonald is not disagreeing with the fact that natural selection occurs or that its sculpting of genetic variation is sufficient to produce complex adaptations.
On the contrary, he says that "the basic Darwinian tenet of natural selection remains intact" p. The marriage between molecular biology and evolution is well on its way to being consummated. As evolutionists, we can look forward to reaping the benefits of the products of this union over the next decade.
Obviously, however, adaptive evolutionary changes have occurred at all levels of biological organization, and their origins are necessarily rooted in molecular-level events. Although there may well be molecular level changes that are adaptively neutral or nearly so, a great number of changes must have served as the source of adaptive evolution and will continue to do so. His paper is focused solely on the mechanisms by which that variation arises by naturalistic forces in the first place.
See the second half of that response for more on the what leads up to Behe's use of this quote. Cell and molecular biologists must construct cellular worlds in their own imaginations. Imagination, to some degree, is essential for grasping the key events in cellular history. Dyer and R. This is about the research program of the evolution of the eukaryotic cell. The ellipsis is not unreasonable but what follows the last sentence quoted is:. So many components found in cells retain cryptic remnants of the past. It is as if cells are enthusiastic collectors of souvenirs.
Their attics are full of tokens of the past, but most of the items are broken or so outdated that their original functions are no longer obvious. Moreover, some of the souvenirs can replicate and mutate autonomously, filling the attics and basements with a multitude of surprises. The point being that it is hard to disentangle the evolutionary history of the cell - as it is for every living organism and function or part.
Such is life - the past is often hard to know. This is not, however, an obstacle to evolutionary theory so much as a necessary result of evolution, and history, itself. It is perhaps emblematic of creationist thinking that they denigrate the use of imagination in science. But here is what Karl Popper, the creationists' favorite philosopher of science at least when he can be made to appear to be on their side , has to say on the subject:. In a similar way Einstein speaks of the "search for those highly universal laws.
There is no logical path", he says, "leading to these. Imagination, intuition, creativity and even irrational leaps of logic are necessary elements of any science worth the effort. The testing by the whole of the scientific community that comes after the inspiration is what sets science apart from so much else in human learning. It is no coincidence that creationists have an abiding affinity for arguments from authority and being told what to think.
As we have just seen, the ways of national evolution, both in the past and in the present, are cruel, brutal, ruthless and without mercy. The law of Christ is incompatible with the law of evolution. If the final purpose of our existence is that which has been and is being worked out under the discipline of evolutionary law, then, although we are quite unconscious of the end result, we ought, as Dr.
Waddington has urged, to help on "that which tends to promote the ultimate course of evolution. Waddington has not grasped the implications of Nature's method of evolution, for in his summing up Nature, , , p. Meantime let me say that the conclusion I have come to is this: the law of Christ is incompatible with the law of evolution as far as the law of evolution has worked hitherto.
Nay, the two laws are at war with each other; the law of Christ can never prevail until the law of evolution is destroyed. Clearly the form of evolution which Dr. Waddington has in mind is not that which has hitherto prevailed; what he has in mind is a man made system of evolution. In brief, instead of seeking ethical guidance from evolution, he now proposes to impose a system of ethics on evolution and so bring humanity ultimately to a safe and final anchorage in a Christian haven.
In context this is not a discussion by Keith of the reality of evolution. This is a discussion of founding ethical laws upon evolutionary thinking. It is about committing the Naturalistic Fallacy and arguing directly from "nature does this" which it clearly does, for both Keith and Waddington to "this is right". Such was the argument that G. Moore named the Naturalistic Fallacy for in , and here Keith is merely reminding the reader of this mistake. Keith is moreover claiming that the ethical laws he thinks are right are those based on "the law of Christ". What he wants destroyed is an ethical system based on evolutionary biology -- given the limitations of what he knew about that in the days before iterated Prisoner's Dilemma games, I can well understand it.
Most people wrongly thought that evolution necessarily involved unremitting bloodshed and violence. Few if any biologists since the mid 60s would think that is still true. So what you really have here is the time-honoured dishonesty of "quote mining": selectively using a part of a passage, without its context, to give the reader a false impression. New fossil discoveries are fitted into this preexisting story. We call these new discoveries 'missing links', as if the chain of ancestry and descent were a real object for our contemplation, and not what it really is: a completely human invention created after the fact, shaped to accord with human prejudices.
In reality, the physical record of human evolution is more modest. Each fossil represents an isolated point, with no knowable connection to any other given fossil, and all float around in an overwhelming sea of gaps. New York: The Free Press , page Representative quote miners: Vision. The first chapter of Gee's book , including the quote mined bits, can be read online.
The conventional portrait of. We concentrate on the events leading to modern humanity, ignoring or playing down the evolution of other animals; we prune away all branches in the tree of life except the one leading to ourselves. Because we see evolution in terms of a linear chain of ancestry and descent, we tend to ignore the possibility that some of these ancestors might instead have been side-branches; collateral cousins rather than direct ancestors.
The conventional linear view easily becomes a story in which features of humanity are acquired in a sequence that can be discerned retrospectively; first an upright stance, then a bigger brain, then the invention of toolmaking and so on, with ourselves as the inevitable consequence. The quoted text follows immediate from this.
Clearly Gee is not saying that evolution is a pre-existing story, but the popular and non-paleontological views of human evolution is. And he is right - these ideas took a long time to overcome. See also the essay in that book "Lucy on the earth in stasis". Gee is able to distinguish between that which is fact, such as evolution, and the various stories we tell, for all kinds of social or religious reasons, about those facts. He then goes on to discuss how we can infer, without doubt, based on shared properties, that he and his cat Fred have a common ancestor, but that "we cannot hope to find her [the common ancestor] as a fossil; or if we were to find her, we could never know for certain that we had done so [found the common ancestor - of course we know we have found a fossil]", p A brief broader examination of what Gee's thesis is might be useful.
First and foremost Gee objects that things that took millions of years and the lives of many millions of individual organisms could possibly be reduced to any kind of narrative. This is because the events of millions of years will never reduce to paragraphs or books even if one could know it all. But of course one can't know but a tiny fraction of what happened over those millions of years. The fossils found by the paleontologists are usually separated by many thousands of years.
Furthermore, simple probability combined with the knowledge that evolutionary branches often branch suggests that those fossils will almost certainly not form a direct lineage with each other or with us. Naturally, simple popular presentations, such as a newspaper articles, tend to present those fossils in a nice simple sequence. This is something that Gee strongly objects to. And he is right.
It goes against everything we know about evolution: evolution is, as Stephen Jay Gould pointed out, a branching shrub and not a linear ladder of progress. There is no way we could really know that they made a nice simple sequence even if they did. Given the ubiquitous chatter of journalists and headline writers about the search for ancestors, and the discovery of missing links, it may come as a surprise to learn that most professional palaeontologists do not think of the history of life in terms of scenarios or narratives, and that they rejected the storytelling mode of evolutionary history as unscientific more than thirty years ago.
Behind the scenes, in museums and universities, a quiet revolution has taken place.
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That revolution was cladistics [ 2 ], a study that can provide objective information about the evolutionary pattern of life on Earth. Cladistics is completely evolutionary and would not work if common descent is not true. Gee's objection to narrative is not limited to just his objection to declaring x fossil to be an ancestor to y fossil or z species. Nobody will ever know what caused the extinction of the dinosaurs, because we weren't there to watch it happen.
All we have are two isolated observations -- the apparent absence of dinosaurs 65 million years ago, and the evidence for a catastrophic phenomenon, such as the impact of an asteroid, at the same time. There can be no certain link between the two.
Geologic time admits no narrative in which causes can be linked with effects. This is an example to the degree that Gee applies his thesis. A better example would be evolution of legs. Also, our experience of present-day non-tetrapod vertebrates -- conventionally, the fishes -- tell us that these animals, adopted for life in water, have fins instead of limbs. However, somewhere in time fishes did indeed evolve legs and start to walk on land. This assumption, however would be scientifically unjustified, because we can never know that it is true.
After all, we weren't there to watch it happen. However, given that tetrapods plainly use their limb for this purpose today, does not this caution seem extreme? It is not, because the fact that tetrapods' limbs are adapted for walking now need say nothing about the reasons why limbs evolved in the first place, more than million years ago. It turns out that a fossil aquatic fish complete with legs has been found, thus tossing cold water on the idea that legs simply evolved for walking on land. The DI does not have the intellectual honesty to provide a link to Gee's complaint, despite quoting from it, so here is Gee's reaction.
See "The Unique Universal Phylogentic Tree" and in particular see the section showing the mathematical consequences of cladistic and whether there really is a common ancestor. The one systematic effect of mutation seems to be a tendency towards degeneration. Here is the quote with the surrounding context:. These statistical deductions from the Mendelian mechanism do not in themselves give a general evaluation of the roles of the various factors in evolution.
They bring these factors under a common viewpoint, however, and make it possible to form a judgement as to the conditions under which one or another, or a combination, may dominate the process. The conditions under which mutation-pressures, at rates like those usually observed in the laboratory, are likely to dominate in the course of evolution appear to be decidedly restricted.
Even a very slight selective advantage e. However, under extreme reduction of size of populations 4 N s much less than 1 selection-pressure becomes ineffective, while mutation-pressure is not affected. The one systematic effect of mutation seems to be a tendency towards degeneration as may be seen from a casual survey of the effects of most of the Drosophila mutations.
Thus a trend towards degeneration of structures of little or no use in small completely isolated populations e. Even here there are possibilities of indirect control by selection which should not be ignored. So, while mutations alone may be overall degenerative on their own, other factors, such as selection, mitigate that trend.
Wright makes this point by continuing:. Great increases in mutation-rate at certain periods of the earth's history have been postulated by various authors to explain various periods of rapid evolutionary advance. The real effect would depend on the prevailing balance with the other factors.
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Such a change in mutation-rate would probably mean merely a degenerative trend unless the effects of all other influences were correspondingly speeded up. Wright is saying that no factor taken alone can effectively explain evolutionary phenomena. A holistic, integrative approach is needed to fully understand the evolutionary process. Focusing only on Wright's reference to mutation in that section, as the quote miners do, ignores the influence of the other factors, and steps completely around Wright's point.
Whatever the outcome, the skull shows, once and for all, that the old idea of a "missing link" is bunk It should now be quite plain that the very idea of the missing link, always shaky, is now completely untenable. BAV maintains a number of slick websites and, as is common with this organization, the quote mine appears in several different articles. Despite the source, individual creationists of all backgrounds have picked up and used this quote, as we have seen in talk.
First of all, the ellipsis includes almost the entire article. The first part of the quote appears in the first paragraph of the article and the second in the next-to-last. Why does Gee find it so interesting? As he says:. It is a mixture of primitive and disconcertingly advanced traits. The braincase has the same size and shape as a chimpanzee. The face, though, is where the interest lies. Rather than having a projecting snout with large canine teeth, the face is flat and the teeth are very small and human-like. Strangest of all are the enormous brow-ridges. These are usually associated with our own genus Homo, and are not otherwise seen in anything older than about 2m years.
Does this mean we have, at last, a sign that the roots of humanity go directly back to the divergence with chimps, and that the legions of ape-men and near-humans discovered over the past 70 years are a side-issue, irrelevant to the main course of human evolution? Gee's answer is "no". Thus, there are no "missing links", not because evolution is false, but because simple chains are poor metaphors for the prolific nature of life. Or, as Gee explains:. People and advertising copywriters tend to see human evolution as a line stretching from apes to man, into which one can fit new-found fossils as easily as links in a chain.
Even modern anthropologists fall into this trap. But it should now be quite plain that the very idea of the missing link, always shaky, is now completely untenable. Gee, like any good scientist, is never satisfied and complains that "we know desperately little of the course of human evolution".
He will doubtless continue to do so no matter how much we learn in his lifetime. But the broad conclusions scientists have drawn regarding human descent are supported by ample evidence, of which the "legions of ape-men and near-humans discovered over the past 70 years" are just a part. Gee's understandable desire to know more is no excuse to distort what he has said concerning what we do know.
Darwinism is not a testable scientific theory, but a metaphysical research programme. Popper originally said that evolution by which he meant natural selection was a "metaphysical research programme". Popper, unlike the logical positivists he opposed, held that metaphysical programmes were an essential element of science, and that without them, theories were effectively dead in the water. The typical metaphysical research programme Popper gives in his Unended Quest , in section 33, is metaphysical realism. He says that it, "the view that there is a physical world to be discovered" [p.
This is the very basis of scientific research. So being a metaphysical research programme is not a bad thing for him. He then says that he introduced this because. I intend to argue that the theory of natural selection is not a testable scientific theory, but a metaphysical research program; and although it is no doubt the best at present available, it can perhaps be slightly improved [p. Now let's look at what he did then say in section First he outlines what the New Synthesis as he understands it consists of claiming: 1 An evolutionary tree and history, 2 an evolutionary theory which explains this, consisting of a heredity, b variation, c natural selection NS , d variability which can be controlled by NS.
He is confused here, I think, but it is clear that NS is one aspect of the theory that underlies explanation of evolution itself [p. He is using the term "Darwinism" for this set of explanatory schemes. Then he says why he thinks "Darwinism" is metaphysical and a research programme. Therefore it cannot explain it. But it is hardly possible to describe in general terms what favourable conditions are -- except that, in their presence, a variety of forms will emerge. Then he says that "Adaptation or fitness is defined by modern evolutionists as survival value, and can be measured by actual success in survival: there is hardly any possibility of testing a theory as feeble as this.
Note that Popper allows there is a possibility of testing NS, and that it is almost a tautology, not an actual one. We mustn't make Popper say more than he did. And yet, the theory is invaluable. I do not see how, without it, our knowledge could have grown as it has done since Darwin. In trying to explain experiments with bacteria which become adapted to, say, penicillin, it is quite clear that we are greatly helped by the theory of natural selection.
Although it is metaphysical, it sheds much light upon very concrete and very practical researches. It allows us to study adaptation to a new environment such as a penicillin-infested environment in a rational way: it suggests the existence of a mechanism of adaptation, and it allows us even to study in detail the mechanism at work. And it is the only theory so far which does all that. So it is a theory of science, it does help research, and it is to be preferred, says Popper, even before his recantation.
Moreover, he notes that theism as an explanation of adaptation "was worse than an open admission of failure, for it created the impression that an ultimate explanation had been reached" [p. He also continues to outline what he sees are the other virtues and predictions of Darwin's theory again, he means natural selection. It "suggests" variety of forms of life; it "predicts" gradualness of change, accidental mutations and that [friends of Gould will like this] "we should expect evolutionary sequences of the random walk type" [p. Thereafter Popper discusses his own view or elaboration of "Darwinism".
Popper's claims were pretty mild. He most certainly did not think Darwinism was false or useless in science, as we have seen. He was attempting to make of Natural Selection and NS only something like an explanatory scheme that directs and suggests further research. I think, in that regard, he was correct. NS is an explanatory scheme that may or may not apply to a given case of evolution. Whether the scheme works depends on the individual facts of the matter. You can't disprove an explanatory scheme except to show that it is logically inconsistent, which NS isn't, by creationists' own admission.
Note that he claimed that adaptation or fitness equaled survival value. This is not true. Fisher in , revised in , said that fitness he didn't use this word was "reproductive investment". That is a rather different claim - it means that what counts is the number of progeny over time, not the survival of the individual organism.
A short-lived organism might still have a major success in number of progeny. Also, Popper didn't really deal with selection taking place between members of the same species, but used the older confused terminology of selection taking place of species, or "for" the species, rather than individual organisms or genetic variations. I have changed my mind about the testability and logical status of the theory of natural selection; and I am glad to have an opportunity to make a recantation.
Popper's influence on biologists is arguable. It seems to me that he was immediately employed by biologists to validate what they were doing anyway. One of the ironies of science and philosophy is that those who employed him the most -- taxonomists -- did so in support of an activity that Popper almost never talks about and clearly thinks with Rutherford is a form of stamp collecting -- classification.
Dialectica The relevant potion of the article can be found in this excerpt. In his Dialectica article, Popper does in fact explicitly recant his previous opinion on natural selection, and affirm that he considers it testable. On pages and of the article he reviews the opinions of various evolutionary theorists on the nature of natural selection, as well as the one he himself had previously held. Then at the top of page he writes:. I still believe that natural selection works in this way as a research programe.