The DI’s anti-science propaganda machine can be one of the most hilarious things on the web. Like their recent cartoon video “disproving” cetacean evolution. Or pushing a 50 year old conference which didn’t put even the tiniest dent in evolutionary theory as destroying ToE. The DI never met a ridiculous over-the-top exaggerated claim they didn’t like.
consuming all the hoagies and Frank’s Wishniak that I could
Did you ever pig out at Koch’s Deli on Locust & 44th?
When I was at Penn (1966-1970) I lived around the corner!
Left in’70 as the Rizzo Reich began, and lived in the SW ever since. Dropped back there on business in 1987 and went by Koch’s for a memory snack. Lou remembered me and comped my lunch. Good people there,
I don’t think I did, which is weird because I was over that way all the time. Nearest place I remember regularly eating was the Roost Pizza, which was next to Smokey Joe’s on 40th.
When I was there, '82 to '91, he was trying to get it started again. Ran for mayor unsuccessfully, then ran again and died mid-campaign if I’m not mistaken. I recall being in a camera shop and hearing the news. I believe I remarked that I was now much likelier to vote for him than I had been up to that point.
I met my wife in a folk music club in Germantown. Her father ran a camera shop in Newtown (up in Bucks County). Alan was a renowned birder and photographer and every time we are back there we and the rest of the family try to curate a few more of his thousands of negatives and prints.
In saying that major morphological changes are “outside” the mathematical theory of population genetics one is only saying it does not address them. Not that the theory is inconsistent with the observed changes. As Rumraket notes, for that you need (a lot of ) information from developmental biology.
Sure, and so is Sumerian ceramics. If we had lots and lots of developmental-genetic detail, we could make a population genetics model. We don’t, so we can’t. but I don’t see why that is indicative of some big crisis.
The point being made seems to be that the origin of major morphological changes is something evolution is supposed to address.
This Seems a fair supposition since evolution is supposed to explain how species emerged and morphological changes are definitely a part of that. If this aspect is not addressed by a mathematical theory, it is a deficiency.
For example, it would be strange to explain how cetaceans emerged without referring to morphological changes.
If this aspect is not addressed by a mathematical theory, it is a deficiency.
Well, certainly not if the mathematical theory in question is a theory of population genetics. And “major morphological change” is not the easiest thing to define. But on that subject of major morphological change, Kemp’s book The Origin of Major Taxa is quite good for a kind of big-picture view.
It might be a good time to let go of that misunderstanding
Richard Lewontin (1974) had the same “misunderstanding,” it seems:
“To concentrate only on genetic change, without attempting to relate it to the kinds of physiological, morphogenetic, and behavioral evolution that are manifest in the fossil record and in the diversity of extant organisms and communities, is to forget entirely what it is we are trying to explain in the first place.” (pp. 19-20)
From his influential wake-up call to population genetics, The Genetic Basis of Evolutionary Change (Columbia U Press, 1974). @Joe_Felsenstein was a graduate student of Lewontin’s around the time the ideas for this book were germinating, so maybe he would like to comment.
@Joe_Felsenstein was a graduate student of Lewontin’s around the time the ideas for this book were germinating, so maybe he would like to comment.
I was gone from the Lewontin lab 7 years by the time the book appeared. I wrote a (favorable) review of it in Evolution. Sure, Lewontin pointed out that much more needed to be addressed to have a comprehensive theory of evolution. But Paul Nelson’s aim in reprinting that passage is not to urge us to integrate more kinds of information with population genetics, in order to have a better theory of evolution. It is instead a blatant attempt to use Lewontin’s statement to discredit population genetics, to imply that we have no theory of evolution, and to promote a “theory” of Intelligent Design which says nothing about the source of anything, other than that it was “Poof!”
I was perhaps unfair to Paul Nelson. He was using the Lewontin quote to establish the fact that Lewontin considered the state of evolutionary theory unsatisfactory, which is true enough. That of course does not establish that there is some problem with the part of the theory that we do have. But many creationists have quote-mined evolutionary biologists, dramatizing any sentence that appears to cast doubt on contemporary evolutionary theory, so I was perhaps hypersensitive.
I’m sure we all have that feeling now and then. Have I been too hard on the DI? And then I read the Wedge Strategy Document again.
I am sure that, back in the days when the tobacco lobby was still powerful, there were occasions on which tobacco lobbyists were not trying to bend things to serve a selfish and deadly agenda. It is likely, for example, that when a tobacco lobbyist issued a sandwich order, the sandwich order truthfully reflected his actual inner desires vis-a-vis sandwiches. But anyone who counted on much past that was taking a chance.
No, he would still say that. In the theoretical population genetics course I used to teach, I would often start out by imagining what a predictive theory of evolution would look like. We’d have genomics, with full sequences of all individuals in the species. We’d know what the genetic variations in all sites would do the phenotype (including behavior). We’d know the whole ecology of the species, so we could know what fitnesses those phenotypes had. But that means that we would need a complete understanding of the developmental biology, of neurobiology, and of ecology. For now we don’t have anything like that. So there is a long way to go. But of course that does not mean that our understanding of population genetics should be discarded.
I can see how he (or me, or you, or anyone else) would express dissatisfaction with our level of understanding, given the finitude of the universe and especially of humanity, but if Lewontin or anyone else thinks that there’s no difference between 1974 and 2020 wrt to knowledge of development and to integration of broader biology into population genetics-based analyses of evolution, then… I’m speechless.
Anyone from the DI or anywhere else who announces that “there is a long way to go” in understanding evolution, or development or genomes or small GTPases of the Rho subfamily, or just about anything that I can think of… is stating the obvious (painfully) unless they make a specific point about particular areas of weakness. There are LOTS of examples of that, but I suspect that exactly zero of them can be discerned by quotemining books written 46 years ago.