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Reply #18: PZ Myers beef is the way very powerful and useful theory [View All]

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FarrenH Donating Member (485 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 05:44 PM
Response to Reply #15
18. PZ Myers beef is the way very powerful and useful theory
Edited on Sat Jul-12-08 05:58 PM by FarrenH
is mixed up with this kind of stuff

In his new book, Reinventing the Sacred, legendary complexity pioneer Stuart Kauffman continues to challenge the view of most biologists that natural selection is the only source of order. However, Kauffman is more charitable than hundreds of other evolutionary scientists (non-Creationists) who contend that natural selection is politics, not science, and that we are in a quagmire because of staggering commerical investment in a Darwinian industry built on an inadequate theory.

True to his research roots in self-organization, Kauffman says life is not based on the replication of DNA and RNA. He also questions whether biology can be reduced to physics, writing that lovers walking along the Seine are not just particles in motion.

He thinks the biosphere constructs itself using sunlight and free energy and that the universe is "ceaselessly creative." And because the future is not really predictable, Kauffman (writing from the Canadian Rockies) recommends we all calm down, remix science with the ancient Greek model of "the good life, well lived," and treat ALL in our global culture as sacred. ...

... that basically has zero currency in mainstream biology, along with the other signposts that the modern synthesis is "severely" deficient and - Oh My God this is asinine - basically only owes its popularity among academic because of commercial interests. That is just wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

Now it seems Kaufman is a fellow at the Santa Fe institute with a lot of genuine cred in complexity theory, so I assume he's trying to say something significantly more sophisticated than "selection is a poor explanation". I suspect its more along the lines of "this is the top down view to selection's bottom-up view" - the universe is a kind of iterative fractal, growing more complex by acting on itself. But while this kind of stuff is interesting in the realm of philosophy, it certainly doesn't have the contemporary explanatory and predictive power that conventional ideas about selection do.

What grates especially though, is that the ideas of Kaufman and others are cited in a manner that gives the appearance of a major crisis in evolutionary biology, when in fact there simply is not.

Myers is annoyed, as I think most people interested in the subject would be, because it distorts the public's perception of science by giving them the impression that weak, untested and/or purely speculative ideas have the same value in science as coherent and useful ideas for which there is an enormous amount of evidence. Its like someone throwing tachyon drives from Star Trek into a discussion about internal combustion engines and pretending that the Theory of Cars is in crisis because of our insights into hypothetical tachyon drives. Lewontin is clearly perplexed by the journalist carrying on in this fashion in his interview.

Its not that there isn't some interesting material in the e-book. Its the fact that it is composited and presented in a misleading manner. This is bad science reporting.
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  -Altenberg 16: An Expos Of The Evolution Industry - Investigative Science Report By Suzan Mazur althecat  Jul-12-08 04:30 PM   #0 
  - Shhh...don't tell people how easy it is to get rich  wtmusic   Jul-12-08 04:38 PM   #1 
  - I do hope the rest of this e-tome has more substance than the  Sinistrous   Jul-12-08 04:44 PM   #2 
  - That's the hook... it is redolent in substantive content.... a veritable treasure chest  althecat   Jul-12-08 04:52 PM   #4 
     - Your hook is "ad-hominems, half-truths, and misstatements"? Wow  muriel_volestrangler   Jul-12-08 05:06 PM   #9 
        - Not my hook and not my representation of it.....  althecat   Jul-12-08 05:13 PM   #11 
           - Ah, I thought you were claiming the rest of the e-book was what was substantial  muriel_volestrangler   Jul-12-08 05:17 PM   #14 
              - .... snap...  althecat   Jul-12-08 05:20 PM   #16 
  - I still don't see where it matters that much  angrycarpenter   Jul-12-08 04:51 PM   #3 
  - The sharp point of this argument is survival of the fittest...  althecat   Jul-12-08 04:55 PM   #5 
  - My thoughts on th esubject would be that  truedelphi   Jul-13-08 12:21 AM   #24 
  - For scientists, the origin of life is indeed important  Alcibiades   Jul-12-08 09:55 PM   #23 
  - Well the introduction is clearly a load of  FarrenH   Jul-12-08 05:02 PM   #6 
  - The rest of the article consists mainly of conversations with eminent scientists  althecat   Jul-12-08 05:03 PM   #7 
  - From one of the web's most prominent biology bloggers:  FarrenH   Jul-12-08 05:08 PM   #10 
     - Thanks - I knew I'd seen something about Mazur a few months ago  muriel_volestrangler   Jul-12-08 05:13 PM   #12 
        - I do not know what PZ Meyers beef is - probably professional jealousy  althecat   Jul-12-08 05:18 PM   #15 
           - PZ Myers beef is the way very powerful and useful theory  FarrenH   Jul-12-08 05:44 PM   #18 
           - There are lots of strong viewpoints juxtaposed in this article  althecat   Jul-12-08 06:03 PM   #19 
              - You're correct in saying that a simple "selfish gene" principle  FarrenH   Jul-13-08 01:59 PM   #31 
           - I saw the article in Science yesterday...  arendt   Jul-12-08 06:44 PM   #21 
              - Thanks for a thoughtful response...  althecat   Jul-13-08 12:38 AM   #25 
                 - Thanks for an interesting topic.  arendt   Jul-13-08 10:13 AM   #27 
                    - My pleasure.... n/t  althecat   Jul-13-08 04:03 PM   #33 
  - exactly. the same person was trying to peddle this b.s. in another forum  RainDog   Jul-13-08 05:24 PM   #35 
  - If you want to live in the Stone Age, unplug your computer and go live in a cave. n/t  IanDB1   Jul-12-08 05:03 PM   #8 
  - This is not a about creationism. It is about cutting edge physics mathematics and biologgy.  althecat   Jul-12-08 05:13 PM   #13 
  - Will the REAL Christianity please stand up?  IanDB1   Jul-12-08 05:35 PM   #17 
  - The sole interest in Truth of the Selection-by-Nature, scientismificist hirelings  KCabotDullesMarxIII   Jul-12-08 06:14 PM   #20 
  - Well , I got it directly from a REAL expert about the Universe  dixiegrrrrl   Jul-12-08 07:58 PM   #22 
  - Evolution definitely needs to get out of a couple of jam-ups  starroute   Jul-13-08 01:53 AM   #26 
  - Yes. This "long view" fills in around the "short view" I gave in #21  arendt   Jul-13-08 10:24 AM   #28 
  - "But that just means science still has a lot to learn -- it doesn't mean  KCabotDullesMarxIII   Jul-13-08 11:22 AM   #29 
  - I'm sorry, I really don't want to come across as insulting  FarrenH   Jul-13-08 01:37 PM   #30 
     - Then explain the title of Jacques Monod's "Chance and Necessity"  starroute   Jul-13-08 02:18 PM   #32 
     - The modern synthesis is exceptionally good at  FarrenH   Jul-13-08 04:50 PM   #34 
     - I don't really want to come across as insulting, but...  arendt   Jul-13-08 10:11 PM   #36 
        - Biology is not reducible to chemistry, but it is constrained by chemistry  eridani   Jul-14-08 03:02 AM   #38 
        - Arendt,  FarrenH   Jul-14-08 03:12 AM   #39 
        - Yeah, I was cranky too. Just got done mixing and pouring a ton of concrete, tired...  arendt   Jul-14-08 07:58 AM   #41 
        - Here's some more from Myers,  FarrenH   Jul-14-08 05:26 AM   #40 
  - Science, properly practiced, is not concerned with philosophical/ideological  struggle4progress   Jul-14-08 12:15 AM   #37 

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