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Reply #21: I saw the article in Science yesterday... [View All]

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arendt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 06:44 PM
Response to Reply #15
21. I saw the article in Science yesterday...
first I had heard of this. But, just from paying atttention to what is going on in bio, its clear that the old "Modern Synthesis" needs an update. In the last ten years, we have had:

1) proof that Horizontal (between species) Gene Transfer (Nobel Prize to Barbara McClintock) is very important.

2) We have discovered that the so-called "junk DNA" in introns is really coding for RNA interference molecules that regulate gene transcription.

3) We have decoded the "histone code", which shows that information is passed between generations by "epigenetic" means.

4) We have counted the number of genes and realized that obscure stuff like "alternative splicing" of exons destroys the "one gene, one protein" dogma of the Modern Synthtesis.

BOTTOM LINE: there are a huge number of Nobel-prize-winning reasons to revisit the Modern Synthesis. This is not just New Age crapola.


As for Stuart Kaufmann, he is a complex case. He was instrumental in founding SFI and bringing complexity theory to the forefront. He and Brian Goodwin brought D'Arcy Thomson's work on morphology back from the dead. He is the real deal. That said, he is a windy, vague, speaker. Its easy to blow him off because he is a space cadet. But, he did some good work.


I, personally, find this whole cult-like take on 16 people as typical of media feeding frenzies. I doubt these folks are the only ones who think this way. I doubt that there thinking is completely disjoint from mainstream thinking. But, the fucking media always has to turn everything into a confrontation.

This is just science happening. This is just Thomas Kuhn's "paradigm shift" playing itself out in real time.

I am watching this with some interest, as a scientist. This whole argument about the "Darwin industry" seems to me to be overblown. It is for people who want controversy instead of progress. Maybe if I had had to get a grant for A16-style work, and I kept getting shot down by entrenched Modern Synthesis folks, I would buy into this "confrontation" scenario; but I haven't', and I don't.

Thanks for an interesting post.

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