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althecat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 04:27 PM
Original message
Will the Real Theory of Evolution Please Stand Up? - Scientists Meet To Remix Evolutionary Theory


Will the Real Theory of Evolution Please Stand Up?


An E-Book In 6 Parts By Investigative Journalist Suzan Mazur



Kondrad Lorenz and his geese


Wellington July 11th - Today 16 rock stars of evolutionary science and philosophy are gathering at the Konrad Lorenz Institute in Altenberg, Austria to remix a new theory of evolution. The meeting is closed to the public and media but exclusively here on Scoop over the last six days Suzan Mazur has published the results of her six month investigation into the work of Altenberg 16. Scoop is honoured to present an e-book in six parts... The Altenberg 16: An Expos Of The Evolution Industry

EVOLVING STORY:


2. Will the Real Theory of Evolution Please Stand Up?
3. Evo Expos: M. Pigliucci & M. Piattelli-Palmarini
4. Rare Chat W/ R. Lewontin & A. Lima-De-Faria
5. Evo Expos: The Wizards -- Pivar, Dawkins, Salthe
6. Evolution: Except Vanity Fair Media Doesn't Get It

INTRODUCTION:



"There has never been a theory of evolution." Cytogeneticist Antonio Lima-de-Faria, Evolution without Selection


No one knows how life began, but so-called theories of evolution are continually being announced. This book, The Altenberg 16: Will the Real Theory of Evolution Please Stand Up? exposes the rivalry in science today surrounding attempts to discover that elusive mechanism of evolution, as rethinking evolution is pushed to the political front burner in hopes that "survival of the fittest" ideology can be replaced with a more humane explanation for our existence and stave off further wars, economic crises and destruction of the Earth.

Evolutionary science is as much about the posturing, salesmanship, stonewalling and bullying that goes on as it is about actual scientific theory. It is a social discourse involving hypotheses of staggering complexity with scientists, recipients of the biggest grants of any intellectuals, assuming the power of politicians while engaged in Animal House pie-throwing and name-calling: "ham-fisted", "looney Marxist hangover", "secular creationist", "philosopher" (a scientist who cant get grants anymore), "quack", "crackpot". . .

In short, its a modern day quest for the holy grail, but with few knights. At a time that calls for scientific vision, scientific inquirys been hijacked by an industry of greed, with evolution books hyped like snake oil at a carnival.

Perhaps the most egregious display of commercial dishonesty is next years celebration of Charles Darwins Origin of Species the so-called theory of evolution by natural selection, i.e., survival of the fittest, that was foisted on us almost 150 years ago.

Scientists agree that natural selection can occur. But the scientific community has known for some time that natural selection has nothing to do with evolution. It also knows that self-organization is real, that is, matter can form without a genetic recipe like the snowflake (non-living). It does this without external guidance.

And that the Hydra (living), for example, can self-assemble its scattered cells even after being forced through a sieve. Yet, science elites continue to term self-assembly and self-organization "woo woo".

Coinciding with the 2009 Darwinian celebration, MIT will publish a book by 16 biologists and philosophers meeting in Altenberg, Austria at the Konrad Lorenz Institute in July to discuss a reformulation of the theory of evolution. Thats the mansion made famous by Konrad Lorenzs imprinting experiments, where Lorenz got his geese to follow him because they sensed he was their mother.

The symposiums title is "Toward an Extended Evolutionary Synthesis?", although the event is expected to be the actual kickoff of an evolution remix.

Some of the Altenberg 16 or A-16, as I like to call them, have hinted that theyre trying to steer science in a more honest direction, that is, by addressing non-centrality of the gene. They say that the "Modern Evolutionary Synthesis", also called neo-Darwinism which cobbled together the budding field of population genetics and paleontology, etc., 70 years ago also marginalized the inquiry into morphology. And that it is then in the 1930s and 1940s that the seeds of corruption were planted and an Evolution industry born.

I broke the story about the Altenberg affair last March with the assistance of Alastair Thompson and the team at Scoop Media, the independent news agency based in New Zealand. (Chapter 2, "Altenberg! The Woodstock of Evolution?")

But will the A-16 deliver? Will they help rid us of the natural selection "survival of the fittest" mentality that has plagued civilization for a century and a half, and on which Darwinism and neo-Darwinism are based, now that the cat is out of the bag that selection is politics not science? That selection cannot be measured exactly. That it is not the mechanism of evolution. That it is an abstract rusty tool left over from 19th century British imperial exploits.

Or will the A-16 tip-toe around the issue, appease the Darwin industry and protect foundation grants?

Certain things look promising. First, while most of the A-16 have roots in Darwinian and neo-Darwinian theory, they recognize the need to challenge the prevailing Modern Evolutionary Synthesis because theres too much it doesnt explain.

For example, the Modern Synthesis was produced when genetics was still a baby and weve now discovered all the human genes there are to be found. Weve only got 20,000 - 25,000 of them, roughly what other species have, and those genes arrived on the scene a half billion years ago. So theres a push for more investigation into non-genetic areas, for how body plans originated, for instance. Charles Darwin never said.

Second, the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis event is being hosted by Konrad Lorenz Institute, where for years there have been discussions about self-organization.

Third, one of the stars of the symposium, New York Medical College cell biologist Stuart Newman, hypothesizes that all 35 animal phyla self-organized at the time of the Cambrian explosion (a half billion years ago) without a genetic recipe or selection (hardwiring supposedly followed).

Fourth, KLIs chairman, Gerd Mueller has collaborated with Stuart Newman on a book about origin of form. And Newman has other allies within the group, including Yale biologist Gunter Wagner, Budapest biologist and KLI board member Eors Szathmary, as well as KLIs science manager, Werner Callebaut a Belgian philosopher who will deliver the non-centrality of gene paper.

I published a "first peek" at Stuart Newmans concept (Appendix, "Stuart Newmans High Tea") following his presentation at the University of Notre Dame in March. There has so far been a stonewalling on the science blogs about self-organization. The consensus of the evolution pack seems to be that if an idea doesnt fit in with Darwinism and neo-Darwinism KEEP IT OUT!

Meanwhile, Swedish cytogeneticist Antonio Lima-de-Faria, author of the book Evolution without Selection, sees any continuance of the natural selection concept as "compromise". He says Darwinism and neo-Darwinism deal only with the biological or "terminal" phase of evolution and impede discovery of the real mechanism, which is "primaeval" based on elementary particles, chemical elements and minerals (Chapter 6, "Knight of the North Star").

Lima-de-Farias views are considered "extreme" by some science elites 20 years after publication of Evolution without Selection, his book about self-assembly a phenomenon he defines as "the spontaneous aggregation of biological structures involving formation of weak chemical bonds between surfaces with complementary shapes". However, it looks like some other science elites may be warming up to concepts he laid down decades ago as evidenced by comments at Junes World Science Festival in New York.

Steve Benner, pioneer of synthetic biology and founder, Westheimer Institute for Science:

"But certainly our view of how life originated on Earth is very much dependent on minerals being involved in the process to control the chemistry. . . . So in that sense, I agree with my distinguished colleague from Lund ."

Paul Davies, theoretical physicist and astrobiologist, Director BEYOND Center, Arizona State University:

"There has to be a pathway from chemistry to biology powerful levels before Darwinian evolution even kicks in."


Lima-de-Faria notes that when Charles Darwins Origin of Species and Alfred Russel Wallaces essay on natural selection came out, both were criticized. He quotes Darwin quoting a Professor Haughton of Dublin "that everything new in them was false and what was true was old". Lima-de-Faria adds that "time and again, any radically new approach" in science is met with the same response.

The commercial media is both ignorant of and blocks coverage of stories about non-centrality of the gene because its science advertising dollars come from the gene-centered Darwin industry. With declining ad revenue already widespread, and employee layoffs and contract buyouts in the editorial departments of news organizations like Newsweek, Time, the Washington Post as well as the New York Times reporting on an evolution paradigm shift could mean the loss of even more advertising and/or yet another editors job.

But neither will most science blogs report theres a paradigm shift afoot because they share the same ideology as the corporate media. At the same time, the Darwin industry is also in bed with government, even as political leaders remain clueless about evolutionary biology.

Thus, the public is unaware that its dollars are being squandered on funding of mediocre, middle-brow science or that its children are being intellectually starved as a result of outdated texts and unenlightened teachers.

However, while the A-16 organizers have noted that their July symposium "could turn into a major stepping stone for the entire field of evolutionary biology," this book is not an endorsement of any attempt to "graft" novel ideas onto the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis only of the decision to begin sorting out the mess. The real task is one of making a theory where none previously existed. That will require casting a wide net for visionaries who have political courage. And it will take some time.

Again, lets not forget that Evolution is an industry where scientists are media stars with books to promote as well as images. The A-16 are no exception.

.

A remarkable piece of journalism with extraordinary wide ranging implications which Scoop is very proud to be able to present to DU readers.

START READING THE 6 PART EBOOK HERE:

Will the Real Theory of Evolution Please Stand Up?



regards to DUGD

Alastair Thompson
Scoop.co.nz Co-Editor
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 04:35 PM
Response to Original message
1. Quackery, fakery, chicanery, thinly-veiled religious posturing.
Not in that order.
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althecat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 04:50 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Not at all... this is the cutting edge of biological science
And not at all religiously motivated. There is possibly some politics in the mix but it is naive to suggest that evolutionary science isn't already political.
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 05:12 PM
Response to Reply #4
10. Nope, no religion here
Author Suzan Mazur:

"Darwinism, however, has not died yet, because it is foundational to materialist philosophy, the cornerstone of which is cultural relativism, with its claim that there is no absolute right or wrong. Right and wrong to cultural relativists are just matters of taste not revelations from God."

http://www.idscience.org/category/christian-apologetics...
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Flabbergasted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 05:19 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. That is not by Mazur. By: Lawrence Vescera, Ph.D.
Edited on Sat Jul-12-08 05:25 PM by Flabbergasted
She is the source but it is not clear how she is used as a source. I don't think her purpose is to argue for intelligent design or creationism.

"Suzan Mazur says her interest in evolution began with a Cessna single engine flight into Olduvai Gorge, across a closed Kenyan-Tanzanian border, to interview the late paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey. Their meeting followed discovery of the 3.5 million year old hominid footprints by Leakey and her team at Laetoli http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laetoli . Mazur says Leakey was the only reason the Tanzanian authorities agreed to give landing clearance. Her reports have since appeared in the Financial Times, The Economist, Forbes, Newsday, Philadelphia Inquirer, Archaeology, Connoisseur, Omni and others, as well as on PBS, CBC and MBC. She has been a guest on McLaughlin, Charlie Rose and various Fox Television News programs."

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0803/S00051.htm#a
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althecat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 05:24 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. That is not from the article... and that is philosophy not religion.
In any event there is nothing wrong with religion. The point which seems to escape you is that this is not creationism or ID its about science.

Denying scientific truth is precisely what the scientists claim the IDers are doing. The truth of the matter - as this article very clearly shows - is that the new deniers are often the very same people who claim to be defending science.

Anyway. If you want to come to an opinion about something like this without actually reading it then that is your perogative.
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 06:03 PM
Response to Reply #13
27. OK, I won't mince words: this article is poo.
"But the scientific community has known for some time that natural selection has nothing to do with evolution." :rofl:

Suzan Mazur has no idea wtf she is talking about. None. She is a journalist with no scientific background whatsoever. She does have a hell of a persecution/paranoid complex, however, which explains her other pet topic:

Diebold, the Mormons, and the Masons are Out to Get Me

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0507/S00222.htm

The Altenberg 16 are fringe crackpots with whom she (understandably) identifies.






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ismnotwasm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 07:30 PM
Response to Reply #27
47. Not a scientist here
Just a very basic science education. But I agree that was definitely a WTF moment. I'm not sure what the article is trying to do. Sounds pretty divisive for no real reason. Odd to say the least
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varkam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 12:16 PM
Response to Reply #10
80. Wow, Mazur is completely full of shit.
Materialist philosophy? Cultural relativism? No absolute right or wrong?

Sounds to me like someone's got an axe to grind.
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 06:34 PM
Response to Reply #4
37. "Possibly" some politics?
:rofl:

Go back and read it again. The first paragrpah is more about politics than it is about evolution:

"rethinking evolution is pushed to the political front burner in hopes that "survival of the fittest" ideology can be replaced with a more humane explanation for our existence and stave off further wars, economic crises and destruction of the Earth."

And it keeps mentioning politics. And, frankly, "But the scientific community has known for some time that natural selection has nothing to do with evolution" is a straight lie. Mazur may have been trying to be controversial, but that's going too far. Can't you have a word with her?
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Xipe Totec Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 04:35 PM
Response to Original message
2. So the theory is evolving?





:hide:
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 04:45 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. The so-called "scientists" are a bunch of Noah's Ark deniers
They think their flimsy evidence stands up to a big boat made of gopher wood, two animals of every kind, etc?

Makes PERFECT sense to me.
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Vickers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 05:29 PM
Response to Reply #3
16. "a bunch of Noah's Ark deniers"
:rofl:

Aw man, I think I peed a little.
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althecat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 04:51 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. ... yip... in a nutshell...
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Flabbergasted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 04:55 PM
Response to Original message
6. dl
Edited on Sat Jul-12-08 04:56 PM by Flabbergasted
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TZ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 05:02 PM
Response to Original message
7. Uh yeahhhh....
I studied evolutionary biology in college and umm this article sounds like political bullshit to me..natural selection CAN occur? This really does sound like a RW spin of eb....
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Flabbergasted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 05:08 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. I agree with you except it doesn't seem like RW spin but someone with an obscured
Edited on Sat Jul-12-08 05:26 PM by Flabbergasted
political (non-governmental or religious) goal.
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althecat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 05:32 PM
Response to Reply #9
18. Its the opposite of RW spin - That's why its posted here
I can't fathom why this is so difficult for people here to understand.
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Flabbergasted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 05:37 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. Because it vehemently attacks Darwinism which usually implies a religious source. nt
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althecat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 05:40 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. Which is perhaps one of the reasons that it is so fascinating....
Not your usual media rehash of predictable memes and viewpoints.
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Flabbergasted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 05:47 PM
Response to Reply #22
25. It is...but I'm not sure I agree with everything she wrote....nt
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althecat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 06:09 PM
Response to Reply #25
29. And that is quite right.
Articles do not generally seek agreement. And in this case my feeling is that while Mazur is rhetorically fairly robust - she is seeking to encourage debate not to push her own opinion on anyone. The article contains coherent expositions of views which are contrary to her own for example.

Your willingness to realise that this is not creationist propaganda is appreciated. Many others seem all too ready to stick a paper bag over their head somewhat prematurely.

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LeftishBrit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 09:48 AM
Response to Reply #22
76. I suppose ...
if there was an article saying that the moon was made of blue cheese, and that this TRUTH was being suppressed by the astronomy industry, it would not be the 'usual media rehash of predictable memes and viewpoints. But this still would not make it correct.
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TZ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 09:42 AM
Response to Reply #18
74. Because its bullshit!
I'm a fucking evolutionary biologist and WELL familiar with the competing theories of the MECHANISMS of evolution and that article is the most illiterate, scientifically inaccurate piece of spin I have ever seen..EXCEPT for what people like the Discovery Institute put out!
If its not funded by them, it sure as hell sounds like it!
More proof that journalists have not a freaking clue about science!
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0rganism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 02:41 PM
Response to Reply #74
87. aha! a self-confessed member of the Elite Scientific Establishment!!
Yaaaaaah!
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varkam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 05:05 PM
Response to Original message
8. It had me at hello.
The first sentence set off alarm bells. The fact that "no one knows how life began" is completely irrelevant to the question of evolution - and it's a red herring that creationists love to toss in, as if it somehow discredits the theory of evolution.
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althecat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 05:27 PM
Response to Reply #8
15. Read on and open your mind. You will not find what you expect to find.
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varkam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 10:02 PM
Response to Reply #15
48. I'm sorry, but...
Edited on Sat Jul-12-08 10:06 PM by varkam
whomever wrote this does not understand what evolution is to begin with and, as a consequence, doesn't really have any business talking about it. Bonus points for referring to "Darwinism" - as if the theory of evolution somehow depends upon Charles Darwin - which is another clue that the author is, well, clueless when it comes to evolution.

The piece is chock-full of your standard, sub-par, unimpressive attacks on the theory of evolution. It's total, unequivocal crap - which is exactly what I expected after reading the introductory sentence.
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 05:15 PM
Response to Original message
11. If religious people say it, it's probably wrong.
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Flabbergasted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 05:29 PM
Response to Reply #11
17. I don't see a religious motivation in this article at all. nt
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althecat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 05:27 PM
Response to Original message
14. Here is an article about Mazur and the Altenberg Conference from a conservative source...




AAAS' Science magazine/Elizabeth Pennisi 7/10/2008


Massimo Pigliucci is no Jimi Hendrix. This soft-spoken evolutionary biologist from Stony Brook University in New York state looks nothing like that radical hard-rock musician whose dramatic guitar solos helped revolutionize rock nroll. But to Suzan Mazur, a veteran journalist who occasionally covers science,
Pigliucci is the headliner this week at a small meeting she believes will be the equivalent of
Woodstock for evolutionary biology. The invitation-only conference, being held in Altenberg, Austria, promises to be far more transforming for the world than the 1969 music festival, Mazur wrote online in March for Scoop.co.nz, an independent news publication in New Zealand.

That hyperbole has reverberated throughout the evolutionary biology community, putting Pigliucci and the 15 other participants at the forefront of a debate over whether ideas about evolution need updating. The mere
mention of the Altenberg 16, as Mazur dubbed the group, causes some evolutionary biologists to roll their eyes.

Its a joke, says Jerry Coyne of the University of Chicago in Illinois. I dont think
theres anything that needs fixing.

Mazurs attention, Pigliucci admits, frankly caused me embarrassment. Yet Pigliucci and others argue that the so called modern synthesis, which has guided evolutionary thought and research for about 70 years, needs freshening up. A lot has happened in the past half-century. DNAs structure was revealed, genomes were sequenced, and developmental biologists turned their sights on evolutionary questions. Researchers have come to realize that heredity is not simply a matter of passing genes from parent to offspring, as the
environment, chemical modification of DNA, and other factors come into play as well. Organisms
vary not only in how they adapt to changing conditions but also in how they evolve.

Evolution is much more nuanced than the founders of the modern synthesis fully appreciated, says Pigliucci. That doesn't mean that the overall theory of evolution is wrong, as some intelligent design proponents have tried to assert using Mazur's story as support, but rather that the modern synthesis needs to better incorporate modern science and the data revealed by it. More than genes pass on information from one generation to the next, for example, and development seems to help shape evolutions course.

"Many things need fixing," emphasizes one invited speaker, Eva Jablonka of Tel Aviv University in Israel. I think that a new evolutionary synthesis is long overdue. Modern tradition The modern synthesis essentially represents a marriage of the 19th century concept of evolution with Mendelian genetics, which was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century; the birth of population genetics in the 1920s added to the intellectual mix. By the 1940s, biologists had worked out a set of ideas that put natural selection and adaptation at evolutions core.

Julian Huxleys 1942 book, Evolution: The modern synthesis, brought together this work for a broad audience. Simply put, the modern synthesis holds that organisms have a repertoire of traits that
are passed down through the generations.

Mutations in genes alter those traits bit by bit, and if conditions are such that those alterations
make an individual more fit, then the altered trait becomes more common over time. This process is called natural selection.

In some cases, the new feature can replace an old one; in other instances, natural selection also leads to speciation.

However, several concepts have arise since then that make the modern synthesis seem too simplistic to some, Pigliucci among them.

In a 2007 Evolution paper, he called for the development of an "extended evolutionary synthesis." His plea coincided with a similar one made that year by Gerd Muller, a theoretical biologist at the University of Vienna. Together, with support from the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research in Altenberg, they organized this week's conference, inviting many who share theviewthat the modernsynthesis is incomplete. "What's happening now in evolutionary theory is as exciting and foundational as during the early days," says David Wilson of Binghamton University in New York, another attendee.


Beyond genes

Insights from ecology, developmental biology, and genomics in particular are nudging evolutionary biology away from a focus on population genetics---how the distribution of genes changes across groups of individuals---and toward an understandingof the molecular underpinnings of these changes. Better family
trees that give researchers greater confidence about the relatedness among organisms have helped promote a credible, comparative approach to these mechanisms, says invitee Gnter Wagner, an evolutionary developmental biologist at Yale University.

Some studies, for example, indicate that development constrains evolution. From the modern synthesis perspective, Wagner explains, "the body plan is a historical residue of evolutionary time, the afterglow of the evolutionary process" such that more closely related organisms share more features. The alternative view, he says, is that "body plans have internal inertia," and evolution works around this stability.

Austrias Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research is hosting a much-discussed evolutionary biology meeting.

Massimo Pigliucci (right) and Gerd Muller want to update the modern synthesis.

Daring Duo

This perspective fits in well with that of Stuart Newman, another invitee to the conference. A developmental biologist at New York Medical College in Valhalla,Newman and Mller have focused on physical processes that guide how cells organize limbs, livers, hearts, and other tissues. The stickiness, elasticity, and chemical reactions within and between cells, for example, all influence where cells wind up in an organism.
The duo thinks these processes helped define early multicellular life, a time when genetic systems were still quite primitive and body shapes were presumably more plastic than now. Their work suggests that body plans with interior spaces, segments, appendages, and multiple layers of tissue are inevitable. That's "heresy for the modern synthesis but inescapable if you incorporate physics into the picture," says Newman.

Studies of development that suggest how evolution proceededthe so-called evo-devo approachhave yielded other insights, among them that genes and proteins are arranged in networks that have their own set of properties. "There are lots of interdependencies that allow only certain patterns of evolution to happen," says Wagner.

Much like networks, regulation is a new buzzword in biology circles; yet its another concept virtually ignored in the modern synthesis. Scientists now grasp that gene activity, RNAs, and proteins are all under regulatory controls and that shifts in those controls likely drive evolution as much as traditional gene
mutations that alter a proteins form. Harvard Universitys Marc Kirschner, for example, contends that organisms have long possessed core componentsthe machinery for energy metabolism, pattern formation during development, making cytoskeletons, or cell signalingthat have persisted relatively
intact through time. But he proposes that genetic changes that alter when and where in the developing body these components are used have helped create modern diversity.

Wagner thinks that by virtue of the breadth of genes they influence, transcription factors may be central to the type of evolutionary shifts Kirschner proposes. Changing the regulation of a few factors, even one, could help coordinate the systemic changes needed to make a new trait, helping to ensure that larger muscles
coevolve with bigger jawbones for a more powerful bite, for example. Bottom line: New traits contain very little that is new in the way of functional components, whereas regulatory change is crucial, Kirschner
and John Gerhart of the University of California, Berkeley, wrote in a supplement to the 15 May 2007 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The modern synthesis also doesnt take into account epigenetics A small chemical modification of a DNA basethe addition of a methyl group, for examplecan turn a gene off or on as easily as a mutation. Molecular biologists have long known about such epigenetic effects, but only recently have they demonstrated that methylation tags and other epigenetic marks that silence or activate genes can travel from
one generation to the next. That potentially creates a "bewildering increase in the complexity of the entire inheritance system," Pigliucci asserted in his 2007 call to arms.

Certain environmental conditions, such as diet during gestation, can alter the epigenetic patterns of the resulting offspring, and new traits that result can last for generations, says Jablonka, who has been striving to get recognition for this mode of inheritance for years. For example, in a study conducted several years
ago, pregnant mice injected with an endocrine disrupter gave birth to males with reduced fertility,
whose subsequent sons, grandsons, and even great-grandsons were likewise affected.

Each generation had inherited the same altered methylation pattern of DNA (Science, 3 June
2005, p. 1466). "It's beginning to be accepted that may actually have something to contribute to evolution," says Jablonka. She argues that because these chemical modifications change how tightly wound DNA is, they also influence other properties of a genome that are relevant to evolution. The coiling of a DNA strand, she points out, can alter the rate of mutation, the ease by which mobile elements can move around, the duplication of genes, and even how much gene exchange occurs between matching chromosomes.

Beyond reason?

As the Altenberg 16 seek to modernize the modern synthesis, other unconventional ideas will be on the table. One is evolvability, the inherent capacity of an organism or a population, even a species, to respond to a changing environment. Introduced about 20 years ago, the concept can help explain why certain groups of organisms readily and rapidly diversified. Consider vertebrate toes: Amphibians have a wider range in digit number than, say, reptiles, which may indicate that the former are more evolvable for that trait, Pigliucci points out. But the question remains whether natural selection favors more evolvable organisms. If the idea of
evolvability wasnt radical enough, a few researchers have proposed that organisms can stock up mutations whose effects manifest themselves only when the right circumstances arise.

Both ideas have their skeptics. I dont believe organisms have a closet where they maintain all this genetic variation, says Douglas Schemske, an evolutionary biologist at Michigan State University in East Lansing.
Even among those coming to Altenberg, theres far from universal agreement.
Wagner finds epigenetic inheritance hard to swallow. "I haven't been convinnced," he says. And some
outside the Altenberg 16 dont see what all the fuss is about.

Im happy with the modern synthesis, says George Weiblen, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. Others note that some of the items on the meetings agenda, such as the role
of plasticity in looks and behavior in evolution, have fallen in and out of favor for decades. Its like selling old wine in new bottles, says Thomas Flatt of Brown University.

But these criticisms dont faze Altenbergs organizers. The modern synthesis emerged from at least a decades worth of discussions. The crucial point of the workshop is bringing these concepts together, says Mller. And no one truly expects a scientific Woodstock.

Woodstock was an immensely popular event celebrating a new musical mainstream, says Newman. I imagine this will be more like a jam session circa 1962.
ELIZABETH PENNISI
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krispos42 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 06:25 PM
Response to Reply #14
33. A note on DU rules:
DU copyright rules require that excerpts of copyrighted material be limited to four paragraphs and must include a link to the original source.

Thank you,
Krispos42, DU mod
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mainer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 06:35 AM
Response to Reply #14
67. AAAS is a conservative source?
Are you talking about the organization that publishes SCIENCE magazine?
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 05:33 PM
Response to Original message
19. Will the REAL Christianity please stand up?
Edited on Sat Jul-12-08 05:35 PM by IanDB1
Meta-groups, wings, families, denominations,
faith groups, and belief systems

<snip>

Sorting Christian faith groups:

Except perhaps for a few years between the execution of Yeshua of Nazareth (circa 30 CE) and the start of Paul's ministry (circa 36 CE), the Christian religion has never been unified.

- Throughout the second half of the first century CE, the Christian religion was divided into three main main religious movements: the Gnostics, Jewish Christians, and Pauline Christians. Gnostic Christians still survive today. All of the rest of today's Christian faith groups trace their history back to the Pauline Christian movement.

- Currently, there are over 1,200 Christian denominations in North America. 1
- According to David Barrett et al, editors of the "World Christian Encyclopedia: A comparative survey of churches and religions - AD 30 to 2200," there are 34,000 separate Christian groups in the world. 2

Sorting them into categories is a difficult task. Six ways of classifying them are into:

1. Many thousands of denominations:
- There are on the order of 1,200 Christian organizations in North America, and over 30,000 in the world.
- Their names range from the Amish to The Way.
- We have essays describing some of them.

2. Four to eight meta-groups: Most of the Christian denominations and sects in the world can be sorted into about eight segments or branches:
- Roman Catholicism,
- Eastern Orthodoxy,
- Oriental Orthodox and Assyrian Churches,
- Protestantism
- Restorationists
- Anglican Communion
- Pentecostals
- Others

Unfortunately, there is no consensus about which faith groups should be embraced by the term "Protestantism." For example:

- Some theologians split out the Anglican Communion from Protestantism.
- Others consider Pentecostalism to be separate from Protestantism.
- Others separate the European Free-Church Family out as a separate group.
- Some include the Restorationist denominations, which includes the Mormon church (a.k.a. LDS) within Protestantism. Some consider them to be a separate Christian group. Still others consider them to be non-Christian.


More:
http://www.religioustolerance.org/christ7.htm


So, I guess the whole Christian thing is all a bunch of hog-wash, since they don't all agree on every single detail.

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JBoris Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 05:40 PM
Response to Original message
21. "No one knows how life began" ...lol Evolution describes... well evolution, not origin...
Who wrote that crap, Ben Stein? After I saw Paul Davies quoted I stopped reading, that man is a nutjob and is frequently quoted by Discovery-Institute-creationist-fuckwits.
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Flabbergasted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 05:45 PM
Response to Reply #21
23. Do you know how life began?
P.S. This lady does not have a religious perspective in my view. I'm not sure I totally agree with the article however.
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #23
99. Thank you
"Sorting them into categories is a difficult task." ...only for those interested in precision.

Thanks for pointing this out.
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althecat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 05:46 PM
Response to Reply #21
24. If you are interested in the subject and know the names you will find the rest interesting....
If you read on a bit you will find that there are a large number of different opinions juxtaposed in this expose. They include numerous luminaries in the field and while you will probably still not know how life began when you finish you will have considerably more clues than you have currently.

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JBoris Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 06:05 PM
Response to Reply #21
28. Evolution is a massive collection of falsifiable data that has withstood 150 years of harsh....
opposition. Asking an unanswered question, one that is for now a religious question(ie 'how did life begin"), does not invalidate one of the most successful scientific theories ever created. That article reads like a bunch of Discovery Institute religious propaganda. Intelligent design is not a scientific theory, it is creationism thinly disguised... just like that article.
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althecat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 06:10 PM
Response to Reply #28
30. It is nothing of the sort and I can only assume that you have not read it.
Nevermind. I guess that is your loss.
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JBoris Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 06:12 PM
Response to Reply #30
32. You need to read up on evolution, the Discovery Institute, and the others attacking "big science" ..
Edited on Sat Jul-12-08 06:26 PM by JBoris
I did read these articles after you suggested I do so... it is just like the Discovery Institute, intelligently hidden religious propaganda.
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 01:53 AM
Response to Reply #32
58. Here's why you are entirely wrong
Edited on Sun Jul-13-08 02:08 AM by autorank
This is a partial list of the scientists at the conference. Spin us a right wing conspiracy
with these folks. Otherwise your pursuit of general swipes at this piece has no validity.
Seriously, you're saying this is an incidious effort with the right wing agenda at it's core.
So find it among these scholars.

Have at it:

Greg Wray – gene regulatory networks (switching on and off of genes)
Director, Duke University Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy. Wray is a PhD in biology, and a bodybuilder who enjoys flexing his muscles. We’ll see if such "fitness" is successful in winning over reluctant colleagues at Altenberg. His work: http://www.biology.duke.edu/wraylab /
--------------------
Michael Purugganan – genomes and post-genomes
Director of New York University’s Plant Evolutionary Genetics lab (with funding from the US Defense Department (?!), National Science Foundation and Guggenheim Foundation). Purugganan, has a PhD in Botany from the University of Georgia. His web site notes that he likes to dress in Armani, black Armani. Publications: http://www.colorado.edu/eeb/MORPH/labs/pubs/purugg_pubs...
-----------------
Francis John Odling-Smee – niche inheritance (organisms "inherit genes, and biotically transformed selection pressures in their environment from their ancestors")
Oxford University lecturer in Bioanthropology. Odling-Smee’s paper covers ecological inheritance in evolution. He is co-author of the book Niche Construction: The Neglected Process in Evolution.
----------------
David Jablonski – dynamics of macroevolution (mass-extinctions "set the stage" for "evolutionary recoveries")
Jablonski is said to be a very lively lecturer. He’s a professor of geophysical science at the University of Chicago with a PhD from Yale and he chairs the Committee on Evolutionary Biology. Since the Altenberg meeting is "private", we will have to wait for the DVD sales to hear Jablonski speak about mass-extinctions and macroevoluion. His work: http://experts.uchicago.edu/experts.php?id=460
----------------
Massimo Pigliucci – phenotypic plasticity (characteristics of an organism change in response to changes in environment)
Massimo Pigliucci is one of the architects of the Altenberg summit. He has three PhDs – in botany, genetics and philosophy. Pigliucci directs an ecology lab at the State University of New York, Stony Brook and has also been on the rise as a public intellectual. His work: http://www.genotypebyenvironment.org /
----------------
Gerd Mueller – innovation (novel trait emerges and becomes fixed in population)
Chairman, Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research, MD, PhD, Professor of Zoology and Chair, Department of Theoretical Biology at the University of Vienna where he is Director, Mueller Lab.
----------------
Gunter Wagner – modularity ("Organisms seem to be organized into structural modules or "parts," presumably on account of a connection between parts and the ability to perform functions."–Dan McShea, Duke University)
Gunter Wagner is Alison Richard Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University and a 1992 MacArthur Fellow. He’s a native of Vienna with a PhD in Zoology from the University of Vienna and with postdoc research at Max-Planck Institute and the University of Gottingen.
His work: http://info.med.yale.edu/bbs/faculty/wag_gu.html
-----------------
Marc Kirschner – evolvability (the body has a certain plasticity and can work around "errors")
Professor of systems biology at Harvard Medical School and founding chair of the Department of Systems Biology. PhD University of California – Berkeley.


So where's the right wing conspiracy? Where's the religious zealotry?
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 06:07 AM
Response to Reply #58
64. People are criticising the article, not the conference
The attendees seem to think Mazur's coverage of it is bad, too.
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charlie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 06:23 AM
Response to Reply #64
66. It IS bad
It's episodic, anecdotal, meandering and nearly incoherant at times, larded with manipulative characterizations and irrelevancies, and gives plenty indication the author understands little of what she's reporting on, though she's an ardent advocate for supplanting "Darwinism". Stuart Pivar is one of the "wizards" of the new paradigm? Fer crying out loud...

Carl Zimmer she ain't.
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 02:34 PM
Response to Reply #64
85. He's criticisizing the change in theory by aligning it with the right wing.

It's not about the conference, it's a claim that this new viewpoint is aligned with right wing groups.
Right here: "I did read these articles after you suggested I do so... it is just like the Discovery Institute, intelligently hidden religious propaganda."

I listed the people who delivered information at the conference and their affiliations and asked
that any right wing agenda from those people be identified. That response has not been forthcoming
and it won't be because these are not a bunch of right wing scientists who fit the facts to meet
their political agendas.

These are not nutty professors, they're serious academics. Are they right or wrong? I don't know
but the attack on their views should not be based on guilt by failure to prove any association
whatsoever with right wing groups.

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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 03:06 PM
Response to Reply #85
92. Because, again, it's not the conference, it's the article that is hopeless
Read #21, #28 and #32 again. The posts you were replying to are criticising the badly-written article. Personally, I don't think Mazur has a right-wing agenda - just a hope to hype a 'controversy' where none exists, to get some articles, or even a book if she can really push it, out of it.

Look at my reply #65 to your #53. Pigliucci thinks Mazur is producing ridiculous hype too.
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althecat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 03:51 AM
Response to Reply #32
61. I can assure you its not.
I know the author fairly well and the possibility of her engaging in such activity is zero.
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RainDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 07:00 PM
Response to Reply #21
42. exactly
I posted on this before I even read other comments because Davies, whose work I have read, is really not worth consideration.

and this, from the other article-

DNAs structure was revealed, genomes were sequenced, and developmental biologists turned their sights on evolutionary questions. Researchers have come to realize that heredity is not simply a matter of passing genes from parent to offspring, as the environment, chemical modification of DNA, and other factors come into play as well. Organisms vary not only in how they adapt to changing conditions but also in how they evolve.

Evolutionary science does NOT state that environment is unimportant to mutation. It does not state that environment has no impact on the way in which genes are passed from parent to offspring. The paragraph quoted above is simply bullshit. It misrepresents evolutionary science.
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 05:52 PM
Response to Original message
26. k*r This is great. I've followed this in previous issues.
Here's what's happening. The inconsistencies and unanswered questions raised by natural selection in the theory of evolution have been around long enough for leading researchers to seek alternative explanations. They're getting better answers elsewhere and natural selection is going to take a hike. This is a good thing, truly, since the social darsinism that it excused will have to leave the stage also.

Excellent article!!!!!!

-----------------------------------

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Thomas Kuhn

From Wikipedia: "Main article: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Kuhn

In The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (SSR) Kuhn argued that science does not progress via a linear accumulation of new knowledge, but undergoes periodic revolutions, also called "paradigm shifts" (although he did not coin the phrase),<2> in which the nature of scientific inquiry within a particular field is abruptly transformed. In general, science is broken up into three distinct stages. Prescience, which lacks a central paradigm, comes first. This is followed by "normal science", when scientists attempt to enlarge the central paradigm by "puzzle-solving". Thus, the failure of a result to conform to the paradigm is seen not as refuting the paradigm, but as the mistake of the researcher, contra Popper's refutability criterion. As anomalous results build up, science reaches a crisis, at which point a new paradigm, which subsumes the old results along with the anomalous results into one framework, is accepted. This is termed revolutionary science.
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JBoris Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 06:11 PM
Response to Reply #26
31. 1)Social Darwinism is NOT part of the scientific theory of evolution. 2)See my above post for more.
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althecat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 06:25 PM
Response to Reply #31
34. No one says it is part of it - it is a consequence of it....
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JBoris Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 06:29 PM
Response to Reply #34
35. People say BS like "everything is relative", does that mean we should throw away physics?
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althecat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 06:32 PM
Response to Reply #35
36. You are making jumps which are not in the narrative...
Nobody is suggesting that because social darwinism is flawed that evolution is flawed.

The argument runs like this.

Darwinism is incomplete.

Darwinism has had impacts beyond itself.

Some of the impacts that it has had beyond itself are therefore also in question.

Its not really that complicated.
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JBoris Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 06:41 PM
Response to Reply #36
38. Umm what? What exactly is your point about Darwinism? Darwinism BTW is not evolution, only...
one of its starting points.

"Some of the impacts that it has had beyond itself are therefore also in question."

How exactly was my comment a 'jump' then, you made my point right there.
You are right, this really isn't that complicated. If something is true, and people take it out of context, then you cannot blame the truth.
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althecat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 03:57 AM
Response to Reply #38
62. That might be true if the something were true.
Specifically if the something is that life is the way it is simply because of random mutation and competition then its not true.

And conversely if something is untrue, and people take it out of context, and make leaps of logic then those leaps of logic are based on such shaky foundations that we need not give them too much heed.
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JBoris Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 06:04 AM
Response to Reply #62
63. "shaky" ...no. Your point is not invalid, but this is not an all or nothing deal. Epigenetics...
Edited on Sun Jul-13-08 06:55 AM by JBoris
for example is a mechanism that has nothing to do with random mutation, and is widely accepted as true. That doesn't mean you have to throw away the concept of random mutation. DNA's method of replication is strong evidence that random mutations do occur, and that was not discovered until 100 years after Darwin.

What exactly is your problem with evolution anyways? Is it religious? Because if so, then you need not disagree with it. Evolution does not say there is no God, it only disagrees with strict creationism. You can still believe that God creates the randomness and the mechanisms in DNA, and the structure of life's interactions. You can still believe that God created man separate from nature by allowing our brains and bodies to evolve beyond animals. You can still believe that God created life, (it is after all about the origin of species, not life) and even if we do discover how life began, then we would still have no answer to what created it, just like the "big bang" (which btw describes what happened right AFTER the creation of the universe)

Evolution is a tough pill to swallow, I know. But you should not throw it all away because you don't want to believe it. Many very smart people have tried to do so, that is the strength of the theory, not its weakness. It is one of humankind's greatest discoveries, one that took decades, lifetimes, to shape into a solid theory. It is therefore much lager than any one man, especially Darwin. And is much lager than its "holes". All scientific theory has room to grow, more questions to answer, theories themselves evolve. But like evolution itself, the basic structure is almost always kept, and new ideas or features added to the collective progress.
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althecat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 03:59 PM
Response to Reply #63
94. I have no problem with evolution or random mutation....
I just have a problem with people who attempt to shut down a debate which seeks only to enlighten before it has begun

I have a problem with people who dismiss a epic work of journalism on the basis of the first four words because they are so tied up in another argument, creationism, that they cannot see the wood for the trees.

And politically I have a serious problem with people who believe that their success (economically, socially et al.) at the expense of others is part of the "natural order" of things.
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JBoris Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 06:03 PM
Response to Reply #94
100. I read your article, and..
the bulk of each the other five. Again and again the author fails to grasp what evolution is, what scientific debate is, fails to separate science from scientists, and fails to separate social misconceptions of the theory from the theory itself, as do you.
You have accused me , several times now, of being close-minded. I ask you instead to consider the possibility that, while well written, the article is dangerously naive. Information is important. Understanding basic science is important. These are the the same types confusions that people exploit to deny that Global Warming is real, or that smoking is bad for you. And these are the same arguments that Creationists use (yet you blame me for noticing that). These tactics are used to deny the overwhelmingly agreed upon truth, with arguments that have been answered time and time again... and people still want to debate them as if its something new.

If you want to debate Social Darwinism, please separate the science of evolutionary biology from it. You cannot blame me for focusing on the science, when you refuse to separate evolutionary science from a social debate. Why not just educate people about the failings of Social Darwinism as a philosophy, instead of implying that we need to invalidate a scientific theory because of public misconceptions, and individuals' abuse of science?

Again... I agree with what you are arguing, just not the way you are throwing a scientific theory into your argument.

PS... There is no part of the "natural selection" that says success has to be at the expense of others, that is an atavistic misinterpretation of it. Another example of blaming science for people (the ones blaming their behavior on the "natural order" of things) failing to understand basic scientific ideas.



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jberryhill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-14-08 11:46 PM
Response to Reply #94
105. I agree...

I am successful economically and socially at the expense of others because God loves me better than them.

Maybe if they get right with God, then their problems - which are not MY problems - will be solved.

It's the sin in their lives that makes them suffer. Nothing I can do about that.
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JBoris Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 06:52 PM
Response to Reply #36
40. I do agree with some of your intent althecat, but we need to separate Darwinism from modern theory.
Edited on Sat Jul-12-08 06:54 PM by JBoris
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 10:06 PM
Response to Reply #34
49. O. M. G.
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 10:48 PM
Response to Reply #31
50. No kidding.
Darwinism was an elegant analogy, one the Manlthusians and eugenicists, among others, took advantage of
to advance their ugly causes and promote the corollary in economics - the notion of scarcity.

It's coming back now - we're getting 'prepped' for water, food, oil, etc. shortages as we speak.

The alternatives presented by the represents a new paradigm that is much more conducive to the tasks
we have as the human species, tasks essential to our own survival.
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RainDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 12:59 AM
Response to Reply #50
55. your post is about yet another ideology, not science.
you are conflating inappropriate applications of an idea to another area of life (i.e. eugenics or economic "darwinism" with science. the two are not the same. The same people who could deform natural selection to support their pre-conceived notion of their own superiority could, and did, do this with other ideas.

As in the origin of the notion that "blue bloods" were biologically different... "Blue bloods" were aristocrats who didn't have to work in fields, whose skin could remain pale and whose veins were observably "blue." On the other hand, those whose skin was calloused and sunburned from work in fields all day weren't blue bloods.. they were peasants and this was natural b/c they didn't look like people who didn't have to work. Circular illogic.

This same sort of thing was done with "the divine right of kings," when it was obvious that god chose a ruler (some ppl believe that even now with Bush.)

What you're talking about sounds like Lysenko's famous contention that plants would not compete for resources because it was an idea that sprang from capitalism. Therefore Russia did not have to worry about whether or not plants had enough nutrients. This led to mass starvation in Russia.

Someone who acknowledges that randomness creates change over time does not have to come up with a theory to prove one group's superiority over another. As noted, this has gone on long before science.

Because of science, btw, I can also note that according to those who have studied primates in the field for decades, xenophobia is a consistent trait. Hoarding is consistent. Does this mean ppl have to hoard and deny others? No. It means that it's a good idea to acknowledge that fear of scarcity will lead to hoarding in most ppl. It means that someone with a closer affliation to another person will be more likely to share with that person.

What you're talking about isn't really about science. It's about ideology and a wish to make one course of action vs another "inevitable" because of some scientific evidence related to an entirely different issue. That's just as dishonest as those who postulated social darwinism.
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 01:43 AM
Response to Reply #55
57. There is no argument here.
It's totally incoherent. I can't begin to respond.
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RainDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 08:26 AM
Response to Reply #57
70. Yes there is a coherent argument there that responds to your post
about changing the paradigm b/c "social darwinism" needs to be corrected in order to deal with food shortages, etc.

If you cannot see it, then you are the one with a problem. Frankly, your arguments have had nothing to do with science per se. they have had to do with ideology (your statements, not some scientist). And no, I'm not a scientist but I have had years and years of close relationships with a variety of scientists in a variety of disciplines and yes, even someone from Oxford should undergo peer review. Your statement below that they are somehow above the idea of peer review b/c they are at one U. or another demonstrates that you truly do not understand what science is about.

If these idea are worthwhile, they will be accepted over time by the applications I noted below. Peer review means others who are just as qualified as those making these claims. Not someone on an internet site like you.

So, yes, focus on the fact that I used the term bullshit to talk about the article in question. It is bullshit. I provided examples, as did others, of ways in which the person writing the article has no understanding of evolutionary biology b/c this person talks about issues that have NOTHING to do with natural selection, or which talk about natural selection as some sort of predetermined negative. It isn't.

So enough from me. You believe whatever the fuck you want to believe.

I would advise you to re-read my post above because it deals with the core of what is wrong about YOUR remarks - not any scientist's. YOUR remarks indicate your approach to this issue is ideological in nature. I'm sorry you don't seem to be able to grasp this. Maybe that's the cause of your belief is unintelligible.
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RainDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 07:17 PM
Response to Reply #26
44. more bullshit
if you think that science and research doesn't undergo scrutiny and peer review... if you think that scientists wouldn't LOVE to be able to postulate some theory that is then REPRODUCIBLE (that's a big part of science, one that the heebie jeebie believers want to deny has any importance when, in fact, it is of primary importance) and who would then be the next Darwin or Francis Crick, etc. you have no idea what science is about.

The failure of a result to conform to a paradigm would mean the experiment would be replicated to see if the same result occurred again. If it didn't, then that would be noted because, as all science works from the idea of REPRODUCIBLE results that can be evaluated by others educated in a field. In other words, to claim a result would be ignored b/c it was outside of the paradigm is stupid without any knowledge of whether or not such a result was reproducible under the same conditions.

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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 11:05 PM
Response to Reply #44
51. Have you read Thomas Kuhn?
Edited on Sat Jul-12-08 11:27 PM by autorank
If you had, you wouldn't use such a sleazy term. He's widely respected as a theorist and teacher
on the history of science and this volume is considered one of the most influential books on
the history of science. Nothing you said contradicts anything he said. If you knew as much about
science as you're indicating, you would have known his name immediately.

The book - The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn.
University of Chicago Press, 1970


New York Review of Books review of "The Structure of Scientific Revolution"
Steven Weinberg, PhD (Distinguished physicist, Univ. of Texas, Austin, Head of Theory Group)
I first read Thomas Kuhn's famous book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions a quarter-century ago, soon after the publication of the second edition. I had known Kuhn only slightly when we had been together on the faculty at Berkeley in the early 1960s, but I came to like and admire him later, when he came to MIT. His book I found exciting.

Evidently others felt the same. Structure has had a wider influence than any other book on the history of science."

It's a short book, why don't you try reading it. Then you'll understand that your response is
both vulgar and incorrect.
Guide to Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Malcolm Forster, 1998, University of Wisconsin

1. A Paradigm is ...? Kuhn baptizes his famous notion of a scientific "paradigm" as originating from the "great works" of science, like Copernicus’s De Revolutionibus or Newton’s Principia. These great works became paradigms because they were "sufficiently unprecedented to attract an enduring group of adherents away from competing modes of scientific activity," and "sufficiently open-ended to leave all sorts of problems for the redefined group of practitioners to resolve." (p.10) The activity spurred by such great books goes by the name of "normal science." "There are ... only three normal foci for factual scientific investigation." (p.25.) SNIP
2. Normal Science Does Not Aim at Novelty: Contrary to a popular picture of science, Kuhn insists that (p.52) "Normal science does not aim at novelties of fact or theory and, when successful, finds none." This striking view challenges the critical rationalism of someone like Popper, who sees the heart of scientific rationality in the constant critical scrutiny of accepted scientific belief. Kuhn is concerned to dispel the idea that the common occurrence of scientific discoveries disproves his thesis. For if normal science aims at discovery, and discoveries are novel, then normal science aims at novelty. Kuhn claims that discoveries are always accompanied by changes in the prevailing paradigm. If he is right, then the existence of scientific discovery does not show that normal science aims at novelty, but only that novelty signals the end of normal science. Kuhn therefore views such discoveries as ‘small’ revolutions.
In summary, Kuhn’s argument is something like this:
(1). All novelties of fact (discoveries) or theory lead to the end of normal science.
(2). Normal science does not aim at its own demise.
Therefore, normal science does not aim novelties of fact or theory and, when successful, finds none

4. No Paradigm Change without Crisis: Nevertheless, a paradigm (though resisting change) is playing an essential role in allowing a scientist to recognize something as anomalous, as contrary to expectation, and this is an important precondition for discovery (p.65). However, the process of improving fit between fact and theory is a part of normal science, so an anomaly, a failing of expectations, presents just another puzzle to be resolved by the construction of improved models. That is the standard fare of normal science. The point is that an anomaly is not by itself sufficient for paradigm change (that is the falsificationist’s folly).
For example, Ptolemy’s system of astronomy certainly faced discrepancies, but it was only when those discrepancies built up to crisis point that the conditions were ripe for change (p.68): "Given a particular discrepancy, astronomers were invariably able to eliminate it by making some particular adjustment in Ptolemy’s system of compounded circles. But... astronomy’s complexity was increasing far more rapidly than its accuracy and that a discrepancy corrected in one place was likely to show up in another."


Or this, Emory University - Outline and Study Guide for the Structure of Scientific Revolutions




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RainDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 12:31 AM
Response to Reply #51
54. so you want to conflate this work with the idiocy in the "online book?"
because I did read portions of the piece and it doesn't postulate anything new. As I noted several times in several ways on this same thread - the complaints about evo sci were simply not true in relation to "forms."

As far as "normal" science vs. those who really "care about truth" - it is ridiculous to me to both acknowledge that science does change when overwhelming evidence creates a change that is acknowledged by experts in a field and then to claim that this is some problem. In order for a diff. idea to be accepted in an area of study that requires reproducible results, that requires a way to express these ideas (whether in language or other symbols), and that requires that someone understands where this or that science came from -- someone SHOULD have to go through a stringent and highly skeptical peer review.

Peer review is the accepted academic standard in all areas of academia. What makes evo theory different? People can have good ideas that they publish which are not accepted at first but then become accepted after other experts in that field are able to reproduce the result or proof or see the evidence on a wall in some excavation or look at jawbones.... to call something "normative" doesn't negate its useful purpose.

but you know, you're right. I'm not a scientist. the earth is flat and I can find others who believe this too. the earth was created in 7 days and I can make big money by supporting this pov. that's not "normative" - unless you operate outside of accepted reality -- but if it's not normative then it must be better, right?
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 01:41 AM
Response to Reply #54
56. You're right. You're not a scientist.
Edited on Sun Jul-13-08 01:41 AM by autorank
Normal science doesn't experience a conflict until a new paradigm emerges. It emerges when the normal
science of the day can't answer some important question, when anomalies appear. The scientist and new
paradigm that can explain the anomalies is incorporated as the new paradigm and a cycle of normal
science begins again based on that until, yet another set of anomalies emerge and the 'scientific
revolution' occurs again. Newtonian physics wasn't thrown in the trash when Einstein developed his
theories. Einstein was placed atop Newtonian physics to further complete the theory and allow for
new normal science. In some ways, a field that does NOT include the option for older theories is
likely to be a hard science while one that does may have scientific elements but is not really a hard
science. Psychology, for example, seeks to be a science but it's acceptable to be a Freudian or
Adlerian, etc. In physics, you can't be a Newtonian because you'd reject the current paradigm.

You're begging the question with your talk about "peer review." Look at this list and their
affiliations. I'll bet everyone of them knows about "peer review" - no doubt. And that's what they'll
have to go through to get their theories accepted. The article isn't about 'peer review' it's about
the formation of a new consensus, perhaps. To use scatological pejoratives about the article because
it fails to mention something entirely irrelevant to the point and assumed by the informed reader,
(i.e., that all these academics at places like Oxford, Harvard, etc. would have to go through
peer review), is what I mean by begging the question.


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RainDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 08:46 AM
Response to Reply #56
71. You're right. You're no scientist either.
do I get bona fides because I can say I know a couple of scientists who were at Harvard previously who would agree with everything I've said? Or scientists in European Universities that are just as prestigious? Because that's the truth.

I'm not talking about soft science at all in respect to natural selection and peer review. Every hard science, as well as every other discipline undergoes peer review. what is so hard for you to understand about this? why do you have to try to twist what I have said to apply to a soft science?

So, yes I can look at the list and still talk about peer review. Someone I know is considered one of the "geniuses" of American intellectual life. He lives here and works with my ex husband. He has just as impressive credentials as any of the scientists mentioned and peer review is crucial to forming any new concensus. You are simply wrong or you are refusing to understand the issue here.

one issue is the article itself - the article itself is a joke. Worthless. a waste of time.

the scientists, as noted below, do not see a crisis in evo theory so all this hot air on this thread from you is also worthless. And it is worthless to argue with you on this point because you obviously do not know what these scientists are about either.
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 02:41 PM
Response to Reply #71
86. Now I'm impressed!
Argument by authority using six degrees of separation. So let me understand this, because you know someone who knows some who you know would think this bas wrong,I'm supposed to say, "Oh, gee, you're
right!" I've seen numersous references to insider knowledge but never a claim that the poster is to
be believed on the basis of 'someone who knows told me so.'

The article is not a "waste of time" I suspect because of your extensive involvement in trying to
debunk it. It' obviously worth your time.
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RainDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 06:45 PM
Response to Original message
39. "Survival of the Fittest" isn't directed. It isn't ideological
I didn't even finish reading the piece b/c when I saw the way in which the person who wrote this seemed to misunderstand what survival of the fittest means, I thought it wasn't worth it to go on.

Survivial of the fittest is based upon chance. Nothing more. It's not an idea that translates in economics or social theory or anything of the sort. Scientists who work in evo. theory know this.

The words could be called "survival of those who happen to have random mutations in their genetic code who are in a situation, also randomly, in which the environment changes and thus, totally by chance, survive this change."

...but that's a lot to try to say for a conceptual idea. maybe they should come up with something like WYSIWYG.

Like this, maybe? SOTWHTHRMITGCWAIASARIWTECATTBCSTC.

Paul Davies is a person who has consistently tried to combine religion and science. I really don't think he's on the cutting edge at all.

Punctuated equilibrium also works within the survival of the fittest/random mutation over time idea b/c it doesn't change the basic understanding but does acknowlege that sudden changes can reduce a population and create a founder effect that dramatically alters the available gene pool.

And Darwin's GRANDFATHER, Erasmus, was already writing about evolution back when he and others in England were starting the industrial revolution and learning all about the physical world through experimentation, so it's not like Charles Darwin was sui generis.

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Political Heretic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 06:52 PM
Response to Original message
41. Will the real fuckhat please stand up?
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RainDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 07:11 PM
Response to Original message
43. I read some of it - total bullshit!!
In the last part about "vanity fair," the author talks about issues but NEVER defines what the issue with natural selection really is, beyond saying that the idea of form matters too - and this is mentioned in relation to explaining "where form came from." -- again, this is not evolutionary biology.

Stuart Newman has long maintained the public should share in scientific knowledge because American science is publicly funded. In fact, hes written eloquently about the ethics of this: "In a society with democratic values it should be inarguable that those who pay for scientific research and will eventually experience its effects should be informed of what is in store while there is still a chance to discuss its objectives and influence its course."

--so, the article is saying that because we live in a "democratic" society, those in this society with no fucking clue about science should be able to weigh in on whether it's good or bad science. Why don't we extend that to the operating room-- let a surgeon have a cross section of citizens who can also make decisions about a surgery b/c we live in a democratic society. it's the exact same bullshit idea.
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JBoris Donating Member (675 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 07:27 PM
Response to Reply #43
46. Thank you, at least some one gets it! Obfuscation is the culprit here...
it is one of the many tactics repubs use to deny the plain truth. They confuse basic definitions and ideas to make larger, seemingly intelligent (on the surface anyways) arguments that can confuse even very intelligent people.
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 11:19 PM
Response to Reply #43
52. Oh, it should be secret
Lots of members of the public went to college, work in areas where science is applied, and then there
are those we educate themselves. That's the reference.

Who would be the gatekeeper to determine which knowledge is suitable for us mere plebians?

You?
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comrade snarky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 02:27 AM
Response to Reply #52
59. Can you tell me
What area of knowledge you are cut off from? What sections of the library aren't you allowed into? What journals does the post office refuses to deliver to your address?

Who said knowledge should be secret? If you want to educate yourself go ahead, want to become an authority on the breeding habits of the North American spotted moth? Do it. But don't expect to be taken seriously by those who have devoted uncounted hours of their lives to study of a moths if you aren't willing to put in the same effort.

You need to at least show an understanding of the basics and this article has some gaps. I'm not going into them again, they've been well covered elsewhere in the thread.
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 02:43 AM
Response to Reply #59
60. Be glad to tell you
I responded to RainDog's statement "--so, the article is saying that because we live in a "democratic" society, those in this society with no fucking clue about science should be able to weigh in on whether it's good or bad science. Why don't we extend that to the operating room-- let a surgeon have a cross section of citizens who can also make decisions about a surgery b/c we live in a democratic society. it's the exact same bullshit idea."

Which is pretty much what you're saying.

Is there some common source I should be reading? Maybe I could just respond to that.
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comrade snarky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 01:40 PM
Response to Reply #60
81. No, you seem to be having trouble understanding ideas not your own
I'll try again though this may well be pointless.

Two people:

One has spent years studying the North American spotted moth. Chemical studies of it's pheromones, behaviors, life cycle, and physiology. And that is just a specialization after years of studying other types on insects and moths.

The other has moths in his backyard.

They both have direct experience of the same bug so I guess to you they both have the same level of knowledge and both opinions have the same validity. Note, I did not say guy 2 is wrong. It's just that if he wants to convince the guy 1 of some new ideas he shouldn't be surprised if all the guy 1s don't immediately flock to his him and praise his brilliance if he's proposing a theory that's been rejected as wrong over 100 years ago.

I don't know what you think science is but if a person wants to submit and article to a journal they can. Just be aware that if in the first paragraph you make a mistake about the basics of the subject it's going in the round file under the desk.

Some might argue it's not science but in archaeology there are amateurs who have written articles in the journals. Not many and those people have devoted ridiculous amounts of time and effort to study. That's what it takes. If you want to play in science don't expect it to be easy.

That's what I see most from people who whine they are being barred from participating. They don't want to spend the years of study required to build a basic understanding of the subject. Then when called on simple mistakes like conflating evolution and the origin of life they cry discrimination.

Like you're doing.
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 02:28 PM
Response to Reply #81
84. .
"That's what I see most from people who whine they are being barred from participating. They don't want to spend the years of study required to build a basic understanding of the subject. Then when called on simple mistakes like conflating evolution and the origin of life they cry discrimination.

Like you're doing."

I'm not whining about anything and I'm simply participating in a discussion where rudeness and hysteria
characterize those who speak for "science."

No discrimination mentioned at all other than that betrayed by continual combativeness which betrays
the claimed allegiance to science.
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comrade snarky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 02:58 PM
Response to Reply #84
91. You know
If everyone you talk to is rude to you, maybe you should focus some attention on what you're saying and how you say it?

Hysteria? Really?

By the way, nice job ignoring the point of my posts. I see now there is no discussion to be had from you, just a descending argument into distractions.

By Bye :hi:
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 08:50 AM
Response to Reply #59
72. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
comrade snarky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 02:14 PM
Response to Reply #72
83. Oh I know
The right has their religionists and sadly we have our own version as well.

I am greatly disturbed by the anti-science bias of many on my own side of the political spectrum.
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 02:46 PM
Response to Reply #72
89. By 'misunderestimating' you misrepresent - I'm for openness of information
You 'misunderestimated' my response on this issue. I argued for openness of scientific data, which is also implied in peer review publications where researchers make their data available to others upon
request. But the larger issue is, should science be censored. I never said and you can't produce
any evidence that I said science should be open.

Correct yourself if you don't mind.
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ThomWV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 07:18 PM
Response to Original message
45. It would be difficult to find a taller pile of dog shit than that worthless piece.
Its not even worth discussing and that fact should be apparent to anyone within just a few paragraphs, skimming through the remaining pages simply confirms.
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 11:36 PM
Response to Reply #45
53. Here's a sampling of scientists covered in the article. You're wrong
But if you are so convinced that their work is a "pile of dog ...." why don't you sit down, write
them a letter and tell them they're full of it.

Here's a sample of the authors and their affiliations:

Greg Wray – gene regulatory networks (switching on and off of genes)
Director, Duke University Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy. Wray is a PhD in biology, and a bodybuilder who enjoys flexing his muscles. We’ll see if such "fitness" is successful in winning over reluctant colleagues at Altenberg.
--------------------
Michael Purugganan – genomes and post-genomes
Director of New York University’s Plant Evolutionary Genetics lab (with funding from the US Defense Department (?!), National Science Foundation and Guggenheim Foundation). Purugganan, has a PhD in Botany from the University of Georgia. His web site notes that he likes to dress in Armani, black Armani.
-----------------
Francis John Odling-Smee – niche inheritance (organisms "inherit genes, and biotically transformed selection pressures in their environment from their ancestors")
Oxford University lecturer in Bioanthropology. Odling-Smee’s paper covers ecological inheritance in evolution. He is co-author of the book Niche Construction: The Neglected Process in Evolution.
----------------
David Jablonski – dynamics of macroevolution (mass-extinctions "set the stage" for "evolutionary recoveries")
Jablonski is said to be a very lively lecturer. He’s a professor of geophysical science at the University of Chicago with a PhD from Yale and he chairs the Committee on Evolutionary Biology. Since the Altenberg meeting is "private", we will have to wait for the DVD sales to hear Jablonski speak about mass-extinctions and macroevoluion.
----------------
Massimo Pigliucci – phenotypic plasticity (characteristics of an organism change in response to changes in environment)
Massimo Pigliucci is one of the architects of the Altenberg summit. He has three PhDs – in botany, genetics and philosophy. Pigliucci directs an ecology lab at the State University of New York, Stony Brook and has also been on the rise as a public intellectual.
----------------
Gerd Mueller – innovation (novel trait emerges and becomes fixed in population)
Chairman, Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research, MD, PhD, Professor of Zoology and Chair, Department of Theoretical Biology at the University of Vienna where he is Director, Mueller Lab.
----------------
Gunter Wagner – modularity ("Organisms seem to be organized into structural modules or "parts," presumably on account of a connection between parts and the ability to perform functions."–Dan McShea, Duke University)
Gunter Wagner is Alison Richard Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University and a 1992 MacArthur Fellow. He’s a native of Vienna with a PhD in Zoology from the University of Vienna and with postdoc research at Max-Planck Institute and the University of Gottingen.
-----------------
Marc Kirschner – evolvability (the body has a certain plasticity and can work around "errors")
Professor of systems biology at Harvard Medical School and founding chair of the Department of Systems Biology. PhD University of California – Berkeley.


I'm sure they'd just stop their nonsense right away.







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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 06:21 AM
Response to Reply #53
65. Because it mentions respected scientists, it doesn't mean the article is respectable
Here's Pigliucci himself:

The basic idea is that there have been some interesting empirical discoveries, as well as the articulation of some new concepts, subsequently to the Modern Synthesis, that one needs to explicitly integrate with the standard ideas about natural selection, common descent, population genetics and statistical genetics (nowadays known as evolutionary quantitative genetics). Some of these empirical discoveries include (but are not limited to) the existence of molecular buffering systems (like the so-called heat shock response) that may act as capacitors (i.e., facilitators) of bursts of phenotypic evolution, and the increasing evidence of the role of epigenetic (i.e., non-genetic) inheritance systems (this has nothing to do with Lamarckism, by the way). Some of the new concepts that have arisen since the MS include (but again are not limited to) the idea of evolvability (that different lineages have different propensities to evolve novel structures or functions), complexity theory (which opens the possibility of natural sources of organic complexity other than natural selection), and accommodation (a developmental process that may facilitate the coordinated appearance of complex traits in short evolutionary periods).

Now, did you see anything in the above that suggests that evolution is a theory in crisis? Did I say anything about intelligent designers, or the rejection of Darwinism, or any of the other nonsense that has filled the various uninformed and sometimes downright ridiculous commentaries that have appeared on the web about the Altenberg meeting? Didnt think so. If next weeks workshop succeeds, what we will achieve is taking one more step in an ongoing discussion among scientists about how our theories account for biological phenomena, and how the discovery of new phenomena is to be matched by the elaboration of new theoretical constructs. This is how science works, folks, not a sign of crisis.

http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.com/2008/07/is-there...


He thinks the Mazur coverage is ridiculous hype. He doesn't think this is a paradigm shift.
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mainer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 06:53 AM
Response to Reply #65
69. Here's a far better article about the conference.
It's higher up on the thread. It's the one from AAAS.

The Mazur article is just weird.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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Evoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #65
90. I LOVE Pigliucci...he wrote an great book called "Denying Evolution"
that everybody should have a look at.
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LeftishBrit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 09:15 AM
Response to Reply #53
73. They did not write the article.
Edited on Sun Jul-13-08 09:43 AM by LeftishBrit
Susan Mazur has a very clear ideological axe to grind.

'But will the A-16 deliver? Will they help rid us of the natural selection "survival of the fittest" mentality that has plagued civilization for a century and a half, and on which Darwinism and neo-Darwinism are based, now that the cat is out of the bag that selection is politics not science? That selection cannot be measured exactly. That it is not the mechanism of evolution. That it is an abstract rusty tool left over from 19th century British imperial exploits.

Or will the A-16 tip-toe around the issue, appease the Darwin industry and protect foundation grants? '


And by the way it's been accepted for a very long time that natural selection does not always mean survival of the toughest individuals and their offspring, but refers to anything that leads to increases in the prevalence of a particular gene.

BTW, I know a little of John Odling-Smee's work and it is about 'niche construction'. He argues that in natural selection there is more interaction between the organism's original characteristics and the existing environment than is sometimes taken into account: i.e. the organisms don't just adapt to their environment, but can take an active role in influencing their environment, which in turn influences their chances of passing on their genes. This is not the same thing as saying that natural selection doesn't exist, or is all just an 'industry'.
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varkam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 12:12 PM
Response to Reply #53
79. Appeal to authority.
:hi:
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 02:43 PM
Response to Reply #79
88. Hey there
Appeal to reason. I just showed some people who participated in the conference and, by their
affiliations, would participate in the normal science process. I don't endorse or criticize
their views and I don't know who is right on this. I do find the hysteria in responses to
this interesting and wonder why it's so nasty out of the gate.

:hi:
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skepticscott Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #88
97. Out of the gate??
That's the trouble with people like you who come in here pretending to be touting some fresh insight into well-established science that is actually total bullshit. You think that you and your ideas are something new and should be taken seriously for that reason. But the reason you're being smacked down and shown no deference is that all this baloney has been heard a thousand times before and answered a thousand times before. Why should the thousand and first time be treated with anything but scorn and ridicule when you have absolutely NOTHING new to offer? We're sick and tired of refuting the SAME nonsense point by point, over and over again, so you shouldn't expect to be treated with kindness when you won't bother to educate yourself even slightly on issues that have already been settled.
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #97
98.  A Group Effort
"We're sick and tired of refuting the SAME nonsense point by point, over and over again,"

Thought so. That's cool. I don't advance this particular scientific movement, I merely comment
on the viscousness with which the article and idea is attacked. It continues from the "we're
sick and tired" crew. Who are "We"?
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TZ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 07:02 PM
Response to Reply #98
101. No you fail to even UNDERSTAND what this conference is about
Edited on Sun Jul-13-08 07:04 PM by turtlensue
ITS NOTHING LIKE THE ARTICLE...
The whole article is TOTAL BULLSHIT..As I said upthread, my training was as an Evolutionary Biologist...Its not a big paradigm shift that you and the OP and the "journalist" think it is...
I have rarely seen the RW spin what an evolutionary conference is so well..And thats why you are getting blasted..You don't understand the difference between the REAL SCIENCE and the psuedoscientific bullshit political spin that the idiot author put on this conference.
"Scientists have known for awhile that natural selection has nothing to do with evolution" is perhaps the DUMBEST statement I have seen on this site, scientifically

We would be the scientifically literate/ scientific professional population of this board, btw..
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charlie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 07:48 PM
Response to Reply #101
102. We know Michael Purugganan wears Armani, though.
Black Armani.

We know Greg Wray is a bodybuilder who "enjoys flexing his muscles", which might give him the "fitness" to convince skeptics.

We know Mazur once dated a philosopher who participated in an email discussion among "science elites" she excerpts. Unfortunately, his arguments weren't compelling, so his contribution is excluded. But, they were once sweet on each other and that is IMPORTANT information to know.

We know Massimo Pigliucci's wedding was notable enough to be featured in the Sunday NY Times style section.

We know that Gunter Wagner once mistakenly sent her an email that read, "Hey that is great! This is one button I will keep!"

We know Jerry Fodor left MIT so he could be closer to opera in NYC.

How can you scorn such riches? I'll bet you knew none of that stuff before.
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HuffleClaw Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 06:51 AM
Response to Original message
68. what a joke
seriously, some funny reading in that 'book'
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onager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 09:48 AM
Response to Reply #68
75. This line made me ROFL:
Edited on Sun Jul-13-08 09:51 AM by onager
..."rethinking evolution is pushed to the political front burner in hopes that "survival of the fittest" ideology can be replaced with a more humane explanation for our existence and stave off further wars, economic crises and destruction of the Earth."

So evolution was responsible for the Crusades, the Thirty Years War, the 70-year war to convert the Netherlands back to Catholicism AND the Great Depression?

The statement sounds eerily like the standard right-wing Fundamentalist claim that Darwinism was responsible for the rise of Fascism, Nazism and Stalinism. But the Proto-Fascist, Mussolini, sucked up to the Pope fiercely to ensure that he had the Vatican on his side. Hitler's henchmen thought they could breed a race of Aryan supermen, nevermind what congenital diseases might have been teeming in the genes of the Ubermenschen. And Stalin's boys wrecked Russian genetics for decades by pushing the blatantly political science of Lysenkoism. In Stalin's Russia, being a Darwinist could get you sent to Siberia.

I know all that, and I'm just a dumbass completely lacking a scientific degree.

As for "destruction of the earth," yes, I do believe it was the noted scientist and Secretary of the Interior James Watt who postulated that environmentalism was unnecessary because "Jesus is coming back soon."

Now there's a Darwinist interpretation if I ever heard one!

The statement quoted above, to me, is nothing but a wonky form of left-wing Millenialism. Instead of converting everybody to Xianity so Jesus will come back and reign in glory etc., all we have to do it get rid of evolution's "survival of the fittest ideology" and presto! No more wars, economic crises, or destruction of the Earth! Hallelujah!

Typical simple-minded solution to complex problems. I'm just surprised to see so many alleged progressives falling for it.
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salvorhardin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 09:48 AM
Response to Original message
77. Mazur is full of shit
Edited on Sun Jul-13-08 09:56 AM by salvorhardin
On edit: Oops, I see muriel_volestrangler already beat me to the punch.
She's sensationalizing legitimate scientific questions as if they represented some kind of schism of scientific consensus and distorting scientists' words for political purposes. Here's what the Altenberg conference is all about in
Massimo Pigliucci's own words (bolding mine, natch):
The basic idea is that there have been some interesting empirical discoveries, as well as the articulation of some new concepts, subsequently to the Modern Synthesis, that one needs to explicitly integrate with the standard ideas about natural selection, common descent, population genetics and statistical genetics (nowadays known as evolutionary quantitative genetics). Some of these empirical discoveries include (but are not limited to) the existence of molecular buffering systems (like the so-called heat shock response) that may act as capacitors (i.e., facilitators) of bursts of phenotypic evolution, and the increasing evidence of the role of epigenetic (i.e., non-genetic) inheritance systems (this has nothing to do with Lamarckism, by the way). Some of the new concepts that have arisen since the MS include (but again are not limited to) the idea of evolvability (that different lineages have different propensities to evolve novel structures or functions), complexity theory (which opens the possibility of natural sources of organic complexity other than natural selection), and accommodation (a developmental process that may facilitate the coordinated appearance of complex traits in short evolutionary periods).

Now, did you see anything in the above that suggests that evolution is a theory in crisis? Did I say anything about intelligent designers, or the rejection of Darwinism, or any of the other nonsense that has filled the various uninformed and sometimes downright ridiculous commentaries that have appeared on the web about the Altenberg meeting? Didnt think so. If next weeks workshop succeeds, what we will achieve is taking one more step in an ongoing discussion among scientists about how our theories account for biological phenomena, and how the discovery of new phenomena is to be matched by the elaboration of new theoretical constructs. This is how science works, folks, not a sign of crisis.
http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.com/2008/07/is-there...
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Orrex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 11:35 AM
Response to Original message
78. Anyone who believes even a single word of that article is an idiot
An idiot either by choice or by birth. If the latter, then I don't fault you for it. If the former...
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mr blur Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 01:53 PM
Response to Original message
82. Well, do you want "a more humane explanation for our existence"
or would you rather have the truth?

We'll all agree to pretend that the Great Sky Pixie put us here for a reason and then there'll be no "further wars, economic crises and destruction of the Earth."? Good lucj with getting the followers of Islam and the Jebus Warriors on board with that.

Why is anyone even taking this bullshit seriously?
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cbc5g Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 03:15 PM
Response to Original message
93. Utter bullshit - i'll stick to the truth instead of fiction, thank you.
Edited on Sun Jul-13-08 03:20 PM by cbc5g
"But the scientific community has known for some time that natural selection has nothing to do with evolution."

LOL
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LeftyMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 04:01 PM
Response to Original message
95. Damn, that is the stupidest shit I've read in days.
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frogmarch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 04:02 PM
Response to Original message
96. What idiotic drivel!
:thumbsdown: Jeezus!
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enki23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-14-08 09:40 PM
Response to Original message
103. first of all, that symposium isn't what the woos spin it as
Edited on Mon Jul-14-08 09:51 PM by enki23
it's simply a bunch of biologists, some of whom have some unorthodox views on evolution, who got together for a conference. it wasn't a major conference. it was a few buddies getting together to talk about their pet hypotheses. happens all the damned time. the only thing special about this one is that the woos have, for some reason, adopted this one and decided that these sixteen are "OMFG ROCK STARS!!!!!!!11". and again morons like this author have proven they have no fucking idea what scientists are talking about when they talk about evolution.

i'd bet my any three of my limbs most of those sixteen would laugh outright at the bullshit idiots like this author are spreading in their names.

the truth is, there is still very much to learn about the form and function of biological evolution. there are things to be added, things to be changed, and hundreds, thousands of real scientists will be trying out their pet hypotheses. that's great. but most of them will be wrong. that's how it works.

i attended a very small scientific conference last spring that was sponsored by both a major chemical company, and PETA. that's nice, and all, and goes to show most everyone can agree (if often for different reasons) cutting back on the use of animal models is a good thing to do whenever feasible. but... well PETA had a representative there, taking notes. she seemed nice enough. but this sort of thing makes me wonder if she didn't go back with a writeup proclaiming "Further animal testing proven unnecessary by the rock stars of biological modeling!!!!!!!11"
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enki23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-14-08 11:03 PM
Response to Original message
104. Here's a link the idiots might find interesting:
Edited on Mon Jul-14-08 11:13 PM by enki23
http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.com/2008/07/is-there...

I don't know if anyone has posted it yet. anyway, it's a blog post by one of the people who organized the damned conference. It really puts the utter inanity of the above in stark contrast, to pretty much anyone with a functioning CNS. You might still not like evolution, but you will be hard pressed to believe anything this author might have to say about... well, damned near anything really.
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FarrenH Donating Member (485 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-15-08 11:28 AM
Response to Reply #104
108. Thanks for that
I already quoted PZ Myers excerpting from the above in the original thread on this. Clearly Althecat wasn't too happy with the poor reception that received and thought that posting it elsewhere on the board would bring a more sympathetic audience. Here's an excerpt from the above link (my bold)




Creationists and their intellectual cousins, intelligent design proponents, keep saying that scientists disagree as to the truth of evolution, and that the field is therefore in crisis, despite official attempts by scientists to deny any problem and unite under the evil cause of fighting the truth about Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.


...
In the 1930s and 40s it became clear that one had to integrate the original Darwinism with the new disciplines of Mendelian and statistical genetics. Such integration occurred through a series of meetings where scientists discussed the status of evolutionary theory, and through the publication of a number of books by people like Theodosius Dobzhansky, Ernst Mayr, George Gaylor Simpson, George Ledyard Stebbins and others. The result was an updated theoretical framework known as the Modern Synthesis (MS). But of course evolutionary biology has further progressed during the last eight decades (unlike, one cannot help but notice, creationism). So for a few years now several evolutionary biologists have suggested that it may be time for another update, call it evolutionary theory 3.0 or, as many of us have begun to refer to it, the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis (EES).

A number of authors, including Stephen Gould, Mary Jane West-Eberhard, Eva Jablonka, Stuart Kauffman, Stuart Newman, the above mentioned Gerd Mller, and myself, have published papers and books recently attempting to articulate what an EES might look like, and which elements of the MS will need to be retained, modified or discarded (just like the MS had retained, modified or discarded individual components of the original Darwinism). The goal of the Altenberg workshop is to get some of these people around the same table for three days and trade ideas about these sorts of questions (while also enjoying some excellent Austrian Riesling, of course).

What exactly is it that the MS does not incorporate and may require an Extended Synthesis? Ah, this brings us back to why creationists, IDers and others who have been writing about this over the past few months are either misunderstanding the issue or (surely in the case of the Discovery Institute) are deliberately distorting it to serve their inane agenda.

The basic idea is that there have been some interesting empirical discoveries, as well as the articulation of some new concepts, subsequently to the Modern Synthesis, that one needs to explicitly integrate with the standard ideas about natural selection, common descent, population genetics and statistical genetics (nowadays known as evolutionary quantitative genetics). Some of these empirical discoveries include (but are not limited to) the existence of molecular buffering systems (like the so-called heat shock response) that may act as capacitors (i.e., facilitators) of bursts of phenotypic evolution, and the increasing evidence of the role of epigenetic (i.e., non-genetic) inheritance systems (this has nothing to do with Lamarckism, by the way). Some of the new concepts that have arisen since the MS include (but again are not limited to) the idea of evolvability (that different lineages have different propensities to evolve novel structures or functions), complexity theory (which opens the possibility of natural sources of organic complexity other than natural selection), and accommodation (a developmental process that may facilitate the coordinated appearance of complex traits in short evolutionary periods).


Now, did you see anything in the above that suggests that evolution is a theory in crisis? Did I say anything about intelligent designers, or the rejection of Darwinism, or any of the other nonsense that has filled the various uninformed and sometimes downright ridiculous commentaries that have appeared on the web about the Altenberg meeting? Didnt think so. If next weeks workshop succeeds, what we will achieve is taking one more step in an ongoing discussion among scientists about how our theories account for biological phenomena, and how the discovery of new phenomena is to be matched by the elaboration of new theoretical constructs. This is how science works, folks, not a sign of crisis.



See? This is about integrating ideas and extending theories. There is no crisis, no fundamental failure of contemporary theory. And this e-book series is a load of rubbish. If you're relatively new to evolutionary biology and looking for informative articles for the lay person, look elsewhere. Here are some good places to start:

evowiki
www.richarddawkins.net
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cosmik debris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-15-08 08:03 AM
Response to Original message
106. I got here late, but I recognize the pattern
This is the same shit spread by the neo-con-christo-fascists. It uses all the tricks used by the Creationists who became IDers. Since both of those got shot down, they are looking for a new approach to force superstition into our real science.

Lame, just lame!
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FarrenH Donating Member (485 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-15-08 11:05 AM
Response to Original message
107. Autorank, et al
Edited on Tue Jul-15-08 11:31 AM by FarrenH
This series is complete bull. It is a misinformed, distorted and ideologically tarnished account not just of contemporary evolutionary biology but even of what A16 is really about.

Its utterly irrelevant and thoroughly disingenuous to claim that the views of some respected scientists are represented in the e-books. It is the composition that is misleading, not all of the individual parts. And the entire Kuhn sidetrack is just a massive red herring that does nothing to dignify claims of major failings in the Modern Synthesis.

The views of respected, competent scientists are thrown together with those of crackpots and mixed with ideas that are at best entirely speculative, in a manner that gives the impression of non-existent seismic shifts in evolutionary biology and leaves the lay reader with the impression that tried and tested ideas for which there is plenty of evidence are being in some way confounded by ideas that in fact complement them, or seriously challenged by philosophical musings for which there is no evidence thus far - and even those by people who for the most part themselves don't believe a seismic shift will come out of this conference.

The author's interpretation of the facts and presentation of them is so misleading it amounts to flat out deception, whether intentional or not. This is not science reporting, it is an attack on science. Either she and her team should learn some science or they should stop reporting on it.

And I don't understand why this topic deserved a second thread.

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