Re: The evolution of "evolution"

From: Derek Gatherer (
Date: Thu 13 Oct 2005 - 08:28:27 GMT

  • Next message: Derek Gatherer: "Re: The evolution of "evolution""

    This thread seems to be dying out, so just to round up a few things I dodn't get round to commenting on while it was in full flow:

    At 22:56 10/10/2005, Dace wrote:

    >Mutation is a source of variation, but is it the only source? What about
    >the life experiences of plants and animals? That doesn't count for

    In a nutshell, no. People have looked extensively and found nothing. In the early 70s an Australian immunologist called Ted Steele thought he had found an example in the immune system, but it turned out to be not the case (as detailed in Dawkins' "Extended Phenotype")

    >of animals intelligently deciding to pursue a new path that leads, over the
    >generations, to anatomical changes, it's the occasional transcription error
    >during cell division that provides the raw material on which natural
    >selection operates. It's just kind of a nutty view. Flies in the face of
    >reason. So why is it so widely held?

    Well. because it's been convincingly demonstrated to be true by decades of scientific investigation. One thing I'm curious about, Ted, on what level do you actually deny the evidence? Do you think you could reinterpret the results of decades of evolutionary genetics to agree with your conclusions? ie. do you think that the experiments were valid but the conclusions wrong? Or do you dismiss the experiments completely, thereby claiming that 100 years of modern biology has been a waste of time?

    >posits that something is real if it operates the way a machine does.

    No, just that there is cause and effect mediated by physical interaction.

    For starters, it allows for the
    >possibility that characteristics acquired through life-struggle can actually
    >be inherited by descendants. Thus adaptations can be transmitted without
    >genetic mediation just as light can travel through deep space without the
    >need for "ether."

    Again, I find it difficult to get to the end of that sentence without thinking that I'm reading some kind of description of magic.

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