Re: The evolution of "evolution"

From: Derek Gatherer (
Date: Thu 13 Oct 2005 - 08:42:38 GMT

  • Next message: Scott Chase: "Re: The evolution of "evolution""

    and the very last one:

    on an eye development paper I mentioned:

    >As you can see, the authors make no claim for having discovered a design for
    >the eye of any species. They merely point out what has long been
    >established, namely that genes "regulate" or influence development. What
    >genes do is to cause development to go down one path as opposed to another.
    >By causing some proteins to be produced but not others, genes distinguish
    >individuals from each other. They do not provide the overall plan of
    >development, only tweaking it one way or another.

    Oh come on, this is a sophistry! When the gene regulatory network is controlling every single aspect of the developmental process, it is equivalent to design. Developmental biologists can _redesign_ flies at will by manipulating gene expression. Want a fly with feet sticking out of its head, 4 wings and a double abdomen with no vibrissae and and excessive number of hairs? No problem. As an extra we could even make it homosexual and perform a repetitive dance for no apparent reason and show an inordinate fondness for the smell of ether. Think that's science fiction? No, that's the extent of our current control over Drosophila embryogenesis. That's design. What do you think design should be?

    >Genetic reductionism is problematic to say the least. First starters, as
    >Harry Rubin points out, the sequential combination of genes required to
    >produce even the simplest organic compounds is vastly more complex than the
    >sort of physical problems that yield to calculation. Gene combinations are

    That's just wrong.

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