Re: [asa] Papers from colloquium

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Sat May 12 2007 - 00:18:51 EDT

You didn't mention Michael Lynch's paper, The fragility of adaptive
hypotheses for the origins of organismal complexity. He had an
interesting quote in his conclusion:

> Because it deals with observations on historical outcomes,
> frequently in the face of incomplete information, the field of
> evolution attracts significantly more speculation than the aver-
> age area of science. Nevertheless, a substantial body of well
> tested theory provides the basis for understanding the pathways
> that are open to evolutionary exploration in various population-
> genetic contexts. Four of the major buzzwords in biology today
> are complexity, modularity, evolvability, and robustness, and it
> is often claimed that ill-defined mechanisms not previously
> appreciated by evolutionary biologists must be invoked to ex-
> plain the existence of emergent properties that putatively en-
> hance the long-term success of extant taxa. This stance is not
> very different from the intelligent-design philosophy of invoking
> unknown mechanisms to explain biodiversity. Although those
> who promote the concept of the adaptive evolution of the above
> features are by no means intelligent-design advocates, the bur-
> den of evidence for invoking an all-powerful guiding hand of
> natural selection should be no less stringent than one would
> demand of a creationist. If evolutionary science is to move
> forward, the standards of the field should be set no lower than
> in any other area of inquiry.

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Received on Sat May 12 00:19:37 2007

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