Re: [asa] Papers from colloquium

From: PvM <>
Date: Sat May 12 2007 - 20:11:46 EDT

Good point and we should remember that adaption is but one, though
important part, of evolutionary mechanisms.
Funny how indeed evolution may had to depend on neutrality to deal
with concepts of modularity, robustness and evolvability. But then
again, neutrality may very well have been under selective pressures as
Any explanation needs to be supported my not just mechanisms but
predictions and verification as well as attempts at falsification. I
share Lynch's concerns that assigning evolution to 'adaption' without
further evidence is as vacuous as ID's stance. But contrary to ID,
scientists are working hard to unravel these new mysteries of
evolutionary science.

Michael Ruse and others have shown how other processes such a
constraints, historical, physical, physiological can be quite relevant
as well. Gould I believe had an example of St Marcos Cathedral in
Venice oh yes, Spandrels of evolution.

In other areas more relevant to this group, it seems plausible that
religiosity may have been a side effect of a selective process, a
spandrel of evolution so to speak. As a Christian I find these
findings inspiring as well as in harmony with religious faith.

On 5/11/07, Rich Blinne <> wrote:
> 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 20:12:05 2007

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