Re: [asa] Answering questions

From: dawson wayne <>
Date: Sat May 02 2009 - 11:41:41 EDT


I gather that your main point is that gradualism is an attempt to make the
evolutionary process into something of a law. It does seem reasonable that
the concept of gradualism was influenced in part by admiration (or envy) of
the more mathematically tractable natural sciences.

Your point later in the article is that this gradualism may not be right. I
agree that it is reasonable that some processes happen in steps. I might
conclude that most of these processes are going on all the time, some
gradual tuning, some neutral (or benign) mutations, and some rather large
unexplained shifts. The fact that we mainly have fossils of stable
organisms is a good indication that transitions can be very rapid with
periods of less activity.

I am not sure what you are arguing for though. Are you arguing for a
tendency in the minds of researchers for gradualism, as opposed to a more
discrete type of evolution? I would certainly not argue for one and only
one process. There is plenty of polymorphism suggesting the ambiguities
argued for in Neutral Theory, there are some tuning features of gradualism,
and there are probably periods of rapid change. The rapid change seem to be
rare events. Regrettably, that is exactly the area of most interest, but it
is probably more likely to be living in an era of a observable supernova
than to see this happen. I think the fossil record does raise a case for
periods of rapid change.

by Grace we proceed,
2009/5/2 Nucacids <>

> I couple of weeks back, I posed two questions that stemmed from points
> made by Eugene Koonin's review of neo-Darwinism in the light of modern
> genomics. For anyone interested, I've posted my answers to those two
> questions:
> (HT to Cameron for providing two excerpts from Darwin).
> -Mike

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Received on Sat May 2 11:42:08 2009

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