Is it time to put natural selection in its place?
Jello Biafra once famously wrote that "If evolution is outlawed, only outlaws will evolve.
" But while it likely comes as no surprise to specialists working in the field or to those who've been following developments in evolutionary biology closely, there's an emerging view among experts that Darwin's view of natural selection as the primary driver of speciation and evolutionary change may be incorrect or at least drastically overstated. It's long been understood that non-adaptive evolutionary mechanisms like "genetic drift
" and random mutation also play non-trivial roles in evolutionary processes, but a recent study
(link to abstract with full-text PDF available) casts new doubts on the primary role of natural selection, finding that "Neutral models, in which genetic change arises through random variation without fitness differences have proven remarkably successful in describing observed patterns of biodiversity." [more inside]
posted by saulgoodman
on Mar 28, 2013 -
Former child actor Kirk Cameron
and his friend Ray (The Banana Guy
) Comfort [previously]
seek to distribute the "correct
" (aka altered
) version of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species
to 50,000 students at the nation's top 50 universities as the book is soon to celebrate its 150th
anniversary. Their version includes a 50-page introduction which "...gives the history of evolution, a timeline of Darwin's life, Adolph Hitler's undeniable connection with the theory, Darwin's racism, his disdain for women, and Darwin's thoughts on the existence of God..." Cameron's promotional video for the project: 'Origin Into Schools
.' A video response: "Origin of Stupidity
." [more inside]
posted by ericb
on Sep 24, 2009 -
In a breathless, passionate, yet level-headed 15 part series, YouTube user, paleontologist, ex-Christian, and potential Space Coyote
presents an uncommonly well-written and presented argument against what he identifies as the 14 "Fundamental Falsehoods of Creationism." [more inside]
posted by Mr. Anthropomorphism
on Jan 13, 2009 -
"Charles Darwin: 200 years from your birth, the Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still.
" The comments are included on a Church of England website promoting the views of Charles Darwin to be launched on Monday.
posted by finite
on Sep 14, 2008 -
"There may be no biological process more complicated than the relationships that viruses have with their hosts. Could it be that their persistence made it possible for humans to thrive?" [Via Disinformation.]
posted by homunculus
on Nov 27, 2007 -
Darwin's Deadly Legacy
illustrates how Charles Darwin caused the Holocaust. This documentary, from the late Dr. James Kennedy
and his Coral Ridge Ministries, features not only rare, Bigfoot-esque glimpses of the notoriously camera-shy Ann Coulter
, but also Francis Collins, the head of the Human Genome Project. Of course, Dr. Collins hates everything about the documentary and claims that his footage was simply spliced in under false pretenses
, and even Michael Behe distances himself from the entire production, disagreeing as he does with its central tenets
. Oh, and the ADL is pissed, but when aren't they? Anyway, not even arch-conservative websites with "We Need Alan Keyes For President" interstitial ads think the documentary is worth very much
. And it seems that Hitler himself had a grand old time pimping out Christianity and denying that we came from apes.
.) So watch the fucking trailer
and learn yourself some history
posted by Sticherbeast
on Sep 10, 2007 -
Darwin wrote to 2000 people during his life; 14,500 of these letters still survive. The Darwin Correspondence Project
is putting annotated transcriptions of these online, and they've covered about 5,000 so far, including a letter written when he was 12 after he had got into trouble with his sister for not washing regularly while at school
. There's an intro here
. See also Darwin Online
, discussed here
. And the prolific network theorist Albert-Laszlo Barabasi has co-authored a paper on statistical similarities between Darwin's and Einstein's correspondence (#51
on the list).
posted by carter
on May 16, 2007 -
Darwin's God. "A scientific exploration of how we have come to believe in God."
This article tracks the possibility that belief in a higher power is the product of evolution.
posted by inconsequentialist
on Mar 3, 2007 -
Before the class, Crocker had told me that she was going to teach "the strengths and weaknesses of evolution." Afterward, I asked her whether she was going to discuss the evidence for evolution in another class. She said no.
A "Biology 101" class turns into a gripe session for creationists
at a state school, the Northern Virginia Community College. The lecturer then whines about being discriminated against when she fails to teach the subject she's hired to teach.
posted by orthogonality
on Feb 5, 2006 -
...Today we live in a less barbaric age,[than the age of Copernicus and Bruno] but an otherwise comparable disjunction between science and religion, the one born of Darwinism, still roils the public mind. Why does such intense and pervasive resistance to evolution continue 150 years after the publication of The Origin of Species, and in the teeth of the overwhelming accumulated evidence favoring it? The answer is simply that the Darwinian revolution, even more than the Copernican revolution, challenges the prehistoric and still-regnant self-image of humanity. Evolution by natural selection, to be as concise as possible, has changed everything...
posted by Postroad
on Nov 12, 2005 -
Did the discovery of evolution lead to Darwin's agnosticism, as claimed
? Carl Zimmer wonders
. More importantly, can evolution be reconciled
posted by daksya
on Aug 11, 2005 -
Are evolution's advocates giving fire to creationists?
So says Michael Ruse
, "philosopher of biology (especially Darwinism)", who claims that outspoken evolutionists (e.g. Richard Dawkins
) should do more to make evolution compatible with religion, rather than touting it as a worldview of its own.
Tell that to Nosson Slifkin
(NYTimes, login required), an Orthodox rabbi whose books were banned by a number of eminent rabbis for "seek[ing] to reconcile, rather than to contrast, sacred texts with modern knowledge of the natural world."
That said, will those like Slifkin and Rev. Dr. Arthur Peacocke
be able to make a difference, or will they be ignored and scorned?
posted by greatgefilte
on May 3, 2005 -
Teach Evolution: Leave No Child Behind.
Teaching the age and history of our planet takes us back about 4.6 billion years; it is included in only 55% of our 50 State’s science education standards. Human evolution is included in only 8% of the state science standards, and is therefore not required in almost all American elementary, middle or high school science courses. (Don't forget Darwin Day
is tomorrow, kids!)
posted by travis vocino
on Feb 11, 2005 -
argue that the complexity of the human eye
could not have arrisen by random Darwinian natural selection, since it "must be perfect to work at all". The Nilsson and Pelger
computer experiment refutes this with a method of awesome beauty, showing that a human-quality eye is not just possible under Darwinian evolution, but nigh-inevitable. This is from Do Good By Stealth
, chapter 3 of River Out of Eden
, which is maybe the greatest thing I've ever read.
posted by Pretty_Generic
on Dec 10, 2004 -
Happy Darwin Day!
Darwin Day is February 12th, the date of birth of Charles Darwin in the year 1809, at Shrewsbury, England. On this date, and throughout the month, people from all over the world are honoring the life, work and influence of Charles Darwin with events and activities which celebrate humanity and the science in our lives.
While you're celebrating you may want to see who has won awards in his name
or perhaps buy a sticker
or see if there's a darwinday event near you
posted by bitdamaged
on Feb 12, 2003 -
Yet some school board members still have doubts about the science behind Darwin's theory of evolution. Can't we do an emergency air drop of Cosmos
for these folks?
posted by ritualdevice
on Feb 14, 2001 -
Birds are not descended from Dinosaurs.
The latest in the ongoing debate about the origin of birds and whether they evolved from dinosaurs or from a earlier common ancestor. Chinese scientists report the discovery of a 120 million year old bird fossil that had feathers and could clearly fly.
posted by lagado
on Dec 10, 2000 -