Even More From Jerry Coyne

In my last post I reported that University of Chicago evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne, who had critiqued my recent Quarterly Review of Biology article concerning laboratory evolution studies of the last four decades and what they show us about evolution, had asked several other prominent scientists for comments. I replied to those of experimental evolutionary biologist John Bull. In a subsequent post Coyne discussed a recent paper by the group of fellow University of Chicago biologist Manyuan Long on gene duplication in fruitflies. After a bit of delay due to the holidays, I will comment on that here. Try as one might to keep Darwinists focused on the data, some can’t help reverting to their favorite trope: questioning Darwinism simply Read More ›

Of Birds and Men

Proponents of evolutionary theory assume that human beings as well as every other living creature evolved through natural selection. They theorize that humans evolved from an ape-like ancestor and cite various archeological examples of possible pre-homo sapiens in hopes of filling in the missing links leading up to today’s version of human. Evolutionary biologists, therefore, tend to look towards the past to find confirming evidence of what they presume to be true, humans evolved. Transhumanists, on the other hand, tend to look forward to a day when, though the assistance of technology, a new species of human will evolve. As Nick Bostrom, one of the major spokespersons for the transhumanism movement, writes, “After the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species Read More ›

Of Darwinism and Islamism

This is not a blog about foreign affairs, but I came across a refreshing and illuminating piece on the New Republic website that, in the context of talking about Islam and terrorism, suggested to me a reason for hope in the Darwin debate. In the current culture of science, where the 19th-century materialist Church of Science rules and the congregation bows obediently, what’s needed is a modernizing reformation. Doubts about Darwinism are part of that. We can draw a parallel to past reformations in the religious sphere, and future ones. Most of us in the West agree, for example, that Islam urgently requires a reformation. Some observers see radical Islamism not as the leading edge in Muslim life — that Read More ›

BIO-Complexity Paper Shows Many Multi-Mutation Features Unlikely to Evolve in History of the Earth

Doug Axe of Biologic Institute has a new peer-reviewed scientific paper in the journal BIO-Complexity titled “The Limits of Complex Adaptation: An Analysis Based on a Simple Model of Structured Bacterial Populations.” The purpose of this paper is to mathematically determine just how long it takes to evolve traits that require multiple mutations before any adaptive benefit is conferred on the organism. To put this question in context, the ability of Darwinian evolution to produce features that require multiple mutations before gaining a benefit has been an issue long-debated between proponents of intelligent design (ID) and proponents of neo-Darwinism. In their 2004 peer-reviewed paper in the journal Protein Science, Michael Behe and David Snoke simulated the evolution of protein-protein interactions Read More ›