Like any real history, evolution is not driven by a single force or idea. Horizontal gene transfer from bacteria obviates the quest for an “ancestor” seaweed. Maybe there isn’t one.
The selfish gene is an entity driven by an unadmitted teleological force to replicate itself in offspring. But horizontal gene transfer—hardly taken seriously the day before yesterday—features genes that simply end up on a different string. Is a relentless force of selfishness driving them to do that? Or do they just drift and end up on that string?
This explanation makes explicit that this is not Darwinian evolution. One writeup even alludes to the type of Darwinian tale that is being replaced.
Hedging, yes, But there was a time we would have been told about Darwinism. Period.
Wait. What does this story remind us of? Oh yes, recently a writer at The Atlantic went so far as to express doubt about the claim of a Darwin-in-the-schools lobbyist that everyone needs to buy into their approach to evolution if we want to understand superbugs.
Relevant in more ways than one. Remember that recent Atlantic article where the writer was grousing that her school didn’t teach “evolution” (Darwinism)? And a Darwin lobbyist told her that as a result we wouldn’t understand superbugs? Darwinism is probably in the way, actually.
Yes,but what hope is there that textbooks could start teaching reality when even the right to question the Darwinian [sheet] is still a big controversy in many places? Could science writers like Jabr and others agree that it is time to make textbooks about evolution sound like the reality and not like the 1925 Monkey Trial revisited?
Indeed, HGT may well be “the tip of the iceberg,” as the researcher says. Consider: Darwinism is about ancestor-descendant relationships. Take that away and the whole elaborate catechism of altruism, kin selection, costly fitness, etc. is poof! And horizontal gene transfer does indeed take that away.
Does anyone remember when antibiotic resistance was proof of Darwinism? Antibiotic resistance was Evolution. And Evolution was not non-Darwinian stuff like horizontal gene transfer/jumping genes. Welcome to post-Darwin science.
Well, if that’s a way bacteria evolve, what becomes of common descent and speciation? What do we mean by “bacterial species”?
Horizontal gene transfer isn’t even that uncommon, as the researchers admit. If this is how people who are used to explaining evolution in Darwinian terms react, maybe they should just stick to propounding Darwinism and leave the rest to people who take a broader and more balanced view.
Readers will remember science writer David Quammen’s new book, The Tangled Tree:A Radical New History of Life, a biography of Carl Woese, who first identified the Archaea (and doubted Darwinism). They will also doubtless remember Darwinian evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne, who does not life Tangled Tree, and… Well, he still doesn’t like it and has Read More…
As we might expect. Darwinian evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne offers his thoughts on science writer David Quammen’s new book about Carl Woese, The Tangled Tree:A Radical New History of Life: Quammen is right that the horizontal transfer of genetic information does complicate our effort to understand the evolutionary past, but he goes too far in claiming Read More…
David Quammen, author of The Tangled Tree:A Radical New History of Life, a biography of Darwin skeptic Carl Woese, who discovered the Archaea, offers a long reflection at the New York Times on how biology is moving away from Darwinism: Woese was a rebel researcher, obscure but ingenious, crotchety, driven. He had his Warholian 15 Read More…
Researchers Iranzo and Koonin ask: Typically, natural selection results in deletions of harmful genes, so the main question is, why hasn’t natural selection wiped out genetic parasites? They mean “transposons, plasmids, viruses” etc., that offer no benefit to the hosts. They offer a hypothesis: In a new study published in EPL, researchers Jaime Iranzo and Read More…