he excuse for shrugging it off would, I expect, be that the transition we examined isn’t actually one that anyone thinks occurred in the history of life. That’s true, but it badly misses the point. As Ann and I made clear in the paper, our aim wasn’t to replicate a historical transition, but rather to identify what ought to be a relatively easy transition and find out how hard or easy it really is. We put it this way in the paper:Whether or not a particular conversion ever occurred as a paralogous innovation (or the direction in which it occurred if it did) is not the point of interest here. Rather, the point is to identify the kind of functional innovation that ought to be among the most feasible […] and then to assess how feasible this innovation is.
So, if I had a Darwinist alter ego, here’s the problem he’d be facing right now. To dismiss our study as irrelevant, he’d have to say (in effect) that he see no inconsistency between these two assessments of the power of Darwin’s mechanism:
[stunning graphic follows at site]
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