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Jerry’s on the job …


Jerry Coyne, DN*, disses Lynn Margulis, NAS**, over her recent Discover magazine interview, here:

round 1970, biologist Lynn Margulis achieved renown for suggesting, and then showing, that eukaryotic cells originated by a symbiotic union of early prokaryotes, with some engulfing others and then the engulfed bacteria evolving into at least two of the cell’s vital organelles: mitochondria and (in plants) chloroplasts. Although others had suggested this before, Margulis gets the credit for pushing the theory forward, supporting it with biochemical and microbiological data, and recognizing its implications. Later work on DNA sequencing supported her completely.

But, alas, in his view,

In the last couple decades she’s been going around casting doubt on modern evolutionary theory. She has said, for example, that modern evolutionary biology is “a minor twentieth-century religious sect within the sprawling religious persuasion of Anglo-Saxon biology” and that “Neo-Darwinism, which insists on (the slow accrual of mutations), is in a complete funk.” Since she’s famous, she’s invited many places, and often uses these occasions to dump on modern evolutionary biology. In this respect she may be worse for science than creationists, since her scientific credibility remains high.

Imagine that.

*DN = Darwin’s Nobody in particular
**NAS = National Academy of Sciences

Most times, Jerry is fun, but … when did the guy ever do much of anything besides front the establishment line?


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