Says there is no boundary between genetics and epigenetics
Suzan Mazur: Over the last few decades there have been several movements regarding deficiencies of the Modern Synthesis. “The Osaka Group” was one of them, “theThe Altenberg 16” another, and now “The Third Way of Evolution” — otherwise known as “the Oxford 50.”
You were part of Osaka and now Oxford. Why not Altenberg? Were you invited to the 2008 Extended Evolutionary Synthesis symposium?
Mae-Wan Ho: No, I wasn’t. I’m not surprised I wasn’t invited because I changed fields quite drastically beginning in 1988. By 1993, I published my book, The Rainbow and the Worm: The Physics of Organisms. In the book I made good my criticism of neo-Darwinists for ignoring physics, chemistry, math, physiology, etc., because they base everything on selective advantage, which is a completely empty explanation.
Suzan Mazur: But I would think that would be a reason to invite you to Altenberg. The other thing is that there was only one other woman invited — Eva Jablonka. One of the Altenberg scientists told me they could find not any more women who were willing to challenge the Modern Synthesis.
Mae-Wan Ho: They couldn’t find anybody?! Can’t believe it!
Suzan Mazur: Also Lynn Margulis did not participate.
Mae-Wan Ho: Well, they didn’t ask me.
Suzan Mazur: The Third Way of Evolution is different from Altenberg in the sense that many scientists on the page are talking about replacing neo-Darwinism.
(As opposed to merelyy allowing criticism as somethng other than career suicide.)
Mae-Wan Ho: It was really in the 1970s when I started thinking about this with Peter Saunders. We began criticizing neo-Darwinism, and wrote a paper: ” Beyond neo-Darwinism: The Epigenetic Approach to Evolution.” That brought a lot of controversy. I was branded neo-Lamarckian, communist, Marxist, all sorts of things.
Madam! What? They did not say you are a knuckle-dragging sloped-forehead fundamentalist from the Ozarks? We fear you have been gravely wronged.
Not to worry. You will receive much better honours still, in due course.
Note: Denis Noble acknowledges her work as helping shape his.
Follow UD News at Twitter!