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Dan Graur’s 12 principles of Evolutionary Truth

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File:A small cup of coffee.JPG An earlier story here today mentioned Dan Graur: Plagiarism in science texts, not just journals? (Maybe, with enough publicity, a public explanation will be forthcoming…)

From Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution Is True blog, we learn the twelve truths of Darwinian evolutionary biology, and some other stuff as well:

Dan Graur, who is Professor of Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Houston, describes himself on Tw*tter as “A Very Angry Evolutionary Biologist, a Very Angry Liberal, and an Even Angrier Art Lover”. His Tumblr says he ‘has a very low threshold for hooey, hype, hypocrisy, postmodernism, bad statistics, ignorance of population genetics and evolutionary biology masquerading as -omics, and hatred of any kind.’

Anyway, yesterday he tw**eted a link to a document containing what he called ‘All of evolutionary biology in 12 paragraphs, 237 words and 1,318 characters’. Here they are for your delectation. I’ve made some comments at the end – feel free to chip in (you too, Dan!). More.

Posies Design <em>Snack</em> Box - £2.50
Break time/Posies Design

1.Evolutionary biology is ruled by handful of logical principles, each of which has repeatedly withstood rigorous empirical and observational testing.

2. The rules of evolutionary biology apply to all levels of resolution, be it DNA or morphology.

3. New methods merely allow more rapid collection or better analysis of data; they do not affect the evolutionary principles.

They used to call this kind of thing a decalogue or a catechism.

What follows is Coyne’s version of Genesis, unfortunately not in verses for easy reference.

One wonders if his next target, after ENCODE (which he hates), will be the rethink evolution meet sponsored by the Royal Society this fall.

Indeed, Evolution News & Views notes,

You have to love Graur’s principles, because they capture orthodox neo-Darwinism in its purest form: …

It’s fun to play around with these. Take principle 10 seriously, for instance, and taxonomically restricted genes (so-called “orphans”) represent a significant puzzle to neo-Darwinian evolution. The deepest question, of course, is this: Do these principles — in particular, numbers 4 through 12 — derive from observations, or are they imposed on observations?

Historical parallel:

And we recall that Galileo never made use of Kepler’s ellipsi, but remained to the end a true follower of Copernicus who had said “the mind shudders” at the supposition of noncircular, nonuniform celestial motion. (Gerald Holton, Thematic Origins of Scientific Thought, Harvard University Press, p. 64)

Indeed, one could take this catechism to London in November, to the Royal Society meeting on alternatives to neo-Darwinism, as a template for where heresy may be expected to arise.

We have to love Graur’s principles anyway because he has a very low threshold for hatred; he said so himself. 😉

When we get around to it we will put out: ‘All of evolutionary biology in 12 paragraphs, 237 words and 1,318 characters’ (but all different ones).

See also: Someone back from ENCODE sends info

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4 Replies to “Dan Graur’s 12 principles of Evolutionary Truth

  1. 1
    jerry says:

    A slight re-wording of the Principles of Evolutionary Truth

    1.Micro-evolutionary biology is ruled by handful of logical principles, each of which has repeatedly withstood rigorous empirical and observational testing.

    2. The rules of micro-evolutionary biology apply to all levels of resolution, be it DNA or morphology.

    3. New methods merely allow more rapid collection or better analysis of data; they do not affect the micro-evolutionary principles.

    4. The only mandatory attribute of the micro-evolutionary processes is a change in allele frequencies.

    5. All novelty in micro-evolutionary starts as a single mutation arising in a single individual at a single time point.

    5a. Novelties in macro-evolution are unknown in origin.

    6. Mutations create equivalence more often than improvement, and functionlessness more often than functionality.

    7. The fate of mutations that do not affect fitness is determined by random genetic drift; that of mutations that do affect fitness by the combination of selection and random genetic drift.

    8. Micro-evolutionary occurs at the population level; individuals do not evolve. An individual can only make an evolutionary contribution by producing offspring or dying childless.

    9. The efficacy of selection depends on the effective population size, an historical construct that is different from the census population size, which is a snapshot of the present.

    10. Micro-evolutionary cannot create something out of nothing; there is no true novelty in micro-evolutionary.

    11. Micro-evolutionary does not give rise to “intelligently designed” perfection. From an engineering point of view, most products of micro-evolutionary work in a manner that is suboptimal.

    12. Homo sapiens occupy a privileged position in the grand evolutionary scheme because of the thousands of rna control elements that affect the development of neural tissue.

  2. 2
    Mung says:

    Silly News. No one actually believes these principles anymore.

  3. 3
    JDH says:

    Snark on– You know, if Dan Graur is really that angry I don’t think he is going to find someone to reproduce with. Hopefully all those genes which made him that angry will be weeded out of the population. Snark off

  4. 4
    Robert Byers says:

    Why is his anger okay but others HATRED not okay?? Whjats the anatomical difference. Haters are just angy about some THING. This cat is proudly angry about some THING(s).
    Its just poor reasoning of typical liberals who simply insist they DECIDE what can be aNGRIED about.
    Oh brother.
    Anyways.

    Number one.
    Evolution is ruled by logical principals!! I thought it was ruled by evidence from scientific methodology!!
    Now its rules and logic.
    AMEN. there is no biological scientific evidence. iT needs all the logic it can dish up.
    I think he should be angrier with this first point after reflection.
    I’m laughing.

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