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Denis Noble’s lecture on doubts about Darwinism

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Denis Noble.jpg  Denis Noble is one of the figures behind the upcoming “rethink evolution” meet in November.

Here’s one of his lectures:

Physiologist Noble doubts Darwinism, and does a good job of identifying problems with the Central Dogma and other stuff* that just hangs around forever. Darwinists say they are phasing it out. But they don’t need to if they can phase out the careers of people who know it is bunk instead.

So lots of people want a meeting.

*Note: For that matter, there’s Dollo’s Law:

That said, patterns we assume to exist may not hold up. A classic evolutionary doctrine, “Dollo’s law,” claims that traits once lost can never be regained. But bone worms, for one example, seem to break this law, in that the males are roughly the same size as the females, instead of being the usual thousands of times smaller for their type of worm. Frogs, snapdragons, and snakes, among other life forms, apparently also break the law with impunity. From The Smithsonian, we learn that evolution is indeed reversible:

But who comes out and says outright, it’s just history?

See also: Denis Noble on physiology rocking evolutionary biology


Talk to the fossils: Let’s see what they say back

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7 Replies to “Denis Noble’s lecture on doubts about Darwinism

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    Does Denis Noble understand Dollo’s Law? This is what the Wikipedia entry says:

    Dollo’s law of irreversibility (also known as Dollo’s law and Dollo’s principle) is a hypothesis proposed in 1893[1] by French-born Belgian paleontologist Louis Dollo which states that evolution is not reversible. This hypothesis was first stated by Dollo in this way: “An organism is unable to return, even partially, to a previous stage already realized in the ranks of its ancestors.”[2] The statement is often misinterpreted as a less stringent hypothesis regarding the likelihood of regain of lost structures or organs, which are unlikely to reappear in the (loosely defined) ‘same form.’[3][4] According to Richard Dawkins, the law is “really just a statement about the statistical improbability of following exactly the same evolutionary trajectory twice (or, indeed, any particular trajectory), in either direction.”[5] Stephen Gould suggested that irreversibility forecloses certain evolutionary pathways once broad forms have emerged: “[For example], once you adopt the ordinary body plan of a reptile, hundreds of options are forever closed, and future possibilities must unfold within the limits of inherited design.”[6]

    Wouldn’t it be a good idea to understand what current evolutionary theory proposes before you try to “re-think” it?

  2. 2
    Mung says:

    No one knows what current evolutionary theory proposes.

    So no.

  3. 3
    Robert Byers says:

    Everybody is after the carcass. Pretty soon the books will come WHY DID EVOLUTION GET AND STAY ACCEPTED IN MODERN SCIENCE.
    The gut will sell a million.! Watch!

  4. 4
    Jon Garvey says:

    The trouble with these Fellows of the Royal Society is that they just don’t understand the science. Luckily, there are internet forums.

  5. 5
    mahuna says:

    Am I missing something, or is there no difference between “inheriting acquired traits” and the beaks of “Darwin’s finches”?

    Everybody knows that selective breeding works, but everybody also knows that as soon as the artificial selection stops, the population returns to type. Or are we back to saying that giraffes are simply antelopes whose grandparents stretched their necks to eat leaves higher up on the trees?

  6. 6
    groovamos says:

    No one knows what current evolutionary theory proposes. Hee hee good one. Alternative metaphor: as much as we would like to cut through the fog, we encounter thousands of novel propositions without a sense of congruence, something everyone can sink the teeth into. EXCEPT for the most important one that they all agree on: there is no controversy regarding the “theory of evolution”. Now that proposition is one that keeps the NCSE personnel getting up every morning.

  7. 7
    tjguy says:

    I listened to that whole talk. He sure makes his view of “The Selfish Gene” known and it is not a positive one. So Dawkins’ view and the view of the modern synthesis of evolution was too simple and mainly gene centered. But he says there is much more too it. There are many factors that contribute to the control as opposed to just the gene. He speaks of downward changes as well as bottom up directed changes. He speaks of whole parts of genomes being copied as opposed to those changes being produced by small step by step mutations. So borrowing these large bits of the genome is fine, but if evolution could not proceed by small little steps from one point to another, how did the original genomes that are copied in large pieces come into being before there was nothing to copy? He seems to agree that this type of copying puts Darwin’s Tree to rest because it is now a mish mash. So, the evidence for evolution is where exactly then? Darwin thought it was a tree, but it is not. Evolution seems so much more complicated in this new view. How do we really know this new view is accurate? I think some of these findings begin to call into question the whole evolutionary paradigm. I would think that talk would be very threatening to a number of scientists who are diehard neo-darwinists. In other words, much of what has been assumed to be true about evolution and much of which has been used as evidence to support the theory seems to have taken a hit here. I know this guy still believes in evolution, but at what point does the paradigm need to be revisited? Of course, I could be misunderstanding some of what he is saying.

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