In “A bioscience newsletter that isn’t spouting Darwin?”, we talked about the way Darwinism now functions as enforced piety with no explanatory value. Another friend of Uncommon Descent writes to remind us of a recent New Scientist article by Michael LePage (May 21 2011) titled “The Elusive Gene.” He cited Mark Gerstein of Yale as his authority for claiming that we don’t know what a gene is any more.
These days, then, what a gene is depends on who you ask. Gerstein has suggested it be defined, in simplified terms, as a union of sequences that encodes one or more “functional products”. But he readily admits this is a fudge. “What is function?” he asks. “What does it mean?” A gene that is important for survival in one species may have become redundant in a closely related strain, for instance, even though the sequence is identical. Does that make it a gene in one species and not in the other?
Hmmm. The trouble is, modern Darwinism is about selfish genes. Take that away, and what’s left? Darwinist philosopher Michael Ruse, spouting advising us of the supposed brilliance of Richard Dawkins in thinking up the idea?
The fact is, there is no brilliance in mechanism and reductionism any more. Mechanists and reductionists just bypass the hard math questions and award themselves a prize, cheered on by their equally tenured fellows, and increasingly irrelevant to what happens.