Ho’s lucubrations on evolutionary biology, as revealed in an interview she gave to Suzan Mazur at PuffHo, are just as bad. The piece, “Mae-Wan Ho: No boundary really between epigenetic and genetic”, is replete with misstatements, errors, and distortions on the part of both interviewer and subject. Mazur, as you may recall, is a gonzo journalist driven by one Big Obsession: modern evolutionary biology is wrong and she’s going to show how rotten it really is. Mazur tried to win renown by reporting on the infamous “Altenburg 16,” a group of biologists who convened a meeting in Austria, originally intending to debunk the Modern Synthesis, but later retracted their claws and claimed only to “extend” the synthesis. The result of that meeting was an eminently forgettable symposium volume that sunk without a trace, leaving no perceptible influence on the field. As I wrote about Mazur’s reporting at the time:
Her thesis has been not only that modern evolutionary biology is rotten to the core, but that we evolutionists all know it and are desperately trying to cover up a crumbling paradigm. Her interviews with people like Stuart Pivar and my old boss, Dick Lewontin, are really funny: Mazur desperately wants them all to admit that evolutionary biology is bankrupt, no matter what they think. Instead of finding out what they think, she presses and presses them to agree with her. It seems that most of these hilarious interviews have disappeared from the internet, but you can get a taste of them here and here.
And that, more or less, is what she does with Mae-Wan Ho, pressing her to admit the intellectual vacuity of modern evolutionary theory. Ho, for her part, is more than glad to comply. More.
From the files: Coyne was also mad at the New York Times for giving Lynn Margulis a respectful obit. (We told him to stuff a sock in it at the time.)
See also: Another non-Darwinian biologist we need to know about: Mae-Wan Ho
File under: Coyne past sellby date. Refuses to acknowledge difficulties. Dumps on colleagues. Tenure.