Consider the significance of the way a recent release begins:
Darwin referred to the origin of species as “that mystery of mysteries,” and even today, more than 150 years later, evolutionary biologists cannot fully explain how new animals and plants arise.
If that’s true, it is a polite way of saying that most of the Darwinian evolution advocacy your taxes have paid for did not advance knowledge. All those court cases, all that persecution of dissenters. Oh well, ‘twas ever thus.
The people who get off on or benefit from persecution will advocate it anyway. Some, on the other hand, must try to understand what really happened, at their own risk.
a University of Michigan biologist and a colleague are questioning the long-held assumption that genetic reproductive barriers, also known as reproductive isolation, are a driving force behind speciation.
“We found no evidence that these things are related. The rate at which genetic reproductive barriers arise does not predict the rate at which new species form in nature,” Rabosky said. “If these results are true more generally — which we would not yet claim but do suspect — it would imply that our understanding of species formation is extremely incomplete because we’ve spent so long studying the wrong things, due to this erroneous assumption that the main cause of species formation is the formation of barriers to reproduction.
“To be clear, reproductive barriers are still important on some level. All sorts of plants and animals live together in the same place, which couldn’t happen without reproductive barriers. But our results question whether genetic reproductive barriers played a major role in how those species formed in the first place.”
Maybe the concept of speciation needs to be revisited. Some of us have always been suspicious of the sneery putdown explanation for the vastly different estimates of the number of species in the world, that some experts are “lumpers” and others are “splitters.”
One was always too polite to respond that, in other words, neither group knows what it is talking about. No one talks that way in fields where the information is clear and definite. This is just another Darwin-scandal brewing, but don’t expect the pop science mags to portray it that way.