Earlier today, we were discussing Massey University (New Zealand) evolutionary biologist’s attempt to jam non-Darwinian processes into Darwinism. Because, essentially, if Darwinism means what it has meant in the last 50 years (the Tree of Life), it is not true. So Darwinism must now incorporate material that Darwinists would otherwise reject, so that at least something about it can be true.
Friends write to say that we can expect many more articles like this in the near future, for example
a new Open Access article by Maureen O’Malley and Eugene Koonin:
This idea of treating tree branches as conjectural hypotheses is something that cladists enthusiastically introduced into phylogeny when Hennig’s systematics was translated linguistically and conceptually into a broader sphere of phylogenetic systematics. Cladists have tended to rely heavily on philosopher’s Karl Popper’s ideas of falsification (and corroboration), which has led to many oversimplifications of scientific practice. One major problem in this equation of hypothesis with falsifiable conjecture is that it is usually not the case that a hypothesis is abandoned or substituted when it is ‘falsified’. Much more commonly, the original hypothesis is modified to accommodate otherwise conflicting findings. This is what seems to have happened to the TOL hypothesis…” (p. 15; emphasis added)
– Here: Maureen A O’Malley, Eugene V Koonin, How stands the Tree of Life a century and a half after The Origin?
Biology Direct 2011, 6:32 doi:10.1186/1745-6150-6-32
In other words, if we take seriously the strong textbook claims that “such-and-such is predicted by Darwin’s hypothesis of universal common ancestry [Tree of Life],” we run the risk of concluding that the TOL is false, when the data fail to conform to the prediction. That is, we might think that the TOL is, well, just not true.
But that’s so … unDarwinian.
One bioinformatics guy puts it like this:
OK, I think the tree of life is obsolete. I have been spending a lot of time looking at horizontal gene transfer, reading about it, looking at it in genomes until my eyes water and my brain dessicates, occasionally blogging about it and soon to be publishing about it. Life is not a tree. To what extent it is not a tree it is debatable, but horizontal gene transfer is pervasive, if not rampant, in all kingdoms.
If that’s how information gets passed on, how does it originate? NOT via natural sleection acting on random mutation.
One wonders what landscape we’ll see when that Tree’s deadfall.
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