Wesley R. Elsberry 930305 00:12:04 Visit to Woods Hole The library of the Marine Biologica

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Wesley R. Elsberry 93-03-05 00:12:04 Visit to Woods Hole The library of the Marine Biological Laboratory at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution represents almost an embarrassment of riches for the student interested in the historical side of evolutionary science. Many of the most referenced book titles are physically present here, as well as a variety of lesser known, but intriguing, works. I'll delve into a few that I looked at during my visit. Some I have comments sprinkled in quotes, others are mostly just quotes I found interesting. ================================================================== Richard Goldschmidt. 1940. The material basis of evolution. New Haven, Yale University Press. "The problem of evolution as a whole consists of a number of subproblems, with some of which we are not concerned here at all. There is, first, evolution as a historical fact. With all biologists we assume that evolution as such is a fact." Goldschmidt is a popular whipping boy of SciCre obscurantists, mainly for his phrase, "the hopeful monster." However, as the quoted text above indicates, Goldschmidt was not sympathetic to the creationist position. "Micorevolution. This term has been used by Dobzhansky (1937) for evolutionary processes observable within the span of a human lifetime as opposed to macroevolution, on a geological scale. It will be one of the major contentions of this book to show that the facts of microevolution do not suffice for an understanding of macroevolution. The latter term will be used here for the evolution of the good species and all the higher taxonomic categories." Goldschmidt's definition of microevolution and macroevolution is, so far as I know, unique. At least, I was not able to locate the Dobz hansky reference to microevolution, and no other definition that I have seen (and I have seen quite a few) relate microevolution to observation time. Goldschmidt's definition of macroevolution has definite problems, since species have been observed to arise within human lifetimes. "bridgeless gaps" Goldschmidt's hypothesis was that the fossil record demonstrates a pattern of speciation which gives the appearance of "bridgeless gaps." This, he contends, also demonstrates that microevolutionary change was incapable of explaining speciation events. Goldschmidt notes that nematodes, among other metazoans, display eutely. That is, the number of cells for particular organs is invariable in each species. This is offered as another evidence that speciation is not accomplished by the insensible accumulation of minute variation, but rather is due to abrupt large-scale developmental changes. "Good species" is not clearly defined, by my skimming of Goldschmidt's work. My inference is that the term applies to well characterized species. "Subspecies are actually, therefore, neither incipient species nor models for the origin of species. They are more or less diversified blind alleys within the species. The decisive step in evolution, the first step toward macroevolution, the step from one species to another, requires another evolutionary method than that of sheer accumulation of micromutations." "At the lower level of macroevolution, evolution of species, genera, and even families, there is still available some information based upon collaboration of genetics and taxonomy." "We frequently encounter the idea that life phenomena are infinitely more complicated than those of inorganic nature and that they therefore cannot be understood on the same basis. Applied to evolution, this outlook would mean that one has to look for very complicated features, preferably such as require a metaphysical interpretation. I cannot agree with this. If life phenomena were not based on very simple principles, no organism could exist; if embryonic development were not controlled by a few simple basic properties and laws of matter, an organiqsm could never be developed in a series of processes unrolling with the precision of clockwork. If evolution had not been made possible by relatively simple features inherent in the material basis of organization, it would never have occurred." Goldschmidt was convinced that small genetic changes in developmental pathways would be sufficient to generate new species. This mode of change would explain the paucity of fossils demonstrating the speciation process nicely. SciCre boosters often equate Goldschmidt's hypothesis with the Eldredge/Gould punctuated equilibrium hypothesis. There are some major differences. Goldschmidt proposed a mechanism to describe how macroevolutionary change could come about, but left alone trying to pin down the pattern and rate of change. Punctuated equilibrium, on the other hand, does not describe a mechanism, but does describe the expected and observed pattern and rate of macroevolutionary change. Goldschmidt may well be considered the more daring theorist, since he proposed his mechanism well before the definitive characterization of DNA as the main chemical basis of heredity. Therefore, his mechanism was formulated in the absence of biochemical data on the properties of inheritance. This also meant that our neat characterizations of the transcription of mRNA and protein synthesis were not available. Goldschmidt's hypothesis, as stated by Goldschmidt, is exclusive. The gradualist perspective was held by Goldschmidt to be incapable of producing change at the species level or above. Punctuated equilibrium, on the other hand, does not exclude the possibility of gradual accumulation of variation leading to speciation, but rather states that this mode of speciation is rare. Peter J. Bowler. 1984. Evolution: the history of an idea. University of California Press. "The philosopher Karl Popper has gained his reputation through his efforts to find a criterion for distinguishing science from pseudoscience. Realizing that no generalization can be proved by collecting positive examples, Popper has argued that science must must be based not so much on the search for truth as on the detection of error (1959). A true science exposes all its hypotheses to the test of experiment by formulating them in such a way that any inconsistency with nature will be exposed as soon as possible. Scientific hypotheses are "falsifiable" -- while the pseudosciences deliberately make their statements so vague that no counter-instance can ever be found. Measured by this standard, Popper insists (1974), Darwinism turns out to be untestable and hence unscientific. At best it constitutes a 'metaphysical framework' for formulating properly testable theories." "This latest source of opposition comes from a new approach to taxonomy or systematics known as cladism. The term "clade" was introduced by Julian Huxley in 1957 to denote a branch of the evolutionary tree. The new technique of classification was pioneered by Willi Hennig (translation 1966), who insisted that the attempt to represent evolutionary relationships should concentrate on the process of branching, ignoring any changes that were not associated with an act of splitting. The name "cladism" was introduced by one of the movement's critics, Ernst Mayr, and reluctantly was accepted by Hennig's followers." "Hennig argued that arrangement of living forms into groups should take into account only the order of branching in the evolutionary process. Clearly, orthodox evolutionary classification itself takes this into consideration, and all evolutionists recognize that the cladistic method offers a more precise way of representing some of the relationships that interest them. An evolutionist, however, also takes into account other factors, principally the degree of change that a line of development undergoes." "The opponents of Darwinism have always dismissed the theory as a blindly accepted dogma, its weaknesses ignored by a brainwashed biological profession. Yet we have seen (chapter 9) that Darwinism has been challenged seriously before. The wealth of alternatives being considered both inside and outside science today shows quite clearly that there is no academic conspiracy to protect modern evolutionism." "Finally, in response to the modern accusation that evolution is unfalsifiable, it can be pointed out that even Popper has recanted many of his earlier claims, while the cladists represent only a handful of biologists with a very narrow definition of science." Challenges to Darwinism: Germ plasm concept -- August Weismann. 1880's This pretty much kills pangenesis, which had been adopted by Darwin. "Weismann's theory had a crucial implication for evolution: it made Lamarckism impossible. The parent's body does not *produce* its germ plasm; it merely transmits it. Changes in the body due to use or disuse are not reflected in the germ plasm and therefore cannot be inherited." It was Weismann, by the way, who performed those experiments which trimmed the tails off mice, and demonstrated that the young of de-tailed mice still had tails, even after many generations. Lamarckists criticized these experiments since Weismann was imposing change upon the mice, rather than allowing the naturally occurring directionality of change to arise on its own. This was generally held not to be a very good counter-argument. === Biometry -- Francis Galton. Galton introduced the concept of "regression" as a process which would limit the effect of selection. SciCre-ists really like the idea of regression, or "reversion to type." This is still a major part of SciCre argumentation found in ICR sponsored or published apologetics. === Mendelian genetics. For quite some time, the rediscovery of Mendel's work was considered to be the conclusive nail in the Darwinian coffin, killing off the idea of natural selection as Darwin proposed it. Since by the publication of the sixth edition of Darwin's "Origin of Species," Darwin had almost inextricably bound natural selection with his hypothesis on the mechanism of heredity, "pangenesis," this view was quite understandable. However, by the early 1940's, the neo-Darwinian synthesis had met and addressed the criticisms of the Mendelists. === Neo-Lamarckism. Supported by natural theology, popular in America at the turn of the century. Spencer supported neo-Lamarckism. "Against selection itself Spencer [1893] used an argument that had considerable force when measured against the pregenetical selection theory (Ridley, 1982a). He pointed out that when a new structure evolved, all the rest of the body would have to accommodate the new development. Thus a series of variations would be required to adjust the overall structure in a manner correlated to the new organ. What would be the chance of all these variations appearing together at the right time, if the species had to depend on random variation? Selection might explain the changes in a single organ, but not an integrated transmutation of the whole body." Lamarckism, as Spencer pointed out, could provide an explanation for the integrated development or elimination of organs. This was seen to be a weakness of natural selection. "The law of "acceleration of growth" was first published in Cope's "On the origin of genera" of 1867 (reprinted in Cope, 1887) and in Hyatt (1868). According to this law, evolution progresses by a series of sudden additions to the growth of the individual. At certain points in time, every individual in a species begins to exhibit a new phase of growth that advances all to the form of a new species. To make room for this addition, the old adult form is compressed back to an earlier phase of growth, hence the "acceleration" of growth to accommodate an extra stage before maturity. Cope denied that evolution on a small scale is a branching process, claiming instead that each genus represents a group of species that have reached the same point in the historical development of their group. Their close relationship is not a sign of common descent but of identical position in the scheme of development." "Cope postulated a growth-force named "bathmism;" concentrated in those parts of the body most in use, it developed them at the expense of other areas. By the last decade of the century, this Lamarckism had been developed to considerable depth (Cope, 1887, 1896; Hyatt, 1880, 1884, 1889)." Referring to the case of the midwife toad: "Was the india ink added by someone wishing to preserve the original marks, or was it deliberate sabotage, perhaps a Nazi plot to discredit evidence hostile to their racial theories? Koestler certainly has suggested that Kammerer's experiments may have been genuinely successful, although others think he was simply dishonest. (Aronson, 1975)." === Orthogenesis -- a conjecture related to Lamarckism. "The crucial difference is that the trends of orthogenesis are not adaptive. Far from being a positive response to the environment, they represent a nonutilitarian force that can in some cases drive the species to extinction. In this there is a similarity to Hyatt's concept of racial senility." "A famous case was that of the recently extinct "Irish elk", thought to have died out because its antlers became too large as a result of an internal trend (Gould, 1974b). It seemed as though the trend that produced the antlers, perhaps originally for some useful purpose, had acquired a momentum of its own that had carried it far beyond the point of utility. This "overdevelopment" theory of extinction became widely popular among non-Darwiniam paleontologists in the early twentieth century." "Strong support for orthogenesis came from the Russian biologist Leo S. Berg (translation 1926), but perhaps its best known exponent was the American paleontologist Henry Fairfield Osborn." aristogenesis -- Osborn's own term for orthogenesis. Mendelism was originally viewed as an alternative to selection. Theodosius Dobzhansky, Francisco J. Ayala, G. Ledyard Stebbins, & James W. Valentine. 1977. Evolution. W.H. Freeman & Company. "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." "As Mayr (1942, 1963) has pointed out, the title of Darwin's epoch-making book is mistaken; although he entitled it _Origin of Species_, Darwin wrote about organic evolution as a whole. Similarly, definition of evolution that emphasize the transsecific aspect are also misleading, since they draw attention away from those phases of subspecific evolution that can most easily be studied experimentally and quantitatively. (Equally inadequate, but for the opposite reason that they neglect the transspecific aspects of evolution, are definitions such as that of Wright (1942): "Evolution is the statistical transformation of populations.")" While Dobzhansky et alia decry Wright's definition, his viewpoint seems to hold the largest sway among biologists as a group. The recently posted primer withh text from both Chris Colby and Larry Moran reflect viewpoints closer to Wright's than to Dobzhansky et al. "Organic evolution is a series of partial or complete and irreversible transformations of the genetic composition of populations, based principally upon altered interactions with their environment. It consists chiefly of adaptive radiations into new environments, adjustments to environmental changes that take place in a particular habitat, and the origin of new ways for exploiting existing habitats. These adaptive changes occasionally give rise to greater complexity of developmental pattern, of physiological reactions, and of interactions between populations and their environment." "This being the case, the history of evolutionary theory during the three decades that followed the rediscovery of Mendel's laws is one of the most extraordinary paradoxes in the history of science. Far from lending strength to Darwin's theory of natural selection, the first decades of Mendelian genetics were largely responsible for a temporary decline in Darwin's reputation among biologists. Anti-selectionist works, such as A.F. Shull's textbook on evolution (1936) and _The Variations of Animals in Nature_ by G.C. Robson and O.W. Richards (1936), became standard reading for many undergraduate and graduate students in biology, and many professors told their students that "Darwinism is dead," by which they meant that natural selection could not be regarded as a major agent of evolutionary change." "Fisher's book _The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection_ (1930) was the first systematic attempt in the English language to harmonize Darwin's observations on natural variation with Mendelian particulate genetics." "The modern synthetic theory as a generally accepted way of approaching problems of evolution was born in 1937 with the pblication of Dobzhansky's _Genetics and the Origin of Species_." "There is an asymmetry between falsifiability and verifiability of universal statements that derives from the logical nature of such statements. A universal statement can be shown to be false if it is found inconsistent with even one singular statement, i.e., a statement about a particular event. But, as was pointed out in the discussion of induction, a universal statement can never be proven true by virtue of the truth of particular statements, no matter how numerous these may be." Colin Patterson. 1978. Evolution. Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History), Publication Number 783. "No doubt other revolutions are in store, and whether we choose to follow Popper's or Kuhn's understanding of science, the one lesson we can learn from both these thinkers is that today's theory of evolution is unlikely to be the whole truth. Yet today's neo-Darwinian theory, with all its faults, is still the best that we have. It is a fruitful theory, a stimulus to thought and research, and we should accept it until someone thinks of a better one." Patterson happens to be a transformed cladist. This group believes that paleontological inference is pretty worthless for determining relationships involving questions of ancestry. ========================= Daniel R. Brooks & E.O. Wiley. 1986. Evolution as Entropy: toward a unified theory of biology. The University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-07581-8 From the preface: "That organisms have evolved rather than having been created is the single most important and unifying principle of modern biology. Theories regarding the causal mechanisms of evolution are not so important in "proving" its reality. The fact that scientists put forward theories means that they accept this reality. Confused creationists frequently think that if they can "disprove" Darwin's theory of natural selection they can "disprove" evolution. But of course this is untrue -- even if they succeeded they would only be disproving *a theory* and not *the process*. Thus, any theory of importance should be closely scrutinized because it affects the way evolutionary biologists conduct their research." "In this book we will develop the idea that evolution is an axiomatic consequence of organismic information and cohesion systems obeying the second law of thermodynamics in a manner analogous to, but not identical with, the consequences of the second law's usual application in physical and chemical systems. By "axiomatic" we mean that the results are necessary consequences or outcomes." "If evolution is an axiomatic consequence of certain biological processes following the second law, then current theories of the evolutionary process must necessarily be incomplete because they are theories of proximal cause." Brooks and Wiley claim to be practitioners of "phylogenetic systematics," which appears to be another term for "cladistics". "The founder of this approach, the late German entomologist Willi Hennig, was interested in formulating a "general reference system" for classifying organic diversity. His choice was a system based on genealogy. Hennig reasoned that no matter what proximal changes organisms or species might experience, the one thing that would never change is their genealogies." "Our attention was progressively drawn to discussions of inherent order in development (e.g., Lovtrup 1974) and comparative morphology (e.g., Riedl 1978). An article by Farris (1979) concerning the information content of phylogenetic systematic analyses led us to information theory. When it was discovered that phylogenetic systematic techniques select the minimum entropy configuration of information in a set of observations about organisms (Brooks 1981a), our search focused on finding a connection among history, information, and minimum entropy configurations." "In chapter 2, we attempt to show that the expected outcome of historical constraints on the action of the second law in biological systems is self-organization. The axiomatic behavior of living systems should be increasing complexity and self-organization *as a result of, not at the expense of*, increasing entropy." Brooks and Wiley sum up their opinion of the current state of the neo-Darwinian synthesis (with the caveat that they believe no such synthesis actually exists). In an enumerated point, they say: "3. Heritable characters may be changed by a variety of mutational events. The earlier in development a mutation occurs, the greater its effect but the less its probability of being successful (i.e., of resulting in a viable and fertile individual)." I would definitely replace "occurs" in the above with "is expressed". "Many of the controversies in evolutionary biology (neutralism vs. selectionism, the relative importance of competition, gradualism vs. punctuated equilibrium) concern the relative importance of phenomena rather than whether the phenomena are real." "We are dissatisfied with the current state of evolutionary theoriz ing, not because we think it is all wrong, but because (1) we do not believe that a truly integrated theoretical framework has been developed and (2) there are certain aspects of the evolutionary process that have yet to be integrated into any framework. We recognize four major items of unfinished business. 1. Evolutionary theory has never fully come to grips with the underlying causal laws of chemistry and physics. 2. Developmental biology has not been successfully integrated into the theoretical framework. 3. Existing evolutionary theory has failed to provide a rationale for the existence of higher taxa (groups of species produced by descent) that is consistent with our knowledge of phylogeny and population genetics. 4. Existing evolutionary theory has failed to provide what we would consider to be a robust explanation of the relationship between form and function in evolution. We do not believe these shortcomings are resolvable within the current theoretical framework. We seek to provide a new framework, one that will incorporate certain parts of the old framework and include those aspects of evolution not now adequately explained. We will now examine these shortcomings in some detail." "Statistical entropy of a simple system may be given as: S = k ln omega where omega is the set of accessible microstates to the system (the "macrostate")." "We suggest an alternative theoretical framework for biological evolution, based on four principles: 1. The principle of irreversibility. 2. The principle of individuality. 3. The principle of intrinsic constraints. 4. The principle of compensatory changes." Theodosius Dobzhansky. 1937. Genetics and the origin of species. Columbia University Press. "During the seventy-seven years that have elapsed since the publication of the theory of natural selection, it has been the subject of unceasing debate. The most serious objection that has been raised against it is that it takes for granted the existence, and does not explain the origin of the hereditary variations with which selection can work. Those who advance this objection fail however to notice that in doing so they commit an act of superogation: the origin of variation is a problem entirely separate from that of the action of selection. The theory of natural selection is concerned with the fate of variations already present, and the merits and demerits of the theory must be assessed accordingly." "Skeptics may contend that if the change in the environment is wrought directly or indirectly by man, the resulting selection is no longer "natural." Anyone who is prepared to reject the evidence on these grounds has no choice but to do so; a similar objection is applicable to any experimental work." ============================== Edward O. Dodson & Peter Dodson. 1976. Evolution: process and product. Second Edition, D. Van Nostrand COmpany. ISBN 0-442-22164-9 "Man does not even play so useful a role in the study of evolution as might be wished, because he is not available for laboratory experimentation to the extent that other animals are and because primitve man was rarely fossilized, though apparently more frequently fossilized than other primitive primates. However, the student of evolution belongs to an egocentric species, so a chapter on the evolution of man will be included in this book." In recounting Darwin's autobiography, Dodson notes that during Darwin's Cambridge years he was fond of Paley's work. Under the heading "Macroevolution", "A long controversial tenet of the modern synthesis was that the processes of microevolution which produce subspecies also produce species and higher groups when continued over long reaches of time." This is pretty clearly demarcating micro-e as below species and macro-e as species and above. A figure lists some vestigial characters of man: nictitating membrane muscles to move ears hair on body pointed canines third molar segmental muscles on abdomen vermiform appendix pyramidalis muscle caudal vertebrae =============================== Just bibliographic info for two books: Steven M. Stanley. 1979. Macroevolution: Pattern and Process. W.H. Freeman and Company. ISBN 0-7167-1092-7 ============================== Michael Ruse. 1979. The Darwinian revolution. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-73164-2 Louis T. More. 1925. The dogma of evolution. Princeton University Press. "It should be borne clearly in mind that the sentimental humanitarianism of Rousseau was the seed from which grew our modern scientific philosophy of brotherly love and eugenics, when fertilized by the pleasant and altruistic doctrine of Malthus." The sarcasm content of the above approaches unity. "Unfortunately for Darwin's future reputation, his life was spent on the problem of evolution which is deductive by nature. The enormous and complicated phenomena of life do not admit of solution by inductive reasoning; it is absurd to expect that many facts will not always be irreconcilable with any theory of evolution and, today, every one of his arguments is contradicted by facts." Note the time of publication of More's diatribe: 1925. This is pretty much coeval with the Scopes trial in Tennessee, and at the nadir of Darwin's critical reputation due to the encroachments of the alternatives previously mentioned by Bowler. "It is but too evident that time is slowly justifying this opinion and that ultimately Darwin's reputation will rest on his botanical work rather than on his hypotheses of natural selection and pangenesis; the value of the former is already fading and the latter is totally discredited." More was premature in declaring Darwin's theory of natural selection to be dead; Fisher's work which formed the beginning of the neo-Darwinian synthesis would be published just about five years later. "There are, perhaps, some cases where important scientific work is not linked to metaphysics; but, certainly, the theory of natural selection is not one of them; its failure is largely due to its foundation of false philosophy." The philosophical component of the theory of natural selection is pretty slim. The worth of an idea in science is not related to its moral or ethical implications, whether those implications are rightly or wrongly derived. "Huxley immediately saw the futility of the idea [pangenesis] and begged Darwin not to emphasize it, lest such an explanation of evolution by natural selection would lower the probability of the larger theory and retard the great work of its acceptance; but Darwin clung to pangenesis with the blind affection of a parent for a defective child." It is pretty clear that actually positing testable mechanisms is risky business. It is also obvious that Darwin was unafraid to do so. Would that Darwin's modern batch of critics had the same intellectual courage as the man whose work, and sometimes character, they decry. "It is almost incomprehensible that the world, and particularly the biologist, has not taken into account this inherent inability of Darwin to think on abstract questions and is still willing, because he was a genius in one field, to follow him as a guide in all fields." This may be perhaps the truest statement which More has generated. By the test of generality of application, it certainly shows promise. I tried it out on this set of names, replacing "Darwin" in the original with each, and it held up just fine: Henry Morris, Duane Gish, Dmitri Kousnetsov, John Morris, Ken Ham, Barry Setterfield, Thomas Barnes, Harold Coffin, and Steve Austin. This book appears to have been recently updated and republished as _Darwin on Trial_. ;-) =========================


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