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The following are quotes added to my Unclassified Quotes database in November 2007.
The date format is dd/mm/yy. See copyright conditions at end.
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3/11/2007 "evolution Changes in the genetic composition of a population during successive generations. The gradual development of more complex organisms from simpler ones." (Walker, P.M.B., ed., "Cambridge Dictionary of Biology," , Cambridge University Press: New York NY, 1990, Reprinted, pp.105-106. Emphasis original) 3/11/2007 "evolution an explanation of the way in which present-day organisms have been produced, involving changes taking place in the genetic make-up of populations that have been passed on to successive generations. According to DARWINISM, evolutionary MUTATIONS have given rise to changes that have, through NATURAL SELECTION, either survived in better adapted organisms (See ADAPTATION, GENETIC), or died out. Evolution is now generally accepted as the means which gives rise to new species (as opposed to SPECIAL CREATION) but there is still debate about exactly how it has taken place and how rapidly changes can take place." (Hale, W.G., Margham, J.P. & Saunders, V.A., "Collins Dictionary of Biology," , HarperCollins: Glasgow UK, Second edition, 1995, p.249. Emphasis original) 3/11/2007 "evolution The gradual process by which the present diversity of plant and animal life arose from the earliest and most primitive organisms, which is believed to have been continuing for at least the past 3000 million years. Until the middle of the 18th century it was generally believed that each species was divinely created and fixed in its form throughout its existence (see special creation). *Lamarck was the first biologist to publish a theory to explain how one species could have evolved into another (see Lamarckism), but it was not until the publication of *Darwin's On the Origin of Species in 1859 that special creation was seriously challenged. Unlike Lamarck, Darwin proposed a feasible mechanism for evolution and backed it up with evidence from the fossil record and studies of comparative anatomy and embryology (see Darwinism, natural selection). The modern version of Darwinism, which incorporates discoveries in genetics made since Darwin's time, probably remains the most acceptable theory of species evolution (see also punctuated equilibrium). More controversial, however, and still to be firmly clarified, are the relationships and evolution of groups above the species level. See also macroevolution, microevolution." (Martin, E. & Hine, R.S., eds., "Oxford Dictionary of Biology," , Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, Fourth edition, 2000, p.219. Emphasis original) 4/11/2007 "This Abstract, which I now publish, must necessarily be imperfect. I cannot here give references and authorities for my several statements; and I must trust to the reader reposing some confidence in my accuracy. No doubt errors will have crept in, though I hope I have always been cautious in trusting to good authorities alone. I can here give only the general conclusions at which I have arrived, with a few facts in illustration, but which, I hope, in most cases will suffice. No one can feel more sensible than I do of the necessity of hereafter publishing in detail all the facts, with references, on which my conclusions have been grounded; and I hope in a future work to do this. For I am well aware that scarcely a single point is discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived. A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question; and this cannot possibly be here done." (Darwin, C.R., "On the Origin of Species: A Facsimile of the First Edition," Harvard University Press: Cambridge MA, 1975, pp.2-3) 7/11/2007 "Neither Wallace nor Darwin was able to define what it was that caused the `minute steps' to occur, and it required inputs first from Mendelian genetics and later from molecular biology to assess the claims for this evolutionary mechanism. The philosophy of `neoDarwinism' precludes the occurrence of individual steps that are not minute, and moreover imposes the further restriction that all such steps must be derived from within terrestrial biology. We have argued elsewhere that both these constraints are incorrect (Evolution from Space, Dent, 1981)." (Hoyle, F. & Wickramasinghe, N.C., "Why Neo-Darwinism Does Not Work," University College Cardiff Press: Cardiff UK, 1982, p.3) 7/11/2007 "This latter advantage of sexual reproduction seems to be the strongest argument claimed in the books for it over the asexual model ... . Fisher's The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection carries the point in the exquisite ellipticities that were so characteristic of Fisher. With quite some searching one can find it in Sewell Wright's treatise in four volumes Evolution and the Genetics of Populations (University of Chicago Press, 1984) and more directly and clearly in J. Maynard Smith's The Evolution of Sex (Cambridge University Press, 1978) What one does not find, however, is an appreciation of the really crucial aspect of the matter, that only with sexual reproduction accompanied by crossover can positive mutations make headway against the deleterious mutations which occur with far greater frequency, and which otherwise would swamp the advantageous mutations, not permitting them to make any headway at all." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.39) 7/11/2007 "Finding the neo-Darwinian theory to work only weakly in the general situation, my impression is that some evolutionists have sought to speed things up by wrongly considering cases where species are only coping with environmental conditions they have experienced before, so that memory is being misinterpreted as discovery. The peppered moth, Biston betularia, so called because it has speckled lack and white wings, is frequently misinterpreted in this sense. A dark form of the moth was first noticed near Manchester in the mid-nineteenth century thirty years later it had outnumbered the light form of the moth which hack hitherto been more common, as much as a hundredfold in the area. The explanation offered for this phenomenon was that the dark form of the moths was not as conspicuous to bird predators as the light moth against trees which were blackened by the soot from the burning of coal in a heavily polluted area The dark form of moth has a working gene which produces the pigment melanin, a gene that has become inoperative in light coloured moths." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.98) 7/11/2007 "I am told by zoologists that the growth of fur is controlled by a single gene, which in humans has gone inactive. ... The extreme rarity with which furred children appear in the human population, even with a minimal error in the relevant gene, shows by a practical example how impossibly rare it would be for a gene with several errors to be again set in a working condition. The situation for three or more errors would be rare beyond any possibility of experience, while the situation for a hundred or more errors would be beyond consideration even in the most abstract sense. Yet there are of the order of a thousand genes in the simplest biological systems, and many more than a thousand in the higher plants and animals, that each demand more than a hundred base pairs to be just so in order that they be in a working condition. The problem for the neo-Darwinian theory is, not to explain situations like the peppered moth involving only a single error on a single gene, but the evolution of thousands of genes each requiring a specific arrangement of hundreds of base pairs if they are to function at the level of even the simplest organisms." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, pp.101-102) 7/11/2007 "Let me give a few examples. The process of translating base pairs on DNA into a protein involves various kinds of RNA molecules which act as intermediaries, with transfer RNA (or t-RNA) molecules, establishing a correspondence between triplets of base pairs on the DNA and the appropriate amino acids in the protein. If a wrong t-RNA got into the system, giving a wrong amino acid response to a triplet of base pairs, the resulting proteins from all genes would be garbled, and for highly sensitive proteins like the enzymes the situation would be disastrous. Hence little or no latitude is permitted for the t-RNAs, and so the nucleic acid which codes for the t-RNAs can have very little latitude indeed, with hundreds of base pairs involved for each t-RNA." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.102) 7/11/2007 "Because of redundancy in the genetic code it is not possible to work backward from the amino acids of a protein to the triplets of base pairs which coded for it-on the average there are about three different triplets coding for the same amino acid. Even though natural selection may hold a protein to a unique chain of amino acids, shifts of base pairs can occur provided they do not go outside the redundancy permitted by the genetic code. Such selectively neutral variations in the DNA are found in the case of the protein histone-4, which has a chain of 102 amino acids. In humans about thirty distinct genes code for histone-4, apparently because there is need for a large amount of this particular protein to be produced. The genes have variations in their base pairs, but the variations are all of the kind permitted by the redundancy of the genetic code. They all code for the same amino acid chain. Other variations that did not code for the same amino acid chain must surely have occurred but were stamped out by natural selection. Essentially, the same amino acid chain being found also in other animals and even in plants, we have a case in histone-4 where more than 200 base pairs are conserved across the whole of biology. The problem for the neo-Darwinian theory is to explain how the one particular arrangement of base pairs came to be discovered in the first place. Evidently not by random processes, for with a chance 1/4 of choosing each of the correct base pairs at random, the probability of discovering a segment of 200 specific base pairs is 4-200, which is equal to 10-120. Even if one were given a random choice for every atom in every galaxy in the whole visible universe the probability of discovering histone-4 would still only be a minuscule ~10-40." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, pp.102-103) 7/11/2007 "The histones are a small class of protein which play a critical role in the process of cell division. Except at times of cell division the chromosomes exist freely and separately in the cytoplasm of a cell. With the approach of cell division, the chromosomes are first duplicated and then condensed into a compact, much more visible structure known as chromatin, which can be stained by suitable dyes to make it accessible to microscopic examination. The histones appear to provide physical support for the chromosomes in this process of condensation and in the complex maneuvers, which then lead to crossover and cell division. A form of histone-4 with rogue properties that led to wrong crossover or to chromosomes being torn during cell division would clearly be lethal, just as wrong t-RNA molecules would be lethal. So can one plausibly explain the observed uniqueness of histone-4. Without histone-4 being exactly right, cells could not divide properly and nothing in the whole biological system would work correctly. Faced with this situation, neo- Darwinians retreat into an untestable position. Histone-4 evolved step by step they characteristically argue, with each step requiring no more than a single base pair change. To the objection that step-by step evolution was not possible because histone-4 is an all-or-nothing case, they reply by admitting that, while in the present situation this may be true, the situation as it once was differed in this respect. In a more primitive situation, histone-4 evolved step by step it is claimed, thereby retreating neatly into the unknowable and untestable, a device which, however, is not logically tenable because primitive systems without sexuality and crossover cannot evolve." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.103) 7/11/2007 "The issue properly within the range of science is whether the basic genetic features of terrestrial species- enzymes, t-RNA molecules, the histones, the genetic code itself-are indigenous to the Earth at all. Biologists have sometimes said that they see no advantage in transferring the problem of the origin and evolution of life onto a cosmic stage because the deeper problems would still have to be solved. I find this point of view strange. When in science several paths are open to investigation it makes sense to try the apparently simplest one first. But if what at first appeared the simplest path turns out to lead into a morass, it then makes sense to investigate other paths. The aim of science should be to discover the correct path, not to adhere to an incorrect route because at first glance it seemed simplest." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.103) 7/11/2007 "Microorganisms and genetic fragments are extremely space-hardy. They can withstand very low pressures and wide fluctuations of temperature, and they are remarkably resistant to radiation damage, especially if protected by a little shielding material against ultraviolet light. The Earth's atmosphere would permit space- incident biomaterial to make a soft terrestrial landing without damage occurring due to excessive heating, provided the biomaterial were in the form of small particles with diameters less than -100 Ám. The physical conditions therefore permit both microorganisms and the eggs and sperms of lower animals to be incident from space, as well as viruses and viroids, which can add further genes to species already established here on the Earth." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.104) 7/11/2007 "The nature films shown on television, despite their technical excellence, are likely to yield the wrong impression that all terrestrial life is subtly adapted to its environment. In some cases it is, in others it isn't. By concentrating on well-adapted cases, a false impression is created, the same false impression that has been created by Darwinians from 1860 onward, the recipe being always to concentrate on the successes and never to mention the failures. Microorganisms in particular are often quite seriously disadapted from their environment, as for instance wide divergences from optimum temperatures. Indeed, it would be more correct to say that microorganisms exist wherever they can gain a toehold, regardless of adaptation." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.104) 7/11/2007 "It is a mistake to suppose that science is an unswerving pursuit of objective truth. Partially it is, but only to the extent that the truth does not turn out to contradict what has already been taught in the educational process. Students in organic chemistry still learn that in 1828 Friedrich Woehler destroyed the old doctrine of vitalism by preparing urea from ammonium cyanate. But the latter almost surely had its origin in the action of denitrifying bacteria in the soil, so that the claimed production of a biological product from nonbiological sources was very likely wrong, and could have been seen to be wrong from Pasteur onward. Mistakes of scientific history are still more ineradicable. Few students are ever informed that the concept of evolution through natural selection was under discussion fully a quarter of a century before Darwin's book On the Origin of Species. Ironically, the theory was then rejected for what was considered a failure of species to adapt to the environment." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, pp.104-105) 7/11/2007 "Writing in the mid-1830s, Edward Blyth was well aware of the precision of adaptation at the level of varieties of species, but not above the level of species he maintained. The argument he gave was a powerful one, and in the later enthusiasm for the Darwinian theory it was never answered properly. Most species are limited to a geographical area, with good adaptation to the conditions well inside the area but with less and less good adaptation toward its boundaries. Why, Blyth asked, if species can evolve to the great extent that would be needed to explain the differences between genera, families, orders, and classes can they not evolve to the lesser extent that would maintain adaptation to and beyond the boundaries of their respective areas? Instead of doing so, however, species stay obstinately fixed, disappearing as the limits of their habitats are reached. According to Blyth, this fact, which was the rule not the exception, proved that the capacity of species to adapt must be limited, making what today we call the Darwinian theory (but which Blyth considered in 1837) untenable." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.105) 7/11/2007 "This argument of Blyth's was strong enough to hold back the theory of evolution by natural selection for more than two decades, causing Darwin not to risk open confrontation. Darwin retreated into a protracted study of barnacles instead, and it was Alfred Russel Wallace who eventually took up the challenge on behalf of evolutionists, who included Robert Chambers as well as Darwin. Chambers was the first person so far as I am aware to propose that land based animals had evolved from fish. Wallace was in the position of having to earn a living in a subject which in those days offered few opportunities to any but persons with private means. He hit on the idea of combining his interest in biology with the need to earn a living by collecting specimens, which were then sold to museums and private individuals. In the course of his wanderings in the Amazon Valley and later in the Dutch East Indies over a period from 1847 to 1862, Wallace is said to have discovered 30,000 new species, which meant that his knowledge of field zoology became immense. So many of the intricate adaptations of the kind we see today became apparent to him that evolution could be their only explanation. Wallace then extended the evidence for evolution that he could see in present-day species to the recent fossil record. In the paper published in 1855 he was able to show to the satisfaction of even such a sceptic as the geologist Charles Lyell that present-day species had been preceded by similar species in similar geographical area, Wallace's law as it eventually became known." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, pp.105-106) 7/11/2007 "Noting the profound effect Wallace's arguments were having on Lyell, Darwin turned back from barnacles to evolution, but still not out in the open. Still missing from Darwin's concepts was what later became called the principle of divergence. Eventually, however, in June 1858, Wallace sent a manuscript to Darwin that explained the principle of divergence so clearly that Darwin was at last able to begin his preparations for On the Origin of Species, which repeated in 490 pages what Wallace's manuscript had said in 10 pages." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.106) 7/11/2007 "But the objections to the theory of evolution by natural selection had not really been answered, and by 1870 Wallace had come to realize that something in addition was needed. Thus to Wallace, as or Lyell and to Blyth long ago, there was something right about evolution by natural selection and there was something wrong. This balanced position, which was the correct one, never had a fair hearing from 1870 onward however, because the developing system of popular education provided an ideal opportunity for zealots who were sure of themselves to overcome those who were not, for awkward arguments not to be discussed, and for discrepant facts to be suppressed. This was because popular education created a body of students who, like Wallace himself, had of necessity to make their ways in life, and because it is only students from privileged backgrounds who can afford to adopt views contrary to what they are told." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.106) 7/11/2007 "There was nothing wrong in Wallace's use of the recent fossil record but attempts to use the more distant fossil record in order to investigate wider evolutionary connections has not been similarly successful. From 1860 onward the more distant fossil record became a big issue, and over the next two decades discoveries were made that at first seemed to give support to the theory particularly the claimed discovery of a well- ordered sequence of fossil horse' dating back about 45 million years. Successes like this continue to be emphasized both to students and the public, but usually without the greater failures being mentioned. Horses according to the theory should be connected to other orders of mammals, which common mammalian stock should be connected to reptiles, and so on backward through the record. Horses should thus be connected to monkeys and apes, to whales and dolphins, rabbits, bears. ... But such connections have not been found. Each mammalian order can be traced backward for about 60 million years and then, with only one exception the orders vanish without connections to anything at all. The exception is an order of small insect-eating mammal that has been traced backward more than 65 million years, through the mysterious event which extinguished about half the genera of all animals including the large dinosaurs, including indeed every animal weighing more than 50 pounds of whatever species, and even including microscopic animals living on the sea bed." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, pp.106-107) 7/11/2007 "The story is the same for other classes of animal, the case of insects being particularly well documented. Orders of insects can be traced back over 200 million years for mayflies and dragonflies and about 300 million years for cockroaches, grasshoppers, and locusts. The striking feature of these long records is that they contain little evidence of change; and they too fade away to nothing instead of connecting to other orders of insects. The theoretical presumption of evolution for a common ancestor is not there in the insect record, just as it is not there for mammals, or for any other class of animal or division of plant. Still less is there evidence of evolution connecting different classes and divisions, subkingdoms or kingdoms. In 1860 it could be claimed with some plausibility that the record was seriously incomplete, and it could therefore be hoped that with increasing knowledge the more distant connections postulated by the theory would eventually be found. They have not been, and since geology has expanded enormously in scope over the past century, it now seems unlikely that the postulated connections will ever be found." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.107) 7/11/2007 "One still hears talk of the incompleteness of the record, but fossils of many insects continue smoothly throughout the period some 60 million years ago when the mammalian record fades away. To the excuse sometimes offered that insects fossilize better than mammals, the reply is that, if insects fossilize so well, why is it that the insect record also fades away before connections between the insect orders are found? Why is that crustacea, shrimps for example, continue smoothly through the period some 350 million years ago when the insect record fades away?" (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, pp.107-108) 7/11/2007 "The external incidence model, combined with what has been learned from the mathematical results of earlier chapters, copes with all these difficulties. As we have noted, external incidence can be expected to give only coarse fits between species and the environment. Fine-scale adaptation, which so impressed Wallace and his contemporaries, comes from the ability of species to optimize adaptation with respect to single base-pair changes. Wherever a gene can improve performance by a single base-pair change, mutations will find the change and selection will operate to promote it. What mutations cannot do is to find improvements which demand the simultaneous change of several base pairs. Once the range of improvements conferrable by single base-pair changes have become exhausted, a species cannot evolve further. It becomes limited in its environmental range, exactly as Blyth pointed out so many years ago. Boundaries to its habitat are inevitably reached because the range of genetic adaptation has become exhausted. Although improvements may lie only a few base pairs away, they cannot be found. Only if the genetic system is again stirred up by external incidence can anything further take place." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.108) 7/11/2007 "External incidence appears to come in storms of rather short duration, the most recent very large storm being the one that occurred 65 million years ago, to which reference has already been made. Species seem to vary considerably in their sensitivities to genetic storms. Relatively insensitive species, those which largely exclude viruses, remain locked into a particular mode of existence. Such species are common among invertebrates, with insects, spiders, scorpions, and shrimps showing little or no evolution even over hundreds of millions of years. These are the so called living fossils extending backward in time with essentially no change, in the case of some shrimps for as long as 500 million years. Other species, however, are highly sensitive to genetic invasion from outside. Such species face either extinction or immense change and fragmentation at a major genetic storm. Fragmentation comes from the imposition of a coarsely defined range of genetic possibilities, which after fragmentation are refined by the single base-pair adjustments discussed above. In effect, there is a genetic explosion, at first with the possibilities only broadly adapted to the environment, with the fine-scale adjustments subsequently taking place. It was the fine-scale changes that so greatly impressed Wallace and his contemporaries, and which do indeed fit the tenets of the neo- Darwinian theory. What the mathematics shows is that nineteenth-century biologists were correct so long as they remained within the range of practical experience. Where the situation went wrong was in making a huge extrapolation from the safe ground of practical experience, and still more wrong in persisting with the erroneous extrapolation in more recent times, long after ample evidence was available to show that an incorrect guess had been made." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, pp.108-109) 7/11/2007 "The reason why no connections are seen in the geological record between the orders of mammals is that the different orders are fragments from a genetic explosion, probably an explosion resulting from the immense storm of 65 million years ago. The explosion happened so quickly, producing creatures dissimilar to what had been there before, that the geological record failed to capture the explosion itself, only its products. In the mammalian case, the products are creatures of broadly similar type which emerged as fragments from the explosion, and which now constitute the different orders of mammals." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.109) 7/11/2007 "Likely enough a similar picture applies to an explosive fragmentation of an order into families of creatures, with such less violent convulsions arising from genetic storms of lesser magnitude, and with species repeatedly settling into fine-scale adaptations following every storm, whether the storm be large or small. A similar explosive concept was arrived at in the first half of the present century by the botanist J. C. Willis, but without a model to support it. Willis set out his case in a book The Course of Evolution (Cambridge University Press, 1940), which although rather repetitive contains an impressive array of facts. From botany rather than zoology, Willis arrives at the concept that in recent years has been call evolution by `punctuated equilibrium,' a concept for which he gives references back to 1837, the same year which saw the pioneering work of Blyth. Naturalists in 1837 were very close to the truth, closer a cynic might say than they are today." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.109) 7/11/2007 "There is an interesting order of plants that I should mention, however briefly, before closing this chapter. The Scrophulariales have all the aspects of an explosion into genera. Their diversity is enormous. The order includes the tomato, potato, eggplant, chili pepper, tobacco, snapdragon, African violet, gloxinia and penstemon, bladderworts and magnificent ornamental trees such as the jacaranda and the white Indian cork tree. It is striking that the Scrophulars also date from the immense genetic storm of 65 million years ago. (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, pp.109-110) 7/11/2007 "The Genetic Cost of EvolutionSelection cannot protect a species against deleterious mutations or promote the spread favourable mutations without a cost in genetic deaths occurring. In the bisexual model we have studied ... the necessary genetic deaths are born by an initially excessive population of juveniles, which besides standing up to accidental disasters imposed by the environment must also bear the cost of selection." (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.111. Emphasis original) 7/11/2007 "We took the juvenile population to be M, leading in each generation to a population N of adults who survive to reproductive age. For plants, invertebrate animals, fish, amphibians, most reptiles, and smaller mammals, M is so large compared to N that no great fraction of the available juveniles is required to die in order to maintain the integrity of a species with respect to deleterious mutations, or to permit sufficient advantageous mutations to penetrate a species to yield an effectively rapid rate of positive evolution. For the larger mammals and for many species of birds, however, M is not so large compared with N that the issue of genetic cost can be taken for granted. Typically in the latter cases, M might be about 5N, corresponding to each mating pair producing an average of 10 offspring. It would not be unreasonable to suppose that 40 percent of juveniles fail to reach maturity for accidental nongenetic reasons, leaving 3N in these cases as the margin of juveniles on which selection can operate during a final reduction to an eventual population of N surviving adults. We have seen repeatedly that exp -λ, is a load factor imposed on every individual in order to prevent a continuing penetration of a species by deleterious mutations. With the deleterious mutations taken mostly to be recessive, that is, h = 0, λ is the average number of such mutations incurred in the replication of a single set of chromosomes, λ ≅ 0.3 being a reasonable numerical estimate. If for simplicity of argument we also take the bulk of the recessive deleterious mutations to be lethal in homozygous individuals, exp -λ, is the fraction of juveniles that must die to maintain the integrity of the species, about one in three ... . Thus the need to maintain the integrity of the species reduces the margin of 3N juveniles to 2N, leaving N who can be squeezed out in the promotion of positive evolution. Hence, we conclude for birds and larger mammals: `That the number of juveniles who can be sacrificed to improve by selection the adaptation of a species to its environment is of the order of the surviving adult population. Neither birds nor larger mammals can evolve at a faster rate than is implied by this constraint, which evidently sets a maximum rate at which evolution can take place.'" (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 1999, p.112) 7/11/2007 "The human species is a critical example for testing this deduction, partly because the numbers taken above for M/N and for exp -λ are closely applicable to the human case, and partly because human evolution over the past million years appears to have been very rapid. Has the measure of human evolution been consistent with the availability of dispensable juveniles one can ask? A similar question has relevance in other interesting situations, as, for instance, following one of the major genetic storms discussed in the preceding chapter. In the wake of such a storm, opportunities arise for rapid evolution along divergent lines: How rapid could such genetic explosions and fragmentations be? And on a lesser scale, a sudden change in the environment can throw a species out of a well-adapted condition: How quickly can positive evolution then recover adaptation? We considered the latter question previously for the peppered moth, but only for the change of a single gene. When many genes are involved how does the situation develop?" (Hoyle, F., "Mathematics of Evolution," , Acorn Enterprises: Memphis TN, 13:04 PM 30/12/2007999, pp.112-113) 15/11/2007 "The accepted modern theory, essentially that worked out by Darwin a century and a half ago, rests on a few obvious and plausible propositions. Animals and plants have more offspring than can survive and reproduce in the long run. The young are not exact copies of their parents, and differences are frequently inheritable. If an inheritable variation gives some individuals a competitive advantage, they will leave more descendants. Differential reproduction with inheritable variation and the sieve of selective survival account for the development, or evolution, of all living things. This idea is summed up as natural selection, although there is no selection in the sense of choice. More descriptive is `survival of the fittest,' a phrase Darwin took from Herbert Spencer. This sounds tautological because the definition of fitness is the ability to survive (and reproduce). However, since the race is to the fastest (or fittest), the winners enter the next race and produce the next set of contestants. Just why the winners win we may not know, but they are enabled by their varying qualities to procreate others like themselves. This provides the framework for a complete theory of how life evolves. The theory of natural selection is neat and appealing. Undeniably, offspring often differ from their parents, differences can be inherited, and inherited traits can enable some to leave more descendants than others. The logic seems so solid that, in the view of Dawkins, `even if there were no actual evidence in favor of the Darwinian theory, we would still be justified in preferring it over all other theories" (Dawkins 1986, 287). Most biologists are not quite so sure, but they accept the conventional theory as their frame of reference." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, pp.1-2) 15/11/2007 "Darwin-who was better situated, presented more evidence, and was more consistent in his scientific attitude-became the symbol of evolution personified. Acceptance or denial-of the theory of evolution came to be and has remained nearly equivalent to loyalty or opposition to Darwin. Nonetheless, his theory of change by natural selection was based more on plausibility and analogy than solid evidence. It was fairly clear that variations like those observed in domestic animals brought about some changes in nature; Darwin extrapolated to assert that all differences between living creatures were thus caused, ultimately back to the separation of humans, fish, protozoa, and plants. In order to exclude anything savoring of divine intervention, Darwin also assumed that change had to be gradual and random." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, pp.6-7) 15/11/2007 "Some biologists have gone far in exalting the gene over the organism and demoting the animal itself to being merely the means of replicating genes (Dawkins 1976). The essence of evolution is said to lie in the competition of genes and their (unconscious) struggle to survive and multiply. In a typical expression, `The individual bodies...throwaway "survival machines"...are designed by genes simply as a means of enhancing gene survival and perpetuation' (Barnard 1983, 119). In other words, `The individual organism is only their [the genes'] vehicle, part of an elaborate device to preserve and spread them with the least possible biochemical perturbation' (E. Wilson 1980, 3). The stark affirmation of the `selfish gene' appeals for its counterintuitive boldness. But to say that the genes are in some indefinable way primary is more of an ideological than a scientific statement. Genes are not independent entities but dependent parts of an entirety that gives them effect. All parts of the cell interact, and the combinations of genes are at least as important as their individual effects in the making of the organism. Selection operates not on genes but on organisms or perhaps groups (and possibly species). .... To make the simplest and smallest part the reason for all the rest no doubt appeals as a token of sophistication, a claim to profundity by paradox. But it is odd to claim that the function of the elephant, a complex, seemingly purposeful, and responsive creature, or of a human is to copy sequences of nucleic acid bases, which can do nothing outside the body and are of no significance except as they contribute to the making of a new elephant or a new person. An organism interacts with the world and has a destiny; a gene only assists in making an organism." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, pp.11-12) 16/11/2007 "Evolutionary theory may be modified to meet such difficulties, and evolutionists differ widely in their views regarding the pace, focus, and mechanics of change. They firmly maintain, however, the central ideas: there is nothing purposive, and organisms adapt genetically only by success or failure in leaving descendants. In the words of Ernst Mayr, `The one thing about which modern authors are unanimous is that adaptation is not teleological' (Mayr 1983, 324)." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.16) 16/11/2007 "Darwin answered the intellectual need of the day, and the age recognized itself in him (Barzun 1941, 80, 85). He has been elevated as perhaps the greatest of scientists, and his name stands for a theory that has grown far beyond his work. What is commonly called the neo-Darwinian synthesis, or simply the modern synthesis, has taken on somewhat ideological overtones, especially in the United States. It becomes a little like a revelation by a prophet, whose every word in his major works is recorded in concordances. Darwinism is to be guarded against irreverent attack ... " (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.16) 16/11/2007 "The Darwinist model is a good working hypothesis and paradigm for research. Karl Popper, in fact, regarded it as more of a "metaphysical research program" than a scientific theory (Schlipp 1974, 134). In a common view, the accepted evolutionary doctrine, rough hewn as it may be, has to be regarded as true unless it is proved false, even though the evidence for it is admittedly incomplete. Mark Ridley, for example, again and again makes the case for natural selection simply on the grounds that we have no other plausible explanation (Ridley 1985). This perspective is understandable, perhaps persuasive. Theories in which many scientists have invested their careers are not set aside until they can be replaced by more satisfactory theories, usually brought forward by younger thinkers. " (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, pp.16-17) 16/11/2007 "Despite the infrequency of any useful mutation, it can always be postulated that the appropriate mutations came along by accident and were selected, bringing about the adaptation in question. For example, it is hypothesized that natural selection has led the female sedge warbler to prefer full-throated males because they should make good foragers for the family. On the other hand, the female lyrebird supposedly has been selected to prefer the male who neglects his offspring and so avoids bringing the nest to the attention of predators (Alcock 1988, 80-81). The female spotted hyena, in the opinion of some, has a set of external genitals like those of the male in order the better to greet her friends (Kruuk 1972, 229). Some weaverbirds are monogamous because food is scarce, others because food is abundant (Crook 1972, 304). Marmot families say together longer at high altitudes because there is less vegetation (Barash 1982, 59); if the young ones dispersed sooner at high altitudes, it would probably be because where food is scarce they have to seek new pastures. Instead of defecating on demand, like other tree dwellers, a sloth saves its feces for a week or more, not easy for an eater of coarse vegetable material. Then it descends to the ground it otherwise never touches, relieves itself, and buries the mass (Forsyth and Miyata 1984, 27-28). The evolutionary advantage of going to this trouble, involving no little danger, is supposedly to fertilize the home tree. That is, a series of random mutations led an ancestral sloth to engage in unslothlike behavior for toilet purposes and that this so improved the quality of foliage of its favorite tree as to cause it to have more numerous descendants than sloths that simply let their dung fall, and thus the trait prevailed." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, pp.17-18) 16/11/2007 "There is, however, an even sharper attack: the orthodoxy of special creation. Biologists, more than any other scientists, are subject to an organized assault that varies in intensity but never ceases, insulting and even injurious to their professional worth. No lay groups try to check or abolish the teaching of chemistry in the schools, but biologists see their science cramped and put on a level with ideas lacking in empirical foundation. They naturally assume an indignant defensive posture. Biblical fundamentalism in the United States may be the chief reason that Darwinist fundamentalism is especially strong in this country. This is an old fight. Darwin made himself the champion of natural science when its intellectual prestige was rising sharply and the intellectual community of Britain, then the most advanced country in the world, was seeking to liberate itself from theological traditions. In an area of the utmost philosophical, ethical, and religious significance, Darwinism became the banner of those who would overthrow what they saw as an irrational, superstitious view of human origins. Darwin was much more destructive of old faiths and ideas of divine guidance than was Newton two centuries earlier or Copernicus before him. The theory of evolution became the focus of the confrontation of science and religion. The debate was emotional, and decades elapsed before the fires of controversy burned low and most churches came to terms with evolution by a qualified surrender. The temperature is raised from time to time, however, especially as the advocates of Creation science press political authorities to impose their views on the public schools, or at least to check teaching of the naturalistic approach to the problem of human origins.." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.20) 16/11/2007 "The antievolutionists are much more concerned with denying the reality of evolution than with the way in which it is theorized to have occurred, to which they do not usually pay much attention. But they welcome any uncertainties about it. And if they retreat from the dogma that all species were individually created in their present forms, they would at least like to see the evolutionary process as purposeful, perhaps divinely guided. Their position would, of course, be much stronger if they accepted the reality of common ancestries and concentrated their fire on the vulnerable issue of how natural selection can account for many seeming miracles of nature, including thinking beings. Evolutionists, in counterpoint, often seem to take the very strong evidence for the reality of common ancestry as proof of the complete correctness of the mechanism they postulate." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, pp.20-21) 16/11/2007 "The theory of evolution by natural selection of randomly occurring variations is presupposed to be true because it is logical and simple. For this very reason, however, it should be regarded with suspicion; this inscrutable universe does not lend itself to facile explanations. A mechanistic approach to evolution oversimplifies thinking on an immense subject of the greatest intrinsic complexity." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.22) 16/11/2007 "The hope of many biologists theoretically to base their discipline on physics, the model science, is delusive for two reasons. One is that the complexity of organisms makes it impossible to learn much biology from facts of physics; biologists leave physics far behind when they consider adaptation, behavior, and evolutionary change. Living beings operate on a very different level from atoms, and evolution is not a mechanical but a historical process. More fundamental, understanding evolution in strictly material terms is vitiated by the fact that physics itself is riddled with conceptual difficulties and contradictions. The material particles that should theoretically form a solid foundation for biology turn out to be not solid building blocks of reality but enigmatic, if not incomprehensible, entities. And in all but the simplest and most constrained interactions of bodies and forces, new relations enter." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.22) 16/11/2007 "The famous second law of thermodynamics is not derivable from knowledge of particles; it rather contradicts their nature: elementary particle reactions are time reversible, but the essence of the second law is irreversibility. It is based on the simple proposition that energy flows from warmer to cooler regions, and from this fact develops a nonintuitive concept, entropy, which is roughly equivalent to disorder. Entropy is not easily measured or exactly defined, but scientists have found the concept useful, have generalized it, and have built theories on or around it, down to the ultimate (happily very distant) "warm death" of the universe. Thermodynamic entropy is related to information theory and thereby to evolution; some theorists see organisms primarily as systems of dissipation of energy into entropy." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.27) 16/11/2007 "As early as the seventeenth century, the hope of mechanistic understanding of nature took strong root with the systematics of Rene Descartes and the triumphs of Newton's mechanics. In the glory days of classical physics a century and more ago, scientists and philosophers exulted in the discoveries of gravitation and mechanics, giving rational explanations for a host of puzzling phenomena, from the ocean's tides to the orbits of the planets. Many thought all the basic questions had been answered: the universe had been found to be a machine. In his classic boast, Laplace proclaimed that it was only necessary to know all the positions and motions of everything in the universe in order to predict the whole of the future. This was an intoxicating perspective. We can see in retrospect that it was ridiculous, as Laplace might have realized if he had pondered how he could be sure that his great thoughts were simply equivalent to predictable motions of material particles. But the mechanistic philosophy was believable because thinkers were awed by the flood of discoveries changing the intellectual landscape. Those who investigated nature badly wanted to believe that the key had been found to unlock the treasure chest of her secrets." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, pp.28-29) 16/11/2007 "But at the very time that Max Planck, Niels Bohr, Albert Einstein, Erwin Schrodinger, and their brilliant colleagues were revising the Newtonian view of the physical universe, biology was becoming more reductionist with the application of Mendelism to Darwinism. A little later, molecular biology came to reinforce the materialistic approach. Biology remains laggard. Despite awareness of the inadequacy of reductionism, it generally insists on a reductionist approach to its primordial problem, evolution, accounting for everything by random variation (mutation) and selection, with unessential qualifications and allowance for various unpredictable influences. Many or most of its practitioners would treat organisms in the fashion of classical physics, like objects subject to forces of the environment. During the past decade or so, there has been something of a ferment as more questions are being asked and the certitudes of mid-century are questioned, but evolutionary theory `persists in adhering to the Cartesian and Newtonian mechanical paradigm' (Ho 1988, 87)." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.29) 16/11/2007 "Biologists can maintain an essentially Newtonian, statistical-mechanist outlook because the many anomalies and unanswered questions in biology do not present such clearly defined challenges to accepted doctrine as those that brought the downfall of classical physics. The invariance of the velocity of light or the spectral lines of hydrogen were facts that could not be ignored. Evolutionary theory, on the other hand, is elastic and can be stretched to cover many things. It is always possible to assume that there must have been appropriate mutations. So much is unknown or unknowable that it can be supposed that facts would fit the theory if they could only be learned. Evolution is history, history is subject to interpretation, and not much can be proved or disproved about it." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.35) 16/11/2007 "Yet traditional evolutionary thinking does not escape corrosion from the modern intellectual climate. A scientific theory is not an autonomous entity. Scientific theories are shaped by the attitudes and presuppositions that scientists bring to their handling of facts, which are selected according to the presuppositions prevalent in the scientific community and the society at large." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.35) 16/11/2007 "The Darwinian theory of evolution was the heart of a revolutionary change of outlook in life sciences in the mid-nineteenth century comparable to the rationalistic Newtonian-Cartesian revolution in exact sciences two centuries earlier. It made intelligible the process of change in the living world by the law of natural selection, much as Newton had made the movements of the planets and much else intelligible by his laws of motion and gravitation. Change proceeded by fixed and mechanistic processes in a closed universe. Evolution by the natural selection of `fitter' individuals was analogous in its concreteness and simplicity to classical mechanics-and to the economic system of liberal England, in which the competition of production units brought progress to the whole." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.35) 16/11/2007 "This [Neo-Darwinist] synthesis seemed satisfactory. It well suited the image of most biologists of their science and their intellectual role. Now it seems outmoded. ... The core of the neo-Darwinist synthesis will remain valid. No one doubts that there are small, random mutations, that mutations affect the ability of organisms to survive and propagate, and that gene frequencies in a population vary. But the meaning and centrality of these Darwinian propositions will surely be reassessed. The new mode of scientific thinking calls for a broadened agenda for evolutionary thinking, asking different questions and expecting different kinds of answers, and it is certain to be more sophisticated in its reasoning." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.37) 16/11/2007 "The remains of extinct creatures are probably the most convincing proof of the reality of evolutionary descent of living creatures, but they cast doubt on the theory that random variation and natural selection suffice to account for it. The study of fossils was already fairly advanced in Darwin's day; since then, it has produced a huge mass of information about the life of the past. There are many obviously ancestral or near- ancestral forms, yet many pages of the history of life are conspicuously missing-generally the most interesting pages." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.38) 16/11/2007 "Darwin insisted on gradualism as the essence of naturalism and the repudiation of divine intervention. His theory implied, and he quite reasonably believed, that there should be most evolution in large populations, which would produce a large number of variations, and hence that there should be much evidence of evolutionary change. Consequently he was much concerned with the incompleteness of the fossil record, to which he devoted 28 pages of On the Origin of Species (C. Darwin 1964, 279-311). He attributed it to the accidental absence or erasure of parts of the record and the inadequacy of exploration, and he was confident that in time the gaps would be filled. This was not implausible in his day. But since then the hundredfold multiplication of the number of known fossils has not much improved the continuity of the record. The most impressive intermediate-the reptile-bird Archaeopteryx, the most famous of all fossils-was aptly discovered in 1861 when debate over the new theory was most heated, encouraging the hope that more digging would uncover many more such discoveries. But no equally admirable bridging form has been found.." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.38) 16/11/2007 "The problem cannot lie merely in the scantiness of fossilization. True, it is a rare event for an animal, especially a land animal, to leave its skeleton to be dug up millions of years later. It is always possible to say that a transitional form must have existed but has not yet been found. Nevertheless, an enormous amount of information is available. ... Remains of some 250,000 extinct species have been recovered and classified, and they ought to provide a reasonably good picture of the life of the past (so far as fossilizable). ... But the fossil record does not tell us what theory promises. We expect to find a great tree, with many forks sending branches in different directions. ... The tree of life as it appears in the rocks is strangely different from this ideal. The beginnings of new limbs are seldom even close to the part of the tree from which they supposedly sprang, and a number of branches usually appear close together without any connection. Charts depicting ancestries through the ages are sometimes fudged by drawing connections where they are assumed; the more honest ones have dotted lines. By corollary, there is little indication of actual change. Stability or stasis is normal. Gradual change appears mostly in dimensions, as increases of size or enlargements of parts (Eldredge 1985, 23, 75). ... It is as though life goes behind the bushes and emerges in new clothes." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, pp.39-40) 16/11/2007 "A few gaps would be expected in a haphazard record but not the absence of documented transitions. Not only are relationships between the great groups, the phyla, obscure; lesser divisions are also undocumented. Logic suggests that there should be many intermediate forms between widely differing groups, such as the bat and the four-footed insectivore-like animal from which it must have arisen. One is more likely to find transitional forms where change has been less drastic, as between modern carnivores and those of 50 million years ago. The width of gaps tends to lessen, in a taxonomic sense, as one approaches the present because structural change has slowed as organisms become more complex and ecological spaces are filled. But Ernst Mayr goes so far as to assert that there is `no clear evidence for any change of a species into a different genus or for the gradual emergence of any evolutionary novelty' (Mayr 1988, 529- 530)." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.40) 16/11/2007 "In the more distant past, multicellular animals of modern phyla appeared abruptly about 570 million years ago in the spectacular Burgess shale formations. About 50 phyla (compared with half that number in today's world) and a large number of classes appeared-about 300 new major body plans developing in a few million years. Many of these were quite odd looking to our eyes, and they were extremely varied. There is no indication of ancestry; no invertebrate class is connected by intermediates with any other. There is very little continuity between the more complex Burgess Shale animals, with hard parts, and the preceding Vendian-Ediacaran soft-bodied animals (Morris 1990, 33; Valentine 1985, 263-267)." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, pp.41,44) 16/11/2007 "The record of plants is even more discontinuous than that of animals. When fossils of land plants appeared, without recorded ancestry, about 450 million years ago, major lines had already been formed, with no evident linkage among them. Many types arose in about 30 million years in the Silurian period (Thomas and Spicer 1987, 21). Some plant families, such as horsetails, club moss, selaginella, ginkgoes, and cycads, have been almost unmodified for tens or hundreds of millions of years. Flowering plants (angiosperms) appeared about 120 million years ago; for many millions of years, their rise was slow (Stebbins 1974, 318). However, "as soon as angiosperms became well represented in the fossil floras of the Cretaceous, they are largely referable to modern families and even genera" (Bell and Woodcock 1983, 318). Abundant fossils give little evidence of gradual change (Thomas and Spicer 1987, 61-67)." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.45) 16/11/2007 "The gaps in the record are real, however. The absence of a record of any important branching is quite phenomenal. Species are usually static, or nearly so, for long periods, species seldom and genera never show evolution into new species or genera but replacement of one by another, and change is more or less abrupt (John and Miklos 1988, 307). This contradicts the Darwinian approach. Natural selection-and Lamarckian evolution by use and disuse-would imply gradual, progressive change, with randomly diverging lines of descent. This would make a great irregular bush, not the branching ideal tree of life, much less the record that we have, with big and little branches suspended without junctions. Those who study the fossil record, dealing not with equations of population genetics but with hard facts of the past, have been most inclined to be skeptical of Darwin's insistence on slow, more or less steady change. Such paleontologists as Stephen J. Gould, Niles Eldredge, and Steven M. Stanley have recently been in the vanguard of the critics." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.45) 16/11/2007 "Along with the blanks in the record, evolutionists face the problem of how important changes could have come about; the origin of no innovation of large evolutionary significance is known (Langridge 1987, 248). Perhaps the most discussed transition is that from reptiles to birds. The appearance of mammals is passably understandable. One can fairly easily imagine reptiles' becoming mammals by degrees: standing more erect, improving the heart, stabilizing body temperature and acquiring hair to keep warm, producing a nutrient secretion fromrmal glands to nourish their offspring, and so forth. But the leap ine leap into the air is a theoretical crux. Six skeletons of a primitive pigeon-sized near-bird, Archaeopteryx, about 150 million years old, have been discovered in a German limestone deposit (Wellnhofer 1990, 70-77). It is classified as a bird primarily because outlines of feathers were preserved in some specimens. Its skeleton is reptilian: long tail, no sternum to attach flight muscles, fingers not fused to make the wing, and claws on the wing. The dinosaurian ancestry is obvious, and evolutionists point to it triumphantly as an excellent example of an intermediary between classes. It must have been close to the ancestral line of the birds because a modern Venezuelan bird, the hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin), by a remarkable surfacing of repressed genes, has almost identical wing claws as a fledgling. But the reptile-bird does not tell how a land animal became a flying animal." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, pp.45-46) 16/11/2007 "Specialists find good reasons to reject both of the theories of the origin of birds: that they developed flight as a supplement to running (because half-wings would slow the animal down) (Ostrom 1986) and that they started as gliders (because they have legs like ground-living animals) (Bock 1986). Many animals have acquired some kind of sail to extend their ability to jump, from frogs with expanded feet to gliding lizards to flying squirrels. Several modern lizards glide, mostly by flattening the body. One (Draco) can sail as far as 60 feet, thanks to a membrane supported by extensions of ribs (Bellairs 1970, 85). But Draco could not possibly advance to flight. Flying requires a surface to beat the air at some distance from the body (Paul 1988, 214). The gliding lizards of dinosaurian days were not ancestral to birds." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.46) 16/11/2007 "The first requirement for flight is a greatly enlarged surface area of the forelegs; it is useless to flap limbs without good airfoils. This problem was solved with feathers. The harder question of birds' origins is how feathers came about Strangely, evolution gave Archaeopteryx feathers almost indistinguishable from those of a modern bird, such as a pigeon, even having series of primaries and secondaries, while leaving the skeleton so little modified that some specialists have doubted that it could fly. Feathers are complexly structured organs, with delicate interlocking details, barbules, and hooklets. One would suppose them to be very difficult to evolve, more difficult than wings (wings have arisen five times, feathers only once). It is speculated that feathers served originally for temperature control and were readapted for flight-a guess without evidence that is frequently asserted as though it were a fact (as by McFarland et al. 1985, 415)." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.46) 16/11/2007 "Although they appear fully developed in an animal poorly designed for flight, feathers seem designed for this purpose. For warmth, something much simpler, like hair, would serve well, and some flightless birds, such as the kiwi, have hairlike feathers (Grant 1985, 323). The down of baby birds is better insulation than the plumes that make flight possible, but down would be rather an impediment to flight. No nonbird has anything like feathers, although many animals-not only mammals but arthropods like moths and spiders- have something like hair. If groundliving reptiles had found feathers useful for thermoregulation, it would seem likely that some would have kept the trait, or at least left some fossil trace of it, as found in Archaeopteryx and subsequent bird remains (Welty 1982, 594). A covering for warmth, moreover, would presumably be least developed on the limbs, but for flight, feathers are needed only on the forelimbs." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, pp.47-48) 16/11/2007 "The rise of birds is the more remarkable because the air was already occupied by numerous and apparently efficient flying lizards, pterosaurs, which became extinct only at the end of the age of dinosaurs, nearly 100 million years after Archaeopteryx. The question of pterosaur origin is as unaccountable as that of birds. The earliest known pterosaurs were even more specialized for flight than Archaeopteryx. The wing was mostly an enormously extended finger; the sternum was developed for the attachment of flight muscles; and the main bones were thin-walled tubes, making the creature lighter for its size than birds. Like bats, pterosaurs had a membrane-wing. One species, Quetzalcoatlus, was by far the largest flier ever known, with a wingspread of 11 or 12 meters, three times that of a condor (Radinsky 1987, 132). The pterosaurs competed with the birds for some 70 million years, only to succumb in the extinction that removed the dinosaurs." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.48) 16/11/2007 "Soon after the great extinction, the bats made a spectacular leap into the air, where many kinds of birds were well established. The appearance of bats, the first mammals to reach modern shape, was as abrupt as that of pterosaurs. Their skeleton is very unlike that of a running animal, and the earliest known bat was almost indistinguishable from modern bats. It even seems to have had an advanced apparatus for echolocation (Novacek 1988, 70). Extraordinarily, it appears that bats evolved twice." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, pp.48-49) 16/11/2007 "To attain flight, bats and pterosaurs modified the forelimb much more drastically than birds did. To achieve what the birds did with feathers, the bats and pterosaurs stretched fingers out to double the length of the rest of the body, a modification that would seem useless in its initial stages and difficult for gliders. Bats, however, are less aerially adapted than birds; they are capable of only slow, jerky flight, and they lack the birds' efficient cooling and respiratory system with air sacs and hollow bones. Yet they are generally much clumsier on the ground than birds. The problem of the evolution of bats' flight is like that of birds. Modern gliding mammals, such as the flying squirrel or the flying lemur (colugo), have no tendency to prolong their leap by flapping the membranes stretched between fore and hind limbs, and it would seem difficult to do so. That bats somehow did so is suggested by the fact that their wings are attached to their hind legs, which, unlike those of birds, are poorly adapted for running A difficulty is that if a glider like a flying squirrel began flapping its membrane to control its glide, the obvious course was to lengthen the forelimbs, not the toes. But the earliest known bats are finger flyers, almost indistinguishable from modern bats." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.49) 16/11/2007 "Insects are the only other animal to have achieved flight, which they did in the Carboniferous period, about 100 million years before flying lizards. Insects also have the distinction of sprouting wings, so far as appears, de novo. Insect wings are extensions of the integument of the thorax, and their genesis required the concurrent development of a light but stiffened membrane, a joint to the body, and suitable muscles and innervation, along with the controls necessary for flying. There is speculation that insect wings originated as an outgrowth of larval gills or as thermoregulatory devices. It is postulated that the sails of some dinosaurs served this function, but no insects are known to have such an organ, and they hardly need it because they can easily regulate temperature by moving into or out of the sunshine. It is believed, in any event, that their flight arose from gliding (Kukalova-Peck 1987, 2342). It should be easier for a small animal to develop flight because of the relationship between surface and weight. But no other invertebrate class has done so." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.49) 16/11/2007 "The Wonder of Life In the miracle of life, material substance takes on complex, self-organizing order. Life is not merely the product of the past but a program to make a future, a novelty in the universe, structure shaped for needs. The fundamental problem of life was how a biochemical system could multiply itself, in the long term improving its capacity to do so. Life uses energy (almost entirely from sunlight) to defeat the near-universal principle of increase of entropy, which means degradation or loss of faculties. In the short term, this requires growth; in the long term, it entails reproduction to surmount the decadent individual. When molecules link together to make a crystal, their order serves as a template to which other atoms can adhere and enlarge the structure. But the distance from the most elaborate crystal to the simplest living organism is enormous. Organisms are self-regulating, or homeostatic, maintaining internal conditions despite fluctuations of the external medium. All animate beings selectively exchange substances with their environment, permitting certain materials to pass in and others to go out. Almost at their inception, living things had to become able to process materials absorbed or ingested, using them to carry out vital processes, to grow and reproduce. Such an exchange is the essence of animation. A minimum of about 300 biochemical processes are necessary; in the simplest known self-sustaining organisms, there are about 550 (Morowitz 1985, 248)." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.49) 16/11/2007 "Certain aspects of the conjectured beginning of life are fairly comprehensible. Amino acids ... are easily formed from the probable components of the prebiotic atmosphere ... Yet the hurdles in the way of life's making itself were formidable. ... It is believed that RNA must have been very close to the origin of life because it is chemically more active than DNA and can uniquely act as both self-reproducer and catalyst. But RNA is difficult to make and could not have come into existence by a chance combination; unless there is a guidance mechanism, it does not reproduce itself accurately (Waldrop 1990, 1544). There had to be a set of protein structures to permit nucleic acid to replicate, yet nucleic acid was necessary to make needed proteins. A membrane was needed to contain interacting proteins and nucleic acid, but proteins and nucleic acid were necessary to make the membrane. Moreover, it had to be semipermeable from the outset to admit useful materials and permit waste to diffuse out." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, pp.55-56) 16/11/2007 "A minor problem is that although amino acids made nonbiologically are randomly optically left or right rotating, biological amino acids are always left rotating. All the amino acids in an enzyme must have the same orientation for it to be functional. The same is true of the sugars that form part of the nucleic acid chain. It seems that for life to begin, there had to be long chains with many units of the same rotational (isomeric) class, but the only known way to produce such a chain is by biological process (Hegstrom and Kondespudi 1990, 109)." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.56) 16/11/2007 "In the simplest bacterium, reproduction is complex. The strands of nucleic acid must be replicated accurately; then strands and corresponding structures must be pulled apart in such a way as to make two complete sets, and a new wall has to be built to divide the new cells. This process requires hundreds of enzymes and proteins. It is subject to a high rate of errors, resulting partly from the never absolute stability of the-intracellular environment, and errors have to be corrected in order to maintain the viability of the organism. Only a very short DNA sequence could replicate itself with sufficient reliability. But a fairly long sequence-the simplest modern genome, has about 3 million bases-is necessary to produce appropriate enzymes to check errors. If a cell had a hundred bases so in its DNA, there would-be too many errors to maintain structures--certainly more than 1 percent going wrong-yet the bases would be far too few to code for the enzymes needed to correct mistakes of transcription (Maynard Smith 1986, 118). To surmount such barriers, life had to devise, through some process of self-organization, an interlocking structure of many essential components, none of which would seem possible without the others." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.56) 16/11/2007 "Life must have begun on a single track (or else only one track left descendants) because all creatures in their infinite diversity have the same basic chemistry, with similar metabolic processes. Most remarkable, the genetic code, which as far as known is arbitrary (there is no apparent reason that any particular set of bases codes for any particular amino acid except that is the way it started), is universal (with- trivial exceptions). The code is believed to be as old as life itself (Eigen et al. 1989, 673). Once fixed, it could not be changed. It is also possible that the basic chemical reactions shared by all life are the only, or at least the best, attainable way to carry out many of its processes." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.57) 16/11/2007 "Despite its seeming near impossibility, life seems to have arisen relatively rapidly-within a few hundred million years of the formation of the planet. The earliest remnants believed to be fossil bacteria are about 3.5 billion years old. It may be assumed that these ancient bacteria were simpler than their modern descendants, but they must have solved the big problems, having developed most of the enzymes and proteins that enable organisms to function. Photosynthesis, a rather complicated process, developed at about this same time. For over 2 billion years-well over half the entire history of life-bacteria had the world to themselves. Apparently life rapidly came to or near a sort of plateau and continued for a long age with little apparent change, a pattern repeated countless times in evolution." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.57) 16/11/2007 "The more complicated nucleated (eucaryotic) cell appeared about 1.2 billion years ago. It was so long in coming that it must have been extremely unlikely, requiring several times longer than the genesis of life itself, and its advent marks the greatest known discontinuity in the sequence of living things (Glaessner 1984, 15). Between such very different organisms as bacteria and protists (protozoa and algae) there is no intermediary. The crucial advance was a membrane separating the directive nucleus from the supporting cytoplasm. Nucleic acid was divided into chromosomes instead of simply forming a ring, as in bacteria, and the amount of nucleic acid was multiplied manyfold, much of it seemingly being placed in reserve. There were also developed organelles (principally mitochondria and chloroplasts), which cooperate in the housekeeping but reproduce independently of the remainder of the cell." (Wesson, R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," , MIT Press: Cambridge MA, Reprinted, 1994, p.57) 19/11/2007 "evolution The process by which genetic changes have taken place in populations of animals and plants over successive generations in response to environmental changes (=>natural selection). Evolution has resulted in the formation of new species and, usually, an increase in complexity. Evidence for evolution comes from palaeontology, biogeography, a genetics, and comparative anatomy and physiology. Cf. => creationism. =>Darwinism, punctuated equilibrium." (Bailey, J., ed., "The Penguin Dictionary of Plant Sciences," , Penguin Books: London, New edition, 1999, pp.167-168. Emphasis original) 19/11/2007 "creationism (special creation) A view that opposes evolutionary theory and envisages the vast variety of living organisms, both existing and fossilized, as having been specially designed by a Creator. The attempted construction of phylogenetic pathways based on the idea that living forms have evolved from ancestral forms is interpreted by creationists as evidence of a `Great Design'. Creationism is difficult to disprove by experiment. Some creationists believe in the theory of catastrophism, in which it is thought that there have been a number of creations at different times, each having been destroyed by some kind of natural catastrophe, such as a flood." (Bailey, J., ed., "The Penguin Dictionary of Plant Sciences," , Penguin Books: London, New edition, 1999, p.117) 19/11/2007 "Life on earth developed over billions of years by utter chance, filtered through natural selection. So says Darwinism, the most influential idea of our time. If a rare random mutation in a creature's DNA in the distant past helped the lucky mutant to leave more offspring than others of its species, then as generations passed the species as a whole would have changed. Incessant repetition of this simple process over eons built the wonders of biology from the ground up, from the intricate molecular machinery of cells up to and including the human mind. That's the claim, at least. But is it true? To answer that question, Darwin's theory has to be sifted carefully, because it isn't just a single concept-it actually is a mixture of several unrelated, entirely separate ideas. The three most important ideas to keep straight from the start are random mutation, natural selection, and common descent." (Behe, M.J.*, "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism," Free Press: New York NY, 2007, p.1) 19/11/2007 "Common descent is what most people think of when they hear the word `evolution.' It is the contention that different kinds of modern creatures can trace their lineage back to a common ancestor. For example, gerbils and giraffes-two mammals-are both thought to be the descendants of a single type of creature from the far past. And so are organisms from much more widely separated categories-buffalo and buzzards, pigs and petunias, yaks and yeast. That's certainly startling, so it's understandable that some people find the idea of common descent so astonishing that they look no further. Yet in a very strong sense the explanation of common descent is also trivial. Common descent tries to account only for the similarities between creatures. It says merely that certain shared features were there from the beginning-the ancestor had them. But all by itself, it doesn't try to explain how either the features or the ancestor got there in the first place, or why descendants differ. For example, rabbits and bears both have hair, so the idea of common descent says only that their ancestor had hair, too. Plants and animals both have complex cells with nuclei, so they must have inherited that feature from a common ancestor. But the questions of how or why are left hanging." (Behe, M.J.*, "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism," Free Press: New York NY, 2007, pp.1-2. Emphasis original) 19/11/2007 "In contrast, Darwin's hypothesized mechanism of evolution-the compound concept of random mutation paired with natural selection-is decidedly more ambitious. The pairing of random mutation and natural selection tries to account for the differences between creatures. It tries to answer the pivotal question, What could cause such staggering transformations? How could one kind of ancestral animal develop over time into creatures as different as, say, bats and whales?" (Behe, M.J.*, "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism," Free Press: New York NY, 2007, p.2) 19/11/2007 "Let's tease apart that compound concept. First, consider natural selection. Like common descent, natural selection is an interesting but actually quite modest notion. By itself, the idea of natural selection says just that the more fit organisms of a species will produce more surviving offspring than the less fit. So, if the total numbers of a species stayed the same, over time the progeny of the more fit would replace the progeny of the less fit. It's hardly surprising that creatures that are somehow more fit (stronger, faster, hardier) would on average do better in nature than ones that were less fit (weaker, slower, more fragile)." (Behe, M.J.*, "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism," Free Press: New York NY, 2007, p.2) 19/11/2007 "By far the most critical aspect of Darwin's multifaceted theory is the role of random mutation. Almost all of what is novel and important in Darwinian thought is concentrated in this third concept. In Darwinian thinking, the only way a plant or animal becomes fitter than its relatives is by sustaining a serendipitous mutation. If the mutation makes the organism stronger, faster, or in some way hardier, then natural selection can take over from there and help make sure its offspring grow numerous. Yet until the random mutation appears, natural selection can only twiddle its thumbs." (Behe, M.J.*, "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism," Free Press: New York NY, 2007, pp.2-3) 19/11/2007 "Random mutation, natural selection, common descent-three separate ideas welded into one theory. Because of the welding of concepts, the question, Is Darwinism true? has several possible answers. One possibility, of course, is that those separate ideas-common descent, natural selection, and random mutation- could all be completely correct, and sufficient to explain evolution. Or, they could all be correct in the sense that random mutation and natural selection happen, but they might be inconsequential, unable to account for most of evolution. It's also possible that one could be wholly right while the others were totally wrong. Or one idea could be right to a greater degree while another is correct to a much lesser degree. Because they are separate ideas, evidence for each facet of Darwin's theory has to be evaluated independently. Previous generations of scientists readily discriminated among them. Many leading biologists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries thought common descent was right, but that random mutation/natural selection was wrong." (Behe, M.J.*, "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism," Free Press: New York NY, 2007, p.3) 19/11/2007 "In the past hundred years science has advanced enormously; what do the results of modern science show? In brief, the evidence for common descent seems compelling. The results of modern DNA sequencing experiments, undreamed of by nineteenth-century scientists like Charles Darwin, show that some distantly related organisms share apparently arbitrary features of their genes that seem to have no explanation other than that they were inherited from a distant common ancestor. Second, there's also great evidence that random mutation paired with natural selection can modify life in important ways. Third, however, there is strong evidence that random mutation is extremely limited. Now that we know the sequences of many genomes, now that we know how mutations occur, and how often, we can explore the possibilities and limits of random mutation with some degree of precision-for the first time since Darwin proposed his theory." (Behe, M.J.*, "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism," Free Press: New York NY, 2007, p.3) 19/11/2007 "As we'll see throughout this book, genetic accidents can cause a degree of evolutionary change, but only a degree. As earlier generations of scientists agreed, except at life's periphery, the evidence for a pivotal role for random mutations is terrible. For a bevy of reasons having little to do with science, this crucial aspect of Darwin's theory-the power of natural selection coupled to random mutation-has been grossly oversold to the modern public." (Behe, M.J.*, "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism," Free Press: New York NY, 2007, p.4) 19/11/2007 "In recent years Darwin's intellectual descendants have been aggressively pushing their idea on the public as a sort of biological theory-of-everything. Applying Darwinian principles to medicine, they claim, tells us why we get sick. Darwinian psychology explains why some men rape and some women kill their newborns. The penchant for viewing the world through Darwinian glasses has spilled over into the humanities, law, and politics. Because of the rhetorical fog that surrounds discussions of evolution, it's hard for the public to decide what is solid and what is illusory. Yet if Darwinism's grand claims are just bluster, then society is being badly misled about subjects-ranging from the cause of illnesses to the culpability of criminals-that can have serious real-world consequences." (Behe, M.J.*, "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism," Free Press: New York NY, 2007, p.4) 19/11/2007 "As a theory-of-everything, Darwinism is usually presented as a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. Either accept the whole theory or decide that evolution is all hype and throw out the baby with the bath water. Both are mistakes. In dealing with an often-menacing nature, we can't afford the luxury of elevating anybody's dogmas over data. The purpose of this book is to cut through the fog, to offer a sober appraisal of what Darwinian processes can and cannot do, to find what I call the edge of evolution." (Behe, M.J.*, "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism," Free Press: New York NY, 2007, p.4. Emphasis original) 19/11/2007 "On the surface, Darwin's theory of evolution is seductively simple and, unlike many theories in physics or chemistry, can be summarized succinctly with no math: In every species, there are variations. For example, one animal might be bigger than its brothers and sisters, another might be faster, another might be brighter in color. Unfortunately, not all animals that are born will survive to reproduce, because there's not enough food to go around, and there are also predators of many species. So an organism whose chance variation gives it an advantage in the struggle to survive will tend to live, prosper, and leave offspring. If Mom or Dad's useful variation is inherited by the kids, then they, too, will have a better chance of leaving more offspring. Over time, the descendants of the creature with that original, lucky mutation will dominate the population, so the species as a whole will have changed from what it was. If the scenario is repeated over and over again, then the species might eventually change into something altogether different." (Behe, M.J.*, "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism," Free Press: New York NY, 2007, pp.4-5) 19/11/2007 "At first blush, that seems pretty straightforward. Variation, selection, inheritance (in other words, random mutation, natural selection, and common descent) seem to be all it takes. In fact, when an evolutionary story is couched as abstractly as in the previous paragraph, Darwinian evolution appears almost logically necessary. As Darwinian commentators have often claimed, it just has to be true. If there is variation in a group of organisms, and if the variation favorably affects the odds of survival, and if the trait is inherited, then the next generation is almost certain to have more members with the favorable trait. And the next generation after that will have even more, and the next more, until all members of the species have it. Wherever those conditions are fulfilled, wherever there is variation, selection, and inheritance, then there absolutely must be evolution." (Behe, M.J.*, "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism," Free Press: New York NY, 2007, p.5) 19/11/2007 "So far, so good. But the abstract, naive logic ignores a huge piece of the puzzle. In the real world, random mutation, natural selection, and common descent might all be completely true, and yet Darwinian processes still may not be an adequate explanation of life. In order to forge the many complex structures of life, a Darwinian process would have to take numerous coherent steps, a series of beneficial mutations that successively build on each other, leading to a complex outcome. In order to do so in the real world, rather than just in our imaginations, there must be a biological route to the structure that stands a reasonable chance of success in nature. In other words, variation, selection, and inheritance will only work if there is also a smooth evolutionary pathway leading from biological point A to biological point B." (Behe, M.J.*, "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism," Free Press: New York NY, 2007, p.5. Emphasis original) 19/11/2007 "The question of the pathway is as critical in evolution as it is in everyday life. In everyday life, if you had to walk blindfolded from point A to point B, it would matter very much where A and B were, and what lay between. Suppose you had to walk blindfolded (and, to make the example closer to the spirit of Darwinism, blind drunk) from A to B to get some reward-say, a pot of gold. What's more, suppose in your sightless dizziness the only thought you could hold in your head was to climb higher whenever you got the chance (this mimics natural selection constantly driving a species to higher levels of fitness). On the one hand, if you just had to go from the bottom of a single enclosed stairwell to the top to reach the pot of gold, there might be little problem. On the other hand, if you had to walk blindfolded from one side of an unfamiliar city to the top of a skyscraper on the other side-across busy streets, bypassing hazards, through doorways-you would have enormous trouble. You'd likely stagger incoherently, climb to the top of porch steps, mount car roofs, and so on, getting stuck on any one of thousands of local high points, unable to step farther up, unwilling to back down. And if, just trying to climb higher whenever possible, you had to walk blindfolded and disoriented from the plains by Lubbock, Texas, to the top of the Sears Tower in Chicago-blundering randomly over flatlands, through woods, around canyons, across rivers-neither you nor any of billions of other blindfolded, disoriented people who might try such a thing could reasonably be expected to succeed." (Behe, M.J.*, "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism," Free Press: New York NY, 2007, pp.5-6) 19/11/2007 "In everyday life, the greater the distance between points A and B, and the more rugged the intervening landscape, the bleaker are the odds for success of a blindfolded walk, even-or perhaps especially-when following a simple-minded rule like "always climb higher; never back down." The same with evolution. In Darwin's day scientists were ignorant of many of the details of life, so they could reasonably hope that evolutionary pathways would turn out to be short and smooth. But now we know better. The great progress of modern science has shown that life is enormously elegant and intricate, especially at its molecular foundation. That means that Darwinian pathways to many complex features of life are quite long and rugged. The problem for Darwin, then, as with a long, blindfolded stroll outdoors, is that in a rugged evolutionary landscape, random mutation and natural selection might just keep a species staggering down genetic dead-end alleys, getting stuck on the top of small anatomical hills, or wandering aimlessly over physiological plains, never even coming close to winning the biological pot of gold at a distant biological summit. If that is the case, then random mutation/natural selection would essentially be ineffective. In fact, the striving to climb any local evolutionary hill would actively prevent all drunkards from finding the peak of a distant biological mountain. This point is crucial: If there is not a smooth, gradually rising, easily found evolutionary pathway leading to a biological system within a reasonable time, Darwinian processes won't work." (Behe, M.J.*, "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism," Free Press: New York NY, 2007, pp.6-7. Emphasis original) 19/11/2007 "As a practical matter, how far apart do biological points A and B have to be, and how rugged the pathway between them, before random mutation and natural selection start to become ineffective? How can we tell when that point is reached? Where in biology is a reasonable place to draw the line marking the edge of evolution? This book answers those questions. It builds on an inquiry I began more than a decade ago with Darwin's Black Box. Then I argued that irreducibly complex structures-such as some stupendously intricate cellular machines-could not have evolved by random mutation and natural selection. To continue the above analogy, it was an argument that the blindfolded drunkard could not get from point A to point B, because he couldn't take just one small step at a time-he'd have to leap over canyons and rivers. The book concluded that there were at least some structures at the foundation of life that were beyond random mutation." (Behe, M.J.*, "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism," Free Press: New York NY, 2007, p.7) 25/11/2007 "To reiterate: an unenlightened Bible translation has made victims of us all. The word `earth,' synonymous with `globe' or `planet,' is a permissible translation of the Hebrew word 'erets, from Genesis 1:1 to 2:4, even though this last verse is transitional, and shifts focus to the immediate area where Adam was created, where the flood took place, and where the tower of Babel was built. From Genesis 2:5 to 12, words such as `land,' `region' or `territory' fit the context better than the word `earth,' with the possible exception of Genesis 8:22 and 9:13. Cain was not driven off `the face of the earth' (Gen. 4:14), just out of the vicinity of Eden. Clouds never cover the globe completely (Gen. 9:14), only a segment of land. The planet was not divided in Peleg's days (Gen. 10:25), simply the immediate region. Undoubtedly, the Old Testament writers had no concept of the earth as a round globe with a circumference of 25,000 miles. What we can visualize as the earth today is entirely different from what they could have pictured as a definition of the word. Could the Hebrews or Egyptians or any other Near Eastern cultures have envisioned the world then as we know it exists today, with polar ice caps and oceans covering three-fourths of the surface, massive land continents, and numerous oceanic islands burgeoning with unique faunal populations? The notion of a global flood, based solely on the Genesis narrative, fails on two counts: (1) the word translated `earth' in Genesis can mean `land,' and (2) any word which might have defined `earth' would not mean then what it means today." (Fischer, D.*, "The Origins Solution: An Answer in the Creation-Evolution Debate," Fairway Press: Lima OH, 1996, p.260) 25/11/2007 "The author of Genesis has made choices. He had to select what information to include. He had to decide how to communicate that information effectively to his audience and how to provide it with the emphasis that would serve his purposes. He had to guide his literary art with discretion so that it would contribute productively to his purpose. Our belief in inspiration suggests that God's hand was behind all of these choices. We are not content to consider the book of Genesis as simply the work of a human author. Yet it is the assumption of this commentary that God's purpose is carried out through the human author's purpose. As a result, that author should be considered the link to the authoritative Word of God. We understand God's inspired message when we understand the human author's message. God's communication is to Israel through the author of Genesis, but we believe that the book constitutes a part of God's revelation of himself, so its vitality remains undiminished for us today. Though that message transcends culture, the form it was given in is, to some extent, culture-bound. The task before us as interpreters is to try to dissipate the culturally induced fog so that we can establish a strong authority link to God's revelation through the communication of that revelation by his chosen spokesman. The anticipated result is that we will be able to interpret the details of the text in relation to the author's purpose rather than tailoring our interpretation to whatever modern debates have captured our attention. ... None of us is immune to the syndrome of hearing what we want to hear. We are all inclined to superimpose our culture and our expectations on a text. In the case of a biblical text, the problem becomes acute because we also tend to superimpose our theology on a text and even excuse that imposition by attributing the meaning we want to derive from it to the divine author if we do not find it on the human level. ... We will assume a level of integrity to the communication that transpired between the author and his audience-that is, that he was intentionally communicating something meaningful and that he had every reason to expect his audience would understand what he meant. We will assume that although there may be more truth than the author knew, the truth he did know and communicate was authoritative and inspired. It is therefore the human author's communication that will be our target as we seek out God's Word. At times we will be able to identify other layers of meaning that transcend the human author, but it is the initial context that serves as the foundation for any other layers. This foundational layer is the most ignored, the most difficult to penetrate, and the most important, so it will be our primary focus." (Walton, J.H.*, "Genesis," The NIV Application Commentary, Zondervan: Grand Rapids MI, 2001, pp.19-20) 27/11/2007 "The Cafeteria-Line Approach is the method by which the writer or critic simply picks out of the gospel material what suits his tastes. Again, Cassels commented: `The amazing thing about all these debunk-Jesus books is that they accept as much of the recorded gospels as they find convenient, then ignore or repudiate other parts of the same document which contradict their notions.' [Cassels, Louis. "Debunkers of Jesus Still Trying." Detroit News, 23 June 1973, p.7A] This approach is especially noticeable in those who hold a naturalistic view toward the gospel accounts. Liberal theology of the nineteenth century; for example, tended to accept everything in the gospel narratives except the supernatural elements and any statements supporting the deity of Christ. ... Those who study form and redaction criticism will also observe the cafeteria-line approach in operation. The choices made as to what is `authentic' and what is `unauthentic' in the gospel accounts often are quite arbitrary, based on a preconceived bias, and supported by previous arbitrary conclusions. ... Sometimes popular writers and journalists pick up `scholarly conclusions,' which are primarily opinions supported by cafeteria-line evidence, and they report as fact those conclusions which suit their own tastes add preconceived conclusions. " (McDowell, J.* & Wilson, B.*, "He Walked Among Us: Evidence for the Historical Jesus," Here's Life Publishers: San Bernardino CA, Second Printing, 1988, p.322. Emphasis original) 28/11/2007 "evolution The gradual development of new varieties of organisms from pre-existing organisms over millions of years. The modern theory of evolution has developed from the ideas of Charles Darwin published in his book 'The Origin of Species' in 1859. According to the modern theory (called neo-Darwinism), changes occur in organisms by mutations of genes. This leads to the existence of variation amongst individuals. Some of these individuals may survive more successfully than others (called natural selection), thus producing more offspring with their new features. Gradually these new features will extend throughout the *population. If, however, the population is isolated from others differences cannot spread, and over a period of time two varieties come to exist. Only small changes to organisms have been actually observed to occur by this mechanism. e.g. Industrial melanism, resistance to antibiotics and insecticides. Evidence for larger changes must be deduced from the fossil record." (Heffernan, D.A., "The Australian Biology Dictionary," , Addison Wesley Longman: Melbourne Vic, Australia, Reprinted, 1996, p.87. Emphasis original) 28/11/2007 "evolution The gradual process of change that occurs in populations of organisms over a long period of time. It manifests itself as new characteristics in a species, and the formation of new species. See Darwinism, Lamarckism, natural selection. Compare special creation." (Tootill, E., ed., "The Pan Dictionary of Biology," , Pan Books: London, Reprinted, 1990, p.108. Emphasis original) 28/11/2007 "First and most obvious, its nakedness. Our closest relatives, the great apes, are covered with hair. Of all the species of mammals, only a handful (among them manatees, whales, dolphins, elephants, hippos, rhinos and pigs) are hairless. The interesting thing about the animals in that list is that several of them are aquatic, and some that aren't today might have had aquatic ancestors. The hairs you have retained do not just stick out in random directions, nor do they run parallel down the body; instead they are arranged diagonally, pointing in towards the midline of the body, a pattern that would encourage the easy flow of water over your body if you were swimming." (Ingram, J., "Homo Aquaticus," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," , Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, p.102) 28/11/2007 "The sweat glands scattered all over your body cool you when you're overheated, although they are by no means perfectly suited to that task: excessive sweating removes too much salt and water from the body, so much so that you need to consume expensive athletic beverages to restore the salt balance. In the days before such beverages, wouldn't it have been advantageous for our ancestors to live somewhere where both salt and water were in abundance? If this point-by-point inspection of your body leads you to weep emotional tears, that too is a unique human trait, something that would also have been useful (for removing excess salt) had we once lived in a high-salt environment.." (Ingram, J., "Homo Aquaticus," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," , Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, p.103) 28/11/2007 "You can only infer its existence from a glance in the mirror, but there is a virtually continuous layer of fat under your skin, a layer of fat that is seen most obviously in aquatic mammals, like manatees, whales and walruses. That fat may even alter your body shape, making it more streamlined in the water." (Ingram, J., "Homo Aquaticus," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," , Aurum Press: London, 2001, p.103) 28/11/2007 "Your nose sticks out prominently from the rest of your face, nostrils down, ideal for preventing water from getting in it when diving. Imagine you are about to dive-the first thing you would do is hold your breath. That ability-to decide to hold your breath-is something no other terrestrial animal is capable of doing. Why would we alone have that skill, so useful when swimming? The very fact that you are standing on two legs means you would be able to breathe in chest-deep water." (Ingram, J., "Homo Aquaticus," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," , Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, p.103) 28/11/2007 "In 1960, a British scientist, Sir Alister Hardy, was impressed enough by this suite of anatomical and physiological features to propose a radical alternative evolutionary history for human beings. He argued that these apparent traces of a watery past made the standard evolutionary picture of an ape-like creature (our ancestor) that moved from the African forests onto the savannah and stood up in the process highly unlikely. Instead, Hardy proposed that the ape-like ancestor moved out of the forest all right, but wasted no time moving into the ocean, lived there long enough to develop several adaptations for marine life, then returned to land some millions of years later." (Ingram, J., "Homo Aquaticus," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," , Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, pp.103-104) 28/11/2007 "Hardy first presented his ideas to a meeting of the British Sub-Aqua Club in Brighton in early March 1960. He titled his talk, "Aquatic Man: Past, Present and Future," but the emphasis was clearly on the past. He argued that our primitive hominid ancestors had been forced by competition to exploit a new ecological niche: feeding on seashores and in shallow waters. In an article in The New Scientist a couple of weeks later (written to clarify what Hardy thought had been misrepresentations of his speech), he wrote: `I imagine him wading, at first perhaps still crouching, almost on all fours, groping about in the water, digging for shellfish, but becoming gradually more adept at swimming. Then, in time, I see him becoming more and more of an aquatic animal ... ' [Hardy, A.C., "Was Man More Aquatic in the Past?" New Scientist, Vol. 7, 17th March 1960, pp.642-645]" (Ingram, J., "Homo Aquaticus," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," , Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, p.104) 28/11/2007 "Hardy died in 1985, but his ideas have been kept alive-and extended-by others, notably the British science writer Elaine Morgan in her books The Aquatic Ape, The, Scars of Evolution and most recently The Aquatic Ape Hypothesis. The aquatic ape theory is not a "respectable" scientific theory; it doesn't appear in anthropology texts, is rarely referred to in scholarly journals and most experts in the field- paleoanthropologists-spend zero time thinking about it. ... Even those few scientists who have published their thoughts on the theory in scholarly publications like the Journal of Human Evolution dismiss the aquatic ape theory as being just this side of crackpot. There is one exception: Daniel Dennett, the tough- minded philosopher famous (or notorious) among academics for his books Consciousness Explained and Darwin's Dangerous Idea, had this to say in the latter about the aquatic ape theory: `When I have found myself in the company of distinguished biologists, evolutionary theorists, paleoanthropologists ... I have often asked them just to tell me, please, exactly why Elaine Morgan must be wrong ... I haven't yet had a reply worth mentioning, aside from those who admit, with a twinkle in their eyes, that they have often wondered the same thing.' [Dennett, D.C., "Darwin's Dangerous Idea," 1995, p.244] The few experts I've forwarded this question to either politely refuse to comment or, in one case, complained that the question had been poorly phrased. So phrase it differently; Dennett's question is still worth asking. There are still big gaps in the scientific account of human evolution, and such gaps invite speculation and unofficial scenarios. The question that always must be asked is, do the alternative scenarios actually help fill the gaps?" (Ingram, J., "Homo Aquaticus," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," , Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, pp.104-105) 28/11/2007 "Scientists spend a lot of time pointing out the similarities between us and our closest relatives, the chimpanzees. There are two species of chimp, the common chimp that Jane Goodall has studied for decades and the lesser known bonobo, or pygmy chimp. Both are genetically very similar to humans (the common chimp closer), so much so that some scientists think of humans as just another chimp (see Jared Diamond's The Third Chimpanzee). But let's face it: there is world of difference between a human and a chimp. The most obvious is mental, notwithstanding the linguistic achievements of chimpanzees like Kanzi, the chimp trained by Sue Savage-Rumbaugh who apparently understands complicated English sentences (there are even structures in the chimp brain that hint at some sort of organization for language) or the reasoning exhibited by chimps who are smart enough to pile up boxes to reach bananas suspended from the ceiling. They're smart, but they're not Homo sapiens smart. And the difference between us and the chimps is more than just mental: physically and developmentally we're completely different animals. And yet there's that genetic similarity-the genes of the two species are more than 98 per cent identical." (Ingram, J., "Homo Aquaticus," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science, London : Aurum, 2001, pp.105-106. Emphasis original) 28/11/2007 "Another fascinating story, which strikes closer to home, is the hypothesis that our species, Homo sapiens, descended from earlier primates via an intermediate species that was aquatic (Hardy 1960, Morgan 1982, 1990)! These aquatic apes purportedly lived on the shores of an island formed by the flooding of the area that is now in Ethiopia, during the late Miocene, about seven million years ago. Cut off by the flooding from their cousins onfrican continent, and challenged by a relatively sudden change in their climate and food sources, they developed a taste for shellfish, and over a period of a million years or so they began the evolutionary process of returning to the sea that we know was undergone earlier by whales, dolphins, seals, and otters, for instance. The process was well under way, leading to the fixation of many curious characteristics that are otherwise found only in aquatic mammals-not in any other primate, for example-when circumstances changed once again, and these semi-seagoing apes returned to a life on the land (but typically on the shore of sea, lake, or river). There, they found that many of the adaptations they had developed for good reasons in their shell-diving days were not only not valuable but a positive hindrance. They soon turned these handicaps to good uses, however, or at least made compensations for them: their upright, bipedal posture, their subcutaneous layer of fat, their hairlessness, perspiration, tears, inability to respond to salt deprivation in standard mammalian ways, and, of course, the diving reflex-which permits even newborn human infants to survive sudden submersion in water for long periods with no ill effects." (Dennett, D.C., "Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life," , Penguin: London, Reprinted, 1996, p.243) 28/11/2007 "The details-and there are many, many more-are so ingenious, and the whole aquatic-ape theory is so shockingly antiestablishment, that I for one would love to see it vindicated. That does not make it true, of course. The fact that its principal exponent these days is not only a woman, Elaine Morgan, but an amateur, a science writer without proper official credentials in spite of her substantial researches, makes the prospect of vindication all the more enticing. The establishment has responded quite ferociously to her challenges, mostly treating them as beneath notice, but occasionally subjecting them to withering rebuttal. This is not necessarily a pathological reaction. Most uncredentialed proponents of scientific `revolutions' are kooks who really are not worth paying any attention to. There really are a lot of them besieging us, and life is too short to give each uninvited hypothesis its proper day in court. But in this case, I wonder; many of the counterarguments seem awfully thin and ad hoc. During the last few years, when I have found myself in the company of distinguished biologists, evolutionary theorists, paleo-anthropologists, and other experts, I have often asked them just to tell me, please, exactly why Elaine Morgan must be wrong about the aquatic- ape theory. I haven't yet had a reply worth mentioning, aside from those who admit, with a twinkle in their eyes, that they have often wondered the same thing." (Dennett, D.C., "Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life," , Penguin: London, Reprinted, 1996, p.244) 28/11/2007 "There seems to be nothing inherently impossible about the idea; other mammals have made the plunge, after all. Why couldn't our ancestors have started back into the ocean and then retreated, bearing some telltale scars of this history? Morgan may be `accused' of telling a good story-she certainly has-but not of declining to try to test it. On the contrary, she has used the story as leverage to coax a host of surprising predictions out of a variety of fields, and has been willing to adjust her theory when the results have demanded it. Otherwise, she has stuck to her guns and, in fact, invited attack on her views through the vehemence of her partisanship. As so often happens in such a confrontation, the intransigence and defensiveness, on both sides, have begun to take their toll, creating one of those spectacles that then discourage anyone who just wants to know the truth from having anything more to do with the subject. Morgan's latest book on the topic ([The Scars of Evolution] 1990) responded with admirable clarity, however, to the objections that had been lodged to date, and usefully contrasted the strengths and weaknesses of the aquatic-ape theory to those of the establishment's history. And, more recently still, a book has appeared that collects essays by a variety of experts, for and against the aquatic-ape theory: Roede et al. 1991. The tentative verdict of the organizers of the 1987 conference from which that book sprang (p. 324) is that, `while there are a number of arguments favoring the AAT, they are not sufficiently convincing to counteract the arguments against it.' That judicious note of mild disparagement helps ensure that the argument will continue, perhaps even with less rancor; it will be interesting to see where it all comes out." (Dennett, D.C., "Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life," , Penguin: London, Reprinted, 1996, p.244-245 28/11/2007 "My point in raising the aquatic-ape theory is not to defend it against the establishment view, but to use it as an illustration of a deeper worry. Many biologists would like to say, `A pox on both your houses!' Morgan (1990 ) deftly exposes the hand-waving and wishful thinking that have gone into the establishment's tale about how-and why-Homo sapiens developed bipedalism, sweating, and hairlessness on the savanna, not the seashore. Their stories may not be literally as fishy as hers, but some of them are pretty farfetched; they are every bit as speculative, and (I venture to say) no better confirmed. What they mainly have going for them, so far as I can see, is that they occupied the high ground in the textbooks before Hardy and Morgan tried to dislodge them. Both sides are indulging in adaptationist Just So Stories, and since some story or other must be true, we must not conclude we have found the story just because we have come up with a story that seems to fit the facts. To the extent that adaptationists have been less than energetic in seeking further confirmation (or dreaded disconfirmation ) of their stories, this is certainly an excess that deserves criticism." (Dennett, D.C., "Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life," , Penguin: London, Reprinted, 1996, p.245. Emphasis original) 28/11/2007 "The geneticist Steve Jones (["A Slower Kind of Bang"] 1993, p. 20 ) gives us another case in point: There are more than three hundred strikingly different species of cichlid fish in Lake Victoria. They are so different; how did they get there? `The conventional view is that Lake Victoria must once have dried up into many small lakes to allow each species to evolve. Apart from the fish themselves, there is no evidence that this ever happened.' Adaptationist stories do get disconfirmed and abandoned, however. My favorite example is the now- discredited explanation of why certain sea turtles migrate all the way across the Atlantic between Africa and South America, spawning on one side, feeding on the other. According to this all-too-reasonable story, the habit started when Africa and South America were first beginning to split apart; at that time, the turtles were just going across the bay to spawn; the distance grew imperceptibly longer over the eons, until their descendants dutifully cross an ocean to get to where their instinct still tells them to spawn. I gather that the timing of the breakup of Gondwanaland turns out not to match the evolutionary timetable for the turtles, sad to say, but wasn't it a cute idea?" (Dennett, D.C., "Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life," , Penguin: London, Reprinted, 1996, p.245. Emphasis original) 29/11/2007 "Understanding the literature on human evolution calls for the recognition of special problems that confront scientists who report on this topic. Regardless. of how the scientists present them, accounts of human origins are read as replacement material for genesis. They fulfil needs that are reflected in the fact that all societies have in their culture some form of origin beliefs, that is, some narrative or configurational notion of how the world and humanity began. Usually, these beliefs do more than cope with curiosity, they have allegorical content, and they convey values, ethics and attitudes. The Adam and Eve creation story of the Bible is simply one of a wide variety of such poetic formulations." (Isaac, G., in Isaac, B., ed., "The Archaeology of Human Origins: Papers by Glynn Isaac," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1990, p.96) 29/11/2007 "We are conscious of a great change in all this, starting in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, The scientific movement which culminated in Darwin's compelling formulation of evolution as a mode of origin seemed to sweep away earlier beliefs and relegate them to the realm of myth and legend. Following on from this, it is often supposed that the myths have been replaced by something quite different. which we call `science'.' However. this is only partly true: scientific theories and information about human origins have been slotted into the same old places in our minds and our cultures that used to be occupied by the myths, the information component has then inevitably been expanded to fill the same needs. Our new origin beliefs are in fact surrogate myths, that are themselves part science, part myths." (Isaac, G., in Isaac, B., ed., "The Archaeology of Human Origins: Papers by Glynn Isaac," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1990, p.96) 29/11/2007 "Like nearly everything else, evolution was invented, or almost invented, by the Greeks. From Heraclitus and Anaximander came the suggestion that animal species are mutable; from Aristotle, the idea of a graded series of organisms, the idea of continuity in nature or the shading of one class into another, and a model of evolutionary process in the development of the germ into the plant. From both the Stoics and the Epicureans, and particularly from Lucretius, came the doctrine that man is a part of nature and that his origins are animal and savage rather than godlike and idyllic." (Irvine, W., "Apes, Angels and Victorians: The Story of Darwin, Huxley, and Evolution," McGraw-Hill: New York NY, 1955, pp.84-85) 29/11/2007 "Already in The Origin of Species Darwin is haunted by the mystery of genetics. If variations cause evolution, what causes variations? He attacks the problem in the first and second chapters, and finally at length in the fifth. The discussion is cautious and sensible but also vague and occasionally confused. He sometimes talks as though natural selection not only sifts variations but causes them. Later, when taken to task for these lapses by Lyell and Wallace, he rectified many passages but allowed a few to remain, even in the last edition of his book. In general, he holds that variations arise through unknown hereditary factors within the organism, through use and disuse, the correlation of parts, and changes in environment. Domestic animals are extremely variable because man has introduced them into many and diverse regions. The domestic duck cannot rise from the ground because it has long ceased to need or use its wings. Significantly, its young can still fly. In short, he is often, so to speak, a Buffonian or a Lamarckian on the genetic level. At his best, he simply acknowledges a complete ignorance of the whole subject." (Irvine, W., "Apes, Angels and Victorians: The Story of Darwin, Huxley, and Evolution," McGraw-Hill: New York NY, 1955, p.92) 29/11/2007 "Darwin's matter was as English as his method. Terrestrial history turned out to be strangely like Victorian history writ large. Bertrand Russell. and others have remarked that Darwin's theory was mainly "an extension to the animal and vegetable world of laissez faire economics." [Russell, B., "Religion and Science," Home University Library: London, 1935, pp.72-73] As a matter of fact, the economic conceptions of utility, pressure of population, marginal fertility, barriers in restraint of trade, the division of labor, progress and adjustment by competition, and the spread of technological improvements can all be paralleled in The Origin of Species. But so, also, can some of the doctrines of English political conservatism. In revealing the importance of time and the hereditary past, in emphasizing the persistence of vestigial structures, the minuteness of variations and the slowness of evolution, Darwin was adding Hooker and Burke to Bentham and Adam Smith. The constitution of the universe exhibited many of the virtues of the English Constitution." (Irvine, W., "Apes, Angels and Victorians: The Story of Darwin, Huxley, and Evolution," McGraw-Hill: New York NY, 1955, p.98) 29/11/2007 "You could not see natural selection at work. Therefore it was a mere empty speculation. But in a more particular sense the sore point was natural selection itself. It seemed to substitute accident-or, as some felt, mechanism-for intelligent purpose in the natural order. ... Natural selection was an ingenious hypothesis but of course it could not be taken seriously. It omitted its own ultimate and governing factor. The American Asa Gray, a warm and sincere Darwinian, held that, so far from representing chance, natural selection embodied a blind necessity totally incompatible with theism, unless the stream of variations themselves could be conceived as guided by design. [Gray, A. "Design versus Necessity," in "Darwiniana," D. Appleton & Co: New York NY, 1876, pp.75-76] ... When Asa Gray pleaded that variations might be divinely guided, Darwin was all sympathy and understanding. Nevertheless, he felt that the more divine guidance in variations, the less reality in natural selection. Moreover, his study of domestic animals convinced him that variations were totally undesigned. Surely God had no interest in enabling man to develop such vanities as the fantail and tumbler pigeons. Darwin was quick to defend the integrity of his own principles but slow to follow the argument into theology." (Irvine, W., "Apes, Angels and Victorians: The Story of Darwin, Huxley, and Evolution," McGraw-Hill: New York NY, 1955, p.108) 29/11/2007 "At the end of his life, he [Darwin] spoke out frankly in the `Autobiography:' As usual, he explained himself with a history. His religion had wasted away before his science in a war of attrition so gradual that, in his own words, he `felt no distress' and hardly realized that a shot had been fired. Soon after his return to England, while yet hesitating between an evolutionary and a theological biology, he had discovered -no doubt with astonishment-that he had become a complete skeptic about Revelation. His ideas of progress and evolution-secondarily, his humanitarianism-had been decisive. He saw that scriptures and mythology were part of the evolution of every people. `The Old Testament was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos,' [Darwin, C.R. in Barlow, N., ed., "The Autobiography of Charles Darwin," W.W. Norton & Co: New York, 1958, p.85] not only because of `its manifestly false history of the world' but because of `its attributing to God the feelings of a revengeful tyrant.' [Ibid, p.85] He rejected Christian miracles because they were similar to those in other mythologies, because they rested on dubious and conflicting testimony, and because they contradicted the uniformitarianism he had learned from Lyell. He also rejected the divinity of Jesus and doubted the supremacy of Christian ethics. `Beautiful as is the morality of the New Testament, it can hardly be denied that its perfection depends in part on the interpretation we now put on metaphors and allegories:' [Ibid, p.86]" (Irvine, W., "Apes, Angels and Victorians: The Story of Darwin, Huxley, and Evolution," McGraw-Hill: New York NY, 1955, p.109) 29/11/2007 "Do you want to be happy? Of course you do! Then what's standing in your way? Your happiness is entirely up to you. This has been revealed to us by a man of divine serenity and wisdom who spent his life among us, and showed us, by his personal example and by his teaching, the path to redemption from unhappiness. His name was Epicurus. ... The fundamental obstacle to happiness, says Epicurus, is anxiety. No matter how rich or famous you are, you won't be happy if you're anxious to be richer or more famous. No matter how good your health is, you won't be happy if you're anxious about getting sick. You can't be happy in this life if you're worried about the next life. You can't be happy as a human being if you're worried about being punished or victimized by powerful divine beings. But you can be happy if you believe in the four basic truths of Epicureanism: there are no divine beings which threaten us; there is no next life; what we actually need is easy to get; what makes us suffer is easy to put up with. This is the so-called 'four-part cure', the Epicurean remedy for the epidemic sickness of human anxiety; as a later Epicurean puts it, `Don't fear god, don't worry about death; what's good is easy to get, and what's terrible is easy to endure.'" (Hutchinson, D.S., "Introduction," in Inwood, B. & Gerson, L.P., eds, "The Epicurus Reader," Hackett Publishing Co: Indianapolis IN, 1994, p.vii. Emphasis original) 29/11/2007 "`Don't worry about death.' While you are alive, you don't have to deal with being dead, but when you are dead you don't have to deal with it either, because you aren't there to deal with it. `Death is nothing to us,' as Epicurus puts it, for `when we exist, death is not yet present, and when death is present, then we do not exist.' [Epicurus, Letter to Menoeceus, text 4, section 125] Death is always irrelevant to us, even though it causes considerable anxiety to many people for much of their lives. Worrying about death casts a general pall over the experience of living, either because people expect to exist after their deaths and are humbled and terrified into ingratiating themselves with the gods, who might well punish them for their misdeeds, or else because they are saddened and terrified by the prospect of not existing after their deaths. But there are no gods which threaten us, and, even if there were, we would not be there to be punished. Our souls are flimsy things which are dissipated when we die, and even if the stuff of which they were made were to survive intact, that would be nothing to us, because what matters to us is the continuity of our experience, which is severed by the parting of body and soul. It is not sensible to be afraid of ceasing to exist, since you already know what it is like not to exist; consider any time before your birth-was it disagreeable not to exist? And if there is nothing bad about not existing, then there is nothing bad for your friend when he ceases to exist, nor is there anything bad for you about being fated to cease to exist. It is a confusion to be worried by your mortality, and it is an ingratitude to resent the limitations of life, like some greedy dinner guest who expects an indefinite number of courses and refuses to leave the table." (Hutchinson, D.S., "Introduction," in Inwood, B. & Gerson, L.P., eds, "The Epicurus Reader," Hackett Publishing Co: Indianapolis IN, 1994, p.viii-ix) 29/11/2007 "`Don't fear god.' The gods are happy and immortal, as the very concept of `god' indicates. But in Epicurus' view, most people were in a state of confusion about the gods, believing them to be intensely concerned about what human beings were up to and exerting tremendous effort to favour their worshippers and punish their mortal enemies. No; it is incompatible with the concept of divinity to suppose that the gods exert themselves or that they have any concerns at all. The most accurate, as well as the most agreeable, conception of the gods is to think of them, as the Greeks often did, in a state of bliss, unconcerned about anything, without needs, invulnerable to any harm, and generally living an enviable life. So conceived, they are role models for Epicureans, who emulate the happiness of the gods, within the limits imposed by human nature. `Epicurus said that he was prepared to compete with Zeus in happiness, as long as he had a barley cake and some water.' If, however, the gods are as independent as this conception indicates, then they will not observe the sacrifices we make to them, and Epicurus was indeed widely regarded as undermining the foundations of traditional religion. Furthermore, how can Epicurus explain the visions that we receive of the gods, if the gods don't deliberately send them to us? These visions, replies Epicurus, are material images travelling through the world, like everything else that we see or imagine, and are therefore something real; they travel through the world because of the general laws of atomic motion, not because god sends them. But then what sort of bodies must the gods have, if these images are always streaming off them, and yet they remain strong and invulnerable? Their bodies, replies Epicurus, are continually replenished by images streaming towards them; indeed the `body' of a god may be nothing more than a focus to which the images travel, the images that later travel to us and make up our conception of its nature." (Hutchinson, D.S., "Introduction," in Inwood, B. & Gerson, L.P., eds, "The Epicurus Reader," Hackett Publishing Co: Indianapolis IN, 1994, pp.ix-x) 29/11/2007 "If the gods do not exert themselves for our benefit, how is it that the world around us is suitable for our habitation? It happened by accident, said Epicurus, an answer that gave ancient critics ample opportunity for ridicule, and yet it makes him a thinker of a very modern sort, well ahead of his time. Epicurus believed that the universe is a material system governed by the laws of matter. The fundamental elements of matter are atoms, which move, collide, and form larger structures according to physical laws. These larger structures can sometimes develop into yet larger structures by the addition of more matter, and sometimes whole worlds will develop. These worlds are extremely numerous and variable; some will be unstable, but others will be stable. The stable ones will persist and give the appearance of being designed to be stable, like our world, and living structures will sometimes develop out of the elements of these worlds. This theory is no longer as unbelievable as it was to the non-Epicurean scientists and philosophers of the ancient world, and its broad outlines may well be true." (Hutchinson, D.S., "Introduction," in Inwood, B. & Gerson, L.P., eds, "The Epicurus Reader," Hackett Publishing Co: Indianapolis IN, 1994, pp.ix-x) 29/11/2007 "We happen to have a great deal of evidence about the Epicurean philosophy of nature, which served as a philosophical foundation for the rest of the system. But many Epicureans would have had little interest in this subject, nor did they need to, if their curiosity or scepticism did not drive them to ask fundamental questions. What was most important in Epicurus' philosophy of nature was the overall conviction that our life on this earth comes with no strings attached; that there is no Maker whose puppets we are; that there is no script for us to follow and be constrained by; that it is up to us to discover the real constraints which our own nature imposes on us. When we do this, we find something very delightful: life is free, life is good, happiness is possible, and we can enjoy the bliss of the gods, rather than abasing ourselves to our misconceptions of them." (Hutchinson, D.S., "Introduction," in Inwood, B. & Gerson, L.P., eds, "The Epicurus Reader," Hackett Publishing Co: Indianapolis IN, 1994, p.x) 29/11/2007 "abiogenesis The origin of living from nonliving matter, as by *biopoiesis. See also spontaneous generation." (Isaacs, A., Daintith, J. & Martin, E., eds., "Concise Science Dictionary," , Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, Second Edition, 1991, p.1. Emphasis original) 29/11/2007 "biogenesis The principle that a living organism can only arise from other living organisms similar to itself (i.e. that like gives rise to like) and can never originate from nonliving material. Compare spontaneous generation." (Isaacs, A., Daintith, J. & Martin, E., eds., "Concise Science Dictionary," , Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, Second Edition, 1991, p.74. Emphasis original) 29/11/2007 "biopoiesis The development of living matter from complex organic molecules that are themselves nonliving but self-replicating. It is the process by which life is assumed to have begun. See origin of life." (Isaacs, A., Daintith, J. & Martin, E., eds., "Concise Science Dictionary," , Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, Second Edition, 1991, p.74. Emphasis original) 29/11/2007 "Darwinism The theory of *evolution proposed by Charles Darwin (1809-82) in On the Origin of Species (1859), which postulated that present-day species have evolved from simpler ancestral types by the process of *natural selection acting on the variability found within populations. On the Origin of Species caused a furore when it was first published because it suggested that species are not immutable nor were they specially created - a view directly opposed to the doctrine of *special creation. However the wealth of evidence presented by Darwin gradually convinced most people and the only major unresolved problem was to explain how the variations in populations arose and were maintained from one generation to the next. This became clear with the rediscovery of Mendel's work on classical genetics in the 1900s and led to the present theory known as neo-Darwinism." (Isaacs, A., Daintith, J. & Martin, E., eds., "Concise Science Dictionary," , Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, Second Edition, 1991, p.183. Emphasis original) 29/11/2007 "Evolution The gradual process by which the present diversity of plant and animal life arose from the earliest and most primitive organisms, which is believed to have been continuing for at least the past 3000 million years. Until the middle of the 18th century it was generally believed that each species was divinely created and fixed in its form throughout its existence (see special creation). Lamarck was the first biologist to publish a theory to explain how one species could have evolved into another (see Lamarckism), but it was not until the publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species in 1859 that special creation was seriously challenged. Unlike Lamarck, Darwin proposed a feasible mechanism for evolution and backed it up with evidence from the fossil record and studies of comparative anatomy and embryology (see Darwinism; natural selection). The modern version of Darwinism, which incorporates discoveries in genetics made since Darwin's time, probably remains the most acceptable theory of species evolution. More controversial, however, and still to be firmly clarified, are the relationships and evolution of groups above the species level." (Isaacs, A., Daintith, J. & Martin, E., eds., "Concise Science Dictionary," , Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, Second Edition, 1991, pp.251-252. Emphasis original) 29/11/2007 "neo-Darwinism (modern synthesis) The current theory of the process of *evolution, formulated between about 1920 and 1950, that combines evidence from classical genetics with the Darwinian theory of evolution by *natural selection (see Darwinism). It makes use of modern knowledge of genes and chromosomes to explain the source of the genetic variation upon which selection works. This aspect was unexplained by traditional Darwinism." (Isaacs, A., Daintith, J. & Martin, E., eds., "Concise Science Dictionary," , Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, Second Edition, 1991, pp.459-460. Emphasis original) 29/11/2007 "origin of life The process by which living organisms developed from inanimate matter, which is generally thought to have occurred on earth between 3500 and 4000 million years ago. It is supposed that the primordial atmosphere was like a chemical soup containing all the basic constituents of organic matter: ammonia, methane, hydrogen, and water vapour. These underwent a process of chemical evolution using energy from the sun and electric storms to combine into ever more complex molecules, such as amino acids, proteins, and vitamins. Eventually self-replicating nucleic acids, the basis of all life, could have developed. The very first organisms may have consisted of such molecules bounded by a simple membrane. " (Isaacs, A., Daintith, J. & Martin, E., eds., "Concise Science Dictionary," , Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, Second Edition, 1991, p.491. Emphasis original) 29/11/2007 "Special Creation. The belief, in accordance with the Book of Genesis, that every species was individually created by God in the form in which it exists today and is not capable of undergoing any change. It was the generally accepted explanation of the origin of life until the advent of *Darwinism. The idea has recently enjoyed a revival, especially among members of the fundamentalist movement in the USA, partly because there still remain problems that cannot be explained entirely by Darwinian theory. However, special creation is contradicted by fossil evidence and genetic studies, and the pseudoscientific arguments of creation science cannot stand up to logical examination." (Isaacs, A., Daintith, J. & Martin, E., eds., "Concise Science Dictionary," , Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, Second Edition, 1991, pp.646-647. Emphasis original) 29/11/2007 "spontaneous generation The discredited belief that living organism can somehow be produced by- nonliving matter. For example, it was once thought that microorganisms arose by the process of decay and even that vermin spontaneously developed from household rubbish. Controlled experiments using sterilized media by Pasteur and others finally disproved these notions. Compare biogenesis. See also biopoiesis" (Isaacs, A., Daintith, J. & Martin, E., eds., "Concise Science Dictionary," , Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, Second Edition, 1991, pp.652-653. Emphasis original) 30/11/2007 "My favourite inhabitant of that [ultramicroscopic] world is a virus, but not one that preys on human beings. They too are marvellous, but the virus that first captured my imagination-and still holds it-was something called a bacteriophage, a `bacteria-eater.' Now simply called phage ... the existence of these specialized parasites was first deduced early in the twentieth century. They were not even seen; their presence was inferred. One of the discoverers of these beasts was a Montrealer by birth, Felix d'Herelle. When in Mexico in 1910 investigating a plague of locusts, he discovered that many of the insects were dying of a bacterial infection. When he grew cultures of these bacteria on plates of jellied nutrient in the lab, he noticed clear spots in an otherwise dense `lawn' of bacteria. Something was killing the bacteria in those spots, and that something passed right through filters that held back even the smallest bacteria. A few years later, after discovering the same phenomenon among the bacteria that cause dysentery in humans, d'Herelle concluded that an `invisible microbe' was responsible: a bacterial virus." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," , Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, pp.200-201) 30/11/2007 "One of his first thoughts was that these viruses could be employed as a weapon against bacterial diseases ... However the `bacteria-eaters' held great fascination for biologists nonetheless because their simplicity offered a unique opportunity to unlock some of the fundamental secrets of life. That promise has been partly realized: phages have revealed much of the molecular underpinnings of life, although there is still much remaining to be discovered. What they have illustrated most vividly is that even in a world of molecular scale, predator and prey play familiar roles: one moves, the other countermoves." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," , Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, p.201) 30/11/2007 "One of the intriguing paradoxes of these beasts is that much of what we know about them has been determined from biochemical experiments, not by visualizing them. Felix d'Herelle, the pioneer of the research, could only have seen a bacteriophage near the end of his life-the first photos using the electron microscope were taken in the early 1940s. The electron microscope evaded the limit imposed by the wavelength of light by using a beam of electrons instead, giving this microscope the capacity to see objects a hundred times smaller than had ever been seen before. Even so, it has limits: specimens must be dried and prepared for viewing, so any phage seen in the electron microscope is dead, dried and long past being able to infect any bacterial host. Nonetheless seeing a phage is a revelatory experience, not only confirming the portrait painted by the biochemistry (the criminal suspect turns out to look just like the artist's composite drawing) but also reinforcing the idea that nature is endlessly inventive-and savage." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," , Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, pp.201-202) 30/11/2007 "One more tricky issue before we enter this world: I've called it a `beast' but bacteriophage and all other viruses are not really alive. They can reproduce, but only inside a host cell, where they divert the cellular machinery from its normal tasks to the manufacture of viruses. Once outside that cell they are essentially inert chemical packages. They have great potential, but are incapable of realizing it on their own. They are on the borderline of life." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," , Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, p.202) 30/11/2007 "There are many bacteriophages, one or more for every kind of bacterium. They have been studied, not so much because they are interesting in and of themselves, but because they are relatively simple objects that can shed light on how genes work. The one that is probably the most intensively studied in a virus called T4 that parasitizes E. coli, the bacterium with the misfortune of being known mostly for its association with human feces-water quality tests search for the presence of coliform bacteria as an index of exposure of that water to human waste." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," , Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, p.202) 30/11/2007 "Under ideal laboratory conditions an E. coli cell can divide every twenty minutes. Obviously, as has been pointed out many times before, that can't possibly be happening in the natural habitat (your intestine) or the earth would be swamped by these bacteria in a couple of days. Nonetheless coliform bacteria represent a highly evolved, incredibly efficient life form; thus any organism that would target it must be highly evolved as well, and the T4 bacteriophage fits the bill. In fact it is speculated that T4 probably appeared on the planet shortly after its bacterial hosts, which puts its arrival at something like three and a half billion years ago. Its modus operandi substantiates the view that it is anything but primitive." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," , Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, pp.202-203) 30/11/2007 "The unwitting victim, the E. coli cell, may be just visible at the limits of the ordinary light microscope, but it dwarfs T4, its killer. If an E. coli cell were a breakfast sausage, a T4 phage would be about the size of a black peppercorn. And remember, there could be five thousand such sausages laid end-to-end across your fingernail." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," , Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, p.203) 30/11/2007 "It's very easy to demonstrate in the lab just how devastating a T4 infection can be for E. coli. Bacteriologists can grow the bacteria on agar gel in a petri plate. If the gel incorporates the right nutrients, a population of E. coli will grow at remarkable speed, soon covering the surface of the gel completely with a lawn of bacterial cells. If one hundred phages were introduced to that lawn, you would soon see one hundred circular clearings (just as Felix d'Herelle did), areas where billions of bacterial cells have died, killed by one virus and its offspring. It's true that the bacteria reproduce quickly, but the phage does better: an original single virus infecting one bacterial cell will produce two hundred new viruses in half an hour. Each of those two hundred move on to infect another cell, and so it goes. That's impressive, but it is just numbers. The beast itself, the chase and the kill are remarkable." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," , Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, pp.203-204) 30/11/2007 "A T4 phage looks a little like the Apollo lunar lander. It has a geometric head, a tail, and a set of tail fibres that spread out and attach to the surface of the bacterium. In function, however, it is more like a completely self-contained robotic spacecraft-fully preprogrammed. The manufactured appearance-the unlifelike symmetry-is surprising at first look, probably because we think of microscopic infectors as tiny worms, or even miasmic gases, concepts left over from centuries ago. But the forces that dominate this world (where objects are millionths of a metre in size or less) are powerful short-range chemical bonds, and structures are nakedly molecular. For instance, a molecule will attract or repel others depending on the haze of electric charge surrounding its projections or the shape and orientation of tiny crevasses on its surface. A second molecule might fit like a hand in a glove or it might never make contact. This isn't to say that life in our world isn't dictated by the same kind of chemistry-it is. But other forces, especially gravity, play a dominant role. In the world of the phage, chemistry is it." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," , Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, p.204) 30/11/2007 "In the absence of prey, the T4 phage simply drifts with the tide-it is not capable of seeking out E. coli. In drift mode the tail fibres are stowed, pinned up alongside the tail. However, when the virus comes into contact with the surface of the bacterial cell, the tail fibres immediately swing down and spread out, and are the first parts of T4 actually to touch the E. coli cell. They will attach wherever they contact a specific receptor molecule that's part of the external coat of the bacterium. However, the bond between one tail fibre and its receptor is weak, too weak to anchor the virus. There are six such fibres and at least three must make contact before capture is complete. That doesn't happen immediately because the receptors are distributed across the surface of the bacterium like occasional repeating tiles in a mosaic. This is the first step of what phage scientists call the `phage mating dance.' T4 walks across the surface of its intended victim, tail fibres attaching, then detaching, until finally it makes sufficient, and permanent, contact." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," , Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, pp.204-205) 30/11/2007 "Once anchored, a remarkable series of events ensues. The virus adjusts its position so that the tail is positioned over a thin portion of the surface of the bacterium. Tail fibres attached to the flat base plate of the tail extend and pin the virus down (no escape now) and suddenly the base plate itself mysteriously changes shape from hexagonal to star-shaped. This triggers a rearrangement of the molecules of the outer sheath of the tail; the sheath contracts, the tail fibres bend and the virus is pulled down closer to the cell surface. The core of the tail actually penetrates partway through the multilayered outer envelope of the bacterium, an event likely made easier by enzymes in the base plate that chop up some of the surface molecules in that envelope." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," , Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, p.205) 30/11/2007 "Now the head of the virus sits just above the cell. The head is a rigid hollow case in the shape of an icosahedron, a regular twenty-sided geometric figure. It contains the genes of the phage, more than one hundred and fifty of them, all linked together in one long thread of DNA. Long of course is a relative term, but the phage DNA, stretched out, would measure several hundred times the dimensions of the head. No one is yet sure exactly how that much DNA is packed into that tiny space, a space made tinier by the fact that special packing molecules are stuffed in there as well. But at this point in the phage mating dance, the DNA isn't going to be locked inside the head much longer." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," , Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, pp.205-206) 30/11/2007 "When the hexagonal base plate changed its shape, it opened up a channel wide enough for a single DNA double helix to pass through. Now the huge string of phage DNA, its entire genome, snakes its way through the tail, through the bacterial surface envelopes, the rigid cell wall and into the interior. It's all over in less than a minute, this process that some researchers have likened to throwing a potful of spaghetti-one enormous strand-into a colander and having the end of that strand find its way through a hole and then feed itself through completely. The energy to do that has to come from somewhere, but it's not yet clear where. One thing is certain: once the phage DNA has entered the E. coli cell the poor bacterium is not long for this world. And it is about to suffer the indignity of contributing through its death to the multiplication of the phage." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," , Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, p.206) 30/11/2007 "It's simple really. Among the hundred-and-fifty-plus genes in the phage DNA are those that direct (through the molecules they make) the shutdown of almost all E. coli activities. However, the cellular machinery formerly used to make E. coli membranes, enzymes, structural protein molecules-the machinery that maintained the bacterium's pulse of life-remains unscathed and is instantly converted to creating new phages. The now commandeered bacterial cell becomes a factory floor for phage parts. As the minutes tick by scaffolds for building new heads appear here, tail fibres there, baseplates over here. It might appear simple, but in fact some of these parts are composed of several different kinds of molecules. David Coombs, a phage biologist at the University of New Brunswick, has called the base plate alone `one of the most challenging biological structures ever studied in molecular detail.' Some phage parts spontaneously self- assemble from their components, but others must be engineered together under the guidance of yet more molecules." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," , Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, pp.206-207) 30/11/2007 "A hint of the subtlety of engineering involved can be seen in the manufacture of new phage DNA. Naturally it's assembled using the machinery that E. coli used to make its own DNA. But what is it made out of? Pieces of E. coli DNA that were disorganized, then dismembered, mere minutes after the phage gained access to the interior of the cell. The phage manages to scavenge about twenty viruses' worth of DNA from host DNA. But the phage DNA is different in one important respect: one of the four DNA subunits is decorated with small molecules that identify it as uniquely phage. It's suspected this protects the phage DNA from enzymes inside the cell that normally attack and destroy any pieces of foreign DNA that they happen upon. It may even protect the intruder's DNA from its own DNA-destroying chemicals. Because such recognition is a molecular touch-and-feel sort of process, DNA with these unusual decorations escapes." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," , Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, p.207) 30/11/2007 "Assembly continues in an ordered but rapid fashion. Fully mature heads are built around head scaffolds (which are then discarded), then stuffed with a complete set of genes. Tail fibres bond to base plates, tail cores to sheaths, base plates to tails, and before the half hour is out hundreds of new phages are ready to be released. One final enzyme is manufactured which chews away the bacterial envelope from the inside and the progeny viruses escape to begin the routine all over again." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," , Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, p.207) 30/11/2007 "How do any E. coli survive in the face of such diabolical evolutionary design? They might come up with alterations to the receptors that the tail fibres recognize, which would literally make them `invisible' to the phage, but there's good evidence that the phages can simply respond by altering their tail fibres to make them visible again. E. coli also makes a variety of defensive DNA-destroying enzymes, but T4 can evade many of those by decorating its own DNA, although there's likely an ongoing battle here, with E. coli cells swapping defence genes among themselves." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," , Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, pp.207-208) 30/11/2007 "Perhaps the most effective defences are what are called `guests' hiding in the E. coli DNA. These are genes left behind in the E. coli chromosome by other phages or in some case by some unknown visitor. These alien genes will not permit the T4 to reproduce inside the E. coli cell, but this act of defiance is a noble one for the bacterium, because the bacterium dies in the process, reminiscent of the infamous phrase from the Vietnam War, `We had to destroy the village to save it.' In this molecular version, however, death of the bacterium does insure that no new viruses will be produced from it." (Ingram, J., "The Bacteria Eaters," in "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," , Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005, p.208) 30/11/2007 "mutation A sudden random change in the genetic material of a cell that may cause it and all cells derived from it to differ in appearance or behaviour from the normal type. An organism affected by a mutation (especially one with visible effects) is described as a mutant. Somatic mutations affect the nonreproductive cells and are therefore restricted to the tissues of a single organism but germline mutations, which occur in the reproductive cells or their precursors, may be transmitted to the organism's descendants and cause abnormal development. Mutations occur naturally at a low rate but this may be increased by radiation and by some chemicals (see mutagen). Most (the gene mutations) consist of invisible changes in the DNA of the chromosomes, but some (the chromosome mutations) affect the appearance or the number of the chromosomes. An example of a chromosome mutation is that giving rise to *Down's syndrome. The majority of mutations are harmful, but a very small proportion may increase an organism's *fitness; these spread through the population over successive generations by natural selection. Mutation is therefore essential for evolution, being the ultimate source of genetic variation." (Isaacs, A., Daintith, J. & Martin, E., eds., "Concise Science Dictionary," , Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, Second Edition, 1991, p.455. Emphasis original) 30/11/2007 "natural selection The process that, according to *Darwinism, brings about the evolution of new species of animals and plants. Darwin noted that the size of any population tends to remain constant despite the fact that more offspring are produced than are needed to maintain it. He also saw that variations existed between individuals of the population and concluded that disease, competition, and other forces acting on the population eliminated those individuals less well adapted to their environment. The survivors would pass on any inheritable advantageous characteristics (i.e. characteristics with survival value) to their offspring and in time the composition of the population would change in adaptation to a changing environment. Over a long period of time this process could give rise to organisms so different from the original population that new species are formed. See also adaptive radiation. Compare punctuated equilibrium." (Isaacs, A., Daintith, J. & Martin, E., eds., "Concise Science Dictionary," , Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, Second Edition, 1991, p.458. Emphasis original)
* Authors with an asterisk against their name are believed not to be evolutionists. However, lack of an
asterisk does not necessarily mean that an author is an evolutionist.
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Created: 23 December, 2006. Updated: 4 April, 2010.