28 March 2013

We Interupt this Blog Vacation...

For reasons that will be obvious to longtime readers (if there's anyone out there still).

Evolution May Be More Random Than Previously Believed

Some ecologists say the theory needs an update. They’ve proposed a new dynamic driving the emergence of new species, one that doesn’t involve adaptations or survival of the fittest.

Give evolution enough time and space, they say, and new species can just happen. Speciation might not only be an evolutionary consequence of fitness differences and natural selection, but a property intrinsic to evolution, just as all matter has gravity.

For reasons that remain unclear, they don't seem to be calling it the Cohen Theory of Evolution.


Peter said...

We win!! God bless the New England Complex Systems Institute.

However, I fear they will soon all be on the street begging for quarters. As Chinese palaeontologist, Jun-Yuan Chen, once quipped, “In China we can criticize Darwin but not the government. In America you can criticize the government but not Darwin.”

David said...

Well, no one likes it when their god is blasphemed.

Peter said...

Especially from within.

Hey Skipper said...

Well, duh.

I'm pretty certain I typed stuff almost exactly along that line back in the day.

Of course random variation happens; therefore, reproductively isolated populations will diverge over time.

Why is this such a revelation?

Peter said...

Nice try, Skipper, but David and I have long memories.

Joe Shropshire said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe Shropshire said...

I don't -- what did Peter just win?

David said...

Joe: Basically, see any thread in which I called Darwin trivial, but for example see this thread and this thread.

Hey Skipper said...


You are in your Delphic mode again.

Regarding the first link (it was interesting entering the WayBack machine) -- any follow up to the original study?

Also, one thing struck me all these years later about the statistical discussion: no one mentioned the certainty that if mutations are random, some mutations will themselves mutate in a (I think) Poisson distribution. Each time a mutation mutates, their is a 1:4 chance it will return to its original state.

I don't have the mathematical sophistication to analyze the probabilities, but it sounded a lot like the original analysis excluded the probability of original > something else > original.

From the second link, you said:

I just think that almost any mutation that can be expressed in a living creature can survive.

Penguins and flamingos say otherwise.