Darwiniana

History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Confusions of speciation

May 31st, 2008 · No Comments

What is a species?

If somebody asked me to write a short essay giving an overview of my favourite topic, the nature of species, I doubt that I could. I can write a long essay on it (in fact, several) but it would be excruciatingly hard to write a short one. For that, we need a real writer. Carl Zimmer is the guy. He has an essay on species in the current edition of Scientific American. And despite quoting some obscure Australian philosopher, it is a good summary of the issues. How he manages to get up on a topic like that amazes me. It took me a good five years. Read the rest of this post at my blog here.

I would be wary of passing judgment on such a complicated subject, but it is my impression that the standard for defining species is misleading: that is, the boundary is relatively fluid in many cases, while it is a thoroughly complex barrier in others. This leads to the application of the misleading generalizations based on natural selection, which might lead to pseudo-speciation in many instances, but not to full speciation in more complex cases.
It is certainly not the case that natural selection led to human speciation: something far more complex is involved, and the study of the eonic effect, and human history shows us a glimpse of what that something is.

Tags: Evolution

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