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Woodstock of evolution

September 29th, 2008 · No Comments

From Cosmic Ancestry

20 September 2008
Woodstock of evolution? That’s how Nature descibes a meeting among sixteen leading biologists at the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research in Altenberg, Austria, 10-13 July 2008. The purpose of the meeting was to go beyond the modern synthesis that has held evolutionary theory together for more than sixty years. This is necessary because the existing theory leaves much unexplained —

“When the public thinks about evolution, they think about the origin of wings and the invasion of the land,” says Graham Budd, a palaeobiologist at the University of Uppsala, Sweden. “But these are things that evolutionary theory has told us little about.”
Scott Gilbert, an evo-devo researcher at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania comments, “The modern synthesis is remarkably good at modelling the survival of the fittest, but not good at modelling the arrival of the fittest.”
The participants agreed that such shortcomongs must be carefully downplayed (see right), because “creationists seize on any hint of splits in evolutionary theory or dissatisfaction with Darwinism.” Apparently darwinism is still gridlocked and real reform is not imminent. Meanwhile, we noticed a couple of reported comments that are consistent with cosmic ancestry —
Stuart Newman, a developmental biologist at New York Medical College, comments “You can’t deny the force of selection in genetic evolution, but in my view this is stabilizing and fine-tuning forms that originate due to other processes.”
To explain the sudden appearance of turtles, Scott Gilbert suggested, “all the genes are probably there already….”

Tags: Evolution

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