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Natural selection proves a harsh mistress anyway

Paul Nelson has fun at Evolution News and Views with diagrams and “ontogenetic depth”:

Understanding Ontogenetic Depth, Part I: Naming Versus MeasuringI was supposed to do this a year ago — well, long before that, too — but a glacier passed me on the interstate, and then I ran out of gas, got so depressed that I threw my notes into a box, and…oh, never mind. Let’s get started.

After the second entry in this series (part II), we’ll open up the comments section for your responses.

1. Introduction: Why A Biological Distance That’s Currently Impossible to Measure, Ontogenetic Depth, Nevertheless Really Matters to Evolutionary Theory

Then he has fun with the latest download of P. Z. Myers:

I have to admit when Myers told this story, he expressed it with such aplomb that, at the time, I could only smile. But as I contemplated his drawing, I realized what he had sketched could not possibly work in any realistic evolutionary scenario.Indeed, it then struck me that I had seen Myers’ scenario many times before. Evolutionary developmental biologist Lewis Wolpert — whom no one, even in his wildest delirium, would ever mistake for an ID theorist — had long critiqued the scenario on functional grounds, using what he called “the continuity principle.” (1994) The continuity principle requires that any change occurring in an evolutionary transformation be biologically possible, that is, viable and stably heritable in the next generation.

The next generation … Nelson means the one in which natural selection shuts the door in everyone’s face?

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One Response to Natural selection proves a harsh mistress anyway

  1. “So the dilemma is easily solved,” argues Thomson (1992, 112). “Because early stages have changed, they must be capable of change.”

    Hahaha

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