Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A bit of hyperbole for a Wednesday morning?

From here.
Altenberg! The Woodstock of Evolution? By Suzan Mazur

It's not Yasgur's Farm, but what happens at the Konrad Lorenz Institute in Altenberg, Austria this July promises to be far more transforming for the world than Woodstock. What it amounts to is a gathering of 16 biologists and philosophers of rock star stature – let's call them "the Altenberg 16" – who recognize that the theory of evolution which most practicing biologists accept and which is taught in classrooms today, is inadequate in explaining our existence. It's pre the discovery of DNA, lacks a theory for body form and does not accomodate "other" new phenomena. So the theory Charles Darwin gave us, which was dusted off and repackaged 70 years ago, seems about to be reborn as the "Extended Evolutionary Synthesis".
Incidentally, although I've gone quiet on ID for now, this is basically because I didn't feel the discussions here were adding anything to what had gone before. I am still not convinced that mutations in DNA can generally be an engine of selection for structures on a completely different scale; I still don't think that there is evidence that evolutionary processes can move smoothly over biological quantum leaps (eg. changes in numbers of chromosomes, addition of new structures); I'm still not convinced by "selfish-gene" type explanations of behavioural phenomena, which seem like post-hoc rationalisation. And I still think that The God Delusion is the laziest bit of scientific/philosophical writing I've read in 20 years.