Disclaimer: The opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily reflect my actual opinions.

November 29, 2004


I picked up a copy of Shattering the Myths of Darwinism by Richard Milton the other day. As those who know me well (or even in passing, probably) can attest I love a good argument, especially if one side seems utterly hopeless. So I'm naturally drawn to anti-Darwinian stuff like this and Darwin's Black Box by Michael Behe.

The book was deeply impacting, not so much because his arguments are compelling, but because it highlighted my ignorance of evolution beyond the most basic concepts. I know essentially nothing more than what I learned in school, and what I read in a few of Richard Dawkins's books a decade ago.

I was alarmed by my inability to contradict most of his points; indeed, I walked away almost convinced by it all. While I consider some of his points to be valid (such as that "survival of the fittest" is in fact a tautology, because when you get right down to it, from a linguistic point of view, what it really means is "the individuals that produce the most offspring... produce the most offspring") I can't help feeling that I should know much, much more about probably one of the most important topics of all, in any area of life.

To this end I just bought The Structure of Evolutionary Theory by Stephen Jay Gould. At just over 1,400 pages I reckon it should provide me with a pretty thorough treatment of the subject, if I ever manage to get through it all. At the very least I should emerge, blinking and pale, significantly more knowledgable about evolution than I am at the moment. On the plus side, too, is the fact that it was written by the guy who proved able to resist the comfort and safety of the academic mainstream and was able to break free of the restrictive dogma of Darwinism enough to propose significant modifications to the theory in order to explain the evidence, rather than explain away the evidence, of the fossil record (by which I mean punctuated equilibrium).

So that's that. A quite possibly highly disingenuous book made me recognize a shameful inadequacy in my knowledge, and hopefully a dead biologist can help me fix that.

The is the end of my least interesting blog post ever.


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