Ouch

Eugene Koonin wrote another paper entitled, The Biological Big Bang model for the major transitions in evolution.  In this case, the reviewer was  William Martin (University of Duesseldorf).  Martin wrote:

Abstract: “In each major class of biological objects, the principal types emerge “ready-made”, and intermediate grades cannot be identified.” Ouch, that will be up on ID websites faster than one can bat an eye. (emphasis added)

Koonin’s reply is below the fold

Author’s response: Here I do not really understand the concern. I changed “ready-made” to “abruptly”, to avoid any ID allusions and added clarifications but, beyond that, there is little I can do because this is an important sentence that accurately and clearly portrays a crucial and, to the very best of my understanding, real feature of evolutionary transitions. Will this be used by the ID camp? Perhaps – if they read that far into the paper. However, I am afraid that, if our goal as evolutionary biologists is to avoid providing any grist for the ID mill, we should simply claim that Darwin, “in principle”, solved all the problems of the origin of biological complexity in his eye story, and only minor details remain to be filled in. Actually, I think the position of some ultra-darwinists is pretty close to that. However, I believe that this is totally counter-productive and such a notion is outright false. And, the ID folks are clever in their own perverse way, they see through such false simplicity and seize on it. I think we (students of evolution) should openly admit that emergence of new levels of complexity is a complex problem and should try to work out solutions some of which could be distinctly non-orthodox; ID, however, does not happen to be a viable solution to any problem. I think this is my approach here and elsewhere.

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2 responses to “Ouch

  1. ” …the ID folks are clever in their own perverse way….”

    (Rubbing hands together, with shoulders slumped over): Mmmmwwwaaaahahahahahha!

  2. Such perverse ID hum(u)or.

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