Archive for October, 2010

Genetics to Epigenetics, the Third Wave

 

In his autobiography, Charles Darwin notes, “Towards the end of the work I gave my well abused hypothesis of Pangenesis. An unverified hypothesis is of little or no value”—the First-Wave of evolutionary thought. Today, Darwin’s sentiments on pangenesis have re-emerged, however, this time on genetics.

In this week’s edition of the journal Science published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the focus is on epigenetics. An on-line issue even features a video by Science editor Guy Riddihough asking a number of top researchers a simple question: “What’s your definition of epigenetics?” And, “Their answers aren’t quite so simple,” according to Riddihough. Continue Reading

Nature, the Journal Explains

 

Charles Darwin simply presented an argument in The Origin of Species for evolution. Darwin called it “one long argument”.

Even critical of his own work, in a letter to H. Falconer in October 1862, Darwin wrote, “I look at it as absolutely certain that very much in the Origin will be proved to be rubbish; but I expect and hope that the framework will stand.”

To demonstrate that Darwin’s framework has stood the test of time, in 2008 the journal Nature, launched the following challenge to evolutionists – “Evolution is a scientific fact, and every organization whose research depends on it should explain why… Between now and the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth on 12 February 2009, every science academy and society with a stake in the credibility of evolution should summarize evidence for it on their website and take every opportunity to promote it.”

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Fascinating Fossil Frustration

 
Fossils fascinated and frustrated Charles Darwin. While on the HMS Beagle expedition, “I have been wonderfully lucky with fossil bones,” Darwin wrote. “Some of the animals must have been of great dimensions: I am almost sure that many of them are quite new.”

At Bahia Blanca, Darwin discovered a very large fossil that was complete. The geological location of the fossil find was problematic, however. The location of the fossil was below a layer of white seashells, similar to the layer he found on the island of Santiago.

This puzzled Darwin. How could the large fossil be located below an ocean deposit, not above? Darwin knew this observation contradicted what Charles Lyell had proposed in his Principles of Geology. Continue Reading

Information

 

In The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin uses the term information seven times. In all seven uses, information is only used in the context of gaining knowledge, “I have also reason to suspect, from information given me by Mr. W. W. Edwards, that with the English race horse the spinal stripe is much commoner in the foal than in the full-grown animal.”

Information is never used in the context of genetics. In fact, information is only used in the context of exchanging information between colleagues.  

“And it would appear from information given me by Mr. Watson, Dr. Asa Gray, and Mr. Wollaston… ”

“… as I have learnt from information and specimens sent to me by Mr. Salvin… ”

“Mr. Agassiz, to whose great kindness I am indebted for much information on the subject… ”

“This species is found in the southern parts of England, and its habits have been attended to by Mr. F. Smith, of the British Museum, to whom I am much indebted for information on this and other subjects.”

“Accordingly I wrote to Professor Miller of Cambridge, and this geometer has kindly read over the following statement, drawn up from his information.”

“… without any information in regard to their geological position, no one would have suspected that they had co-existed with sea-shells all still living.”

Little did Darwin know that even before the publication of the fourth edition of The Origin of Species in 1866, Gregor Mendel had presented the now-famous paper entitled “Experiments on Plant Hybridization,” laying the foundations of modern genetics. Continue reading

Value

 

Charles Darwin lamented in his autobiography over ascribing to pangenesis in The Origin of Species – 

Towards the end of the work I gave my well abused hypothesis of Pangenesis. An unverified hypothesis is of little or no value.

While Darwin’s hypothetic pangenesis was an accepted theory in 1859, by 1864 French biologist, Louis Pasteur, had undermined pangenesis by demonstrating that life cannot arise spontaneously—life can only come from life. Darwin was right. Pangenesis is of “no value.”

By the mid-twentieth century, while Francis Crick and James D. Watson unveiled the molecular structure of DNA. In 1953, the momentum of evolution theory was rapidly defaulting to a mutation plus natural selection neo-Darwinian model, most commonly known as Modern Synthesis.
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Book Description



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Darwin, Then and Now is a journey through the most amazing story in the history of science - the history of evolution. The book encapsulates who Darwin was, what he said, and what scientists have discovered since the publication of The Origin of Species in 1859.

With over 1,000 references, Darwin Then and Now is a historical chronicle of the rise and fall of the once popular theory of biological evolution.

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