Wesley R. Elsberry posted Entry 212 on May 16, 2004 03:59 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/211

Let me start this off with a quote from Charles Darwin:

I have been struck with the likeness of many of the half-favourable criticisms on sexual selection, with those which appeared at first on natural selection; such as, that it would explain some few details, but certainly was not applicable to the extent to which I have employed it.  My conviction of the power of sexual selection remains unshaken; but it is probable, or almost certain, that several of my conclusions will hereafter be found erroneous; this can hardly fail to be the case in the first treatment of a subject.  When naturalists have become familiar with the idea of sexual selection, it will, as I believe, be much more largely accepted; and it has already been fully and favourably received by several capable judges.

(Descent of Man, preface)

And now let’s look at this news story that has as its focus a “challenge” to sexual selection.

Lunch with the FT: Rainbow warrior

Simon London wrote:

“If you have a theory that says something is wrong with so many people, then the theory is suspect,” says Joan Roughgarden, looking up from her Caribbean chicken salad. “It is counter-intuitive that nature should have done such a bad job - or, if you prefer, that God should have made so many mistakes.”

The theory in question is Charles Darwin’s theory of sexual selection; the “mistakes” are homosexuals, bisexuals, transsexuals - anyone who does not fit into the neat categories of heterosexual male and female.

By challenging the great 19th-century naturalist, Roughgarden, a professor of biological sciences and geophysics at Stanford University, is making waves in academia and beyond. The implications, not only for science but also for society, could be profound. After all, you don’t need to be versed in the Origin of Species to share Darwin’s twin assumptions that, broadly, the purpose of sex is reproduction and that females select mates on the basis of genetic characteristics or traits.

Being versed in Darwin studies would mean that one would know that instead of Origin of Species one should be looking at Descent of Man for Darwin’s full explication of his theory of sexual selection. And when one looks there, does one find that sexual selection is founded strictly upon the two “assumptions” identified above? No, one does not.

Continue reading “Darwinism in Crisis Again?” on The Austringer.

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Comment #2281

Posted by Reed A. Cartwright on May 16, 2004 4:54 AM (e)

There is a lot about Evolutions’s Rainbow that seems more influenced by politics than science.

Comment #2295

Posted by Ian Musgrave on May 16, 2004 3:23 PM (e)

I read an interview with Joan Roughgarden in New Scientsist recently. All the way through I kept on wondering when she would address the evidence for Sexual Selection. And evidence there is, there has been a lot of work on Sexual Selection, especially in birds, both observational and experimental (such as giving artifically longer tails to birds and observing mate preference). All the experimetal evidence supports Darwin’s basic idea. Yet none of this was mentioned in the article.

Comment #2296

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on May 16, 2004 4:01 PM (e)

Taking notice of the evidence would hurt sales, wouldn’t it?

Comment #2298

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on May 16, 2004 5:59 PM (e)

OK, let’s have a bet. Is Dr. Roughgarden going to be the first academic scientist publicly critical of Darwin not to prominently make it into any of the ID’s “lists of scientists”, or will they include her, despite her personal history? In other words, what’s going to win at the DI headquarters: Darwin-hatred or religious conservatism? Decisions, decisions…

Comment #2317

Posted by RBH on May 16, 2004 8:45 PM (e)

Andrea asked

Is Dr. Roughgarden going to be the first academic scientist publicly critical of Darwin not to prominently make it into any of the ID’s “lists of scientists”, or will they include her, despite her personal history?

How about she makes it in, but they don’t say why? :)


Comment #2339

Posted by Frank Schmidt on May 17, 2004 11:11 AM (e)

Yeah well, by these lights Darwin can’t account for the fact that in wolf packs all the cubs are the offspring of the dominant pair, either. I hope there’s more to the book than what’s summarized here, but I doubt I’ll spend the bucks to find out.

Comment #2390

Posted by Ed Darrell on May 18, 2004 2:44 PM (e)

Discovery Institute should have a press release out any time now to answer Andrea’s question: “Gender change operations demonstrate methods of intelligent design.”

That press release will get as much play as the last three from Discovery Institute: Zero.