Population Genetics is “not even close” to explaining how Phenotypes Evolve

Posted in Creation/Evolution on September 10th, 2007 by dhawkinsmo

There’s a new book out by Michael Lynch which falls into the category of “Trying to Come Up With Some Plausible Naturalistic Theory of the Origin of Phenotypes Because We’ve Been Nyah-nyahing Creationists About Doing This for Years.” Massimo Pigliucci reviews the book in the Aug 31, 2007 issue of Science in an article entitled “Postgenomic Musings” and makes the following interesting statements [my comments are in brackets] …

Everyone in biology keeps predicting that the next few years will bring answers to some of the major open questions in evolutionary biology, but there seems to be disagreement on what, exactly, those questions are. [much less what the answers are]

[Explaining one of S.B. Carroll’s points in his Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom] Lynch’s comment that science isn’t about inspiration (I guess it truly must be about perspiration), however, misses Carroll’s point: what the modern synthesis has not given us is a theory of form, and applying population genetics to genomics–as valuable an exercise as that is in its own right–isn’t going to give us one either. As much as genes are fundamental to the evolutionary process, there is much more to biology than genes and their dynamics. The very fact that molecular biologists are now talking (albeit often na├»vely) about higher-level “-omics,” all the way to phenomics, means that they appreciate that genomes are only a part of the story, arguably the simplest part to figure out. Read more »