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Was Darwin Wrong?
A selection of the most interesting emails from visitors of the site.

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To contact me, only use the address that is displayed at the bottom of each page.
Your email / email address is only displayed on this page with your permission.
.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
DATE:18 May 2007

email
From:
Peter James Causton

Subject: your review of Joan Roughgarden's newest book

Dear Gert Kortrhof,
I have been an enthusiastic visitor to your website for years and I enjoyed your review of Joan Roughgarden's newest book.
However I do have a complaint about your characterization of Roughgarden as one of those "rare christians" who care about the environment. While the historic Christian Churches may be justly criticized for not having done enough, to say that concern for the environment among Christians is rare is an overstatement. I include one link below to buttress my point. I could have included many more.

Theology & the Environment

That said, let me reiterate my admiration for your site.Your work is consistenly among the most fair minded and accesible work on evolution that is available.

Best Regards - Peter James Causton
...........................................................................................................................
Dear Peter,
Thank you very much for the compliments about my writings. You have a point about "rare christians". I changed the wording of that sentence in a new version of the review (most of my reviews keep evolving anyway!).
Best regards,
Gert Korthof
PS The histocial question why it took Christianity so long to get involved (in a positive way) with the environment remains an open question.

 
.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
DATE:12 Apr 2007

email
From:
Mr. James Graham

Subject: Cancer Selection

Dear Gert,
Here's a very recent paper Cancer as a consequence of the rising level of oxygen in the Late Precambrian by JOHN M. SAUL AND LAURENT SCHWARTZ, which refers rather extensively to my ideas on pages 7-9.
Best regards to you,
James

Mr. James Graham
http://www.jamesgraham.bz/pages/1/index.htm
http://www.jamesgraham.bz/cancerselectioni.html ...........................................................................................................................
See previous mails from Graham on this page.
file location: feedback/Saul_and_Schwartz.pdf

 
.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
DATE:18 Jun 2006

email
From:
Rupert Gibberatorius
doctorgibberatorius@yahoo.com

Subject: Ancestry of The Vertebrates

Dr. Korthof,
    I enjoy your reviews and your analyses. I recommended your website to a friend.
Would you please review Ancestry of the Vertebrates (1986) by preeminent British Museum paleontologist, Richard Jeffries? In this beautifully hand-illustrated volume, Jefferies develops a revision of his "Calcichordate Hypothesis." Personally, I am shocked that this putatively scientific theory still contaminates and corrupts otherwise useful texts.
    Jeffries wrote about certain echinoderms (starfish and kin) that are preserved as fossils from about 500 million years ago. These fossils, called Homalozoans, Carpoids, Stylophorans, and other names resemble superficially the shape of some of the early vertebrates, the presumptive ancestors of fish. The shape is often described as Torpedo Shaped. Let me summarize at the risk of error here: paleontologists and zoologists Bather, Barrande, T. Gislen, and Matsumoto examined these fossils from about 1900 to 1930 and described them as shaped like early fish. Jeffries, a brilliant polymath and multilingual reader, became fascinated with their writings. As with the Crusaders in search of the Holy Grail, vertebrate paleontologists search for the "Holy Grail" of vertebrate ancestry, the first vertebrate, or more technically precise, the first chordate. Fossil, embryologic, and genetic evidence so far point to commonalities between vertebrates and echinoderms---but these similarities are remote, or elusive.
    My problem with Jeffries is that he describes vertebrate (or chordate) structures (dorsal nerve cord, notochord, pharyngeal gill slits, and other anatomical configurations) from scanning electron micrographs of fossil carpoids that I do not see. Additionally, he uses or coins(?) the term CALCICHORDATE (perhaps from the calcium carbonate, or chalky, skeleton of echinoderms---plus chordate for having a notochord, a fundamental structure of all vertebrates).
    Jeffries has critics, to be sure; yet he also has followers or believers. My discovery of Jeffries' theory began in 2000 with the purchase of a book on fish classification by Nelson (1972) for 99 cents that mentioned the Calcichordate Hypothesis. Many library visits, photocopying, and internet visitations later, I became convinced that this very odd and unfamiliar theory was utter madness, or a genius gone awry. I am very sorry to tattle on a scientist of great repute. Again, please review the book.
Thank you,
R.G.
...........................................................................................................................

 
.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
DATE:15 May 2006

email
From:
Mark Ludwig

Subject: Answer to your critique of Computer Viruses Artificial Life & Evolution

I thank Dr. Korthof for the opportunity to respond to his critique of my book, Computer Viruses, Artificial Life and Evolution. I was rather surprised that it took 13 years for a proponent of evolution to pick it up and address it. Since it has taken so long, though, you may imagine my thinking has developed somewhat in those years. As such, I will preface my remarks by saying that to the extent that anything I write here differs from what is written in my book, it is due to a development of the ideas involved in the intervening time.

continue... Mark Ludwig: Intelligent Design Theorist - Fact or Fiction?
.............................................................................................................................
GK: My comments are inserted in that file.

 
.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
DATE:03 Mar 2006

email
From:
Michael Bruner

Subject: Thank you for your website

Dear Mr. Korthof,

Thank you for developing such a wonderful resource on this subject. The amount of time and effort you must have put into this website is very impressive. I am especially grateful that you included so much detailed material from critics of evolution along with specific, respectful commentary. It is very difficult to find any source of information that tries to provide a balanced, rational treatment of a controversial issue.

Sincerely,
Mike Bruner
............................................................................................................................. GK: Thank you.

 
.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
DATE:18 Feb 2006

email
From:
Arlin Stoltzfus

Subject: review of Gould

Gert Korthof--

I accidentally found your web site and was impressed with the clarity of your presentation of "Darwinism" from Gould's Structure of Evolutionary Theory

Arlin Stoltzfus
www.molevol.org/camel
.............................................................................................................................

 
.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
DATE:16 Oct 2005

email
From:
James Graham

Subject: Cancer selection

Dear Gert,

I am attaching the PDF of a paper Adaptive evolution of the human fatty acid synthase gene: Support for the cancer selection and fat utilization hypotheses? by two Irish scientists (Mary J. O’Connell, James O. McInerney) who appear to confirm -- to some extent -- my idea that "cancer selection" played a role in evolution.
That's the good news. The bad news is that they manage to do this while completely ignoring me -- the person who originated the idea and who coined the term they use to describe it.
Best regards,
James Graham
............................................................................................................................. see also previous mail.
23-07-06 Bernard J. Crespi and Kyle Summers (2006) Positive selection in the evolution of cancer, Biol. Rev. (2006), 81, pp. 407-424. (received pdf). This article references Graham's book.

 
.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
DATE:23 Mar 2005

email
From:
John V. Aliff
Editor, Georgia Journal of Science
Professor, Georgia Perimeter College
Lawrenceville

Subject: Falsification of Darwinism

Dr. Korthof,
Here are two things you can quote from me:

  1. The argument of complexity indicating design is an old scientific creationist argument warmed over. The same arguments were made about the ear and eye (thoroughly explained by descent with modification theory and fossil evidence). Now biochemical systems or bacterial organelles are invoked as irreducibly complex and therefore designed systems.
  2. A logical flaw of ID is this: the unexplained in science is an opportunity to do further research to explain natural phenomena, not scientific evidence of a designer.
John V. Aliff, Ph.D.
.............................................................................................................................
 
.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
DATE:28 Mar 2005

email
From:
Denyse O'Leary
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Subject: New book on intelligent design controversy

You might like to list my book, By Design or by Chance?: The Growing Controversy On the Origins of Life in the Universe (Augsburg Fortress, 2004), which is a simple introduction for the layperson to what the intelligent design controversy is about.

My publisher will send you a review copy if you wish. Let me know your address and I will contact the person who does that job.

Cheers, Denyse
............................................................................................................................. Read brief excerpts from my book, at:
Design or Chance | Study Guide | Amazon | blog | blog |

 
.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
DATE:January 4, 2005

email
From:
M E Howell

Subject: An Evolutionary Look at Human Homosexuality

Dear Mr. Korthof,

A recent theory, put forth by Dr. Gregory M. Cochran, postulates that human male homosexuality results from a similar change in the brain, as does Narcolepsy. In the last ten years we have seen an abundance of empirical work and theory on the subject of sexually dimorphic brains and human homosexuality. Paradoxically, one of the most rational, well thought out theories has received little publicity. In recent years, Gregory M. Cochran has gained recognition as the result of the Atlantic Monthly three part article, A New Germ Theory 1999, and other scientific papers authored by him. Dr. Cochran's research partners include: Paul W. Ewald and Henry C. Harpending. For those not familiar with Dr. Cochran, perhaps you have heard of the renowned William D. Hamilton who, prior to his untimely death, had concurred with Cochran on this theory which is meant, in no way, to hurt or bash gays. Previous studies on genetic causation have hinted at genetic diseases. "It's a very sensitive subject," Ewald admits, "and I don't want to be accused of gay-bashing. But I think the idea is viable. What scientists are supposed to do is evaluate an idea on the soundness of the logic and the testing of the predictions it can generate." Atlantic Monthly 1999. If you are interested, please read ahead:

An Evolutionary Look at Human Homosexuality.

Gregory M. Cochran, a physicist, turned evolutionary biologist, is best known for his work with Dr. Paul W. Ewald using statistical analysis to make the case that many diseases long thought to be hereditary may in fact be caused by infectious agents. What can we do with this information? Many respected biologists are in agreement that Cochran's theory is plausible, warranting scientific study. In fact, William D. Hamilton, the greatest theoretical biologist of the twentieth century, reviewed Cochran's landmark scientific paper, Infectious Causation of Disease: An Evolutionary Perspective (published in Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 43,3 (2000): 406-448, Click here) which touched upon the possibility of infectious causation of male homosexuality. This was, sadly, Hamilton's final scientific review prior to his untimely death, at the age of 63. Of Cochran's theory, Hamilton said: "This is an important reorienting review for scientific medicine and will be much cited...It is well written...it.... opens our eyes to many quite weird possibilities about disease that most medical scientists, tending to be unaware of current evolutionary thought, don't think of. The idea about homosexuality, for example, while bound to be highly controversial is timely to be raised and is sensitively treated. What they suggest has certainly seemed to me a very real possibility: I had not, however, heard of the homosexual sheep and, as they say, that case immediately opens big possibilities for investigation."

We have sheep, an excellent animal model, and narcolepsy, an excellent disease model. If a pathogen is, indeed, the cause of male homosexuality, would there not be much benefit in knowing this? Specifically, once dud rams are identified, and their brains are in the laboratory, a microbiologist would look for signs, evidence and portents of infection. Then, gene chips would hopefully reveal specific differences in gene expression between the brains of dud and normal sheep. Differential PCR could look for DNA found in dud sheep but not in the others. (that's how they found the herpesvirus causing Karposi's sarcoma). Identifying specific missing neurons in the brains of the dud rams, would also be a primary goal of the study. (same as in Narcolepsy) (Click here)
Cochran is willing to oversee this study with the help of a fellow scientist who has done extensive work on dud sheep. He is currently looking for a microbiologist a "budding Pasteur" who would be willing to take on a controversial project. We're simply looking for suggestions as how to put this study in motion. Please contact me with your thoughts at letsolve @ aol.com. For scientific inquiry, Gregory M. Cochran may be contacted at gcochran9 @ comcast.net

Thank you for your consideration,
M E Howell
.............................................................................................................................

 
.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
DATE:22 Nov 2004

email
From:
Clive Trotman

Subject: The Feathered Onion.

Dear Gert,

Many thanks for the review of my book. I don't think I could quibble with a thing you say. The final Conclusion is very quotable. It is very thorough and well written, and obviously you are extremely well-read.
A comment about note 4: that is true, but on the other hand a single spore could seed a planet rapidly (p154), and every microgram of spores released into space is about ten million of them (p168).
So many thanks again, Gert. I shall forward a reference to your review to the publishers. And all the best with your website. We must keep in touch!
Regards,
Clive
............................................................................................................................. Note 4 is about Strickberger(2000)´s objection: "A serious obstacle is the vastness of space that would disperse these spores so widely that their chance of reaching the Earth seems infinitesimally small". [GK]

 
.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
DATE:15 Nov 2004

email
From:
Alan Griswold

Subject: Paper relating Asperger Syndrome and evolution

Mr. Korthof,

I was hoping you would have time to read a paper I've written on Asperger Syndrome and its effects within the human population. It can be found at
www.aspergergriswold.com
The paper touches strongly on evolutionary theory and anti-evolutionary theory, and I thought you might find it an interesting contribution to your debate. The second theory in particular is the one I think you will find most appealing.
Thank you.
Alan Griswold

.............................................................................................................................

 
.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
DATE:20 Apr 2004

email
From:
Tom Schneider

Subject: Darwin was not wrong

Gert:

Thanks for your review of Yockey's position, it was helpful.

You should find this publication interesting:
T. D. Schneider (2000) Evolution of Biological Information, Nucleic Acids Res, 28, 14, pp.2794-2799, 2000.

Tom
Dr. Thomas D. Schneider
National Cancer Institute
Laboratory of Experimental and Computational Biology
............................................................................................................................. Thanks Tom, for making the article available on your site. [GK]

 
.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
DATE:12 Apr 2004

email
From:
Ben Balzer

Subject: Reviews

Dear Gert
Any discussion of Darwin seems incomplete without mention of Crawford and Marsh's book Nutrition and Evolution which I don't see reviewed on your site. [link contains also reviews of the book, GK ].

I don't know if you're interested in my small speculative theory of evolution which is Darwinian with a twist: I think homicidality has been a factor in our enormous intelligence, and may explain why we are excessively intelligent compared to the intelligence required to nicely survive. See here (this archive contains an invalid email address for me).

With kind regards
Yours sincerely
Ben
Dr Ben Balzer
Australia
.............................................................................................................................

 
.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
DATE:23 Mar 2004

email
From:
Adrian Davies

Subject: Reviews

Dear Dr Korthof,
Great site, your reviews help me choose what I actually want to spend good money on.
There are some books that I think are worth reviewing. Personally think they are wrong, but they are on sale and convince people that Darwin was wrong, a well written review on a balanced site like yours would be worthwhile.
For example:

The Theory of options, S. Gould
I have placed a review of The Theory of Options on amazon.

Larvea and Evolution, D.Williamson

Cancer Selection. J Graham, S Moore

Yours sincerely,
Adrian Davies, Ph.D.

............................................................................................................................. Larvae and Evolution is potentially interesting and a serious work, but probably contains exaggerated claims and misunderstandings and with a list price of $ 156,00 it is far too expensive just 'to try' it...
I have read the book Cancer Selection, but did not review it. See also Feedback page [3], which shows that the idea can be constructed in a testable form and is supported by scientific evidence and even some scientists see merit in it. [GK]

 
.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
DATE:18 Jan 2004

email
From:
Tibor Gánti

Subject: The Principles of Life

Dear Mr Korthof,

It was a pleasure to read your review on my book, The Principles of Life. I feel myself highly honoured by your opinion. Many thanks.
May I inform you that the detailed explanation of the theory has been published by the Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers at the end of December 2003:

  1. Chemoton Theory Vol. 1, Theoretical Foundation of Fluid Mashineries
  2. Chemoton Theory Vol. 2. Theory of Living Systems.
These two volumes contain all the details which are necessary for the exact, quantitative description of the theory, including also the cycle stoichiometry.
Best wishes,
Tibor Gánti
.............................................................................................................................
 
.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
DATE:05 Jan 2004

email
From:
Corrado Spadafora

Subject: Lamark's signature

Dear Dr. Korthof,

  I noticed the box that was recently added as an update to your comment of Ted Steele's book "Lamark's Signature" concerning one of my old publications. The reference is "Sperm Cells as vectors for introducing foreign DNA into eggs: genetic transformation of mice (1989) Cell 57, 717-723". Presently the article cannot be retrieved on-line from the Cell website, as only articles published after 1996 have been made available on-line. If you wish, I can mail you a hard copy of that paper.

  I am also attaching to this mail some recent articles from our group, which indicate a new role of endogenous reverse transcriptase enzymes in biological processes and as mediator of new genetic information. As a whole, these articles support the conclusion that reverse transcriptase has a biological function and may be of some relevance to the questions raised by Steele's work.

  • Pittoggi, et al (2003) Role of Endogenous Reverse Transcriptase in Murine Early Embryo Development, MOLECULAR REPRODUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT 66:225-236 (2003)
  • Rosamaria Mangiacasale et al (2003) Exposure of normal and transformed cells to nevirapine, a reverse transcriptase inhibitor, reduces cell growth and promotes differentiation. Oncogene (2003) 22, 2750-2761.
  • Ilaria Sciamanna et al (2003) Sperm endogenous reverse transcriptase as mediator of new genetic information, Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 312 (2003) 1039-1046.
  • Roberto Giordano (2000) Reverse Transcriptase Activity in Mature Spermatozoa of Mouse. The Journal of Cell Biology, Volume 148, Number 6, March 20, 2000 1107-1113

Sincerely,

Corrado Spadafora
Italian National Institute of Health
Viale Regina Elena 299
00161 Rome, Italy
............................................................................................................................. Thank you very much for your extremely helpful and interesting email. I updated the page. [GK]

 
.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
DATE:21 Aug 2003

email
From:
John Waller

Subject: Re: your book Fabulous Science

Hi Gert,

I've just skimmed over your review - much food for thought; I'll write more later (I'm fiendishly busy today preparing for lectures), but just a few immediate thoughts. First of all, I'm not a Creationist: my aim was to show that science is messy, never that it is wrong on big issues like evolution. As I say in the Huxley chapter, my assumtpion is that religion now has little to offer science, but this was not always the case; moreover, my position on Huxley is that he tried to eject clerics from science more because they were unpaid amateurs than because they were bad scientists (which many of them weren't). You're quite right about the imprecision of the potted history of heredity post-Mendel's death I provide (this is being altered in the p/back). But on the subject of this chapter, I don't think the example of notation you quote demolishes Olby's case: I'll say more about this in a subsequent email. In brief, though, I'm convinced that Mendel was using the double notation to describe the pattern of inheritance, as could be observed phenotypically, not the number of 'elements' involved - note he talks about eggs and not elements.
Sorry, all I have time for now -
Best,
John.
John C. Waller, Ph.D.,
Lecturer in the History of Medicine,
Department of History and Philosophy of Science,
University of Melbourne,
Victoria 3010,
AUSTRALIA.
............................................................................................................................. Regrettably, JCW is still too busy to send the second email... [GK]

 
.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
DATE:15 Jun 2003

email
From:
Andrew Parker

Subject: My book In the Blink of an Eye

Dear Gert,

Many thanks for sending me your review of my book, which I enjoyed reading. You have understood all that I have tried to say, which is rare in reviews!

As you requested, I have some specific comments:
I "ignored the first" [origin of body plans themselves] because it is not the Cambrian explosion (maybe the cause of the first is buried within previous explanations for the Cambrian explosion).

Intermediates: I am writing two further books that address this problem (terrible answer, I know...but true!). Believe it or not, I do have a new theory that is an "unknown non-Darwinian process", and it's not a miracle! I will publish this in scientific journals soon.

Handicap principle: I deliberately tried not to mention this by name to keep things simple (although I found that difficult throughout the book). The bird example specifically relates to colour and predators - most birds can afford to flaunt themselves because they can fly away from predators, a perfect means of escape (in most cases).

Questions: Actually I am a biologist. I am aware of genetics, evo-devo etc. (I force myself to read the literature) although my research involves morphological evolution (and optics, animal behaviour and palaeontology).

Thanks again for a great review!

Best wishes, Andrew
Andrew Parker
............................................................................................................................. "ignored the first": I made the wording more friendlier in version 1.2. I cannot wait to read about your "unknown non-Darwinian process"! GK.

 
.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
DATE:10 Jun 2003

email
From:
Jason Rosenhouse

Subject: Your review of Spetner's book Not By Chance!

Gert,

Dawkins had a very clearly stated objective in presenting his METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL experiment. It was to clarify the popular misconceptions about evolution being solely a theory of chance. He begins his chapter by citing quotations from otherwise intelligent people, like Hoyle's "Tronado in a junkyard" quote, to the effect that evolutionists believe that complexity arises solely from chance. He then contrasts single-step selection unfavorably against cumulative selection. His point was that it is cumulative selection that evolutionsts argue is the source of complex organs, not random or single-step selection. Towards the end of the chapter he states (roughly, I don't have the book in front of me) "If evolution had to rely on single-step selection it would never have got anywhere. But if somehow the blind laws of nature could have set-up the necessary conditions for cumulative selection, strange and wondrous might have been the results." I suppose you could accuse Dawkins of belaboring the obvious, but since so many critics of evolution seem to be confused on this point I can hardly blame Dawkins for using so much space to address it.
That's why it is beside the point to write "So Dawkins cannot prove evolution with his model..." or "If Dawkins intended this as a proof that `natural' selection could work, then it must fail." It is simply a fact, discernible from what he wrote, that he was not trying to prove anything. He was merely using an analogy to clear up a common misunderstanding.

As for serious discussions of population genetics, surely Fisher, Haldane, Wright, or any of the more recent textbooks in population genetics would be better places to go than Spetner or Hoyle. I had been under the impression that it was a done deal that the findings of population genetics were entirely compatible with traditional neo-Darwinism. Isn't that why Fisher and Haldane in particular are included among the founders of the synthesis.
............................................................................................................................. Thanks Jason. I rewrote the relevant parts of my review. Obviously 'cumulative selection' is different from 'single step selection'. However, my first problem is that the 'accumulation' is from the start of the experiment in one and the same direction during all subsequent generations: the target sentence. The second problem is the experiment implies that all intermediates have a higher fitness because they are closer to the target. Even the first matching letter (1 out of 28) is selected because it is closer to the target than zero matching letters. The successful outcome is built into the program. The computer program cannot fail to reach its target. What I am worried about is that the weasel experiment is used by evolutionists to show that 'cumulative selection can create complexity'. Precisely because the computer program cannot fail to reach its target, it has a mighty attraction to evolutionists. Evolution is guaranteed! This in turn triggers criticism from IDT (Spetner) and is a waste of time. [GK]

 
.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
DATE:12 Feb 2003

email
From:
Paul Andrew King

Subject: A comment on Spetner's Not By Chance!

While I have been unable to find a copy of the book to browse, I have seen a summary of his arguments concerning speciation on the web *, which has been accepted as accurate by Spetner's supporters (implicitly - they have never disputed any point drawn from the page, nor have they stated that it is inaccurate even when asked).

Your review does fail to mention that Spetner did consider the case where more than one possible beneficial mutation was available per "step" (a term which appears to refer either to the fixation of a mutation OR to the average number of births per fixation according to Spetner's speciation model). Since Spetner admits that it is unreasonable to assume that there is only one, I have to wonder why he bothered with producing a calculation on that assumption - it can only serve as a misleading piece of rhetoric (which may, of course, be the answer as to why it was included).

I would agree that Spetner's speciation model is very questionable (for example it ignores splits in a population) and that he has probably overestimated the number of species transitions that need to be considered (he uses a high figure for the number of genera as the basis for this estimate - clearly biasing the calculation in favour of his conclusion). His emphasis on point mutations is also known to be false now (and I would strongly suspect it was also known to be false at the time of writing) - See Helen Lynn Caporale's Darwin in the Genome for relatively up-to-date information.

However when Spetner goes on to consider the number of possible beneficial mutations his calculation is mathematically invalid. It should be clear that if we need an average of one fixed mutation ("step") per "step" (considered as a number of births) and the probability of each possible beneficial mutation occurring and achieving fixation given that number of births is 1/300,000 then we should expect speciation to occur if there were 300,000 possible mutations.

Spetner in fact says that there is a probability of 10-6 given 1,080,000 possible beneficial mutations, which is clearly at odds with the statement above. It turns out that Spetner calculates the probability of getting AT least one "step" (fixed mutation) per "step" (number of births) and multiplies that by itself 500 times. In other words Spetner effectively discounts any "step" after the first in each "step" - something made possible only by confusing the two uses of "step".

THe "convergent evolution" calculation where this number is used has similar methodological errors so as to be equally worthless.

I would also disagree with his criticisms of Dawkins "weasel" program as an irrelevance - the program does what it is intended to do (illustrate the fact that cumulative selection is more efficient than purely random guessing) to criticise it for not doing more is to miss the point entirely. And Spetner's claims of information decrease as found in the trueorigins site appear to be mainly sophistry. By his own admission the measures he uses are partial and they do not seem to be consistently - or fully - applied. It is especially ironic that he accuses his opponents of jumping to conclusions when his own analyses are so incomplete and far from decisive.
............................................................................................................................. *) A statistical analysis of Neo-Darwinian theory: A summary of Spetner's arguments on a Baptist Church site. [no author; no date]

 
DATE:26 Dec 2002

email
From:
John Grehan

Subject: Evolution in Space and Time

I came across your web page and reviews in relation to molecular drive where you reviewed Dover's book. It may interest you to know that the concept of molecular drive has been integrated into the non-Darwinian evolutionary synthesis called panbiogeography. This term refers to a non-Darwinian research program that is rarely mentioned in traditional evolutionary circles where the focus is on biological form, yet it has been around for over three decades.
    Panbiogeography extends the model of evolution as an integrated consideration of space and time as well as form. It is non-Darwinian in the sense that it rejects Darwin's model of evolution by centers of origin, means of dispersal, and natural selection, and its approach is empirical through the comparative analysis of distribution patterns. This approach reaches into the very foundations of evolutionary biology as all life is geography. Geography is as fundamental to evolution as is biology.
    Panbiogeographic models of evolution include the concept of vicariant differentiation and the consideration of biological processes that were in the past encompassed by terms such as orthogenesis (Misrepresented and denounced by Mayr, Gould and other Darwinian evolutionists), but compatible with molecular drive models.
    Panbiogeography is most widely practiced outside the UK-USA sphere which is probably why it does not come into more prominence (since it is generally suppressed from consideration by traditional evolutionists). It has its strongest support in Latin America, the South Pacific, and parts of Europe (outside the UK), southern Africa and Far East.
    Anyone interested in a brief overview of the subject can find it in the following publication:

Craw, R.C., Grehan, J.R., Heads, M.J. 1999:
Panbiogeography: tracking the history of life. Oxford University Press, New York.

John Grehan
............................................................................................................................. It is a pity that the book is expensive, but Amazon has an Excerpt of the book and several readers comments. [GK]

 
DATE:10 Dec 2002

email
From:
Ava Goodale
www.actionbioscience.org

Subject: We've linked to you!

Dear Editor/Webmaster:

Because we feel our readers will find your information valuable, we have provided a link to your site at
http://www.actionbioscience.org/evolution/eldredge.html
At the end of that article, in our "educator resources" section, the entry reads:
Useful links
» Eldredge and Evolution
This personal web page contains an interesting overview of Eldredge's position compared to that of evolutionary theorists.
http://wasdarwinwrong.com/kortho10.htm

Dedicated to promoting literacy in the biosciences, our non-commercial, ad-free, educational site features peer-reviewed articles and class lessons on the following issues: biodiversity, environment, genomics, biotechnology, evolution, new frontiers in the sciences, and education. Our homepage is: http://www.actionbioscience.org

Thank you,
Ava Goodale
Internet Coordinator
.............................................................................................................................

 
DATE:26 Sep 2002

email
From:
arthur davis

Subject: Comments and suggestions.

Dr. Korthof,

I commend you on the work you've put into Was Darwin Wrong? You've treated the subject with a remarkable transparency in a truly enormous and embroiling subject area. Your keeping the debate open and attention to detail is excellent. Good job! ^-^

I am a bible-believing Christian, although a strictly non-young-earth-creationist. I take it you've read
Hugh Ross's "The Creator and the Cosmos" ?
I think the cosmological arena is of great importance to the Darwinism debate as well, and contains tremendous implications for any naturalistic accounts, in regard to mathematical impossibilities, "chance" etc. I would be interested for you to continue exploring this area in the site along with your review of Barrow & Tipler.

Another thing is the Gaia model (can't remember whose theory it is) as discussed in "Nothing But Atoms and Molecules? : probing the limits of science", by Rodney Holder.

I recommend the following books, which I think are excellent perspectives for (Christian) exponents of special creation (and hence, you will be interested to read them):

  • Alan Hayward: "Creation and Evolution: the facts and the fallacies", and particularly,
  • Hugh Ross: "Creation and Time: a biblical and scientific perspective on the creation-date controversy"
For perhaps the most cogent "creationist" perspective, check out (if you haven't already) Reasons to Believe (of which Hugh Ross is the president) on the www. The FAQ section is perhaps a good place to start.

Once again, great work!

Regards,

Arthur.
............................................................................................................................. Thanks very much. I did not yet read any of those books. I checked out the books at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Holder was not found. I will have a look at 2 of the most recent books of Hugh Ross.
Added 7 Mar 2003: Dr. Holder informed me that his 1993 book can be found in Amazon.co.uk
Added 25 May 2003: Dr. Holder kindly send me his book (reprinted 1999 edition). The title 'Nothing but Atoms & Molecules?' nicely symbolises reductionism in science. The book is a critique of reductionism in science from a Christian perspective. Statements of Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking are critically analysed. [GK]

 
DATE:10 Jul 2002

email
From:
Amanda Chesworth

Subject:Origin of Species Revisited Review.

Dear Gert Korthof,

On October 23, the Darwin Day Program (www.darwinday.org) will be publishing a book that compiles a diverse set of content. I would like to request your permission to include your review of Donald Forsdyke's 'Origin of Species Revisited.' I have spoken with Prof. Forsdyke and he agrees that this would be a good addition to our book. I have included the latest draft for the table of contents and will look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Thanks,
Amanda Chesworth
Director
............................................................................................................................. OK [GK]

 
DATE:09 Feb 2002

email
From: Leonid Gavrilov

Subject: Evolutionary Theories of Aging.

Dear Dr. Korhof,

Perhaps this new article on evolutionary theories of aging may be interesting to you:

Gavrilov LA, Gavrilova NS:
Evolutionary Theories of Aging and Longevity
TheScientificWorldJOURNAL, 2002, 2: 339-356.

Synopsis:
This is an introduction to the evolution of aging written for a wide readership. Based on lectures taught by the authors at the University of Chicago, this article provides a critical review of the most important scientific publications on evolution of aging (104 references). It also demonstrates that claims of impaired fecundity among long-lived women, made by proponents of the disposable soma theory, were based on incomplete data and, therefore, need to be reevaluated.
............................................................................................................................. L. A. Gavrilov (2004) Does Exceptional Human Longevity Come With High Cost of Infertility? Testing the Evolutionary Theories of Aging. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1019: 513-517, 2004 [added 21 Aug 2004]
Home site: http://longevity-science.org/
L.A. Gavrilov and N.S. Gavrilova (2004) The Reliability-Engineering Approach to the Problem of Biological Aging., New York Academy of Sciences 1019:509-512 (2004). [added 23 Dec 2004]
............................................................................................................................. I am pleased to inform you that our new book chapter on Evolutionary vs Reliability Theory of Aging published recently in the Handbook of the Biology of Aging, Academic Press, USA, 2006, has become publicly available online at:
Reliability Theory of Aging and Longevity
Any comments and suggestions are welcome!
Leonid Gavrilov
[10 Jul 2006]

 
DATE:29 Jan 2002

email
From: Wallace Arthur

Subject: The Origin of Animal Body Plans

Dear Dr Korthof

Thank you for writing this very kind review of my book, and indeed for drawing my attention to it. Of course I agree with you that even with the combination of neo-Darwinism and Evolutionary Developmental Biology the expanded evolutionary synthesis may not be complete. We never know what's around the next corner!
Best wishes

Wallace Arthur
.............................................................................................................................

 
DATE:28 Dec 2001

email
From:
Donald R. Forsdyke

Subject: The Origin of Species Revisited

Hello,
Thank you so much for your review, the first independent post-publication review I have read. Very balanced and fair.
Your review is so nice that I hesitate to be picky. But here are a few minor points, which you are free to attend to, as you please.
(...)
I disagree with your comment that "we don't find a balanced overview of the species problem." My position is that contemporary accounts of "the species problem" have been unbalanced, and too preoccupied with the activities of inward-looking US-based evolutionists. I believe my book restores balance to a field which has become grossly unbalanced. For example, I found it quite remarkable that practically all the key points about "the species problem" were made in the Victorian or Victorian-Edwardian (Bateson) eras. Yet (if I may exaggerate just a little) the modern student is left with the impression that it all began with Dobzhansky. If X makes a point chronologically before Y, then there is no need to ascribe the point to Y. This means that there are relatively few references in the book to the twentieth century evolutionists who rediscovered the "wheels" of their predecessors. Perhaps that is why you found the book "unbalanced"?
Thank you for your hard work reading the book, and congratulations on a fine review.
Sincerely,
Donald Forsdyke
............................................................................................................................. Thanks, this is a quite useful clarification of your position. [GK]

 
DATE:1 Nov 2001

email
From: Mark Perakh

Subject: Your website

Dear Gert:
I received a couple of messages in reply to my website from someone in Russia and he pointed to your website of which I had no knowledge until today. My website is at www.nctimes.net/~mark/ and if you care to look at it, you'll find a section /bibl_science/ where I posted a number of reviews of various books. At least four of my reviews are of the books you have reviewed as well (Dembski, Behe, Spetner and Johnson). I regret that I did not know about your site and therefore did not refer to your work. I intend to correct that. I'd like to tell you that, after having briefly perused several of your reviews (and I certainly will read all of it with more attention) I was much impressed by your fine analysis of the subject. Since I am a (retired) physicist rather than a biologist, I approached Spetner, Dembski, Behe and Johnson from a different position. I understand that some of them responded to you. Neither of them has ever acknowledged the existence of my critique. I'd be very much interested if you decided to look at my site and maybe share with me whatever comments you may offer.
Cheers,
Mark Perakh
............................................................................................................................. The Dembski page has a cheeky length (for an internet page) of 300 kB, but is absolute worth reading. I think it is a chapter of a future book. Especially relevant is the paragraph: "Dembski's Treatment of Information". Don't miss the beautiful two stones example! [GK]

 
DATE:6 Sep 2001

email
From: Mark Ridley

Subject: Re: review of Mendel's Demon

Dear Gert

Many thanks for alerting me to your review, and indeed for writing the review. It is v pleasing for me to read, even down to the appearance of the web-page.

You are right that I ignored advantageous mutations because I had more than a book's worth on the disadvantageous ones -- and there has been interesting research advances in the areas I wrote about, whereas there have not for advantageous ones.

I am certainly interested in innovation. I am currently doing the third edition of my Evolution text. I am adding a chapter on development and genomics, and last week was writing about how genetic switches facilitate innovation. However, I am not sure I am up to doing a whole book on it. I am vaguely thinkink my next book, aimed at the same sort of market as Mendel's dmon, will be a history of human DNA, inspired by the sequencing of the human genome. But if that ever happens it will be some time in the future.

Best wishes, and thanks again
Mark
.............................................................................................................................

 
DATE:4 Sep 2001

email
From: Vassiliki B. Smocovitis

Subject: Re: review of "Unifying Biology. The Evolutionary Synthesis and Evolutionary Biology"

Dear Dr. Korthof, thanks so much for taking the time to read and review my book and then for letting me know.

It is indeed orthodox in its acceptance of evolution completely unorthodox in its historiography. the only way that I could preserve my perspective as an evolutionist and practitioner and preserve my sanity as the same time that I wrote the history was to rethink the historiography. The alternative would have been to REDUCE the science to sociology; I tried to develop a philosophy of science that allowed me to have both the social and the logic of the science in the narrative.

Don't think anyone has actually understood what I was trying to do actually; but that doesn't matter. I think that many biologists enjoyed reading the chapters that you singled out and that in itself was a contribution.

Thanks so much again--
cheers,
Betty
.............................................................................................................................





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Copyright © 2001 G.Korthof First published: 6 Sep 2001 Last update: 31 May 2007