Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Something (kinda) interesting

It appears the infamous John A. Davison has discovered my blog. I was wondering if I should acknowledge him, as he is just making the same tired comments he became famous for at the Panda's Thumb. I've written about Davison before (mostly in awe of his ignorance of the relevant literature), and you can get a little bit of background here and here.

I was all set to ignore him until he mentioned that he's been getting support over at John Rennie's blog, SciAm Perspectives. I had to go check it out; John Rennie is hardly someone who would endorse Davison's prescribed evolution hypothesis. Well, it turns out the support isn't coming from Rennie, but rather a hijacked comments thread.

Davison and Jianyi Zhang have discovered each other. I don't have the time nor the energy to describe Davison's hypothesis or Zhang's speciation mechanism, but I can say they have nothing in common other than existing on the fringe and having no outside support. The two do a little back-patting in the comments section of Rennie's blog and applaud each other for going against the Darwinian establishment, and Davison calls this support.

I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that evolution does not happen by random mutation and natural selection alone, as the anti-natural-selection crowd likes to present the mainstream position. I have never claimed this to be the case, and I would question any biologist who believes that these are the only two legitimate evolutionary forces. I have blogged about alternative evolutionary forces. I have also blogged about stupid ways to detect natural selection. Basically, no one in the mainstream establishment thinks in such simple terms such that they disregard all other evolutionary mechanisms. We are open to alternative explanations such as neutrality, meiotic drive, niche construction, and the effects of genome structure.

When your pet theory doesn't get accepted by anyone, don't blame the "Darwinists." It may be time to rethink your hypothesis and consider some of the criticism you're receiving. There is a rich history of building on our understanding of evolution by accepting novel ideas into the modern synthesis. There is no Darwinian establishment bent on excluding all non-selective explanations, so don't paint that us versus them picture.

Oh yeah, happy summer solstice!


At 4:39 PM, Anonymous John A. Davison said...

You are performing beautifully and according to wildest expectations as usual just as you did at Panda's Thumb and probably still do wherever you post. You are the classic ideologue and you warm my heart. My work is published in refereed journals where it will remain for all time. Where may may I find yours?


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