In recent years, microbes have emerged as life forms that do not fit easily into the Darwinian mould. "In the wild, microbes form communities, invade biochemical niches and partake in biogeochemical cycles. The available studies strongly indicate that microbes absorb and discard genes as needed, in response to their environment. Rather than discrete genomes, we see a continuum of genomic possibilities, which casts doubt on the validity of the concept of a 'species' when extended into the microbial realm." The research that has stimulated this new thinking concerns "horizontal gene transfer (HGT), the non-genealogical transfer of genetic material from one organism to another - such as from one bacterium to another or from viruses to bacteria." The implication is that neodarwinism is not a very useful model to work with. Also in the melting pot of new thinking is the "clearly documented optimization of the [genetic] code. Its special role in any form of life leads to the striking prediction that early life evolved in a lamarckian way, with vertical descent marginalized by the more powerful early forms of HGT." In their essay, Goldenfeld and Woese provide a challenging and stimulating challege for biologists to get out of the rut made by the "molecular reductionism that dominated twentieth-century biology".
Biology's next revolution
Nigel Goldenfeld and Carl Woese
Nature 445, 369 (25 January 2007) | doi:10.1038/445369a
Abstract: The emerging picture of microbes as gene-swapping collectives demands a revision of such concepts as organism, species and evolution itself.
One of the most fundamental patterns of scientific discovery is the revolution in thought that accompanies a new body of data. Satellite-based astronomy has, during the past decade, overthrown our most cherished ideas of cosmology, especially those relating to the size, dynamics and composition of the Universe.
Similarly, the convergence of fresh theoretical ideas in evolution and the coming avalanche of genomic data will profoundly alter our understanding of the biosphere - and is likely to lead to revision of concepts such as species, organism and evolution. Here we explain why we foresee such a dramatic transformation, and why we believe the molecular reductionism that dominated twentieth-century biology will be superseded by an interdisciplinary approach that embraces collective phenomena.
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Evolution has become a favorite topic of the news media recently, but for some reason, they never seem to get the story straight. The staff at Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture started this Blog to set the record straight and make sure you knew "the rest of the story".
A blogger from New England offers his intelligent reasoning.
We are a group of individuals, coming from diverse backgrounds and not speaking for any organization, who have found common ground around teleological concepts, including intelligent design. We think these concepts have real potential to generate insights about our reality that are being drowned out by political advocacy from both sides. We hope this blog will provide a small voice that helps rectify this situation.
Website dedicated to comparing scenes from the "Inherit the Wind" movie with factual information from actual Scopes Trial. View 37 clips from the movie and decide for yourself if this movie is more fact or fiction.
Don Cicchetti blogs on: Culture, Music, Faith, Intelligent Design, Guitar, Audio
Australian biologist Stephen E. Jones maintains one of the best origins "quote" databases around. He is meticulous about accuracy and working from original sources.
Most guys going through midlife crisis buy a convertible. Austrialian Stephen E. Jones went back to college to get a biology degree and is now a proponent of ID and common ancestry.
Complete zipped downloadable pdf copy of David Stove's devastating, and yet hard-to-find, critique of neo-Darwinism entitled "Darwinian Fairytales"
Intelligent Design The Future is a multiple contributor weblog whose participants include the nation's leading design scientists and theorists: biochemist Michael Behe, mathematician William Dembski, astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez, philosophers of science Stephen Meyer, and Jay Richards, philosopher of biology Paul Nelson, molecular biologist Jonathan Wells, and science writer Jonathan Witt. Posts will focus primarily on the intellectual issues at stake in the debate over intelligent design, rather than its implications for education or public policy.
A Philosopher's Journey: Political and cultural reflections of John Mark N. Reynolds. Dr. Reynolds is Director of the Torrey Honors Institute at