Evolution or Creation? You Decide :)

PZ Myers myers at netaxs.com
Sat Apr 12 09:13:24 EST 1997

In article <01bc4662$fe880e40$294192cf at mycomputer>, "Joe Potter"
<joe.potter at worldnet.att.net> wrote:

> Richard M Kliman <rkliman at runet.edu> wrote in article
> <5ilh1k$c5r at ruacad.runet.edu>...
> > In article <01bc43ae$4b8c7d00$a84992cf at mycomputer>,
> > Joe Potter <joe.potter at worldnet.att.net> wrote:
> > >     And more to the point, why sex (mixing your genes 50/50) if the whole
> > >point of evolution revolves around a struggle to leave as many copies of
> > >you genes as possible. Heck, you do not leave even one!!!
> > 
> > Who said there's a point to evolution?
> > 
> > You seem to be asking how sex can provide for one leaving more copies of 
> > one's genes (actually, a disproportionate amount of one's genes) than 
> > clonal reproduction.  Passing on many copies of one's genes does not 
> > guarantee that one will disproportionately influence future gene pools.  
> > The carriers of one's genes must also be disproportionately successful 
> > offspring producers.  Again, I any decent college-level evolution text 
> > explains why sexual reproduction is expected to be favored in certain 
> > contexts.
> > 
> > Rich Kliman
> > Dept. of Biology
> > Radford University
> > 
>         Rich, you seem to have missed some part of the thread. I pointed out
> (earlier) that Dr. Eldrege called sex a paradox from the ultra-Darwinist
> (his words, not mine) point of view.
>         He is saying that sex makes no sense if Dawkins position is
correct that
> evolution is simply the struggle to leave more copies of one's own genes.
> This is from his 1995 book, last chapter.

And he's right -- it doesn't make sense if Dawkins is correct. The proper
resolution of the problem, of course, is to assume that Dawkins (or at least,
this interpretation of Dawkins) is wrong. The kind of selection you are
talking about here does not operate at the level of the genes, but upon
individuals. If making sloppy copies of my genes allows me to produce more
fit progeny than the individual who demands flawless reproduction, then natural
selection will fill up the world with my descendants, not his, and low-
fidelity copies of me will rule! 

As you might guess from the name, ultra-darwinism is an extremist caricature.
It's a school of thought that is far out on one end of a continuum, and if
you want to argue against it, you will find lots of competent biologists
who will argue on your side. Of course, if you think that refuting an
extreme interpretation means you've refuted all of evolutionary thought,
you might get some argument _against_ you from those same biologists.

May I ask why this discussion is going on in bionet.molbio.evolution? It
really doesn't belong here, so I've redirected follow-ups to talk.origins.

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