Sunday, September 13, 2009

Brilliant things in distant places: Neo-Newtonainism?

Hips do not change accordingly to a species' wishes, moreover, there is no "requirements" in mutations, there's no such thing like "a trait that needed shifts". The word "needed" is non-sensical in this context. Further on, the 7 million years is not just to get bipedal, it's to get to Cro Magnon, or to a look-alike (which means a look-alike of us, skeleton-wise).

What molecular biology delivered us is the certainty that if the 3% active part of the genome (90 million bases) need to be changed for the assumed 1% genetic difference between humans and chimps in this active part, that's a required change in 1 million different bases. This is where the proposals came from to stop talking neodarwinism and rather speak about extended evolutionary synthesis of similar terms - simply because there's way too much changes to Darwinism & neo-Darwinism (that would be like talking about neo-Newtonianism all the time). And that's simply the acknowledgement of Darwinian theory (the kind of "a bit of hip modification" theories as you mention) being largely insufficient. When we start considering molecular buffering systems and all that jazz, that's not Darwin's theories anymore - not even by a mile's length. Of course, everything is build upon everything - but that's not the point here. (Einstein has build upon Newton - but we don't call it neo-Newtonian gravity).


The 3% of our genome that codes for things has about 1% that doesn't code for things but triggers and influences the genes. Just looking at the protein changes gives one a very incorrect view as most of the changes between chimps and humans as well as between humans and other apes are changes in the gene regulation. We are built with the same set of tools, but built in different ways.

Neodarwinism is simply a reaction to genetics figuring out heredity. The reason we use neodarwinism is because it explains things that Darwin didn't know and fleshes out the parts of the theory that were not very good because Darwin didn't have genetics. It's not Darwin's version of evolution because it's better by having a functional model of heredity. It's still evolution as Darwin laid out in his day, but it's a new kind of Darwinian evolution, it's neo-darwinism.

The changes between the two is largely just a shift of bringing genetics into the fold. That's what changed. The base theory is there, and if you want to learn more about evolution, I'd actually recommend The Origin of Species as a good book on the subject.

We refer to Einsteinian physics and Newtonian physics because these men largely established that understanding of physics. Newton wasn't wrong and certainly did physics a great favor by expounding on the subject. However Einsteinian physics can rederive Newtonian physics but does not need to as it stands on it's own. In many ways he didn't build on Newton but rather expounded on Physics and was right, in much the way that Newton was right... and then some. Einstein can derive Newton's physics but it is not simply a modified version, it's a new version altogether and a radically different way of seeing the entire universe.

However, that's not to say there isn't exactly what you're so oddly suggesting. One major player in some very modern debates is MOND or MOdified Newtonian Dynamics seeks to modify Newton's equations to account for the observations we see with galaxies. The math of solving the for the rotation of a galaxy using Einstein is too hard, so we cheat and use Newton and as a result find our math is off by an order of magnitude. So we propose Dark Matter to account for this in invisible halos around all galaxies. MOND proposes we modify the equations as Newton's equations only have been demonstrated for very low velocity objects.

Just as Modified Newtonian Dynamics modifies what Newton did, neodarwinism adds to what Darwin put forth. Most of your post simply fails to understand the differences between Newton and Einstein. They have radically different equations for figuring out how the universe works, which isn't to say that they are wrong. Just that Einstein is less wrong than Newton and his equations account for more of the universe than Newtons' did. Einstein didn't modify Newton, he described the universe again in a new way. This is something that nobody has done since Darwin. Darwin's theory is still at the core of all biology. Evolution by natural selection has been expanded and promoted as the underlying explanation. Darwin makes biology make sense. Much of biology over the last 150 years has been adding to Darwin and making his suppositions into facts and his arguments into observed reality.

Neodarwinism pulled genetics into evolution just as Evodevo is poised to bring in developmental biology, genetic expression, embryology, and other somewhat dispersive fields into the explanations of evolution largely due to molecular genetics showing how genetics achieves development, which in turn, shows how these developmental changes evolved and how evolution changes the development of organisms.

I feel like a cat bringing you folks the corpse of a half eaten lizard. But, as I'm pretty sure all my great points are just going to fall on deaf ears I need to preserve it. I mean, I spend a good amount of time writing brilliant things to not brilliant people. If I punched a hole in a wall, I'd take a picture of it and post it to the blog too. That way my unseen posts will be unseen by more people.

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