Verdades inconvenientes que os defensores da evolução resistem tanto: as lições de Genética Molecular

terça-feira, dezembro 11, 2012

James A. Shapiro

Author, 'Evolution: A View from the 21st Century'; Professor of Microbiology, University of Chicago

Inconvenient Truths: Why Are Self-Styled Defenders of Evolution so Resistant to Lessons From Molecular Genetics?

Last week, on his very popular blog,, Jerry Coyneridiculed Nicholas Wade's NYT article discussing the negative consequences resulting from the anti-religious tone of most orthodox defenses of evolution.
Wade's article was far from ideal. He failed to distinguish clearly between the overwhelming empirical evidence for evolution and the inevitably limited theories advanced to explain how it occurs. But Wade was taken to task chiefly for making the eminently reasonable argument that the pro-evolution side would be more effective if it showed greater respect for people with religious beliefs.
In the course of the discussion, Ben Goren posted the following scientific challenge on the blog:
"I am unaware of even a single example of biological complexity which defies explanation within the modern Darwinian framework. Perhaps you could offer up such an example...?"
I decided to respond and provide a few examples of evolutionary change where we have enough molecular evidence to know that they did not occur by the gradual accumulation of random mutations:
1. Multiple antibiotic resistance in bacteria;

2. Origin of the eukaryotic cell;
3. Origin of photosynthetic eukaryotic lineages;
4. The "abominable mystery" of rapid angiosperm evolution.

Ben's reply to my intervention illustrates how little some followers of TheWhyEvolutionIsTrueblog care about the molecular analysis of evolution. He seemed to have no idea that bacterial antibiotic resistance evolves by horizontal transfer of plasmids and the accumulation of multiple resistance determinants by transposition and site-specific recombination. (He did not address any of the other three examples I gave.)
Instead of a reasoned answer, I got the following:
Your list indicates to me that you are suffering from some significant misconceptions and / or a lack of understanding of what the Theory of Evolution by Random Mutation and Natural Selection actually is. 

Just addressing your first case, for example... well, antibiotic resistance is a textbook example of evolution in practice, and one that Darwin himself likely would have predicted (and certainly not been surprised by).
The idea of Darwin predicting conjugative plasmids, transposons and integrons was indeed novel to me. All Ben seemed able to envision is random mutation to antibiotic resistance. He was unaware that such mutations are irrelevant to the real world evolution and global spread of multiple antibiotic resistance determinants.

Read more here/Leia mais aqui.