Thursday, January 15, 2009

Browne, J. 2008

Okay so I just read the Browne paper 'Birthdays to remember' and here are my thoughts:

-it was interesting to read that the idea of natural selection fell out of favour in about 1900 and 1950 due to scientific advancements

-Were 'created kinds' and inheritance of acquired characteristics the only competing hypotheses against natural selection or were there others? The created kinds hypothesis isn't really a biological hypothesis.

-Mayr convinced people that evolution takes place on three levels but what did he think the mechanism of evolution was in 1) molecules and 2) the flow of genes through populations? Of course natural selection but did he also advocate Kimura's 1986 Neutral theory? Because the two are compatible. Guess I will have to read his book next (after LOTR of course).

"Darwinism is a forceful way to express anxieties about the growing power of modern science and the perceived decline of moral values in society". Why is this? One has nothing to do with the other. Darwin was a Christian (maybe?). I think this quote may get at a major reason why Darwinism is so popular/hated? Hidden agendas?

Need to be inspired by the competition?

John Whitfield has started a quicker paced literary jog through OTOOS at Blogging the Origin.

Thomas Levenson has mentioned a larger Darwin project appearing in the near future involving some science / science writing heavyweights: Janet Browne, Sean B. Carroll, Carl Zimmer, Alex Wellerstein and Ellen Bales.

That project is going to kick this project down the stairs.

Copies of OTOOS Online

If you want to save on paper (or currency) there are multiple places on the web to find a free digital copy of OTOOS 1st Ed. Here are some of them:

Project Gutenberg eBook version

A pdf version hosted (and maybe transcribed?) by the University of New South Wales Embryology department

An HTML version hosted by Talk Origins

A text version hosted by Darwin Online

A scanned version hosted by Darwin Online

A PDF of the scanned version, hosted by Darwin Online

Timetable and Additional Readings

Hello Internets,

This blog is being written in conjunction with a course being offered by the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Calgary. What that means is that this is not going to be a slow-paced walk through OTOOS. This will instead be a quick, two-chapter-a-week jog, followed by a few weeks of discussing other papers. Those of us in the course will also have some additional readings, both for general background of the entire text of OTOOS, and also on a week-by-week basis. We'll try to do our best at getting those citations (or links to digital articles) on that week-by-week basis.

Jan 21: Chapters 1-2
Jan 28: Chapters 3-4
Feb 4: Chapters 5-6
Feb 11: Chapters 7-8
Feb 18: Nope
Feb 25: Chapters 9-10
Mar 4: Chapters 11-12
Mar 11: Chapters 13-14
Mar 18: Darwin and the nature of species
Mar 25: The Modern Synthesis and its critics: did Darwin get it right?
Apr 1: Group selection and altruism
Apr 8: Evolution and religion
Apr 15: TBA

General Background Readings:
1) Darwin's Origin of Species: A Biography by Janet Browne. (Available in paperback or hardcover from Amazon)
2) Browne, J. 2008. Birthdays to remember. Nature 456:324-325. (pdf available to Nature subscribers)
3) Bowler, P. J. 2009. Darwin's originality. Science 323 (5911):223-226. (pdf available to Science subscribers/ AAAS members)

Extra Readings (last updated 04-04-09):
Jan 21:
1) Liu, Y. 2005. Darwin and Mendel: who was the pioneer of genetics? Biology Forum / Rivista di Biologia 98 (2):305-322 (pdf available to EBSCO subscribers)

Jan 28:
1) Price, GR. 1995. The Nature of Selection. Journal of Theoretical Biology 175(3):389-396. (pdf here)

Feb 4:
1) Gould, SJ and RC Lewontin. 1979. The spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian paradigm: a critique of the adaptationist programme. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B. Biological Sciences 205 (1161):581-598. (pdf available from public domain)

Feb 11:
1) Mallet, J. 2007. Hybrid speciation. Nature 446(7133):279-283. (pdf available to Nature subscribers)

Feb 25:
1) Burchfield, J.D. 1974. Darwin and the dilemma of geological time. Isis 65(3):301-321. (pdf available to JSTOR subscribers)

March 4:
1) Schluter, D. 2009. Evidence for ecological speciation and its alternative. Science 323(5915):737-741 (pdf available to Science/AAAS subscribers)
2) Fitzpatrick, B.M. and M. Turelli. 2006. The geography of mammalian speciation: mixed signals from phylogenies and range maps. Evolution 60(3):601-615 (pdf available to BioOne subscribers)

March 9 (moved forward two days to accomodate some schedules):
1) Dennett, D. C. 1995. Darwin's dangerous idea. Sciences 35(3):34-40 (pdf available to EBSCOhost subscribers here)

Mar 18:
1) Beatty, J. 1986. Speaking of species: Darwin's strategy; pp. 265-283 in D. Kohn (ed.), Darwin's Heritage: A Centenniel Retrospect. Princeton University Press, Princeton. Reprinted as: pp. 227-246 in M. Ereshefsky (ed.) 1992, The Units of Evolution: Essays on the Nature of Species. MIT Press, Cambridge. (pdf available at authors' academic website)

Mar 25:
1) Rose, M. R. and T. H. Oakley. 2007. The new biology: beyond the Modern Synthesis. Biology Direct 2:30. (pdf available)
2) Huxley, J. 1942, 1963. Evolution: The Modern Synthesis. Chapter 1 of First Edition, excerpts from the Introduction of Second Edition.

Apr 1:
1) Ruse, M. 1980. Charles Darwin and group selection. Annals of Science 37:615-630. (pdf)
2) Borrello, M. E. 2005. The rise, fall and resurrection of group selection. Endeavour 29 (1):43-47. (pdf)
3) Bowles, S. 2008. Conflict: altruism's midwife. Nature 456 (7220):326-327. (pdf)

Apr 8:
1) Christ and a Bicycle by Andrew Brown. Apparently delivered as part of his advertising or publicity for his book Darwin Wars: The Scientific Battle for the Soul of Man.
2) Charles Darwin on Religion by John Hedley Brooke, an invited contribution to the website for The International Society for Science & Religion
3) Dawkins, R. 1997. Obscurantism to the rescue. The Quarterly Review of Biology 72(4):397-399. (pdf available)
4) portions of "Natural selection not inconsistent with natural theology", by Asa Grey, as published in the Atlantic Monthly in a series of articles for July, August, and October 1860.

Expect updates as more readings come to light.
I like the name "Blogodarwin" it has pizazz.

If no one objects I hope to randomly post photos of Darwin things from London.

Here is Down House, Kent. Where Darwin lived for around 40 years. He did much of his writing of the Origin here.

If you don't think that these pictures have any academic relevance (which they really don't, they are just interesting) and you think I should stop, then just (politely) let me know and I will stop.

Another thing to add.

If anyone is interested in a place to look for readings for discussions or just for some interesting Darwin reads, check out this month's Scientific American. It is mostly articles about Darwin and Natural Selection. The connection to today's modern science is interesting. Availible at a newstand and grocer near you.