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Unread December 9th, 2005, 10:18 PM
James Brody James Brody is offline
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Thumbs up Hot Read: The Plausibility of Life

Ed (EO) Wilson spoke at an APLS (Assn Politics & the Life Sciences) in Washington several years ago. He was part of a cheerleading panel for Darwinian Psychiatry and seemed to endorse the efforts of Randy Nesse who not only was a large presence in Wilson's shadow but the Pope-apparent.

Wilson remarked at some length that he had won the sociobiology war in terms of numbers of students and publications. Lewontin and Gould were defeated.

Gould's epoch "The Structure of Evolutionary Theory" was in birth, however, even as Ed spoke and as Gould approached his death from cancer. Sean Carroll's works were also in the hatchery; the importance of Rudy Raff's "Structure of Life" and G&K's models were still on the horizon.

There is more grandeur in Wilson than in the views he once had of life (sorry! couldn't resist!) and he has consistently encouraged the up-and-coming of us, most notably William D. Hamilton. His kindness, persistence, and resilience as a biologist are legendary. He is also one stubborn guy who refused to be intimidated by campus communists (I kid you not!)

Buy, read, consider!

Kirschner, M. & Gerhart, J. (2005) The Plausibility of Life: Resolving Darwin's Dilemma. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. For about $30 at Barnes or elsewhere...Again, buy your book from someone whom you can touch!

I'm absolutely in love with their perspectives on evolution as the acquisition of variation. They may also solve the problem of saltations and gradualism..more later!

Gerhart, John & Kirschner, Marc (1997) Cells, Embryos, and Evolution. Malden, MA: Blackwell. (An earlier hint of things to come but expensive...)

Kirschner, M. & Gerhart, J. (1998) Perspective: Evolvability. Proceedings National Academy of Science. 95(15), 8420-8427. Outlines the book!

West-Eberhard, M. (1998) Evolution in the light of developmental and cell biology, and vice versa. Proceedings National Academy of Science. 95: 8417-8419. (G&K's fan and one who writes well...)


Carroll, S. (2004) Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo. NY: Norton.

Carroll, Sean, Grenier, J., & Weatherbee, S. (2001) From DNA to Diversity: Molecular Genetics and the Evolution of Animal Design. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Raff, Rudolf (1996) The Shape of Life. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Raff, R. & Kaufman, T. C. (1983) Genes, Embryos, & Evolution. Macmillan. Reprinted by Indiana University Press, 1991.

Segestrale, U. (2000) Defenders of the Truth: The Battle for Science in the Sociobiology Debate and Beyond.NY: Oxford.
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