Saturday, October 26, 2013

Denis Noble updates his Q&A - partly in response to Jerry Coyne

Denis giving his Presidential Lecture
The great Denis Noble emails me that he's updated the Q and A document on the Music of Life website in response to some vituperative, even libellous, language from the more dogmatic neo-darwinists. They are shooting from the hip without taking the elementary precaution of checking what he wrote and said.

It turns out that the main culprit is that prize chump Jerry Coyne who has as so often made a complete idiot of himself by a post on his blog.

I don't have time to go through Coyne's crass scientific errors but arguably the most comical aspect is that he says Denis is:

a blundering tyro when it comes to evolutionary biology. He might try discussing his ideas with other evolutionists and listening to their responses. He obviously hasn’t done that, and yet travels the world trading on his expertise in physiology to show that the edifice of modern evolutionary biology is rotten.
As so often what is "obvious" to Coyne is simply untrue. Denis has been engaged with evolution since before he was Dawkins' PhD Examiner (!) and has been writing very eloquently and persuasively on the foundations of evolutionary biology since at least 2005 when The Music of Life was published. Furthermore he has indeed been travelling the world debating these ideas. For example he was an invited participant at the EMBL/EMBO conference in 2008, speaking on his work. Coyne has heard of EMBO (he was cock-a-hoop when someone there made a nice remark about his blog!) but of course would never be an invited speaker there because he simply isn't a good enough scientist.

In addition he  had a keynote debate on the issues with Sydney Brenner in 2012 - and Brenner was basically agreeing with everything Denis said. Even Coyne will admit that Brenner knows a thing or two about biology and evolutionary biology.  Why - Denis even presided over a debate on some of these issues with Dawkins (who Jerry believes to be some kind of an expert).

Ah well - the invincible ignorance of the dogmatic 3rd-rater knows no bounds.

PS Denis says "I have continued interaction -- debate, planning -- now with around 30 evolutionary biologists of various kinds, all interested in exploring where we go on from here. A focussed issue of a major journal is in preparation as a consequence of a very successful symposium at the Birmingham Congress."

If Coyne has anything of scientific substance to say on this matter maybe he could contribute a paper to this.

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