|Fig 4 from Nelson et al.|
It is interesting BTW that so many of the key figures in overturning the ridiculous dogmas of "Neo-Darwinism" are women. "we achieve immortality through spreading our genes" is a particularly appealing view to a certain type of male - indeed I have been told that fathering illegitimate children (and activities conducive to this) with students was a major factor in the break-up of the marriage of at least one prominent advocate of Neo-Darwinism. I can't find much about Vicki Nelson on the web except that she was a graduate of the HHMI Exceptional Research Opportunities program and is still as CWRU. It's scandalous that this paper has only been cited once so far - adherence to dogma in the face of evidence is rife in biology departments.
Meanwhile I gather that Dawkins will be trying to debate against Rowan Williams at the Cambridge Union on Thursday. Williams is so much brighter than Dawkins that from an intellectual PoV it will be a turkey shoot (Rowan speaks or reads 10 languages and was elected FBA at 40 - Dawkins scraped into the RS as a "general candidate", not for any particular scientific contribution, when he was 60.) However whether Cambridge Union attendees will recognise this remains to be seen.
PS it's worth noting that:
- The idea that "DNA determines your body" was disproved in 2005 when it was shown that fish growing from enucleated goldfish eggs with carp DNA had 27 vertebrae compared to 33 for carp and 26 for goldfish. (Carp and Goldfish are not merely different species but from different genuses).
- Experimental confirmation of the fact (established by Nowak, Tarnita and Wilson) that kin selection/inclusive fitness was not the correct explanation of altruism comes in this paper in Naturwissenschaften which described mixed colonies of two different species of spider which live together in shared colonies and care for each others’ young indiscriminately.
- One of the mechanisms of epigenetic inheritance has been elucidated in a new Science paper (Hackett et al), though of course it doesn't explain the observation in (1) above.