Lynn Margulis weblog tour


Here's an interesting opportunity: Lynn Margulis, the controversial scientist, is going on a 'blog tour' to promote her new imprint of science books called Sciencewriters Books. What does that mean? She's going to hang out for a little while on a few blogs and chat and answer questions. If you've wanted to have a conversation with the author of the endosymbiont theory and critic of neo-Darwinian theory, here's your chance.

The tour will kick off on Monday, 12 March, at Pharyngula. She'll be sending me a short article that I'll post that morning, and we'll collect comments and questions. Later that afternoon or evening, she'll browse through those comments and answer the ones she finds interesting.

In addition, she'll be available in the Pharyngula chat room (channel #pharyngula on; if you don't have an IRC client, that link will let you use your browser to join in) from 12:00-1:30pm ET.

So mark it on your calendars: an online conversation with Lynn Margulis, next Monday, 12 March, at Pharyngula.


Her opinion of neo-Darwinism: history will ultimately judge the theory as “a minor twentieth-century religious sect within the sprawling religious persuasion of Anglo-Saxon Biology.”

I’ll second that.

Her opinion of ID from:[…]gulis_d.html

“Anthropocentric writers with a proclivity for the miraculous and a commitment to divine intervention tend to attribute historical appearances like eyes, wings, and speech to “irreducible complexity” (as, for example, Michael Behe does in his book, Darwin’s Black Box) or “ingenious design” (in the tradition of William Paley who used the functional organs of animals as proof for the existence of God). Here we feel no need for supernatural hypotheses. Rather, we insist that today, more than ever, it is the growing scientific understanding of how new traits appear, ones even as complex as the vertebrate eye, that has triumphed. What is the news?” (quote from the book, page 202).

Seems she is no supporter of ID either. She tentatively believes her theory of symbiogenesis will supplant the neo-Darwinian evolutionary mechanism for the explanation for new traits. I personally think that it may well become an important aspect of evolutionary theory in general, like the neo-Darwinian evolutionary mechanism and punctuated equilibrium. My view is similar to Gert Kortof’s, who pointed out. (posted in the same archive)


* Lynn Margulis’ symbiosis theory is a proven theory in biology. * The claim in Acquiring Genomes that symbiosis is the main mechanism for creating new species in evolution is an unjustified extrapolation from a number of well-documented cases to all domains of life. * The claim that the accumulation of mutations do not lead to anything useful is refuted by the facts of molecular and evolutionary genetics. * Margulis unambiguously rejects creationism, despite her criticism of the fundamental neo-Darwinistic mechanisms, and her alternative theory is a fully naturalistic evolutionary theory.

So you can quit railing against neo-Darwinism realpc, because obviously posters at PT have no problem assimilating new information on evolution. We just have trouble swallowing your misrepresentations of both evolution and ID.

Lynn Margulis is doing on a ‘blog tour’?

She’s welcome to stop by and say hello on my blog:

Though, she may want to avoid my site considering it’s more about being snarky and promoting atheism more than science.

I’ll have a Margulis post waiting by the 12th.

Lynn Margulis says that history will ultimately judge neo-Darwinism as “a minor twentieth-century religious sect within the sprawling religious persuasion of Anglo-Saxon biology.”

Michael Behe Darwin’s Black Box (1996), page 26 Reference given is to: Science Vol. 252, 19 April 1991, pp. 379-381 Which references: American Zoologist, 30:861-875 (1990)

Considering the source of your quote, i.e. one Michael Behe, it is hard for me to imagine that what is attributed to Margulis is anything other than a quote mine. What tipped me off to this is the fact that only the latter part of your post is in parenthesis. I would like to the entire quote in order to put it in context.

Apparently its a fairly frequently mined quote of Margulis’.

Those quotes are no credit to Margulis. But that’s the thing about quotes of things scientists say – they aren’t evidence, or science.

Realpc, You said in a previous thread… “Yes Randi has debunked a lot of nonsense. There will never be a shortage of ridiculous paranormal claims. But he goes way beyond the data in saying no paranormal claims can possibly be valid.”

When and where did Randi say this? Either quote your source or admit you just made it up!

This is about the third time I’ve asked you this question, realpc. What’s your problem? Reading comprehension difficulties?

GuyeFaux Wrote:

Apparently its a fairly frequently mined quote of Margulis’.

The Wikipedia article is using the same mined quotes.

And rather clumsily, with wrong references: the quote about “the sprawling religious persuasion of Anglo-Saxon biology” is attributed to the Science article with page or journal number 252, the “complete funk” quote is attributed to the same article with pp 378-381. While your source quote the original reference.

This is about the third time I’ve asked you this question, realpc. What’s your problem? Reading comprehension difficulties?

Lack of ethics.

“Lynn Margulis’ symbiosis theory is a proven theory in biology.”

Why, are theories “proven” now?

In the sense of “demonstrated” or “confirmed” – sometimes. It would certainly indicate semantic or epistemological confusion to deny, for instance, that the theory that microorganisms can cause disease has been proven.

I’d like to find out more about Margulis, and my only information about Margulis comes from Dawkins (I forget which book; I think it’s maybe The Extended Phenotype). Why, exactly, does she disagree with neo-Darwinism? Something about not liking economic analysis for biological systems for philosophical reasons?

Anyhow, I’ve found the following link, but I still don’t understand what the issue is. Seems to me that she’s claiming that the variations required to form new species come from symbiotic or parasitic mergers, and not from mutation. Is that about it?

Anyhow, I’ve found the following link, but I still don’t understand what the issue is.

After several paragraphs of ad hominems, she gets to the nub – incredulity: “I’ve been critical of mathematical neo-Darwinism for years; it never made much sense to me.”

Here’s Dawkins on Margulis from that page:

I greatly admire Lynn Margulis’s sheer courage and stamina in sticking by the endosymbiosis theory, and carrying it through from being an unorthodoxy to an orthodoxy. I’m referring to the theory that the eukaryotic cell is a symbiotic union of primitive prokaryotic cells. This is one of the great achievements of twentieth-century evolutionary biology, and I greatly admire her for it.

I first met Lynn some years ago at a conference in the South of France, and I think we got on rather well together. I have since, when I’ve met her, found her extremely obstinate in argument. I have the feeling that she’s the kind of person who just knows she’s right and doesn’t listen to argument. Whereas I think I actually do listen — and perhaps change my mind if someone presents a convincing argument — I get the feeling that she does not. That may be unfair, and in the case of the theory of the origin of the eukaryotic cell, she was right to be obstinate. She’s turned out, probably, to be right, but that doesn’t mean she’s always right. And I suspect that she isn’t always right.

I’d say that, while she was marvelously right about symbiosis, she’s mostly not right, and that’s because of the solipsistic rigidity of her thought processes. Hey, scientists are human too.

According to the wikipedia entry she is on the HIV does not cause AIDS bandwgon. Sorry, that where I get off.

Praise her for her early science. But now, she really has not place being promoted by a reality based science blob.

Sad… and dangerous.

per my note above, this one bugs me.

I am writing again because it occurs to me that this is sort of like those engineers, and alas doctors (mostly surgeons it seems; not surprisingly) who become useful idiots for creationism & DI.

For anybody in biomedical field, there is not reasonable doubt about HIV -> AIDS connection.

Just one example: compounds that are specific to the HIV lifecycle, i.e. AZT or protesase inhibitors, result in the decline of HIV in the body and the arrest of disease and disease progression. For anybody who knows what the disease was like pre-AZT and especially after second line of drugs (attack virus at two points in biochemical lifecycle) such as the protease inhibitors, and now afterwards, the “HIV does not cause AIDS” line amounts to calling for murder.

I have no problem with some of the weaker forms of Gaia-ism, and not really for her apparent 1960s-1970s style academic marxism, and certainly do celebrate her for her real contribution to cellular biology.

But somebody has to ask her about AIDS & HIV!

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This page contains a single entry by PZ Myers published on March 7, 2007 11:45 AM.

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