Ecological adaptations and amino acid substitutions

By: James V. Kohl | Published on: January 7, 2014

One crank dies, another rises to take his place.

Excerpt: “I was asked to look at a string of comments left on a science article by a fellow going by the pseudonym JVK, and all the Davison traits were there. Pretentious phrasing. Repetition: if the audience didn’t get it the first time, just say the same thing again, twice. A kind of sneering anger that people don’t understand how smart he is. An obsession with one narrow idea, which is his, which explains all of evolution and proves that everyone else is wrong. Behold James Vaughn Kohl.” My comment: Hi everyone, that’s me! The comments I made were in discussion of  why “A third of Americans don’t believe in evolution

The comments on this biology teacher’s blog are exemplary, much better than at PhysOrg. After comparing what I’ve written in a discussion on evolutionary theory to Van Valen’s thoughts about ecology and adaptations, my published works are ignored. I’m crucified for being more like the Creationist Dobzhansky who wrote: “…the only worthwhile biology is molecular biology. All else is “bird watching” or “butterfly collecting.” Bird watching and butterfly collecting are occupations manifestly unworthy of serious scientists!”

That was name-calling at its finest! I’ve done no better despite provocation.

Then Dobzhansky wrote: “Nothing in Biology Makes Any Sense Except in the Light of Evolution,” but most people decided to accept mutation-driven evolution as if there was experimental evidence from molecular biology to support it. It’s been great fun for me to integrate the experimental evidence on nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled ecological adaptations and to be ignored. And it’s even more fun now, since I know that within a few weeks we will see a report come from “out of the blue” and assert the same things I’ve been saying for nearly two decades — since book publication in 1995. This will bring back Van Valen, Dobzhansky, Elaine Morgan, Lynn Margulis, and others whose understanding of the basic principle of biology and levels of biological organization might have led to great scientific progress, if not for the evolutionary theorists and human ethologists (i.e., the bird-watchers and butterfly collectors).

Meanwhile, as we await the report on the 96 amino acid substitutions in the human genome that distinguish us from our most recent extinct ancestor, you can learn why nothing about evolution makes sense except in the light of molecular biology. It’s because what we’ve learned about molecular biology proves that ecological variation is responsible for species diversity, not mutation-driven evolution. That’s why evolution doesn’t make sense. It’s because there is no such thing as mutation-driven evolution.

I hope others will scan the comments thread at the link above and try to make sense of people’s belief in mutation-initiated natural selection or mutation-driven evolution in a world where it has become perfectly clear that ecological adaptations and amino acid substitutions are responsible for species diversity, and mutations are not. Van Valen, Dobzhansky, Morgan, and Margulis died before having their chance to have the last laugh. But, in their way, they were all serious scientists among others who have always laughed at the theorists. They just didn’t laughed as loudly as serious scientists soon will be.

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