Happy Darwin Day!
What we are celebrating is not so much Darwin as a person or scientist but really a new way of seeing the universe the fruits and implications of which are still being digested by some people in our society. Darwin took the scientific viewpoint and extended it to the issue of design through three radical ideas:
1. Variation is important for how evolution operates rather than being accidental.
2. Biological evolution -Descent with modification- is a population phenomenon.
3. The complex adaptations that organisms show arise by natural processes which can be understood.
This week I will be starting a series of posts exploring Burt and Trivers new book Genes in Conflict which really is about the implications of Darwin's ideas to molecular genetics. My first post on this book is here so I recommend reading it first to get a flavor for what Burt and Trivers are trying to do.