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Entries: 148
04.08.2009 19:19, Herman Heus E-mail :
Dag Gert,

En ja, snel gevonden via google. Je zult me nog wel herinneren... Ede....
Was grote fan van je bijzondere moeder...
Goed te lezen dat je je leven wetenschappelijk vorm hebt gegeven.
Mijn hartelijke groet,
Herman Heus

24.07.2009 12:01, Darshi E-mail :
Dear Gert
I am sorry that I didn't reply you earlier. As I later thought the subject area is not directly relevant to your website. And thus forgive me asking about reviews. But since you asked about the book, I will tell you about it.

It is about religion and it also talks about a proposal from the early twentieth century on the origin of religion which does not agree with the currently popular Darwinian interpretation. My objective was to emphasise the significance of SJ Gould's concept of 'NOMA' (Title of the book is 'The lure of NOMA: On the Elegance of Religion). I wanted to show that the truth may have many sides and we should not try to destroy religion ,taking it for a delusion, for the sake of science. Both are unique human inventions. Evolution itself might have taken a different course.

I used your website to look for new books on Darwinism and anti-Darwinism . As far as I know, you, in your site, have the most balanced spread of information on Darwinist and anti-Darwinist Ideas. This is especially significant as you are a Darwinist.

Thanks for doing the site.

Kind Regards
Darshi

01.07.2009 19:46, Wolfgang Roosch from Göteborg, Sweden E-mail :
Thanks Gert, for digging up this very fitting qoute from Darwin himself. He throws the ball right back into the court of semantics, an area I am (slightly) more familiar with than the natural sciences. He sees right through the issue, but I really have to think for a while on his statement that "with a little familiarity such superficial objections will be forgotten". It seems a bit like he is sensing a troublesome inadequacy and trying to disarm it by labelling it superficial. Entirely understandable, but it doesn't mean that future generations of scientists have to adhere to the original terminology. It does happen that along with scientific progress the terminology is updated or changed.


01.07.2009 11:11, Wolfgang Roosch from Göteborg, Sweden E-mail :
Thanks Gert, for digging up this very fitting qoute from Darwin himself. He throws the ball right back into the court of semantics, an area I am (slightly) more familiar with than the natural sciences. He sees right through the issue, but I really have to think for a while on his statement that "with a little familiarity such superficial objections will be forgotten". It seems a bit like he is sensing a troublesome inadequacy and trying to disarm it by labelling it superficial. Entirely understandable, but it doesn't mean that future generations of scientists have to adhere to the original terminology. It does happen that along with scientific progress the terminology is updated or changed.


29.06.2009 14:45, gert korthof Homepage :
Hello Wolfgang,
You are right that these concepts can be misunderstood. Darwin knew that. This is what Darwin wrote:

"Other have objected that the term selection implies conscious choice in the animals which become modified; and it has even been urged that, as plants have no volition, natural selection is not applicable to them! In the literal sense of the word, no doubt, natural selection is a false term; but who ever objected to chemists speaking of the elective affinities of the various elements? - and yet an acid cannot strictly be said to elect the base with which it in preference combines. It has been said that I speak of natural selection as an active power or Deity; but who objects to an author speaking of the attraction of gravity as ruling the motions of the planets? Every one knows what is meant and is implied by such metaphorical expressions; and they are almost necessary for brevity. So again it is difficult to avoid personifying the word Nature; but I mean by Nature, only the aggregate action and product of many natural laws, and by laws the sequence of events as ascertained by us. With a little familiarity such superficial objections will be forgotten."
(Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, The Modern Library, 1998, p109)

If you would have a look at evolution textbooks (fe Glossary) you will find technical definitions of concepts 'natural selection', 'fitness', 'adaptation'. So that is the solution: make a technical definition, write it in the textbooks and teach it to the students.
Furthermore, the concept 'natural selection' is opposed to 'artificial selection', the two belong together. If you delete one, what to do with the other?

Gert Korthof

28.06.2009 21:06, Wolfgang Roosch from Göteborg, Sweden E-mail :
Hello Gert:
It has been a while I visited your domain and followed the discussions.
As an interested layman I have nevertheless been thoroughly bothered by the established terminology used within evolutionary science. The issue here is not the validity of the theory (and its variants), but merely the coined and used terminology.
For example: the term ”selection” implies a conscious choice based on an equally conscious value judgement. Thus ”natural selection” is a grave misnomer for the observed phenomenon. This and other misnomers have been costly to evolutionary science: Careless liguistics continue to veil the true nature of the evolutionary engine for a great number of people. Social Darwinism builds largely on a literal understanding of misleading terms. I suspect also that a change in terminology will rather clarify and sharpen the clash with ”creationism” (which I personally would welcome!)
Instead of ”natural selection” one should use a term that implies the unguidedness of the evolutionary process, e.g. ”natural persistance” or ”natural continuance”, maybe ”niche remainder”. None of these suggestions seem satisfactory, but they can maybe serve to point out the problem. At any rate, all terms that even just mildly suggest a value judgment like ”survival”, ”fit-unfit”, ”adaptation” etc. are counterproductive and misrepresent the observed phenomena. I am almost sure that even many practioners in the field would agree on that, while probably underestimating the consequences of the semantic problem at the same time.
Do you know of any publications that address the topic of terminology from a strict ”evolutionist” angle? I’d be thankful for tips!
Greetings from Zweden to Nederland
Wolfgang Roosch


27.06.2009 10:30, gert korthof Homepage :
Thanks Ben.

The title has been added to the Introduction page of the website
http://home.planet.nl/~gkorthof/korthof.htm

Gert Korthof

26.06.2009 21:48, Ben Roberts E-mail :
You may wish to add Carl Zimmer's latest book to your site: The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution.

05.06.2009 12:43, gert korthof :
Vincent, Ik heb jouw kommentaar naar evolutie.blog.com gekopieerd omdat dat een nederlandstalig blog is.
Gert


05.06.2009 12:27, Vincent Kemme from Regio Brussel E-mail Homepage :
Dag Gert,
Ik ken u alleen van uw blog, die mij zeer interesseert, maar die ik nog lang niet genoeg bestudeerd heb. Ik ben bioloog van de Univ. van Utrecht ('77-'85), heb onder Gerdien de Jong nog gestudeerd (kandidaatcursus populatie- en evolutiebiologie) en als eerstgraads docent biologie afgestudeerd. Tijdens mijn studie ben ik van een agnost van katholieke huize een gelovig en geëngageerd katholiek christen geworden, door een aantal gebeurtenissen. Daarna heb ik mij verdiept in de theologie en wat filosofie, om een synthedse te bereiken in mijn hoofd tussen mijn geloof en mijn biologische inzichten. Ik heb lesgegeven in een privé-school in Tilburg en aan de Europese Scholen te Brussel. Nu ben ik begonnen met een blog, biofides.eu, die ik hier heb vermeld. Mijn insteek is de confrontatie geloof en biowetenschappen. Ben onlangs in Rome naar het congres Biological Evolution geweest, georganiseerd door het Vaticaan, de pauselijke universiteit Gregoriana en de Notre Dame University, Indiana, USA. Nu verzorg ik met een Vlaamse vriend vijf radiouitzendingen over de evolutietheorie op Radio Maria, een nieuwe katholieke radiozender op de middengolf AM675: maandag 8 en 15 juni om 11 uur is het aan mij. De tekst kan je op de website radiomaria.nl downloaden (bij 'programmering'). Ben geïnteresseerd in je opmerkingen en eventueel nader contact. Met vriendelijke groet, Vincent Kemme.

03.04.2009 10:33, gert korthof :
Dear Darshi ,

thank you for visiting my site.
I cannot accept automatically books for review due to time restrictions. Reading and reviewing a book takes time. There is no staff at this site which can handle review requests. This site is run only by myself. Furthermore, I am no expert on a thousands subjects.

Having said that, you made me curious about your book and about yourself. So, why not tell something about yourself and your book?

Gert Korthof

02.04.2009 09:53, Darshi Arachige E-mail :
PRIVATE:
Dear Gert
I am a frequent visitor to your site and I like your scholarly and impartial reviews. That said could I ask you how someone can submit a book of this genre for review? Do you accept self-published books at all?

Kind Regards
Darshi

23.03.2009 13:24, Curt Fischer E-mail :
Great site! I plan on visiting regularly in the near future to get ideas on what books to read. You might be interesting in reviewing <a href="http://www.amazon.c om/Echoes-Life-Fossil-Molecule s-History/dp/0195176197"& gt;"Echoes of Life"</a>, a new book about the impact of "biomarkers" or molecular fossils on the study of life, evolution, and geobiology.

23.03.2009 12:25, gert korthof Homepage :
Beste Agaath Arends,
ik heb vandaag een plaatje op
evolutie.blog.com
Is dat wat U zoekt?
met vriendelijke groeten,
Gert Korthof

PS: ik neem aan dat het plaatje auteursrechten heeft.


23.03.2009 08:27, Agaath Arends E-mail :
Geachte mijnheer Korthof, Ik ben op zoek naar een tree of life waarin naast de "afstamming" ook de onderlinge relaties tussen organismen (bacteriën, virussen, parasieten, planten, dieren) tot uiting komen. Dus niet een boom met steeds verder uiteenlopende takken, maar ook parallel lopende en vergroeiende takken. Bestaat iets dergelijks of moet ik het zelf maken? Ik ben bioloog en bezig met mijn tweede boek, het vervolg op Het land (Zwerk, 2008). Misschien kunt u mij wat verder helpen? Bij voorbaat dank en vriendelijke groeten, Agaath Arends



06.03.2009 13:00, gert korthof :
Dear Edwin,
thank you very much for your interesting remarks.
I agree with "Biologists are not theologians and theologians are not biologists."
I agree with nobody prove or disprove the existence of god.
I agree with "Darwinism does not defeat Christianity".
However,
why the scientists can't stick to science is 1) because scientists are also people with their own beliefs. 2) Darwinism tends to contradict end overrule Genesis. There you have the conflict between Darwinism and religion. OK?

Why do we not see spontaneous origin of life today? is a good question. I think, because we didn´t look for it. 2) it has a low probability, so it should be rare, so difficult to find even we would search hard. 3) It would quickly be consumed by bacteria because it would be defenseless, vulnerable.

Why is there only one "wise" species?
I would object to "wise" and prefer "brainy".
I think the probability of a species with all the properties of humans (bipedal, large brain, cerebral cortex, flexible tongue, right larynx, language, opposable thumbs, living in pairs and groups, social learning, intelligence, capable of killing any predator, adaptable) occurring in one species is very low. Furthermore, evolution did not stop. Evolution has million years to go. In the future, if there is any, other intelligent species could evolve. Maybe far more intelligent than us.

06.03.2009 04:53, Edwin Holton E-mail :
I came across your site through a long series of searches on evolutionary theory and Darwinism and I am very glad I found it. I have read a number of the books you review and I appreciate your work on them. I do have a couple of questions with which I hope you can help me with either information or a nudge toward some source. The first if my frustration with the bickering of many people who write in this area about atheism, creationism, theism, etc. I have taught both philosophy and comparative religions and have advanced degrees in information science as well. Biologists are not theologians and theologians are not biologists (usually!). Neither can PROVE the existence or non-existence of either a god or a creative intelligence. Darwinism does not defeat Christianity, Buddhism, Shinto, meditation, or any other spiritual practice nor do the spiritual practices defeat Darwinsim (or evolution). So, why can't the scientists stick to science and the folk interested in spiritual practices stick to their concerns? I am certain (because I know them) that there are biologists who believe in evolution who are also very spiritual people. I continue to be baffled by this, to my mind, adolescent squabble about things that are beyond the reach of the human mind.

My other questions are more directly concerned with some problems I perceive in evolutionary theory. First, if life originated spontaneously from some combination of minerals and environmental conditions, why do we not see new life forms emerging from the oceans or volcanic or thermal areas...or some such...even today? Or do we find new spontaneous life in places on the globe? I can't see why new life stopped spontaneously appearing. Second, why is there only one "wise" species: homosapiens? Why didn't some additional species reach the status of being wise as well and so produce their own scientists, artists, musicians, etc.? Seems strange that there is only us.

Have you any reflections on these matters?
Thanks.

16.02.2009 09:23, Steven Sullivan E-mail :
If you call the question Was Darwin Wrong? a straw man, then you are not open to revisions of (neo)Darwinism and you are making a Saint of Darwin.


That's a radical misreading of what I actually wrote, nor is it logical. It's quite possible to question the wisdom of your old title without making a 'Saint' of Darwin.

Not that it matters, since my complaint isn't about the science here, but I am a biologist/bioinformatician. Also a regular reader of PZ Myers' 'Pharyngula' blog and a longtime observer of the anti-evolution creationist/'intelligent design' movements.


I certainly do not believe in or worship a 'St. Darwin' -- how could I, since I accept what's been known since even before the neoDarwinian synthesis was formalized: that some of Darwin's conclusions certainly were wrong -- but I do believe, from long experience watching the crazy anti-evolutionists in my country, that 'Was Darwin Wrong?' was an unfortunate choice of name for a site intended to air and review valid scientific questions about the neoDarwinian synthesis (which incorporated both Darwinian and post-Darwinian models and data). (I like the new title much better, for that reason -- the site's thrust was always more 'Is the NeoDarwinian Synthesis Wrong?" than "Was Darwin Wrong?")

If you'd actually intended to focus on Darwin's own models, a more pertinent question less redolent of creationist/ID rhetoric would have been '*What* was Darwin Wrong (and Right) About?". But evolutionary biology has grown vastly since Darwin's day. Yes, those of Darwin's own hypotheses which still survive intact are certainly valid subjects for testing, as in the Nature article. But in 2009 it is not 'ultimately' about which of *Darwin's* ideas were right or not, any more than physics today is 'ultimately' about which of Newton's ideas were right. With your original title, *you* seemed to be the one elevating Darwin as a strawman to be knocked down -- which, unfortunately, happens to be an all too common creationist tactic.






14.02.2009 08:37, gert korthof :
Dear Steven Sullivan,
thank you very much for the feedback. Could you introduce yourself? You know a lot about me (from my website) but I don't know you. Thank you very much.

I do not worship Darwin. He is not a saint. Every scientific theory is open to criticism and revision. You write "On some stuff, yes, on much important stuff, no. And he was certainly right that evolution occurs, and that species are related by common descent." Related by common descent is too simple. Today we know about horizontal gene transfer and symbiosis, which greatly complicate the simple picture of the tree of life. If you call the question Was Darwin Wrong? a straw man, then you are not open to revisions of (neo)Darwinism and you are making a Saint of Darwin. In fact studying evolution today ultimately is nothing else than answering the question on which issues was Darwin wrong and on which issues was he right?

A recent example was published in Nature 11 Feb 2009:
"In the 1960s, guided by the prevailing anthropological orthodoxy, Paul Ekman, now retired, set out to prove Darwin wrong by asking for interpretations of facial expressions from the farthest flung people he could get to".
http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090211/full/457780a.html

"Isn't it perhaps time to rename the site? ": as you can see it has already a new title. The domain name www.wasdarwinwrong.com is a technical question, I don't like wasting time on that, I prefer to study evolution in stead.
All the best,
Gert Korthof

13.02.2009 20:09, Steven Sullivan E-mail :
Dr. Korthof,
This has always been a website of great potential to summarize and examine current issues in evolutionary biology, but I think you crippled it from the start -- by calling it 'Was Darwin Wrong' (the answer to which has been known for *decades*: "On some stuff, yes, on much important stuff, no. And he was certainly right that evolution occurs, and that species are related by common descent") you mainly attracted all manner of 'intelligent design' and creationist kooks, as well as the occasional pseudoscientist crank, rather than the community of reality-based investigators and readers.

Really, what were you thinking??? Your site's titular question, from its inception, was a 'strawman'. From your new introduction to the site, I suspect you've had some misgivings too about this. Isn't it perhaps time to rename the site?

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