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Author Topic:   Top ten works in the Theory of Evolution
Lithodid-Man
Member (Idle past 1067 days)
Posts: 504
From: Juneau, Alaska, USA
Joined: 03-22-2004


Message 1 of 34 (336189)
07-28-2006 7:43 PM


In the thread Does Evolution Require Spreading the Word? www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=4&t=135&m=1 -->www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=4&t=135&m=1">http://www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=4&t=135&m=1 Randman makes the assertion:

The simple truth is evolutionary theory was accepted, based on false evidence, long before legitimate scientific publication in journals (by today's standards)

Putting aside the fact that this is completely untrue, it started me thinking of the ‘top 10’ most important works that contributed to the theory as we understand it today. Modulous had the same idea, and I think it is a good one.

I have listed below what I believe to be the 10 most important books and articles that contributed to my understanding of the ToE. I am sure I left out some important ones while including some which some of you might disagree as to their importance. I would like to discuss the following works, and give opportunity for criticism by those who have read them. Also, it would be interesting to hear some additions, maybe create an annotated bibliography of the important works in the ToE.

The list:

Darwin, Charles (1859) On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. Murray, London.

IMO everyone owes it to themselves to read this book. It is one of the most important books ever written. Darwin’s meticulous writing style can be difficult at times to wade through, but worth the effort.

Darwin, Charles (1871) The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex. Murray, London.

Another amazing book. I still find gems when I read through this. It seems like every concept in the ToE since Darwin can be found in embryonic form in this book.

Fisher, Ronald A. (1930) The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection. Oxford, Clarendon.

This plus the two abovementioned Darwin works are arguably the foundations of all of the ToE. Fisher ties together natural and sexual selection with genetics. I have an old one but the book was reprinted again in 2000.

Wright, Sewell (1931) Evolution in Mendelian Populations. Genetics 16: 97-159.

I think that shifting balance hypothesis is one of the most important concepts in evolution. I believe that in time its implications will continue unfolding. As you may be able to tell I am a Wright fanatic and think he was so far ahead of his time we are just starting to get the framework in which to really understand him.

Maynard Smith, John (1982) Evolution and the Theory of Games, Cambridge University Press.

Maynard Smith was one of the pioneers who recognized the importance of Nash equilibrium and economics in biology. This is where the term evolutionary stable strategy (ESS) comes from. ESS is the standard by which novel behaviors and traits must be judged. This is a really good one.

MacArthur, R. H. and Wilson, E. O. 1967. The Theory of Island Biogeography Princeton University Press

This book ties population genetics to speciation, ecology, extinction, etc. The concepts from MacArthur and Wilson are still being batted around today and you will see this cited in nearly every paper on patch ecology, larval dispersal, etc.

Platt, John (1964) Strong Inference. Science. 146:347-353

Not about the ToE directly, this is the paper that sets the standard for how evolution and all biological research should be approached. When designing experiments or research plans I always re-read this one.

Trivers, Robert (1971) The evolution of reciprocal altruism. Quarterly Review of Biology. 46: 35-57.

Arguing against both group selection theory and the premise that natural selection always leads to selfish behavior, Trivers shows how cooperation can be an ESS.

Trivers, Robert (1972). Parental investment and sexual selection. In B. Campbell (Ed.), Sexual selection and the descent of man, 1871-1971 (pp. 136-179). Chicago, IL: Aldine.

PI or parental investment theory is one of those wonderful little theories that has been tested over and over and has been found to hold true. This predicts (among other things) that the degree or strength of sexual selection can be predicted by the degree of imbalance in how much energy is allocated by each sex. That is, if one sex puts twice as much effort into offspring protection, then that sex is the 'choosy' sex and sexual selection will be important and apparent in the behavior or morphology of that species.

Gould, Stephen J. and Lewontin, R. (1979) The spandrels of San Marco and the panglossian paradigm. Proceedings of the Royal Society 205: 591-98.

And lastly, Gould and Lewontin. I am not a Gould fan in general but this is a great paper. This is required reading for all of my students.

I don't know where this should be posted. Since I want to discuss the science in the ToE based upon these pubs, maybe Is It Science?


Doctor Bashir: "Of all the stories you told me, which were true and which weren't?"
Elim Garak: "My dear Doctor, they're all true"
Doctor Bashir: "Even the lies?"
Elim Garak: "Especially the lies"
Replies to this message:
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AdminJar
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 34 (336215)
07-28-2006 9:30 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
anglagard
Member
Posts: 2185
From: Socorro, New Mexico USA
Joined: 03-18-2006


Message 3 of 34 (336232)
07-28-2006 11:45 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Lithodid-Man
07-28-2006 7:43 PM


Available to All
Some of these works are available to all worldwide over the web. Here are the links:

quote:
Darwin, Charles (1859) On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. Murray, London.

Full text: http://pages.britishlibrary.net/charles.darwin/texts/origin1859/origin01.html

quote:
Darwin, Charles (1871) The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex. Murray, London.

Full text: http://pages.britishlibrary.net/charles.darwin/texts/descent/descent_front.html

quote:
Wright, Sewell (1931) Evolution in Mendelian Populations. Genetics 16: 97-159.

Full text: http://www.esp.org/foundations/genetics/classical/holdings/w/sw-31.pdf

quote:
Platt, John (1964) Strong Inference. Science. 146:347-353

Full text: http://www.krisweb.com/biblio/gen_science_platt_1964_stronginference.pdf

quote:
Gould, Stephen J. and Lewontin, R. (1979) The spandrels of San Marco and the panglossian paradigm. Proceedings of the Royal Society 205: 591-98.

Full text: http://redwood.psych.cornell.edu/courses/psych527fall05/papers/spandrels.pdf

For the rest, one may have to deal with those scary librarians. :)

Edited by anglagard, : happy face


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Lithodid-Man, posted 07-28-2006 7:43 PM Lithodid-Man has responded

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Modulous
Member (Idle past 240 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 4 of 34 (336250)
07-29-2006 2:22 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by anglagard
07-28-2006 11:45 PM


Re: Available to All
Thanks, anglagard. And thanks Lithoid-Man! I don't know if my list would have been the same, but you (naturally) went for mostly the same authors I was thinking of when I was thinking of it. I was certainly going to have Maynard-Smith's work in there - phenomenal.
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Lithodid-Man
Member (Idle past 1067 days)
Posts: 504
From: Juneau, Alaska, USA
Joined: 03-22-2004


Message 5 of 34 (336258)
07-29-2006 3:54 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by anglagard
07-28-2006 11:45 PM


Re: Available to All
Thanks Anglagard for posting online versions of some of these. I was tempted to look them up but got lazy.


Doctor Bashir: "Of all the stories you told me, which were true and which weren't?"
Elim Garak: "My dear Doctor, they're all true"
Doctor Bashir: "Even the lies?"
Elim Garak: "Especially the lies"
This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by anglagard, posted 07-28-2006 11:45 PM anglagard has not yet responded

    
Lithodid-Man
Member (Idle past 1067 days)
Posts: 504
From: Juneau, Alaska, USA
Joined: 03-22-2004


Message 6 of 34 (336259)
07-29-2006 4:00 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by Modulous
07-29-2006 2:22 AM


Shakespeare is better in the original Klingon
Modulous-

I would be interested in your list, please post. I am sure we have different opinions on which scientists were most influential from different sides of the pond. I just wanted to make sure that the American scientists were represented, like Darwin, Fisher, Maynard Smith as well as others. I am sure there are some Brits who helped the theory along. -LM ;)


Doctor Bashir: "Of all the stories you told me, which were true and which weren't?"
Elim Garak: "My dear Doctor, they're all true"
Doctor Bashir: "Even the lies?"
Elim Garak: "Especially the lies"
This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by Modulous, posted 07-29-2006 2:22 AM Modulous has not yet responded

    
Quetzal
Member (Idle past 4008 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 7 of 34 (336307)
07-29-2006 11:59 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Lithodid-Man
07-28-2006 7:43 PM


Addition
I would suggest adding Theodosius Dobzhansky's Genetics and the Origin of Species (1937, Columbia Uni Press) to your list. Another is Ernst Mayr's Animal Species and Evolution, (1963, Belknap/Harvard Uni Press).

I guess everybody has their favorites. For ecology, obviously the Wilson/MacArthur book you mentioned is one of the most influential, putting the science on a sound theoretical footing for the first time. For modern conservation theory, Wilson's Biodiversity, (1988, National Academy Press), is among the most influential.

What is interesting is that - while considering your OP - I started to think about which books were the most personally influential in launching me in my chosen career. I know that this isn't directly related to the OP, but the most influential I came up with was an early childhood gift of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, (1962, Houghton-Mifflin), which I read around age 10 or so. Amazing what early exposure to science can do for someone. :D


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Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 3169 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 8 of 34 (336354)
07-29-2006 1:55 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Lithodid-Man
07-28-2006 7:43 PM


among the top l0.
I think that
Panbiogeography
wiki
in it's original entitlement and other works by Leon Croizat

are going to become more important as the death of abiogenesis confronts the competative

indiviuality of the character that emerges from the reading of anyone's personal "top ten" list.

The related letters that emerge from also reading
http://www.us.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/LifeSciences/EvolutionaryBiology/?view=usa&ci=9780195074413
does not transgress all of the same space, so placed.

If there has been any "misinformation" by me electronically it can only be in the link I supplied at the end of the first link sited here on this post above. I doubt that one would need to change ones' listing because of it.


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AnswersInGenitals
Member
Posts: 509
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 9 of 34 (336368)
07-29-2006 2:53 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Lithodid-Man
07-28-2006 7:43 PM


Randman is right!
I'm afraid I'm going to have to come out in complete support of Randman's assertion in your quote. The first theory of evolution I am aware of was propounded by Empedocles of Agrigentum around 450BCE and was broadly accepted by his students and many other philosophers. His theory included the elements of random variation, natural selection, and survival of the fittest. There is no indication that his writings on his theory were accepted by any peer reviewed, legitimate (by todays standards), scientific journals, or that they were based on anything more than speculation, let alone evidence, true or false.

He is also the first to have put forth an elemental theory of all matter. While he had the right idea, his selection of the four basic elements was incorrect. He included water, which we now know to be a compound, and he left off chocolate, which we now know to be the most basic of all elements.


This message is a reply to:
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randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3035 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 10 of 34 (336399)
07-29-2006 5:23 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by AnswersInGenitals
07-29-2006 2:53 PM


Re: Randman is right!
One of the troubling issues with the "science" behind evolution, as far as when it was accepted 100 or so years ago, is that the incredibly poor quality of genuine review of the basic facts. I am not saying it has gotten better today, but certainly considering blatant frauds such as Haeckel's drawings were uncritically accepted and taught as part of mainstream evolutionism attests to the basic reality that the idea was accepted not because it was shown to be true factually, since it wasn't, but for other reasons.
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 Message 11 by AnswersInGenitals, posted 07-29-2006 5:39 PM randman has responded

  
AnswersInGenitals
Member
Posts: 509
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 11 of 34 (336404)
07-29-2006 5:39 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by randman
07-29-2006 5:23 PM


Re: Randman is right! (politically)
So, you're saying that you would not be inclined to include Haeckel's drawings in your list of the Top Ten Works in the Theory of Evolution? Also, it is my understanding that several scholars have independently established that Haeckel's fraud was egregious, not blatant, but we might be getting a little off topic.
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randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3035 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 12 of 34 (336405)
07-29-2006 5:43 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by AnswersInGenitals
07-29-2006 5:39 PM


Re: Randman is right! (politically)
There is a basic list of evidence used consistently for decades that was used as evidence for evolution, things such as Darwin's finches, the peppered moths later on, the Biogenetic law and then later the watered-down version of Recapitulation, etc, etc,.....

These have been called the icons of evolution, and they were largely bogus for one reason or another. It was a big smoke and mirrors game as far as I am concerned.


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AnswersInGenitals
Member
Posts: 509
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 13 of 34 (336412)
07-29-2006 5:51 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by randman
07-29-2006 5:43 PM


Perhaps you should start a new counter-thread on the Ten Worst (or Bottom) Works on the Theory of Evolution, along with your exegeses of why they deserve that position.
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randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3035 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 14 of 34 (336424)
07-29-2006 6:27 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Lithodid-Man
07-28-2006 7:43 PM


peer-review?

Seems like most of the 1st half of these works are not peer-reviewed articles.

Edited by AdminJar, : No reason given.


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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 15 of 34 (336711)
07-30-2006 6:01 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by AnswersInGenitals
07-29-2006 2:53 PM


Re: Randman is right!
I think it would be fair to say that the theory of evolution, like many scientific theories, actually predates the modern scientific community and the modern incarnation of the rigorous scientific method.

The fact that evolution turned out to be right anyway, despite being born in modern science's infantcy, is a testament to Darwin's insight into the natural world. The truth is that it's impossible to operate from "assumptions" that are directly counterfactual and arrive at any kind of real results. The fact that we get results from evolution proves that the theory is essentially correct.


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