2005

Comments: The following three letters to The Guardian Review and The Guardian (in the middle) were not published.

In his article, "The giant tortoise's tale" (February 19), Richard Dawkins does nothing to dispel the myth that the Galapagos Islands 'inspired Darwin's theory of evolution'. He should know better. Darwin was by then well familiar with the concept of evolution, both through reading his grandfather's books and through his acquaintance with Robert Grant at Edinburgh University. The Galapagos Islands were merely instrumental in subsequently convincing him of evolution by natural selection. Would that the public's perception of evolution could break away from this monotheism.
Hugh Dower
 
For a long time now, the essential evidence used by Steven and Hilary Rose (Why we should give up on race, April 9) – that there is more genetic diversity within traditional races than between them – has been trotted out as grounds for abandoning the concept of race. Since it is palpably obvious that there are significant physical differences between the average members of the main races, surely the more rational interpretation of the evidence is that the neo-Darwinian concept that genes are the sole determinants of inheritable characteristics should be abandoned.
Hugh Dower
 
In his favourable review of Eva Jablonka and Marion Lamb’s Evolution in Four Dimensions (“What Darwin really thought”, July 22), Steven Rose stops short of admitting that Lamarckian inheritance has played an important part in evolution, which is what Jablonka and Lamb maintain.
What those of us who have always believed in Lamarckian inheritance want (in the first instance) is for moderate biologists like Steven Rose to endorse our cause by name, and for schools and universities to stop teaching that Lamarck got it all wrong. It would also be helpful if the thinking public could be made much more aware that there is more to our origins than a choice between genes or Genesis (or, to put it another way, between Richard Dawkins or God).
Hugh Dower

Comments: See my own review of “Evolution in Four Dimensions” in Book Review.

Continue to 2006

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