2010

Comments: The following sixteen letters to The Guardian and the Guardian Review, over five years, were not published. I was getting angry and resentful.

In her review of "What Darwin got Wrong" (A sting in evolution's tail, 6 February), Mary Midgley lays great stress on Darwin's misrepresentation (about which he complained in the later editions of his two main books as well as his autobiography). When you combine that misrepresentation in his own lifetime, the censorship of his views in respect of the inheritance of acquired characteristics by his own followers after his death, and the modern evidence particularly from epigenetics, it is clear that, if Darwin were alive today, he would not be a neo-Darwinist. So, why have neo-Darwinists been allowed to impose such hegemony over public perception of evolution in the name of Darwin? If other people have been as misrepresented as Darwin, I fear it really is the case that "history is a pack of lies".
Hugh Dower

Comments: In March there was a long article, pretty much saying exactly what I had been maintaining since 1993, though worded very differently. I thought it would alert the public to the new thinking in biology. See August 2011.

I have devoted 17 years to public awareness of “Why everything you've been told about evolution is wrong” (G2, 19 March), but the world of publishing (books and articles) has never been interested, so I have had to content myself with a few short letters in the Guardian and a website. Maybe your article will show whether that is because the public isn't interested either.
Hugh Dower

Ken MacLeod says that Craig Venter's creation 'lays to rest, with a satisfying finality, the ghost of vitalism' (Humanity will thank heaven that this creator of synthetic life is playing God, 22 May). It does no such thing. If Venter had created a cell entirely from lifeless chemicals, then it would, but all he has done is to insert a synthetic genome, which is just a toolkit, into an existing living cell. It may be that life is an entirely mechanistic phenomenon, but this does not prove it.             Hugh Dower

Do evolutionary anthropologists have no sense of logic? (Finger bone points to new human line, 23 December) "Researchers.....found that the Denisovans shared a common ancestor with Neanderthals." All living and extinct organisms shared a common ancestor. It has been known for over a century that homo erectus  spread all over the old world and had descendants. "What is interesting is that at the time when Neanderthals existed in western Europe, there was this other group with a distinct history that was presumably widespread in east Asia." That is not interesting; it is a matter of logical necessity.
Hugh Dower

Continue to 2011

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