The Mermaid's Tale
Ken Weiss, Anne Buchanan and Holly Dunsworth blog about human genetics, the genetics of development, epidemiology, paleoanthropology, philosophy of science, academia, and more.
The Mermaid's Tale's Latest Posts
'Obstetric dilemma' skeptic has c-section and remains skeptical ... & ... Why my c-section was natural childbirth
This is a new kind of Tale for me. The rock'n'roll's turned way up, and every couple sentences I have to stop typing to twirl a blue hound dog, a bear holding an umbrella, a Flying Spaghetti Monster, and other oddities that I strung up to hypnotize this little guy into letting me type one thought at a time:The thing that needs to be hypnotized.Or the three wise monkeys say: The thing that makes it impossible to create or to dwell on the negative. (e.g. his birth by c-section)That young […]
As technology has advanced dramatically during the past few decades, we have been able to look at the relationship between genotypes and phenotypes in ever more detail, and to address phenogenetic questions, that is to search for putative genomic causes of traits of interest on an ever and dramatically increasing scale. At each point, there has been excitement and a hope (and widespread promises) that as we overcome barriers of resolution, the elusive truth will be found. The claim has been […]
We have been using Darwin's and Wallace's somewhat different views of evolution to address some questions of evolutionary genetics and their consequences for todays attempt to understand the biological, especially genomic, basis of traits of interest. Darwin had a more particularistic individual focus and Wallace a more group-focused, ecological one, on the dynamics of evolutionary change.HMS Beagle in the Straits of MagellanAs a foil, we noted that a friend of Darwin's, Leonard Jenyns was […]
What if Rev Jenyns had agreed? Part II. Would evolutionary theory be different from a population perspective?
In yesterday's post I noted some general differences between Darwin's individual-centered theory of evolution, and AR Wallace's more population-focused ideas. Of course they both developed their ideas with the kinds of knowledge and technology then available, so we can use them to represent differing points of view we might hold today, but must realize that that is symbolic rather than literal. They were who they were, both skilled and perceptive, but their ideas were subject to […]
In 2006 I wrote an article about the long potential impact that historical quirks can have on science, based on the fact that in 1831 an Anglican cleric named Leonard Jenyns said "no, thanks" to an offer. It so happened that that offer was to be the naturalist on a surveying voyage to be undertaken by the Royal Navy. But Jenyns was interested in natural history as a hobby, rather than as a career, and he said he had to spend time with his parishioners and couldn't be away for the long years […]
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