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Evolution In 4d


scitsofreaky
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I'm finishing up an interesting book titled Evolution in Four Dimensions: Genetic, Epigenetic, Behavioral, and Symbolic Variation in the History of Life (on Amazon.com) by Eva Jablonka and Marion Lamb. And I just noticed that it now has some reviews which it didn't before, which isn't surprising since it just came out (I had it pre-ordered). Having glanced through them, I recommend reading the reviews.

 

This book may be representative of an important shift in evolutionary thought. While I enjoy Dawkins's books, his simplifications leave me wanting more information and somewhat frustrated. His books seem to ignore many other factors, which this book actually goes into.

 

This takes a sort of middle of the road approach, which usually draws my attention. For example, it never claims that genes aren't important, or even not very important. To the contrary, epigenetics seems to punctuate the importance of the genome because their affects are only felt through genes. I also think that a middle of the road path is the most sensible when we haven't done much research and therefore don't have a lot of data to base conclusions on.

 

I do disagree with John E. Mack (see the reviews on Amazon above) in that I think it is good that they spent time on the behavioral and symbolic affects on evolution. I do agree that they are pretty obvious, but this just means that they don't get talked about, and sometimes it seems they are forgotten. Any time there is inheritable variation natural selection can (does?) occur. So let's not forget informational and symbolic evolution, and also how they can affect genes via such things as niche creation.

 

This seems to be a more integral approach to evolution, and one that I think at least deserves more research to either confirm, reject or modify.

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