Saturday, October 21, 2006

Sean Carroll's new book....   posted by Razib @ 10/21/2006 12:05:00 AM

Mr. (Dr.?) Evo-Devo, Sean Carroll, has a new book out, The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution. He gave an interview to NPR today, and he seems to be attempting to market this as an attempt to educate the public about evolution via applied genomics (e.g., DNA tests, etc.). Interestingly, Carroll points to the power of human evolution and local adaptation, though he used the canonical malaria resistence example rather than something more exotic. I've bandied about the idea that a "bottom up" DNA sequence-centric conception of evolution is the way to go in convincing the "skeptics." My general point was that macroevolution is simply intuitively unappealing to many because of the human tendency to essentialize species concepts. On the other hand if you start from DNA, something tangible which people can concede is substantive and real, and work the logic of mutation, migration, selection and drift, you can slowly box people in and work them up to agreeing that macroevolution naturally emerges from the microevolutionary axioms which are rock-solid. That being said, that's the theory, and this model is requires a particular intellectual level which I don't think applies to most humans.

Addendum: On a radio related note, check out this interview with a writer who covers game theory, quite a bit of time spent on J.M. Smith's work in the 1970s.