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Friday, October 29, 2021

Ernst Mayr and evolution

Ernst Mayr (1904-2005) was a German-American biologist best known for his contributions to evolutionary theory. Wikipedia says,


"...Mayr rejected reductionism in evolutionary biology, arguing that evolutionary pressures act on the whole organism, not on single genes, and that genes can have different effects depending on the other genes present." (10.24.21 UTC 10:42)


The rest of this post is some quotes from Mayr.




"Most scientic problems are far better understood by studying their history than their logic." (The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution and Inheritance, 1982)


"The history of science knows scores of instances where an investigator was in the possession of all the important facts for a new theory but simply failed to ask the right questions." (The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution and Inheritance, 1982)




"As a consequence, geneticists described evolution simply as a change in gene frequencies in populations, totally ignoring the fact that evolution consists of the two simultaneous but quite separate phenomena of adaptation and diversification." (Toward a New Philosophy of Biology: Observations of an Evolutionist, 1988)


"Darwin argued that the fossil record is very incomplete because some species fossilize better than others... I noted that you are never going to find evidence of a small local population that changed very rapidly in the fossil records." (Interview with Michael Shermer and Frank Sulloway, 2000)