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Good news from Richard Levins:

>we observe in the field there are sources of abrupt change:
> 1) hybridization;
>2)  symbiosis (Lynn Margulis' work);
>3) thresholds of physical processes that
>when crossed even by small changes in rates of processes can produce big
>alterations of development (Stuart Newman);
> 4) Non-genetic transmission
>across the generations.

        Could you get thru to Dawkins to notify him that these reasons  -
and, I suspect, others too  -  should cause him to abandon his extremist
slogan that evolution is purely gradualist?
        The fossil record is dominated by discontinuities  -  saltations  -
e.g the first seed plant (a sequoia) appears 2.8 x 10^8 y ago with no
'proto-sequoia' precursor.  Eugenie Scott's slogan "we've got intermediate
forms coming out our ying-yang" is incorrect.
        I have never been able to understand the motive of Dawkins in
ignoring saltations.  In general, neoDarwinism is less implausible if
saltations are acknowledged.  Why aggressive atheists like Dawkins ignore
them is utterly unclear.  Anyone found any clues?


Richard also writes:

>        The arguments for "intelligent design" seem to be a reversion to
>Gnosticism

        BTW if you look into Gnosticism I think you'll find it's mainly a
different idea from this (which I believe should be credited to Plato).


> -- the view that the Almighty subcontracted this universe to a
>demiurge who did a mediocre job of it.

        As far as I've seen, IDTers refuse to say anything about the
character, or even the number, of designer(s).

R