The Unz Review • An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 TeasersGene Expression Blog
The Jerry Coyne Retirement
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information


Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

speciationJerry Coyne, an eminent evolutionary geneticist and all around public intellectual, is retiring, and has posted a bittersweet and hopeful farewell letter to his conventional scientific career. For the general public Coyne is probably more famous as a New Atheist, though Coyne is actually a vocal atheist of long standing. His most recent book was on that topic, Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible. I’m an atheist, but on the balance I demur form many of his positions in regards to religion and science. More precisely, I am quite willing to defend atheism and dismiss religion, but on philosophical or meta-scientific grounds, not scientific grounds as such.

When it comes to science on the whole I tend to agree with Coyne more often than not. In particular, his attitude toward the dynamics driving evolutionary process. In regards to the science, this section jumped out at me:

What I’m proudest of, I suppose, is the book I wrote with my ex-student Allen Orr, Speciation, published in 2004. It took each of us six years to write, was widely acclaimed and, more important, was influential. I still see that book as my true legacy, for it not only summed up where the field had gone, but also highlighted its important but unsolved questions, serving as a guide for future research.

As readers know I read Speciation in 2005, and it has really influenced my perspective on the broader topic. It’s an ambitious book even if the focus is on the process of speciation, rather like Structure of Evolutionary Theory in spirit, though far more economical in terms of prose and clearer in execution. I don’t know if Speciation is out of date or not, as I don’t study speciation, but I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to understand how an evolutionary geneticist might view the process and concept.

• Category: Science • Tags: Evolution 
Hide 2 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. Hi, sorry, but the link to the farewell letter is broken (it’s missing a “http://”).

  2. “More precisely, I am quite willing to defend atheism and dismiss religion, but on philosophical or meta-scientific grounds, not scientific grounds as such.”

    Read Joseph Atwill’s “Caesars Messiah” and you will also be able to defend atheism on historical grounds.

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to All Razib Khan Comments via RSS