Joined: May 2006
sorry, but I think there has just been too much heard from the philosophers round about the science blogs recently.
there might not be much interest in pursuing something that looks quite superficial and ridiculous on the surface.
I'll offer my own opinions based on the paragraph you quoted, for what it's worth.
PZ Myers actually IS a developmental biologist, so you might want to visit Pharyngula.
The philosopher appears to assume that the reason evolutionary biologists have incorporated developmental biology is because of some ancient thesis that there is an "essential nature" to the organism, rather than what it really is, which is interaction between genes and environment. His thesis is contrary to the simple observation of diversity we actually find out there.
|Developmental biology shows that one must appeal to the capacities of organisms to explain what makes adaptive evolution adaptive.|
This is just an appeal to teleology, AFAICT. Developmental biology simply studies the complex intereactions between gene expression and environment, to put it simplistically. Local environments within cells, external environmental input, etc. No "essentialism" observed or implied. In fact, this philosopher's argument begins to resemble some things that Jonathan Wells has written is his idiotic "guide".
again, you should go check out the section on developmental biology that PZ addresses:
that might give you some further insight into the actual practice of developmental biology.
as a side note:
Things like what you posted here are the reason most scientists typically reject the ramblings of most philosophers, IMO. The philosophers, while expounding interesting ideas (sometimes), are often completely disconnected from what actually is observed in science.
Rather than checking their thoughts with an actual developmental biologist, they proceed to detail an idea that has no real-world connection.
As a human being, I say that's fine and dandy, and can lead to creative insights, at times. However, when a philosopher with the level of disconnect evidenced here attempts to expound upon the actual practice of science, as a scientist i see no more relevance than I would to a street-corner preacher doing the same.
"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."