Tag Archives: lynn margulis

Lynn Margulis, Evolutionary ‘Naturalism,’ Chance and Conspiracy

“The endosymbiosis hypothesis is retrogressive in the sense that it avoids the difficult thought necessary to understand how mitochondria and chloroplasts have evolved as a series of small evolutionary steps.” -Thomas Uzzell and Christine Spolsky, 1974

The above old quote may make us chuckle now that Margulis’ theory has been vindicated by DNA analysis. Uzzell and Spolsky imply that endosymbiosis seemed to them too easy and naïve, like a myth describing how the first humans sprang from sown dragon’s teeth. Even though there was nothing prima facie impossible about the idea — no physical laws violated — these critics nevertheless felt that the endosymbiosis hypothesis was tantamount to a “revival of special creation.” [1] Symbiogenesis, the idea championed by Lynn Margulis, is here associated with the supernatural because it was considered to be a rare and too fortuitous event. Continue reading

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Death and Sex

Death and sex are literature’s subjects, not science’s. What we care most about is what these subjects mean to us—not what they, in fact, are. When scientists attempt to enlighten us on these matters, they often fall to recounting certain metabolic processes, generally missing the point, while we readers sigh or snicker, wondering if the researcher has any experience out of the lab. This is not the case with Death and Sex by Tyler Volk and Dorion Sagan. See my review in New York Journal of Books.