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Almost Like a Whale

Almost Like a Whale - Steve Jones I have long notes filled with disgust for this book. But Steve Jones, a Welshman, seems to have interlided (this is not a word, but I think it should be) any long-lasting science with aphorisms and mock-pessimism.

To be brief, Darwin seems to have oversimplified and missed a great deal. That's partly because he was writing before (modern) genetics. Even though Steve Jones is/was a professor of genetics, my edition of Almost Like a Whale is already outdated, having been written before the Human Genome was completely sequenced and, apparently, before epigenetics was better understood. Thus, for example, a bird made extinct by its proximity to Cape Canavaral is described as having the exact same DNA as another species (the word "species" itself seems to be a bit of a mystery to both Darwin and Jones), the same DNA despite the fact that the birds had different physical features. The DNA sequence of both birds had been completed before the Human Genome? Really? And will the theories of adaptation or species be the same if epigenetics is necessary to explain real change?

Most importantly, Mr. Jones says more or less outright that Darwin's science is out-of-date, but that Darwin's moral position, a sort of invisible hand of reproduction (ahem), based on Malthus but never applied to people in his "Origin of Species", is still grim, inevitable gospel.