Over at Pharyngula, Lynn Margulis has posted the first entry of what I understand to be a blog tour. I won’t go into extreme detail about what she wrote here (there’s plenty of discussion to be had over at Pharyngula in the coming hours), but I do have to say that I didn’t find the piece particularly compelling. First, Margulis describes her leeriness when it comes to popular science writing and media, saying that much of what has been said about her is false (although never exactly stating what these untruths are or illuminating her stance on the confused issues) and that despite their good intentions, popular science writers cannot hope to convey science without bias or prejudice. This is not to say they shouldn’t try, but in Margulis’ view only the initiated in particular areas of research can hope to get close to the truth.
Margulis then devotes a paragraph to criticism of “Neo-Darwinism” without stating what her concept of it is or what exactly her problems with it are. She writes;
The staunch neo-Darwinist claims have become less and less valid as information from other fields (e.g., molecular biology and the fossil record) has increased. It is not unusual, especially in the science of evolution, that theories contradictory to the neo-Darwinian “thought-style” are ignored or rejected, not on the basis of their claims, or proof of those claims, but on the, often unconscious, grounds that they do not agree with our biases.
I can only assume this stems from her own dissenting views when it comes to current evolutionary theory, but as I stated before, her position and the problems she perceives with certain aspects of evolutionary theory are left in the dark. She ends with a paragraph extolling science as the search for truth, regardless of whatever that truth may turn out to be, and she states
…the deliberate faith-based distortion of what really is known is despicable.
This is true, but she does not mention who this is aimed at (creationists? evolutionary scientists?) and further illumination is needed. I do not wish to be harsh, but I found the whole of the piece to be a bit vague; I’m still left scratching my head as to what parts of evolutionary theory Dr. Margulis rejects, why she does, and what aspects of her own ideas have been misrepresented (with the appropriate correction). Like I stated before, hopefully some of these gaps will be filled in via the comments and chat that will take place later, but at the moment I can’t say I’m especially impressed.