It seems that the European Physical Jour…

It seems that the European Physical Journal – Applied Physics inaugurates a new field of papers dealing with applied physics on biological subjects. The inaugural paper by Vincent Fleury deals with tetrapod’s embryogenesis.

As the author and the author’s views on biological evolution and Darwinism have been of interest for me the last two years, I’ll take a closer view of the paper and post here my notes.

I was expecting a publication to a generalist or biology-centered, Open Access and providing discussion space, journal, thus I’m disappointed, but not surprised, to see the paper in a journal which doesn’t have expertise on the evo-devo domain. I wonder how the reviewers were selected and who of the editorial team handled the paper.

This blog may be used to complement the lack of discussion space associated with the paper. Please, read the About page before deciding to comment.

First things first, I jumped at the end of the paper looking for the acknowledgments section, hoping to see my name on the first line. A lot of the stuff presented in the paper I pointed Fleury to, while discussing his wild wild theory of evolution. Second disappointment, no acknowledgments! Lack of elegance. But I’m finally glad not being associated with Fleury and his theory otherwise than as a mostly negative critic.

I’ll dissect the paper slowly, to be sure that every aspect is covered, in a series of (almost) weekly posts. Not necessarily in the order chosen by the author. When I’m done with it I’ll ask for the opinion of specialists of the evo-devo discipline and maybe other physicists and mathematicians and, if I get them interested at, I’ll post here the links to their comments.

Before going further let’s set straight a few things, to avoid sterile discussions.

  1. Everything in nature is natural and obey natural laws, including biological evolution, embryogenesis and tetrapod’s embryogenesis in particular; thus one expect that this particular biological process goes with respect with natural laws, including physical ones. Surnaturalistic considerations, philosophical, religious and spiritual positions/options do not belong to this space. Whatever is brought to the discussion must be documented or documentable is someone ask for.
  2. Living objects are distinguished by inert ones by the simple fact that they carry information specifying them, genetic information. They are characterized by a genome, which in the adequate environment is replicated and transmitted to descendants, either directly (mitosis) or via more complex schemas (meiosis and sex). Every single aspect of a living object is genetically specified.
  3. Let’s keep the evolution definition simple, as much as possible: alleles frequency changes over time. Thus natural selection being any process that contribute to those changes except what produce new alleles.
    New alleles production is a random process, natural selection favors those alleles that improve fitness and in the absence of selective pressure some alleles frequency variation is random (genetic drift).
  4. Evolutionary directionality may be observed in a sufficiently stable selective environment during the period of fitness improvement. There is no particular direction favored in the long term as environmental conditions which participate on selective processes change continually, including the alleles composition of the bio-[tope|sphere].
    If you are to comment using teleonomy or teleological arguments, please avoid just expressing opinions and try to build on facts.

Any of the points above I’ll be glad to discuss except n° 1, at least not here.


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