October 02, 2007

I Double Dog Dare Ya

I unreservedly dare anybody who "doesn't believe in evolution" to read and understand the following paper and then explain a mechanism other than biological evolution or "we're being tricked by Satan" (or the equivalent cop-out "because Jehovah went *poof*") to explain the results:

James TY, Srivilai P, Kues U and Vilgalys R. 2006. Evolution of the Bipolar Mating System of the Mushroom Coprinellus disseminatus From Its Tetrapolar Ancestors Involves Loss of Mating-Type-Specific Pheromone Receptor Function. Genetics 172: 1877-1891.

Clicking on the link above will open an abstract only; links for the HTML or PDF versions of the entire paper can be had by clicking the appropriate links on the left side of the page. If you can't otherwise get a copy on your own but still want to take me up on this dare, post a comment and I will email you a copy for personal use only.

Frankly, this paper makes such an airtight case for evolution, I don't think you can do otherwise. It even includes an instance of observed evolution from one species into another, and the two species are so different that the way in which they breed are every bit as diverged as any two organisms you can name. They effectively have different numbers of genders, and that's pretty fundamental stuff even for those who cling to notions of "kinds." Evolution is directly observed at both the genetic and macroscopic level here.

So go ahead, make my day.

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