March 9, 2012
to be posted on

Didier Raoult
Department of Microbiology
School of Medicine
University of Aix-Marseille
58, Bd Charles Livon
Marseille 13284

Dear Professor Raoult:
I am sorry to intrude, but they say (Sound and Fury in the Microbioloby Lab SCIENCE vol. 335 no. 6072 March 2, 2012 page 1033)you are fond of confrontation, so I thought you might enjoy this.  Of course if you do not enjoy reading English, then peace; Hannibal is not quite at the gates.

I have ordered Dépasser de Darwin (Beyond Darwin), your book.  I wonder whether I shall be able to read it with my limited French.  From what I can make out of the discussion on the internet you take the position that the unit of natural selection should not be considered to be the species but to be the ecosystem.  If so, I quite agree.  If I am wrong, perhaps the book will correct me.

Of course as would be expected, your own voice is drowned out by the cries of the evolutionists and the creationists jousting with wild abandon. 

I have a quite different issue with Darwin. Not only is he untestable (I can think of no possible natural evidence which could make me think, “Ah, then perhaps evolution is wrong”).  Nor is it just that Darwin tends to think of evolution of a species in isolation from an ecosystem, under which condition no species could long survive.  I have a problem with “survival of the fittest.”  You see speciation seems to occur in a finite number of generations.  If there is a random mating population that big, no two chromosomes or parts of chromosomes will find their way into the same organism within the speciation time.  The population will die.  So extravagant reproductive success must end with extinction of the fittest.  Here is a link explaining further.

If it amuses you, let me know what you think.


M. Linton Herbert MD

p.s. Isn’t “full of sound and fury” Macbeth?  Faulkner’s title was The Sound and the Fury

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