Index to bad takes

Unfamiliar ideas are often mis-identified and mis-characterized. It takes time for a new idea to be sufficiently familiar that it can be debated meaningfully (a really long time, in the case of the theory of arrival biases). We look forward to those more meaningful debates. Until then, fending off bad takes is the order of the day!

This is a series of mostly short pieces focusing on bad takes on the topic of biases in the introduction of variation, covering both the theory and the evidence.

  • We have long known (Bad Takes #1) A reviewer responds to new results on the role of mutation bias with: “We have long known that mutation is important in evolution.” Bonus: Primo Carnera and Max Baer
  • Mutation pressure (Bad Takes #2) An author says that “The notion that mutation pressure can be a driving force in evolution is not new,” citing Yampolsky and Stoltzfus along with a range of other sources from Darwin to Morgan to Nei. We consider a more coherent conception of evolution by mutation pressure per Haldane and Fisher.
  • Independent cause of adaptation (Bad Takes #3) A pair of pundits mischaracterize the theory of biases in the introduction process as a theory of mutation bias as an independent cause of adaptation.
  • Mutation-driven (Bad Takes #4) A perfect illustration of the concept of a bad-faith argument: “Selection ultimately drove these adaptive allele frequency changes, rather than evolution being ‘mutation-driven’ as some might claim.”
  • Contingency (Bad Takes #5) The recently observed effect of mutation bias on adaptation is nothing new, because it is just the same thing as contingency.
  • Requires “drift in small populations” (Bad Takes #6) The efficacy of biases in the introduction process depends on drift (no, it doesn’t).
  • Requires sign epistasis (Bad Takes #7) The efficacy biases in the introduction process requires sign epistasis (no, it doesn’t).

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