Skip to main content
Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 0
Fred Hoyle is a classic example of someone arguing outside his field with no particular understanding of what he is talking about. Hoyle, brilliant as he was, was an astronomer, not a biologist, and his understanding of evolution was just a complete misperception.

If you actually look at the book however, Hoyle's representation of evolution does not have glaring errors. His mathematics are generally sound and I think most would agree his understanding of evolutionary theory is better than most discussion board members. The fact that he takes the work of Kimura, Maynard Smith, Haldane, and others and reaches different conclusions than they is not a bad thing.

John Maynard Smith, the late, great evolutionary biologist, reviewed Hoyle's book and criticised it for not presenting anything new and for what he considered to be Hoyle's "absurd conclusion" (the impossibility of macroevolution). But Maynard Smith had no problem with Hoyle's understanding of neo-Darwinist theories. I disagree with Hoyle as well, but Hoyle's objections are not trivial.

I think brilliant minds should be doing these types of broad speculation. The rest of us with more pedestrian intellects can do the grunt work of filling in the details and testing the nutty ideas. But geniuses should be pushing the envelop. They'll be wrong 99.9% of time, but that 0.1% generates the next paradigm shift.
Print the post  


When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.