BioScience 56:772–774 (2006)

Alan Love
University of Minnesota
Judgments of plausibility involve appearance of the truth or reasonableness, which is always a function of background knowledge. What anyone will countenance is conditioned by what they already know (or think they know). Marc Kirschner (professor of systems biology at Harvard) and John Gerhart (professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California—Berkeley) aim to show that molecular, cellular, and developmental processes relevant to the generation of phenotypic variation in anatomy, physiology, and behavior demonstrate how evolutionary processes, especially the origins of novelty, are plausible. The outstanding question for Kirschner and Gerhart concerns not the modification of structures but their origination—a question unanswered by the theoretical framework of the modern synthesis.
Keywords Plausibility  conceivability,  possibility
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