RIP George C. Williams

George Williams died on September 8th, 84 years old. He was one of the first academic defenders of evolution against “Intelligent Design” but is better known for his work on evolutionary medicine.

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Lest GCW start spinning in his new grave, let me quickly note …

… that evolutionary medicine is not evolutionary psychology. Rather, it is the idea that some symptoms of illness are adaptations. If you’ve ever heard that it is not a good idea to over treat a fever because the fever may be doing some good, that was George C. Williams speaking to you.

Williams also wrote incisively about the “unit of selection” and forced us all to think more clearly about what we mean when we speak about adaptations. And, he wrote about TH Huxley.

Williams authored Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine, Adaptation and Natural Selection and Natural Selection: Domains, Levels, and Challenges (Oxford Series in Ecology and Evolution), as well as numerous other publications.

Here is Randy Nesse, William’s co-author of “Why we get sick” speaking with Richard Dawkins, about intelligent design.

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