Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Nabokov Butterfly Theory Is Vindicated


Vladimir Nabokov may be known to most people as the author of classic novels like “Lolita” and “Pale Fire.” But even as he was writing those books, Nabokov had a parallel existence as a self-taught expert on butterflies.

He was the curator of lepidoptera at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University, and collected the insects across the United States. He published detailed descriptions of hundreds of species. And in a speculative moment in 1945, he came up with a sweeping hypothesis for the evolution of the butterflies he studied, a group known as the Polyommatus blues. He envisioned them coming to the New World from Asia over millions of years in a series of waves.

Few professional lepidopterists took these ideas seriously during Nabokov’s lifetime. But in the years since his death in 1977, his scientific reputation has grown. And over the past 10 years, a team of scientists has been applying gene-sequencing technology to his hypothesis about how Polyommatus blues evolved. On Tuesday in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, they reported that Nabokov was absolutely right. [...]


  1. now why is this so newsworthy,that you had to post this?

  2. i would love to rav sterbuch's reaction to this article and the fact that you posted it.

  3. My guess why Rav Eidensohn posted this is what I heard from a rosh yeshiva in the 5 Towns. Scientists are constantly coming out with reports, which whether they concur with or dispute other scientists, they are all driven by the same goal, which is to arrive at a conclusion which is apikorsis. When they dispute another scientist with their own version of apikorsis it is often ego driven. In any case you don't see the scientists trying to prove mayseh breishis and the like.

  4. Extraordinary, thank you for posting it, Rabbi.


please use either your real name or a pseudonym.