January 13, 2010

IT MEANS THROWING OUT 150 YEARS OF UNSOUND THINKING:

Should Evolutionary Theory Evolve?: Some biologists are calling for a rethink of the rules of evolution (Bob Grant, The Scientist)

According to the Modern Synthesis, populations containing some level of genetic variation evolve via changes in gene frequency induced mostly by natural selection. Phenotypic changes are gradual, and speciation and diversification into higher taxonomic levels come about over long periods of change. These ideas have remained largely unchallenged for more than a half-century.

But since the 1940s, science’s concept of evolutionary dynamics has, well, evolved. Indeed, these days, calling the Modern Synthesis “modern” might be a stretch.

Some evolutionary biologists say that the body of knowledge concerning evolutionary processes has simply outgrown the confines of the Modern Synthesis, which was crafted before science had a strong grasp of genomics, molecular biology, developmental biology, and other, more recently derived disciplines, such as systems biology.

City University of New York evolutionary biologist and philosopher Massimo Pigliucci insists that expanding evolutionary theory so that it captures recent insights doesn’t mean throwing out 150 years of sound thinking.


The theory has to evolve because species don't.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 13, 2010 10:49 AM
blog comments powered by Disqus
« ONCE THE STRUGGLE AGAINST COMMUNISM ENDED THERE WAS NOTHING LEFT: | Main | THE PATH FROM BLUE TO RED PASSES THROUGH BROWN: »