Here, University of Toronto’s Larry Moran, blogger at Sandwalk (named after Darwin’s garden path) and famed (okay, okay, reputable) textbook author, commented at UncommonDescent on this story about Jonathan Wells’ new book on the junk DNA myth, complaining,
Denyse, you’ve promised in the past to stop using the term “Darwinism” to refer to all of evolution. What happened to that promise?In evolutionary biology, “Darwinism” refers to those who focus on adaptation as the almost exclusive mechanism of change. They are also called adapationists.
Moran calls himself a pluralist.
For the record, he said,
I’m a pluralist who promotes the importance of random genetic drift and accidental evolution. That’s perfectly consistent with junk DNA. I am not a Darwinist.
Yes, as Moran says, Darwinism means that natural selection, acting on random mutation, explains all (or most) of evolution. It is the ultimate free lunch. But I have found, by observation, strengthened by reading Suzan Mazur’s The Altenberg 16: An Expose of the Evolution Industry, that most of the science press thinks that all evolution really is Darwinism, to judge by the innumerable quoted explanations of research findings in strictly Darwinian terms. Some of it is plausible; others range from the ridiculous to the ridiculous . Some is merely “Come, let us worship the Beard.”
If Dr. Moran knows something the science writers don’t, I wish he would tell them, so they can start taking out the trash.
The trouble is that, nowadays, anyone can be a Darwinist. You need to know something to be anything else.
Now, I have lots of respect for pluralism, but must in fairness note that the critical information is: Which approaches to evolution does the pluralist plan to tolerate?
Is it possible that, in the recesses of his study in the dark of the dawn, our Larry is working on a new theory of evolution that dismisses Darwinism?
Hey, I bet that’s it! Or anyway, I hope so.
I want an advance review copy.
I recommend the interesting exchanges between Moran and others in the combox, noting only that many of Darwin’s true believers, including genome mapper Francis Collins, did market junk DNA as support for their theories in the recent past. They must be allowed to withdraw from the business, if they choose – but not to efface all knowledge that they were ever in it.
If Dr. Moran ends up needing a can of Trolls Begone!, I could spare him one. So could a lot of people here.