Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor at Evolution News & Views yesterday:
Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini’s book What Darwin Got Wrong was published in 2010. Having read it now, perhaps belatedly, I can report that it is a masterpiece. Fodor is a leading philosopher, and Piatelli-Palmarini is a leading cognitive scientist. Their analysis of natural selection is meticulous and devastating. They are both atheists — they do not come to this debate with theistic presumptions. They demonstrate that natural selection is, in their word, empty. It’s a meaningless concept that should be abandoned.
I’ll try here to give a précis of their argument. I heartedly recommend buying their book. It’s available on Kindle, and although it’s not an easy read, it is written with as much clarity and brevity as the subject permits. The last chapter is a very nice summary of the argument. What follows is a summary of the summary. More.
We liked it too, especially the no-nonsense confrontations with the people who are not “that kind of Darwinist” any more, but really are:
We are pleased to hear of these realignments, but we doubt that they are typical of biology at large (consider, for example, ongoing research on mathematical models of optimal natural selection). They are certainly not typical of informed opinion in fields that either of us has worked in including the philosophy of mind, natural language semantics, the theory of syntax, judgement and decision-making, pragmatics and psycholinguistics. In all of these, neo-Darwinism is taken as axiomatic; it goes literally unquestioned …
A view that looks to contradict it, either directly or by implication, is ipso facto rejected, however plausible it may otherwise seem. Entire departments, journals and research centres now work on this principle.
Indeed. Don’t forget how much easier it all is. Instead of finding out what happened, one need only come up with an explanation consistent with Darwinism, however otherwise unsupported or implausible.
Hat tip: Phillip Cunningham