David Penny of Massey University, New Zealand, says while discussing a paper, no.
Abstract: It is not really helpful to consider modern environmental epigenetics as neo-Lamarckian; and there is no evidence that Lamarck considered the idea original to himself. We must all keep learning about inheritance, but attributing modern ideas to early researchers is not helpful, and can be misleading. Open access
He also notes,
Thus, I should welcome this paper (Skinner 2015) – but still think that the paper is problematic -perhaps I see it as not addressing quite the right issues, or not the right questions? There has been a recent controversy in Nature over whether evolutionary biology needs to be rethought (Laland et al. 2014 argue for rethinking, versus Wray et al. 2014 arguing for continued updating and expanding of our knowledge). In this controversy we are very much in favor of always continuing to update our knowledge – humans have no special facility to ‘believe’ only completely correct hypotheses. Knowledge should never be static, so I basically agree with Wray [Colour emphasis added.]
Doesn’t sound very Darwinian, all this. Too many questions, not enough dogma enforcement.
Physicist Rob Sheldon writes to comment,
David Penny appears to be offering a paper review, rather than a paper. He lists 5 questions he has for “epigenetics”, and this was his 3rd question below. It looks like a roundabout way to talk about Intelligent Design without using the ID word.
Thirdly, there is no discussion of purpose (or deliberate action) in evolution, and this aspect does need to be included. Does the author think that there is purpose in the epigenetic events, it appears not to be stated? Another way of putting this question (perhaps an extreme way) is whether the macromolecules know that they are helping the survival of the organism. We have assumed that the molecules that carry out (environmental) epigenetics have no idea whether or not they are helping or hindering in a particular case (Penny 2014). It may well be that certain epigenetic changes are selected for under some environments, but that will have been selected for previously. Anyway, it should be made clear in the original whether environmental epigenetics is usually/necessarily advantageous to the organism. This aspect does need to be discussed, and it is basic to modern uniformitarianism/actualism.”
Follow UD News at Twitter!