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At a philosophy of biology journal: Dipping a tippy toe into the post-Darwin world?

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The paper is open access:

Abstract: Biologists and philosophers of science have recently called for an extension of evolutionary theory. This so-called ‘extended evolutionary synthesis’ (EES) seeks to integrate developmental processes, extra-genetic forms of inheritance, and niche construction into evolutionary theory in a central way. While there is often agreement in evolutionary biology over the existence of these phenomena, their explanatory relevance is questioned. Advocates of EES posit that their perspective offers better explanations than those provided by ‘standard evolutionary theory’ (SET). Still, why this would be the case is unclear. Usually, such claims assume that EES’s superior explanatory status arises from the pluralist structure of EES, its different problem agenda, and a growing body of evidence for the evolutionary relevance of developmental phenomena (including developmental bias, inclusive inheritance, and niche construction). However, what is usually neglected in this debate is a discussion of what the explanatory standards of EES actually are, and how they differ from prevailing standards in SET. In other words, what is considered to be a good explanation in EES versus SET? To answer this question, we present a theoretical framework that evaluates the explanatory power of different evolutionary explanations of the same phenomena. This account is able to identify criteria for why and when evolutionary explanations of EES are better than those of SET. Such evaluations will enable evolutionary biology to find potential grounds for theoretical integration.

Jan Baedke, Alejandro Fábregas Tejeda, Francisco Vergara Silva, Does the extended evolutionary synthesis entail extended explanatory power?, Biology & Philosophy (2020) 35:20 https://doi.org/10.1007/s10539-020-9736-5

Be careful not to frighten them. They’ll run back into the burning building.

Hat tip: Pos-darwinista

8 Replies to “At a philosophy of biology journal: Dipping a tippy toe into the post-Darwin world?

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    When theoreticians start treating the epicycles (EES) as the foundation for a new structure, it’s time to tear down the original theory. Ideally tear down all theories and just OBSERVE NATURE.

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    Observations of nature are of little use without a theory to explain them.

  3. 3
    ET says:

    Observations of nature are of little use without a mind to understand them.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Neutral Model, genetic drift and the Third Way—a synopsis of the self-inflicted demise of the evolutionary paradigm
    by Jeffrey P. Tomkins and Jerry Bergman – 2017
    Abstract
    “Because of grievous deficiencies in the standard neo-Darwinian Model of evolution, which is largely selection driven, scientists proposed an alternative postulate called the ‘Neutral Model’ in the late 1960s. The Neutral Model is also mutation driven, but selection is deemed to be an insignificant force of change. Instead, random genetic drift is alleged to be the main driver. Since its inception, the Neutral Model has come to be incorporated in many theoretical evolutionary scenarios at some level. However, due to numerous discoveries in genomics and genome function, the Neutral Model has also become deficient, prompting a new move in science called the ‘Extended Evolutionary Synthesis’ or ‘The Third Way’, which takes a position of blissful ignorance and offers nothing tangible to extend or support evolutionary theory. While Third Way proponents recognize the deficiency of all popular evolutionary models, they maintain that more research is needed to elucidate unknown evolutionary mechanisms and processes despite the fact that the progress of scientific discovery is revealing nothing but unimaginable complexity.”
    Conclusions
    The Neutral Model was an initial effort to attempt to remedy the serious shortcomings of the Neo-Darwinian Theory of evolution. To avoid the problem of directly challenging the reigning paradigm, which would produce enormous opposition to the theory, Kimura once claimed that “neutral theory is not antagonistic to the cherished view that evolution of form and function is guided by Darwinian selection, but it brings out another facet of the evolutionary process by emphasizing the much greater role of mutation pressure and random drift at the molecular level”.4 Although Kimura did not openly deny neo-Darwinism, according to Gould, he views its “processes as quantitatively insignificant to the total picture—a superficial and minor ripple on the ocean of neutral molecular change, imposed every now and again when selection casts a stone on the waters of evolution”.6
    The Neutral Model incorporates not only codon redundancy, but vast amounts of ‘junk DNA’ as a source of mutational genetic novelty which forms an inherent assumption of the model. Negating these Neutral Theory assumptions and premises are new discoveries in full codon utility, multilayered embedded codes in and around genes, and pervasive genome transcription and functionality. In addition, extensive computational modelling of Neutral Theory has also revealed that it is defunct as a viable working evolutionary model, and would be even if the genome were heavily composed of ‘junk’.
    So not only has the Neo-Darwinian Model been disproved, but the alternative Neutral Model has come up wanting as well. The evolutionary response by some has been to reject both evolutionary paradigms along with the obvious conclusion that living systems were engineered by an omnipotent Creator. Their alternative, called the ‘Extended Evolutionary Synthesis’, is really nothing but a position of blissful ignorance in hopes of discovering some yet unknown evolutionary process in a variety of research areas that are, in reality, only proving to be goldmines of opportunity for creation scientists. Scientific discovery in the area of molecular biology and genomics is steam rolling forward and only revealing a picture of nearly infinite cellular and organismal complexity.
    https://creation.com/evolutionary-mechanisms

  5. 5
    pw says:

    The cited paper states:

    “ Our view is that in many of these standoffs, each of the opposed explanations is partially correct, because natural selection and developmental processes together shape evolutionary outcomes (see also Laland et al. 2015; Uller et al. 2018, 2019).”

    That seems inaccurate at best, because it doesn’t mention the key concept of “required changes” in developmental processes as the main challenge facing the evo-devo field of biology, according to their bottom line equation Dev(d) = Dev(a) + Delta(a,d). Note that there’s disproportionally much less “evo” in the “evo-devo” literature, and it’s mainly “micro” stuff.

    The whole field of evo biology seems like a waste of resources that could be assigned to more beneficial research areas.

  6. 6
    BobRyan says:

    It would appear there are those, some of whom post their drivel here, who wish for theory to take precedence over what is witnessed and what can be replicated. They do not want science, they want dogmatic worship at the altar of Darwin. If something cannot be witnessed and cannot be replicated, it is not science.

  7. 7
    rado says:

    “ET: Observations of nature are of little use without a mind to understand them.”

    And since mind is the source of everything created it understands every aspect of its own creations, just like he who creates a computer understands every aspect of it. God is the mind that creates everything, and the reason we can understand God’s creations is because our mind is “the God within us”. As Christ said: “For indeed, the kingdom of God [and therefore also God] is within you.”

  8. 8
    jawa says:

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