I’ve maintained for a long time up until the end of the 20th century that the problem of the evolutionary process is a problem before its time. Darwin was trying to get personal credit by barging in. Conceptual thought about evolution was laid down first by people like Buffon and Darwin’s own grandfather, Erasmus Darwin — whom Darwin never mentions in the Origin of Species, except in a footnote when he was forced in the third edition to add it to the footer of the preface.
He named him in a dismissive way. He basically said, oh yes, a lot of people thought of that and named people like Buffon and Lamarck. But he didn’t name his own grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, except to say his grandfather had the same wrong ideas as Lamarck and Goethe. And he didn’t say what they were or what his objection to them was. He wanted to distance himself from his grandfather as much as he could.
That sounds right. We don’t know enough to have any idea how the mechanisms of evolution work together or how they are driven. Darwin’s crowd had a naturalistic philosophy to entrench and enforce (and plenty of Christian Darwinists in the West, then and now), to help them do it. They posited “natural selection” as a single, magical answer, knowing they had the social power to enforce the idea, irrespective of any demonstration.
One wonders when it will be career-safe to do an accounting of the losses sustained as a result.
See also: The Paradigm Shifters: Overthrowing “the Hegemony of the Culture of Darwin”