Comment of the day (re Darwin’s natural selection acting on random mutation vs. neutral evolution/genetic drift:
The real problem is not that they are “mutually exclusive”. Obviously, they are not.
The problem is that they are different things, and that there is a repeated shift from one to the other when we ask which of them is responsible for functional information in biology.
The traditional view, defended also by Matzke and by you, is that NS is responsible for that. In that case, neutral evolution is irrelevamt for biological function.
Others, like Moran and Nei, seem to suggest an important role for neutral evolution in generating function. Even if they do not exclude the importance of NS.
Shifting from one model to the other is a smart way to elude analysis. It’s certainly easier to analyze and falsify a well defined model, rather than a slipping one.
The simple truth is that neither can explain functional information, but for different reasons.
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