University of Pittsburgh Professor of Anthropology Jeffrey H. Schwartz has consistently swum against the neo-Darwinian mainstream, and this new 30Jan2006 paper in the New Anatomist with University of Salerno Professor of Biochemistry Bruno Maresca is no exception. The starting point of their argument is clear: Neo-Darwinism has failed and does not fit the evidence. For instance, in the section titled “Molecular and Morphological Contradiction” (pp. 39-40), Maresca and Schwartz write:
“Current evolutionary theory assumes various molecular phenomena. For instance, under a constant mutation rate, new phenotypes should emerge gradually, because, as Morgan () argued, the chance of a mutation affecting a trait would be increased by an earlier mutation affecting the same trait. Although not demonstrating this experimentally, Morgan () believed that evolution proceeds via the accumulation of small mutations that gradually push phenotypic change in a particular direction. But the premise that one mutation can increase the likelihood of another following it along similar lines is contradicted by the random nature and statistically insignificant probability of mutation. Morgan’s experiments also did not produce new phenotypes; they only manipulated the frequency of extant Drosophila variants. Thus, the early genetic rationale for gradual evolutionary change, which ultimately informed the evolutionary synthesis, was not grounded in fact (Schwartz,[1999a]). In addition, many of Morgan’s (Morgan et al.,) observations record the loss, not acquisition, of phenotypic properties (e.g., the eyeless mutant in Drosophila). Other observations that may appear profound do not represent the introduction of new genetic material, e.g., the bithorax mutant. Mutation in the Ubx gene may cause duplication of a segment in the Drosophila embryo (Duncan,), but this does not demonstrate how the original single pair of wings and associated structures emerged.”
“Since a commonly assumed mechanism underlying morphological change is point mutation (a simple event statistically), the time required to produce change should be predictable because mutational events occur with a known and constant (although low) frequency. Thus, if new genetic material arising via regularly occurring but rare mutation events accumulates, species transformation should also occur at a constant and predictable rate. Yet the metazoan fossil record shows the opposite: the sudden appearance of fully developed, major morphological novelties (i.e., bony skeletons, jaws and teeth, limbs with zeugopods) in many different kinds of animals, as well as of different kinds of animals (e.g., insects)…”
If neo-Darwinism doesn’t work, what does?