To replace the Modern Synthesis:
The Modern Evolutionary Synthesis is the name given to the school of thought which is now broadly accepted by evolutionary scientists around the world. Formal amalgamation of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, Gregor Mendel’s genetics and August Weismann’s germ plasm theory was key to the Modern Synthesis, but other advances in population genetics and palaeontology were also important.
Further to: Larry Moran misses the point about Gunther Witzany (The perspective of the critics of the modern synthesis—so far from being shunned—is now one that attracts an “outer circle.” Hardly the sign of a failing cause):
There’s a new paper, “The extended evolutionary synthesis: its structure, assumptions and predictions,” Proceedings of the Royal Society B that, while carefully phrased, calls for such a replacement. (PDF)
Here’s the abstract:
Scientific activities take place within the structured sets of ideas and assumptions that define a field and its practices. The conceptual framework of evolutionary biology emerged with the Modern Synthesis in the early twentieth century and has since expanded into a highly successful research program to explore the processes of diversification and adaptation. Nonetheless, the ability of that framework satisfactorily to accommodate the rapid advances in developmental biology, genomics and ecology has been questioned. We review some of these arguments, focusing on literatures (evo-devo, developmental plasticity, inclusive inheritance and niche construction) whose implications for evolution can be interpreted in two ways-one that preserves the internal structure of contemporary evolutionary theory and one that points towards an alternative conceptual framework. The latter, which we label the ‘extended evolutionary synthesis’ (EES), retains the fundaments of evolutionary theory, but differs in its emphasis on the role of constructive processes in development and evolution, and reciprocal portrayals of causation. In the EES, developmental processes, operating through developmental bias, inclusive inheritance and niche construction, share responsibility for the direction and rate of evolution, the origin of character variation and organism-environment complementarity. We spell out the structure, core assumptions and novel predictions of the EES, and show how it can be deployed to stimulate and advance research in those fields that study or use evolutionary biology. Open access – Kevin N. Laland, Tobias Uller, Marcus W. Feldman, Kim Sterelny, Gerd B. Müller, Armin Moczek, Eva Jablonka, John Odling-Smee Published 5 August 2015.DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.1019
The main problem the extended evolutionary synthesis creates for Darwinism is that evolution happens in many different ways, not just their way. Then Darwinism (natural selection acting on random mutation) is either a tautology (the survivors survive)— or a claim that the tautology is a mechanism for creating vast amounts of new information. The metaphysical value of Darwinism to new atheism is obvious but the mechanism has never been demonstrated to produce more than trivial changes. Stay tuned.
See also: Experts: “Epigenetics can drive genetics” (Environment “appears to be one of the main drivers of intergenerational changes, not simply a passive component.”)
and Talk to the fossils: Let’s see what they say back
Note: News posting a bit light till later today.
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