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Non-Darwinian Evolutionary Theories listed by Martin Cadra


Pagels and others (like Nei) have argued that the majority of biological features could not have emerged from Darwinian means. If they are right, it stands to reason that if evolution is true, it has to be mostly non-Darwinian.

At UD we have explored various non-Darwinian theories of evolution by scientists like Jukes, King, Kimura, Nei, Morgan, Bateson, Davison, and others. There are more names such as : Portmann, Troll, Heikertinger, Goldshmidt, Bertalanffy.

Martin also lists Friedrich Nietzsche and Marx as non-Darwinians.

Here is the website:

J, I'm glad to hear you have considered studying evolutionary biology. I hope you'll have the chance to meet one of the finest evolutionary biologists (imho) on the planet at the Seminar: Richard Sternberg. By the way, I think butterflies are a very interesting topic for biology and evolutionary biology in particular. Goldshmidt raised some important issues with Batesian mimicry. I'm sure there are more. I don't know off hand how well Rick Sternberg is acquainted with Butterflies. Anyway, I hope you get to meet Rick. Sal scordova
That sounds fascinating. I see that we will be looking at Quantum Theory as part of the forthcoming summer student seminar, ‘ID in the natural sciences’ at Seattle Pacific University (9-17 July), which I will be attending this summer. There were a couple of books on the recommended reading list which were concerned with that discipline. I am a third year undergraduate student, and major in Forensic Biology – a field which, I am sure you can appreciate, has much application to I.D. I have considered pursuing a post-grad in evolutionary biology once I have completed my current academic pursuits. In three weeks from today, I will be visiting the Discovery Institute CSC in Seattle – an experience which I look forward to. Check the Evolution News & Views page for my personal perspectives on the I.D. debate during that time. I’ll also be blogging on ‘Faith & Evolution’ and IntelligentDesign.org. J Jonathan McLatchie
Jonathan, I should mention, before I undertook my current program of study, I had been encouraged to study under Dr. Robert Marks at the Evolution Informatics Lab. A week before Fall Semester began the Lab was shutdown and it sealed my decision to go elsewhere. I'm very glad the Lab has reoponed and I expect good things to happen at the lab. Sal scordova
Jonathan, Thank you for asking. Applied Physics (Physics for engineers). My program includes study in Modern Physics, Mathematical Methods, Classical Mechanics, Quantum Mechanics, Statistical Mechanics, Relativity, Electro Magnetics, Material Science, Quantum Computing, Plasma Physics. My prof invited me to study more theoretical stuff like Astrophysics and Cosmology. I'm undecided at this time whether to study these areas. Sal scordova
What is your field of study, Scordova, if you don't mind my interest? J Jonathan McLatchie
Found this link from Wiki to help the readers! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batesian_mimicry scordova
Martin, It appears I'll have to go to my university library (I'm a part-time grad student) to get the info. I'm not a biologist, much less an expert on butterflies, but what I could discern is that it seems that some butterflies developed the ability to mimic the appearance of other butterflies in order to avoid becoming prey. This ability to mimic seems to require a saltation, not a a gradual evolution. The transformation could not be via Darwinian means. Is that a fair characterization? Thanks again! scordova
Sal, regarding Goldschmidt try this: http://www.jstor.org/pss/2808727?cookieSet=1 I hope you have access to jstor, or somebody here. It is a perfect reading! mcadra
As far as I can judge Portmann represents "Goethian" approach to the research of nature. Goethe's work on metamorphosis influenced German biological thinking. Theodor Eimer (Orthogenesis) or Wilhelm Troll (Idealistic morphology) often quoted Goethe in their voluminous works. Goethe also elaborated theory of color perception where he dismissed Newton's concept. This is quite interesting stuff, but for another thread. Anyway I would recommend everyone to read Portmann. He is a cultivated and deep thinker. His scientific observations are often presented on a broader perspective than that of reductionists and adaptionists "the form follows function". mcadra
“After reporting and discussing the significant facts, we came to the conclusion that Punnett’s interpretation of mimetic polymorphism by mutation (saltation) agrees better with the facts than Fisher’s neo-Darwinian theory. We have tried to prove this by scrutinizing in every detail both the logic and the factual basis of the controversial theories discussed by the former authors, as well as by studying many other aspects not discussed before. Among the facts pertaining to the situation under scrutiny we have given equal weight to those taken from the fields of genetics and evolution and to those of an embryological character. Such an all-round analysis has shown neither any need for the application of the more complicated explanation of the neo-Darwinists, nor any reason for abandoning the simpler solution, which fits all the known facts.”
Martin, Are you comfortable with English? You speak it well, but the reason I ask is that I would welcome learning more about Goldschmidt and I think the readers at UD could benefit. Feel free to alert me here if you have something written in English accessible to the lay reader. I regret that I can now only speak English (I've lost even my native tongue after immigrating to the United States!). I could not completely understand the issue with "“Mimetic Polymorphism". It seemed very compellling, but it is beyond my expertise. scordova
You are more than welcome, and I should express my sincere thanks to you for helping the world remember these scientists. If it weren't for you, I would not have even known that some like Portmann even existed! scordova
Thank you for mentioning my blog Sal. I've got traffic on it! I've tried to wrote about scholars whose works are neglected, but whose ideas might be of interest to people who search for non-darwinian approach to evolution. They were predominantly written in German and are still not accessible on internet. Regarding "semiotics" I would recommend Jakob von Uexkull, the scholar who coined the term "Umwelt". Needless to say he dismissed darwinism as well. mcadra
From Wiki regarding ideas similar to Portmann's:
Biosemiotics (from the Greek bios meaning "life" and semeion meaning "sign") is a growing field that studies the production, action and interpretation of signs in the biological realm. Biosemiotics attempts to integrate the findings of scientific biology and semiotics, representing a paradigmatic shift in the occidental scientific view of life, demonstrating that semiosis (sign process, including meaning and interpretation) is its immanent and intrinsic feature.
Note: ID assumes there is meaning in biology, versus Dawkinism which assumes life is fundamentally meaningless. ID works like Walter ReMine's Biotic Message assume symbolism is an intrinsic feature of biology. Also, Bill Dembski's work on specification frequently refers to "Semiotic Agents" and their relation to biological systems. scordova
Do you envision mechanistic views on evolution being complementary to a broadly-defined I.D. theoretic?
Yes. scordova
As for the famous “struggle for existence,” so far it seems to me to be asserted rather than proved. A classic example of asserted rather than proved, itself! I hadn't realized that Nietzsche had become a population biologist late in his career. Nakashima
J, I encourage research into non-creationist notions of ID. I believe it will be fruitful. Even supposing common descent is false, it is still a fruitful hypothesis in the exploration of ID and critiques of Darwinism. The reason I say that is that in mathematics we often use "proof by contradiction" where we assume hypotehses as true which we wish to demonstrate are false. So in an odd sort of way, even those who personally reject common descent would do well to conduct research asssuming the hypothesis of common descent is true. So everyone will benefit (be they evolutionist or non-evolutionist) by making arguments that assume common descent is true. scordova
Scordova – Do you envision mechanistic views on evolution being complementary to a broadly-defined I.D. theoretic? I have in mind here such recent ideas as Gerhart and Kirschner’s theory of facilitated variation or maybe even Michael Sherman’s universal genome hypothesis. Do you think that I.D. would be a more fruitful research paradigm if it worked from the perspective of the supposition of common descent and attempted to devise a teleological mechanism? J Jonathan McLatchie
Nietzsche and Marx ? What possible relevance could their views have in a discussion on Biology ? Graham
Portman's work is listed in a very recent peer-reviewed journal: The Semantic Morphology of Adolf Portmann. My intuition says this would be a very fruitful area of ID research. scordova
One reviewer of Portmann's work wrote:
"Why should we elect the late renowned Swiss zoologist Adolf Portmann one of our most cherished teachers? Because of his vision of the mystery of the manifest and his effort to give biology an orientation that is ethical and aesthetic and that goes beyond the perilous narrowness of mechanistic Darwinism. . . . Read Portmann on Goethe and the poetry of plants, bird navigation, sex, fish display, and human infancy, to mention just a few topics, for a sense of relief and rejuvenation in biological and zoological vision that may be tantamount to a seeing for the first time of what was always there. Carter has done an essential service in making Portmann, worthy antagonist to Descartes and Darwin, available to us in English." - Roger A. Lewin in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease
As for the famous “struggle for existence,” so far it seems to me to be asserted rather than proved. It occurs, but as an exception; the total appearance of life is not the extremity, not starvation, but rather riches, profusion, even absurd squandering — and where there is struggle, it is a struggle for power. One should not mistake Malthus for nature. Assuming, however, that there is such a struggle for existence — and, indeed, it occurs — its result is unfortunately the opposite of what Darwin’s school desires, Friedrich Nietzsche (15.X 1844 – 25 VIII. 1900), German philosopher. Nietzsche wrote in “Twilight of the Idols” (1888)
Oops. :-) scordova

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