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Reformers of evolutionary biology publish book of essays, exploring views, disagreements

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Evolutionary Causation

Here’s a review of what sounds like a book worth noting on where evolution theory is going. The book is Evolutionary Causation: Biological and Philosophical Perspectives, (2019), Uller Tobias, Laland Kevin (editors). It is part of The Vienna Series in Theoretical Biology. From the review:

In summary, Uller and Laland have done an excellent job in compiling this edited volume that should be of interest to all those who wish to dwell on the high-level conceptual debates in evolutionary biology over the last decades. The main value of this volume, to me, is that it forced me to think and clarify my own views, particularly when reading chapters in which I disagreed with the contributors. This volume is also valuable because it exposes conceptual disagreements within the reformist camp. One would wish to see a similar volume published where the disagreements within the more traditionalist camp in evolutionary biology were exposed in a similar fashion. Evolutionary biology today is certainly a mature scientific field with room for several different research traditions and in which different schools of thought coexist. This book, alongside more traditionalist perspectives, could be excellent material for a cross-departmental reading group of evolutionary biologists and philosophers, who certainly have much to learn from each other.

Erik I Svensson, “O Causation, Where Art Thou?” at BioScience

It’s encouraging that the reformers are allowed to disagree on some matters. That makes biology seem more like a discipline and less like a fanatical religion. Which brings us to the “more traditionalist camp in evolutionary biology” (the heirs of Darwin). It would be remarkable indeed if, as reviewer Svensson hopes, they could acknowledge disagreements candidly. Wouldn’t they end up having to try to get each others’ publishers to reject journal articles and cancel book contracts?

See also: What? A virus with no recognizable genes? From what they’re saying, viruses don’t necessarily share any characteristics of common descent. Let alone universal common descent. Jury’s still out but this is big.

3 Replies to “Reformers of evolutionary biology publish book of essays, exploring views, disagreements

  1. 1
    pw says:

    ” evolutionary biologists and philosophers, who certainly have much to learn from each other.”

    what do evolutionary biologists have to learn from philosophers?

    Isn’t biology evidence-based science?

    Shouldn’t the evolutionary biologists learn from the increasing amount of data coming out of the wet and dry labs?

    and what do philosophers have to learn from evolutionary biologists?

  2. 2
    Truthfreedom says:

    That makes biology seem more like a discipline and less like a fanatical religion.

    If only people would care about truth and not dogma…

  3. 3
    BobRyan says:

    The Scientific Method is the only thing that should matter.
    1. Make an observation.
    2. Ask a question.
    3. Form a hypothesis, or testable explanation.
    4. Make a prediction based on the hypothesis.
    5. Test the prediction.
    6. Iterate: use the results to make new hypotheses or predictions.

    The first three were done by Darwin, but no one has ever done the last three steps to prove macro evolution as a viable scientific theory.

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