Recently, we’ve been looking at James Shapiro, a non-Darwinian molecular geneticist and author of Evolution: A View from the 21st Century, currently debating ID theorists and researchers. Here’s a review of his work by Adam Wilkins is a leading UK biologist and one time editor of the journal BioEssays, in Genome Biology and Evolution (January 24, 2012).
Wilkins admits something that everyone knows but few convinced Darwinists like himself will actually admit: A growing body of scientists, especially those from molecular biology, developmental biology or developmental genetics, and microbiology are unconvinced by the alleged power of Darwin’s natural selection to create the world of life that we see:
…the book’s contention that natural selection’s importance for evolution has been hugely overstated represents a point of view that has a growing set of adherents. (A few months ago, I was amazed to hear it expressed, in the strongest terms, from another highly eminent microbiologist.) My impression is that evolutionary biology is increasingly separating into two camps, divided over just this question. On the one hand are the population geneticists and evolutionary biologists who continue to believe that selection has a ‘creative’ and crucial role in evolution and, on the other, there is a growing body of scientists (largely those who have come into evolution from molecular biology, developmental biology or developmental genetics, and microbiology) who reject it.
He thinks that this is not quite a Thomas Kuhn-type paradigm crisis yet.
The rest is interesting, especially his defense of natural selection:
The arguments from paleontological evidence for the importance of natural selection largely concern the observed long-term trends of morphological change, which are visible in many lineages. It is hard to imagine what else but natural selection could be responsible for such trends, unless one invokes supernatural or mystical forces such as the long-popular but ultimately discredited force of “orthogenesis.”
Consider what that means: The real reason for fronting Darwin only – as opposed to any other way that evolution might occur – is that otherwise we must invoke the supernatural?
One wonders what all those scientists who reject “Darwin only” think of that.
Our old friend Larry Moran thinks genetic drift is important in evolution. (Gotcha! Closet Catholic!) Lynn Margulis, of endosymbiosis fame? (Oh, you know what they say about her …) Shapiro himself? (I heard he goes to secret meetings with … )
Finally, people who want to hear themselves think just have to say, enough. Evidence matters. Lack of evidence matters. Freedom to think matters.
And evolution is not about protecting the position of the Darwin lobby vs. God.