Biophysicist Carl Woese [1928–2012] many consider the most important evolution scientist of the last century, and Woese was, indeed, honored with the major prizes in his lifetime—except for the Nobel, perhaps because he was truly a revolutionary. In our conversation (Chapter 15), for example, which may be the last feature interview he gave, Woese lamented not having “overthrown the hegemony of the culture of Darwin.”
Carl Woese is perhaps best remembered for his identification of a “Third Kingdom of Life,” the archaea—a methane-producing microbe that lives in a range of habitats, including the gut of modern animals. Like other microbes, the most prevalent form of life on the planet, archaea rely on the lateral transfer of information.
University of Chicago microbiologist James Shapiro and Oxford’s Denis Noble, who now have a web site called “The Third Way of Evolution”, pick up where Woese left off on paradigm shift in my separate interviews with them (Chapter 15).
From Third Way,
The vast majority of people believe that there are only two alternative ways to explain the origins of biological diversity. One way is Creationism that depends upon intervention by a divine Creator. That is clearly unscientific because it brings an arbitrary supernatural force into the evolution process. The commonly accepted alternative is Neo-Darwinism, which is clearly naturalistic science but ignores much contemporary molecular evidence and invokes a set of unsupported assumptions about the accidental nature of hereditary variation. Neo-Darwinism ignores important rapid evolutionary processes such as symbiogenesis, horizontal DNA transfer, action of mobile DNA and epigenetic modifications. Moreover, some Neo-Darwinists have elevated Natural Selection into a unique creative force that solves all the difficult evolutionary problems without a real empirical basis. Many scientists today see the need for a deeper and more complete exploration of all aspects of the evolutionary process.
Actually, overthrowing Darwin will take care of itself, once the real story gets out there. Lots of change, maybe, but not much Darwin?
See also: Suzan Mazur, author of evolution industry expose, has new book on the origin of life industry
and Some basic reasons why the field is stalled
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