The Ã¢â‚¬Å“modern synthesisÃ¢â‚¬Â is dead
This echoes exactly the words of Eric Davidson and Stephen J. Gould. Below is the full quote in context:
the evidence that macroevolution has happened is all around us, in the patterns of biogeographical distribution of species and in the fossil record. What is not so obvious is the mechanism(s) by which such macroevolution has occurred. Prof. Giertych is probably right in asserting that the Ã¢â‚¬Å“modern synthesisÃ¢â‚¬Â mechanisms grounded in theoretical population genetics are insufficient to explain macroevolution. However, scientists within the field of evolutionary biology have been saying the same thing for over a century. The distinction between microevolution and macroevolution was probably first drawn by the Russian Russian entomologist IuriÃ¢â‚¬â„¢i Filipchenko in around 1927 (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/macroevolution.html). In the first half of the 20th century, Richard Goldschmidt did pioneering work into possible mechanisms of macroevolution, work that was later discredited and/or ignored by the population geneticists of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“modern synthesisÃ¢â‚¬Â (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Goldschmidt). Eldredge and Gould, in their landmark 1972 paper on punctuated equilibrium (http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/ridley/classictexts/eldredge.asp) initiated the newest revolution in macroevolutionary theory, pointing out that the Ã¢â‚¬Å“modern synthesisÃ¢â‚¬Â model of gradualistic macroevolution via purely populaton genetics mechanisms is not compatible with much of the fossil record.
So, the history of the concept of macroevolution is not entirely compatitible with the neo-darwinian Ã¢â‚¬Å“modern synthesisÃ¢â‚¬Â – this is supposed to be some sort of surprise, or to undermine the idea that macroevolution has not occurred? You folks need to pay a little more attention to what has actually been going on in evolutionary biology over the last half century, and less time tilting at Ã¢â‚¬Å“modern synthesisÃ¢â‚¬Â windmills that have long since fallen into disrepair within our discipline.
The Ã¢â‚¬Å“modern synthesisÃ¢â‚¬Â is dead – long live the evolving synthesis!
and interestingly, Allen reports about Will Provine in Comment on the Celeste Biever affair
BTW, I wish one of you folks would attend Will ProvineÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s evolution course, and participate when you have a chance. Will spent the whole lecture this morning lambasting the Ã¢â‚¬Å“modern evolutionary synthesisÃ¢â‚¬Â (and I jumped in at the end to deliver the coup de gras to the biological species concept for eveything except vertebrates). I think you might find it enjoyably iconoclastic, and we could get into some interesting (and illuminating) discussionsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
In fairness to Dr. MacNeill, he accepts that evolution happened and is open to ideas as to how. He probably is not enamored with the ID explanation, but he has certainly won the appreciation of the IDEA chapter at Cornell for his knowledge and candor.
I hope we get access to Will Provine’s lambasting of “modern synthesis” someday. That would be very interesting!
According to Wikipedia, neo-Darwinism is also known as modern synthesis:
The modern evolutionary synthesis (often referred to simply as the new synthesis, the modern synthesis, the evolutionary synthesis, neo-Darwinian synthesis or neo-Darwinism), generally denotes the integration of Charles Darwin’s theory of the evolution of species by natural selection, Gregor Mendel’s theory of genetics as the basis for biological inheritance, random genetic mutation as the source of variation, and mathematical population genetics.