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Denis Noble’s new book calls for “fundamental revision” of neo-Darwinian theory

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From David Klinghoffer at Evolution News & Views, on Denis Noble’s new book, Dance to the Tune of Life: Biological Relativity,

Here is a new book from Oxford University biologist Denis Noble, Dance to the Tune of Life: Biological Relativity. He is one of the Third Way of Evolution folks, and no advocate of intelligent design.

In the book, published by Cambridge U Press, he argues for a “fundamental revision” of neo-Darwinian theory.

Noble was among the organizers and participants at the Royal Society meeting in London that we’ve talked so much about here.

Evolutionary biology is in a state of ferment verging, in some quarters, on open rebellion. Don’t let Darwin apologists tell you otherwise. More.

Darwin apologists can probably convince the New York Times but these days that’s only a participation trophy.

See also: Why the sea is boiling hot

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5 Replies to “Denis Noble’s new book calls for “fundamental revision” of neo-Darwinian theory

  1. 1
    J-Mac says:

    “In the book, published by Cambridge U Press, he argues for a “fundamental revision” of neo-Darwinian theory.

    Fundamental revision of the neo-Darwinian theory… only? That would not be fundamental enough!

    How about abandoning the theory of evolution all together? Wouldn’t that be a fundamental change? There are good reasons to choose the latter such as the total lack of empirical evidence beyond minuscule changes in some organisms…

    BTW: Why would Noble call for fundamental changes in the theory of evolution if he had nothing to offer instead?
    Or does he? I’ll order the book just to make sure Noble has written something I already know; nothing new… The theory of evolution neo-Darwinian or not sucks for obvious reasons…
    However many people cling to it because the alternative is just not acceptable even if it is true…

  2. 2
    jstanley01 says:

    Ouch! That’s going to leave a mark (cherry-picked from various Amazon reviews)…

    “…This book will be liked by anyone who creates for a living and instinctively knows that nothing in nature is as simplistic as Dawkins’ just-so explanations and stories…”

    “…Having demolished the ‘Selfish Gene’ fiction, Noble in this marvelous book moves both science and philosophy from an antiquated ‘either/or’ static model to an ‘and’ model…”

    “…Noble is no stranger to this debate. He has every qualification necessary to critique evolutionary biology from the outside. Noble organized the first debate about Richard Dawkins’ bestseller ‘The Selfish Gene’ in 1976 and again between Dawkins and Lynn Margulis in 2009. He was on Dawkins’ PhD review committee at Oxford. He’s an Emeritus professor at the University of Oxford. He’s a Fellow of the Royal Society, the oldest scientific body in the world. He organized the Royal Society’s November 2016 Conference ‘New Trends in Evolutionary Biology’ and chaired the 2nd day of the conference. At the London conference, the overwhelming consensus from both presenters the 300 in attendance was that Neo-Darwinism is due for a major upgrade and perhaps needs to be replaced entirely…”

    And perhaps the unkindest cut of all…

    “…Noble shows how, on the negative side, popular presentations of sound biological results may be vitiated by bad metaphysics, and how, on the positive side, science and philosophy may extend the boundaries of knowledge by a unified epistemology. He ends, however, with a salutary warning that there may well be a limit to the human capacity to know the answers to ultimate questions…”

    …ouch, ouch, OUCH!!!…

  3. 3

    Several years ago, I attended a conference, where I was gong to meet Berlinski/Meyers/Krauss/Hitchens (I really can’t remember). And unless I have completely lost my mind, I saw Dennis Noble in the foyer area surrounded by copies of his books, prepared to meet and talk about his views.

    I didn’t immediately go over to meet him, and then failed to make time later in the day. I have always really regretted that. I wished I could take it back.

  4. 4
    Dionisio says:

    Noble shows how, on the negative side, popular presentations of sound biological results may be vitiated by bad metaphysics, and how, on the positive side, science and philosophy may extend the boundaries of knowledge by a unified epistemology. He ends, however, with a salutary warning that there may well be a limit to the human capacity to know the answers to ultimate questions.’

    Sir Anthony Kenny, University of Oxford

    [emphasis added]
    Unending Revelation of the Ultimate Reality (c)

  5. 5
    Origenes says:

    Drawing on his pioneering work in the mathematical physics of biology, he shows that what emerges is a deeply humane picture of the role of the organism in constraining its chemistry, including its genes, to serve the organism as a whole, especially in the interaction with its social environment. This humanistic, holistic approach challenges the common gene-centred view held by many in modern biology and culture.

    Denis Noble should take the next step by denouncing materialism. Materialism cannot ground such a thing as an ‘organism’ that constrains ‘its chemistry’.

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