From Michael Skinner at Aeon:
Darwin’s theory that natural selection drives evolution is incomplete without input from evolution’s anti-hero: Lamarck
If sneers had weight, the Darwinian sneers against Lamarck over the last century or so would have crushed the Royal Society building to rubble. Let’s remember that when we hear bafflegab PR about how nothing has changed. When we read stuff like this, a lot of things have changed.
One problem with Darwin’s theory is that, while species do evolve more adaptive traits (called phenotypes by biologists), the rate of random DNA sequence mutation turns out to be too slow to explain many of the changes observed. Scientists, well-aware of the issue, have proposed a variety of genetic mechanisms to compensate: genetic drift, in which small groups of individuals undergo dramatic genetic change; or epistasis, in which one set of genes suppress another, to name just two.
Another method has been to demand support for Darwinism based on faith alone.
Yet even with such mechanisms in play, genetic mutation rates for complex organisms such as humans are dramatically lower than the frequency of change for a host of traits, from adjustments in metabolism to resistance to disease. The rapid emergence of trait variety is difficult to explain just through classic genetics and neo-Darwinian theory. To quote the prominent evolutionary biologist Jonathan B L Bard, who was paraphrasing T S Eliot: ‘Between the phenotype and genotype falls the shadow.’
Just think, things have changed so much that Skinner probably won’t call down a firestorm on his head for saying this as a plain fact, without pledging faith in Darwin anyway.
At the start, Lamarck might have been pilloried as a religious heretic, but in modern times, it is the orthodoxy of science – and especially Darwin’s untouchable theory of evolution – that has caused his name to be treated as a joke. Yet by the end of his career, Darwin himself had come around; even without the benefit of molecular biology, he could see that random changes were not fast enough to support his theory in full.
So we admit this now: Lamarck was right and his orthodox Darwinist defamers were wrong.
Let’s never forget that. The Darwinists would like us to. They lost with Lamarck, but there are many other good ideas about evolution out there to suppress, while the opportunity still exists.
It was Thomas Kuhn who in 1962 suggested that when a current paradigm reveals anomalies then new science needs to be considered – that is how scientific revolutions are born.
Not if Darwinism can procure a very late-term abortion.
A unified theory of evolution should combine both neo-Lamarckian and neo-Darwinian aspects to expand our understanding of how environment impacts evolution. The contributions of Lamarck more than 200 years ago should not be discounted because of Darwin, but instead integrated to generate a more impactful and insightful theory. Likewise, genetics and epigenetics must not be seen as conflicting areas, but instead, integrated to provide a broader repertoire of molecular factors to explain how life is controlled. More.
There is no question that the integration would help. But more than fine words are needed. As long as Darwin’s thugs are allowed to dominate, we’ll still be here in twenty years. We know what’s true, but is it on the courses? In the textbooks?
We need separation of Darwinism and science to advance much further.
See also: Darwinism: Replacement or extension?
Epigenetic change: Lamarck, wake up, you’re wanted in the conference room!
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