Abstract: Experimental results in epigenetics and related fields of biological research show that the Modern Synthesis (neo-Darwinist) theory of evolution requires either extension or replacement. This article examines the conceptual framework of neo-Darwinism, including the concepts of ‘gene’, ‘selfish’, ‘code’, ‘program’, ‘blueprint’, ‘book of life’, ‘replicator’ and ‘vehicle’. This form of representation is a barrier to extending or replacing existing theory as it confuses conceptual and empirical matters. These need to be clearly distinguished. In the case of the central concept of ‘gene’, the definition has moved all the way from describing a necessary cause (defined in terms of the inheritable phenotype itself) to an empirically testable hypothesis (in terms of causation by DNA sequences). Neo-Darwinism also privileges ‘genes’ in causation, whereas in multi-way networks of interactions there can be no privileged cause. An alternative conceptual framework is proposed that avoids these problems, and which is more favourable to an integrated systems view of evolution. (open access)More.
Also, his response in the Correspondence following his article at In the Journal of Experimental Biology: “If we accept that environmentally induced phenotypes can be inherited, as recent observations abundantly show (Tollefsbol, 2014), then we have broken the Weismann barrier, because the germline is no longer isolated from the environment and the organism’s response to it. We have also automatically broken the other neo-Darwinian assumption of random variation because phenotype changes can then guide inheritable variation. ”
“If, as the commentator seems to imply, we make neo-Darwinism so flexible as an idea that it can accept even those findings that the originators intended to be excluded by the theory it is then incumbent on modern neo-Darwinists to specify what would now falsify the theory. If nothing can do this then it is not a scientific theory.” – Denis Noble
Hat tip: Philip Cunningham
But neo-Darwinism, as a faith, isn’t something that can just die. Matzke would need to convert to something or other, one suspects.
See also: Matzke Is Back On The Flagellum Horse Donald McLaughlin: Suffice it to say that in the 13 years since the ’06 review article, apparently there still are no peer reviewed research studies that provide the Darwinian model of how a bacterial flagellum came to be. There’s really nothing to review in this article because there just isn’t anything new here. Its more a bunch of assertions without evidence.