Intelligent Design

Non-religiously motivated dissent from Darwinism

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A colleague sent me this. I’d like to ask contributors to this thread to list other books published before the advent of the ID movement that, like this, were (1) non-religiously motivated and (2) regarded conventional evolutionary theory as “a fairy tale for adults.”

“A Biologist’s View,” Jean Rostand, Wm. Heinemann Ltd., 1956.

French biologist Jean Rostand–“one of the leading European biologists,”
according to the jacket of this 1956 book–hardly fits the popular stereotype
of an intelligent design activist. He writes, for example: “I am quite
incapable of taking seriously a ‘revelation’ supposedly made to our ancestors
in the remote past,” and “I believe firmly in the evolution of organic nature,”
and again “the only kind of truth I believe in is one discovered slowly and
painfully.” Yet Rostand rejects Darwinism (calling it “a fairy tale for
adults” in another reference), and writes, “a theory of evolution…must
account…for the harmony which is found in living structures. This harmony
is admittedly not perfect but it is quite sufficient to suggest the idea
of design or intention–of purpose, in fact.” Further, he says, “though
we may know nothing of the actual variations which have made evolution,
this need not stop us from making a mental picture of them…they must be
supposed to be creative and not random.” He discusses the possibility that
this “creativeness” may originate from within the living organisms
themselves, and never considers the possibility of a external designer.

Because of his philosophical leanings, Rostand might (or might not)
object to the inclusion of his book in this list, but in fact he
illustrates nicely that the conclusion that the development of life
suggests design does not flow from religious preconceptions, but from the
evidence itself.

56 Replies to “Non-religiously motivated dissent from Darwinism

  1. 1
    Mung says:

    Pierre-Paul Grasse. Evolution of Living Organisms.

    Soren Lovtrup, Darwinism: The Refutation of a Myth.

    Paul S. Moorhead. Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution.

    Fred Hoyle. Mathematics of Evolution.

    Periannan Senapathy. Independent Birth of Organisms.

    David Stove. Darwinian Fairytales.

    Graeme Donald Snooks. The Collapse of Darwinism : Or The Rise of a Realist Theory of Life.

    Not all of these may predate the IDM.

  2. 2
    scordova says:

    The most notable book to my mind was by the mentor of Nobel Laureate Theodosius Dobzhanski, namelely, Leo Berg, author of Nomogenesis. It had many ID-like arguments, that evolution was non-random. It described the problems of irreducible complexity, morphological novelty and convergence. It was written in 1926!

    See this interesting pub-med abstract about Nomogenesis in 1987 Molecular biology, darwinism and nomogenesis

    The theory of nomogenesis put forward by L. S. Berg in 1922 is discussed….the theory contains a series of important suggestions which anticipate the further development of the synthetic theory of evolution. Berg has foreseen the development of molecular biology. Thus he was the fore-teller of our branch of science. The theory of nomogenesis emphasized the limitations of natural selection which determine the directionality of evolution. Berg treated the speciation as a kind of phase transition. Even the most conscientious critics of Berg have misrepresented the real sense of his works. It is totally groundless to treat nomogenesis as an idealistic of Lamarkian theory. Berg was superior to his critics. However the enthusiasm about nomogenesis in our time shows the inability to separate “the grains from weeds”.

    Here is the theory in some of Berg’s own words.

    The struggle for existence and natural selection are not progressive agencies, but being, on the contrary, conservative, maintain the standard

    [Selection] cannot, therefore, be an agency for the production
    of new forms.

    Leo berg

    Berg anticpates ideas with front loaded evolution, in regards to phylogeny and ontogeny:

    Neither in the one nor in the other is there room for chance

    Leo Berg, Nomogenesis

    I credit Davison with brining this work to my attention. Actually, pretty much all of the bibliographies of John Davison’s work are driven by pre-modern-ID thinkers who rejected Darwinism for scientific reasons and who were not affiliated with theological arguments.


    Some of the other names of the scientists will be familiar already, such as Goldscmidt and DeGrasse.

    For example, Goldschmidt wrote of:

    the great difficulties which the actual facts raise
    for the neo-Darwinian conception as applied to macroevolution.

    Unfortunately, his hopeful monsters, sounded like fairytales as well!

    But nonetheless he writes:

    We have long been seeking a different kind of evolutionary process and have now found one; namely, the change within the pattern of the chromosomes. … The neo-Darwinian theory of the geneticists is no
    longer tenable.

    — Richard B. Goldschmidt

  3. 3

    From a colleague:

    “The Origin of Life and the Evolution of Living Things,” Olan Hyndman,
    Philosophical Library, 1952.

    In this book, Hyndman calls Darwinism “the most irrational and illogical
    explanation of natural phenomena extant.” Yet he says “I have one
    strong faith, that scientific phenomena are invariable…any exception
    is an unthinkable as to maintain that thunderbolts are tossed at us
    by a man-like god named Zeus,” and so he goes on to develop an
    alternative (essentially Lamarkian) theory of the causes of evolution.

  4. 4
    tinabrewer says:

    How about the work of Sheldrake, who essentially proposes that information-containing “fields” (I think he calls them “morphic fields”) are the mechanism through which the development of individual organisms occur. More importantly for evolution, though, these fields have the capacity to collect new information from the species in question (say a changed foraging behavior based upon new environmental conditions, etc.) and once that behavior has been repeated a sufficient number of times, the field is altered by it, and then reacts back upon matter by changing the form of the species to reflect this new behavior. It is basically Lamarkian, which makes it dear to my heart, and it takes into account the primary place of information.

  5. 5
    BarryA says:

    This is a good venue for clearing up a widespread misconception about the Jean Rostand quotation (“Evolution is a fairy tale for adults.”). In my travels across the internet I have found that most creationist quote collections erroneously attribute the Rostand quotation to Professor Louis Bounoure. The Rostand quotation is apparently from the February 1959 issue of Age Nouveau (p. 12). A tip of the hat to E.T. Babinski at Talk Origins for the excellent sleuthing he did on this matter. See

  6. 6
    Mung says:

    (1) non-religiously motivated and (2) regarded conventional evolutionary theory as “a fairy tale for adults.”

    How literally do you want us to take the “fairy tale for adults” requirement, lol?

  7. 7
    Robo says:

    Evolution – A Theory in Crisis by Dr. Michael Denton

  8. 8
    tribune7 says:

    Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution (Wistar Institute Press, Philadelphia, 1967)

    Evolution From Space, by Fred Hoyle and N.C. Wickramasinghe

  9. 9
    zephyr says:

    surprisingly little if any attention at all is given by IDists to the following books:

    Francis Hitching: The Neck of the Giraffe subtitled or where
    Darwin went wrong.

    Hitchings’s book came out in ’81/’82 and came out in favour of the self-organisational school on evolution. His book was critical of both Darwinians and Creationists. Hitching was a well-known academic in the UK and wrote books on a number of mystery related subjects. He is deceased.

    Gordon R Taylor: The Great Evolution Mystery

    This book also came out in about ’82. Taylor was a well-knonw British science writer and this book was published posthumously. Taylor died in ’81. It was his last work. Taylor believed in common descent and Lamarckian inheritance of a sort and was in many ways a staunch defender of Darwin…to a point. However his book points out numerous problems in evolution where neo-Darwinism simply hits a brick wall. There are many interesting little discussed details in the history of the field of evolution and Taylor points out problems for Darwinism that are often neglected by IDists.

    Michael Pitman: Adam and Evolution

    The title of this book which came out in about ’84 is very misleading. This is not a Creationist tract in the traditional YEC sense. Pitman was a Cambridge University biologist and one of the most well-known critics of Darwinism in the UK prior to the advent of the ID movement proper. This little-known and unjustly neglected book needs a serious look-in by IDists. Pitman pointed out so many problems for neo-Darwinism across numerous disciplines in biology. Arguably most well-known for pointing out seemingly insurmountable problems for Darwinism in cetacean evolution. His writings on the fairy tale of whale evolution have been inexcusably overlooked by IDists – he did not just tread over well-worn ground here but came up with original arguments, see his writings on the fairy tale of the evolution of the whale’s tail (or is that tale?) in light of cetacean anatomy. He pointed out other problems for Darwinism that probably because of the obscurity of his book, have not been picked up by IDists really. Highly recommended. I am 95% sure Pitman is deceased.

    Somebody above mentions Sheldrake, an interesting figure who if anything finds himself at the cross-roads of the ID movement and the Darwinians. His ’81 book A New Science of Life putting forward his theory of morphic resonance/formative causation was unambiguously anti-materialist and his book was attacked in the pages of Nature by then-senior editor John Maddox as a book “fit for burning”. Ironically this helped to put Sheldrake’s book and work in the spotlight and contributed to its good sales!

  10. 10
    avocationist says:

    Shattering the Myths of Darwinism by Richard Milton, a British science writer, seems to have originally been copyrighted in 1992.
    This book got me really excited before I ever heard of ID or any of the well-known ID works, precisely because he was able to argue against Darwinism without recourse to religious backup or a priori religious assumptions and motivations.

  11. 11
    forests says:

    A list of non-religious scientists, philosophers, researchers etc from 1880 – 2011 who have opposed Darwinism. Most of them were/are non-Darwinian evolutionists who in most cases have criticised the Darwinian mechanisms of evolution. None of them creationist or religious motivated:

    Austin Hobart Clark – The New Evolution: Zoogenesis

    Robert Broom – The coming of man: was it accident or design?

    Soren Lovtrup, Darwinism: The Refutation of a Myth.

    Paul S. Moorhead. Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution.

    Fred Hoyle. Mathematics of Evolution.
    Periannan Senapathy. Independent Birth of Organisms.

    David Stove. Darwinian Fairytales.

    Graeme Donald Snooks. The Collapse of Darwinism : Or The Rise of a Realist Theory of Life.

    Leo Berg. Nomogenesis

    Olan Hyndman. The Origin of Life and the Evolution of Living Things

    Michael Denton. Evolution – A Theory in Crisis

    Evolution From Space, by Fred Hoyle and N.C. Wickramasinghe

    Francis Hitching: The Neck of the Giraffe subtitled or where Darwin went wrong.

    Gordon R Taylor: The Great Evolution Mystery

    Michael Pitman: Adam and Evolution

    Shattering the Myths of Darwinism by Richard Milton

    A Biologist’s View. Jean Rostand

    Lee Spetner – Not By Chance

    Rupert Sheldrake – A New Science of Life

    David Swift – Evolution Under the microscope

    Richard Goldschmidt – The material basis of evolution

    Evolution theory: The Unfinished synthesis – Robert G. B Reid

    Biological Emergences – Robert G. B. Reid

    Darwin Retried – Norman Macbeth

    Darwinism: A time for funerals – Norman Macbeth

    Beyond Natural Selection – Robert Wesson

    Darwin’s blind spot: Evolution beyond natural selection – Frank Ryan

    What Darwin Got wrong – Jerry Fordor and Piattelli-Palmarini

    Acquiring Genomes: The theory of the origins of the species – Lynn Margulis

    Development and evolution: Complexity and change in Biology – Stanley Salthe

    Evolution Without Selection – Lima-de-Faria

    The ages of Gaia – James Lovelock

    The Genomic Potential Hypothesis – Christian Schwabe

    William Fix – Bone Peddlers

    Darwin was wrong: A study in probabilities – I. L. Cohen

    James Le Fanu – Why Us?: How Science Rediscovered the Mystery of Ourselves

    Stuart Pivar – On the Origin of Form: Evolution by Self-Organization

    Edward J. Steele – Lamarck’s Signature : How Retrogenes Are Changing Darwin’s Natural Selection Paradigm

    H. P. Blavatsky – The Secret Doctrine

    Rudolf Steiner – Cosmic Memory

    Bruce Lipton – The Biology of Belief

    Rupert Sheldrake – A New Science of Life

    Richard Spilsbury – Providence Lost: Critique of Darwinism

    Arthur Koestler – The Case of the Midwife Toad

    Amit Goswami – Creative Evolution: A Physicist’s Resolution Between Darwinism and Intelligent Design

    James A. Shapiro – Evolution: A View from the 21st Century

    Mae-Wan Ho – Beyond Neo-Darwinism: An Introduction to the New Evolutionary Paradigm

  12. 12
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    Lot’s of early evolutionary scientists were non-Darwinians.

    The geneticist Thomas Hunt Morgan in the preface for his book Evolution and Adaptation (1903) wrote;

    It is the view held by most biologists at the present time ; but I venture to prophesy that if any one will undertake to question modern zoologists and botanists concerning their relation to the Darwinian theory, he will find that, while professing in a general way to hold this theory, most biologists have many reservations and doubts, which they either keep to themselves or, at any rate, do not allow to interfere either with their teaching of the Darwinian doctrine or with the applications that they may make of it in their writings. The claim of the opponents of the theory that Darwinism has become a dogma contains more truth than the nominal followers of this school find pleasant to hear; but let us not, therefore, too hastily conclude that Darwin’s theory is without value in relation to one side of the problem of adaptation; for, while we can profitably reject, as I believe, much of the theory of natural selection, and more especially the idea that adaptations have arisen because of their usefulness, yet the fact that living things must be adapted more or less well to their environment in order to remain in existence may, after all, account for the widespread occurrence of adaptation in animals and plants.

    As you can see he gave natural selection a small role, but did not believe it was fundamental in evolution. He compared Darwinism to a dogma.

    Here is the geneticist Reginald Punnett in the introduction of his book Mimicry In Butterflies (1915).

    The whole matter is too often approached in much the same spirit as that in which John Ray approached it two centuries ago, except that the Omnipotency of the Deity is replaced by the Omnipotency of Natural Selection. The vital point, which is whether Natural Selection does offer a satisfactory explanation of the living world, is too frequently lost sight of. Whether we are bound or not to interpret all the phenomena of life in terms of natural selection touches the basis of modern philosophy. It is for the biologist to attempt to find an answer, and there are few more profitable lines of attack than a critical examination of the facts of adaptation.

    Punnett was pointing out how natural selection became an answer for everything by the Darwinists. Natural selection claimed to explain everything therefore it explained nothing, it become a philosophical argument rather than scientific. Most of the Darwinians had no interest in really going into nature and testing new hypotheses.

    Here is one more. Robert Broom in his book Finding the Missing Link (1950) near the end of the book wrote;

    It is unfortunate that dogmatism and prejudice are not confined to religious bodies. Only a few years ago a teacher in America was prosecuted for discussing evolution in school; and one of America’s greatest statesmen took a leading part in the prosecution. And today in some quarters Darwin’s theory of natural selection is so much a dogma that to doubt the truth of it is almost as dangerous to one’s reputation as to doubt the doctrine of the Trinity. The factors or causes of evolution are rarely discussed at scientific meetings, and most scientists apparently think it wisest to keep their views to themselves.

    Broom compared religious creationism to Darwinism as both contain dogma. Interesting quotes. It’s a shame the views of these scientists were mostly ignored by both the creationists and the Darwinists.

  13. 13
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    This is an interesting quote from the book “Darwinism to-day a discussion of present-day scientific criticism of the Darwinian selection theories, together with a brief account of the principal other proposed auxiliary and alternative theories of species-forming” (1907) by Vernon L. Kellogg;

    Darwinism, then, is not synonymous with organic evolution, nor with the theory of descent (which two phases are used by the biologist practically synonymously). There when one reads of the “death-bed of Darwinism,” it is not of the death-bed of organic evolution or of the theory of descent that one is reading. While many reputable biologists to-day strongly doubt the commonly reputed effectiveness of the Darwinian selection factors to explain descent-some, indeed holding them to be absolutely no species-forming value-practically no naturalists of position and recognised attainment doubt the theory of descent. Organic evolution, that is, the descent of species, is looked on by biologists to be as proved a part of their science as gravitation is in the science of physics or chemical affinity in that of chemistry. Doubts of Darwinism are not, then, doubts, of organic evolution. Darwinism might indeed be on its death-bed without shaking in any considerable degree the confidence of biologists and natural philosophers in the theory of descent.

    The book lists hundreds of scientists who accepted evolution but rejected Darwinism.

  14. 14
    Upright BiPed says:

    TE do you happen to know how the author defined Darwinism in this exchange?

  15. 15
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    Upright BiPed the author Vernon L. Kellogg defined Darwinism as basically Darwin’s mechanisms of evolution which was three main mechanisms – natural selection, sexual selection and his theory of pangenesis.

    He makes it clear that although Darwin accepted descent, common descent should not be described as “Darwinian” as many scientists accepted it before Darwin.

    Kellogg is also clear before he starts the book that both sexual selection and pangenesis have been universally discredited. Most people would know this about pangenesis but would be surprised to hear this about sexual selection, but truth is sexual selection was rejected by the scientific community until the 1960s and early 70s. That’s the history but not many people know it.

    On page 2 of the book he writes;

    To too many general readers Darwinism is synonymous with organic evolution or the theory of descent. The word is not be so used or considered. Darwinism, primarily, is a most ingenious, most plausible, and according to one’s belief, most effective or most inadequate, causo-mechanical explanation of adaptation and species-transforming.

    On page 3 is a section called Darwinism not synonymous with evolution, and included is the quote I listed in my previous post where he makes it clear Darwinism is just a group of mechanisms of evolution and should not be confused with common descent or organic evolution.

    The book was written in 1907 at the peak of what has been called the “The eclipse of Darwinism”, a period prior to the modern evolutionary synthesis when evolution was widely accepted by scientists but relatively few biologists believed that natural selection was its primary mechanism.

  16. 16
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    I noticed Soren Lovtup was already mentioned by other users on this thread. His book “Darwinism: The Refutation of a Myth” is extremely hard to get hold of. But what many people don’t seem to have picked up on, is that Lovtrup contributed an essay to the book Beyond Neo-Darwinism: An Introduction to the New Evolutionary Paradigm edited by Mae-Wan Ho which all included chapters from other neo-Darwinian critics such as Brian Goodwin. The book was written in 1984, is easy to get hold of but has been totally ignored!

    Lovtrup also had an essay published in the book Alternative life-history styles of animals edited by Michael N. Bruton which included many non-Darwinian ideas and mechanisms of evolution such as saltational mechanisms of the ichthyologist Eugene K. Balon. Again the book totally ignored.

    Balon himself has published many non-Darwinian papers. See his paper Evolution by Epigenesis: Farewell to Darwinism, Neo-and Otherwise. Rivista di Biologia / Biology Forum 97: 269-312. The paper is not anti-evolution but anti-Darwinian, and Balon cites the work of Jonathan Wells approvingly in his paper! Once again, this paper seems to have been forgotten about sadly. It’s a shame none of these non-Darwinian evolutionary books or papers get more coverage.

    As for Soren Lovtrup the Neo-Darwinists ridiculed his theories and claimed no scientists supported his work, but this is false. Balon has supported Lovtrup and Lovtrup’s book Epigenetics, A Treatise on Theoretical Biology received a positive review by E. O. Wiley (Systematic Zoology, Vol. 26, No. 2 (Jun., 1977), pp. 238-243).

  17. 17
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    Mae-Wan Ho contributed to another textbook that was critical of Neo-Darwinism and calling for a new evolutionary synthesis. The book was called Evolutionary Processes and Metaphors, it was published in 1988. Here is a description of the book.

    The current evolutionary debate encompasses protobiotic chemistry at one extreme and human sociobiology at the other. Meanwhile, significant advances continue to be made in many scientific disciplines which have far-reaching implications on our view of nature. Although it is now generally felt that neo-Darwinism, at least in its orthodox form, is no longer an adequate theory of evolution, very few attempts have yet been made to articulate a coherent alternative out of the many voices of dissent. The purpose of the present volume is two-fold: to work towards a new evolutionary synthesis which takes full account of contemporary knowledge in all disciplines; and to examine explicitly the metaphorical basis of evolutionary theories old and new, as this has a powerful impact on our humanistic perspectives which underpin all social and political actions. We have brought together representatives of two groups of workers: those who ultimately believe in working within a transformed neo-Darwinism, and others who advocate a more radical reorientation away from the orthodoxy. Despite their fundamentally different affiliations, they are nonetheless able to communicate on questions of evolutionary concepts and mechanisms and their wider relevance to science and society. New insights are presented on major issues such as the physicochemical underpinnings of life processes, the meaning of natural selection, the nature of variation, heredity and morphogenesis, the integration of organism and environment, the active role of the organism in evolution and the evolution of human society. The new synthesis which is emerging is an integrated, multilevel and multidisciplinary approach to evolution which accords not only with the state of present-day knowledge, but with our deepest experience of nature.

    Like the others, the book was ignored. But the book costs around $100 so you can understand why in this case.

  18. 18
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    Eugene K. Balon had one of his papers criticising Neo-Darwinism published in “Environment, Development, and Evolution: Toward a Synthesis (Vienna Series in Theoretical Biology)” published in 2003 with other scientists such as Brian K. Hall and Gerd B. Müller. Balon appears to be the only full blown critic of Neo-Darwinism but the others have all discussed the limitations of Neo-Darwinism and called for an extended evolutionary synthesis based on findings in Evolutionary Developmental Biology.

  19. 19
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    Another forgotten critic of Darwinism is Samuel Butler. Not a scientist, but he knew a lot about biology and the history of evolution. He wrote a number of books supporting a form of teleological Lamarckism and works on biological memory. It seems some of his research influenced Rupert Sheldrake.

    Vernon L. Kellogg in a paper entitled “Samuel Butler and Biological Memory” described Butler’s evolutionary views.

    Science, New Series, Vol. 35, No. 907 (May 17, 1912), pp. 769-771.

    Butler, though strongly anti-Darwinian (that is, anti-natural selection and anti-Charles Darwin) is not anti-evolutionist. He professes, indeed, to be very much of an evolutionist, and in particular one who has taken it upon his shoulders to reinstate Buffon and Erasmus Darwin, and, as a follower of these two, Lamarck, in their rightful place as the most believable explainers of the factors and method of evolution. His evolution belief is a sort of Butlerized Lamarckism, tracing back originally to Buffon and Erasmus Darwin. He is equally insistent on degrading the explanations of Charles Darwin, Wallace and Weismann, viz., the selection champions, to their rightfully ignoble place of puerility and imbecility. And finally he is intent on reestablishing the factor of design in evolution. He holds strongly to a certain sort of teleology in organic change. Organisms make themselves what they are somewhat understandingly, as it were. They know what is good for them, and try to do it and be it.

  20. 20
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    Another forgotten critic of Darwinism:

    Emanuel Rádl

    “We may therefore sum up the modern position in Driesch’s words: ‘For those with insight Darwinism has been dead for a long time’… Darwinism as a tyrannic doctrine, which imperiously enchains the minds of men, is dead.”

    —Rádl. The History of Biological Theories. (1930). p. 388

    His book can be found online here:

  21. 21
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    A book similar to “Beyond Neo-Darwinism: An Introduction to the New Evolutionary Paradigm” edited by Mae-Wan Ho was “Evolutionary Theory: Paths Into the Future” edited by Jeffrey W. Pollard (a non-Darwinian who had supported the controversial neo-Lamarckian experiments of Ted Steele). It was a compilation of anti-Darwinian essays by scientists and philosophers. A description of the book;

    Disputes the current neo-Darwinian theory of evolution while suggesting alternative patterns of evolutionary change. It presents some considerations and constraints that a new and more adequate theory must have. Discusses the importance of developmental mechanics on both the large-scale (macroevolutionary) and small-scale(microevolutionary) levels. Includes a range of contributions by important and sometimes controversial authors, among them Sir Karl Popper–one of the greatest living scientific philosophers, and Howard Temin–a Nobel Laureate.

    As you can see, Karl Popper contributed to it. This was after his supposed public recantation as the book was published in 1984. Not many people know about this publication but it proves that Popper had doubts about Darwinism despite what the Darwinists on Talk.Origins may believe.

  22. 22
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    Another forgotten about critique of the neo-Darwinian synthesis was The Adaptive Seascape: The Mechanism of Evolution by David J. Merrell (1994).

    Modern evolutionary theory, also known as the modern synthesis, has lately become the subject of much criticism -and yet, David Merrell observes, its critics all too often display an incomplete understanding of the theory and its provenance. In this book, Merrell provides a lucid exposition and critique of the modern synthetic theory of evolution – its history, its present difficulties, and its future – from the perspective of ecological genetics. Based on observational and experimental data, in natural populations of plants and animals studied in the field and in the laboratory, this perspective unravels the hidden and often poorly founded assumptions underlying some of the more troublesome controversies in evolutionary biology today.

    Evolution, Merrell suggests, occurs through many mechanisms, and this pluralism informs his approach to evolutionary problems, which usually have been discussed in extreme, generally unjustifiable dichotomies. Thus, although much of evolution, in accordance with the Darwinian model, is slow and gradual, Merrell makes the case for rapid, even instantaneous large change as well. He also demonstrates the importance of genes of major effect, especially dominant genes, in bringing about evolutionary change, contrary to the widely held belief that such change only results from the accumulation of numerous genes of small effect. Using these concepts, Merrell interprets the evolution of industrial melanism, DDT resistance, and mimicry.

  23. 23
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    Back to the subject of Samuel Butler, I have done some further research. I would consider him an early design theorist who accepted evolution.

    Felix Grendon “Samuel Butler’s God”. The North American Review, Vol. 208, No. 753 (Aug., 1918), pp. 277-286.

    He believed that the course of evolution has been shaped, in the main, by the design or purpose of the evolving creature, or, to put it more fully, that organic variations are effected in the creature by its own effort, trial, and error under the spur of its own will to satisfy new needs or meet changed conditions. The creator, then, is nothing less than the designing or purposeful creature itself; he is not without but within the living organism ; God and the living organism are, in fact, identical.

    Butler was among the first to be revolted by the soulless, purposeless, mechanistic universe of the Natural Selection theory. He had no greater love for the standard Theological view, in which men were treated as if they were the sport of God, than for the Pagan view.

    But he was unable to prefer the new scientific view to the older Theological and Pagan views simply because, instead of treating men as the sport of a God or gods, it treated them as the sport of luck. On the contrary, he saw that the Darwinian explanation, in “banishing mind from the world,” and replacing the living will by a dreary, endless accumulation of lucky accidents, was no explanation at all. And he felt sure that men would never have accepted it as such save that, in their eagerness to escape from the monstrous Canaanitish idea of the fall of man through natural depravity, they failed to notice that the Darwinian idea of the descent of man through the operation of sheer chance was only less monstrous by a degree.

    I am surprised Michael A. Flannery has not picked up on the views of Butler. He’s definitely worth looking into by ID theorists.

  24. 24
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    Just read this rare and forgotten paper. The Evolutionary Dys-Synthesis: Which Bottles for Which Wine? by Janis Antonovics.

    The American Naturalist, Vol. 129, No. 3 (Mar., 1987), pp. 321-331.

    An interesting conclusion. Highlighted points from the paper;

    In summary, the Synthesis placed restrictive notions on the conceptual richness and depth of evolutionary biology as a science. It also failed to establish appropriate methodologies with which to explore this richness. The presentation of a confirmed theory of such broad scope led to a complacent acceptance and reduced evolutionary biology to everybody’s toy and plaything. The ability to generate a simplistic speculation about some putative past selection process seemed to qualify anyone as an evolutionary biologist and, perhaps worse, led others to imagine that this is what professional evolutionary biologists do. Someone, and I regret I cannot remember who, referred to “the evolutionary playground.” From eight o’clock to ten o’clock real biologists work collecting data and doing science, but then for relaxation they run to the evolutionary playground, only to return, fortified and reenergized (perhaps relieved) by the gay abandon of speculation, to the stuff of which science and technology are really made.

    Where are we now? It is my contention that evolutionary biology is returning to a kind of pre-Synthesis condition: the philosophical monism and the unitary schemes are being dismantled, and many old conceptual habits are being broken and replaced. We are in a period of Dys-Synthesis, with conflicts, controversies, and new discoveries. These conflicts are being incorporated into a rich theoretical tapestry based on empirical evidence. This evidence is being garnered by a revival of experimentation, by a demand for quantification, by the development of rigorous methods of phylogeny reconstruction. It is also being enriched by the discoveries of molecular biology. This Dys-Synthesis should be recognized and en- couraged, since at the intellectual level, it is infusing evolutionary biology with vigor and excitement.

    Doubts about natural selection as a major causative force have again arisen, particularly with regard to changes at the molecular level, but also with regard to its being an instigating force in speciation events and macroevolution. Even Lamarckian concepts are starting to achieve a qualified cogency as stress-induced DNA changes are no longer mere inferences from genetic experiments but have been demonstrated in molecular reality.

  25. 25
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    Brian Goodwin “How the Leopard Changed Its Spots : The Evolution of Complexity” (2001).

    Arguing that Darwin’s theory of natural selection cannot explain the emergence of distinctive species, British biologist Goodwin proposes an alternative theory of evolution. He views organisms as dynamic systems, themselves the primary agents of creative evolutionary adaptation and change that occurs in a matrix of relationships with other members of the same species. Instead of DNA as the carrier of inherited, survival-promoting factors from parent to offspring, he posits that “inherited particulars”-nucleic-acid sequences of DNA or specific structures of the parent organism-get transmitted, thereby generating form. As an organism matures from egg or bud to adult, characteristic types of order emerge from the chaotic interactions of genes, molecules and the environment, in his hypothesis. Goodwin buttresses his rigorous presentation with computer modeling and mathematics. His noteworthy, if complex, model implies that cooperation and webs of relationships play as important a role in evolution as competition, inheritance and the struggle for survival.

    Goodwin, a noted proponent of the complexity movement, bashes neo-Darwinists and molecular reductionists as holders of an untenable evolutionary view. Citing the research by himself and others, he compares life to the construct of “excitable media” and proposes that the driving forces determining an organism’s form lie at the interface between chaos and order. Goodwin provides a compelling argument that an investigation of the development of complexity and “emergent properties” from chaos will yield a theory of biological evolution that will unify this process with concepts in the physical sciences and also provide an accurate means of explaining the diversity of morphologies found in living organisms. Although light on data, this is a serious presentation for the informed lay reader of the philosophical direction some avant-garde biological thought is taking.

    Goodwin also contributed a chapter on morphogenetic fields in the book Beyond Neo-Darwinism: An Introduction to the New Evolutionary Paradigm (1984) by Mae-Wan Ho.

  26. 26
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson author of the pioneering work on structuralism “On Growth and Form” (1917) also essayed an anti-Darwinian paper in 1884. It was entitled “Some Difficulties of Darwinism” and gave examples why natural selection is inadequate for the origin of biological form.

  27. 27
    Kantian Naturalist says:

    I’ve been a huge fan of Goodwin’s work for a while. I suppose that’s one reason why I don’t like being called a “Darwinist,” if “Darwinism” is the sort of thing that excludes Goodwin’s approach.

    TheisticEvolutionist, if you have university-level library access, see if you can find “Darwinism: Six Scientific Alternatives” by Pete A. Y. Gunter (The Pluralist, Vol. 1, No. 1 (SPRING 2006), pp. 13-30.) It’s available through JSTOR but I don’t think JSTOR is accessible to civilians. I highly recommend Gunter’s article!

  28. 28
    TheisticEvolutionist says:


    I have read that article. I think it is slightly misleading though. The alternatives he lists are not alternatives to Darwinism (natural selection) they seem to be criticism or extensions of neo-Darwinism modern synthesis.

    He lists quantum evolution, nonlinear evolution, self-organizational theories of evolution etc. His section on neo-Lamarckian “epigenetics” is misleading. Scientists like Eva Jablonka and Marion Lamb are Darwinists who have called for an extended synthesis for epigenetics not an alternative to Darwinism.

    Johnjoe McFadden and his work on Quantum Evolution is not an alternative to Darwinism. McFadden himself has admitted to being a Darwinist. Like I already stated, he’s calling for some kind of extended evolutionary synthesis not presenting an alternative to natural selection.

    Brian Goodwin was probably the most “non-Darwinian” scientist mentioned in the paper. Conclusion from the article;

    Other options than the handful of un-Darwinian alternatives we’ve examined here could have been offered up to scrutiny. Various theories of “autopoesis,” for example, might have been covered. These seem to me, however, to fall within the confines of the physics and biology of chaos, though it would be interesting to determine how the views of various chaos theorists diverge, and in what ways.

    What then follows from all this? First, the abundance? an increasing abundance? of scientific alternatives to Darwinism strongly suggests that Darwinism as presently constituted is not immune to change. Usually, those who talk about such a change talk in terms of dramatic Kuhnian shifts or grand Popperian falsifications. But there are also significant permutations within a science, in which, though original terms remain (as in thermodynamics and quantum physics), their meanings are significantly transformed. So it is, I believe, for ultra-Darwinism.

    Second, the sheer plurality of competing scientific alternatives poses a problem. In taking only one side of this problem, it becomes hard to accept any one of the competing alternatives as absolutely true once this plurality is recognized. Other alternatives, sufficiently extended or developed, might do as well. Alternatives not yet formulated might come into the picture.

    He’s correct about the plurality of evolutionary alternatives to Darwinism. I will suggest some other papers in my further posts.

  29. 29
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    Fleeming Jenkin wrote a critical review The Origin of Species in 1867.

    Jenkin raised some serious objections to natural selection. You can read some of his objections here:

  30. 30
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    The following is from the book “Evolution” by Ernest MacBride (1927).

    “A very popular idea is that Darwin has completely explained evolution and that the hypotheses of “natural selection” and “sexual selection” successfully account for all the varied peculiarities of structure and function which we see around us. A little critical consideration will, we think, convince our readers that, so far from this being the case, Darwin’s theory is in reality no explanation at all, but one great and striking instance of the common illusion of what one of our best contemporary philosophers calls “reification” of words – i.e., the conversion of mere general terms into imaginary things.

    That every species does in reality produce far more young than can survive is open to no possible kind of doubt. One simple instance of this will suffice. The common thrush lives on an average ten years. It begins to breed at the age of one year, and produces every summer two broods of nestlings, each consisting of four young. In the course of their lives, therefore, a single pair of thrushes bring into the world eighty young, and some of these may be breeding for nine years before the parents die. Since the whole population of thrushes remains about the same from generation to generation, it is obvious that only two of this vast army of children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren can survive their parents; all the rest come to an untimely end.

    But to put the matter in a nutshell, the fact that James is killed can make no difference to the structure of Tom.

    The implicit assumption in Darwin’s hypothesis is that continuous inheritable variation occurs constantly in all directions. But to assume this is really to beg the whole question. Variation is not a single thing but a collective term for a whole lot of different things. Continuous variation in any direction is evolution, and it is precisely this which has proved to exist, and, if possible, to be explained. Natural selection is the pruning-knife which trims the buds of the tree of life, but it does not account for the sprouting of the buds nor for the directions in which they tend to grow.”

    MacBride was an Irish marine biologist and zoologist. He was a supporter of Lamarckian evolution.

  31. 31
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    Here’s a rather newish book that was published. It has gone rather un-noticed! I did see only review which described it as similar to the work of D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson.

    Randomness in Evolution by John Tyler Bonner (2013)

    John Tyler Bonner, one of our most distinguished and insightful biologists, here challenges a central tenet of evolutionary biology. In this concise, elegantly written book, he makes the bold and provocative claim that some biological diversity may be explained by something other than natural selection.

    With his customary wit and accessible style, Bonner makes an argument for the underappreciated role that randomness–or chance–plays in evolution. Due to the tremendous and enduring influence of Darwin’s natural selection, the importance of randomness has been to some extent overshadowed. Bonner shows how the effects of randomness differ for organisms of different sizes, and how the smaller an organism is, the more likely it is that morphological differences will be random and selection may not be involved to any degree. He traces the increase in size and complexity of organisms over geological time, and looks at the varying significance of randomness at different size levels, from microorganisms to large mammals. Bonner also discusses how sexual cycles vary depending on size and complexity, and how the trend away from randomness in higher forms has even been reversed in some social organisms.

  32. 32
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    A book I have been reading recently is “Cell and Psyche: The Biology of Purpose” by Edmund W. Sinnott. It was published in 1950.

    Sinnott in his early career published a mainstream textbook on genetics, in his mid-to late career however he seemed to have shifted from mainstream work on plant genetics to discussing the mysteries of metamorphosis, the cell and the mind-body problem. He supported purpose in all biological organisms at all levels of life even down to the cell. I guess he supported a form of holistic panpsychism. His book received a positive review if the The Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 27, No. 1 (Mar., 1952), p. 62.

    Here is a description of his hypothesis from the review;

    The essence of Sinnott’s view lies in the hypothesis he proposes, namely, “that in the regulatory and organizing processes in protoplasm lies the foundation of what are called the psychological or mental activities in animals and especially in man”; and again in other words “the biological organization (concerned with organic development and physiological activity) and psychical activity (concerned with behaviour and this leading to mind) are fundamentally the same thing”. There must certainly be some sort of controlling mechanism, structure, or system in the egg (doubtless in every cell) which definitely foreshadows the character of the particular organism into which it will develop or of which it forms a part. It is this organizations, whatever it may turn out to be in terms of matter and energy, space and time, which, as experienced by the organism, I believe to be simplest manifestation of what in man has become conscious purpose.” In this view the genotype and the homeostatic physiological system become the antecedents and rudiments of the Gestalt in the realm of mind, the organizations and purposiveness of living systems at all levels from the action of evolutionary process.

    Sinnott published other books and articles supporting a teleological view of evolution. Some of his work has obviously influenced by Rupert Sheldrake.

    A similar writer was Wilfred Eade Agar. He was both anti-Darwinian and anti-Lamarckian, he was most famous for challenging the Lamarckian findings of William McDougall relating to the inheritance of the effects of training in rats. He published the book “A Contribution to the Theory of the Living Organism” (1943). Similar to Sinnott it’s a book that talks about purpose in the organism.

    William McDougall was a Lamarckian and anti-Darwinist. I have read two of his books. He supported a teleological view where the organism directs its own evolution. This type of Lamarckian evolution was similar to later writers such as Arthur Koestler who wrote a few anti-Darwinist books in the 1970s (The Case of the Midwife Toad, Janus: A Summing Up) attacking the purposeless view of neo-Darwinism.

  33. 33
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    Wilfred Eade Agar also published an article entitled “The concept of Purpose in Biology” The Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 13, No. 3 (Sep., 1938), pp. 255-273. He has a very interesting section on purpose on morphogenesis and mentions morphogenetic fields. This was in 1938. I consider many of Rupert Sheldrake’s ideas second-hand. Sheldrake still a brilliant writer full of original ideas, but many people are unaware that scientists proposed similar theories before him about fields influencing evolution and development of the organism.

  34. 34
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    Edmund W. Sinnott seems to of had some very similar views to myself. I just discovered a review of his book “The Biology of the Spirit” (1955). Here’s part of the review from The Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 31, No. 2 (Jun., 1956), p. 120. I highly recommend this book.

    Professor Sinnott is not a conventional believer; he rejects the traditional dogma associated with the Christian concept of a personal God at the same time that he cannot bring himself to the point of accepting either himself or his place in the scheme of things-physically and spiritually-as products of natural selection operating on the animate world. The latter process he dismisses as inadequate, if only because he believes that it cannot account for what he terms the “regulatory quality of living stuff,” and because he further conceives of man’s ability to judge abstract values, such as beauty and truth, to be without selective advantage. He here develops his ideas beyond the point reached in his earlier books, and in doing so concludes that man’s mind as well as his body has a biological basis. Few scientists will dispute this conclusion, but to pinpoint this biological basis more specifically, Sinnott proposes that protoplasm is endowed with goal-seeking properties, with its highest present expression being the human spirit. A goal set implies a goal-setter, and in addition, “a Principle of Organization which, through life, brings order out of chaos, spirit out of matter, and personality out of impersonal stuff. This principle we may identify as an attribute of God.”

  35. 35
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    Another interesting book is “Biology Revisioned” (1998) by Elizabet Sahtouris.

    Sahtouris is a non-Darwinian evolutionist who has promoted a radical version of the Gaia hypothesis. Description of the book;

    Biology Revisioned presents an engaging look at the changing state of biology and proposes that we reconsider our views of science and life. Harman and Sahtouris suggest that it is an historical accident that physics came to be the generally accepted root discipline of science. If, for example, biology were instead the foundation, life sciences would be analyzed in a complete different way. We would need to look at wholes (organism and ecological systems) prior to parts (fundamental particles). The book examines several theories of “new biology”—simply adding new tool to the current definition and a moderately holistic outlook—but focuses on an even more radical holistic view which assumes the possible presence of consciousness as an underlying layer of physical reality. The authors also suggest that the scientific perspectives of non-Western cultures are invaluable to a complete understanding of science—that Western ideals are no complete without these views.

    Here is Sahtouris from an interview commenting on Darwinism.

    We can look at what is happening with the relationship of proteins and genes and cell membranes and all that, and it looks very much as if life does not proceed by accident but by design. And, as I said in my book, the nucleus is really a giant library of genes accumulated throughout evolution which can be drawn on under stress. Creatures such as sharks or cockroaches are very well-adapted and don’t need to change (I call them bicycles in a jet-age because they still function very well although other species have gone on with totally different paths of evolution). In other words, life changes itself only when it needs to. It knows how to conserve what works well and change what doesn’t work well. That is why you get very uneven evolution, not as in Darwinian theory which would predict a very even rate of accident and even rate of evolution for all species. We certainly know that that is not true and no geneticist today would uphold the ideas of Darwin completely.

  36. 36
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    Recent book by Professor of biology Masatoshi Nei “Mutation-Driven Evolution” (2013)

    The purpose of this book is to present a new mechanistic theory of mutation-driven evolution based on recent advances in genomics and evolutionary developmental biology. The theory asserts, perhaps somewhat controversially, that the driving force behind evolution is mutation, with natural selection being of only secondary importance. The word ‘mutation’ is used to describe any kind of change in DNA such as nucleotide substitution, gene duplication/deletion, chromosomal change, and genome duplication. A brief history of the principal evolutionary theories (Darwinism, mutationism, neo-Darwinism, and neo-mutationism) that preceded the theory of mutation-driven evolution is also presented in the context of the last 150 years of research. However, the core of the book is concerned with recent studies of genomics and the molecular basis of phenotypic evolution, and their relevance to mutation-driven evolution. In contrast to neo-Darwinism, mutation-driven evolution is capable of explaining real examples of evolution such as the evolution of olfactory receptors, sex-determination in animals, and the general scheme of hybrid sterility. In this sense the theory proposed is more realistic than its predecessors, and gives a more logical explanation of various evolutionary events.

    The idea that mutation is the driving force of evolution and natural selection only secondary is not new. This theory was presented as a non-Darwinian alternative before the modern synthesis and was supported by scientists like Thomas Hunt Morgan (who I already mentioned) and William Bateson (Bateson was a saltationist).

  37. 37
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    An overlooked paper I found;

    Neo-rationalism versus neo-Darwinism: Integrating development and evolution by Kelly C. Smith.

    An increasing number of biologists are expressing discontent with the prevailing theory of neo-Darwinism. In particular, the tendency of neo-Darwinians to adopt genetic determinism and atomistic notions of both genes and organisms is seen as grossly unfair to the body of developmental theory. One faction of dissenteers, the Process Structuralists, take their inspiration from the rational morphologists who preceded Darwin. These “neo-rationalists” argue that a mature biology must possess universal laws and that these “generative laws” should be sought within organismal development. Such a rational biology will only be possible once the neo-Darwinian paradigm, with its reliance on inherently stochastic processes, is overthrown.

    To facilitate this revolution, process structuralism launches a broad attack on the theoritical adequacy of its opponent. It is charged that neo-Darwinism is untestable and therefore its hypotheses are nothing more than adaptive stories. Further, the lamentable tendencies toward genetic determinism and atomism by modern biologists is seen as the inescapable consequences of adopting the neo-Darwinian outlook.

    I allow that neo-Darwinism is untestable but argue that this does not pose a major difficulty for the theory. Further, it is not clear to what extent genetic determinism and atomism result from sloppy methodology as opposed to fundamental theoritical commitments. But the process structuralist critique does reveal some deep-seated problems with orthodox evolutionary theory and some of its suggestions may be employed to good effect.

  38. 38
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    Another paper that has already been mentioned on this website “The Fate of Darwinism: Evolution after the Modern Synthesis” by David J. Depew.

    We trace the history of the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis, and of genetic Darwinism generally, with a view to showing why, even in its current versions, it can no longer serve as a general framework for evolutionary theory. The main reason is empirical. Genetical Darwinism cannot accommodate the role of development (and of genes in development) in many evolutionary processes. We go on to discuss two conceptual issues: whether natural selection can be the “creative factor” in a new, more general framework for evolutionary theorizing; and whether in such a framework organisms must be conceived as self-organizing systems embedded in self-organizing ecological systems.

    David J. Depew. “The Fate of Darwinism: Evolution after the Modern Synthesis” Biological Theory 6.1 (2011): 89-102.

  39. 39
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    Rose MR, Oakley TH “The new biology: beyond the Modern Synthesis” Biology Direct 2007, 2:30.

    The last third of the 20th Century featured an accumulation of research findings that severely challenged the assumptions of the “Modern Synthesis” which provided the foundations for most biological research during that century. The foundations of that “Modernist” biology had thus largely crumbled by the start of the 21st Century. This in turn raises the question of foundations for biology in the 21st Century.

    In the above paper see the section “Dead parts of the Modern Synthesis”.

  40. 40
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    Mae Wan Ho and Peter Saunders in their paper “Beyond neo-Darwinism an epigenetic approach to evolution”.

    We argue that the basic neo-Darwinian framework the natural selection of random mutations is insufficient to account for evolution. The role of natural selection is itself limited: it cannot adequately explain the diversity of populations or of species; nor can it account for the origin of new species or for major evolutionary change. The evidence suggests on the one hand that most genetic changes are irrelevant to evolution; and on the other, that a relative lack of natural selection may be the prerequisite for major evolutionary advance.

  41. 41
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    Interesting paper on self-organization challenging Darwinism.

    The uniqueness of biological self-organization:
    challenging the Darwinian paradigm by J. B. Edelmann and M. J. Denton

    Here we discuss the challenge posed by self-organization to the Darwinian conception of evolution. As we point out, natural selection can only be the major creative agency in evolution if all or most of the adaptive complexity manifest in living organisms is built up over many generations by the cumulative selection of naturally occurring small, random mutations or variants, i.e., additive, incremental steps over an extended period of time. Biological self-organization witnessed classically in the folding of a protein, or in the formation of the cell membrane—is a fundamentally different means of generating complexity. We agree that self-organizing systems may be fine-tuned by selection and that self-organization may be therefore considered a complementary mechanism to natural selection as a causal agency in the evolution of life. But we argue that if self-organization proves to be a common mechanism for the generation of adaptive order from the molecular to the organismic level, then this will greatly undermine the Darwinian claim that natural selection is the major creative agency in evolution.

  42. 42
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    Evolution in Revolution: A Paradigm shift in our understanding of life and biological evolution by František Baluška

    Biological evolution represents one of the most successful, but also controversial scientific concepts. Ever since Charles Darwin formulated his version of evolution via natural selection, biological sciences experienced explosive development and progress. First of all, although Darwin could not explain how traits of organisms, selected via natural selection, are inherited and passed down along generations; his theory stimulated research in this respect and resulted in the establishment of genetics and still later in the discovery of DNA and genome sequencing some hundred years after his evolutionary theory. Nevertheless, there are several weaknesses in classical Darwinian as well as Neodarwinian gene-centric views of biological evolution. The most serious drawback is its narrow focus: the modern evolutionary synthesis, as formulated in the 20th Century, is based on the concept of gene and on the mathematical/statistical analysis of populations. While Neodarwinism is still generally considered a valid theory of biological evolution, its narrow focus and incompatibility with several new findings and discoveries calls for its update and/ or transformation. Either it will be replaced with an updated version or, if not flexible enough, it will be replaced by a new theory. In his book “Evolution – A New View from the 21st Century,”1 James A. Shapiro discusses these problems as well as newly emerging results which are changing our understanding of biological evolution. This new book joins a row of several other recent books highlighting the same issues.

  43. 43
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    These books may be of interest to readers here at UD. Both take influences from Goethe and non-Darwinian evolution.

    Development Dynamics in Humans and Other Primates: Discovering Evolutionary Principles through Comparative Morphology by Jos Verhulst

    In this book, Jos Verhulst expands on the evolutionary theory first proposed by Louis Bolk. The theory is based on the premise that aspects of the individual creatures’ development – from juveniles to adults – are also at work in animal evolution as a whole. Verhulst shows that, unlike other primates – who start out with a rather humanlike form but become, say, apes – humans retain their original fetal form. Standing Darwinism on its head, he argues that humans have not descended from apes, but rather that apes have evolved by diverging from a humanlike prototype. He also proposes that the gradually emerging human prototype is the driving force, and central trunk, of the evolutionary tree -the wellspring from which the animal world has sprung.

    Thinking Beyond Darwin: The Idea of the Type As a Key to Vertebrate Evolution by Ernst-Michael Kranich

    Focusing on a central problem of the evolution of vertebrae, the author questions whether there is a principle underlying the disparate animal forms. He shows that there is. Following Goethe, he points out that a key to understanding the great variety of vertebrates lies in the plasticity of what he calls the “vertebrate type”. He goes on to show how successive classes of vertebrates can be seen as increasingly complete manifestations of the type. Thus the driving forces of evolution are found in the inner lawfulness of living organisms, each of which is itself a manifestation of the type in action.

    And here is a description from a review of the book;

    If you think that only those with religious motivations find current evolutionary theories inadequate, this book is for you. These German scholars demonstrate that gradual accumulations of mutations does not add up to biological novelty. The abrupt appearance of fossils in the fossil record, as noted by the German paleontologist Otto Schindewolf decades ago, is also recounted. The work of Michael Denton is also mentioned.

    Which totally fits the description of this thread! It is a shame such books have been ignored and mostly forgotten about.

  44. 44
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    Not many people know this one. The philosopher Richard Spilsbury published a book called “Providence Lost : A Critique of Darwinism” in 1974 and some of the arguments are similar to the book by Thomas Nagel in the book “Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False” published in 2012… of course people about Nagel but Spilsbury is virtually unknown!

  45. 45
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    Neophenogenesis: A developmental theory of phenotypic evolution by Timothy D. Johnston and Gilbert Gottlieb

    An important task for evolutionary biology is to explain how phenotypes change over evolutionary time. Neo-Darwinian theory explains phenotypic change as the outcome of genetic change brought about by natural selection. In the neo-Darwinian account, genetic change is primary; phenotypic change is a secondary outcome that is often given no explicit consideration at all. In this article, we introduce the concept of neophenogenesis: a persistent, transgenerational change in phenotypes over evolutionary time. A theory of neophenogenesis must encompass all sources of such phenotypic change, not just genetic ones. Both genetic and extra-genetic contributions to neophenogenesis have their effect through the mechanisms of development, and developmental considerations, particularly a rejection of the commonly held distinction between inherited and acquired traits, occupy a central place in neophenogenetic theory. New phenotypes arise because of a change in the patterns of organism-environment interaction that produce development in members of a population. So long as these new patterns of developmental interaction persist, the new phenotype(s) will also persist. Although the developmental mechanisms that produce the novel phenotype may change, as in the process known as “genetic assimilation”, such changes are not necessary in order for neophenogenesis to occur, because neophenogenetic theory is a theory of phenotypic, not genetic, change.

    It appears the Journal of Theoretical Biology published many non-Darwinian papers in the 80s and early 90s. Also see the papers I listed above from Mae Wan-Ho which were also published in the same journal.

  46. 46
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    Eugene Koonin and his book has been mentioned here at UD in some other threads but his papers have not been mentioned.

    In his book The Logic of Chance: The Nature and Origin of Biological Evolution (2011) Koonin wrote;

    The exclusive focus of Modern Synthesis on natural selection acting on random genetic variation has been replaced with a plurality of complementary, fundamental evolutionary processes and patterns. In the new evolutionary biology, natural selection is but one of the processes that shape evolving genomes—and, apparently, not the quantitatively dominant one. To a large extent, neutral processes such as genetic drift and draft define evolution.

    Here are two of his papers;

    Eugene Koonin, The Origin at 150: Is a new evolutionary synthesis in sight?” Trends in Genetics, 25(11), November 2009, pp. 473-475 and Eugene Koonin, Darwinian evolution in the light of genomics, Nucleic Acids Research, 37(4), 2009, pp. 1011-1034.

    In the post-genomic era, all the major tenets of the modern synthesis have been, if not outright overturned, replaced by a new and incomparably more complex vision of the key aspects of evolution.

    The discovery of pervasive HGT and the overall dynamics of the genetic universe destroys not only the tree of life as we knew it but also another central tenet of the modern synthesis inherited from Darwin, namely gradualism. In a world dominated by HGT, gene duplication, gene loss and such momentous events as endosymbiosis, the idea of evolution being driven primarily by infinitesimal heritable changes in the Darwinian tradition has become untenable.

    Equally outdated is the (neo-) Darwinian notion of the adaptive nature of evolution; clearly, genomes show very little if any signs of optimal design, and random drift constrained by purifying in all likelihood contributes (much) more to genome evolution than Darwinian selection.

    Links to his papers;

    It would be incorrect to all Koonin a non-Darwinian, he describes himself as a Darwinist, yet is critical of neo-Darwinism which he believes has crumbled.

    He calls for a new evolutionary synthesis that invokes Darwinian, Lamarckian and saltational mechanisms and processes.

  47. 47
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    The paper Dissecting Darwinism by Joseph A. Kuhn was discussed on this website a few years ago but what was overlooked what Kuhn’s comments on John Hunter.

    John Hunter was also a brilliant biologist and naturalist, having dissected and stored thousands of animals and plants. His considerable samples represented the entire initial display of the Royal College of Surgeons Museum. In two lengthy volumes, entitled Essays and Observations on Natural History, Anatomy, Physiology, Psychology, and Geology, he identified the remarkable similarity of muscles and organs between various species. John Hunter proposed a gradual formation of species through mutation 70 years before Charles Darwin published his observations in On the Origin of the Species. Therefore, history reveals that surgeons are uniquely capable of gathering information, making observations, and reaching conclusions about scientific discoveries.

    As discussed, John Hunter developed a theory of evolution before Darwin. But what is not widely known is that Darwin plagiarized many of his ideas from Hunter. This is discussed in detail in the book “The Illustrious Hunter and the Darwins” by science historian WJ Dempster.

  48. 48
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    Beyond Natural Selection by Robert Wesson

    In this broad and highly readable inquiry, Robert Wesson proposes an approach to evolution that is more in harmony with modern science than Darwinism or neoDarwinism. He emphasizes the importance for evolution of inner direction and the self-organizing capacities of life, a view that is better able to account for the chaotic nature of the evolutionary process and the inherent propensity of complex dynamic systems to grow more complex with time. Many examples of plants and animals support this idea, and Wesson includes both carefully documented scientific facts and intriguing anecdotes about the odd aberrations in natural selection.

    An interesting book that I have read a few times. It received terrible reviews in science journals but both Lynn Margulis and Elisabet Sahtouris said positive things about the book. It’s best strength is the amount of biological anomalies it mentions that natural selection fails to explain.

  49. 49
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    A mostly forgotten book “The Origins of Life: Evolution as Creation” by Hoimar von Ditfurth.

    While asserting the validity of the theory of evolution, this book points to scientific research–on sub-atomic particles and at the fringes of the cosmos–that suggests that there is a dimension of spirit beyond matter.

    This was a theistic evolution book that was compared to the work of Asa Gray. The book came out before the modern ID movement. Generally a poor book, if I can remember correctly only near the end of the book did the author argue that evolution *may* have been programmed during a supernatural first cause that started the Big Bang.

    Another interesting forgotten book that came out at a similar time to some of the authors in the modern ID movement in America in the 80s was the book “Origins of Life” by Jim Brooks. I am not quite sure if Brooks was a theistic evolutionist or an old earth creationist but his book was a debunking of various naturalistic theories of the origin of life, he did reject a strict literal reading of the Bible but he was a Christian. The book came out a year after “The Mystery of Life’s Origin: Reassessing Current Theories” by Walter L. Bradley and Charles B. Thaxton. I would recommend it to any ID theorist.

  50. 50
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    Another interesting anti-Darwinian book “The Descent of Darwin: A Handbook of Doubts about Darwinism” (1982) by Brian Leith. If I get the time I may summarize some of the evidence he documented. Similar to Soren Lovtrup’s books this one was a full blown criticism of Neo-Darwinism.

  51. 51
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    In his book “Evolution in the Antipodes: Charles Darwin and Australia” Tom Frame wrote;

    There has been a steady stream of articles and books questioning the claims of Darwinian theory on non-religious grounds. The more recent and well known include Francis Hitching’s The Neck of the Giraffe (1982), Beyond Natural Selection (1991) by Robert Wesson, Richard Milton’s The of Life (1992), How the Leopard Changed its Spots (1994) by Brian Goodwin and Fred Hoyle’s Mathematics of Evolution (1999).

    The only one of those I have not read is the one by Fred Hoyle, seems it is out-of-print and hard to locate.

  52. 52
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    An interesting old book I obtained from a second-hand bookstore recently was “Mind and Its Mechanism: With Special Reference to Ideo-Motor Action, Hypnosis, Habit and Instinct and the Lamarckian Theory of Evolution” (1927) by two psychologists Paul Bousfield and W. R. Bousfield.

    The books last chapter entitled “Evolution” supported a strict neo-Lamarckian view of evolution. The authors cited the work of William McDougall on rats and the experiments of Paul Kammerer to support the view that acquired characteristics are inherited.

    Unfortunately both the Kammerer and McDougall experiments are known to have contained serious flaws. There is an overview on Wikipedia of many other “neo-Lamarckian” experiments in the early 1900s.

    The work of the British marine biologist Joseph Thomas Cunningham is mentioned. Cunningham was a devout Lamarckian who published a number of anti-Darwinian books.

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    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    Modern Materialism and Emergent Evolution by William McDougall (1929)

    This book is a direct attack on the problem of purpose. It exhibits the failure of all attempts to explain human action mechanistically) the essence of modern materialism), establishes purposive action as a type of event radically different from all mechanistic events, and justifies the belief in teleological causation without where there can be neither religion nor morals.

    McDougall a Lamarckian supported a teleological view of evolution in opposition to neo-Darwinism. In the book he claimed the mechanism of acquired characters was immaterial. This reminds me of the morphic resonance of Rupert Sheldrake who cited the work of Mcdougall in his book A New Science of Life: The Hypothesis of Morphic Resonance.

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    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    The Collapse of Darwinism: Or The Rise of a Realist Theory of Life by Graeme D. Snooks

    In this provocative work, noted social and economic theorist Graeme D. Snooks exposes fatal flaws in the foundations of the Darwinian theory of evolution, which he deems an “artificial algorithm,” as well as the neo-Darwinian synthesis adopted by many social scientists. Utilizing the historical method, Snooks develops a remarkable replacement theory of evolution, which he calls the “dynamic-strategy” theory. While the neo-Darwinian position places too great an emphasis on genetic change—giving rise to untenable but popular concepts such as the “selfish gene”—and fails to explain the fluctuating fortunes of life’s most successful species (mankind), Snooks’ framework starts by systematically observing the broad patterns of life and human society.

    The resultant realist theory of life posits life as a strategic pursuit (rather than a game of chance) in which organisms adopt dynamic strategies (only one of which is genetic change) to survive and prosper. Organisms’ and species’ progress is achieved through “strategic selection”—a concept that displaces the “divine selection” of creationists and the “natural selection” of Darwinists. This new theory reveals the organism as empowered, rather than as the plaything of gods, genes, or blind chance; and it provides a new basis for humanism.

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    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    Another early forgotten critic of neo-Darwinism was the English botanist John Christopher Willis author of the book “The Course of Evolution by Differentiation Or Divergent Mutation Rather Than by Selection” (1940). His also proposed the controversial anti-Darwinian “Age and Area hypothesis”.

    The book can be found online here;

    Make’s a very compelling argument for the inadequacy of natural selection. Willis was a saltationist. His views similar in some ways to Richard Goldschmidt on mutationism.

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    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    The German zoologist Theodor Eimer (a proponent of orthogenesis) published an attack on natural selection titled “On Orthogenesis: And the Impotence of Natural Selection in Species Formation” (1898).

    The book can be found online here;

    He also was a Lamarckian and wrote the book “Organic Evolution as the Result of the inheritance of Acquired Characters according to the Laws of Organic Growth” (1888).

    It is a shame such works have been forgotten, they have some very useful evidence against Darwinism.

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