Darwiniana

History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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…no paradigm shift is really possible until biologists return to their source history, correct the original error, and reconsider their starting point which was probably the right one

February 9th, 2016 · No Comments

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/suzan-mazur/john-dupre-interview-deep_b_9184812.html

I am not sure I see anything yet in the way of a paradigm shift here. In fact, I think the real issue is of the paradigm lost at the rise of modern biology when the initial ‘right’ approach got replaced with the wrong approach, darwinism.

The rise of Newtonian science produced the phenomenon of scientism, and this was the object of extensive critique by the philosopher Kant. And his influence generated a school of teleomechanists who tried to understand teleology in the context of Newton and biology.

In the same generation we find Lamarck who produced the first real understanding of evolution. He is known now for his controversial idea of acquired characteristics, but if we set that aside for the moment (with the possibility of a new interest based on epigenetics) we see in the Lamarck the natural idea of evolution on two levels. He is the source of the later idea of macro and microevolution. He saw evolution as the evolution of complexity and at a another level the process of adaptation. In many ways this is a natural ‘beginner’s luck’ take on ‘evolution’, and we see that the later professionalization of science was unable to deal with this simple insight, which is we should note as good an interpretation of the fossil record as that of the later proponents of random evolution and the critics of progressive evolution such as Gould.
If we look at the whole sequence of life it makes sense to see it in the way Lamarck saw it: life proceeds from simple to complex, and new forms arise and then adapt to their environments. One problem is that the drive toward complexity is subject to metaphysical confusion and this perhaps was the reason it was eliminated as ‘unscientific’ while the process of adaptation, and random evolution in the eternal present was taken as the only evolution. The assumption they must do science, and thus eliminate directionality set evolutionism on the wrong course from which it cannot get unstuck. It may be that the issue of metaphysics will prevent a standard science from ever coming into existence.

So in this context no paradigm shift is really possible until biologists return to their source history, revise their basic error, and consider their starting point which was probably the right one. Everything about biology now suggests that theories of evolution are missing the point, and that the endless fussing over genetics may be forgetting the higher level at work which may even be beyond genetics.

I have recommended a look at WHEE to see how in a related case two levels operate in the process of developmental evolution (of civilization).

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