As a critic of Darwinism I am both interested in and yet wary of writers such as Mukherjee. But how does one mediate such issues? If the sci community is still confused about darwinism, how can they pass judgment on writers as here? And Jerry Coyne is the worst of the propagandists.
Actually, it is hard to figure anything here, but I have a self-imposed rule as a critic to be wary of complex issues like epigenetics, a vitally important subject, but a labyrinth of complexity.
My historical model of the macro effect gives one a very effective overall critique of darwinism, but not of the vast array of genetic issues.
I have always been a fan of Lamarck, but wary of his theory of adaptation, but now epigenetics is reopening the question. But it is important to stand back and be wary of biochemical issues.
The fundamental issue then, standing back from the complicated details, is to find a way through the confusion. Lamarck strangely enough pointed to the answer. Perhaps it is a beginner’s clarity before everyone became so confused. He saw evolution as acting on two levels, later to become macro and micro. On one level we see the drive toward complexity on the other a more random adaptation process. The key is to see that biologists in the wake of Darwin have lost the first aspect and are trying to use the second to explain the first.
Further, our study of world history gives us a good example of a related process that shows something like this.
So with this thinking we are ready to defend ourselves from the confusion over evolution. It won’t answer the issue of epigenetics. Maybe Lamarck was right here also. But in any case, our formulation won’t resolve the epigenetic question.
In any case, the commentary of scientists is forever off the mark because they don’t have the fundamentals right. They may be right about Mukherjee’s book, but in the end the larger question has been misconstrued.