Darwinism is dead

Apparently. This, at least, is the latest incantation. Repeat it often enough, and it is so. So what has actually died? What elements of Darwin’s theory(/ies) of evolution have been buried? I can certainly think of one – his theories of variation were wrong, superseded by Mendel, which simultaneously solved one of his dilemmas. But is that it?

62 thoughts on “Darwinism is dead

  1. Mung: Darwinian selection is Godlike. It can operate at any level imaginable.

    https://evolution-institute.org/focus-article/reaching-a-new-plateau-for-the-acceptance-of-multilevel-selection/

    Ok, now you’re wandering onto an important issue, unresolved & ripe, unlike that other boring self-consuming fetish.

    Well, at least ‘invisible hand’ like if not ‘godlike’ (sorta like how the IDM treats Michael ‘aka evolutionary Stud’ Behe?). That’s D.S. Wilson, the unreal religion-friendly smarm-guru, distorting MLS so he can join the IDW & popularise his ‘everything evolves’ ideology.

    However, this claim does not appear to be sustainable: “But selectionism is dead, along with Darwinism.”

    Darwinism isn’t just selectionism. Get the selectionists to deny their own ideology & you’ll be onto something. I suggest starting your own thread on this, writing clearly, refusing to use the term ‘Darwinism’ & trying to find out how many ‘selectionists’ are out there. You might be surprised (of course, most likely won’t call themselves ‘selectionists’!).

  2. phoodoo: What else is it?

    You tell us. You use the term ‘Darwinist’, and you surely don’t just mean ‘selectionist’?

    OTOH, people like Behe and Sanford accept selection as a principle; are they therefore Darwinists?

  3. Allan Miller: OTOH, people like Behe and Sanford accept selection as a principle; are they therefore Darwinists?

    They could be! But that would make Joshua Swamidass a Darwinist too. 🙂

    If someone believes that the primary mode or mechanism by which new species arise and diversify is adaptation to the external environment by means of natural selection, whether by “damaging” existing genes or not, it might make one a Darwinist.

    And Behe argues, perhaps, that this is the case.

    I note the continual appeals to “selection” as an explanation by Joshua at his site.

    https://discourse.peacefulscience.org/t/antibody-enzymes-and-sequence-space/4271/138

  4. Gregory: Well, at least ‘invisible hand’ like if not ‘godlike’ (sorta like how the IDM treats Michael ‘aka evolutionary Stud’ Behe?).

    Hand doesn’t quite fit the language Darwin used though.

    It may be said that natural selection is daily and hourly scrutinizing throughout the world, every variation, even the slightest; rejecting that which is bad, preserving and adding up all that is good; silently and insensibly working, whenever and wherever opportunity offers, at the improvement of each organic being in relation to its organic and inorganic conditions of life.

  5. Mung: And Behe argues, perhaps, that this is the case.

    I have never seen Behe say that he believes this is the primary mode or mechanism. I think he believes it has a minimal role.

    I don’t think many people disagree that if you were born with no legs for instance, perhaps you are less likely to have many offspring. Especially if you are a deer.

  6. phoodoo,

    … born with no legs tee hee

    Hmmm. What’s that, Michael? “It has been my experience that one very common way for opponents to try to discredit an argument is to exaggerate it.”, you say?

  7. For phoodoo, there is no middle ground. Either it’s nothing, or it’s something ridiculous. Small variations in offspring number? Impossible! Either there’s no variation, or it’s lethal.

  8. Allan Miller:
    For phoodoo, there is no middle ground. Either it’s nothing, or it’s something ridiculous. Small variations in offspring number? Impossible! Either there’s no variation, or it’s lethal.

    This tendency to absolutist extremes is seen everywhere in creationism, and science denialism in general: The thinking error at the root of science denial.

    Things are seen in their most polar extremes, black and white, all or nothing.

  9. Rumraket: This tendency to absolutist extremes is seen everywhere in creationism, and science denialism in general

    So?

    “Darwinism is dead” isn’t a black and white extreme?

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