Developmental Plasticity and Organismal Ingenuity Challenge Darwin's Theory | Stuart A. Newman

February 20, 2015 11:11 PM

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Developmental Plasticity and Organismal Ingenuity Challenge Darwin's Theory | Stuart A. Newman

At a time when endorsement of Darwinism is reflexively identified with belief in evolution, it may come as a surprise that alternative accounts are gaining acceptance. Scientists studying the history of life on Earth are increasingly moving beyond the nineteenth-century theory, and concepts and insights that were unknown to the founding figures are now on the table. A recent commentary section in that most mainstream of scientific journals, Nature, titled "Does evolutionary theory need a re-think," pitted researchers who answered, "No, all is well," against ones asserting, "Yes, urgently." Denis Noble, a senior figure in British physiology, has recruited a group of investigators from multiple evolution-related disciplines to describe their work on a website that advances the proposition that mechanisms other than natural selection "would better explain evolution processes." None of these critics of Darwinism is a creationist.

Darwin's theory did not simply consist of the observation that plants and animals (including humans) generally breed true but can nonetheless spawn new variants. People had understood this for thousands of years. It also advanced a new model for how large-scale differences between types of organisms...

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