Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Dinosaur, Feb 1, 2017.
Sorry bout that
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I guess that some of them would interpret fossils as remains of organisms left in the sediments left by the Biblical flood.
Others point to sudden appearance of new species and the absence of missing links as evidence that something other than conventional Darwinian natural selection is at work.
I think that the phrase "against the theory of evolution" needs to be unpacked a bit.
There's a whole range of religious alternatives, such as 'young earth' Biblical literalism or theistic evolutionism.
And there are professional biologists who question various aspects of existing evolutionary theory, hoping to modify it so as to address various issues. An interesting paper surveying various alternative ideas that have been proposed since the 19th century is here:
Nature presents opposing views on whether or not evolutionary theory needs a re-think here:
For which there is no evidence and do not fit in any way shape or form available evidence
Both of which are NOT anti evolution but papers which offer some views of different causes of aspects of evolution (more nuts and bolts to support evolution)
Anti evolution, I contend, would carry statements like
' evolution is impossible because....... ' and go on with evidence of why's and wherefores of its impossibility
' it happened like this....' and go on with evidence of a mechanism involved which did not include evolution
The one that I feel is the most crazy is ' god made all creatures exactly as they are now '
Interesting articles. It seems to me that while it is true that there is argument about the degree to which processes other than the classical mechanism (variation of inherited traits and natural selection over generations) play a role, nobody is actually attacking evolution per se. Everyone thinks that organisms are related to each other and that populations of them change over time in response to their environments, eventually creating new species. Or at least, I didn't see anybody arguing against that in these articles.
To my mind, what is meant by an "anti-evolution" theory has to be something that does not describe its mechanisms as evolutionary.
I agree with you.
In my earlier post I was just trying to suggest that criticism of evolutionary theory can take many forms, such as objections to Darwinian-style natural selection, alternative suggestions to what is inherited (such as Lamarckianism or today's epigenetics), various teleological objections, saltationism (which seems to have made a comeback in Gould's 'punctuated equilibrium') and many others.
Since the 18th century or so, change over time has historically been more widely accepted (among biologists at least) than the explanation of what is changing and what drives the changes. Even today there's evo-devo which, while not contradicting Darwin, complicates it (and in my opinion helps explain the fact of rapid sudden morphological changes in the fossil record). And there have been big changes and controversies in phylogeny and taxonomy, such as the rise of cladistics (which conceals several rival methodologies). I'm personally interested in horizontal gene transfer in bacteria, which threatens to make the whole project of hypothesizing their evolutionary relationships more difficult. (Bacteria may not evolve in quite the same way as other organisms, since their genetics may not just be derived from their ancestry.)
So, while evolutionary theory superficially seems like a single line of continuous scientific advance, seen more closely it reveals a lot of continuing internal turbulence. That's what I find interesting. I suspect that all sciences will reveal a similar appearance when examined closely.
As to what theoretical alternatives exist that deny change over time entirely, I haven't really followed that. The only one I know about are religious creationism in various forms.
Yes I think they would be. In fact I originally decided not to get involved in this thread as I suspected an element of coat-trailing in the title. But it has become, perhaps against the odds, a reasonable discussion. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
Certainly the science of evolutionary biology is a very live field. New things seem to be coming to light all the time, in many cases illuminated by the analysis of complex molecules such as DNA that has only recently become possible. What I find salutary and rather fascinating is that even some features of Lamarckism, long ridiculed and with a reputation even further degraded by Lysenko, turn out to have something to them, thanks to discoveries in epigenetics.
I am reminded of the appearance of Plate Tectonics in the 1960s: suddenly, the long-sidelined idea of continental drift was given new life by new discoveries.......
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