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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Science essays of note: Bacterial geneticist Shapiro on why Darwinism is not the answer

This essay in the Boston Review, first published in 1997, seems eerily prescient now:

... current knowledge of genetic change is fundamentally at variance with neo-Darwinist postulates. We have progressed from the Constant Genome, subject only to random, localized changes at a more or less constant mutation rate, to the Fluid Genome, subject to episodic, massive and non-random reorganizations capable of producing new functional architectures. Inevitably, such a profound advance in awareness of genetic capabilities will dramatically alter our understanding of the evolutionary process. Nonetheless, neo-Darwinist writers like Dawkins continue to ignore or trivialize the new knowledge and insist on gradualism as the only path for evolutionary change.

The whole essay captures very well the issues in interpreting the history of life that have come to the fore, despite all attempts to obfuscate them.

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