Monday, January 12, 2015

Evolution beyond neo-Darwinism: another nail in the coffin of the selfish gene nonsense

Fig 1 of Noble 2015 shows the 3 basic mistakes of
Neo-Darwinism and (same colours) the empirical findings
that refute them. We need to move to the new systhesis
Fig 2 sketches a more realistic set of relationships.
Denis Noble has just sent me his review article "Evolution beyond neo-Darwinism: a new conceptual framework" in the Journal of Experimental Biology which "examines the conceptual framework of neo-Darwinism, including the concepts of ‘gene’, ‘selfish’, ‘code’, ‘program’, ‘blueprint’, ‘book of life’, ‘replicator’ and ‘vehicle’." and points out that  "This ...confuses conceptual and empirical matters." or to put it in less polite language it is misleading simplistic nonsense. He gives an alternative conceptual framework "that avoids these problems, and which is more favourable to an integrated systems view of evolution."

In Fig 2 he sketches a more realistic view of what happens in biology - though even here (as Denis would fully agree) this greatly over-simplifies since the Pheonotypes and Environment interact through the ecosystem as indeed does the DNA.

The simplistic nonsense that Dawkins was promulgating back in the 1970s really needs to be laid to rest. It is very badly out of date!  It is not a bad first approximation but not at all the way the world actually works.

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