Neo-Darwinism is inadequate for modern medicine?
|March 11, 2014||Posted by News under Darwinism, Medicine, News|
That seems to be the message of a recent paper in Science:
Abstract Molecular biology and evolutionary biology have been separate disciplines and scientific cultures: The former is mechanistic and focused on molecules; the latter is theoretical and focused on populations. However, these domains are beginning to converge in laboratories addressing molecular mechanisms that explain how evolutionary processes work, and bring these processes to bear on medical problems such as cancer and infectious disease. Each discipline can be viewed as a missing link in the other’s description of biology, and in medicine.
This part, of course, is paywalled (but also quoted here) :
Traditional evolutionary biology began in the 1930s with the “modern synthesis,” which fused Darwin’s theses on phenotypic variation and selection with Mendel’s concepts of genetic inheritance to explain the source of biological diversity. This synthesis predated knowledge that genes were made of DNA and of the structure of DNA and how it replicates. Thus, molecular mechanisms could not be integrated into concepts about how phenotypic variation is generated. Instead, assumptions had to be made about the origins of the variation that drives evolution. Among the cornerstone assumptions were that mutations are the sole drivers of evolution; mutations occur randomly, constantly, and gradually; and the transmission of genetic information is vertical from parent to offspring, rather than horizontal (infectious) between individuals and species (as is now apparent throughout the tree of life). But discoveries of molecular mechanisms are modifying these assumptions. …
In short, going to court and censoring profs isn’t going to do the needed work.
Also quoted here by writer Philip Ball, who notes,
This is all no great surprise. Why on earth should we expect that a theory drawn up 80 or so years ago will remain inviolable today? As I am sure Darwin expected, evolution is complex and doesn’t have a single operative principle, although obviously natural selection is a big part of it. (I need to be careful what I say here – one ticking off I got was from a biologist who was unhappy that I had over-stressed natural selection at the molecular level, which I freely confess was a slight failure of nerve – I have found that saying such things can induce apoplexy in folks who see the shadows of creationism everywhere.) My complaint is why this seemingly obvious truth gets so little airplay in popular accounts of genetics and evolution. I’m still puzzled by that.
Ball apparently doesn’t realize that Darwinism is the creation story of new atheism, and must therefore be held inviolate.
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