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Key non-Darwinian Evolutionary Scientists in the 20th Century

From the University of Chicago’s James Shapiro’s 2010 Works of the Mind lecture, “A 21st Century View of Evolution,”

Key non-Darwinian Evolutionary Scientists in the 20th Century

• William Bateson (1861-1926) & Hugo de Vries (1848-1935): abrupt variation as a source of evolutionary novelty

• Richard Goldschmidt (1878-1958): altering developmental processes as a source of rapid evolutionary novelty (“hopeful monsters” and Evo-Devo)

• Barbara McClintock (1902-1992): genetic change as a biological response to danger and evolutionary novelty through genome restructuring resulting from “shocks”

• G Ledyard Stebbins (1906-2000): hybridization between species as a source of evolutionary novelty

• Carl Woese (1928- ): molecular phylogeny and the existence of at least three distinct cell kingdoms

• Lynn Margulis (1938- ): cell mergers/symbiogenesis as a source of evolutionary novelty

If they withstood the trolls, so can the rest of us.

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6 Responses to Key non-Darwinian Evolutionary Scientists in the 20th Century

  1. Nice list. Sadly however Lynn Margulis died in 2011.

    21st Century Non-Darwinian evolutionists to look out for, would be:

    * Bruce Lipton author of The Biology of Belief and more recent books, his latest book came out in 2009, he has criticised neo-Darwinism and the gene centric view of evolution – he claims that genes and DNA do not control biology, instead DNA is controlled by signals from outside the cell.

    * Rupert Sheldrake author of A New Science of Life and more recent books – claims a process known as morphic resonance: the past forms and behaviors of organisms, influence organisms in the present through direct connections across time and space. Strong critic of reductionism, materialism and neo-Darwinism.

    * Stuart Pivar author of On the Origin of Form: Evolution by Self-Organization and more recent books (even publishing a new book in 2012)- claims the body form of all organisms is not in genes, genetic code, or DNA but is encoded in the Urform a universal “archtype” substance which Pivar identifies as a primordial germ plasm. His theory rejects natural selection, instead complex biological forms arise through self-organization of embryological processes. Pivar’s theory is mechanist but strongly opposes natural selection, he describes his work as “evolution without Darwin”.

    * Antonio Lima-de-Faria author of Evolution without Selection Form and Function by Autoevolution and more recent books. – Claims evolution occurs due to internal physico-chemical factors and not natural selection.

  2. Also, The great French zoologist Pierre Paul Grassé (1895-1985)and his excellent book “L´Evolution des Vivants” (1973)
    published in english as “The evolution of living organisms”

  3. Lynn Margulis was not a non-Darwinian. She was a Darwinist. What she challenged was what she referred to as “neo-Darwinism”.

    “Evolution” is a word Charles Darwin never used. Rather he wrote about “descent with modification”. Even so, the basic modern concept of evolkution is undoubtedly attributable to Darwin. If we raise our hands to swear that we are darwinists, we also swear, with equal fervor, that we do not agree iwth his followers the neodarwinists and other modern evolutionists. Darwin’s original views must be distinguished from those of his successors. Everyone today who studies modern biology, indeed virtually every scientifically minded modern person, is a Darwinist. But since neodarwinism and “the modern synthesis” that attributed evolkutionary change to random mutations developed between 1930 and 1960, long after Darwin’s daath ( in 1882), he himself never even knew about it. Nor did he know about “evolutionary biology.”. The “modern synthesis” was the science invented to unite Darwin’s idea that organisms and populations gradually change with Gregor Mendel’s concept of genetic stasis.

    Lynn Margulis and Dorian Sagan, in “Acquiring Genomes: A a theory of the origin of species”, in a chapter called “Darwinism Not Neo-Darwinism”.

  4. From an interview with the late Lynn Margulis:

    All scientists agree that evolution has occurred… The question is, is natural selection enough to explain evolution?… This is the problem I have with neo-Darwinists: They teach that what is generating novelty is the accumulation of random mutations in DNA, in a direction set by natural selection… Natural selection eliminates and maybe maintains, but it doesn’t create.…
    I was taught over and over again that the accumulation of random mutations led to evolutionary change — led to new species. I believed it until I looked for evidence.…

    There is no gradualism in the fossil record…‘Punctuated equilibrium’ was invented to describe the discontinuity.…

    The critics, including the creationist critics, are right about their criticism. It’s just that they’ve got nothing to offer but intelligent design or ‘God did it.’ They have no alternatives that are scientific.…

    The evolutionary biologists believe the evolutionary pattern is a tree. It’s not. The evolutionary pattern is a web

    She throws natural selection out, and is critical of Darwins gradualism. And as you can see from the lines you quoted was also a critic of random mutations… she is one of the most non-Darwinist Darwinists that I have heard of then.

  5. She calls herself a Darwinist, and doesn’t “throw out” natural selection.

    What she “throws out” is random mutations as the generator of sufficient novelty for natural selection to selecdt from. Her big contribution was the role of symbiosis in the generation of novelty.

  6. “Called”, I should say. She died a couple of months ago.

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