Jerry Coyne on Darwinism.

It’s great to know that Jerry Coyne has a blog — I certainly plan to read it and you should too.

However, I have to confess that I tend not to agree with him on a lot of points. His criticism of evo-devo, his opinion that punctuated equilibria is saltationist, and his apparent belief that there is nothing new under the sun in evolutionary biology that is worth getting too excited about.

I also disagree that “’Darwinism’” is a compact, four-syllable term for ‘modern evolutionary theory’”. No, it isn’t. It may be a synonymn for “adaptive change due to the process of natural selection”, but even that would be stretching it. There is a LOT in modern evolutionary theory that is well outside anything Darwin considered, and thus is not “Darwinism” in any sense. Genetic drift, everything to do with mutation, allopatric speciation, mass extinctions, developmental regulatory genes, genome duplication, population genetics, the list goes on. There is also a lot that Darwin considered, including use and disuse, pangenesis, and other components of what should also be included in “Darwinism”, that are not part of evolutionary theory.

I repeat the advice given by Scott and Branch for historic, scientific, and practical reasons: Don’t call it “Darwinism”.

UPDATE: See also Larry Moran‘s thoughts.

2 thoughts on “Jerry Coyne on Darwinism.

  1. I know, but you can’t argue that it’s a “Darwinian” mechanism beyond the fact that me kinda mentioned the idea of random changes.

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