Monday, December 9, 2013

Razib Khan doesn't like Gould and doesn't like new-fangled ideas like "neutralism" and "random genetic drift"

The article by David Dobbs [Die, selfish gene, die] has stirred up a lot of biologists. Some of them (Coyne, Dawkins) pointed out why David Dobbs is wrong about this particular attack on Darwinian ordodoxy while others (PZ Myers) have defended Dobbs.

Razib Khan has weighed in [Evolutionary orthodoxy may be boring, but it is probably true]. I strongly disagree with his post but it's important to be clear about the disagreement. If "evolution orthodoxy" means evolution by natural selection then, yes, it is definitely true. That's not being disputed. The question isn't whether evolution orthodoxy is correct, it's whether it is sufficient.

I'm also not defending the specifics of Dobbs' article. Many of the most recent attempts to extend evolutionary theory are misguided and Dobbs happens to focus on one of these misguided attempts. However, the main point of Dobbs' article was that the "selfish gene" metaphor is an inappropriate metaphor for evolution and I agree strongly with this conclusion even though Dobbs' argument was faulty.

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