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Friday, November 25, 2005

Thesis: An Imminent Paradigm Shift in Evolutionary Biology?

I am advised that a major university has accepted the following proposal for a master's thesis in the history of science:

Neo-Darwinism is at present the biological paradigm accepted by most scientists to explain scientifically the evolution of species phenomenon. However, there is a growing group of scientists (whom I have called agnostic evolutionists) who has questioned the scientific
validity of the neo-Darwinian model. Science historians D. Collingridge and M. Earthy have described neo-Darwinism as a paradigm that has lost its capacity to solve important scientific problems.

In 1980, Stephen Jay Gould was more incisive critically - the neo-Darwinian synthesis was effectively considered to be dead despite its persistence as orthodoxy in biology. On June 2005 Massimo Pigliucci, professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution, SUNY [State University of New York] wrote in a book review that the 'clamour to revise neo-darwinism is becoming so loud that hopefully most practising evolutionary biologists will begin to pay attention'.

Why does the synthetic theory continue to be the paradigm accepted by the scientific community despite the discussions and debates about its theoretical-empirical difficulties such as (a) Questions of Pattern (how are organisms related to each other, and how do we know that?), (b) Questions of Process (the mechanisms of evolution, and open problems in that area) and (c) Questions about the Central Issue: the Origin and Nature of Biological Complexity (the source and nature of the specified complexity of biological information)?" continues to be the accepted
paradigm by the scientific community? What were/are the (scientific/popular) disclosure, persuasion and teaching strategies used to keep the scientific status quo of the neo-Darwinian theory?

Have these discussions and debates about these difficulties really been pointing to the emergence of a new evolutionary theory as suggested by Stephen Jay Gould? Are we watching a paradigm shift à la Kuhn in Biology? If so, what is its historical significance to the present teaching of Biology and of Biological Science History? Is it time to abandon Darwin? To revise or discard neo-Darwinism? Are we watching an imminent paradigm shift in Evolutionary Biology?

I wish the author luck in evading both the Church of Darwin's inquisition and assorted cyberstreet bullies, assuming he really wants to invetigate the issue without fear or favour. needless to say, I am not giving either the author's or the university's name at this point.
If you like this blog, check out my award-winning book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

Are you looking for one of the following stories?

The Pope using the term "intelligent design" to describe the Catholic view of origins, go here.

Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams attacked by Darwinist, hits back. Will he now cartoon on the subject?

"Academic Freedom Watch : Here's the real, ugly story behind the claim that 'intelligent design isn't science'?".

Roseville, California, lawyer Larry Caldwell is suing over the use of tax money by Darwin lobby groups to promote religious views that accept Darwinian evolution (as opposed to ones that don’t). I’m pegging this one as the next big story. See also the ruling on tax funds. Note the line that the “free speech” people take.
How to freak out your bio prof? What happened when a student bypassed the usual route of getting frogs drunk and dropping them down the chancellor’s robes, and tried questioning Darwinism instead.

Christoph, Cardinal Schonbon is not backing down from his contention that Darwinism is incompatible with Catholic faith, and Pope Benedict XVI probably thinks that’s just fine. Major US media have been trying to reach rewrite for months, with no success.

Museum tour guides to be trained to "respond" to those who question Darwinism. Read this item for an example of what at least one museum hopes to have them say.

World class chemist dissed at Catholic university because he sympathizes with intelligent design.
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