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Evolution “Dreaming” — Tough Language from Biologist Michael Lynch

Molecular biologist Douglas Axe tweets about a new paper: “Michael Lynch is one of those influential critics of the standard account of evolution who believes the theory can be salvaged somehow.” He quotes some remarkably tough language by Lynch from the article, in the Journal of Molecular Biology, “A Theoretical Framework for Evolutionary Cell Biology”:

One of the most significant problems in the broader body of biological thinking is the common assumption that all observed aspects of biodiversity are products of natural selection. …

With this mind set, evolutionary biology becomes little more than a (sometimes endless) exercise in dreaming up the supposed agents of selection molding one’s favorite aspect of phenotypic diversity. …

However, we now know that this unwavering belief in the limitless power of natural selection is untenable. [Emphasis added.]

 “If you will it, it is no dream,” as Theodor Herzl famously said. That’s true in some contexts — it was for Herzl — but not in others. Professor Lynch, who thinks fellow evolutionary biologists are “dreaming” and who does not mean that as a compliment, directs the Biodesign Center for Mechanisms of Evolution at Arizona State. Remember, this is someone who thinks evolutionary theory is still salvageable. This is what “salvageable” means?

Photo credit: JR Korpa on Unsplash.