The joint meeting of the Royal Society and the British Academy of Science, New trends in evolutionary biology: biological, philosophical and social science perspectives was a rematch of sorts.
The two sides had already exchanged views in a 2014 Nature Comment, “Does evolutionary theory need a rethink? Researchers are divided over what processes should be considered fundamental.”
The Nature Comment had been set up as point and counterpoint. Kevin Laland and colleagues, Tobias Uller, Marc Feldman, Kim Sterelny, Gerd B. Müller, Armin Moczek, Eva Jablonka argued the point, “Yes, urgently. Without an extended evolutionary framework, the theory neglects key processes.”
Gregory A. Wray, Hopi E. Hoekstra, Douglas J. Futuyma, Richard E. Lenski, Trudy F. C. Mackay, Dolph Schluter, Joan E. Strassmann argued the counterpoint, “No, all is well. Theory [Modern Synthesis] accommodates evidence through relentless synthesis.“
I had attended the joint meeting of the Royal Society and British Academy (RA-BA) before NASA researcher, Lynn Rothschild, brought the Nature Comment to my attention.
What struck me about both the meeting and the Comment was the fact that the proponents of a “constantly synthesizing” version of the Modern Synthesis had failed to present a statement of their theory. This was not a minor detail, but such a glaring omission. I wondered how the editors of Nature had allowed what was going to be debated to remain completely undefined.
Similarly, the organizers Read more »