Biological Emergences: Evolution by Natural Experiment
Natural selection is commonly interpreted as the fundamental mechanism of evolution. Questions about how selection theory can claim to be the all-sufficient explanation of evolution often go unanswered by today’s neo-Darwinists, perhaps for fear that any criticism of the evolutionary paradigm will encourage creationists and proponents of intelligent design.
In Biological Emergences, Robert Reid argues that natural selection is not the cause of evolution. He writes that the causes of variations, which he refers to as natural experiments, are independent of natural selection; indeed, he suggests, natural selection may get in the way of evolution. Reid proposes an alternative theory to explain how emergent novelties are generated and under what conditions they can overcome the resistance of natural selection. He suggests that what causes innovative variation causes evolution, and that these phenomena are environmental as well as organismal.
After an extended critique of selectionism, Reid constructs an emergence theory of evolution, first examining the evidence in three causal arenas of emergent evolution: symbiosis/association, evolutionary physiology/behavior, and developmental evolution. Based on this evidence of causation, he proposes some working hypotheses, examining mechanisms and processes common to all three arenas, and arrives at a theoretical framework that accounts for generative mechanisms and emergent qualities. Without selectionism, Reid argues, evolutionary innovation can more easily be integrated into a general thesis. Finally, Reid proposes a biological synthesis of rapid emergent evolutionary phases and the prolonged, dynamically stable, non-evolutionary phases imposed by natural selection.
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1 Paradigm Drift
2 Prologue to Emergence
3 Evolution by Association
4 The Physiological Arena
5 Development and Evolution
6 Epigenetic Mechanisms
adaptability allometric anatomical animals associations bacteria behavior biochemical biological biologists causal causes cells cellular chapter chromosomes common competition complexification complexity concept critical-point Darwin diversification duplication dynamic stability effects emergent evolution emergent levels emergent properties emergentism emergentist endosymbiosis environment environmental enzymes epigenesis Epigenetic Inheritance eukaryotes evolutionary change evolved example existence exons function gene duplication gene expression genetic assimilation genome hierarchical homeorhesis homeostasis hormonal human Ibid increase innovations insects integrity interactions internal milieu involved Lamarck lineages major mammals mechanisms metaphor methylation Modern Synthesis molecular molecules Müller multicellular mutations natural experiments natural selection neo-Darwinism neo-Darwinist novel novelty occur ontogenic organismal organisms original orthogenesis oxygen persist phenotypic physicochemical physiological plants population potential predation predictable produce progressive evolution prokaryotes protein regression repetitive differentiation reproduction result role saltation saltatory Schmalhausen selection pressure selection theory selectionist self-organization sexual simple speciation species structure survival symbionts symbiosis variation vertebrates whole