Reflections on Biological Evolution

Charles Darwin caricature
Charles Darwin caricature “A Venerable Orang-outang” published in The Hornet, 22 March 1871. Source

Modern evolutionary theory is at a crossroads. The so-called Neo-Darwinian synthesis has proven to be woefully inadequate as an explanation for the manifold phenomena of biological evolution–this despite increasingly boisterous pronouncements by apologists for the prevailing orthodoxy. Christian fundamentalists, meanwhile, inspired by an ever-growing number of biologists conceding major problems in the Darwinian paradigm, would have us turn back the clock and reinstate Genesis as the gold standard by which the paleontological record is to be measured and understood. Were this Siren’s song to be heeded, America’s already impoverished educational system would be further undermined, thereby threatening our country’s ability to compete in the market place of ideas and the increasingly interdependent global economy. Such a prospect is too terrible to risk (to paraphrase Klaatu’s dire warning from The Day The Earth Stood Still).

If we are to arrive at a rational and evidence-based theory of evolution, and thereby provide a viable theoretical foundation for the biological sciences, it will be necessary to radically revise how we view the living organism in its manifold interactions with the environment. None of this will prove easy or uncontroversial, needless to say. The following essays represent an initial salvo on behalf of that revolutionary cause, as it were:

  • On Whales and Creationism” discusses recent findings from the paleontological record which contradict the fundamentalist position.
  • On Racial Memory” is a case study documenting fundamental flaws in the Neo-Darwinian theory of evolution.
  • Viva Lamarck” offers an historical overview of Lamarckian theories of evolution.