Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Richard Dawkins opposes to the idea that randomness is an important part of evolution. He has eventually, after many years of critique from Larry Moran and others, accepted that there are neutral mutations, but he does not accept that they are of any use for evolution, just for genetic research. He sees evolution as predictable, which is a kind of teleology. Thereby his standpoint could be compared to those of his enemies, Intelligent Design followers like Michael Behe, creationists and Lynn Margulis. For Margulis the creation of novelty was about Lamackism, partly epigenetics and partly symbiogenesis. She held that the bacteria which according to her are the source of novelty in eukaryotes are intelligent. They together constitute a big intelligent network. This intelligence is partly used to create novelties, partly to control the status of the Earth surface. She cooperated with James Lovelock on this theory.

According to the blog "THE EVOLUTION LIST" Dawkins is not the only adaptationist that holds teleology as part of his philosophy:

One of the bedrock assumptions underlying both modern physics and modern biology is non-teleology: the assumption that natural processes do not include any teleological input. I personally think that this is wrong, and base my objection to this idea on Ernst Mayr's monumental book, Toward a New Philosophy of Biology, published in 1988. Mayr argued very persuasively that teleological explanations are entirely appropriate in biology insofar as they refer to the development and maintenance of living organisms. According to Mayr, both of these processes (and indeed all biological processes) are directed by programs (i.e. genomes, etc.) that pre-exist the entities and processes that they specify and regulate. In the jargon of the current debate, genomes and other developmental programs are "designs" for the assembly and operation of living organisms.

In this case the author, who is apparently himself a teleologist, holds that Ernst Mayr was one. There is an introduction to this post here.

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