Ijust heard someone pose this question the other day,and I wondered what other if this question has occurred to other people.
"What if Dawwin had known about DNA?"
Though it's not a new question,It was novel to me.
Anyway,I thought it'd make a nice scientific diversion away from all the "drama" going on around here!...
So,here it is,for your perusal!
"What if Darwin had known the new biology?"http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/view/what_if_darwin_had_known_the_new_biology/
....."He surely would have agreed that 'information', not natural selection, is the real push in evolution.
When Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species was published 150 years ago it was a response to the biggest problem posed at that time by natural history.
His interpretation of a series of observations in nature supported the evolutionary origin of living beings, and this situated the evolutionary
process in the perspective of "cause and effect". Like all scientific theories, it implied a vision of the world and man -- something we will come
back to later.
Natural selection is not everything in evolution
To Darwin, random changes occurring in some individuals within a population (variation) allowed them to choose (natural selection) the most suitable
environment in which to live longer and thus leave more descendants. The idea of natural selection in the evolutionary process is clever and accurate;
scientists recognise that it has been directing adaptation over thousands of generations -- we might say, improving the species. However, natural
selection by itself is not a sufficient explanation of evolution.
Natural selection is even less able to explain the emergence of the human family. Darwin’s gaze was interdisciplinary: geological, zoological and
botanical. But, due to his personal dispositions, he missed looking at man beyond the zoological sphere.
If Darwin had known the new biology, with its understanding of vital phenomena as an expression of dynamic processes of information; if he had known
about the dynamics of development through which a multicellular organism develops from a single-cell stage, and could read the genomes of Homo sapiens
and the chimpanzee, surely he would have extended the idea of variation and selection as we do today. He would have gone beyond what amounts to a
Darwin’s mechanistic idea of living realities
Biology has been, until very recently, static and deterministic, because life sciences have carried with them the mechanistic paradigm of physics from
which they were born. The great insight of Darwin fell within this conceptual framework. His approach is well understood: a) an agent causes a change
(material cause) in the materials of life -- that is, in DNA, the genotype, where genetic information is being carried; b) this agent changes genetic
information and consequently the phenotype (formal cause); c) the agent causing DNA changes would not affect the efficiency of these individuals
themselves, nor would it cause by itself an evolutive progress; on the contrary, the efficient cause is natural selection as a function of change in
environment; d) and, reasonably from that perspective, the evolutionary process could not have another direction (final cause) than that marked by
“the blowing wind”, as Darwin put it.
improved stage could be reached. Natural selection improves existing beings gradually, but it would not cause complex innovations to appear.
...:"Importantly, Darwin does not explain the fact that the complex is preceded in time by the simple. Something must be added to natural selection
so that a significantly improved stage could be reached.
Importantly, Darwin does not explain the fact that the complex is preceded in time by the simple. Something must be added to natural selection so that
From the tenets of his theory on evolution Darwin realized that he could not resolve the question of the direction towards complex improvements: how a
new organ appears, or how more complex functions become added to an existing organ, or how a design unit is an integrating part of a living being.
Darwin launched upon the world, so to speak, the challenge of applying his theory to the complexity of an eye, determined by nature in very different
models, but all of them effective for seeing. In The Origin of Species he wrote: "if it can be demonstrated that there has been a complex organ that
could not have been formed by numerous successive slight modifications, my theory would fail completely.".....
(If this thread is moved to a more appropriate location,I say "Thanks" in advance!)