jrg13 at psu.edu
Wed Sep 16 15:38:33 EDT 1998
Alex Netherton notes Darwin' s intrest in Lamark, as well as natural
selection., but there are
altogether three elements to Darwin's philosophy of mechanism. The third,
(at least those who write the textbooks and promote evolution against
creationism) generally ignore,
is Darwin's support for "laws of growth" which Darwin himself belatedly
recongized might be more important than natural selection. Laws of growth
Haacke's 1893 concept of orthogenesis, a term and concept grossly
misconstrued by selectionists
such as Simpson, Mayr, and Gould, who claimed that it referred only to some
kind of teleological or straight line process.
In consideration of organic evolution, the sole consideration of natural
selection at the expense of other mechanisms is certainly non-darwinian.
While lamarkian evolution appears to have found
very little, if any, corroboration from genetics, orthogenesis/laws of
growth has in the form of concerted evolution and mechanisms such as biased
gene conversion. These mechanisms, proposed by molecular geneticists change
the whole concept of mutation from as "random" to oriented process (i.e.
there may be a bias in the mutation process in consequence of current
As such it is quite possible from a molecular genetic context, to consider
that much, if not the
primary content, of novelty in evolution has arisen without requiring or
involving natural selection
as a driving force. This is really what must be considered (as my opinion
only) in debating
whether selection did or did not play a role in "forcing" some hapless
The concept of orthogenesis in its broadest context (i.e. to encompass the
historical development of concepts behind the term) provides the
interesting possiblity that in terms of structural origin, the wing of a
butterfly, and the leaf of a tree, may have more in common than just a
similarity (and I don't mean 'just' in a derogatory sense as poets can and
do have insightful
contributions to make about the nature of the real world).
Insects can certainly take one to strange places.
Sincerely, John Grehan
More information about the Leps-l