The evidence for evolution is overwhelming. BUT, the mechanics are not solely, and probably not mainly Darwinian. (And certainly not NeoDarwinian). The field has been siezed by populists, whos belief systems masquerade as science. Richard Dawkins is the current example.
The problem is that the study of evolution is only partially open to the scientific method. It has much in common with history, spiced with population genetics. There are few facts and much interpretation. I specialised in Vertebrate Evolution at Cambride in the mid 1970’s. I can remember the sense of release (from the physcial sciences), because almost any theory could be justified by one’s interpretation of the evidence.
I remember the excitement of the publication of the Selfish Gene. I was an acolyte and saw this as advancing the truths of sociobiology.
But since then the accumulation of evidence has washed away the foundations of these ideas, but the establishment look the other way. This is shameful, and it isn’t science.
A couple of examples …
- Neodarwinism predicts gradual progressive change which does not lead to increasing complexity. Since the 1970’s there has been an enormous increase in fossil discovery, all of which evidences sudden emergence of new forms followed by millions of years of equilibrium. Further, that the direction of evolution has always been toward increased complexity.
- The whole premise of Darwinism is the “survival of the fittest”. That is that it is driven by competition. The gene pool alters (gradually, generation by generation) driven by the success in breeding or otherwise of the bodies for which they code. Darwin, that first populist, ridiculed Lamarck’s theory that the body affected the genes (giraffe stretches neck, genes altered to express this in next generation). Darwin also drove out the theories of Kropotkin and Meretchkovsky who believed that cooperation and mutual aid were important drivers of evolution. Now there are hectares of evidence both for Lamarckian and Kropotkian evolutionary mechanisms: indeed in all probability our human bodies comprise an agglomeration of different creatures -even our mitochondria and ghe maternally transmitted genes probably originated as bacteria.
Why do Dawkins et al still defend the outdated neodarwinian fallacy? Largely of course its to maintain their careers and material power and wealth. They founded a theory on conviction and have ignored these inconvenient truths.