By Kim Sterelny
Technological know-how has noticeable its justifiable share of punch-ups through the years, yet one debate, within the box of biology, has develop into infamous for its depth. over the past 20 years, Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould have engaged in a savage conflict over evolution that indicates no signal of waning.
Dawkins, writer of The egocentric Gene and The Blind Watchmaker, conceives of evolution as a fight among gene lineages; Gould, who wrote marvelous lifestyles and Rocks of a long time, sees it as a fight among organisms. For Dawkins, the foundations of evolutionary biology observe simply to boot to people as they do to all residing creatures; for Gould, even though, this sociobiology is not only ill-motivated yet unsuitable, and unsafe.
Dawkins’ perspectives were caricatured, and the fellow painted as a crazed reductionist, shrinking the entire type and complexity of existence all the way down to a fight for lifestyles among blind and egocentric genes. Gould, too, has been falsely represented by way of creationists as rejecting the basic rules of Darwinism itself.
Kim Sterelny strikes past cartoon to show the true adjustments among the conceptions of evolution of those top scientists. He exhibits that the clash extends past evolution to their very ideals in technology itself; and, in Gould’s case, to domain names during which technological know-how performs no function in any respect.
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Extra resources for Dawkins Vs. Gould: Survival of the Fittest (Revolutions in Science)
He does so precisely because such systems are highly improbable, and hence can be explained only by natural selection. These books focus on clear cases. On these, he and Gould are in agreement. There are, however, important disagreements. One is over the relative role of selection and variation. Selec tion acts only on variation generated in a lineage. The developmental biology of a lineage determines the range of variation. That developmental biology is the result of that lineage's evolutionary history.
In other words, in Gould's mind, gene selection presupposes something like genetic detenninism. We have to be a little careful in talking about genetic determin ism, for no one has ever imagined a gene could make an eye all by itself. Rather, Gould and his allies think that Dawkins is committed to the idea that there is a stable and simple relation between a particular gene and the characteristics of the organism it is in. So, to revert to our rabbits, if there were a specific rabbit gene that always, or almost always, caused a rabbit to be resistant to myxomatosis, then we could say that that gene is a unit of selection, and that it has replicated vigorously in Australia because it makes rabbits myxomatosis resistant.
In all of these cases, alterations in the host are due to 39 the adaptive effects of parasite genes. A less brutal example of an extended phenotype is house construction by caddis fly larvae. These larvae typically live on the bottom of streams, and glue together an assortment of debris to form a house in which to live. These houses protect the caddis fly larvae in the same way that a clam shell protects its occupant. But the caddis house is not part of a caddis fly body. It is not part of the organism itself.
Dawkins Vs. Gould: Survival of the Fittest (Revolutions in Science) by Kim Sterelny