EVOLUTION: On the Origin of Species means other than Natural Selection by Colin Beckley

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EVOLUTION: On the Origin of Species  by  means other than Natural Selection by Colin Beckley

EVOLUTION: On the Origin of Species by means other than Natural Selection by Colin Beckley
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This work actually began in 1977 when I attended lectures on logic and encountered Karl Poppers criticism of the theory of natural selection. I endeavoured to formulate natural selection in a manner that avoided a tautology and spent many years ofMoreThis work actually began in 1977 when I attended lectures on logic and encountered Karl Poppers criticism of the theory of natural selection.

I endeavoured to formulate natural selection in a manner that avoided a tautology and spent many years of conversation and letters with colleagues. In 2006 I was invited by the Philosophy Department at Oxford Brookes to begin a PhD, I accepted and choose to write on the subject of natural selection. It was not a popular choice with my peers but with support from colleagues in the Biology Department all came around to the problems I set out to answer.Unfortunately, the more I researched the scientific and philosophical the more problems I discovered with natural selection.

Many of which I discovered were discussed widely in Victorian times and are still discussed today, remaining unresolved. Moreover, my initial idea to present natural selection as a tautological – free process soon stumbled as I realised modern biologists recognised many causes to evolutionary change. No longer it seems can one look just to accumulated beneficial mutations but now one must consider many other factors, such as, epigenetics, development, hybridisation, symbiogenesis and lateral gene transfer, to name but a few. How then does natural selection fit with all these different natural processes that produce viable evolutionary change and diversity of life?To answer this question one requires a clear idea of natural selection and its boundaries, but unfortunately there is no such formal scientific definition.

At least that meets any consensus. Instead there are many variants and a proliferation of terms tagged with the word ‘selection’. These terms seemingly can cover every biological phenomenon one cares to think of. The situation is more than an undesirable ambiguity, I have called it anomalous. By this I take the definition of anomalous to be ‘of uncertain nature or classification, inconsistent with or deviating from what is usual, normal, or expected: irregular, unusual, and marked by incongruity or contradiction: paradoxical’.Despite this anomalous situation I argue that improvements are possible, a clearer less problematic natural selection can emerge.

Even if this was not possible and biologists or philosophers fail to create a formal definition of natural selection with consensus then all is still not lost. Natural selection is not ‘the only game in town’ and biologists have at their disposal knowledge of many empirically verified natural processes that cause evolution.

These can be perceived to be independent of natural selection.



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