1. ESRC Genomics Network (archive)
  2. Gengage
  3. The Human Genre Project

Egenis · News

Debating Darwinism

06.09.2011

Introduction

Experts gather at the Linnaen Society to discuss evolution.

Story

Egenis director Professor John Dupré joined renowned zoologist Sir Patrick Bateson, among other speakers, for a discussion of ‘The Role of Behaviour in Evolution’ at the Linnaen Society in London.

The one-day meeting, which was sponsored by the Royal Entomological Society, the British Ecological Society and the Natural History Museum as well as the Linnaen Society, aimed “to reignite and reinvigorate the debate in light of current developments in the philosophy of science and of evolutionary biology”.

Prof Dupré spoke on ‘The Role of Behaviour in the Recurrence of Biological Processes’. Sir Patrick’s talk was titled ‘Adaptability and the Active Role of Behaviour in Evolution’, and other speakers included Dr Peter Corning of the Institute for the Study of Complex Systems, Professor Denis Walsh of the University of Toronto and Professor Gregory Grether of UCLA.

The Linnaen Society points out that while in scientific circles “the triumph of the Darwinian method” is generally accepted, in the wider world some 80 per cent of the world’s population have religious beliefs based on a non‐material afterlife, and/or reincarnation, and may not accept Darwinism.

“In recent years, following the rise of the Young Earth creationism and Intelligent Design movements, there has been a backlash from evolutionary biologists in the Neo‐Darwinist tradition emphasising a view that evolution is driven by random genetic changes, “the Linnaen Society says of this event. “But for most non‐scientists, the idea that complex adaptations, such as the vertebrate eye, are simple the product of chance upon chance seems incomprehensible. Thus the battle‐line between those who insist that the creation is the product of a purposive spirit versus those who insist that organic diversity is simply the working‐out of a purely material universe is drawn, and seem never to be bridged.”

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