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Evolution: On the Origin of Species by means other than Natural Selection.

This book examines Natural Selection and other natural processes of evolution.

Topics covered –

  • The origins of Natural Selection
  • Darwin and Wallace, their differences over Natural Selection
  • The Eclipse of Natural Selection: Mivart, Butler and Kropotkin
  • From Survival of the Fittest to the concept of Fitness
  • The Philosophical Problems of Natural Selection
  • Scientific Alternatives to Natural Selection
  • Genetic Exchange and Symbiogenesis
  • Looking beyond the Gene
  • Teleology and Anthropromorhic Language in Evolutionary Theory
  • Evolutionary Pluralism

In one respect this work has been a failure. The original ambition was to provide natural selection with a definition that was clear and precise thus avoiding many of the controversies, paradoxes and problems that have afflicted evolutionary theory. This has proved elusive. The main problem is that if one tightens the definition of natural selection then one loses a great deal of explanatory power. On the other hand if one generalises the definition then one has the spectre of tautology, untestability, vacuity with natural selection looking synonymous with evolution. And yet, all is not lost. There is a solution to the dilemma and in this respect the thesis has not been a failure. Rather than attempt to solve every biological question with adaptive reasoning it has proved invaluable to accept that other explanations are available to the biologist. The term to be employed for this is Evolutionary Pluralism. As the term suggests there are many underlying naturalistic processes that can explain why evolution occurs. These will be explored and argued for. Furthermore, it will be demonstrated that this approach is easy to articulate and follow in principle, avoiding many of the controversies and problems that emanate from the application of natural selection. 
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