Posted by Jessica Abbott
It's my turn to choose the topic for our next lab meeting, and this time I thought we'd discuss a paper that's rather different than the ones we've had so far this fall. It's called Increasingly radical claims about heredity and fitness, and is published in the journal Philosophy of Science. As you might guess, this paper is more about ideas than empirical research, so I hope it will generate some interesting discussion. It questions a lot of the assumptions we make as evolutionary biologists, so I'd like everyone to think about whether you agree with the arguments the author makes, and if not, then why not.
October 9th at 10:30 in Argumentet
On the classical account of evolution by natural selection (ENS) found
in Lewontin and many subsequent authors, ENS is conceived as involving
three key ingredients: phenotypic variation, fitness differences, and
heredity. Through the analysis of three problem cases involving
heredity, I argue that the classical conception is substantially flawed,
showing that heredity is not required for selection. I consider further
problems with the classical account of ENS arising from conflations
between three distinct senses of the central concept of ‘fitness’ and
offer an alternative to the classical conception of ENS involving the
interaction of distinct evolutionary mechanisms.