Over at the blog Uncommon Descent, there is an interesting discussion revolving around the views of Eugene Koonin who dethrones natural selection as the central mechanism of evolution. I’ve discussed the implications of these views here and here.
Allen MacNeill, a biologist from Cornell University, summarized Koonin’s arguments as follows:
In other words, the evolving evolutionary synthesis of the 21st century is de-emphasizing adaptation.
Indeed. But by de-emphasizing adaptation, we are de-emphasizing the reach of the designer-mimic. Recall that I have argued the reason Darwin mistakenly insisted on strict gradualism is that only then would the reach of the designer-mimic be omnipresent. If the designer-mimic is continually shoved off to the sidelines, then the appearance of design will become more and more of an enigma for non-teleologists.
MacNeill also wrote:
But the emerging picture of the genome (and the phenome for which it is at least partially responsible) is that, rather than being a coherent, homeostatic, apparently “rationally designed” entity, it is a frothing ocean of randomly varying nonsensical and furiously selfish genetic entities, none of which give a tinker’s dam about the phenome.
Here we are deep into the land of Rabbits and Ducks. “The emerging picture” is a perception and perceptions are not observations. While MacNeill himself may see a frothing ocean of randomly varying nonsensical and furiously selfish genetic entities, none of which give a tinker’s dam about the phenome, the same picture can just as easily be viewed as a coherent, homeostatic, rationally designed dynamic. Consider the multiple essays I have posted over the last few weeks about the “selfish genetic entity” known as the Alu element. The emerging picture is that of an astoundingly ingenious way to reformat genomes to facilitate and nudge the evolution of the human brain! And we’re just beginning to scratch the surface.