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What’s Wrong with the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis? A Critical Reply to Welch (2017)

Tanghe, Koen B. and De Tiège, Alexis and Pauwels, Lieven and Blancke, Stefaan and Braeckman, Johan (2018) What’s Wrong with the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis? A Critical Reply to Welch (2017). [Preprint]

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Abstract

Welch (2017) has recently proposed two possible explanations for why the field of evolutionary biology is plagued by a steady stream of claims that it needs urgent reform. It is either seriously deficient and incapable of incorporating ideas that are new, relevant and plausible or it is not seriously deficient at all but is prone to attracting discontent and to the championing of ideas that are not very relevant, plausible and/or not really new. He argues for the second explanation. This paper presents a twofold critique of his analysis: firstly, the main calls for reform do not concern the field of evolutionary biology in general but rather, or more specifically, the modern evolutionary synthesis. Secondly, and most importantly, these calls are not only inspired by the factors, enumerated by Welch, but are also, and even primarily, motivated by four problematic characteristics of the modern synthesis. This point is illustrated through a short analysis of the latest reform challenge to the modern synthesis, the so-called extended evolutionary synthesis. We conclude with the suggestion that the modern synthesis should be amended, rather than replaced.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Tanghe, Koen B.kbt.ugent@gmail.com0000-0002-5090-4767
De Tiège, Alexis
Pauwels, Lieven
Blancke, Stefaan
Braeckman, Johan
Keywords: Modern evolutionary synthesis; extended evolutionary synthesis; genecentrism; Kuhn; Welch
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Depositing User: Dr. Koen B. Tanghe
Date Deposited: 23 May 2018 16:26
Last Modified: 23 May 2018 16:26
Item ID: 14703
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Date: 17 May 2018
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/14703

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