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What Darwin Got Wrong by Jerry Fodor

What Darwin Got Wrong

by Jerry Fodor

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Enough power in the mass of data that I decided to buy my own copy. That way I can mark it up.
  2wonderY | Nov 1, 2012 |
As already noted, if their concerns are taken seriously, correlated properties pose a general problem. For example, since human beings are smaller than Manhattan, the properties being-obese and being-obese-and-smaller-than-Manhattan are perfectly correlated in the human population.
If you’re scratching your head at this point, you’d be in the good company of just about anyone who has reviewed the book, biologists and philosophers alike. Biologists have long known about the problem posed by the possibility that selection may not act on a given trait, but on a correlated one. In the example above, selection to capture flies really means selection to capture anything that behaves sufficiently like a fly, regardless of its nutritional value. This is why hypotheses about natural selection are usually tested by means of functional analyses rooted in physiology, genetics and developmental biology, and why observations of selection in the field are whenever possible coupled with manipulative experiments that make it possible to distinguish between, say, flies and ‘dark spots moving in front of your tongue’ kinds of objects.
F&P's attempt to undermine evolutionary biology is a quixotic and misguided undertaking. Their claim to have nullified 150 years of science, and one of humanity's proudest intellectual achievements, with some verbal legerdemain, is not only breathtakingly arrogant but willfully ignorant of modern biology. In the end, F&P's contrarian efforts are all belied by the world of Richard Dawkins--the flourishing field of modern evolutionary biology, where natural selection remains the only explanation for the wondrous adaptive complexity of organisms.
added by jimroberts | editThe Nation, Jerry A. Coyne (May 22, 2010)
I suspect that when Farrar, Straus got the manuscript, the editors realized that if they cut out everything that didn't make sense, there wouldn't be much left. So they left everything in, hoping readers would mistake obscurity for intellectual depth.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374288798, Hardcover)

What Darwin Got Wrong is a remarkable book, one that dares to challenge the theory of natural selection as an explanation for how evolution works—a devastating critique not in the name of religion but in the name of good science.

Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini, a distinguished philosopher and a scientist working in tandem, reveal major flaws at the heart of Darwinian evolutionary theory. Combining the results of cutting-edge work in experimental biology with crystal-clear philosophical arguments, they mount a reasoned and convincing assault on the central tenets of Darwin’s account of the origin of species. The logic underlying natural selection is the survival of the fittest under changing environmental pressure. This logic, they argue, is mistaken, and they back up the claim with surprising evidence of what actually happens in nature. This is a rare achievement—a concise argument that is likely to make a great deal of difference to a very large subject. What Darwin Got Wrong will be controversial. The authors’ arguments will reverberate through the scientific world. At the very least they will transform the debate about evolution and move us beyond the false dilemma of being either for natural selection or against science.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:48 -0400)

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This book dares to challenge natural selection--not in the name of religion but in the name of good science. Most scientists are so terrified of religious attacks on the theory of evolution that it is never examined critically. There are significant scientific and philosophical problems with the theory of natural selection. Darwin claimed the factors that determine the course of evolution are very largely environmental. Empirical results in biology are increasingly calling this thesis into question. The authors show that Darwinism is committed to inferring, from the premise that a kind of creature with a certain trait was selected, the conclusion that that kind of creature was selected for having that trait. Though such inferences are fallacious, they are nevertheless unavoidable within the Darwinist framework. Ultimately, Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini level a devastating critique against Darwinist orthodoxy and suggest new ways of thinking about evolution.--From publisher description.… (more)

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