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Darwin-L Message Log 5:102 (January 1994)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.


<5:102>From john.wilkins1@udev.monash.edu.au  Tue Jan 18 20:41:38 1994

Date: Wed, 19 Jan 1994 13:34:43 +1000
From: John Wilkins <john.wilkins1@udev.monash.edu.au>
Subject: Re: Developmentalism Biblio
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Reply to: RE>>Developmentalism Bibliog

WRT Developmentalism recidivus: are we then approaching a "developmental unit
is the unit of selection" view? If genes organised into codons expressed in
an epigenetic environment interacting in an ecology are the essential
entities in evolution, then the developmental unit is just the interface
between interactor and replicator entities. That is, in Lewontin's terms, the
developmental unit represents the set of transformation rules from epigenetic
space to ecological space for any given species/organism.

If this is so, what does that mean for the "selection [and drift, et ceteris
paribus] is all that causes evolution" orthodoxy? I cannot see that it much
affects it.

I'm still a bit lost in "possibility space" constraints, but why should the
direction of an earlier selection event affect the direction of a future
selection event? To be sure, it may make for a wider turning circle if the
microstates available to a given species or deme are not totally free, but it
does not guarantee that longer term directional trends will ("must") emerge,
nor that selection is no longer the most important process in evolution, as
Brooks and Wiley say.

Thanks to both bibliography posters. I was aware of some items, but they are
invaluable for my own work.

John Wilkins - Manager, Publishing, Monash University,
Wellington Road, Clayton, Victoria 3168 [Melbourne] Australia
Internet: john.wilkins@udev.monash.edu.au
Tel: (+613) 905 6009; fax: 905 6029
====Monash neither knows, nor approves, of what I say====

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