Darwin-L Message Log 5:84 (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.

<5:84>From ronald@uhunix.uhcc.Hawaii.Edu  Sat Jan 15 21:11:10 1994

Date: Sat, 15 Jan 94 17:14:24 HST
From: Ron Amundson <ronald@uhunix.uhcc.Hawaii.Edu>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Biblio on developmentalist critiques of neoDarwinism

                          ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY

                  Developmental Critiques of NeoDarwinism

I'll start with something everyone has presumably already read:

     Gould, S. J., and R. C. Lewontin (1979), "The Spandrels of
     San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm: A Critique of the
     Adaptationist Programme",  Proceedings of the Royal Society
     of London B205: 581-598.

This is somewhere between the most important paper of the past 50
years, or a miserable batch of hogwash -- both opinions have been
expressed.  I'm on the favorable side.  But the paper has been a
decidedly mixed blessing for developmentalism.  It mentioned so
many alternatives to "adaptationism" that developmentalism got
lost in the shuffle.  In this way it contributed to the
unfortunate tendency noted in my previous post of considering the
issue merely one of the degree of adaptive perfection.  A better
Gould paper on the developmental alternative is:

     Gould, S. J. (1980), "The Evolutionary Biology of
     Constraint", Daedalus 109: 39-52.

The general philosophical disinterest in developmentalist
approaches can be seen from the papers in Dupre 1987; most of the
factors invoked in the Spandrels paper were discussed, with the
exception of developmentalism.

     Dupre, J., (1987), The Latest on the Best: Essays on
     Evolution and Optimality.  Cambridge MA:  MIT Press.

Now let me get a couple of developmentalist but abstract
approaches on the table; the current hot topic along the Brooks
and Wiley line is Kauffman:

     Kauffman, Stuart A., (1993), Origins of Order.  Oxford,
     Oxford University Press.

     Kauffman, S., (1983), "Developmental Constraints:  Internal
     Factors in Evolution", in B. Goodwin, N. Holder, and C.C.
     Wylie (eds.), Development and Evolution, p. l95-225.
     Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

See also:

     Bechtel, W. (ed.) (1986), Integrating Scientific
     Disciplines.  Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.

Bechtel has a nice section on development and evolution, though
the cases are of this abstract (i.e. non-nuts and bolts) type.
Kauffmann, William Wimsatt, and Bruce Wallace (see below) have
papers, with a commentary on the trio of papers from Richard
Burian.  (Sorry I've lost the titles of some of the papers.)

Next, some work on the history of the relation between the
Synthesis and embryology.  The best introduction is:

     Hamburger, V. (1980), "Embryology and the Modern Synthesis
     in Evolutionary theory", in Mayr and Provine, (1980), The
     Evolutionary Synthesis.  Cambridge: Harvard University

But cf.:

     Wallace, B. (1986), "Can Embryologists Contribute to an
     Understanding fo Evolutionary Mechanisms?" in Bechtel, op.

Mayr himself in (1980) takes a somewhat different view from
Hamburger.  Comparing Wallace with Hamburger (the target of
Wallace's criticism) is a wonderful demonstration of the contrast
of explanatory interests between developmentalism and
neoDarwinism.  Hamburger says the Synthesis treats development as
a "black box."  Wallace responds (in effect) that development
_deserves_ to be put in a black box.

For arguments that a new Developmental or Embryological Synthesis
is needed to unify embryology and neoDarwinism:

     Horder, T.J., (1989), "Syllabus for an Embryological
     Synthesis," in D. B. Wake, and G. Roth, eds., Complex
     Organismal Functions:  Integration and Evolution in
     Vertebrates, Chichester, John Wiley and Sons.

     Gilbert, S. F., (1991), Developmental Biology, Third
     Edition, Chap. 23.  Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, Inc.

Gilbert is a generally excellent text.  It's hard for me to
imagine someone reading Gilbert and continuing to believe that
evolution is the sorting of alleles.

The canonical discussion of developmental constraints is:

     Maynard Smith, J., R. Burian, S. Kauffman, P. Alberch, J.
     Campbell, B. Goodwin, R. Lande, D. Raup, and L. Wolpert
     (1985)  "Developmental Constraints and Evolution",  The
     Quarterly Review of Biology 60: 265-287.

This is an excellent introduction to the topic, but it's far too
congenial and cooperative for my tastes.  Not all of the
"constraints" discussed are developmental, and it's hard to see
from this paper why the issue of constraints is still such a hot
one.  Burian does make one of the very few contributions from
philosophers to this issue, however.  But the best philosophical
contribution to date is:

     Smith, Kelly C. (1992), "Neo-Rationalism versus Neo-
     Darwinism: Integrating Development and Evolution", Biology
     and Philosophy 7, 431-451.

Smith (a Darwin-L reader, natch) distinguishes "process
structuralists" (the radicals who want to throw neoDarwinism
out) from "general structuralists," (advocates, I suppose, of a
new Synthesis).  Most of his discussion is of the process
structuralists.  This is a somewhat odd approach since so few
philosophers are familiar with _any_ kind of structuralist.  But
along the way, many of the grounds for developmentalist criticism
of neoDarwinism get discussed.  For examples of the radicals (I
think both of the following would both be considered process

     Goodwin, B. C., (1984), "Changing from an Evolutionary to a
     Generative Paradigm in Biology", in J. W. Pollard (ed.),
     Evolutionary Theory.  New York: John Wiley and Sons.

     Lovtrup, S. (1987), Darwinism: The Refutation of a Myth.
     London: Croom Helm.  [Is Lovtrup a process stucturalist,
     Kelly?  He's certainly a radical.]

Finally, I'll end up with a simple reading list of
developmentalist literature to browse.

     Bonner, J. T. (ed.) (1982), Evolution and Development. New
     York: Springer-Verlag.  See esp. Pere Alberch,"Developmental
     Constraints in Evolutionary  Processes",

     Goodwin, B. C., N. Holder, and C.C. Wylie, (1983),
     Development and Evolution.  Cambridge: Cambridge University

     Holder, N. (1983), "Developmental Constraints and the
     Evolution of Vertebrate Digit Patterns", Journal of
     Theoretical Biology 104, 451-471.

     Rachootin, S. P., and K. S. Thomson (1981), "Epigenetics,
     paleontology, and evolution" in G. G. E. Scudder and J. L.
     Reveal, eds., Evolution Today. Pittsburg, PA: Hunt
     Institute.  [An especially entertaining and wide-ranging
     read, but hard to locate.]

     Shubin, N.H., and Alberch, P. (1986), "A Morphological
     Approach to the Origin and Basic Organization of the
     Tetrapod Limb", Evolutionary Biology 20: 319-387.

     Stearns, S.C. (1986), "Natural selection and fitness,
     adaptation and constraint", in D.M. Raup and D. Jablonski
     (eds.), Patterns and Processes in the History of Life.
     Berlin: Springer-Verlag.

     Thomson, K. S. (1988), Morphogenesis and Evolution.  New
     York: Oxford University Press.

     Wagner, G.P., (1988),"The Influence of Variation and of
     Developmental Constraints on the Rate of Multivariate
     Phenotypic Evolution", Journal of Evolutionary Biology 1:

Your Amazon purchases help support this website. Thank you!

© RJO 1995–2022