James Shapiro Article and Evolution

Fri, 11 Sep 1998 07:03:46 EDT

In a message dated Keith Miller wrote:

<<Evolutionary theory is now so complex and
involves so many areas of investigation that few individuals (certainly not
me) can claim to be thoroughly aquainted with more than a narrow


Hasn't the time come to de-couple these "areas of investigation" from any
concept of evolution? Read Shapiro's article again, and I believe you will
find that the four areas he describes--genome organization,, cellular repair
capabilities, mobile genetic elements and natural genetic engineering, and
cellular information processing--can be studied quite successfully without any
reference to evolution. Shapiro does. When he does mention evolution it is
primarily to show its inadequacies.

Of course, the origins of various organic phenomena is important. I would
suggest that an umbrella discipline would be set up, called something like
"Sources of Change in the Organic World." It would take up all of Shapiro's
four categories, as well as others, and ask: how did they come to exist? I
would hope that this discipline could start with a clean slate, and consider
how change comes about, without giving evolution a privileged position. The
first step would be purely descriptive and historical. The second would be an
effort to account for the historical development. Is that too much to ask?