» » The material basis of evolution (Silliman milestones in science)

Download The material basis of evolution (Silliman milestones in science) epub

by Richard Benedict Goldschmidt

Download The material basis of evolution (Silliman milestones in science) epub
ISBN: 0300028229
ISBN13: 978-0300028225
Category: Science
Subcategory: Biological Sciences
Author: Richard Benedict Goldschmidt
Language: English
Publisher: Yale University Press (1982)
Pages: 436 pages
ePUB size: 1147 kb
FB2 size: 1907 kb
Rating: 4.3
Votes: 177
Other Formats: lit docx azw txt

This is the author's magnum opus, a scientific treatise wherein he critiques the classical Darwinian-Wallace theory of evolution and comes to the conclusion that it is faulty. Divided into two halves, Microevolution and Macroevolution, he postulates that Natural Selection can account for microevolution, so that the different subspecies that come into being are due to adaptation to the environment. Macroevolution, leading to new species, however, is due to major rearrangements of the genome. As a result, Goldschmidt became a heretic to neo-Darwinists. Nonetheless, many of his arguments are valid.
Richard Goldschmidt (1878-1958) was a German-born American geneticist, whose views on macroevolution were once considered heresy, but they have been resurrected in recent years (which is why the book has been reissued in a modern edition).

The problem is not "microevolution," but "macroevolution"---how larger-scale changes occur. "I may challenge the adherents of the strictly Darwinian view ... to try to explain the evolution of the following features by accumulation and selection of small mutants: hair in mammals, feathers in birds, segmentation of arthropods and vertebrates... etc." "I wonder if anybody would ever succeed in explaining the phylogeny of the auditory ossicles in this way."

Goldschmidt's proposal? "The decisive step in evolution ... requires another evolutionary method than that of sheer accumulation of micromutations." He suggests, "the possibility of a large departure in a single step is offered."

Thus, Goldschmidt writes, "I used the term 'hopeful monster' to express the idea that mutants producing monstrosities may have played a considerable role in macroevolution. A monstrosity appearing in a single genetic step might permit the occupation of a new environmental niche and thus produce a new type in one step." (And no, he does NOT claim that a reptile laid an egg, and a bird hatched out of it, as creationists sometimes misportray him.)

Stephen Jay Gould wrote an illuminating historical introduction to this edition, and states, "Goldschmidt ... had largely himself to blame for burying his gems so deeply in unacceptable and overextended claims. Indeed, he suffered the worst fate of all: to be ridiculed AND unread." He also notes that "Mivart's old argument about the inviability of 'incipient stages of useful structures' seems as sound as ever, and Goldschmidt fails to use it."

Goldschmidt's work deserves serious consideration by anyone interested in evolutionary theory, and this is an excellent edition to buy.