Neues von Stephen Jay Gould

Gould ist einer der bekanntesten Autoren zu naturgeschichtlichen Themen und ein wichtiger Proponent in der evolutionstheoretischen Debatte. Nun hat er mit „The Structure of Evolutionary Theorie“ (1400 Seiten!) offenbar sein opus magnus vorgelegt.

In der New York Times hat sich sein Gegner Mark Ridley dieser Neuerscheinung angenommen:

The centerpiece of Gould’s system is the theory of punctuated equilibrium, published in 1972 by him and Niles Eldredge. In the history of life, new species often appear suddenly and then persist with little change until they go extinct. The sudden origin of species may reflect the incompleteness of the fossil record, but Gould suggests the pattern is real — evolution is fast while new species originate, and then slows down. He may be right, and his vast new book, “The Structure of Evolutionary Theory,“ includes a chapter on this matter that is as long as most books, and it has an extensive, if selective, review of the evidence. […]

But again, I do not see that species selection follows from either punctuated equilibrium or the individuality of species. Sexual species will take over from clonal species, whether they originate suddenly or gradually, and whether each species is a class or an individual. Gould argues that punctuated equilibrium means that species are individuals and that the individuality of species enables species selection to operate. I have no problem with the three factual claims — of punctuated equilibrium, of the individuality of species, and of species selection. But I do not agree that the three are linked causally or conceptually. If they are not, Gould’s system does not work. Orthodox Darwinism may have problems, but punctuated equilibrium is not one of them.


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