The popularity of belief in evolution became widespread within a decade after the 1859 publication of Origin of Species.
But the public did not believe in Darwin's evolution, which was too materialistic, haphazard and had no supernatural or teleological
force. Darwin himself remained fairly open on the mechanism of evolution. Darwin could allow a minor role
to Lamarckian inheritance. Darwin could admit an occasional new species that might arise rapidly. (Audi 1999,
Around 1900, Mendel's genetics became known. Darwin's opponents said genetics were incompatible with Darwin's "blending"
theory of "gemmules" from parents. But the Neo-Darwinians realized Mendel's genetics was compatible with Darwin.
The Neo-Darwinians attempted a single synthetic theory. (Audi 1999, 206)
1. Natural selection was emphasized as the most important factor in evolution.
2. Some other factors (small population, isolation) were admitted to affect evolution.
3. No new species could arise in a single generation.
4. Evolution is not directional or progressive in any sense.
The Neo-Darwinians had differences of opinion and never presented a united front.
Currently almost every aspect of the Neo-Darwinian paradigm is being challenged. (Audi 1999,206)
1. Opponents want a more important role for neutral change, since not every inferior species is eliminated and
95% of genes may not function at all.
2. On what level does evolution operate: genetic, organism, or species?
3. What developmental constraints affect the evolutionary process?
4. What enexpected elements can affect evolution, e.g., on the molecular level?
For active philosophical issues that are currently debated, you may use the following link to our sister Web Site
with an emphasis on a living philosophy: