The beanbag genetics controversy: Towards a synthesis of opposing views of natural selection [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biology and Philosophy 12 (2):149-184 (1997)
The beanbag genetics controversy can be traced from the dispute between Fisher and Wright, through Mayr''s influential promotion of the issue, to the contemporary units of selection debate. It centers on the claim that genic models of natural selection break down in the face of epistatic interactions among genes during phenotypic development. This claim is explored from both a conceptual and a quantitative point of view, and is shown to be defective on both counts.Firstly, an analysis of the controversy''s theoretical origins demonstrates that this claim derives from a misinterpretation of the conceptual foundations of Fisher''s genetical theory of natural selection, and confounds his fundamentally different concepts of the average excess and average effect of a gene. Secondly, an extension of the genic approach is proposed which models the dynamics of selection among epistatically interacting complexes of many genes. Paradoxically, this preliminary, but fundamentally genic model provides quantitative support for some controversial qualitative claims regarding the evolutionary consequences of strong gene interactions made by opponents of genic selectionism, including Mayr''s theory of peripartric speciation. These findings foster hope that the proposed approach may eventually nudge the beanbag controversy out of its conceptual trenches into a more empirically oriented dialogue.
|Keywords||natural selection beanbag genetics genic selectionism gene-interactionism epistasis multilocus selection adaptive landscape peripatric speciation|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Veena Rao & Vidyanand Nanjundiah (2011). J. B. S. Haldane, Ernst Mayr and the Beanbag Genetics Dispute. Journal of the History of Biology 44 (2):233 - 281.
Similar books and articles
Sandra D. Mitchell (1987). Competing Units of Selection?: A Case of Symbiosis. Philosophy of Science 54 (3):351-367.
Pablo Razeto-Barry & Ramiro Frick (2011). Probabilistic Causation and the Explanatory Role of Natural Selection. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 42 (3):344-355.
Richard Burian (2010). Selection Does Not Operate Primarily on Genes. In Francisco José Ayala & Robert Arp (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Biology. Wiley-Blackwell Pub..
Margaret Morrison (2004). Population Genetics and Population Thinking: Mathematics and the Role of the Individual. Philosophy of Science 71 (5):1189-1200.
Michael J. Wade, Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther, Aneil F. Agrawal & Charles J. Goodnight (2001). Alternative Definitions of Epistasis: Dependence and Interaction. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 16 (9):498-504.
Timothy Shanahan (1990). Evolution, Phenotypic Selection, and the Units of Selection. Philosophy of Science 57 (2):210-225.
Robert N. Brandon & H. Frederik Nijhout (2006). The Empirical Nonequivalence of Genic and Genotypic Models of Selection: A (Decisive) Refutation of Genic Selectionism and Pluralistic Genic Selectionism. Philosophy of Science 73 (3):277-297.
Elisabeth A. Lloyd (2005). Why the Gene Will Not Return. Philosophy of Science 72 (2):287-310.
Raphael Falk (1990). Between Beanbag Genetics and Natural Selection. Biology and Philosophy 5 (3):313-325.
Elliott Sober & Richard C. Lewontin (1982). Artifact, Cause and Genic Selection. Philosophy of Science 49 (2):157-180.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads8 ( #160,006 of 1,096,449 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #231,754 of 1,096,449 )
How can I increase my downloads?