“And then a miracle occurs” — weak links in the chain of argument from punctuation to hierarchy

Biology and Philosophy 3 (1):3-28 (1988)
Weak links, in the form of inadequacies in both reasoning and supporting evidence, exist at several critical steps in the derivation of an hierarchical concept of evolution from punctuated equilibria. Punctuation itself is predicated on a distorted reading of phyletic change as phyletic gradualism, and of allopatric speciation as the instantaneous formation of unchanging typological taxa. The concept of punctuation is further confounded by the indescriminate employment of the same term to denote both a causal explanation for evolutionary change and an outcome of substantiated evolutionary processes. Even when the intended usage for the term is specified, each denotation of punctuation entails respective drawbacks. As a causal explanation, punctuation clearly belongs to the class of quantum theories with all their attendant impedimenta, including special salsatory non-adaptive mechanisms of evolutionary change. Redefinition of punctuation as a pattern of morphologic change reduces it to one possible outcome of known microevolutioanry processes, thus obviating any need for an hierarchical explanation of macroevolution. While vacillation between usages has preserved the term in the literature, the end result of this obfuscation has been a circle of faulty reasoning in which the pattern of punctuation is invoked as its own proof. Widespread confusion concerning what constitutes an adequate test of punctuation is directly attributable to imprecision in both the original and revised formulations of the concept.The argument for species-level selection is based on the typological and philosphically flawed premise of species as individuals, and further requires the hypothesis of heritable emergent properties, for which empirical evidence is lacking.
Keywords Punctuated equilibria theory  hierarchy  synthetic theory
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/BF00127626
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 28,829
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Are Species Really Individuals?David Hull - 1976 - Systematic Zoology 25:174-91.

View all 10 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

32 ( #162,434 of 2,178,180 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #166,021 of 2,178,180 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums