Are punctuationists wrong about the modern synthesis?

Philosophy of Science 52 (1):98-109 (1985)
A common criticism of punctuated equilibria as an evolutionary theory is that it erects a straw man by characterizing the modern synthesis as being devoid of mechanisms that bring about rapid speciation and abrupt changes in morphology. Thompson supports this view and argues that the modern synthesis does not entail gradualism, all-pervasive adaptationism, or extrapolationism and that punctuationists have mischaracterized the theory on all these points; properly understood the synthetic theory is hierarchical and able to explain phenomena at all levels of the hierarchy, thus rendering macroevolutionary theories, such as punctuated equilibria, unnecessary. I argue in this paper that Thompson's approach is overly dependent upon rational reconstruction in the style of the logical empiricists, and as such ignores important sociological and historical factors that when taken into account justify punctuational criticism of the synthetic theory
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DOI 10.1086/289224
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