Darwin's two hundred years: is not time for a change?

Ludus Vitalis 17 (32):87-99 (2009)
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Two hundred years after Darwin’s birth, the evolution of living systems is an accepted fact but there is scope for controversy on the mechanisms involved in such a process. Mainstream neo-Darwinism champions the role of natural selection (NS) as the fundamental cause of the evolutionary process as well as of random, contingent events at the genetic level as the main source of variation upon which NS performs its causal role. Thus, according to neo-Darwinism the course of biological evolution is quite unpredictable and the past can only be partially reconstructed by means of a historical narrative.This second-class status for biology within the natural sciences as a merely descriptive, historical science results from the chronic neglect of biological form in the neo-Darwinian discourse. Hereunder I discuss the need for reintroducing form as the central object of biology, aiming at the identification of the general and fundamental principles of biological form. Such a formal biology may go beyond simple historical description achieving a complete, rational explanation of how previous and current morphologies corresponding to identifiable species were established, and so providing a rational foundation for predicting the possible outcomes of future biological evolution on earth and perhaps elsewhere in the universe.
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