The holus-bolus of Dobzhansky and Craddock

An extract from "Genes, Cells and Brains" by Hilary & Steven Rose

Meanwhile the synthesis of genetics and evolutionary theory was proving increasingly powerful, summed up by the population geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky in 1950 as ‘nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution’. From then on, and with increasing certainty following the discovery of the role of DNA as the genetic material, the triumph of neo-Darwinism seemed assured. Yet there are still major controversies over the processes of evolution and the mechanisms of speciation. Even the most basic issues-  what it is that evolves, what adaptation is, and whether selection is the only motor of evolutionary change – remain in question. As we discussed in the last chapter however, these problems are almost entirely ignored both by molecular biologists and by those who wish to transfer the reductionist genetic ideas of the 1930s Modern Synthesis holus-bolus into twenty-first-century social sciences and humanities.

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