Creation vs. Evolution II
by Ross L., Creation vs. Evolution II Team Member
As you would expect with a field of scientific inquiry, much has been discovered since the time of Darwin. In particular, current knowledge of genetics has been applied to evolution. Consequently, the theory of evolution has been modified and augmented. These new changes are referred to as Neo-Darwinism. An even newer term that supercedes Neo-Darwinism has been coined by D. J. Futuyma to cover the current ideas on evolution -- Modern Synthesis. According to Futuyma, evolution takes place through several processes: random mutation and recombination, random genetic drift, gene flow, and natural selection. These changes will, over time, lead to higher taxonomic levels (genera, families, etc.) (Futuyma, D.J. in Evolutionary Biology, Sinauer Associates, 1986; p.12 .)
For a fuller explanation of Modern Synthesis and Neo-Darwinism, see the article, The Modern Synthesis of Genetics and Evolution by Laurence Moran. His main points are summarized here.
There are three important differences between Modern Synthesis and Darwinism.
- Several mechanisms of evolution are recognized in addition to natural selection, including random genetic drift.
- Characteristics are inherited as discrete entities called genes. Variation within a population is due to the presence of multiple alleles of a gene.
- Speculation is (usually) due to the gradual accumulation of small genetic changes. This is equivalent to saying that macroevolution is simply a lot of microevolution.
Another good reference to check on this subject is Polymorphism and the History of Evolutionary Theory.
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