The Evolution of Form and Pattern

According to the neo-Darwinist theory of evolution, biological form, like all properties of organisms, arises through natural selection. Those forms that give an advantage persist; those that do not are eliminated. Eventually, therefore, organisms possess only useful forms, and we explain why a form exists by giving an account of how it is useful.  The  trouble with this argument is that it does not tell us where the forms came from in the first place. We need to know not  only what was selected but also what the choice was, what it was selected from. Neo-Darwinists, however, insist that all  traits of organisms arise through the selection of large numbers of variations that are small but otherwise random. Nothing can or need be said about their origin, and traits are thus created, not just preserved, by natural selection. In  fact, form in biology is created in much the same way as it is in the inanimate world; therefore, it is also to be explained in much the same way. Natural selection gives biology a distinctive character but does not, as so many seem to think, set it  apart from the rest of science.

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