From macroevolution’s “independence proclamation” to the “act of independence”.
Keywords:Macroevolution, microevolution, Multi-level selection Theory, Symbiogenesis
J. Gould constantly argues against the Neodarwinian conception of macroevolution as a “reductionist and trivialized” perspective. Currently this conception is still prevalent; as can be noted on the conceptualization of macroevolutionary process, as just a mere gradualist interpolation of the microevolutionary process. The claims for the theoretical independence of the macroevolution, mainly exposed by Gould and Eldredge in what they call “the ontological maturation of biology”, defending an ontological status of the hierarchical nature of biological organization, in opposition of a mere descriptive-epistemological scheme, were largely ignored or relegated as part of the philosophical problem of the units of selection. Perhaps, the absence of a convincing evolutionary mechanism or mode in the upper levels of the biological organization -as species-, that was non-reducible to the genetic level might explain the lack of interest of evolutionary biologist. However, current developments in the multilevel selection theory, as the concept of evolutionary transitions in individuality, together with symbiogenetic theory of evolution provides a better conceptualization of macroevolution, that might overcome the “claim” to the “act” of ontological independence. A re-conceptualization possible by the recognition of a non-reducible upper-level mode and tempo of evolution, in the sense of vertical evolutionary mechanisms or transitions of individuality by means of persistent symbiosis, as viral chronic-infections or any other symbiogenetic agent.
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