H. Allen Orr:
Having thoroughly enjoyed David Berlinski’s recent book, A Tour of the Calculus, I am not eager to squabble publicly with him. But I am afraid I must. In his article, “The Deniable Darwin” June], Mr. Berlinski discusses an essay of mine in which I criticize an extremist style of evolutionary thinking called “adaptationism.” He concludes: “Like Orr, many biologists see an acknowledgment of their doubts as a cagey, a calculated, concession; but cagey or not, it is a concession devastating to the larger project of Darwinian biology.”
I admit I briefly enjoyed the suggestion that my essay is so clever that it manages to undermine Darwinism. But, alas, Mr. Berlinski is exaggerating just a tad. The claim that my criticism of adaptationism, or, . . . for that matter, any other biologist’s criticism of any other “ism,” has pulled the rug out from under Darwin is just wrong.
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