Lynn Margulis is an evolution industry insider. In fact, Margulis is on ground zero—once married to the late astronomer Carl Sagan, winner of a Pulitzer Prize for the book The Dragons of Eden: Speculations of the Evolution of Human Intelligence.
At the age of 14, Margulis began attending the University of Chicago. Since then, Margulis has been one of the most highly honored scientists for contributing to the development of theories for biological evolution.
In 1983, Margulis was elected to the National Academy of Sciences 1983 and served as Chairman of the Academy’s Space Science Board Committee on Planetary Biology and Chemical Evolution, was inducted into the World Academy of Art and Science, the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
In 1998, the Library of Congress, Washington, DC, announced that it would permanently archive Margulis papers and received the William Procter Prize for Scientific Achievement for scientific achievement in 1999. In the same year, Margulis was awarded the National Medal of Science by President William J. Clinton.
In 2006, the Resurgence Magazine in the UK included Margulis as one of the “The 20th Century’s 100 Most Important Inspirational Leaders.” Margulis was awarded the Darwin-Wallace Medal by the Linnean Society of London, an honor only bestowed every 50 years. Last year, the Leonardo DaVinci Society of Thinking inaugurated Margulis.
Prominent evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins said: “I greatly admire Lynn Margulis’s sheer courage and stamina in sticking by the endosymbiosis theory, and carrying it through from being an unorthodoxy to an orthodoxy. I’m referring to the theory that the eukaryotic cell is a symbiotic union of primitive prokaryotic cells. This is one of the great achievements of twentieth-century evolutionary biology, and I greatly admire her for it.”
Margulis is an outspoken critic of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species theory of evolution. Amazingly, Margulis criticism extends beyond natural selection to neo-Darwinism, and the Modern Synthesis theory of evolution.
Suzan Mazur, of Scoop Media, published an interviewed with Margulis in the book entitled The Altenberg 16: An Expose of the Evolution Industry (2009). In the interview, Margulis highlights the problems with natural selection –
“Darwin was brilliant to make ‘natural selection’ a sort of godlike term, an expression that could replace ‘God’, who did it—created forms of life. However, what is natural selection’ really? It is the failure of the biotic potential to be reached. And it’s quantitative… Natural selection is intrinsically an elimination process.”
“What is natural selection? Natural selection is the failure to reach the potential, the maximum number of offspring that, in principle, can be produced by members of the specific species in question.”
“Natural selection occurs all the time. But natural selection is an elimination process.”
“Darwin wrote about the Struggle for Life and attributed change to Natural Selection. He made it easy for his contemporaries to think and verbalize Mr. Big Omnipotent God in the Sky up there picking out those He wants to keep. He has been conceived as The Natural Selector, He throws the others away.”
“Darwin’s claim of ‘descent with modification’ as caused by natural selection is a linguistic fallacy.”
Margulis poignantly points out the problems with neo-Darwinism and the Modern Synthesis theory of evolution –
“[N]eo-Dawinists are a… religious sect within the sprawling religious persuasion of Anglo-Saxon Biology”
“The notion is that if we accumulate enough gene change, enough genetic mutations, we explain the passage from one species to another. This is depicted as two branches in a family tree that emerge from one common ancestor to the two descendants. An entire Anglophone academic tradition of purported evolutionary description was developed quantified, computerized based on what I think is a conceptual topological error.”
“Whereas speciation by accumulation of ‘random DNA mutations’ has never been adequately documented.”
“At that meeting [a meeting with philosopher John Cobb] [Francisco] Ayala agreed with me when I stated that this doctrinaire neo-Darwinism is dead. He was a practioner of neo-Darwinism but advances in molecular genetics, evolution, ecology, biochemistry, and other news had led him to agree that neo-Darwinism’s now dead.”
“The real disagreement about what the neo-Darwinist tout, for which there is very little evidence, if any, is that random mutations accumulate and when they accumulate enough, new species originate.”
Margulis unveils the nature of the evolution industry –
“[P]eople are always more loyal to their tribal group than to any other abstract notion of ‘truth’—scientists especially… It is professional suicide to continually contradict one’s teachers or social leaders.”
“The problem is that many fine scientists recognize genuine difficulties with the ‘standard model’ of evolution, so to speak. However, most lack the conceptual tools to solve the difficulties they legitimately recognize.”
“Scientists, like anyone else, follow the money flow.”
Mazar agrees with Margulis: “Evolutionary science is as much about the posturing, salesmanship, stonewalling, and bullying that goes on as it is about actual scientific theory.” Mazar sees “evolution books [as] hyped like snake oil at a carnival.”
Margulis advocates a process of symbiosis between species rather than Darwin’s competition, “survival of the fittest,” between species. At least Margulis approach disarms the likes of Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mao Zedong, and the Islamic Jihadists.
If evolutionary theory is composed of multiple problem agendas that require contributions from diverse disciplinary perspectives, there is no ‘fundamental’ viewpoint or level to which we can reduce our picture of evolutionary processes.
Evolution was once a theory in crisis, now evolution is in crisis without a theory.