I really don’t know who this Mabey fellow is — apparently, he’s a well-regarded nature writer in the UK — but he’s recently enthusiastically mentioned his summer reading plans, and they’re freaky.
I’ll need a long summer break just to finish Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini’s dense but explosively exciting What Darwin Got Wrong (Profile). The celebration of the great scientist’s bicentenary last year courteously sidestepped the fact that most cutting-edge biologists now regard natural selection as little more than cosmetic tweaking in the process of evolution. What’s happening is far more philosophically thrilling: creatures are doing it for themselves. The authors show how ancient “managerial” genes, self-organising systems in cells and the inherent tendency towards symmetry in living structures all help to generate new organisms fully pre-adapted to their environments. Wings already pre-balanced for flight!
Say what? Who are these mysterious “cutting-edge biologists” who have these bizarre misunderstandings of biology?
I think Mabey has been overdoing the herbs.