It is with real pleasure that I dedicate this paper to Professor Dr Diether Sperlich in recognition to his many years of service to this journal and his contributions to our understanding of evolutionary biology.
Design – an inappropriate concept in evolutionary theory*
Article first published online: 15 JAN 2009
© 2009 Blackwell Verlag GmbH
Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research
Volume 47, Issue 1, pages 7–9, February 2009
How to Cite
Bock, W. J. (2009), Design – an inappropriate concept in evolutionary theory. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research, 47: 7–9. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0469.2008.00505.x
- Issue published online: 15 JAN 2009
- Article first published online: 15 JAN 2009
- Accepted on 23 October 2008
- selective demands;
The concept of accident in evolution refers to causes which are stochastic with respect to selective demands arising from the external environment and acting on the organism, while the concept of design refers to causes which meet the requirement of these selective demands. The condition ‘with respect to selective demands’ is generally forgotten so that evolutionary changes are described as being design modifications. Design is an invalid synonym for adaptation. Further it implies a designer and has been used by some authors since before Darwin to argue that design in organisms demonstrates the existence of a designer and hence a plan. Yet if evolution depends on two simultaneously acting causes, one of which is accidental, then the process of evolution and all attributes of organisms are accidental. The concept of design is inappropriate in biology and should be eliminated from all biological explanations.