Bioethics News

Controversy over evolution. Natural selection an incomplete reading of evolutionary biology

Thomas Nagel calls into question the pertinence of materialist naturalism. The controversy has been echoed even in the mainstream media, such as The New York Times and The Weekly Standard.

With the publication of his “Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False” (Oxford University Press, 2012), New York University philosopher Thomas Nagel calls into question the pertinence of materialist naturalism which, from evolutionary biology, seeks to make natural selection the only and universal explanatory key.

For Nagel, this position represents an incomplete reading of the biological phenomenon, if we look at the emergence of conscious minds in the Universe, with intellectual knowledge and evaluative criteria, as well as the fact that this emergence has still not been satisfactorily explained.

Controversy over evolution, Nagel advocates a reconfiguration of the scientific method

In his controversial text, Nagel advocates a reconfiguration of the methodological foundations of science. He proposes including the consideration of natural teleological laws (associated with aims or purposes), which would govern the development of the organism over time, and which would complement the most common scientific explanation, which is usually offered in terms of efficient causality and is characteristic of the quantitative laws of physics.

The controversy aroused by Nagel’s proposal has been echoed even in the mainstream media, such as The New York Times and The Weekly Standard. This is not surprising, given that it was a topic assumed (since the mathematisation of the physical world undertaken by Galileo) to have been banished from the natural sciences, like all references to non-measurable causes, such as, for example, formal and final causes.  (Investigación y Ciencia.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.