Markets and Gods don’t like neutral evolution!

Prof. André Langaney

Neutral evolution is no modern theory.

The idea that chance, history and contingency diversify living populations, within and between, is present in Darwin and could be traced before.

In the 19th century, from Wahlund to Kimura via Sewall Wright, Malécot and others, the mathematics of neutralism developed as well as those of selective theory by Ronald Fisher and followers. Meanwhile, Mayr and others pointed the effects of founder effect, history and contingency on species and populations differentiation by lots of field examples.

Nevertheless, the idea that neutrality could be the rule and selection a frequent exception never filtered outside the population genetics ghetto.

Moreover, pseudo-sciences where nothing escapes competition, optimization and ESS’s burst out here and there, in fields with no basic training in population genetics.

Specific difficulties come from the inabilities of some researchers in neutral theories to communicate on their work. But the main cause of the ignorance of neutral evolution among other scholars and citizens is a negative feedback from society to science hypotheses and concepts. A long story of ideas dynamic, from Spencer to E.O. Wilson and from “social Darwinism” to claimed “sociobiology” and “evolutionary psychology”