Professor John A. Davison (1928-2012), American biologist. His “Evolutionary manifesto: A new hypothesis for organic change” (2000) is one of the most inspiring works concerning evolution. The treatise is dedicated to the memory of six great scientists: William Bateson, Leo S. Berg, Robert Broom, Richard B. Goldschmidt, Pierre Grassé and Otto Schindewolf. Professor Davison continues in the tradition founded by these great scholars. He not only sumarizes their main evolutionary ideas that oppose (neo)darwinism, but proposes his own evolutionary mechanism: semi-meiotic hypothesis. Far from being able to reproduce all arguments and details of his work I recommend everyone study it for themselves. His work is available on his blog (1), on his old home page at University Vermont (2) as well as on Uncommon descent (3).
Just a small taste of professor Davison´s thoughts on evolution from concluding parts of his “Evolutionary Manifesto”:
There is no question that all of the information necessary to produce a unique human being is contained in a single cell, the fertilized egg, a mere tenth of a millimeter in diameter. While the information is preformed, the development of the individual is largely epigenetic. I now suggest that precisely the same relationship may exist with respect to phylogeny (evolution). Viewed in this manner, both development and evolution result from the organized and progressive activation (derepression) of an incredibly enormous storehouse of potentialities. I realize that this suggestion seems ludicrous at first sight when applied to the evolutionary process, yet I feel it is necessary as it can offer an explanation for a number of otherwise baffling realities. Of cardinal importance is the question — Where did all the information come from? If, as is so obvious at the onset of ontogeny, the information were also present from the start of the evolutionary process, someone or something had to put it there. That same someone or something apparently produced the inanimate world with all its rules, laws and precise mathematical relationships. It is my understanding that information does not arise de novo, but must have a source. In that sense I agree with Grassé as quoted above. It should also be noted that Schindewolf, Goldschmidt, Berg and Grassé all subscribed to preadaptation during evolution, a consideration that demands the presence of meaningful information prepared in advance, i.e. preformed. These conclusions are nothing more than the extrapolation to the living world of Albert Einstein’s conviction — “I shall never believe that God plays dice with the world.” Once again, I insist that the only alternative to chance is design, which in turn implies purpose. Let me also add that I fail to see how this perspective can in any way interfere with the search for ultimate truth. On the contrary, I have come to regard it as a liberating asset in that endeavor
There is just one thing I would like to add, paraphrasing a poet: The encouter with the “Evolutionary Manifesto” ranks among the most beautiful strokes of fortune that have come my way.
In 2011 John Davison published his work in the book:
UNPUBLISHED EVOLUTION PAPERS of John A. Davison
In the Czech republic professor Jaroslav Flegr, UNI Prague, the author of the theory of “Frozen evolution” has made reference to John Davison’s work recently in his paper “Elastic, not plastic species: Frozen plasticity theory and the origin of adaptive evolution in sexually reproducing organisms.”, Biologic Direct (2010):
“The search for a mechanism of decreasing rate of macroevolution and decreasing variability of species in macroevolutionary time-scale, i.e. the third part of frozen plasticity theory, was inspired by the existence of phenomena described by Stephen J. Gould, Mark Webster and John A. Davison. ”