This paper discusses the claim that alternative views to evolutionary biology based on novel advances in understanding the molecular and developmental bases of variation and inheritance should be captured as a shift from “statistical” to “mechanistic” explanatory schemes (Pigliucci and Müller 2011). Granted, statistical approaches characterized the Modern Synthesis, but by examining the epistemic features of postgenomic science I claim that this is not a proper characterization of the current epistemic shift. I will first characterize the dual nature of the gene in development and inheritance, accounting for it in terms of difference between two sorts of causal ascriptions. Following the shift in postgenomic science regarding the concepts of genes, variation and inheritance, I will first argue that, in contrast to mechanistic explanations, the shift provides us with novel topological explanatory frameworks to approach genomic networks of many sorts, and novel and nucleotide-focused statistical tools unlikely to translate directly into the mechanistic modeling of causal roles. I claim that instead of addressing epistemic changes on the basis of the classical statistics vs. mechanisms difference one should rather acknowledge the diversification of explanatory modes proper to postgenomic science, and to the consequences of this for evolutionary biology.

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