Tim Ingold’s paper, “An Anthropologist Looks at Biology,” offers an excellent critique of neo-Darwinian biological approaches which, he claims, actually ignore the organism. Neo-Darwinian biology considers the organism to be determined by its genes or genotype which can never be influenced retroactively by the phenotype or the life experience and traits which are uniquely expressed through interaction with the environment. It is viewed as a closed system. However, as Ingold argues, organisms are necessarily open systems. Evolution is simply tracking which genetic mutations happened to be beneficial to a species so they were passed on rather than actually telling us anything about the nature of life. Ingold provides three reasons for why Neo-Darwinism cannot explain life.
First, he claims Neo-Darwinism is only concerned with events rather than processes. Evolution looks at the events of genes passing from one generation to the next which may include mutations, but it fails to consider the importance of the variation in how these genes are expressed and lived by the organism. Second, it ignores the interconnectedness of organisms and their worlds. Third, organisms and their environments assumed to evolve separately rather than in tandem.