That part wasn't news since by 1997 the ideas of Neutral Theory and random genetic drift had been around for thirty years. Apparently, Shapiro was three decades behind in his understanding of evolution.
Shapiro doesn't demonstrate that he understands population genetics and random genetic drift. This just one (of many) criticisms that I mentioned in my review of Shapiro's book Evolution: A View from the 21st Century in NCSE Reports [Evolution: A View from the 21st Century]. Shapiro responded to my review at: Reply to Laurence A Moran’s review of Evolution: A View from the 21st Century] and I discussed his response on my blog [James Shapiro Responds to My Review of His Book].
The "third" way, according to Shapiro's 1997 article, is not classic Darwinism and it's not creationism. Instead, it's a new way of looking at evolution.
What significance does an emerging interface between biology and information science hold for thinking about evolution? It opens up the possibility of addressing scientifically rather than ideologically the central issue so hotly contested by fundamentalists on both sides of the Creationist-Darwinist debate: Is there any guiding intelligence at work in the origin of species displaying exquisite adaptations that range from lambda prophage repression and the Krebs cycle through the mitotic apparatus and the eye to the immune system, mimicry, and social organization? Borrowing concepts from information science, new schools of evolutionists can begin to rephrase virtually intractable global questions in terms amenable to computer modelling and experimentation. We can speculate what some of these more manageable questions might be: How can molecular control circuits be combined to direct the expression of novel traits? Do genomes display characteristic system architectures that allow us to predict phenotypic consequences when we rearrange DNA sequence components? Do signal transduction networks contribute functional information as they regulate the action of natural genetic engineering hardware?Now Shapiro has joined forces with some other "revolutionaries" and started a new website called "The Third Way." It has grandiose goals ....
Questions like those above will certainly prove to be naive because we are just on the threshold of a new way of thinking about living organisms and their variations. Nonetheless, these questions serve to illustrate the potential for addressing the deep issues of evolution from a radically different scientific perspective. Novel ways of looking at longstanding problems have historically been the chief motors of scientific progress. However, the potential for new science is hard to find in the Creationist-Darwinist debate. Both sides appear to have a common interest in presenting a static view of the scientific enterprise. This is to be expected from the Creationists, who naturally refuse to recognize science's remarkable record of making more and more seemingly miraculous aspects of our world comprehensible to our understanding and accessible to our technology. But the neo-Darwinian advocates claim to be scientists, and we can legitimately expect of them a more open spirit of inquiry. Instead, they assume a defensive posture of outraged orthodoxy and assert an unassailable claim to truth, which only serves to validate the Creationists' criticism that Darwinism has become more of a faith than a science.
The vast majority of people believe that there are only two alternative ways to explain the origins of biological diversity. One way is Creationism that depends upon supernatural intervention by a divine Creator. The other way is Neo-Darwinism, which has elevated Natural Selection into a unique creative force that solves all the difficult evolutionary problems. Both views are inconsistent with significant bodies of empirical evidence and have evolved into hard-line ideologies. There is a need for a more open “third way” of discussing evolutionary change based on empirical observations.
They are advocating a fourth way that skips right from adaptationism to something else.
They are like a group of would-be revolutionaries marching up Rue de Lyon in Paris only to discover that the Bastille has been replaced by an open square and an opera house.
Note: There aren't many biologists that are interested in this "Third Way" but the creationists are lapping it up [A Group of Darwin-Skeptical Scientists Seeking a "Third Way" in Biology Have Launched a New Website; Welcome to Them!].