They would not be abandoning "natural selection", just looking at the method by which it operates. That is more or less continuously, or in "punctuated equilibrium" manner.
This issue is hardly new. In fact I'd thought that the "fits and starts" model was more in favor. I know it is with me.
The “fits and starts” model was first postulated to counter-act the lack of smooth progression of organisms that Darwin claimed should be in the fossil record. It is a model that requires the absence of data to be valid. Unless, of course, you can show “fits and starts” happening repeatably in the present.
It didn't used to be with me, but I'm coming around. I heard a great deal about genetic drift in my evolution classes....and yet we have the coelecanth. What happened there? Sure, maybe there was no overt environmental selection pressure, but oughtn't there be at least some random drift in such a small population--and over the time frames we are talking about it, wouldn't it have been enough to cause some serious anatomical changes?
I dunno. Too many groups in too much stasis over too great a time. Like you said, fits and starts. Not many smooth flows.