Chance in Evolution
Grant Ramsey, Charles H. Pence
University of Chicago Press, Oct 25, 2016 - Science - 384 pages
This illuminating volume explores the effects of chance on evolution, covering diverse perspectives from scientists, philosophers, and historians.The evolution of species, from single-celled organisms to multicellular animals and plants, is the result of a long and highly chancy history. But how profoundly has chance shaped life on earth? And what, precisely, do we mean by chance? Bringing together biologists, philosophers of science, and historians of science, Chance in Evolution is the first book to untangle the far-reaching effects of chance, contingency, and randomness on the evolution of life.
The book begins by placing chance in historical context, starting with the ancients and moving through Darwin to contemporary biology. It documents the shifts in our understanding of chance as Darwin’s theory of evolution developed into the modern synthesis, and how the acceptance of chance in Darwinian theory affected theological resistance to it. Other chapters discuss how chance relates to the concepts of genetic drift, mutation, and parallel evolution—as well as recent work in paleobiology and the experimental evolution of microbes. By engaging in collaboration across biology, history, philosophy, and theology, this book offers a comprehensive overview both of the history of chance in evolution and of our current understanding of the impact of chance on life.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Part 2 Chance in the Processes of Evolution
Part 3 Chance and Contingency in the History of Life
Other editions - View all
adaptive animals approach argued argument authors biology called causal causes chance chapter claims complex concept consider contingency Darwin dependence determinism direction discussion distinction divergence drift early effects environment et al evolutionary evolved example existence experiments explain fact factors fitness forms frequency function gene genetic given going Gould Hodge human important increase individual initial involved issues later laws least Lenski less lineages means mechanisms molecular mutations natural selection notion objective occur organisms Origin outcomes parallel evolution particular path patterns phenotypic philosophical physical play populations position possible potential predict probability problem produce progress protein question random reason reference relative relevant reproduction requires result role sampling sense sequence similar species statistical studies success suggests synthesis theory thinking tion traits understanding variation volume wheel