Chance in Evolution
Grant Ramsey, Charles H. Pence
University of Chicago Press, Oct 25, 2016 - Science - 384 pages
Humans, however much we would care to think otherwise, do not represent the fated pinnacle of ape evolution. The diversity of life, from single-celled organisms to multicellular animals and plants, is the result of a long, complex, 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 and his contemporaries, documenting how the understanding of chance changed as Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection developed into the modern synthesis, and how the acceptance of chance in Darwinian theory affected theological resistance to it. Subsequent chapters detail the role of chance in contemporary evolutionary theory—in particular, in connection with the concepts of genetic drift, mutation, and parallel evolution—as well as recent empirical work in the experimental evolution of microbes and in paleobiology. By engaging in collaboration across biology, history, philosophy, and theology, this book offers a comprehensive and synthetic overview both of the history of chance in evolution and of our current best understanding of the impact of chance on life on earth.
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Part 2 Chance in the Processes of Evolution
Part 3 Chance and Contingency in the History of Life
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adaptive alleles ancestral argued argument Aristotle’s Beatty biologists Blount Burgess Shale Cambrian Cambrian explosion causal causes chance in evolution chap chapter Cit+ clades coli complex concept constraints contingency Conway Morris Darwin Darwinian developmental divergence DNA sequence Dobzhansky drift ecological Ediacaran EF-Tu effects environment epistasis Erwin evolutionary biology evolved experimental evolution explain explanatory extinction Fisher fitness fossils frequency function gene genetic drift genetic mutations genome genotypes God’s Gould Haldane human indiscriminate sampling Lenski life’s lineages LTEE M.J. S. Hodge microconstant Millstein modern synthesis molecular muta mutation rate natural selection notion occur organisms Origin outcomes parallel evolution path dependence phenotypic philosophical phylogenetic Pikaia populations predation predict probabilistic probability protein question reference class problem relevant replay reproduction result role scenario Schönborn sense species spin statistical statisticalists stochastic synthesis authors theology thinking tion traits trajectories Travisano variables variation weak randomness wheel Wright