Saturday, 10 January 2015

Continuing the theme on Evolutionary Biology

Yesterday I was tumbling ideas around in my head but there is something important I missed and that is Monod - Chance and Necessity. Although philosophers have attacked it, it does contain a kernel of truth and the beginnings of an important theme. That is that evolution is random but selection makes necessary choices. So we have some developments which will happen over and over again such as eyes, long necks and photosynthetic systems and then we have accidents that are not required by the environment.

This theme is developed by Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen in all of their books and also by Murray Gell-mann in the Quark and the Jaguar where he talks about the amount of information needed to describe a system. Things that have to happen and that are homogeneous across a set require less description than the unique properties that are heterogeneous.

Where we lack theory is in describing the unique heterogeneous events - we struggle withe heterogeneous entropy or any systems because there are no statistical descriptions of the unique. You cannot average them. This is where we need to build our theories, on the edge of maths.


Monod - Chance and necessity
Ho - The Rainbow and the Worm
Gell-mann - The Quark and the Jaguar.
Stewart and Cohen - Figments of Reality
Stewart and Cohen - The collpase of chaos.
Stewart, Pratchett and Cohen - The Science of Discworld I-IV.

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