Evolution as Entropy: Toward a Unified Theory of Biology

Overview

"By combining recent advances in the physical sciences with some of the novel ideas, techniques, and data of modern biology, this book attempts to achieve a new and different kind of evolutionary synthesis. I found it to be challenging, fascinating, infuriating, and provocative, but certainly not dull."—James H, Brown, University of New Mexico

"This book is unquestionably mandatory reading not only for every living biologist but for generations of biologists to come."—Jack P. Hailman, Animal Behaviour, review of ...

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Overview

"By combining recent advances in the physical sciences with some of the novel ideas, techniques, and data of modern biology, this book attempts to achieve a new and different kind of evolutionary synthesis. I found it to be challenging, fascinating, infuriating, and provocative, but certainly not dull."—James H, Brown, University of New Mexico

"This book is unquestionably mandatory reading not only for every living biologist but for generations of biologists to come."—Jack P. Hailman, Animal Behaviour, review of the first edition

"An important contribution to modern evolutionary thinking. It fortifies the place of Evolutionary Theory among the other well-established natural laws."—R.Gessink,TAXON

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
This second edition--in just two years--offers a considerably revised second chapter, in which information behavior replaces analogies to purely physical systems, as well as practical applications of the authors' theory. Attention is also given to a hierarchical theory of ecosystem behavior, taking note of constraints on local ecosystem members resulting from their own histories. Copious references, frequent diagrams, charts, tables, and formulas. Paper edition, $19.95. **** BCL3 cites the 1986 first edition. It sparked a lively debate in journals of biology, physical sciences, philosophy, anthropology, and even creationism over whether the book pointed the way toward a unification of basic biology with basic physics. Here the authors (zoology, U. of B.C. and systematics/ecology, U. of Kansas) refine their model for a unified theory of biology, answer their critics, incorporate new ideas, and provide additional illustrations and almost one hundred new references. Cloth edition not seen. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Daniel R. Brooks is associate professor of zoology at the University of Toronto. E. O. Wiley is professor in the Department of Systematics and Ecology and curator at the Museum of Natural History at the University of Kansas.

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Table of Contents

Preface Preface to First Edition
1. Prelude Lawlike Behavior in Evolution Evolution and Developmental Biology Neo-Darwinism and the Origin of Higher Taxa: Of Moths and Mammals A Proposed Analogy Form and Function Summary
2. The Core Hypothesis Introduction to the Thesis Energy and Information Information Entropy and Information Some Biological Interpretations Thermodynamics Information Theory Hierarchical Information Theory Informational Capacity Order and Disorder Closed Systems Noise Self-Organizing Systems Biological Phenomenology The Nature of the Initial Conditions Information Cohesion Physiological Phenomenology Research Programs Summary
3. Ontogeny, Morphology, and Evolution Ontogenesis as a Nonequilibrium Phenomenon The Genome as an Organized Unit Terminal Changes Nonterminal Changes Entropic Behavior of Ontogenesis Compensatory Changes Compensatory Changes and the Course of Evolution Historical Analysis and Ontogeny Summary
4. Populations and Species Evolution in Populations Information Overall Estimates of Information Entropy Information Partitioning and Multiple Populations Patterns of Change in Information Proximal Mechnisms of Changes in Information Cohesion Factors Affecting Cohesion Cohesion within a Population Cohesion among Populations Cohesion and Entropy Summary Remarks Species and Speciation Modes of Speciation Speciation and Entropy Changes Comment on Punctuated Equilibrium Species, Phylogenetic Tree Topologies, and Entropy Summary
5. Mapping Historical Change Linguistic and Structuralist Approaches to Systematics Syntax Systematic Technique Derived from Entropy Considerations Phylogenetic Systematics The Wagner Algorithm Semantics Semantic Components Historical Constraints and Outgroups Parsimony and Minimum Entropy Increases Information Considerations Cohesion Considerations Testing for Departures from Minimum Entropy Configurations
"Linguistic Affinities" of Systematic Techniques Summary
6. Macroecology Macroscopic Properties of Ecological Associations Historical Ecology Life History Cycles and Ecology Coevolution and Colonization Vicariance Biogeography Separating Historical and Proximal Ecological Associations—Two Examples Historical Ecology and Competition Summary
7. Reprise and Prelude References Index

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