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Biology's First Law: The Tendency for Diversity and Complexity to Increase in Evolutionary Systems

By: Daniel W McShea and Robert N Brandon

170 pages, Figs, tab

University of Chicago Press

Paperback | Aug 2010 | #184317 | ISBN-13: 9780226562261
Availability: Usually dispatched within 4 days Details
NHBS Price: £20.99 $27/€24 approx
Hardback | Jul 2010 | #184316 | ISBN-13: 9780226562254
Availability: Usually dispatched within 4 days Details
NHBS Price: £50.99 $66/€57 approx

About this book

Life on earth is characterized by three striking phenomena that demand explanation: adaptation, diversity and complexity. Natural selection explains adaptation. But what explains diversity and complexity?

In this book, the authors argue that there exists in evolution a spontaneous tendency toward increased diversity and complexity, one that acts whether natural selection is present or not. They call this tendency a biological law - the Zero-Force Evolutionary Law, or ZFEL. This law unifies the principles and data of biology under a single framework and invites a reconceptualization of the field of the same sort that Newton's First Law brought to physics.

The ZFEL will be obvious to some, heretical to others, so the book will be controversial. But at the same time, the argument is rich enough to convince a skeptic, provided that skeptic is open-minded. A novel contribution of far-reaching importance in evolutionary biology. - Michael Foote, University of Chicago"

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Daniel W. McShea is associate professor of biology, with a secondary appointment in philosophy, and Robert N. Brandon is professor of philosophy, with a secondary appointment in biology, both at Duke University.

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