Daniel R. Brooks + E.O. Wiley. 1986. Evolution as Entropy: toward a unified theory of biol

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Daniel R. Brooks & E.O. Wiley. 1986. Evolution as Entropy: toward a unified theory of biology. The University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-07581-8 From the preface: "That organisms have evolved rather than having been created is the single most important and unifying principle of modern biology. Theories regarding the causal mechanisms of evolution are not so important in "proving" its reality. The fact that scientists put forward theories means that they accept this reality. Confused creationists frequently think that if they can "disprove" Darwin's theory of natural selection they can "disprove" evolution. But of course this is untrue -- even if they succeeded they would only be disproving *a theory* and not *the process*. Thus, any theory of importance should be closely scrutinized because it affects the way evolutionary biologists conduct their research." "In this book we will develop the idea that evolution is an axiomatic consequence of organismic information and cohesion systems obeying the second law of thermodynamics in a manner analogous to, but not identical with, the consequences of the second law's usual application in physical and chemical systems. By "axiomatic" we mean that the results are necessary consequences or outcomes." "If evolution is an axiomatic consequence of certain biological processes following the second law, then current theories of the evolutionary process must necessarily be incomplete because they are theories of proximal cause." Brooks and Wiley claim to be practitioners of "phylogenetic systematics," which appears to be another term for "cladistics". "The founder of this approach, the late German entomologist Willi Hennig, was interested in formulating a "general reference system" for classifying organic diversity. His choice was a system based on genealogy. Hennig reasoned that no matter what proximal changes organisms or species might experience, the one thing that would never change is their genealogies." "Our attention was progressively drawn to discussions of inherent order in development (e.g., Lovtrup 1974) and comparative morphology (e.g., Riedl 1978). An article by Farris (1979) concerning the information content of phylogenetic systematic analyses led us to information theory. When it was discovered that phylogenetic systematic techniques select the minimum entropy configuration of information in a set of observations about organisms (Brooks 1981a), our search focused on finding a connection among history, information, and minimum entropy configurations." "In chapter 2, we attempt to show that the expected outcome of historical constraints on the action of the second law in biological systems is self-organization. The axiomatic behavior of living systems should be increasing complexity and self-organization *as a result of, not at the expense of*, increasing entropy." Brooks and Wiley sum up their opinion of the current state of the neo-Darwinian synthesis (with the caveat that they believe no such synthesis actually exists). In an enumerated point, they say: "3. Heritable characters may be changed by a variety of mutational events. The earlier in development a mutation occurs, the greater its effect but the less its probability of being successful (i.e., of resulting in a viable and fertile individual)." I would definitely replace "occurs" in the above with "is expressed". "Many of the controversies in evolutionary biology (neutralism vs. selectionism, the relative importance of competition, gradualism vs. punctuated equilibrium) concern the relative importance of phenomena rather than whether the phenomena are real." "We are dissatisfied with the current state of evolutionary theoriz ing, not because we think it is all wrong, but because (1) we do not believe that a truly integrated theoretical framework has been developed and (2) there are certain aspects of the evolutionary process that have yet to be integrated into any framework. We recognize four major items of unfinished business. 1. Evolutionary theory has never fully come to grips with the underlying causal laws of chemistry and physics. 2. Developmental biology has not been successfully integrated into the theoretical framework. 3. Existing evolutionary theory has failed to provide a rationale for the existence of higher taxa (groups of species produced by descent) that is consistent with our knowledge of phylogeny and population genetics. 4. Existing evolutionary theory has failed to provide what we would consider to be a robust explanation of the relationship between form and function in evolution. We do not believe these shortcomings are resolvable within the current theoretical framework. We seek to provide a new framework, one that will incorporate certain parts of the old framework and include those aspects of evolution not now adequately explained. We will now examine these shortcomings in some detail." "Statistical entropy of a simple system may be given as: S = k ln omega where omega is the set of accessible microstates to the system (the "macrostate")." "We suggest an alternative theoretical framework for biological evolution, based on four principles: 1. The principle of irreversibility. 2. The principle of individuality. 3. The principle of intrinsic constraints. 4. The principle of compensatory changes." ============================= As you can see, Brooks and Wiley are critical of current evolutionary mechanism theories, but also critical of SciCre. Unlike many other sources that seek to find a link between EMTs and entropy (usually to attempt to show a contradiction), Brooks and Wiley use quite a lot of math in order to push their thesis. Certainly the premise given, that natural selection and other EMTs are emergent properties of entropic systems, is anathema to the folks at the ICR. At least, I haven't noted any of the ICR folks using the critical quotes from EaE as they do with so many other sources.


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