Download Did Darwin Get It Right?: Essays on Games, Sex and Evolution by John Maynard Smith PDF

By John Maynard Smith

Now in paperback, Did Darwin Get It correct discusses a number of the most popular matters in biology at the present time. Its writer, the eminently quotable John Maynard Smith, discusses such interesting conundrums as how existence all started, even if the mind works like a working laptop or computer, why so much animals and crops reproduce sexually, and the way social habit developed out of the context of usual selection--a technique which might appear to want selfishness. A funny and insightful author, John Maynard Smith has the targeted skill to express the buzz of technology, its complexity and fascination, with out baffling or dull his readers. In those 28 short and obtainable essays, Maynard levels extensively over such concerns as technology and the media, the beginning of sociobiology, the evolution of animal intelligence and the constraints of evolutionary concept. For his paintings at the evolution of intercourse, Smith received the Darwin medal from the Royal Society, and he has pioneered the applying of online game thought to animal behavior.

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Additional resources for Did Darwin Get It Right?: Essays on Games, Sex and Evolution

Sample text

However, Darwin and Einstein have robbed us of that confidence in induction - or have liberated us from that prison. By establishing the mutability of species, Darwin showed that there is not a fixed and finite number of kinds of things in the universe, each with a knowable essence; there is no 'Platonie idea' for each species. But induction can only lead to certainty if there is a finite and knowable set of objects, so that one can check that one's theory is true of every kind. If Darwin demonstrated the impossibility of acquiring certainty through induction, Einstein showed that what scientists had been most certain of - classical mechanics - was at worst false and at best a special case of a more general theory.

Of consciousness. Similarly, it is useful to distinguish technical instructions from stories intended to persuade us that certam thmgs are right. Indeed, we take some trouble when educating our children to give hints about which category of information is being transmitted. For example, a surprisingly large proportion of the stories read aloud to children are about talking animals, or even talking steam engines. It is as if we wanted to be sure they are not taken as literally true. The examples of Don Smith and Bernard Shaw show that we db not find it easy to distinguish science and myth.

These are impeccably dialectical words, but what are the interactions he wants us to take into account? This question could have two anwers. Thus suppose we want to know whether one gene at a locus will replace another in evolution. The new gene will have an effect: in the first instance, it will cause the appearance of an altered protein, or perhaps of the same protein at a different time or place in development. But whether this will increase 'fitness' depends on how its effects interact with__~Y~JYthing Molecules are not Enough 35 else going on III the organism, and on how the orgalllsm interacts with its environment.

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