From Brian Miller at Evolution News & Views:
In the evolution debate, a key issue is the ability of natural selection to produce complex innovations. In a previous article, I explained based on engineering theories of innovation why the small-scale changes that drive microevolution should not be able to accumulate to generate the large-scale changes required for macroevolution. This observation perfectly corresponds to research in developmental biology and to the pattern of the fossil record. However, the limitations of Darwinian evolution have been demonstrated even more rigorously from the fields of evolutionary computation and mathematics. These theoretical challenges are detailed in a new book out this week, Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics.
Authors Robert Marks, William Dembski, and Winston Ewert bring decades of experience in search algorithms and information theory to analyzing the capacity of biological evolution to generate diverse forms of life. Their conclusion is that no evolutionary process is capable of yielding different outcomes (e.g., new body plans), being limited instead to a very narrow range of results (e.g., finches with different beak sizes). Rather, producing anything of significant complexity requires that knowledge of the outcomes be programmed into the search routines. Therefore, any claim for the unlimited capacity of unguided evolution to transform life is necessarily implausible.More.
Evolutionary Informatics is, despite the math stuff, quite readable. It’s a good look at one part of the real future of discussions around evolution: What can and can’t happen is a stark contrast with the Darwin of the textbooks, where anything can happen, given enough time.
See also: Baylor computer science prof Robert Marks comments on Texas science standards at Dallas Morning News:
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