Complexity Explorer Santa Fe Institute

Technical Book

The Structure of Evolutionary Theory

From Harvard University Press: With characteristic attention to detail, Stephen Jay Gould first describes the content and discusses the history and origins of the three core commitments of classical Darwinism: that natural selection works on organisms, not genes or species; that it is almost exclusively the mechanism of adaptive evolutionary change; and that these changes are incremental, not drastic. Next, he examines the three critiques that currently challenge this classic Darwinian edifice: that selection operates on multiple levels, from the gene to the group; that evolution proceeds by a variety of mechanisms, not just natural selection; and that causes operating at broader scales, including catastrophes, have figured prominently in the course of evolution.

S. J. Gould
evolutionary biology; evolution; Darwinism; levels of selection; evolution of development; speciation; punctuated equilibrium; microevolution; macroevolution; modern synthesis

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