Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access JSTOR through your library or other institution:

login

Log in through your institution.

Journal Article

Entropy and Evolution: Ground Rules for Discourse

Jeffrey S. Wicken
Systematic Zoology
Vol. 35, No. 1 (Mar., 1986), pp. 22-36
DOI: 10.2307/2413288
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2413288
Page Count: 15
Were these topics helpful?
See something inaccurate? Let us know!

Select the topics that are inaccurate.

Cancel
  • Download ($42.00)
  • Add to My Lists
  • Cite this Item
Entropy and Evolution: Ground Rules for Discourse
Preview not available

Abstract

Prior to Darwin, the evolutionary vision had always looked for the unity of life with nature's overall dynamics. Darwin had to truncate this connectivity to establish evolution as a science, as opposed to a philosophic perspective on change. An autonomy-of-biology mentality has grown from this separation that is now antithetical to the evolutionary project. As the science of macroscopic process, thermodynamics is essential to bringing life back to nature. The entropic drive to randomness underlies the phenomena of both variation and speciation; competition between thermodynamic flow patterns underlies the phenomenon of selection; the dissipative structure schema provides basic constraints on morphological transformation. Semantic problems regarding the meaning of entropy obstruct delivery on these promises. I discuss some of those problems in the first sections of this paper, then consider a possible way in which principles drawn from statistical thermodynamics can be extended into the biological realm to illuminate the phenomena of variation and speciation.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
22
    22
  • Thumbnail: Page 
23
    23
  • Thumbnail: Page 
24
    24
  • Thumbnail: Page 
25
    25
  • Thumbnail: Page 
26
    26
  • Thumbnail: Page 
27
    27
  • Thumbnail: Page 
28
    28
  • Thumbnail: Page 
29
    29
  • Thumbnail: Page 
30
    30
  • Thumbnail: Page 
31
    31
  • Thumbnail: Page 
32
    32
  • Thumbnail: Page 
33
    33
  • Thumbnail: Page 
34
    34
  • Thumbnail: Page 
35
    35
  • Thumbnail: Page 
36
    36