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  1.  10
    Elliott Sober & Mike Steel (2014). Time and Knowability in Evolutionary Processes. Philosophy of Science 81 (4):558-579.
    Historical sciences like evolutionary biology reconstruct past events by using the traces that the past has bequeathed to the present. Markov chain theory entails that the passage of time reduces the amount of information that the present provides about the past. Here we use a Moran process framework to show that some evolutionary processes destroy information faster than others. Our results connect with Darwin’s principle that adaptive similarities provide scant evidence of common ancestry whereas neutral and deleterious similarities do better. (...)
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    Elliott Sober & Mike Steel (2011). Entropy Increase and Information Loss in Markov Models of Evolution. Biology and Philosophy 26 (2):223-250.
    Markov models of evolution describe changes in the probability distribution of the trait values a population might exhibit. In consequence, they also describe how entropy and conditional entropy values evolve, and how the mutual information that characterizes the relation between an earlier and a later moment in a lineage’s history depends on how much time separates them. These models therefore provide an interesting perspective on questions that usually are considered in the foundations of physics—when and why does entropy increase and (...)
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    Elliott Sober & Mike Steel (forthcoming). Similarities as Evidence for Common Ancestry: A Likelihood Epistemology. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axv052.
    Darwin claims in the Origin that similarity is evidence for common ancestry, but that adaptive similarities are ‘almost valueless’ as evidence. This second claim seems reasonable for some adaptive similarities but not for others. Here we clarify and evaluate these and related matters by using the law of likelihood as an analytic tool and by considering mathematical models of three evolutionary processes: directional selection, stabilizing selection, and drift. Our results apply both to Darwin’s theory of evolution and to modern evolutionary (...)
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    Wim Hordijk, Mike Steel & Stuart Kauffman (2012). The Structure of Autocatalytic Sets: Evolvability, Enablement, and Emergence. Acta Biotheoretica 60 (4):379-392.
    This paper presents new results from a detailed study of the structure of autocatalytic sets. We show how autocatalytic sets can be decomposed into smaller autocatalytic subsets, and how these subsets can be identified and classified. We then argue how this has important consequences for the evolvability, enablement, and emergence of autocatalytic sets. We end with some speculation on how all this might lead to a generalized theory of autocatalytic sets, which could possibly be applied to entire ecologies or even (...)
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