Complexity and evolution: What everybody knows

Biology and Philosophy 6 (3):303-324 (1991)
The consensus among evolutionists seems to be that the morphological complexity of organisms increases in evolution, although almost no empirical evidence for such a trend exists. Most studies of complexity have been theoretical, and the few empirical studies have not, with the exception of certain recent ones, been especially rigorous; reviews are presented of both the theoretical and empirical literature. The paucity of evidence raises the question of what sustains the consensus, and a number of suggestions are offered, including the possibility that certain cultural and/or perceptual biases are at work. In addition, a shift in emphasis from theoretical to empirical inquiry is recommended for the study of complexity, and guidelines for future empirical studies are proposed.
Keywords Complexity  entropy  evolution  evolutionary trends  Herbert Spencer  progress
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DOI 10.1007/BF00132234
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References found in this work BETA
Studies in the Philosophy of Biology.F. Ayala & T. Dobzhansky (eds.) - 1974 - University of California Press.
First Principles.Herbert Spencer - 1860 - Greenwood Press.
Order and Life.Joseph Needham - 1936 - Cambridge: M.I.T. Press.
Time in the Evolutionary Process.J. Maynard Smith - 1972 - In J. T. Fraser, F. Haber & G. Muller (eds.), The Study of Time. Springer Verlag. pp. 1.

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