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The inductive theory of natural selection  [PDF]
Steven A. Frank
Computer Science , 2014,
Abstract: The theory of natural selection has two forms. Deductive theory describes how populations change over time. One starts with an initial population and some rules for change. From those assumptions, one calculates the future state of the population. Deductive theory predicts how populations adapt to environmental challenge. Inductive theory describes the causes of change in populations. One starts with a given amount of change. One then assigns different parts of the total change to particular causes. Inductive theory analyzes alternative causal models for how populations have adapted to environmental challenge. This chapter emphasizes the inductive analysis of cause.
The Phenomenological Status of the Theory of Natural Selection
Santiago Ginnobili
Ideas y Valores , 2011,
Abstract: Some scholars have pointed out the phenomenological character of the theory of natural selection, in the sense that it does not propose new theoretical terms. Since others have held that one of the characteristics of explanatory theories is that they conceptually enrich their field of application, it could be said that the theory in question is lacking with respect to its explanatory capacity. The article addresses this issue by proposing an informal reconstruction of the Darwinian theory of natural selection using structuralist meta-theoretical tools. The objective is to show that the theory suggests at least one explanatory concept, which could be called “aptitude”, although all of its concepts are non-theoretical in the structuralist sense.
Natural selection. VII. History and interpretation of kin selection theory  [PDF]
Steven A. Frank
Quantitative Biology , 2013, DOI: 10.1111/jeb.12131
Abstract: Kin selection theory is a kind of causal analysis. The initial form of kin selection ascribed cause to costs, benefits, and genetic relatedness. The theory then slowly developed a deeper and more sophisticated approach to partitioning the causes of social evolution. Controversy followed because causal analysis inevitably attracts opposing views. It is always possible to separate total effects into different component causes. Alternative causal schemes emphasize different aspects of a problem, reflecting the distinct goals, interests, and biases of different perspectives. For example, group selection is a particular causal scheme with certain advantages and significant limitations. Ultimately, to use kin selection theory to analyze natural patterns and to understand the history of debates over different approaches, one must follow the underlying history of causal analysis. This article describes the history of kin selection theory, with emphasis on how the causal perspective improved through the study of key patterns of natural history, such as dispersal and sex ratio, and through a unified approach to demographic and social processes. Independent historical developments in the multivariate analysis of quantitative traits merged with the causal analysis of social evolution by kin selection.
The logistic equation and a critique of the theory of natural selection  [PDF]
Dalius Balciunas
Quantitative Biology , 2007,
Abstract: Species coexistence is one of the central themes in modern ecology. Coexistence is a prerequisite of biological diversity. However, the question arises how biodiversity can be reconciled with the statement of competition theory, which asserts that competing species cannot coexist. To solve this problem natural selection theory is rejected because it contradicts kinetic models of interacting populations. Biological evolution is presented as a process equivalent to a chemical reaction. The main point is that interactions occur between self-replicating units. Under these assumptions biodiversity is possible if and only if species are identical with respect to the patterns of energy flow in which individuals are involved.
Natural selection. V. How to read the fundamental equations of evolutionary change in terms of information theory  [PDF]
Steven A. Frank
Quantitative Biology , 2012, DOI: 10.1111/jeb.12010
Abstract: The equations of evolutionary change by natural selection are commonly expressed in statistical terms. Fisher's fundamental theorem emphasizes the variance in fitness. Quantitative genetics expresses selection with covariances and regressions. Population genetic equations depend on genetic variances. How can we read those statistical expressions with respect to the meaning of natural selection? One possibility is to relate the statistical expressions to the amount of information that populations accumulate by selection. However, the connection between selection and information theory has never been compelling. Here, I show the correct relations between statistical expressions for selection and information theory expressions for selection. Those relations link selection to the fundamental concepts of entropy and information in the theories of physics, statistics, and communication. We can now read the equations of selection in terms of their natural meaning. Selection causes populations to accumulate information about the environment.
Theory and associated phenomenology for intrinsic mortality arising from natural selection  [PDF]
Justin Werfel,Donald E. Ingber,Yaneer Bar-Yam
Quantitative Biology , 2015,
Abstract: Standard evolutionary theories of aging and mortality, implicitly based on assumptions of spatial averaging, hold that natural selection cannot favor shorter lifespan without direct compensating benefit to individual reproductive success. Here we show that both theory and phenomenology are consistent with programmed death. Spatial evolutionary models show that self-limited lifespan robustly results in long-term benefit to a lineage; longer-lived variants may have a reproductive advantage for many generations, but shorter lifespan ultimately confers long-term reproductive advantage through environmental feedback acting on much longer time scales. Numerous model variations produce the same qualitative result, demonstrating insensitivity to detailed assumptions; the key conditions under which self-limited lifespan is favored are spatial extent and locally exhaustible resources. Numerous empirical observations can parsimoniously be explained in terms of long-term selective advantage for intrinsic mortality. Classically anomalous empirical data on natural lifespans and intrinsic mortality, including observations of longer lifespan associated with increased predation, and evidence of programmed death in both unicellular and multicellular organisms, are consistent with specific model predictions. The generic nature of the spatial model conditions under which intrinsic mortality is favored suggests a firm theoretical basis for the idea that evolution can quite generally select for shorter lifespan directly.
Is there a Darwinian Evolution of the Cosmos? - Some Comments on Lee Smolin's Theory of the Origin of Universes by Means of Natural Selection  [PDF]
Ruediger Vaas
Physics , 2002,
Abstract: For Lee Smolin, our universe is only one in a much larger cosmos (the Multiverse) - a member of a growing community of universes, each one being born in a bounce following the formation of a black hole. In the course of this, the values of the free parameters of the physical laws are reprocessed and slightly changed. This leads to an evolutionary picture of the Multiverse, where universes with more black holes have more descendants. Smolin concludes, that due to this kind of Cosmological Natural Selection our own universe is the way it is. The hospitality for life of our universe is seen as an offshot of this self-organized process. - This paper outlines Smolin's hypothesis, its strength, weakness and limits, its relationship to the anthropic principle and evolutionary biology, and comments on the hypothesis from different points of view: physics, biology, philosophy of science, philosophy of nature, and metaphysics. Some of the main points are: (1) There is no necessary connection between black holes and life. In principle, life and Cosmological Natural Selection could be independent of each other. Smolin might explain the so-called fine-tuning of physical constants, but life remains an epiphenomenon. (2) The Darwinian analogy is an inadequate model transfer. The fitness of Smolin's universes is not constrained by its environment, but by only one internal factor: the numbers of black holes. Furthermore, although Smolin's universes have different reproduction rates, they are not competing against each other. (3) Smolin's central claim cannot be falsified.
Natural selection. IV. The Price equation  [PDF]
Steven A. Frank
Quantitative Biology , 2012, DOI: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2012.02498.x
Abstract: The Price equation partitions total evolutionary change into two components. The first component provides an abstract expression of natural selection. The second component subsumes all other evolutionary processes, including changes during transmission. The natural selection component is often used in applications. Those applications attract widespread interest for their simplicity of expression and ease of interpretation. Those same applications attract widespread criticism by dropping the second component of evolutionary change and by leaving unspecified the detailed assumptions needed for a complete study of dynamics. Controversies over approximation and dynamics have nothing to do with the Price equation itself, which is simply a mathematical equivalence relation for total evolutionary change expressed in an alternative form. Disagreements about approach have to do with the tension between the relative valuation of abstract versus concrete analyses. The Price equation's greatest value has been on the abstract side, particularly the invariance relations that illuminate the understanding of natural selection. Those abstract insights lay the foundation for applications in terms of kin selection, information theory interpretations of natural selection, and partitions of causes by path analysis. I discuss recent critiques of the Price equation by Nowak and van Veelen.
Natural Selection and Thermodynamics of Biological Evolution  [PDF]
Georgi P. Gladyshev
Natural Science (NS) , 2015, DOI: 10.4236/ns.2015.73013
Abstract: The author of this article proposes that the representation of Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace’s theory on “variation and selection” in the living world is a reflection of the action of hierarchical thermodynamics. Hierarchical thermodynamics is based on the law of temporal hierarchies and on the principle of substance stability. This principle enables the transmission of thermodynamic information between lower and higher structural hierarchies, in both forward and reverse direction: from nucleic acids to higher structural hierarchies and back. The principle of substance stability, in fact, is the main dynamical and thermodynamic mechanism of natural selection. It is alleged that the natural selection of atoms, molecules, organisms, populations, and other hierarchical structures takes place under the action of a variety of internal factors within organisms and the external environmental factors that can be considered as tropisms. Forms (design) of living organisms are formed as a result of spontaneous and non-spontaneous processes that lead to the adaptation of living systems to the environment. The selection is carried out as a result of the impacts of different energy types and the principle of substance stability at all levels of hierarchical structures. Actions of tropisms are presented by various members of the generalized Gibbs equation.
Natural Selection and Morality
Alejandro Rosas
Ideas y Valores , 2006,
Abstract: Resumen:En este ensayo abordo los intentos, relativamente recientes, de dar una explicación de la moralidad como adaptación por selección natural. Mi exposición tiene una introducción y cuatro partes: en la primera explico en qué consiste la paradoja del altruismo biológico. En la segunda expongo la solución que apela a la selección de grupos, recientemente resurgida; la solución que presuntamente aplicó Charles Darwin cuando formuló sus reflexiones biológicas sobre la moralidad humana. En la tercera expongo la solución sociobiológica, que opta por negar que la selección natural pueda explicar directamente la moralidad humana. La moralidad se presenta más bien como opuesta a la naturaleza dise ada por selección natural. En la cuarta parte desarrollo brevemente una explicación de la moralidad como adaptación que beneficia a los individuos. No opone la moralidad a la naturaleza, ni apela a la selección de grupos. Se sirve de un mecanismo de selección que opera a través de preferencias en la interacción social.Abstract:In this essay, I address recent attempts to account for morality as an adaptation due to natural selection. After a brief introduction, my exposition has four sections. I first explain the paradox of biological altruism. Second, I explain the solution to the paradox in terms of group selection. This solution was presumably applied by Darwin himself as he discussed human morality, and it has experienced a recent revival, though it remains suspicious to most biologists. In the third section I offer a socio-biological solution that opts for denying that morality can be explained by any form of natural selection. Morality is opposed to human nature as designed by natural selection. In the fourth, I argue for an explanation in terms of individual selection. It does not oppose morality to nature, and does not need the workings of group selection; rather, it operates through the agents’ psychological preferences in social interaction.
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