Darwinism Evolving examines the Darwinian research tradition in evolutionary biology from its inception to its turbulent present, arguing that recent advances in modeling the nonlinear dynamics of complex systems may well catalyze the next major phase of Darwinian evolutionism.
The role of genetic inheritance dominates current evolutionary theory. At the end of the nineteenth century, however, several evolutionary theorists independently speculated that learned behaviors could also affect the direction and rate of evolutionary change. This notion was called the Baldwin effect, after the psychologist James Mark Baldwin.
Can recent developments in thermodynamics and information theory offer a way out of the current crisis in evolutionary theory? One of the most exciting and controversial areas of scientific research in recent years has been the application of the principles of nonequilibrium thermodynamics to the problems of the physical evolution of the universe, the origins of life, the structure and succession of ecological systems, and biological evolution.
The 10 original essays in Evolution at a Crossroads explore "post-Kuhnian" approaches to conceptual problems in contemporary evolutionary and developmental theory. They focus in particular on the effect that current, rapid developments in molecular biology are having on our understanding of evolution and philosophy of science.Philosophy of science has swung widely between the dogmas of logical empiricism and relativism.