Chaos and Life: Complexity and Order in Evolution and Thought

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9780231126625: Chaos and Life: Complexity and Order in Evolution and Thought

This thought-provoking work will be valuable reading for students and for professionals trained in ecology and evolution... it should be required reading for advanced undergraduates, for graduate student seminars, and for discussion courses on the nature of organic evolution. Recommended [for] general readers, upper-level undergraduates and above. Choice Bird reveals his philosophical, almost mystical, inclinations... Bird's book is a product of this creative imagination that grapples with the very process itself. -- Martin Lockley The Scientific and Medical Network Bird's explanation of how organisms tap the universe of archetypes is... radically ingenious. Times Literary Supplement Chaos and Life...literally challenges many of our accepted views of's extremely well-written, so that if readers are willing to make the effort, they can tread new paths of thought. -- Robin Robertson Cybernetics and Human Knowledge vol. 11 # 4 This is a formidable piece. -- Paul Johnson Richmond Times-Dispatch 9/9/05 Well written and clear, makes a strong case. Northeastern Naturalist vol. 12 no. 3

Vom Verlag:

Why, in a scientific age, do people routinely turn to astrologers, mediums, cultists, and every kind of irrational practitioner rather than to science to meet their spiritual needs? The answer, according to Richard J. Bird, is that science, especially biology, has embraced a view of life that renders meaningless the coincidences, serendipities, and other seemingly significant occurrences that fill people's everyday existence. Evolutionary biology rests on the assumption that although events are fundamentally random, some are selected because they are better adapted than others to the surrounding world. This book proposes an alternative view of evolving complexity. Bird argues that randomness means not disorder but infinite order. Complexity arises not from many random events of natural selection (although these are not unimportant) but from the "playing out" of chaotic systems -- which are best described mathematically. When we properly understand the complex interplay of chaos and life, Bird contends, we will see that many events that appear random are actually the outcome of order.

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