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The Deep Structure of Biology

Is Convergence Sufficiently Ubiquitous to Give a Directional Signal?

Edited by Simon Conway Morris

Twelve renowned scientists and theologians offer penetrating insights into the evolution dialogue in The Deep Structure of Biology. Each considers whether the orthodox model of evolution is sufficient and offers his/her own perspective on evolution and biology. Essays include:

  • Chance and Necessity in Evolution
  • Green Plants as Intelligent Organisms
  • Canny Corvoids and Political Primates: A Case for Convergent Evolution in Intelligence
  • Social and Cultural Evolution in the Ocean: Convergences and Contrasts with Terrestrial Systems
  • Purpose in Nature: On the Possibility of a Theology of Evolution

Editor Simon Conway Morris provides the introduction and an overview of the issues as well as an essay on evolution and convergence. Other contributors are: Richard Lenski, George McGhee, Karl Niklas, Anthony Trewavas, Nigel Franks, Nicola Clayton, Nathan Emery, HalWhitehead, Robert Foley, Michael Ruse, Celia Deane-Drummond, and John Haught.

The discussion of biology and evolution in these essays broadens the scope of the traditional evolution discussion as it aims to stimulate the development of further research programs. Scholars in the science and religion field will find this book a valuable resource.

Introduction / vii
Simon Conway Morris

1. Chance and Necessity in Evolution / 3
Richard E. Lenski

2. Convergent Evolution: A Periodic Table of Life? / 17
George McGhee

3. Life’s Evolutionary History: Is It Determinate or Indeterminate? / 32
Karl J. Niklas

4. Evolution and Convergence: Some Wider Considerations / 46
Simon Conway Morris

5. Aspects of Plant Intelligence: Convergence and Evolution / 68
Anthony Trewavas

6. Convergent Evolution, Serendipity, and Intelligence for the Simple Minded / 111
Nigel R. Franks

7. Canny Corvids and Political Primates: A Case for Convergent Evolution in Intelligence / 128
Nicola S. Clayton and Nathan J. Emery

8. Social and Cultural Evolution in the Ocean: Convergences and Contrasts with Terrestrial Systems / 143
Hal Whitehead

9. The Illusion of Purpose in Evolution: A Human Evolutionary Perspective / 161
Robert A. Foley

10. Purpose in a Darwinian World / 178
Michael Ruse

11. Plumbing the Depths: A Recovery of Natural Law and Natural Wisdom in the Context of Debates about Evolutionary Purpose / 195
Celia Deane-Drummond

12. Purpose in Nature: On the Possibility of a Theology of Evolution / 218
John F. Haught

Contributors / 233

Index / 237