Get Darwin's dangerous idea : evolution and the meanings of life PDF

By Daniel C. Dennett

ISBN-10: 014016734X

ISBN-13: 9780140167344

In a publication that's either groundbreaking and available, Daniel C. Dennett, whom Chet Raymo of The Boston Globe calls "one of the main provocative thinkers at the planet," focuses his unerringly logical brain at the thought of average choice, displaying how Darwin's nice suggestion transforms and illuminates our conventional view of humanity's position within the universe. Dennett vividly describes the idea itself after which extends Darwin's imaginative and prescient with impeccable arguments to their frequently fabulous conclusions, tough the perspectives of a few of the main well-known scientists of our day.

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Among the controversies that swirl around us, most if not all consist of different challenges to Darwin's claim that he can take us all the way to here (the wonderful world we inhabit) from there (the world of chaos or utter undesignedness) in the time available without invoking anything beyond the mindless mechanicity of the algorithmic processes he had proposed. Since we have reserved the vertical dimension of the traditional Cosmic Pyramid as a measure of (intuitive ) designedness, we can dramatize the challenge with the aid of another fantasy item drawn from folklore.

If the game is lost in evolutionary biology, where will it all end? CHAPTER 2: Darwin conclusively demonstrated that, contrary to ancient tradition, species are not eternal and immutable; they evolve. " This idea, that all die fruits of evolution can be explained as the products of an algorithmic process, is Darwin's dangerous idea. CHAPTER 3: Many people, Darwin included, could dimly see that his idea of natural selection had revolutionary potential, but just what did it promise to overthrow? Darwin's idea can be used to dismantle and then rebuild a traditional structure of Western thought, which I call die Cosmic Pyramid.

The psychologist Richard Gregory summarizes the idea crisply: Time's arrow given by Entropy—the loss of organization, or loss of temperature differences—is statistical and it is subject to local small-scale reversals. Most striking: life is a systematic reversal of Entropy, and intelligence creates structures and energy differences against the supposed gradual 'death' through Entropy of the physical Universe. [Gregory 1981, p. " Not just individual organisms, but the whole process of evolution that creates them, thus can be seen as fundamental physical phenomena running contrary to the larger trend of cosmic time, a feature captured by William Calvin in one of the meanings of the title of his classic exploration of the relationship between evolution and cosmology, The River That Flows Uphill: A Journey from the Big Bang to the Big Brain (1986).

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Darwin's dangerous idea : evolution and the meanings of life by Daniel C. Dennett

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