> The following has been whirling in my brain for some time. I believe that
> the study and attempts of predicting our weather is a much simpler problem
> than the study and attempts of predictions one can make in evolutionary
> theory. It is well-known that the study of our weather leads to
> deterministic chaos, via the Lorenz equation and the so-called butterfly
> effect. Now, why doesn't the same occur in any theory that attempts to
> predict the outcome from natural selection and random mutations?
Because they represent different classes of phenomena. Chaos is
deterministic; you can predict the future exactly if you know the
equations and the initial conditions. OTOH, evolution has a very strong
component of randomness, both through mutations and drift.
> particular, why can't two totally different species, say a gnat and man, be
> the evolved outcome of a common entity in the past? In addition, why should
> two species that are close in DNA space now be considered to have evolved
> from the same entity in the past?
They could, but that wouldn't be the most parsimonious explanation given
the available evidence. I think most biologists are aware of that.
> I believe that such complex systems are
> chaotic and attempts of predictions are totally baseless. Also, working
> backwards in time is useless and arbitrary. Moorad
Complex systems are not chaotic. Some people from the so-called
"complexity sciences" suggest that the place where organisms should be is
in the border between order and chaos. Too much homeostasis prevents
evolution; not enough homeostasis would lead crutial processes such as
development to be too fragile.
Marcio R. Pie
Department of Biology
5 Cummington St.
Boston, MA 02215
Phone: (617) 353-6977
FAX: (617) 353-6340
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