Nature's Magic: Synergy in Evolution and the Fate of Humankind (Hardback)
  • Nature's Magic: Synergy in Evolution and the Fate of Humankind (Hardback)
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Nature's Magic: Synergy in Evolution and the Fate of Humankind (Hardback)

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£56.00
Hardback 468 Pages / Published: 05/05/2003
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Nature's Magic presents a bold vision of the evolutionary process from the Big Bang to the 21st century. Synergy of various kinds is not only a ubiquitous aspect of the natural world but it has also been a wellspring of creativity and the 'driver' of the broad evolutionary trend toward increased complexity, in nature and human societies alike. But in contrast with the many theories of emergence or complexity that rely on some underlying force or 'law', the 'Synergism Hypothesis', as Peter Corning calls it, is in essence an economic theory of biological complexity; it is fully consistent with mainstream evolutionary biology. Corning refers to it as Holistic Darwinism. Among the many important insights that are provided by this new paradigm, Corning presents a scenario in which the human species invented itself; synergistic, behavioral and technological innovations were the 'pacemakers' of our biological evolution. Synergy has also been the key to the evolution of complex modern societies, he concludes.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521825474
Number of pages: 468
Weight: 860 g
Dimensions: 233 x 160 x 34 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Review of the hardback: 'If you are under the impression that synergy is not particularly important, just try to tie your shoes with a single hand. The book will appeal to anyone interested in the place of evolutionary thinking in general intellectual culture. It will also be esteemed a particularly valuable contribution to the emerging discipline of bioeconomics.' Professor Michael Ghiselin, California Academy of Sciences
Review of the hardback: 'I like this book. It's exciting, well-documented, and well-argued. It's very informative both for professional biologists and well-read lay people; it will change their minds and get them to see synergies everywhere.' Professor Jack Cohen, Warwick University and author of Figments of Reality, and Evolving the Alien (with Ian Stewart).
Review of the hardback: '... a must for all who are interested in understanding the evolutionary process generally, as well as understanding human evolution and evolutionary perspectives on human behaviour ... Nature's Magic is one of those rare books that will really make you see reality in a new way.' TRENDS in Ecology and Evolution
Review of the hardback: 'Once you start reading this book, you just can't stop until the end ... Effectively, Corning's fluent writing style and the manner in which he conveys his particular vision of the evolutionary process, from the Big Bang to the current, is definitely captivating.' Plant Systematics & Evolution
Review of the hardback: '... this book is a classic ... there is so much to chew over and consider.' Systems Research and Behavioral Science
Review of the hardback: 'Only a scientist as eclectic and versatile as Corning could have conjured the rich panorama of evolution that we get in Nature's Magic. ... After reading Nature's Magic, we were convinced that Peter Corning had delivered on his promise to show why the concept of synergy is so fundamentally important in the scheme of things, and how it has played a causal role in evolution. ... We congratulate both the author and the publisher for a job well done.' Cybernetics and Human Knowing
Review of the hardback: 'Nature's Magic is a pleasant mix of mysticism and science. Corning provides the reader with a feeling of reverence for the 'magic' of nature yet at the same time explores the various research agendas that attempt to explain many natural phenomena... Nature's Magic is packed full of current research topics. For someone wishing to get a broad sense of the current state of science, Nature's Magic provides it.' Artificial Life
Review of the hardback: 'Corning's book is a masterpeice of integrating the most far-reaching facts and theories of evolutionary biology and applying them with finesse to a variety of social phenomena ... the most intriguing chapter in Nature's Magic is the last one, titled 'Conjuring the Future' ... Dramatic environmental change, complex technologies, and institutions for social cohesion can destroy as well as create. Corning's final message is that if the current world system is to survive we must understand the negative as well as the positive forces of synergy ... Peter Corning has written a delightful and profound book about the human species. It should be on the bookshelf of anyone interested in the exciting field of social evolution and in the possibilities for human cultural evolution in the 21st century.' Journal of Bioeconomics
"...a text that leaves one thinking anew about how complexity within living systems has evolved." Frank T. Kuserk, Moravian College, Science Books & Films
"I like this book. It's exciting, well-documented, and well-argued. It's very informative both for professional biologists and well-read lay people; it will change their minds and get them to see synergies everywhere." Professor Jack Cohen, Warwick University, author of Figments of Reality, and Evolving the Alien (with Ian Stewart).
"If you are under the impression that synergy is not particularly important, just try to tie your shoes with a single hand. The book will appeal to anyone interested in the place of evolutionary thinking in general intellectual culture. It will also be esteemed a particularly valuable contribution to the emerging discipline of bioeconomics." Professor Michael Ghiselin, California Academy of Sciences
"Corning's new book makes for enjoyable reading, with clear, lucid, and transparent formulations, imaginative metaphors and similes, an encyclopedic scope, and a high convincibility factor. There is only one thing wrong with a book like this for a reviewer like me: every page contains at least one passage or paragraph which begs to be quoted...Far from being the umpteenth 'theory of everything,' Corning's magnificent book presents an invitation to look at everything in a novel and fresh way." Prof. Johan M.G. van der Dennen, University of Groningen, the Netherlands.
"Corning is one of the most erudite thinkers in systems biology. His original synergism hypothesis, posed in 1983, attracted little attention but had profound implications for many areas of biology and particularly evolutionary studies. Like all good systems, the context has now changed and Corning's thesis has come in from the cold. Suddenly and obviously synergism is everywhere and Corning's book expounds this crucial idea in brilliant fashion." Prof. Anthony Trewavas, FRS, Institute of Cell & Molecular Biology, University of Edinburgh
"This is a marvelous book, which will change your perception of reality, of how things work and act together. Corning's central claim...is that synergy...complements our contemporary scientific world view. Moreover, the concept of synergy is more tangible than the rather fuzzy concept of 'self-organization'... Corning is able to define synergy 0learly, to list the most important properties of synergistic effects, and to give numerous examples of synergy in the living and non-living world...I believe this book has the potential of becoming a classic in complexity-studies." Taede Smedes, Groningen, the Netherlands (review for Amazon.com)
"...a profound and widely encompassing amalgamation of inductive reasoning and broad repeating patterns directly affecting society itself. A work of impeccable, documented. ground breaking scholarship, Nature's Magic is so well written as to be complete accessible to academic and non-specialist general readers alike." The Bookwatch
"For the intellectually curious reader who already knows something about evolution, is interested in scientific ideas that transcend disciplinary boundaries...this book will provide a great deal of food for thought." Philip Chase, Penn Book News and Reviews
"... this book will provide a great deal of food for thought." Philip Chase for Expedition

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