Thisbookhasbeenwritten tomake a pointand tofulfill a need. Thepoint is that the importance and the distinctiveness of the process of selection have been undervalued by most biologists. There is, consequently, the need for a book that describes the principles of selection in a simple but reasonably comprehensive way. Selection Is a Distinct Kind ofProcess Although we are now well into the second century of Darwinism, the theorythatDarwinand Wallaceannouncedin 1858hasnotyetmademuch progress beyond a small coterie of professional biologists. The reason is thatit isjarringlyunfamiliar toournormalexperienceofhow things come to be. Few ofus would be able to design a light bulb or a lathe, still fewer the computerand itsattendant softwarewithwhich this sentence is being written. But we all have a clear idea of what is meant by "design", and we readily, too readily, transfer this notion to the natural world. A light bulb or a lathe are prefigured in the mind, and constructed according to a plan.
It is entirely reasonable to assume that beetles and daisies must be constructed after the same fashion, especially because they are much morecomplicatedthananythingthathumaningenuityhassofarmanaged to devise. There is, however, a second route to complex organization, throughtheselectionofrandomvariantsthatpropagatenearlyexactcopies ofthemselves. Itisofverylittleconsequenceinourdailylives,becauseifis somuchmorelaboriousandexpensivethandeliberatedesign. However,it isanotherwayofconstructingthings. Indeed, sofarasIknow, itistheonly other way of constructing things that we have ever been able to imagine.
Publisher: Springer-Verlag New York Inc.
Number of pages: 699
Weight: 1098 g
Dimensions: 235 x 155 x 36 mm
Edition: Softcover reprint of the original 1st ed. 199