Review of “Darwin’s Cathedral”

Biologist David Sloan Wilson’s acclaimed book, Darwin’s Cathedral, advances the thesis that organized religion is not for the most part an irrational, or exploitative phenomenon, much less a non-functional cultural “spandrel”. He makes a compelling case.

Review of “Into the Cool”

Schneider and Sagan claim that energy flows “generate, perpetuate, elaborate,” biological complexity. They claim too much for thermodynamics and slight the functional, economic drivers – the costs and benefits in a given environment and natural selection.

The Re-emergence of “Emergence”: A Venerable Concept in Search of a Theory

“Emergence” is a concept with a venerable history and an ambiguous standing in evolutionary theory. This paper briefly recounts the history of the term and details some of its current usages. The reductionist approach to explaining complexity has entailed a search for underlying “laws of emergence.” Another alternative is the “Synergism Hypothesis,” which focuses on the “economics” – the functional effects produced by emergent wholes and their selective consequences.