Monday, July 27, 2015

A New Approach to the Theory of Evolution

Darwin's theory of evolution explains much about how humans and other animals change over time. However, even Darwin felt that his theory was incomplete. He wrote that he was convinced that Natural selection was the main but not exclusive means of modification. Lamarck, a contemporary of Darwin's had a theory that internal factors were responsible for modification. He believed that modification was based on what an organism's environment required and how the organism related to that environment.

Although not espousing Lamarck's theory, the present book stresses the importance of internal factors, particularly in the evolution of humans. The authors believe that today's environment for humans is safer than in the past, and therefore humans have more opportunity to effect changes in themselves. His chapters on why we die and on mind-body medicine are interesting in this context.

The book, although presenting complex concepts, is relatively easy to read. The authors use analogies, such as a card game for how the information cycle allows for internal processes to bring about changes and help the organism maintain it's present status. It also helps to have some passing familiarity with information theory, although the authors do a good job of explaining the concepts.

The concepts presented are not a way to negate Darwin's theory. They are rather a thought provoking set of ideas designed to enhance the theory. I recommend this book. While it may not be factually accurate, in fact it is based on theory not research, it is well worth reading for the ideas.

I reviewed this book for Net Galley.