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Book Review - Neutral Models in Biology

Cameron Laird claird at NeoSoft.com
Wed Jul 28 14:59:40 EST 1993

In article <1993Jul28.065456.3242 at cs.su.oz.au> danny at cs.su.oz.au (Danny) writes:
>Neutral Models in Biology
>(Eds) Matthew H. Nitecki and Antoni Hoffman
>Oxford University Press 1987
>pp. 166
>[ biology, philosophy of science ]
>applicable to broader science quite generally.  In "Self-Organisation,
>Selective Adaptation, and Its Limits: A New Pattern of Influence in
>Evolution and Development" Kauffman models the genomic regulatory
>system as a network of Boolean switches.  He presents the results of
>simulation studies which suggest that (under some fairly reasonable
>assumptions) there are generic statistical properties of such systems
>that may be largely "immune" to selective effects and so can be
>considered ahistorical universals.  
Note that, in

	Kauffman, Stuart A.
	1993	The Origins of Order:  Self-Organi-
		zation and Selection in Evolution.
		Oxford University Press, New York

the author includes some variations on this story:  besides
simulation, he adduces analytic arguments which suggest
"genericity"; also, sometimes the point is not that
self-organized systems actively resist selection, in the
sense that "immune" suggests, but merely that no observati-
ons we have (or perhaps are likely to have) can distinguish
whether or not selection has been active.  It's a big book;
it has many angles.

Cameron Laird
claird at Neosoft.com (claird%Neosoft.com at uunet.uu.net)	+1 713 267 7966
claird at litwin.com (claird%litwin.com at uunet.uu.net)  	+1 713 996 8546

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