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The Complexification of Nature: Supplementing the Neo-Darwinian Paradigm?

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Are evolutionary trends towards complexification merely accidental, or is there a general directionality of evolution? Section one reviews the biological data and its interpretation within various versions of current Darwinism. Section two focuses on the intertwining of the physical and biological aspects of evolution. Finally, section three entertains a set of hypothetical arguments in the context of a theology of nature: What if a “selection alone” principle would prove explanatorily satisfactory in biology? What if the idea of convergent evolution holds true and the course of evolution is channeled through a very small window of chemical options? Finally, what if there exists something like a Fourth Thermodynamic Law of self-organization, which more or less guarantees a general trend towards biological complexity? What would all this mean for an exposition of a Christian theology, informed and constrained by scientific findings?
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Keywords: Complexity; Darwinism; Evolution; Explanatory pluralism; Simon Conway Morris; Stephen J. Gould; Stuart Kauffman; Theology of nature

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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