in Chance and Necessity Jacques
Monod set out an eloquent account of evolution in terms of just two forces: the
necessary laws of nature, and blind contingency. Darwins mechanism of natural
selection fits neatly into this simple framework. The variation from generation
to generation that gives rise to adaptations is explained as sheer chance
(exemplified by quantum indeterminacy), and
the differential survival of the better adapted species is inevitable, just as
a projectile lofted with greater force is law-bound to reach a greater height.
With this conceptual framework established, Monod can claim chance alone is
the source of every innovation, of all creation in the biosphere.
Monod drew attention to the underlying simplicity of the processes driving
evolution, other commentators have shown how these twin forces, in combination,
can give rise to surprisingly complex phenomena.Biochemist Arthur Peacocke has critiqued Monods description pointing out that
the interplay between these principles is more subtle and complex than the
simple dichotomies of the past would allow.
| Feedback | Contributed by: Adrian Wyard