Biology & Philosophy

, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 723–735 | Cite as

Puzzles for ZFEL, McShea and Brandon’s zero force evolutionary law

  • Martin Barrett
  • Hayley Clatterbuck
  • Michael Goldsby
  • Casey Helgeson
  • Brian McLoone
  • Trevor Pearce
  • Elliott Sober
  • Reuben Stern
  • Naftali Weinberger
Article

Abstract

In their 2010 book, Biology’s First Law, D. McShea and R. Brandon present a principle that they call “ZFEL,” the zero force evolutionary law. ZFEL says (roughly) that when there are no evolutionary forces acting on a population, the population’s complexity (i.e., how diverse its member organisms are) will increase. Here we develop criticisms of ZFEL and describe a different law of evolution; it says that diversity and complexity do not change when there are no evolutionary causes.

Keywords

Biological laws Causation Complexity Drift Force Hardy–Weinberg Stasis 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to Dan McShea and Robert Brandon for their helpful comments on an earlier draft, and to the anonymous referees of this journal for theirs.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Barrett
    • 1
  • Hayley Clatterbuck
    • 1
  • Michael Goldsby
    • 1
  • Casey Helgeson
    • 1
  • Brian McLoone
    • 1
  • Trevor Pearce
    • 1
  • Elliott Sober
    • 1
  • Reuben Stern
    • 1
  • Naftali Weinberger
    • 1
  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

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