Puzzles for ZFEL, McShea and Brandon’s zero force evolutionary law
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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.
KeywordsBiological laws Causation Complexity Drift Force Hardy–Weinberg Stasis
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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