Evolutionary Biology pp 33-50

Part of the Evolutionary Biology book series (EBIO, volume 27)

History, Function, and Evolutionary Biology

  • Niles Eldredge

Abstract

Science concerns itself with description of the nature and behavior of the components of the material universe. Biology in general has had occasional trouble in the past being accepted as a full-fledged science—whether because living systems were supposed to differ in some fundamental way from nonliving, physical systems [e.g., “vitalism” (Simpson, 1949, Chapter 10)] or because much of its subject matter has been seen to lie outside the canons and strictures of experimental procedure. The spectacular achievements of molecular biology, the latest phase of a century-long effort to bring biology into the laboratory, have long since removed any rational doubts, on either score, of the “scientific” status of that general area of biology that Mayr (e.g., Mayr, 1982) has called “functional” and what Simpson (e.g., Simpson, 1963) simply termed “nonhistorical.”

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niles Eldredge
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of InvertebratesAmerican Museum of Natural HistoryNew YorkUSA

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