Comments

This is a preprint of the work that appeared in Complexity 17(3): 8-17 (Wiley Periodicals, January/February 2012). The definitive version is available at http://www3.interscience.wiley.com

Abstract

In some respects natural selection is a quite simple theory, arrived at through the logical integration of three propositions (the presence of variation within natural populations, an absolutely limited resources base, and procreation capacities exceeding mere replacement numbers) whose individual truths can hardly be denied. Its relation to the larger subject of evolution, however, remains problematic. It is suggested here that a scaling-down of the meaning of natural selection to “the elimination of the unfit,” as originally intended by Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913), might ultimately prove a more effective means of relating it to larger-scale, longer-term, evolutionary processes.

Disciplines

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | Evolution | Life Sciences | Other Ecology and Evolutionary Biology