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Convergent EvolutionLimited Forms Most Beautiful$
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George McGhee

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262016421

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262016421.001.0001

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Philosophical Implications of Convergent Evolution

Philosophical Implications of Convergent Evolution

(p.265) 8 Philosophical Implications of Convergent Evolution
Convergent Evolution

George R. McGhee

The MIT Press

This chapter reviews philosophical questions concerning freedom, purpose, design, destiny, teleology, spirituality, and even God, and addresses the model of discussion used by John Casti in his philosophical-scientific book Paradigms Lost. It provides the argument that evolution is unpredictable, contingent, nonrepeating, and directionless, as well as predictable, predetermined, and inevitable, and also presents the implications of the phenomenon of convergent evolution. The chapter shows that the phenomenon of convergent evolution leads to the review of Charles Darwin’s closing sentence, at least for carbon-based life.

Keywords:   convergent evolution, Charles Darwin, philosophical questions, freedom, teleology, spirituality, God

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