Chapter 8: Implications for Everyday Systems

Section 5: Fundamental Issues in Biology

Studying natural selection

From the basic description of natural selection one might have thought that it would correspond to a unique simple program. But in fact there are always many somewhat arbitrary details, particularly centering around exactly how to prune less fit organisms. And the consequence of this is that in my experience it is essentially impossible to come up with precise definitive conclusions about natural selection on the basis of specific simple computer experiments. Using the Principle of Computational Equivalence discussed in Chapter 12, however, I suspect that it will nevertheless be possible to develop a general theory of what natural selection typically can and cannot do.

From Stephen Wolfram: A New Kind of Science [citation]