- Hardcover: 144 pages
- Publisher: Pantheon; 1 edition (May 8, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0375423141
- ISBN-13: 978-0375423147
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 20 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,151,291 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Proving Darwin: Making Biology Mathematical 1st Edition
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Praise for Gregory Chaitin’s Meta Math!
“A startling vision of the future of mathematics. . . . The Chaitinesque intellectual future will be eternally youthful and anarchic.”
“Math’s dark secret is out . . . Chaitin explains why Omega, a number he discovered thirty years ago, has him convinced that math is based on randomness.”
“Is our universe computable? Is mathematics inevitable? Chaitin and I have been discussing these kinds of questions for a very long time, and it’s great to see him explain his point of view on them so passionately here.”
—Stephen Wolfram, creator of Mathematica and author of A New Kind of Science
“A clearly written and witty look at a difficult subject. . . . Chaitin explains with infectious enthusiasm how mathematics doesn’t equal certainty.”
"Captivating . . . With extraordinary skill and a gentle humor, Chaitin shares his profound insights."
—Paul Davies, author of How to Build a Time Machine
About the Author
Gregory Chaitin is widely known for his work on metamathematics and for his discovery of the celebrated Omega number, which proved the fundamental unknowability of math. He is the author of many books on mathematics, including Meta Math! The Quest for Omega. This is his first book on biology. Chaitin was for many years at the IBM Watson Research Center in New York. The research described in this book was carried out at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, where Chaitin is now a professor. An Argentine-American, he is an honorary professor at the University of Buenos Aires and has an honorary doctorate from the National University of Cordoba, the oldest university in Argentina.
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Does Chaitin say much of interest - despite apparently not having read any of the literature in the field? Unfortunately, not knowing the literature seems to lead to a distorted idea about what the open problems in the field are. Instead, Chaitin says he was inspired by David Berlinski's critique of Darwinism. Hang on, though. David Berlinski is a senior fellow of the Discovery Institute. He clearly doesn't have a clue what he is talking about. A scientist should not choose their research program based on what David Berlinski says. Chaitin just decreases his own credibility by taking Berlinski seriously.
Overall, this book won't be worth reading for most readers. If you want to learn about artificial life, I recommend looking to sources which have more thoroughly researched the topic.
The key for this is to introduce creativity in the math process, and showing how this leads to an efficient model. This is done by using computability notions, those topics are briefly introduced in the book so if you are not used with that language you could add bibliography material.
Evolution is a complex subject and also a controversial one and also popular one, then it's difficult (or impossible) to write a book about it without drawbacks nor critics, please don't let you intimidate, read it for yourself, and you will get a lot more than what you put.
Following the proof are chapters that read more as manifesto, but I'm okay with that, even if I don't agree with it all.
and in this short volume he shows that conventional determinist
math cannot capture biological and--I would insist--economic
subjects. For them we need post-Godel and Turing mathematics,
open mathematics that accommodates creativity and surprise.