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Not by DesignRetiring Darwin's Watchmaker$
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John Reiss

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520258938

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520258938.001.0001

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Existence and the Mathematics of Selection

Existence and the Mathematics of Selection

The Adaptive Landscape versus the Fundamental Theorem

(p.152) (p.153) 7 Existence and the Mathematics of Selection
Not by Design

John O. Reiss

University of California Press

Darwin's separation between adaptedness and existence entered into modern evolutionary theory at its root, in the population genetics work of Sewall Wright and J. B. S. Haldane. This chapter shows how the teleological aspect of Darwin's theory was translated into the mathematical language of population genetics, particularly by Sewall Wright. This teleology is exemplified by Wright's metaphor of the adaptive landscape; it is absent from R. A. Fisher's fundamental theorem. The chapter also examines the debate over genetic load, showing that the separation of adaptedness from existence is transferred to the mathematical theory most directly in the form of confusion between absolute and relative fitness.

Keywords:   adaptedness, Sewall Wright, Haldane, population genetics, adaptive landscape, R. A. Fisher, fundamental theorem, genetic load, absolute fitness, relative fitness

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