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Does Evolution Work? Mathematical Models Show Its Possibilities and Limitations

Date recorded: 23 May 2017 | Speaker: Peter Korevaar | Event: ELF Science Network
Topic: Science


In evolution theory it is generally claimed that many small changes lead to big ones. Is this really the case? Evolutionary biologists know it is by far not as simple as school textbooks teach. In fact the final proof that evolutionary mechanisms can create complex new structures is still missing 157 years after Charles Darwin published his famous book Origin of Species. Also, mathematical models seem to indicate the opposite: many small changes lead to the optimization of existing structures, but do not lead to more complex ones. In other words, microevolution works, macroevolution doesn't. In this talk mathematical evolutionary models that are used to solve complex real-life problems will be introduced and used to demonstrate limitations. This is not a talk for mathematicians, but for interested laymen, and it will include helpful and fascinating graphic models.