Publications [#229064] of Daniel W. McShea

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Papers Published

  1. McShea, DW, Complexity and evolution: What everybody knows, Biology & Philosophy, vol. 6 no. 3 (July, 1991), pp. 303-324, Springer Nature [doi] .
    (last updated on 2019/05/19)

    The consensus among evolutionists seems to be (and has been for at least a century) that the morphological complexity of organisms increases in evolution, although almost no empirical evidence for such a trend exists. Most studies of complexity have been theoretical, and the few empirical studies have not, with the exception of certain recent ones, been especially rigorous; reviews are presented of both the theoretical and empirical literature. The paucity of evidence raises the question of what sustains the consensus, and a number of suggestions are offered, including the possibility that certain cultural and/or perceptual biases are at work. In addition, a shift in emphasis from theoretical to empirical inquiry is recommended for the study of complexity, and guidelines for future empirical studies are proposed. © 1991 Kluwer Academic Publishers.