Encoding Contingency
(5/18/2011) 61 minutes
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Stephen J Gould who viewed evolution as the product of a series of contingencies that occurred under a set of initial and boundary conditions so unlikely to be repeated that if one rewound the "tape of life," the outcomes of evolution such as human beings would not happen again. The fractious debate that has erupted over this radical idea also operates at the cellular and molecular levels where evolutionary studies offer a deeper view of contingency. A particularly critical juncture in the tree of life was the appearance of multi-cellular organisms. The unicellular lifestyle is one in which a single cell is fully competent to deal with environmental complexity and its many contingencies.


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