Brooks-Wiley theory

Melting Pot theory (cartoon)
A cartoon parody of the Brooks-Wiley theory, from a 2011 article on the theory by David Tyler, portraying their work as a "melting pot theory" wherein, in the end, Canadian zoologist Daniel Brooks is the one who gets "burned". [5]
In evolution, Brooks-Wiley theory, or "Wiley-Brooks hypothesis", is a 1982 Shannon bandwagon melting pot type theory, conceived by Canadian zoologist Daniel Brooks and American systems ecologist Edward Wiley, which argues that evolution is explained by a mixture of Prigoginean thermodynamics, information theory, Americans geneticist Lila Gatlin’s ideas on information theory thermodynamics and genetics, and physicist David Layzer’s cosmological thermodynamicsentropy gap” models, among a few other melting pot theories. [1]

The theory drew a severely negative reaction by Danish zoophysiologist Soren Lovtrup, American zoologist Fred Bookstein, and American chemist Jeffrey Wicken, along with later attack and ridicule by American thermodynamicist Harold Morowitz and and an anonymous three-author attack from the University of California, Berkeley, home to the Lewis school of thermodynamics, among likely numerous others.

The theory is so ridiculous, being that it rides on the Shannon bandwagon into nearly inane and bend-over backward arguments, that the titles of the reaction articles say it all: “Victims of Ambition” (Lovtrup), “Entropy and Nonsense” (Morowitz), etc., yet, in the face of such opposition, Brooks and Wiley carried on for nearly a decade, producing many rebuttal articles, followup articles, and a book (Evolution as Entropy, 1986), that was again attacked, along with 100+ additional reference-boasting second volume (1988), that was again attacked, and Brooks, at least, as he stated in 2011, is still "begging" for an extension of his new neo synthesis. [7]

Criticisms and quotes
The following are noted criticisms and quotes in regards to the negative reactions to the Brooks-Wiley theory:

“I see how you can do this with molecules, but I don’t see how you can do it with species. I don’t understand the extrapolation.”
Ilya Prigogine (1982), comment to Brooks [6]

“Responses to the proposal have been mixed and often quite strong. Some consider the theory to be a brilliant insight that will advance evolutionary biology immeasurably. Others vehemently reject it as an ill-founded attack on neo-Darwinism. Curiously, yet others regard it as nothing but neo-Darwinism translated into incomprehensible form. Still others contend that Brooks and Wiley's use of nonequilibrium thermodynamics is untenable in this context.”
Roger Lewin (1982) [6]

“The Wiley and Brooks (1982) discussion purportedly is based on nonequilibrium thermodynamics, as developed by Ilya Prigogine and his colleagues, and on some recent developments in information theory. Certainly, the cannibalistic nightmare depicted by the authors is completely unrealistic.”
Soren Lovtrup (1983) [10]

“Wiley and Brooks misconstrued the meaning of their crucial conceptual borrowings.”
Fred Bookstein (1983) [4]

“The Wiley-Brooks’ hypothesis itself is flawed and has been criticized by Lovtup (1983) and Bookstein (1983). I concur with most of these criticisms.”
Jeffrey Wicken (1983) [8]

“The Brooks-Wiley theory has been criticized (Lovtrup, 1983; Bookstein, 1983; Wicken, 1983) for abusing terminology from thermodynamics and information theory and for not accurately describing the phenomena.”
John Collier (1986) [2]

“I begin with this linguistic nitpicking because it is important to realize that [Entropy as Evolution] uses imprecise meanings and poor writing to cover up fundamental nonsense and emptiness of the underlying ideas. The only reason for reviewing such a work is that a number of biologists untrained in thermal physics and information science have been fooled into believing that there is some content in the ‘Unified Theory’ of Brooks and Wiley, and it is important to realize these biologists [have but been] mesmerized by the language and equations of physics to support a [baseless] hypothesis [evolution is an information-entropic process].”
Harold Morowitz (1986) [3]

“As useless as the book cited above is the book Evolution as Entropy by Brooks and Wiley. The basic proposition in this work is that speciation is controlled by the stochastic premises of the second law of thermodynamics. One may only regret that in the 43-years since the publication of Schrodinger's work [What is Life?] a book has appeared whose authors do not understand the role of the second law of thermodynamics in living nature...the authors are concerned only with the amount of information and, hence, with [Shannon] entropy. But, by confining oneself to these concepts alone, one can hardly say anything about evolution...in the world of living things the quality or value of information is often of decisive importance. No appropriate methods have yet been worked out for estimation of the quality of information.”
Mikhail Volkenstein (1996) [9]

“By 1982, the centenary of Darwin's death, Niles Eldredge and Steven J. Gould had catalyzed a loosely connected group of evolutionary biologists unhappy with the New Synthesis to unleash a cascade of criticisms and proposals. Emboldened by this display of the scientific community at its meritocratic best, Ed Wiley and I entered the fray. The day we finished proofreading Evolution as Entropy [1986], David Hull presciently warned us the fun was over. Soon, I received an envelope from a friend who had seen a manuscript on a colleague's desk. Such privileged material is rarely copied and forwarded. My friend wrote, "I think you and Ed should know what you're up against." The privately circulated manuscript was authored by three academics at the University of California-Berkeley. Ed and I were stunned by its vicious tone. Why the rhetorical heat?”
Daniel Brooks (2011) [7]

Daniel Brooks is has been living with controversy ever since 1982, when his [information theoretic entropy] ideas first appeared in an academic paper, and then when, in 1986, he co-authored with Ed Wiley a book with the title Evolution as Entropy.”
— David Tyler (2011) [5]

References
1. Willey, Edward O. and Brooks, Daniel R. (1982). “Victims of History: a Nonequilibrium Approach to Evolution” (abs), Systematic Zoology, 31:1-24.
2. Collier, John D. (1986). “Entropy and Evolution” (abs), Biology and Philosophy, 1:5-24.
3. Morowitz, Harold J. (1986). “Entropy and Nonsense: Review of Brooks and Wiley” (abs), Biology and Philosophy, 1:473-76.
4. Bookstein, Fred L. (1983). “Comment on a ‘Nonequilibrium’ Approach to Evolution” (abs), Systematic Zoology, 32(3): 291-300.
5. Tyler, David. (2011). “Are Evolutionary Biologists Really Ready for the Extended Synthesis” (Ѻ), Science literature, ARN.org, Mar 18.
6. Lewin, Roger. (1982). “A Downward Slope to Greater Diversity”, Science, 24(217): 1239-40.
7. Brooks, Daniel R. (2011). “The Extended Synthesis: Something Old, Something New”, Evolution: Education and Outreach, 4(1):3-7.
8. Wicken, Jeffrey S. (1983). “Entropy, Information and Nonequilibrium Evolution” (abs), Systematic Zoology, 32: 438-43.
9. Volkenstein, Mikhail V. (1994). Physical Approaches to Biological Evolution. Springer Verlag.
10. Lovtrup, Soren. (1983). “Victims of Ambition: Comments on the Wiley and Brooks’ Approach to Evolution” (abs), Systematic Zoology, 32: 90-96.

Responses
● Wiley, Edward O. and Brooks, Daniel R. (1983). “Nonequilibrium Thermodynamics: A Response to Lovtrup” (abs), Systematic Zoology, 32(2): 209-19.
● Brooks, Daniel R. and Wiley, Edward O. (1985). “Nonequilibrium Thermodynamics and Evolution: Responses to Bookstein and to Wicken” (abs), Systematic Zoology, 34(1):89-97.
● Wicken, Jeffrey S. (1987). “Entropy and Information: Suggestions for a Common Language” (abs), Philosophy of Science, 54(2): 176-93.
● Kontopoulos, Kyriakos M. (2006). The Logics of Social Structure (pg. 177). Cambridge University Press.

TDics icon ns

More pages