Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Genesis ReduxEssays in the History and Philosophy of Artificial Life$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Jessica Riskin

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226720807

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226720838.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 29 June 2022

Sex Ratio Theory, Ancient and Modern: An Eighteenth-Century Debate about Intelligent Design and the Development of Models in Evolutionary Biology

Sex Ratio Theory, Ancient and Modern: An Eighteenth-Century Debate about Intelligent Design and the Development of Models in Evolutionary Biology

Chapter:
(p.131) 8 Sex Ratio Theory, Ancient and Modern: An Eighteenth-Century Debate about Intelligent Design and the Development of Models in Evolutionary Biology
Source:
Genesis Redux
Author(s):

Elliott Sober

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226720838.003.0008

This chapter demonstrates how Charles Darwin's theory inaugurated a steady progression toward an ever-sharper distinction between living creatures and artificial devices, and describes how natural life became nonartificial. Artificial life contrasts with life found in nature. Sex ratio provides an interesting case study of the problem of whether one should regard living things as artifacts or as the result of mindless natural processes. John Arbuthnot believes that a benevolent deity would seek to insure an even sex ratio at the age of marriage. Nicolas Bernoulli concludes that Arbuthnot's data provide no argument at all for Divine Providence. The problem with Arbuthnot's argument is that he does not keep the tasks of proximate and ultimate explanation separate. Modern sex ratio theory makes testable predictions about the sex ratios observed. The Even foundress has been more successful in producing grandoffspring.

Keywords:   sex ratio theory, Charles Darwin, living creatures, artificial devices, natural life, John Arbuthnot, Nicolas Bernoulli

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.