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Proving Darwin: Making Biology Mathematical

by Gregory Chaitin
New York: Pantheon Books, 2012. 144 pages.

“This is an infuriating little book,” writes reviewer Jeffrey Shallit, complaining of its poor writing, its failure to cite relevant literature, and its author’s tendency for self-promotion and exaggeration. “Nevertheless, despite all these flaws … the book is written in an engaging and enthusiastic style, and does contain one rather interesting idea.” Shallit concludes, “So contrary to the title of his book, Chaitin has not proved Darwin mathematically. … Instead, he’s created an unrealistic but intriguing mathematical model quite divorced from biological evolution in the real world, and proved some theorems about it. This is the stuff of an interesting talk at a departmental colloquium, not a whole book.”