The Idle Theory of Evolution

The Survival of the Idlest

All living creatures have to work to stay alive. Some have to work harder than others to stay alive. Those creatures that need do little work to stay alive are more likely to survive periods of difficulty than those that must work longer.

The Idle Theory of Evolution is a slight variant of the Darwinian theory of natural selection. Darwin's struggle for existence becomes simply hard work. The fittest are the most idle creatures, not the strongest or fastest or most rapidly reproducing.

The Idle Theory of Evolution is explored in a number of linked (and uneven) essays. Some deal with general issues. Others include simulation models, or the results of simulations. This index attempts to group together those essays which share a common theme.


link Preface. An overview of the Idle theory of evolution.
link The Idle Life model. A description of the simple physical model of life used in Idle Theory.
link Slow Burn Fire. What is Life? Life as slow-burning fire.
link Oil Lamp Life. An analogy of life as made up of reproducing oil lamps.
link Idle Theory as Malthusian and anti-Darwinian.
Idle Theory
link 1. Idle Cell Life A mechanistic account of cell growth and division.
link 2. Idle Cell Populations Population growth in energy streams and pools.
link 3. Multicellular lifeforms Coercive and cooperative multicellular life.
link A Theory of Ageing
Simulation Models
link The IdleLife (Java) simulation model shows an initial wide diversity of reproducing creatures being reduced to a few varieties with high populations, with the intermediates extinct.
link Silken Fetters. IdleSpider (Java) web builder simulation
link Stream-fed Populations. The Malthus Java simulation model. Populations of grazers feeding in a nutrient stream demonstrate S-curve growth to a maximum.
link Pool-fed Populations The Malthus Java simulation model. Populations of grazers feeding from a pool of nutrients are shown to oscillate.
link Predation. The Malthus Java simulation model. Predators are introduced into a pool-feeding population to attempt to restrict grazer populations. A variety of population behaviour results
link The Tetra simulation model. QuickBasic model of omnivore 'tetrapod' populations feeding on a homogeous photosynthetic soup. Predation results in long periods of population near-stability.
link Comments on the models. Discusses the Malthus and Tetra simulation models.
Idle Theory is a physical model of life in which metabolism is primary. Genetically-trained biologists, by contrast, always seem to equate life with reproduction.
link The reproductive Imperative 1 suggests that biologists may equate life with reproduction because microbiological practice is to determine whether cultures are alive if they are able to reproduce.
link The Reproductive Imperative 2 contrasts Francois Jacob's view that life is above all reproductive life with James Lovelock's view that living creatures maintain their integrity.
link Kin Recognition asks how genetically related creatures can recognize their kin if they don't have gene comparators or 'sensors' to tell them.
link Sex as Counter-reproductive argues that the many complications of sexual reproduction evolved to reduce reproduction, and to give the creatures the ability change their reproduction rates by varying the ratio of sexes.
link The Ministry of Silly Walks. Richard Dawkins' explanation of human bipedalism and human braininess.
While Idle Theory accepts natural selection, it does not accept Darwin's portrayal of evolution as a competitive struggle for existence, or , as Darwin put it, a "war of nature".
link Index
General Essays
link Fossil Beach. Belemnites in Lyme bay.
link The fossil record. The lack of intermediates in the fossil record.
Human Life
link Index of essays on human life.

Author: Chris Davis
First created: 1 April 1998
Last updated: August 2006