The Pursuit.jpgThe utility of biodiversity from an evolutionary perspective.

Are you ready to embrace an entirely new point of view? Then submerge yourself in the essay 'The Pursuit of Complexity' and be surprised by its innovative analysis of natural organization. 'The Pursuit' is an accessible book that will appeal to anyone who is curious about life and biodiversity. It was written for a broad audience. Based on his two PhD studies and a lifelong passion for system science and philosophy, the author proposes generalizations for a number of frequently used, yet ill-defined concepts in science, including: 'evolution', 'utility', 'life' and 'biodiversity'. In the last chapter, an answer is suggested to what can be considered as the utility of biodiversity.

A lecture note about The Pursuit. By J.-F. Ponge (CNRS, France)
English press release of The Pursuit: 25 sep 2012: WUR: Living with fewer species. Biodiversity from a brandnew perspective.
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Interview over De Soortenstorm op Hoe? Zo! Radio (13 jan 2013)
"Het debat over het nut van biodiversiteit woedt nu volop, dus de timing van het essay kan niet beter" Mark van Veen in "Landschap" (2012, 4)
"Een zonder twijfel zinvol onderzoek, en een boeiend boek" Johan van den Broek (Argus)
"Evolutie en het teleologisch argument", een recensie op de blog van Jasper Schaaf (docent filosofie)
Een recensie door Ronald Klingers in De Vogeldagboeken van Adri de Groot
"Een niet moralistisch boek over biodiversiteit" door Rypke Zeilmaker
Nederlandse persbericht bij De Soortenstorm: 17 sep 2012: WUR, Minder soorten, meer biodiversiteit.
Bestel het boek:
Order the Dutch version "De Soortenstorm" at KNNV

The pusuit of complexity


Chapter 1: The utility of biodiversity

14 Geographical distribution of biodiversity and economic prosperity.
15 Biodiversity’s contribution to economic prosperity and human wellbeing.
16 Ecosystem services.
18 Species that provide no service to humans.
18 The fear of losing species.
18 Personal arguments for conservation.
20 People of the future.
21 A future for biodiversity.
21 Scientific arguments.

Chapter 2: Key concepts

27 What is life? (A first step)
29 What is diversity?
30 Existing definitions of biodiversity.
31 Components of a definition of biodiversity.
33 The definition of biodiversity in this book.
34 Utility.
35 Universal utility.
38 The biological definition of evolution.
38 A generic definition of evolution.

Chapter 3: The source of biodiversity

47 The utility of a waterfall.
48 The early universe.
49 Matter and energy.
50 The building blocks of the universe.
51 The organism as energy vortex.
53 A foaming waterfall.
53 A wellspring of biofoam.
54 Biofoam creates new waterfalls.
55 Food chains.

Chapter 4: The struggle for existence

59 Running with the Red Queen.
60 The Red Queen and the constructal law.
62 People must also run.
62 On the brink of chaos.
64 Arms races and utility chains.
66 Resource chains and humans.
67 Competition and complexity.
67 Big meets big.
69 A pile of sand on a table.

Chapter 5: Lines of descent and organisational levels

73 The origins of genetics and information.
74 Whispering down the generations.
75 Why sloppiness pays.
76 Biodiversity and information.
77 Compulsory sex, rapid adaptation and dumping ‘waste'.
79 Phenotypic characters and biodiversity.
79 Biodiversity is what is left over.
80 A tree of structures.
82 Organisational levels and biodiversity.
83 What is the value of an organisational level?

Chapter 6: Future biodiversity

87 What is life? The difference between life and living (Step two)
88 The material organisation of life.
90 Levels of organisation.
90 How can particles and organisms be recognised?
92 Particles + organisms = operators.
94 What is life? (The third and last step).
96 Memes and imitation.
97 The brain.
99 Future biodiversity.

Chapter 7: The pursuit of complexity

110 The utility of biodiversity.