Tautology in Evolution and Ecology

  title={Tautology in Evolution and Ecology},
  author={Robert Henry Peters},
  journal={The American Naturalist},
  pages={1 - 12}
  • R. Peters
  • Published 1 January 1976
  • Biology
  • The American Naturalist
Analysis of a number of popular ecological tenets, including natural selection, competitive exclusion, and parts of succession, species diversity, and spatial heterogeneity, reveals that they lack the predictive and operational qualities which define scientific theories. Instead they consist of the logical elaboration of certain axioms. Consequently, they must be termed tautologies. Tautologies may be useful logical aids, but they cannot replace true theories. Unless ecologists are careful to… 

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