Chapter 11. The Purpose of an Oak Tree

Living things are different from non-life by their ability to capture and process energy, using it to maintain themselves in a functional, non-equilibrium state, acquiring information from the outer environment, and replicating themselves. Teleology, or purposive behavior, is a dilemma in biology; because organisms are functional and do things to survive, teleology cannot be eliminated from biology, but neither can it provide an underlying cause of evolution.

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