This wonderful life – evolution and complexity

This is a wonderful article that reiterates that complex systems are hard to predict and small changes in initial conditions have huge and unexpected impact on the long term state of the system. Read through it. I always like the comments on this type of articles.
The key aspect is how microevolution is not an extrapolation to macroevolution. The problem with most theories trying to explain or derive a mathematical model for a complex biological system is they tend to approximate it to linear models. Complex systems are inherently non-linear and are hard to model. Just like a fractal, though there micro analysis shows a lot of similarity to the macro model they are not exactly the same. The right way to study these or model them is through computer simulation and also get a general direction not exact model.

Example observation in the article "Life on Earth is always unique, changing, and unpredictable. Even if certain patterns can be dimly discerned, our ability to do so diminishes with time, exactly as for the weather. Consider any moment of the geological record of life on Earth: to what extent were the changes of the next 10 or 100 million years predictable at that time? With the benefit of hindsight, we might be able to understand what happened, and construct a plausible narrative for those events, but we have no foresight.

This view of life leads to certain consequences. Macroevolution is not the simple accumulation of microevolutionary changes but has its own processes and patterns. There can be no ‘laws’ of evolution. We may be able to reconstruct the sequence of events leading to the evolution of any given species or group after the fact, but we will not be able to generalise from these to other sequences of events. From a practical point of view, this means we will be unable to predict how species will respond to projected climate changes over next century."

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