Mathematician Stephen Wolfram's A New Kind of Science is devoted to self-organization and complexity theory, or how simple rules can have complex results. Physicist Cosma Shalazi didn't like the book. Judging from the title of his review, "A Rare Blend of Monster Raving Egomania and Utter Batshit Insanity", he really didn't like the book. Here's what he has to say about Wolfram's grasp of biology:
Wolfram displays absolutely no understanding of evolution, or what would be necessary to explain the adaptation of organisms to their environments. This is related to his peculiar views on methodology. If you want to get a rough grasp of how the leopard might get its spots, then building a CA model (or something similar) can be very illuminating. It will not tell you whether that's actually how it works. This is an important example, because there is a classic theory of biological pattern formation, or morphogenesis, first formulated by Turing in the 1950s, which lends itself very easily to modeling in CAs, and with a little fine-tuning produces things which look like animal coats, butterfly wings, etc., etc. The problem is that there is absolutely no reason to think that's how those patterns actually form; no one has identified even a single pair of Turing morphogens, despite decades of searching. Indeed, the more the biologists unraveling the actual mechanisms of morphogenesis, the more complicated and inelegant (but reliable) it looks. If, however, you think you have explained why leopards are spotted after coming up with a toy model that produces spots, it will not occur to you to ask why leopards have spots but polar bears do not, which is to say that you will simply be blind to the whole problem of biological adaptation.
Come think of it, that's a criticism that applies to many evolutionary computer simulations as well (Avida, anyone?).
(HT: Stranger Fruit)