12Assumptions of evolutionary theory
- Oct 21, 2003An important problem with evolution is the contradiction between preformism,
which e-volution implies, and full adaptation to circumstances which do not
unfold in a linear way. The earth is not necessarily evolving in a way that
intelligence would be its co-evolutionary partner. The idea that evolution
is going towards a fixed destiny is an import that has cultural roots, and
anyone carrying that assumption should investigate their own influences.
Preformism or directionalism miss the beauty and mystery.
Another issue is that often there is an assumption that we know what is
evolving, speech, intelligence, the color of the flower, the arch of the
wing. But in fact we do not know, since often what is really happening is
The story of salmon, the depositing of carbon on the river banks, the
involvement of prey, the feeding of the trees that hide the banks that
shadow the young salmon.. This is as far as we have got, but the real story
may still be hidden,
So when people pick something like "problem solving" as the "representative
anecdote" about which an explanation is going to be an adequate theory of
the whole ( the human psyche for example), then we have to cringe who might
think that "poetry" would be a better representative anecdote for which, if
we had a good theory, we would know more about what being a human being is.
I am not asserting that poetry is it, just suggesting that our basis for
choice is based in presuppositions which are probably off the mark.
Another problem is that space is not a void, but a field of potential which
contains and limits and empowers "evolution", but we have no theory at the
level of form or more profound about what that is, yet is must be part of a
full theory of change.
The idea of "representative anecdote" comes from Kenneth Burke, who used
literature to understand society, and was concerned that we pick the wrong -
and too superficial - things to try and understand.
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