The ongoing scientific story of biological evolution
More to story than descent with variance and selection ... a story in progress (there is certainly more going on)
- interdependence, creative exploration, generation of new possibilities
- likelihood of explanations of catastrophic change other than external factors - complexity and collapse?
- problem of accounting for cooperation/altruism - co-evolution? still less local influences?
- likelihood of inertial factors other than selection - genotype cohesion?
- likelihood of controls on randomness/exploration - mutation regulation
- likelihood of exchange other than by genetic transmission - lateral spread
- problem of origins of evolutionary process - from inanimate to life?
- problem of appearance of consciousness, culture
- problem of intersection of genetic change and cultural change
- problem of transitions from non-narrative to narrative story telling?
Raised issues not only about past but about future (predictability? progress? purpose/meaning?).
|"Evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense -- an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection -- is not. Any system of thought that denies or seeks to explain away the overwhelming evidence for design in biology is ideology, not science"
... Christopher Schönborn, New York Times, 2005
Raises issues also about science, human life, literature ...
- Science/inquiry = evolution?
|Linear science||Seriously loopy science|
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|Science as successive approximations to Truth
Science as authority about "natural world"
Science as ongoing story telling and story revision: repeated making of observations, interpreting and summarizing observations, making new observations, making new summaries ... individually and collectively
Science as skepticism, a style of inquiry that can be used for anything, one which everybody is equipped to to/can get better at/be further empowered by, and contribute to - a way of making sense of what is but even more of exploring what might yet be
Narrative? (see The Nature of Science)
"evolution implies that we are the meaningless result of a meaningless process" ... Evan Stiegel
"a story that is inconsistent with my long=term observations of my place within my family, friends, and college? Or am I just futilely searching for meaning where there can never be any?" ... kaleigh
"useful", "purpose", "generativity"
"moving away from something, not toward something" ("less wrong"="more right"?) ... marquisedemerteuil
- Human evolution
- Humans part of ongoing larger exploration
- Lose specialness, gain connectedness, better understanding of humanness
- Appreciation of importance of human diversity (no "errors")
- Human life, culture ... literature?
- In the beginning was the word ... (John 1:1) ("logos" -> intent, reason, design, cause)
- Possibility that that is not so, that intent/reason/words were not present at the beginning, leading to ...
- "fears that the wrong answer [to whether evolution is the explanation] would have intolerable moral [and other] implications [no purpose, meaning, personal responsibility, goodness, comfort]" (Dennett, p20], ie that things important to us would prove to be shams/illusions
- An alternative from evolution/emergence ...
Intent/purpose/meaning/words (and personal responsbility, goodness, comfort) |
were not present at the beginning
do not exist in some parallel "other world"
do not disappear as illusions.
They are instead themselves outcomes of an evolutionary process and,
once having come into being,
they in turn become causal influences in that process.
From the Active Inanimate To Models to Stories to Agency (and Back Again)
- Bipartite brain as recent evolutionary invention
- Lose fixed "purpose/meaning"; gives room to create purpose/meaning ourselves
- and new questions ...
- What can we get from "random" exploration? (Game of Life)
- What do we mean by "purpose"? (Langton's Ant)
- What are words for? ("I wonder ... whether we have forced our literature into a more non-narrative state by printing it" - Caitlin; I wonder if ... this idea of specialization versus potential ... could be extended to the development of literature" - Elise)
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