History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

Darwiniana header image 2

Biology and Non-locality

January 26th, 2006 · No Comments

Have been reading Nadeau and Kafatos in The Non-local Universe, introduced a few posts back, with their commentary on the limits of Darwinism in light of non-locality. While the riddle is hardly solved, nor the relevance of quantum mechanics transparent, it is definitely true that we have missed something in Newtonian biology.
I have been so far reluctant to consider non-locality in relation to the eonic model but the authors have finally convinced me to reconsider the point.
The whole shebang to do with the Axial Age cries out for something along those lines, but idle speculations and egregious blunders of misapplied physics leave the terrain a minefield.
But the connection of Kant to the eonic model, and non-locality to Kant, shows the clue, if one can use it.

Natural selection occurs, said Darwin, when variations “useful to each being’s own welfare,” or useful to the welfare of an atomized individual organism, provide a survival advantage and the organism produces “offspring similarly characterized.” Since the force that makes this selection operates “outside” the atomized parts, Darwin described the whole in terms of relations “between” the totality of parts. For example, the “infinite complexity of relations of all organic beings to each other and to their conditions of life” refers to relations between parts, and the “infinite diversity in structure, constitution, habits” refers to advantageous traits within the ~ atomized parts. It seems clear in our view that the atomized individual organisms in Darwin’s biological machine resemble classical atoms and that the force that drives the interactions of the atomized parts, the “struggle for life;’ resembles Newton’s force of universal gravity. Although Darwin parted company with classical determinism in the claim that changes, or mutations, within organisms occurred randomly, his view of the relationship between part and whole was essentially mechanistic.
During the last three decades, a revolution has occurred in the life sciences that has enlarged the framework for understanding the dynamics of evolution. Fossil research on primeval microbial life, the decoding of DNA, new discoveries about the composition and function of cells, and more careful observation of the behavior of organisms in natural settings have provided a very different view of the terms for survival. In this view, the relationship between parts, or individual organisms, is often characterized by continual cooperation, strong interaction, and mutual dependence.
What is more interesting for our purposes is the prospect that the whole of biological life is, in some sense, present in all the parts. For example, the old view of evolution as a linear progression from lower atomized organisms to more complex atomized organisms no longer seems appropriate. The more appropriate view could be that all organisms (parts) are emergent aspects of the self-organizing process of life (whole), and that the proper way to understand the parts is to examine their embedded relations to the whole.

Tags: Evolution

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment