Darwiniana

History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Evolution and the idea of progress.

June 30th, 2013 · No Comments

http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap7_5_3.htm: Evoloution and the idea of progress.
One of the biggest heresies now is to use progress in terms of evolution. But that is a misunderstanding based on Gould’s rants about commercial/economic progress under capitalism: points well taken. And the application of such false ideas to evolution makes the idea counterproductive.
The basic idea is that random evolution can’t show progress. But if evolution isn’t random, shows directionality, then the idea of progress reenters automatically. That seems to inject value judgments into the discussion. But that may be right, or wrong.
The idea of progress was not designed for evolution, and may be the wrong term. But you can or cannot, depending on how you do it, say that evolution shows progress between amoebas and land animals, say. It is not some horrific heresy against science. The notion should indeed be debatable, who knows. But the phase of Darwinian wrong thinking should be over. Meanwhile John Gray’s rants are simply dialectical swings in thought, not a big deal…(see previous post)

In WHEE, progress is discussed in terms of ‘finite transition models’, which change the picture considerably: people think, if we see decline from -300 BCE into the middle ages, how can progress be real. But in a finite transition model things are quite different. Progress tides, and recedes… Check out WHEE.

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