Cosmic evolution and the meaning of life
on January 20, 2015
The question of evolutionary progress can’t be resolved in darwinian theory. However, from the perspective of the new and different view of evolution in WHEE we see that the confusion arises from the failure to distinguish two levels to evolution. The model uses a ‘stream and sequence’ metaphor to describe the continuous versus discontinuous aspects of evolution, and these two levels are overlaid, creating great confusion. But a rough stepping sequence is quite obvious from the record of deep time.
From a bird’s eye view we can see the obvious stepping sequence: origin of life, Cambrian, animals, primates, man…. The rejection of the idea of progress is due to the many ways the idea of progress, used in social history, can prejudice the account. And this critique should make us wary of injecting progress into the account. But everything about the record suggests at least some form of progression, and we can see the obvious stages almost by inspection. The term ‘progress’ may require another fresh term. In any case, the progression we see we need new ways to describe what is going on. But the overall working of two levels (first suggested by Lamarck) shows the way that steady level evolution is punctuated by periods of a complex new and more complex succession.