Monday, January 16, 2012

Purposeful Evolution

Peter Bowler, eminent historian of science, in his 3rd edition of his widely cited ''Evolution: History of an Idea'', writes:

"The antagonism of the creationists should not blind us to the fact that science and religion have sometimes been able to work in harmony. The history of evolutionism reveals many attempts to see the development of life on earth as the unfolding of a divine plan. There have certainly been some scientists who would adopt a more militant posture, arguing that humanity simply has to come to terms with the unpleasant fact that it is the product of a purposeless sequence of natural events."

Yes, we humans may have emerged from “a purposeless sequence of natural events”, but the fact of that happening to us I do not find “unpleasant”. 

The purposelessness of the sequence of natural events in evolution, even considering biological evolution only, does not necessarily exclude, in a lineage of entities, that new kinds of evolvable entities might emerge that could impose purpose on evolutionary change. 

Indeed, human culture emerged, in part from new entities called ‘memes’ or ‘culturgens’, whose evolvable complex associations discover knowledge and create ideas.

The ''eugenics movement'' early exemplified the potentiality for the lineage culminating in ''Homo sapiens'' to ''purposefully'' order the sequence of natural events.


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