- by dominicaldays
- 10:56 PM UTC
- Filed in Costa Rica
Darwin Gets Dusty: how radical revisions in evolutionary theory reshape world culture
One of the dire questions presented as we witness the increasing global environmental devastation accompanying economic growth and resource extraction is why our global community of scientists, biologists, and evolutionary thinkers failed to yield information regarding our evolutionary potential that can be immediately applied to change our destructive course of war, waste, greed, and environmental abuse? In other words, if science, biology, and evolutionary theory are accurate, viable investigations of life, why have these fields failed to provide the solutions to end social stratification, resource wars, and the destruction of the environment? Examining the cultural side effects of movements in past evolutionary thought exposes many faults and inconsistencies. Past evolutionary thought has been mainly ruled by the ideas of individual selectionists, who present the evolution of life as mainly a struggle for the survival of distinct genes and organisms; more recent recognition of group selection factors illustrate genes and individuals often satisfy their survival and prosperity from within the needs and demands of groups. With the rising acceptance of group selection (opposed to individual selection) theory in science and culture, a movement to openly share scientific information, technology, and debate is filling the cracks left behind science as driven by industrial and academic achievement.
Interpretations of Darwin’s theory bred into scientific thought and world culture in general myriad ideas, one of which was that the concept that individuals (or their “selfish genes” as famed biologist Richard Dawkins has proposed) are in direct competition with each other; that viciousness, competition, and destructiveness were the hallmarks of the “evolutionary plan.” This skewed depiction of “survival of the fittest” often becomes a rationalization for our own behavior. The generalizations and misconceptions of evolutionary theory filter through culture, contributing significantly to our own perceptions of ourselves as rugged individualists cast into competition with one another. But just as competition has served adaptive under certain conditions, so has cooperation. The natural world is filled with examples of altruism, cooperation, and self-sacrifice that force us to question the validity of the incomplete, “selfish-survival” vision of evolution.
Recent research in bacterial resistance to antibiotics indicates that, in order to survive and produce resistant strains, bacteria will group together, with certain among them sacrificing their own survival for the benefit of the group by producing chemicals which stress and weaken the bacterium responsible for their creation, but that serve as steroids for the group. Antelope and many other animals will give predator warning calls to the group when danger approaches, making the individual caller more obvious to the predator for the advantage of the group. Human history is replete with instances of cooperative behavior and self-sacrifice: from ancient, unifying spiritual and cultural traditions to Kamikaze pilots we have and continue to survive and prosper from within a group greater than the self or individual genes.
Our effectiveness and abilities to harness cooperative, restorative, and unifying coalitions will play an increasingly large role in determining the fate of biodiversity and human prosperity in the 21st century, as economic decline and environmental decimation force the emergence of novel human organizational models.Movements driven by an alternative perception of the human community as a global society desperately in need of local, readily available, free and open-source environmental and education tools are rapidly providing science and world culture with viable alternatives to contribute to novel forms of self-organizational economic and social interactions.
For more info on self-organizing societies, open-source movements, and group selection theory, see: www.howardbloom.net, and www.globalguerrillas.typepad.net.
“Dominating the field are individual selectionists, those who believe that the emergence of all behavior must be explained by forms of self-interest… Group selectionists, on the other hand, are convinced that new evolutionary forms can emerge both from the battle for personal advantage and from the competition between social coalitions.”
Dominical Days. All rights reserved.”
© Dominical Days S. A., Dominical, Osa, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
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