Friday, January 04, 2008


Universal Basis For Science And Religion, Part 3b, Evolution (Continued)

Universal Basis For Science And Religion, Part 3b, Evolution (Continued)

If the environment changes there is no provision exept extinction under the Spencerian model because the individual who is "fittest" in the original environment, i.e., the one who best fits that circumstance, is not likely to fit the changed environment. Therefore the only things that survive in the Spencerian model are those whose environment never changed. Since even the creationists believe in the flood, it is unlikely that the environment all over the earth never changed.

Let us consider a species that is more tolerant of environmental changes. This is represented by Fig. 3. In equilibrium, the survival zone will be filled with individuals who are just barely able to survive or fitter. If the environment changes, there will be some individuals who will not be able to survive, but there will be others who will survive more easily. Eventually the survival zone will fill. If the environment continues to change, as long as it changes less than the dimension of the survival zone in a generation, the survival zone will continue to be filled. It is thus possible to get a new population that is different enough from the original population as to constitute a new species.

In some cases the survival zone will expand, for instance when a flood connects two bodies of water or a land bridge opens up. In the period after that the new survival zone will fill up with as many variations on the original population that will just barely survive in the new zone, as shown in Fig. 4. This provides an explanation for the variety of creatures in the Burgess shale. That would not happen under the Spencerian model because none of the variants would be "the fittest" in the original environment.

This provides the difference between the Spencerian and Darwinian models with regard to variations and mutations. In the Spencerian Model a mutation cannot survive unless the mutant is is "the fittest" in its present environment; but in the Darwinian Model the mutation merely needs to be barely able to survive in the original environment. A Spencerian mutation has to provide an immediate advantage; a Darwinian mutation merely has to avoid doing significant harm. A Darwinian mutation can be carried in a population for generations before it provides a survival advantage.

In fact this shows that complexity, by itself, has an evolutionary function, because a complex structure can tolerate many more variations that may not be advantageous but do no particular harm.

In addition, this provides an explanation for the advantage of cooperative behavior. Cooperation increases the survival zone for the breeding population, even if it does not provide a competitive advantage for a particular individual. Cooperation, and even altruism, are survival qualities for a population. There are animals that survive as individuals, but there are also many animals that live in groups and derive a survival advantage from that behavior. This is consistent with the Darwinian Model but not with the Spencerian Model.

The Intelligent Design Model is unnecessary because the Darwinian Model provides for complexity of form without the assumption of a supernatural designer. The Spencerian Model is unscientific because it does not explain phenomena like the Burgess Shale and cooperation as well as the Darwinian Model. But why do these models retain their popularity?

The Spencerian Model is popular among academic, and other, bureaucrats because it provides a justification for hierarchical systems. That allows the bureaucrats to consider themselves superior (i.e., more "fit") than the people they are supposed to serve. It also provides a justification for racism and classism. Similarly, Intelligent Design provides a basis for belief that the status quo was created by a divine fiat, and that therefore those in high status were placed there by divine decree. The Darwinist Model explains that all the individuals in a breeding population contribute to its survival, so that democratic rather than feudal institutions are more natural.

It will, therefore, be difficult to get people in authority in the present bureaucratic systems to adopt the Darwinist Model as "scientific". It does, however, provide an explanation for the evolution of human behavior.

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