Friday, April 18, 2008

At Last--a Fractal Approach to Evolution

This interview is very exciting, and it's followed by some good links.

Sample quotes: "Scientists usually study natural selection at a single level, such as genes or individuals or even a population...but it takes place at all these levels simultaneously, and what happens at each scale resonates through the web of life..."

"Neo-Darwinian evolution isn't fixated at one level. It's being applied at different levels -- but in a given study, only at one level. There's been arguments: Dawkins argues that it happens at the gene, others at the level of individuals, and others at the level of species -- but there's now more of a growing consensus that it happens at all these different levels, and we don't understand how that comes about."

"When you get into the notion of different levels, you deal with problem of selection at different time scales -- for instance, when you talk about a particular individual, it's about what happens during their lifetime. They either make or don't make children. When you talk about human populations and human dynamics ... what's the time scale over which selection is happening there? It's not individual anymore. It's a longer scale altogether.... What time scales are relevant? It seems you end up with lots of different possible time scales. How do you unify all these different mechanisms taking place? And why are there all these different levels? That's the fundamental thing that makes life complex. And those points aren't accounted for by Darwinian evolution."

I've said before on this blog that, in my Crackpot Theory of Everything, evolution is the primary spiritual and physical mode of expression, the Divine Mother's signature in four-dimensional space. I remember fondly and with only a little embarrassment talking with one of my co-workers about creationism, and my talking turned into a mini-rant and I spurted out something like "So you have these chemical processes that give rise to amino acids that resolve themselves into photosynthetic organisms which, over countless millennia, become thinking entities that are able to uncover and reflect upon their own ultimate origins. That is the greatest story ever told!"

Ancient seers told this story, too; is it naive to think that the quantitative and visionary accounts are two groping hands each with their peculiar purchase on the elephant?

1 comment:

  1. two groping hands... on the elephant

    Now that's what I've been wanting to see more of on this blog...
    -- more porn!!!