On Evolution

Darwinian Metaphors: Metaphors, are, by definition, not a truth preserving method of reasoning. They may be useful to bring one known structure to another, unknown, structure, and thereby "inform" the unknown structure by providing a "loose" map with which to look at the unknown structure. "Darwinian" metaphors, are, therefore, inappropriate when we have the structure of evolution as a process fairly well defined. The map of the history of evolution is based on objective fossil and living evidence, and continues today with DNA evidence modifying the maps originally based on morphology.

Chaos: One key characteristic of (mathematical) chaos theory is "sensitive dependence on initial conditions". Processes that initially start out from as carefully controlled initial conditions as humanly possible readily begin to deviate on successive trials producing patterns that show a range of tracks within limits but otherwise vary. Starting over shows the kind of uniqueness that we call "non-identity" the paths deviate from each other at the same relative time index. This includes virtually all motion actions. Perturbation from environments also contribute, as it is virtually impossible to insure the environment of different trials is "the same" as the original. We, of course, have built in "similarity abstractors" that allow us to "see" differences as "the same" [See The Neurological Basis of Identity]

Axioms of Evolution: Evolution theory has evolved since Darwin. We now have evolutionary epistemology, among other things. Evolution has become a paradigm, and it's operation can be seen in many places not originally conceived. The basic elements:

  1. We must have a population of similar "stuff" (things, events, activities, etc.)
  2. This stuff must be able to be "copied", "reproduced", etc.
  3. There must be variation in the "copies". (this can be small changes, or in can be occasional large changes [variation and mutation])
  4. There must be an environment in which this "stuff" gets "used" by humans or other active systems.
  5. The environment must be variable with respect to individuals of the "stuff".
  6. The interaction of the "stuff" with its environment must be such that "selection" occurs - that is, some of the stuff is removed before being copied, and some of the stuff remains to be copied.

These are just right off the top of my head, but I think it completely encapsulates the principles of evolution in a population. The entire branch of Media Ecology is an application of these principles to media. Media "survive" by getting enough attention from enough people. Newspapers right now are losing way to on-line media. The new species of information delivery have been multiplying exponentially since the telegraph was invented. We can apply the principles to gene-pools which can be organized at whatever level people are from families, to towns, to cities, crossed with ethnicity, and ancestral interactions.

History: The "morphology" tree of living and fossilized organisms shows the history of relation and species evolution, but it does not show all the environmental changes that may account for changes. Recognizing parallel and convergent evolution shows that the same form can arise from different genetic pathways, as Darwin discovered at the Galapagos, though he did not know about the DNA mechanism.

Annotated bibliography of general semantics papers
General Semantics and Related Topics

This page was updated by Ralph Kenyon on 2013-06-03 at 14:05 and has been accessed 2005 times at 39 hits per month.