Compare what I said above about the implication of our evolved rationality. This is in a line of argument, wherein I say that the process of evolution is by no means the way that its cracked out to be. Or thought of in the mainstream. It appears rather that the creationist critique is not right. But that it is right MOST OF THE TIME. Nearly all pf the time in fact.
The creationist says that evolution doesn’t happen. That what we see rather is ADAPTATION. And that a species can vary backwards and forth between certain limits but it always stays the same species.
Now this sentiment is TOO ABSOLUTIST. Because we can see times and species where this is not the case. The Intelligent design people are not so absolutist as this most of the time. But you’ve got to give even the creationists a fair shake. Indeed the record seems to show that this is a good description (ADAPTATION NOT EVOLUTION) of what is going on 99% of the time.
Its important to listen to the better examples of the people you disagree with and not heap contempt on them right off the bat. Because this is a powerful criticism of the contemporary picture of evolution, if at once you discard the absolutism inherent in what the creationist is trying to pull off.
My reading of the record then is that evolution is hard yakka. And it fundamentally needs to be beaten out of the species. It has certain requirements.
PARTIAL BUT NOT TOTAL ISOLATION A FUNDAMENTAL REQUIREMENT OF EVOLUTION.
Partial but not total isolation being one of these requirements. Since if the isolation is total then the species will split apart and not really evolve so much but rather drift and become two different species without appearing to have evolved a great deal.
And if there is no partial isolation the gene pool will be unmoved and the stress placed upon the species will not squeeze serious change out of it. The stresses may squeeze a bunch of adaptation. But nothing we might seriously call “evolution” in the traditional sense.
How do we get this partial but not total isolation? and the change which comes via subjecting the partially isolated organisms to like stresses?
How do we allow for an innovative change at the fringes of the group, to be be introduced into the group in general, but only after the trait has reached a level of manifest success?
Well there seems to be two different ways that this is achieved, and therefore essentially two and only two different types of evolution. Three if you were to count intelligent design.
1. New-Niche-Morphing Evolution.
2. Pulsing holocaust evolution.
3. Intelligent design.
The rest of the time it really does seem we act more in accordance with the creationist critique. Its more adaptation and not evolution at all.
We suspect new niche morphing evolution in our case but we have not the paleo records for it. When the glacial period comes life on terra firma gets pretty scarce. But ocean life picks up since the colder water can now absord more Oxygen and the very lord of life; Carbon Dioxide.
So now the hominid starving and cold, if he lives, must usually find himself on the Coast. Down on his hands and knees and grabbing at plentiful shellfish. A food supply for which HE HAS NO SERIOUS COMPETITOR. The plankton is washed up on the beach and it brings the shellfish. Almost as convenient as the supermarket. Yet though incredibly abundant the hominid almost alone has to tools to exploit this wonderfully nutricious food. The descendant of the tree-dweller is capable of taking this food off the shelves and no-one but his own kind crowding him out.
The fossil record shows us nothing of this. The sea level is much lower during glacial periods than the sea level of today. Our fossil record is almost exclusively of the slim pickings and hard yakka which was surely involved with tracking the surviving game inland.
So here we have the majority of the human race freezing the whole time as it gets its sustenance from the sea. But why not go the whole hog like the ancestors of the hippo and whale? Well every so often the ice melts and the INLAND GAME multiplies much faster than the hominid can. So he is driven inland by the new garden of eden.
The need to get ones nutrition from the sea in freezing conditions, and to therefore fashion tools to fashion clothes to deal with the constant chill factor, is where the new niche morphing evolution comes in. But with we humans we also have the pulsing holocaust evolution to cut us off one from the other and to provide the partial but not total isolation needed for full-blown evolution as opposed to the more normal adaptation.
Here the warm conditions come. The ice melts. And the shorter-lived game multiply to garden of eden levels. But it is just Gaia fattening the hominid for the slaughter. The warm period lasts just long enough for the hominid to spread out to his greatest extent and populate into the millions, ready to crowd out his food supply and hit up against Malthusian restraints. But then the wall of ice comes. Bringing with it the drought, the freezing conditions, the low CO2-on-land that reduces the plant growth and therefore the animals that would have fed on that plant growth.
Now the bustling hordes of hominids are mercilessly slaughtered by kind, gentle, Mother Nature.
Such tribal groupings that had formed are totally destroyed until all survivors become a band apart. Just a travelling group of perpetually frozen sons of tree-dwellers trying to get along on their wits. Having to talk it out, the half dozen key adults. Like some endless series of desperate shivering board meetings. But carrying more life and death weight. Or like a group of boxers who have to be able to think straight even when they are exhausted and punchy.
This is what I said earlier:
“The evolution of rational faculties would seem to suggest that the times when the main evolutionary stress weighed upon us were times when we got about in small groups or clans rather than tribes.
Since the clan of hunter-gatherers needed to make decisions the whole time. Not just follow orders. They would have had to discuss and theorise and survive based upon their thinking. And this would have had to be the biggest stress for the longest time when the species was having change squeezed out of it.
It is for this reason and also reasons of neotony that we assume that the glacial-interglacial period have something to do with it. Only a band apart lives or dies on the ability of all its members to think and act during the long disaster of ice age conditions.”
Now juxtapose the above with the thoughts of a somewhat obscure intellectual. But I must ask you to ponder what I have said above. And ponder what the obscure intellectual says below. But do this WITHOUT searching for the other fellows identity. And if you cannot help yourself don’t blow his identity for the others. I think in this one point at least this fellow is right. And I think it has implications for the sort of policies that reformer-libertarians ought to prioritise. Its not about persecuting big business at all. Its just about prioritising the liberation of small businesses from their shackles of varying degrees of subtlety.
“Autonomy as a part of the power process may not be necessary for every individual. But most people need a greater or lesser degree of autonomy in working toward their goals. Their efforts must be undertaken on their own initiative and must be under their own direction and control. Yet most people do not have to exert this initiative, direction and control as single individuals. It is usually enough to act as a member of a SMALL group. Thus if half a dozen people discuss a goal among themselves and make a successful joint effort to attain that goal, their need for the power process will be served. But if they work under rigid orders handed down from above that leave them no room for autonomous decision and initiative, then their need for the power process will not be served. The same is true when decisions are made on a collective bases if the group making the collective decision is so large that the role of each individual is insignificant.”