Evolution

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Toto Gale
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Evolution

Post by Toto Gale »

The Analytic Idealism course makes several references to Evolution. I accept Evolution as fact, but the mechanism is unclear to me. It seems far more likely that consciousness drives Evolution, rather than natural selection. Consider this lengthy quote.

Another fundamental problem contradicts the theory of chance-driven natural selection. According to the theory, species should evolve slowly and gradually, since evolution is caused by the accumulation and selection of random errors in the genetic text. However, the fossil record reveals a completely different scenario. J. Madeleine Nash writes in her review of recent research in paleontology: “Until about 600 million years ago, there were no organisms more complex than bacteria, multicelled algae and single-celled plankton.... Then, 543 million years ago, in the early Cambrian, within the span of no more than 10 million years, creatures with teeth and tentacles and claws and jaws materialized with the suddenness of apparitions. In a burst of creativity like nothing before or since, nature appears to have sketched out the blueprints for virtually the whole of the animal kingdom.... Since 1987, discoveries of major fossil beds in Greenland, in China, in Siberia, and now in Namibia have shown that the period of biological innovation occurred at virtually the same instant in geological time all around the world.... Now, . . . virtually everyone agrees that the Cambrian started almost exactly 543 million years ago and, even more startling, that all but one of the phyla in the fossil record appeared within the first 5 to 10 million years.”18

Throughout the fossil record, species seem to appear suddenly, fully formed and equipped with all sorts of specialized organs, then remain stable for millions of years. For instance, there is no intermediate form between the terrestrial ancestor of the whale and the first fossils of this marine mammal. Like their current descendants, the latter have nostrils situated atop their heads, a modified respiratory system, new organs like a dorsal fin, and nipples surrounded by a cap to keep out seawater and equipped with a pump for underwater suckling.19 The whale represents the rule, rather than the exception. According to biologist Ernst Mayr, an authority on the matter of evolution, there is “no clear evidence for any change of a species into a different genus or for the gradual origin of an evolutionary novelty.”20


Narby, Jeremy. The Cosmic Serpent (pp. 141-142). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
(This book is available for free. Search Cosmic Serpent PDF.)
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AshvinP
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Re: Evolution

Post by AshvinP »

Toto Gale wrote: Sun Aug 01, 2021 10:14 pm The Analytic Idealism course makes several references to Evolution. I accept Evolution as fact, but the mechanism is unclear to me. It seems far more likely that consciousness drives Evolution, rather than natural selection. Consider this lengthy quote.

Another fundamental problem contradicts the theory of chance-driven natural selection. According to the theory, species should evolve slowly and gradually, since evolution is caused by the accumulation and selection of random errors in the genetic text. However, the fossil record reveals a completely different scenario. J. Madeleine Nash writes in her review of recent research in paleontology: “Until about 600 million years ago, there were no organisms more complex than bacteria, multicelled algae and single-celled plankton.... Then, 543 million years ago, in the early Cambrian, within the span of no more than 10 million years, creatures with teeth and tentacles and claws and jaws materialized with the suddenness of apparitions. In a burst of creativity like nothing before or since, nature appears to have sketched out the blueprints for virtually the whole of the animal kingdom.... Since 1987, discoveries of major fossil beds in Greenland, in China, in Siberia, and now in Namibia have shown that the period of biological innovation occurred at virtually the same instant in geological time all around the world.... Now, . . . virtually everyone agrees that the Cambrian started almost exactly 543 million years ago and, even more startling, that all but one of the phyla in the fossil record appeared within the first 5 to 10 million years.”18

Throughout the fossil record, species seem to appear suddenly, fully formed and equipped with all sorts of specialized organs, then remain stable for millions of years. For instance, there is no intermediate form between the terrestrial ancestor of the whale and the first fossils of this marine mammal. Like their current descendants, the latter have nostrils situated atop their heads, a modified respiratory system, new organs like a dorsal fin, and nipples surrounded by a cap to keep out seawater and equipped with a pump for underwater suckling.19 The whale represents the rule, rather than the exception. According to biologist Ernst Mayr, an authority on the matter of evolution, there is “no clear evidence for any change of a species into a different genus or for the gradual origin of an evolutionary novelty.”20


Narby, Jeremy. The Cosmic Serpent (pp. 141-142). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
(This book is available for free. Search Cosmic Serpent PDF.)

Consciousness is the Nature which selects, so I don't think we need to abandon the concept of "natural selection". Is it "chance-driven"? If by that we mean "completely random", then no - there is an easily discernible inner lawfulness to the unfolding of our psychic activity. Even physicalist evolutionary theory recognizes that completely random mutations, if we assume they are possible, must play a smaller and smaller role as the complexity of forms and their ecology increase.

“no clear evidence for any change of a species into a different genus or for the gradual origin of an evolutionary novelty." - I doubt that is true. "Special creationism" runs into just as many problems as physicalist Darwinian evolution when trying to explain the diversity, continuity, and overlapping functionality of species. I don't consider "God made them all according to similar designs" a satisfying explanation. That being said, as always, the answer to these questions will not be found in the physical world of Maya, but rather in the spiritual realm.
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
Marco Masi
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Re: Evolution

Post by Marco Masi »

Toto Gale wrote: Sun Aug 01, 2021 10:14 pm I accept Evolution as fact, but the mechanism is unclear to me. It seems far more likely that consciousness drives Evolution, rather than natural selection. Consider this lengthy quote.
Yes, that's what the so called movement of "Intelligent Design" keeps saying. I'm not a supporter of ID (for several non-scientific reasons) but they definitely have some points.

And yes, it makes much more sense to consider consciousness driving evolution rather than (only) the other way around. It is something I always felt missing in BK's theory: a clear relation between idealism and Darwinian evolution and the role of M@L in it. Saying that M@L has only blind instincts sounds as a falling back into a merely physicalist perspective where everything is explained away by natural selection and random mutations. If so, then one wonders what the point of idealism is in the first place.

However, there is a third possible option. I would not deny completely natural selection. It is, in a limited domain, undoubtable something at work. The point is that it has been extrapolated to everything and its importance has been exaggerated. It is already known that there are also several other mechanisms at work other than the two of selection and mutations. One could also see the emergence of consciousness AND mechanical physical process playing both a role. A sort of middle-way, so to speak, that would contain as two complementing factors one or another form of spiritual emergentism harmonizing it with one or another form of Darwinism.
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Eugene I
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Re: Evolution

Post by Eugene I »

I also think the middle-way scenario is most likely, especially if we consider facts like this:

How would the natural selection through random mutations make it possible that whales and bats share the same genes responsible for echolocation even though the anatomical mechanisms are different? IMO the probability of that happening by random mutations would be infinitesimally close to zero. On the other hand, exchanging useful genes between species is exactly what modern genetic engineering technology does. So, in reality the evolution could be a mix of natural selection and genetic engineering, which can be termed as a "guided and intervened natural selection".
"Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kanzas anymore" Dorothy
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AshvinP
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Re: Evolution

Post by AshvinP »

Eugene I wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 6:18 pm I also think the middle-way scenario is most likely, especially if we consider facts like this:

How would the natural selection through random mutations make it possible that whales and bats share the same genes responsible for echolocation even though the anatomical mechanisms are different? IMO the probability of that happening by random mutations would be infinitesimally close to zero. On the other hand, exchanging useful genes between species is exactly what modern genetic engineering technology does. So, in reality the evolution could be a mix of natural selection and genetic engineering, which can be termed as a "guided and intervened natural selection".

Here's an interesting speculation to consider, although it is the sort that will make people in both physicalist and idealist circles write you off immediately. It also highlights the major gap between scientific method pursued from the spiritual realm as starting point and science pursued from the physical realm as starting point. We were discussing on the other thread how the spiritual involution-evolution archetype manifests in many modern stories, such as The Wizard of Oz. That, in a nutshell, is the Spirit descending and differentiating into world of forms, and then the world of forms re-ascending by way of the Spirit. If we start from that principle, then we would expect that humans came first in the development of life on Earth, and the diversity of all other non-human living forms derive from the original human form. Like I said, that is insanity! At least from the perspective of the unimaginative modern age... yet there are no scientific facts surrounding the evolutionary changes in living forms which cannot be accounted for by that hypothesis. At least none that I have come across so far.
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Marco Masi
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Re: Evolution

Post by Marco Masi »

Eugene I wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 6:18 pm How would the natural selection through random mutations make it possible that whales and bats share the same genes responsible for echolocation even though the anatomical mechanisms are different?
As far as I understand biology, genes are only a code for protein synthesis, they do not code for the formation of the anatomical parts or mechanisms of an organisms. So, while I agree with the motivation, I'm not sure that this example supports it.
Eugene I wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 6:18 pm That, in a nutshell, is the Spirit descending and differentiating into world of forms, and then the world of forms re-ascending by way of the Spirit. If we start from that principle, then we would expect that humans came first in the development of life on Earth, and the diversity of all other non-human living forms derive from the original human form.
Eh? Why? I do not get the rational of this, while I wholeheartedly embrace the idea of an involution followed by an evolution. It entails a spiritual-emergentist perspective where consciousness has first plunged itself into matter (involution) and then grows in and out of matter by a progressive evolutionary process. There are no humans coming first.
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Eugene I
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Re: Evolution

Post by Eugene I »

AshvinP wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 8:37 pm Here's an interesting speculation to consider, although it is the sort that will make people in both physicalist and idealist circles write you off immediately. It also highlights the major gap between scientific method pursued from the spiritual realm as starting point and science pursued from the physical realm as starting point. We were discussing on the other thread how the spiritual involution-evolution archetype manifests in many modern stories, such as The Wizard of Oz. That, in a nutshell, is the Spirit descending and differentiating into world of forms, and then the world of forms re-ascending by way of the Spirit. If we start from that principle, then we would expect that humans came first in the development of life on Earth, and the diversity of all other non-human living forms derive from the original human form. Like I said, that is insanity! At least from the perspective of the unimaginative modern age... yet there are no scientific facts surrounding the evolutionary changes in living forms which cannot be accounted for by that hypothesis. At least none that I have come across so far.
That hypothesis would be hard to align with the scientific data on the dating of the fossils of the human and other more ancient species (based on both carbon analysis and the layers depth). But I don't see why we would need to assume that. Why wouldn't the descending Spirit differentiate into more fragmented and primitive forms first and later integrate and evolve into humans?
"Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kanzas anymore" Dorothy
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AshvinP
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Re: Evolution

Post by AshvinP »

Eugene I wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 9:04 pm
AshvinP wrote: Mon Aug 02, 2021 8:37 pm Here's an interesting speculation to consider, although it is the sort that will make people in both physicalist and idealist circles write you off immediately. It also highlights the major gap between scientific method pursued from the spiritual realm as starting point and science pursued from the physical realm as starting point. We were discussing on the other thread how the spiritual involution-evolution archetype manifests in many modern stories, such as The Wizard of Oz. That, in a nutshell, is the Spirit descending and differentiating into world of forms, and then the world of forms re-ascending by way of the Spirit. If we start from that principle, then we would expect that humans came first in the development of life on Earth, and the diversity of all other non-human living forms derive from the original human form. Like I said, that is insanity! At least from the perspective of the unimaginative modern age... yet there are no scientific facts surrounding the evolutionary changes in living forms which cannot be accounted for by that hypothesis. At least none that I have come across so far.
That hypothesis would be hard to align with the scientific data on the dating of the fossils of the human and other more ancient species (based on both carbon analysis and the layers depth). But I don't see why we would need to assume that. Why wouldn't the descending Spirit differentiate into more fragmented and primitive forms first and later integrate and evolve into humans?

Just to be clear, I think this hypothesis can be investigated by the scientific method in light of higher spiritual cognition, so the reasons for accepting it would come from that investigation and not only from these intellectual speculations which follow.

There must be continuity for the descending Spirit in my view. It would first manifest in those living forms which we now see as most connected with spiritual activity, and that is clearly human beings. It would not skip over humans to manifest amoeba with little to no spiritual activity. The integration by way of evolution can only come by way of human spiritual activity (Thinking). We probably still disagree on that last point, but maybe we can leave that aside for now. Suffice to say, I hold that it is only our Thinking activity which unifies fragmented sense-impressions by way of the meaning it imparts to them. So primitive life simply cannot achieve that integration when humans are absent (in my view, humans have never been absent).

As for the carbon dating of geological layers where fossils are found, I think there are physicalist assumptions at work there which skew the interpreted results. A major physicalist assumption is that the "laws of nature" are fixed and uniform, so we can extrapolate back into the past indefinitely without any problem. Under idealism, it must be admitted that those "laws" are much more fluid principles like those which regulate our psychic activity. For example there is the principle of "projection" where our psychic contents are manifested in the external world. That is basically a reversal of what we consider "normal" mode of receiving sense-impressions from outside and connecting them with thoughts from inside.
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
Toto Gale
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Re: Evolution

Post by Toto Gale »

"Paleontologists had long been aware of a seeming contradiction between Darwin's postulate of gradualism ... and the actual findings of paleontology. Following phyletic lines through time seemed to reveal only minimal gradual changes but no clear evidence for any change of a species into a different genus or for the gradual origin of an evolutionary novelty. Anything truly novel always seemed to appear quite abruptly in the fossil record."

Mayr, E., 1991
One Long Argument: Charles Darwin and the Genesis of Modern Evolutionary Thought
Harvard University Press, Cambridge, p. 138
Jim Cross
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Re: Evolution

Post by Jim Cross »

Toto Gale wrote: Tue Aug 03, 2021 1:23 am "Paleontologists had long been aware of a seeming contradiction between Darwin's postulate of gradualism ... and the actual findings of paleontology. Following phyletic lines through time seemed to reveal only minimal gradual changes but no clear evidence for any change of a species into a different genus or for the gradual origin of an evolutionary novelty. Anything truly novel always seemed to appear quite abruptly in the fossil record."

Mayr, E., 1991
One Long Argument: Charles Darwin and the Genesis of Modern Evolutionary Thought
Harvard University Press, Cambridge, p. 138
That's because it is a fossil record. Of course, there are gaps. Where there are large populations of organisms with new generations in relatively short periods of time, evolution can be observed.
Evolution is often thought of as being imperceptibly slow. A
great deal of what we understand about evolution has
therefore come from comparisons among existing species
and from theoretical studies using modeling and simulation.
But there are also increasingly frequent experimental tests of
evolutionary theory, performed on laboratory populations
of organisms with generation times short enough that
evolution can be observed directly, as it occurs. A pioneering
experiment that illustrates the potential scope of experimental microbial evolution is an ongoing study of 12
Escherichia coli populations through over 30 000 generations
in Richard Lenski’s laboratory (Table 1). From these populations have come rigorous tests of a great deal of evolutionary theory
https://academic.oup.com/femsyr/article/6/5/685/563971
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