August 2, 2010

WE ARE ALL INTELLIGENT DESIGNISTS NOW:

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves (John Gray, 02 August 2010, New Statesman)

As the subtitle of his book indicates, Ridley sees free markets as part of the evolutionary process. This is not evolution of the kind bio­logists understand, however. "Humanity is experiencing an extraordinary burst of evolutionary change, driven by good old-fashioned Darwinian natural selection," he writes. "But it is selection among ideas, not genes." Like Rich­ard Dawkins, another neo-Darwinian missionary, Ridley is a believer in memes - units of meaning that supposedly explain human development. Applying the idea to economics, he writes that "whole economies evolve by natural selection". Just as biological evolution works by bringing together the genes of different individuals, cultural evolution occurs "when ideas meet and mate" in market exchange. “Exchange is to cultural evolution as sex is to biological evolution," he writes. The history of humankind is no more than the working out of this simple equation.

Of course, biological evolution doesn't work the way Darwinists wish it did, but the marketplace of ideas does work. The interesting question is whether biological evolution works that way too.



Posted by Orrin Judd at August 2, 2010 3:55 PM
blog comments powered by Disqus
« MAKING OIL COST ENOUGH TO FORCE INNOVATION IS EASY: | Main | ALL THOSE IDEAS HAVE DONE IS WIN TWO OF THE LAST THREE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS: »