September 4, 2010

EXPANSION BY CONTRACTION?:

Take the Evolution Challenge: To gain real knowledge of humanity, every field needs to drink from the "cup" of evolutionary theory. (David Sloan Wilson, July 21, 2010, Big Questions)

It has become my passion to expand evolutionary theory beyond the biological sciences to include all things human. Many people are puzzled about why this is necessary. After all, an enormous body of knowledge about humanity has accumulated without reference to evolution. Why is an evolutionary perspective needed now when it wasn’t needed in the past?

You’ve heard of the Pepsi Challenge. I now invite people who ask this question to take the Evolution Challenge. In one cup, place any given body of knowledge that has developed about our species without reference to evolution. In a second cup, place the same body of knowledge viewed from an evolutionary perspective. Take a sip of both. If they taste exactly the same, then the evolutionary perspective merely rediscovers what is already known. If they taste different, then the evolutionary perspective has added something new — perhaps a reorganization of existing knowledge, a new set of questions, the identification of false claims, or the integration of knowledge across disciplines for a more cosmopolitan flavor.


Poor Mr. Wilson has the task exactly backwards. We know that evolutionary theory works in fields with thinking beings. The question is whether it has any validity in the absence of such designing creatures and it appears not to.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 4, 2010 1:57 PM
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