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Darwin-L Message Log 1:130 (September 1993)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.


<1:130>From ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu  Wed Sep 15 09:21:52 1993

Date: Wed, 15 Sep 1993 10:28:21 -0500
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu (Jeremy John Ahouse)
Subject: Evolution and its mechanisms

    Jesse Vaughan correctly encourages us to make a distinction between
the processes and mechanisms that make evolution possible and the
observation of change over time.

    Tom Clarke seemed to conflate these 2 especially in relation to
using Lamarck as the poster child for a notion that these changes are
progressive.  This part of Lamarck's point of view is the part that
*hasn't* been eschewed by some evolutionists and some do think that
evolution (even by committed selectionists) is progressive.  There are also
other more "new age" strains trying to explain this increase in complexity
(Stu Kauffman's _The Origins of Order_, Steve Stanley's Hierarchy theory,
Brooks and Wiley's Entropy stuff...) and also strong advocates against this
progressivist strain (Gould _Wonderful Life_, most protozoologists,
etc...).

    I would like to hear where folks on this list stand in relation to
the notion of progressiveness in evolution.  It seems to be part of the
myth of modernity that (human) culture is progressive but what do you all
think about the biological case.

    - Jeremy

    :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
    Jeremy John Ahouse
    Biology Dept. & Center for Complex Systems
    Brandeis University
    Waltham, MA 02254-9110

    (617) 736-4954
    email: ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu

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