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Darwin-L Message Log 5:213 (January 1994)

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.


<5:213>From GGALE@VAX1.UMKC.EDU  Sat Jan 29 22:35:09 1994

Date: Sat, 29 Jan 1994 22:42:41 -0600 (CST)
From: GGALE@VAX1.UMKC.EDU
Subject: Re: DARWIN-L digest 133
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Darwinners--
I missed much of the discussion on tools + evolution [= both cultural and
biological] with a smoked modem, so I don't know whether or not the following
point might already have been made. If so, I apologize.

Some wise teacher of mine (whose identity is now lost to access) once pointed
out to me that biological evolution (as then conceived!) required verrrrry
long intervals of time to work its effects. [Admittedly, newer ideas might
intervene against this notion, putting in its stead tens of thousands rather
than millions of years.] Cultural, esp. technological, evolution, on the
other hand, counts trends on the fingers of only several hundreds of hands.
The received dates on the 'Neolithic Technological Revolution' center on
10K-8K BCE. Physics dates from about 500 years ago. Wireless from 100 yrs.
ago. Information technology from 35-40 years ago.
In other words, biological evolution is very low level noise against an
extremely strong signal put out by technological evolution.
Note that this version of the story in no ways denies the existence of biolog-
ical evolution. It merely denies its relative significance.
Am I out-of-date (or worse, out-of-touch) in continuing to lend credence to
this interpretation of the interaction(s) between the two processes?

George Gale
ggale@vax1.umkc.edu

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