Monday, August 11, 2008

Evolution Everything

Evolution needs to stop being taught as the origin of life. It needs to stop being taught as a new theory to explain species. That is not what it is. It's a part of something bigger and much more significant. I propose a new law of the universe, a very simple, very obvious one, yet something that no one seems to explicitly state or realize the importance of.

Those things which survive and/or in some manner replicate at a rate which at least exceeds the rate at which they are destroyed, will continue to exist. More simply: things that exist and continue to exist will continue to exist. Like I said, obvious. This is important though, it affects all sorts of areas of research and discovery. An example might help.

Why do so many people seem to need to convince you of their ideas and spread them? Ask the reverse; why are there so few people who keep their thoughts to themselves and never try to spread their ideas? Most obviously, it's a matter of counting, you don't notice the quiet ones, only the loud ones. But it's also in the ideas themselves. Ideas have pieces to them, one piece includes what to do with the idea. An idea which tells you to never say it again will die when you do. Ideas which tell you to convince others, even if the conversion rate is poor, will last longer, spread more, than ideas which isolate themselves.

Alternatively, look at the concept of a nation. It exists outside of the individual, it doesn't depend on their existence, if it did, people could not die for a nation or else it would cease to exist. They are something bigger, more general, and they also tend to kill their own people. Why does something so destructive exist? Nations are powerful, they make people act against their own self-interests, in favor of the nation, allowing a nation to be far more powerful in conflict than a social system which favors the individual. If nations were nicer, they would be weaker, and other forms of organization might be more prominent. But nations are what they are, they survive and even reproduce, so they continue to exist.

In light of this, the evolution of species isn't such a startling idea. It's not a dramatic break from religious theories. It's simply a continuation of a fundamental law of the universe. Why not argue about magnetism and what keeps children's artwork on refrigerators?

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