Intellectual Self Defence

Brains are delicate things…

Evolution versus Progress

These days ‘evolution’ means ‘things getting better and better’ (and closer to the perfection that is White Male-dom). But natural selection only responds (blindly) to changes in environments in the short term. The ‘environment’ includes the actions of other organisms and also your own actions and others’ reactions to that.
‘Progress,’ is often implicitly seen as an increase in complexity, division of labour, consumption in culture, GDP etc., and merely the continuation of what has been happening for millions of years. That denies the radical newness of the last couple of centuries, in which we have tapped fossil fuels and exploded our population and our impact on the natural world.

Reading: Stephen Jay Gould Life’s Grandeur
See also: Latest and best and inevitable

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