Genetical and cultural evolution
Följande är ett utdrag ur en forumdiskussion mellan mig och den amerikanske, kristne medlemmen Joe Michaels om evolutionsteorin i allmänhet samt förväxlingen med skapelseteorin i skolorna i USA,
Joe Michaels skriver:
Man creates and we accept that. Look around us at all we have made. It didn’t evolve, it was a result of our creation. (DVDfile.com forum)
Science has research aiming at just that. It’s called ”memes”, as opposed to ”genes”.
This is the theory: memes are the knowledge passed on through our generations, that makes us survive. It is not the genetical evolution, it is the cultural evolution. Lets make a comparison.
Through millions of years, those creatures that had an genetical mutation/change which fitted a situation of defence or attack so well that they survived those situations – those creatures lived on and had offsprings.
So, one of our predecessors that walked the earth of Africa or Australia millions of years ago (perhaps to seek shelter in other areas of the globe), had a mutation in its genetical response system which made it shy away and/or react strongly in the presence of snakes and spiders. This mutational change made the predecessor fit its ecological situation ”well”, since the outcome of the mutation made it survive poisonous bites and could go on making offsprings. This scenario might explain our universal ”angst” towards spiders and snakes as just a genetical reflex that suited our survival. A reflex which has been preserved into our recent cultural and intellectual evolution.
In the same way a whole lot of our other reflex and behavioral system are created: our vision is based on movement – we all look up when someone passes us in the library – so some ancient group of people with a mutation/change in the cognitive apparatus of vision, benefitting from easier percieving movement of predators in dense djungels, could trick the danger and live on. Ears/hearing, legs/moving, hands/manipulating all ”transformed” into their current status because of the ”selection” of appropriate genetical change that benefitted survival in different dangerous situations – situations which we now, in our time, label as ”fearful”.
We’re dealing with all these evolutionary, behavioral aspects of perception and cognition in art everywhere – just look at Indiana Jones and his fear of snakes; plus uncountable other movies and books making connections with audiences on the grounds of primal, universal ”fears”. You could say those deep fears are sins in the form of snakes from the Garden of Eden or other metaphors – and through that create religious-political power over people – or you could skip the explanation of religious creation and instead concentrate on a more neutral, perhaps less power oriented, source of information: scientific, empirical biological evolution.
Now, the cultural evolution does not exclude the genetical one. It’s just a more modern way of survival. Scientist in these areas have theories that claim the creation of art and artefacts had an impact on our biological survival.
Through memes – in the meaning of cultural creativity in the form of knowledge that is passed on through generations – we prove ourselves and make ourselves heard in a society. Think of those small birds that are trying to impress their mate by building the fansiest nest and singing the loudest. Or as I writing this showing that I (hopefully) know stuff about cultural evolution. Or perhaps some person is trying to fit into a social situation: maybe talking garbage about some strange looking guy will help him fitting into the larger, safer garbage-talking group – and, as a result, the person in the larger group will not be left alone and will not die alone. And so, that persons species (a cultural species) will continue to live through other generations.
In the long term of cultural evolution, those people that have an understanding of a situation as of how to personally benefit from it, those will ultimately live on. This is just an extension of genetical evolution, and we would most definitively not be around doing these ”memes”, if genetical evolution didnt take place.
Personally I find a single creator theory easier to swallow than millions of years [of evolution] must be the answer. (Micheals, 2002)
Why take the easy road? Without trying to be blasphemous, I’m thinking the bible is the easy road to genetical evolution. It was written by someone with a will to explain things around us, so why exclude the possibility of the bible actually trying to explain genetical evolution? Sure, genetical evolution is hard to grasp, and the bible is showing that. So as a result, the bible is mainly metaphorical, but I dont think it is that by purpous. I think it is written by people that are actually and honestly trying to explain the upcoming of the world. But, so are scientist, only they are taking the hard road of evidence and fact (not just one book of unknown writers).
Religion and science are different sides of the same faith coin, but I don’t think it is meaningful to dismiss science as a work of religion in the definition of ”just another theory”. I understand the need for religion, just as I understand the need for science.
And even though they are both driven by faith (I guess thats another essential part of cultural evolution) their purpouses are not the same, and should not be mixed up in biology class in schools, starting tomorrow.