TED Conversations

Casey Christofaris

Owner, CS3 Inc


This conversation is closed.

Is evolution/religion/everything a self fulfilling prophecy?

What separates us from the rest of species? Recognition of self right? Some will want to argue that there are other species that can recognize self. But then you need to ask well do they recognize self do to our experiments and what we have defined as self recognition or is it innately in them? So is it that we recognize self because of them through evolution or do they recognize self do to us? A bird called the magpie is self aware using the mirror test. It’s easy now to look in a mirror and say yep that’s me, but it’s a million times harder to say that this is just a visual representation of trillions of moving, living, self-replicating entities.

This is the principles that I would like to use in defining self fulfilling prophecy:
Robert Merton's concept of the self-fulfilling prophecy stems from the Thomas theorem, which states that "If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences."[2] According to Thomas, people react not only to the situations they are in, but also, and often primarily, to the way they perceive the situations and to the meaning they assign to these perceptions. This causes people to have negative viewpoints. Therefore, their behavior is determined in part by their perception and the meaning they ascribe to the situations they are in, rather than by the situations themselves. Once people convince themselves that a situation really has a certain meaning, regardless of whether it actually does, they will take very real actions in consequence.

So we are just a bunch of self replicating entities that have evolved in to a self recognizing being. Will history keep repeating its "self"?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Oct 29 2012: I have some good news for you. We are still evolving, only at a faster pace than ever. Just look at how far we have come in the last 100 years. If you forget history you doomed to repeat it. Let us not forget.
    • thumb
      Oct 29 2012: Disagree.

      In the context of our place as creatures on the planet, we are actually devolving.

      Evolution of creatures is a response to a symbiotic relationship to the environment in which it lives - living and dying within an environment that is 'bigger' than us.

      If man is so anthropocentric as to think of itself as overlord of all it surveys, then evolution stops dead in its tracks.

      Granted, the advent of technology make us feel we are fast evolving, but that is only now within a synthetic world of our own creation.
      • Oct 31 2012: Allen,
        I will explain to the best of my ability why I believe we are evolving in simple terms. First off there are parts of our bodies that we no longer need to have to live. In example: tonsils, gall bladder, appendix. Our ancestors may have needed those parts but we do not.And Second, Our life spans are getting longer. Two pieces of evidence that we are still evolving. I also believe we process more information and multi-task more than our ancestors. My opinions and observations only. Thank you
        • thumb
          Nov 3 2012: Hi Terry:

          You need to study the evolution concept a bit deeper.

          Let me refute both your examples:

          You take a frog and tie its legs it's whole life, you get it to reproduce with another leg tied frog, no matter how many generations pass, the new frogs will still have legs (even if legs where not used for 10 generations)

          On your second example, the answer is medicine and food, not mutations, two examples, take a wild animal, feed it balanced food in captivity and take care of it when it's sick, that will increase the lifespan of the animal, but does not mean it mutated.
          Compare life expectancy of low income people and high income, the difference will be very large, but they are not genetically different.

          Frans, Allan, That being said I do believe there is evolution in modern humans, as more woman have their kids later in life (vs teen age), 7bilion humans are bound to have interesting mutations due to sheer number, aids resistance is being researched, etc.
          Also (this is just an idea with no data to support it) violent people are being deselected with time in most developed countries, either they go to jail or are killed before living children behind.


        • Nov 4 2012: Actually Jullian Blanco in your 1st example of the frog that is not true.

          The thing with evolution that you are missing is natural mutations. If you would go on long enough with the generations there will, naturally, be 1 frog born without legs eventually... This then will lead to (given that tied legs is worse than having no legs) more offspring by the mutated frog. Which will lead to (after many many generations) frogs becomming leg-less.

          The life span is probably partially true by both of you (although I don't have any research on this to back it up). It is a known fact though that the quality of food immediately yields huge benefits (aka within 1 generation). But I do also think that because we have become a much more knowledge based civilisation that longevity has become more usefull. As old people still know a lot there is a natural value for people getting older.
          And since there was this talk about the Bat-genome just this week, it could very well be that longevity is also partially genetically coded.
        • thumb
          Nov 4 2012: Dear Richard:

          You era right, I was oversimplifying the frog example, mutations will occur given enough time, my point was that the lack of use of an organ or body part does not imply its desapearence.
          (In 10 generations the frogs will likely be the same)

          On the second point, evolution only cares about the ability to leave children that will then reproduce, not your value to society (thou your value can help on the later), so the more relevant cuestion is how old people are when they reproduce.
          If we created a law tomorrow that allowed reproduction only to people over 35, and then started moving that to 36, 37 and so on we would likely fabor mutations that increase longevity (as the body needs to be somewhat fit to reproduce).


    • thumb
      Oct 29 2012: Like Allan I disagree that we are ever evolving. Maybe those few Indians in the Amazon that we haven't killed yet but the rest of us devolve with ever less resistance to withstand natural conditions.

      If you hypothetical could bring a new born human being from the stone age into our world he or she would in no respect be different to anyone except maybe that there was no resistance to modern viruses that did evolve over time.
      • Oct 29 2012: Dear frans,
        That was only my opinion thru observation. I do not expect everyone to agree with me and I do not mean any offence to anyone. Thank you
    • thumb
      Nov 7 2012: Good Day everyone,

      I would have to suggest that you all are right, but our understanding of what evolution is its self needs to change. If everything is of the mind, then it is the mind that needs to evolve and not the being. Our physical reality is what has been evolving in the picture frame that we call life for a very long time. Then man came about and created with it consciousness that was self reflecting. Our consciousness is what has giving raise to the evolution of technology and science or enlightenment. And our consciousness is what will need to continue to evolve, but we have built walls and windows and doors around what "is" and these need to be broken down while still realizing that they exist only of the mind. My reality is congruent to your reality because we both believe that what we are seeing with our eyes and mind is real. But the funny thing about the eyes is they actually deliver the message to the mind up side down or flipped. Almost as if to gain another perspective.

      Hope this makes sense I am working on my written word
      • Nov 15 2012: While reading, two quotes from Swedenborg came to mind,

        "Thought from the eye closes the understanding, but thought from the understanding opens the eye." ~Divine Love and Wisdom~
        Without a perspective we may not know what is in a picture.

        "Every appearance this is confirmed as a Truth, becomes a fallacy" ~True Christian Religion~
        Is the sun rising, is our brain thinking, can Love (God) be angry?

        Revelation provides a spiritual perspective, but that, as we know, can be misinterpreted. IF we kept loving God and the neighbour as our priorities, everything else would be just differences of opinion.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.