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Humanities approach to evolution

I believe evolution is the greatest discovery of all time, but in 200 years we've drawn from it almost no wisdom about ourselves at all. What's stopping us? I propose we start searching for that wisdom all over again.

Creationism is not the primary alternative to Darwinism. The primary traditional alternatives have been various combinations of mind and creativity. Alternatives like those help us make more sense of what it means we evolved. I am developing such a combination, supposing mind and creativity to have evolved into the genome, the genome then building them into us. The result is a discourse suited to creatives and members of the humanities, for whom Darwinism, and hence us having evolved, is mostly irrelevant.

Given we're unlikely to have already in hand all the concepts we need to understand something as revolutionary as having evolved, a mere discourse based on new principles may be invaluable for devising crucial paradoxes and questions.

I have written five books on the impact of evolutionary theory on our sense of self, and a play, "What it means we evolved". Would my concerns fit into any program you have in mind? I live in the mid Hudson Valley. The play I perform myself but at 90 minutes it's too long for your format.


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    Jul 5 2013: Hi Shaun,
    Evolution has been around for more than 200 years. Henry Morris in "The Long War against God" traces it way back to the dawn of time. A 'must read' for anyone interested in the history of the theory.
    The humanities is one thing among many that distinguish us from the animals. It has no survival benefit, therefore is unlikely to be naturally selected. Looking at nature, I cannot but admire the artistic content of both sound & vision. Evolution does not seem, to me, a prime candidate.

    • Jul 5 2013: Nobody said that everything is the product of natural selection.
    • Jul 5 2013: Peter, I don't divide human talents between those a particular mechanism of evolution can account for and those it can't. I define evolution as being able to account for them all. Then follows the question, what kind of process must that be? In this I differ from creationists and darwinists.
      • Jul 5 2013: What do you mean by "Darwinists"? I doubt that any evolutionary biologist would say that every feature in living forms comes from natural selection. I doubt that even the most selectionist among them would think that.

        Creationism is pure fantasy. Evolution is a reality. Yet, we neither think that everything is due to natural selection, nor do we think that everything is due to evolution. We don't think that every human feature or cultural phenomena is due to natural selection. Creationists are the ones who have created such a cartoon because, to them, evolution is a substitute for their god(s). It's not. We don't think of natural phenomena as omnipotent omniscient omnibenevolent stuff, but as what they are: natural phenomena. As such, we can't just shrug and chant mantras about how evolution answers everything. It answers what it answers, and that's it.
        • Jul 6 2013: I do believe that everything about me that is not attributable to physics is due to evolution. In this I differ from selectionists. I see myself an a product of evolution as a Ford automobile is a product of the Ford factory. The steel and rubber may be mere commodities, but as a functioning creature I am a product of evolution. If selectionists don't believe this, where do they think anything else comes from? Will they accept responsibility only for what they can explain, through population statistics, leaving "culture" to pickup the rest? And where does culture come from! I'm content to see that as coming from evolution, too.
      • Jul 6 2013: So Jaimie prefers blue shirts because of evolution, Heather broke her leg when she was six years old because of evolution, the enlightenment was due to evolution, Einstein developed relativity theory because of evolution ... and so on?

        Hum, now I understand why I can't understand your idea about a humanities approach to evolution. We speak completely different languages and logics.

        Have a nice conversation with the rest of people.
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        Jul 6 2013: Hi Shaun.
        "Peter, I don't divide human talents between those a particular mechanism of evolution can account for and those it can't"
        Traditional evolution only postulates "Natural Selection" tied to "Random Mutation" as a mechanism. Do you propose another method which may have given rise to the humanities in Homo Sapiens ?

        • Jul 6 2013: Darwinism has no exclusive right to account for how we evolved, any more than in the 19th century particle theories had an exclusive right to account for light. A phenomenon of such vast significance as evolution is unlikely to be comprehended by a single theoretical approach such as population statistics. We are a product of evolution; we should be able to explore it from the inside, through how we experience being such a creature.

          I propose placing beside darwinism an alternative account of evolution that draws on the kind of discourse we use for comprehending our own acts of creation, involving mind and design; as a product of evolution we may use ourselves as a measure of its capabilities. Such a discourse would be comprehensible, as population statistics is not, to artists and writers, and the humanities generally. Then their intuition can be unleashed on the astonishing discovery that we evolved.

          I invest mind and design in the genome, regarding it as a creature in its own right, evolving continuously since life first began. This is a secular theory, capable of a high degree of elaboration as we discover more about evolution, especially once our view of the natural world widens out beyond the narrow range of possibilities defined for us by current physical science.

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