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Interrupted Development and Bursts of Creation - (Part 1)

SERIES: Interupted Development and Bursts of Creation
AUTHOR: Jim Schofield


This paper considers Natural Selection in Evolution, and, starting with the usual model involving perfectly Random Damage to genetic material, shows that, by means of subsequent competition between individuals within species, and between actual species, can lead to the survival and proliferation of those with the best fitness to prevailing conditions, in preference to those less well endowed. But this model is usually a gradualist form, where small random changes, which endow some sort of advantage, build up into a consequent species change.

Now that model is contrasted with the phenomenon of Adaptive Radiation, where, as a result of a major crisis, (either externally caused, or internally precipitated) leads to a significant widening of changes into new areas with greater individual contributions.

Indeed, the evolution of Mankind is perhaps the clearest example of crucial changes occurring as a result of intrinsic crisis and resolutions in development, which involved important qualitative changes that were not merely incremental. But we shy away from these, as they are, by their very Emergentist nature, inexplicable, whereas major changes in response to external cataclysms are not! But the denial of the reality of Emergent Events is not based on an argument about Emergence, but about Mankind’s own self-enforced limitations in conception, due to the acceptance of Plurality (The Whole and its contributing Parts) as the basis for all Science. This assumption makes Events such as Emergences appear totally inexplicable: they certainly appear so when addressed by pluralist methods alone. Pluralist Science was, and still is, adequate to the study of phenomena within a Stable Level, but can never address the revolutionary overturns of an Emergence, which are anything but stable throughout their creative trajectory, and only finally settle into a new higher Stable Level on completion of the whole process.

What hides these crucial Events is their very brief duration compared with the enclosing stabilities, and the fact that Stability can indeed be addressed by our established pluralist methods. We don’t actually see the trees for the dominant woods!



1.What is the nature of Qualitative Change in Evolution? It seems to be comprised of Natural Selection on the basis of Fitness to Conditions, but in circumstances which themselves change quite independently, and hence for the mechanisms to work, Species cannot possibly be immutable.

2.But the actual engine of Species Change is considered to be entirely down to Random Damage to the genetic materials of the affected individual organism, which will, though very rarely, be advantageous and lead to surviving and proliferating changes thereafter.

3.But though the “received wisdom” is of cumulative, incremental changes, slowly leading to new species, there can be no doubt that cataclysmic changes are also important often driven by environmental calamities too.

4.And a vital feature of such major changes is the occurrence of Adaptive Radiations, which constitute the successful production of many different variations that frequently happen during and after calamities.

5.But, it is becoming clear that these do not only occur in such externally precipitated dramatic situations. The Galapagos Finches are an excellent example of this.

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