“We are going from Darwinism evolution by natural selection to evolution by human direction.” — Peter Diamandis ¹
Biological evolution is a brute : a dumb, unthinking, uncaring machine, only about mass birthing and mass destruction.
Humans are starting to — and in truth, have for centuries — interfere with what would otherwise be under the control of biological evolution.
Two areas that will potentially change entrenched Darwinian ideology (as an immovable absolute) are:
The root of evolution is viewed as DNA changes over vast periods of time. We are now gaining the capacity to intelligently test and interfere with what was once left to ‘nature’ alone.
Genome editing, or genome engineering, is a type of genetic engineering in which DNA is inserted, deleted, modified or replaced in the genome of a living organism. ²
Compare this to how evolution works:
A mutation is a change in DNA, the hereditary material of life. An organism’s DNA affects how it looks, how it behaves, and its physiology. So a change in an organism’s DNA can cause changes in all aspects of its life. Mutations are essential to evolution; they are the raw material of genetic variation ³
The Conjunction of Human with Mechanical and Synthetic Structures:
This Includes bio-based software used to augment and extend life. It’s already happening. A simple example is the latest heart pacemaker device.
I haven’t gone into all the ethical and potentially harmful discussions about any of this. I’m not a zealot for any of it. Humans must stay in charge of the whole project. Never allowing AI to be other than an assistant to the very best in humans.
With advances in science on so many fronts, the great monolithic blind watchmaker as evoked by Richard Dawkins is being usurped by human ingenuity.
“Natural selection, the blind, unconscious, automatic process which Darwin discovered, and which we now know is the explanation for the existence and apparently purposeful form of all life, has no purpose in mind. It has no mind and no mind’s eye. It does not plan for the future. It has no vision, no foresight, no sight at all. If it can be said to play the role of watchmaker in nature, it is the blind watchmaker” ²
The argument is no longer whether this is true or not. It’s, can we move in mind-set to a position where humans can either take charge of the mechanism of evolution (at least in the human realm) to a real degree, or remain passive and locked into deterministic inevitability.
In some sense the whole concept of Darwinism is outmoded, it just has not been noticed yet. The problem is, there is a huge amount of vested interest in its ideological preservation. I mean huge. Much of science is built on its fundamental principles. It’s programmed into so much, that the possibility is inconceivable.
I just did a google search on the subject and all I came up with was the evolutionary redundancy of wisdom teeth.
I’m sure some would even argue that this blind and dumb watchmaker principle is responsible for our increasing autonomy and freedom. As if evolution in its insentient wisdom brought us the capacity to control it.
Evolution, no more cares about humans than mosquitoes or any other life form. All the same after vast eons of trial and error and grunting and heaving.
I put this to someone on a philosophy forum and they appeared to become very annoyed as if biological evolution was vastly more than biological, which it isn’t, at least as I was taught. It only applies to life forms. Not the roots of universal objects and forces.
Planets and stars and black holes have nothing to do with biological evolution except where those life forms affect them, as is happening with humans. That is not even a radical statement just an obvious one.
You do get the sense reading Dawkins and many others with a similar world view, that they see evolution as much more than biology. This, maybe because the arguments are often tied to creator God versus random forces.
It tends to go like this:
There is no creator Intelligence, just chance random factors underpinned by evolution.
Evolution did not create, or control the universe because the universe is not an organic living system(unless you want to bring in a philosophical view such as panpsychism). It’s rocks and gas and heaps of space and very little in the way of living things (thus far detected).
All that aside, human creativeness is getting the drop on random forces. Advances in medicine, brain science, artificial intelligence, space travel, space time manipulation (future direction), quantum physics and so many other areas.
Why This is a Good Thing:
Evolution is indifferent to all life forms. Humans have the capacity to control the machine to humanize it (in the very best possible way).
Sounds like heresy, don’t you think? Disrespecting evolution, who brought us such wonderful creations as flowers and spiderwebs. That’s the good stuff. You have to weigh it against the murderous nature, of nature.