Posted by: zyxo | August 19, 2009

The direction of evolution : speed matters !


Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene first public...
Image via Wikipedia

Evolution does not know any direction. Genes that have the highest proportion in the next generation stay in the race, the others gradually disapear. It is the (changing) environment that dictates the direction, not (Darwinian) evolution.

(But see this post : direction is inevitable towards two-legged two-armed humanlikes … : I’m not really a believer in this).

Why Darwinian evolution (variation, selection, reproduction) ? Is there an other form ?

Let’s go back, when there was no life yet. Was there evolution ?
Assume you think :”no, there was no evolution”. So when did evolution start ? The very moment that the first living thing came into existence ?
Wait a minut ! Some dead thing evolved to become that first living thing ? Was that not evolution yet ?
I agree to say that it was not Darwinian evolution : reproduction lacked.
But still : it was some sort of evolution : variation, selection, and production. A bit like the evolution of our cars nowadays. They do not reproduce, they are produced, there is variation, and they are selected by the consumers.

But before life : evolution was all very slow.
To speed things up reproduction was … evolved, “invented” by evolution. It was a paradigm shift. In stead of being produced by chance, the entities were constructed that way that, in the right environment, they were copied. Imagine the advantage of that speed gain (speed = number of copies produced per time unit). So Darwinian evolution was selected as an advantageous strategy. Numerous enhancements evolved like proper genes, cell structures, entire organisms, you all know that.

But after a while, another strategy evolved : in stead to rely on genes to carry all necessary information from one generation to the next, organisms evolved that passed on information directly to each other and to their offspring in the form of memes : culture, communication, education, whatever you call it. Numerous enhancements evolved, like writing, telephone, blogging, twitter, you all know that.
It’s where we stand nowadays.

But after a while, another strategy will evolve. As making predictions is difficult, especially when it’s about the future, the only thing I can write about it is a guess : in stead to rely on biological organisms to carry all necessary info from one generation to the next, artificial (non-biological organisms will evolve and test new information in some artificial intelligent programs, models, whatever and select them before they incorporate them into the next generation. Total automatic scientists already exists (their inventors called them Adam and Eve). So the next paradigm shift will be something like evolution without biology.

Did you enjoy this post ? Then you might be interested in the following :
Human evolution : the future of men
top-10 lists on evolution
Evolution of minerals
Evolution in blue and red
The end of evolution

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