[Marxism] human origins

Charles Brown cbrown at michiganlegal.org
Wed Aug 10 09:56:04 MDT 2005

 David McDonald :
This is the esssence of his fight with Richard Dawkins. For, if some other
process it as work beyond the gradual accumulation of changes that reach a
qualitative point, as it must be for punctuated equilibrium to be
accurate,that process must be identified and the theory of evolution must be
to encompass it. So far, Gould and people who agree with him have
described,but not explained the higher order mechanism they assert is
happening("higher order" meaning not spiritual, but evolution operating on a
level other than that of the individual organism). If evolution proceeds by
agradual accumulation of individually small changes, for instance, why would
there be the observable "rigor" or "liveliness" of evolutionary change in
the beginning of the historical run of a genus or family, which suddenly
peters out into "equilibrium?"  Dawkins asserts flatly that Gould's approach
abandons Darwin, while Gould's "Structure of Evolutionary Theory" is a very,
very extended argument that his insight into punctuated equilibrium
preserves the "core" of Darwinism while adapting the theory overall to fit
the observed facts.

CB: I think you focus in on some key questions here.

Isn't the problem answered somewhat by the fact that there can be a gradual
accumulation of many, many new traits in a population of a species ( a
population that is reproductively isolated from other populations of the
species), but a new species is not "originated" until a new trait arises
that ends the ability of that population to produce viable and fertile
offspring with other populations of the species. This is pretty much going
to be a relatively "sudden" or "punctuating" event in the overall time frame
of changes.

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