[Marxism] human origins

Charles Brown cbrown at michiganlegal.org
Fri Aug 12 09:57:32 MDT 2005

Paul Gallagher: 

It's worth emphasizing that a history of life largely determined by 
catastrophic changes in the physical environment is very different from the
traditional view where natural selection is primarily the result of
individuals competing within their species for scarce resources.

CB: I could see competing "within a species" for scarce resources as giviing
rise to new traits, but doesn't the Mayr hypothesis contemplate that
speciation occurs more often when populations of the same species are
physically separated, and therefore _not_ in direct competition with each
other for scarce resources or otherwise ? They are in different places and
not interacting enough to mate. How would they interact enough to compete ?
Wouldn't it be competition between close , but different species, within
close niches, like between homo sapiens and homo neanderthalis ?

Yes. Aren't the "scarce resources" other species , for which the species
being considered at the moment are prey ? So, the initial species we are
consider has a struggle for those resources ; and that struggle  the prey
must win ( from its fitness standpoint) by escaping through some fitness
skill ( I realize sometime the "prey" is a plant species). My point is there
is "competition" both in and outside of "their species". Darwin saw this
angle, too, I believe. A trait may arise because of its fitness value
relative to relations with other species, not relative to same species

But another point. When I studied the history of natural historical science,
there was , of course, the creationist school ( Darwin was a creationist,
out to prove creationist theory when he took the voyage on The Beagle). But
there was another historical phase of the science of natural history that
was castastrophist. 
Then comes Darwin with gradualist , evolutionism. In a way, punctuated
equilibrium integrates the earlier catastrophism with gradual evolutionism,
at a higher level of the dialectical spiral of the progress of the science. 

In _Ever Since Darwin_ , Gould puts some emphasis on the mass extinctions in
natural history. The origin of sex as the main form of reproduction (
earlier it was cloning) , I believe is a main evolutionary result of one of
the earliest mass extinctions.  However, by the Mayr thesis , I take it
that, obviousl, not all speciation is in mass extinctions.

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