Biological and Technological Evolution

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Sat Nov 19 2005 - 05:37:43 EST

  The topic of which theories of evolution people accept and which they are concerned about, question or even reject has come up over the years in areas of science, philosophy and religion.
  “[T]heories of evolution which, because of the philosophies which inspire them, regard the spirit either as emerging from the forces of living matter, or as a simple epiphenomenon of that matter, are incompatible with the truth about man.” – Pope John Paul II (Address to the Pontifical Academy, 1996)
  “Evolution shows so many facets that it looks alike to no two persons.” – E. Mayr (1970)
  “We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.” – Pope Benedict XVI (Homily, St. Peter’s Square, April 24, 2005)
  “I believe that if you strip the Origin of Species of its theoretical part, it still remains one of the greatest encyclopedias of biological doctrine that any one man ever brought forth; and I believe that, if you take it as the embodiment of an hypothesis, it is destined to be the guide of biological and psychological speculation for the next three or four generations.” – Thomas Huxley
  We should consider God as “the evolutionary-historical process that has brought us into being.” – Gordon Kaufman (Theology for a Nuclear Age, 1985)
  It may thus be the case that a fundamental disjunction exists between varieties of evolution; that is, between biological evolution, geological evolution, evolutionary astro-physics, cosmological evolution, anthropological evolution, evolutionary philosophy, evolutionary psychology, evolutionary sociology and other areas which are more or less scientific, analytic or systematic. Discussing evolutionary theory or evolution as a general paradigm, however, seems to get complicated or ambiguous when invoking such interdisciplinarity. Thus something more definite should be asked; for example, two areas can be compared.
  What are the differences between biological evolution and technological evolution?
  Some of the basics are:
  Biological Evolution – Organic-al (includes the physiological dimensions of human beings who 'evolve'), (Pseudo-)Vital, includes Randomness, Natural Selection and Sexual Selection, Ateleological
  Technological Evolution – Mechanic-al (does not include the physiological dimension of the supposed ‘evolvers’ of technology), (Pseudo-)non-Vital, includes Purposefulness, Human Selection, Asexual Selection, Teleology (i.e. means-end rationality)
  Do ASA members agree with these differences and what other differences or similarities should be identified about these two varieities of evolution? Is one variety of evolution more valid than the other?
  As an example, one Christian mathematician/philosopher claims the following:
  “Biological evolution is indeed a form of technological evolution.” – W. Dembski (2001)
  All comments are appreciated.

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Received on Sat Nov 19 05:40:59 2005

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