Re: [asa] Darwin only biological evolution? (can anything exist without evolution?)

From: Iain Strachan <>
Date: Thu Jan 15 2009 - 03:36:27 EST


Could I suggest here that the definition of "evolution" as "change
over time" seems to me to be just a little too vague. The very fact
that time exists and has a direction (the arrow of time) necessarily
implies that things change. A universe in which nothing changed at
all would be timeless. So, IMHO, to say that evolution is an
overarching concept, as I (so I understand) Bernie wants to make it,
is no different from saying that time is an overarching concept. Is
the study of Newton's laws of motion the study of evolution? In one
sense it is, but it is more specific to suggest that we're studying
physics here.


On Thu, Jan 15, 2009 at 12:46 AM, Murray Hogg <> wrote:
> Hi Bernie,
> In the end analysis you're now simply arguing what Greg Arago has been
> saying for years - that "evolution" as an broad umbrella term means nothing
> more specific than simply "change over time," that not all "change over
> time" is of the same sort, and that we need to qualify the use of
> "evolution" in order to make clear what sort of "change over time" we're
> talking about.
> And this brings us back full-circle to David O.'s point that any
> disagreement on the matter is a matter of semantics (but not "merely" a
> matter of semantics). And as long as we keep in mind that the mechanisms of
> "biological evolution" don't apply to what you're calling "meme evolution"
> (which was Iain's point) then I don't see any cause for strident objection.
> I would, however, reiterate the point which I made in response to David O.:
> "evolution" has become such a culturally significant term that is critical
> that any talk of "meme evolution" MUST carry with it a clear emphasis that
> it IS distinct from biological evolution AND that it necessarily involves
> intelligent agency. Failing such distinctions one risks falling into the
> error of thinking that evolution of ideas happens in exactly the same way as
> evolution of bacteria and that, therefore, intelligent agency is necessarily
> What you may have missed in my response to David O., by the way, was that I
> was AGREEING with you but merely extending the point to indicate the
> cultural significance of the terminology in question. I wasn't claiming you
> hadn't made the point, I was suggesting that the point is so important that
> it cannot be over-emphasized.
> Blessings,
> Murray
> Dehler, Bernie wrote:
>> Pastor Murray- you also said later:
>> " The question to be asked in respects of the suggestion that Beethoven's
>> Ninth "evolved" is "what accounts for the difference?" If the answer is
>> "intelligent agency" then I think Iain can rest his case - Beethoven's Ninth
>> simply DIDN'T "evolve" through the same sort of processes involved in
>> biological evolution."
>> I don't see how Ian can "rest his case" because biological evolution
>> doesn't apply to meme evolution, anymore than cosmological evolution applies
>> to biological evolution.
>> The fallacy for rejecting memes is in thinking that new thoughts violate
>> the idea of meme evolution.
>> Example: suppose I want to invent a flying car. I could put a car gas
>> engine in it. After trying it, I could learn and then decide to switch to a
>> jet engine. Jet engines are radically different than a car gas engine. Ian
>> seems to think that if the change is small, like going from a small to a
>> large car gas-powered engine, that could be meme evolution but not going
>> from car to jet engine. That's the fallacy.
>> In this way, what's the difference between Beethoven composing a
>> masterpiece and a 3rd yr piano student writing a new song-- it is only a
>> matter of degree. So what? Ian is impressed by the degree of change. To
>> me, it is like being impressed that a car can go 50 mph, but not impressed
>> that it can go 15 mph.
>> ...Bernie
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: [] On
>> Behalf Of Murray Hogg
>> Sent: Wednesday, January 14, 2009 3:17 PM
>> To: ASA
>> Subject: Re: [asa] Darwin only biological evolution? (can anything exist
>> without evolution?)
>> I was responding to David not offering a critique of your remarks, Bernie.
>> Dehler, Bernie wrote:
>>> Pastor Murray said:
>>> " It's frankly critical that we be very clear that ideas do NOT evolve in
>>> the same way as bacteria."
>>> I thought I also clearly said that. It makes me wonder if you read what
>>> I wrote.
>> To unsubscribe, send a message to with
>> "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
>> To unsubscribe, send a message to with
>> "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
> To unsubscribe, send a message to with
> "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.

Non timeo sed caveo
To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Thu Jan 15 03:36:59 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Thu Jan 15 2009 - 03:37:00 EST