This paper seeks to reinterpret the life and work of J. B. S. Haldane by focusing on an illuminating but largely ignored essay he published in 1927, "The Last Judgment" -- the sequel to his better known work, "Daedalus" (1924). This astonishing essay expresses a vision of the human future over the next 40,000,000 years, one that revises and updates Wellsian futurism with the long range implications of the "new biology" for human destiny. That vision served as a kind of (...) lifelong credo, one that infused and informed his diverse scientific work, political activities, and popular writing, and that gave unity and coherence to his remarkable career. (shrink)
In the present article, a depiction of complexity versus time will be used for the construction of a novel form of a tree of life, called The Pattern of Life, comprising the biological, cultural, and scientific forms of the evolutionary process. This diagram accentuates the implication of the successive modifications of developmental programs, in the cultural and scientific realms coupled to a feedback mechanism that is decisive for the accelerating pace of complexity growth, also suggested to be of support of (...) a cautious prediction of future evolution. (shrink)
In the present paper I develop a model of the evolutionary process associated to the widespread although controversial notion of a prevailing trend of increasing complexity over time. The model builds on a coupling of evolution to individual developmental programs and introduces an integrated view of evolution implying that human culture and science form a continuous extension of organic evolution. It is formed as a mathematical model that has made possible a quantitative estimation in relative terms of the growth of (...) complexity. This estimation is accomplished by means of computer simulations the result of which indicates a strong acceleration of complexity all the way from the appearance of multicellular organisms up to modern man. (shrink)
In this article I analyze a regular pattern in the developmental and evolutionary processes, formed by a gradual shortening of developmental stages. This shortening is the expected result of a selection process, in the biological as well as in the cultural evolutionary process. Biology and culture are in this way unified by a common mechanism. A mathematical analysis further indicates a vital condition for a continued progress of human culture, especially for a continued progressive scientific evolution, implying continued shortening of (...) mental developmental stages by means of enhanced education. (shrink)
In this paper, I discuss the concept of complexity. I show that the principle of natural selection as acting on complexity gives a solution to the problem of reconciling the seemingly contradictory notion of generally increasing complexity and the observation that most species don’t follow such a trend. I suggest the process of evolution to be illustrated by means of a schematic diagram of complexity versus time, interpreted as a form of the Tree of Life. The suggested model implies that (...) complexity is cumulatively increasing, giving evolution a direction, an arrow of time, thus also implying that the latest emerging species will be the one with the highest level of complexity. Since the human species is the last species evolved in the evolutionary process seen at large, this means that we are the species with the highest complexity. The model implies that the human species constitutes an integral part of organic evolution, yet rendering us the exclusive status as the species of the highest complexity. (shrink)
Bob B. He: Two-dimensional X-ray diffraction Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-2 DOI 10.1007/s10698-011-9135-8 Authors George B. Kauffman, Department of Chemistry, California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA 93740-8034, USA Journal Foundations of Chemistry Online ISSN 1572-8463 Print ISSN 1386-4238.
H. B. D. Kettlewell's field experiments on industrial melanism in the peppered moth, Biston betularia, have become the best known demonstration of natural selection in action. I argue that textbook accounts routinely portray this research as an example of controlled experimentation, even though this is historically misleading. I examine how idealized accounts of Kettlewell's research have been used by professional biologists and biology teachers. I also respond to some criticisms of David Rudge to my earlier discussions of this case study, (...) and I question Rudge's claims about the importance of purely observational studies for the eventual acceptance and popularization of Kettlewell's explanation for the evolution of industrial melanism. (shrink)
Jean-Paul Sartre, in describing the realization of his freedom, was often inclined to say mysterious things like ‘I am what I am not’, ‘I am not what I am’ He was therefore plainly contradicting himself, but was this merely a playful literary figure , or was he really being incoherent? By the latter judgment I do not mean to reject his statements entirely ; for I believe there is an intimate link between contradiction and freedom, as I shall explain in (...) this paper. But a minor thing we must first have out of the way is the suggestion that Sartre's language was just a rhetorical trope, designed merely to express some banal platitude in a bemusing way: ‘I am not yet what I will be’, ‘I am no longer what I was’ are sane and sensible, for instance, but cannot be the meant content of Sartre's sayings, since, while they would indeed describe the reform of some character, they would be appropriate only before or after some metamorphosis, not, as Sartre clearly intended, in the midst of some process of riddance and conversion, whether radical or otherwise. Yet, in the turmoil of such a change, ‘I am not what I am’ still, surely, cannot be true, and if that is the case, Sartre must be being inocherent, and therefore, obfuscating and deliberately obscure, and hence, it seems, must properly be rejected by all right and clear thinking men. (shrink)
Among moral attributes true virtue alone is sublime. … [I]t is only by means of this idea [of virtue] that any judgment as to moral worth or its opposite is possible. … Everything good that is not based on a morally good disposition … is nothing but pretence and glittering misery. 1.
This article investigates the rate at different periods of the evolutionary process on Earth. The investigation is based on the author's previous investigations of the growth of evolutionary complexity and on other recent investigations of the rates of scientific evolution and information technology. The measures of the evolutionary rates are given in terms of their doubling times, being several million years for animal evolution, and ranging from a million years to some thousand years for human cultural evolution. After the Galilean (...) scientific revolution the doubling time shows a dramatic drop to about only twenty years and is found to be still shorter for modern information technology. The result shows that the totality of the evolutionary processes on Earth follows a superexponentially increasing rate, characterized by steadily decreasing doubling times. (shrink)