Illusion progress

Stephen Jay Gould tries to refute a widespread error

The once popular appropriation of evolutionary theory was relatively simple and has aligned their development scenario to the prevailing model of progress. Of the "Fight for the existence" Adjusts the best, which then push the story and develop high forms of organization. The output is simple – the microorganisms -, and then life unfolds to its high point: the man who stands at the top of the evolutionary manager and surprises everything else life.

Even though today is no longer so flat from progress, it hides approximately behind the worse convocation of the increasing complexity cargo the same thought. And increasing complexity seems to be obviously a trend of life, if one compared to developing historically, the simple microorganisms on all intermediates with humans compares, which is why one likes to exploit this development towards growing complexity and merely in other societal areas imitate. Complexity is a value in itself, which is then projected on the development of life based on the crown of chopping.

Especially in the social arwinist and elite or ethnocentric ideologies, the consequences from the alleged evolutionary facts to draw, this attitude is even better. For example, the ideology of the Nazis – and is that of some today’s rights and neoliberals – crossed by the idea that the progress of the best – the Arier, the entrepreneurs, the risk to the rich, the German, but from a communist perspective also the proletarian … – hindered and dampened by parasites, which suck out the power of their inherently and use for themselves, which is why you get this destroy or at least get under control. Parasites are considered a jerking step – and indeed are they mostly easier than their biological hosts. Also undeniable is that there has been an increase in complexity in biological evolution. So what is wrong on biological progress?

But already a simple coating was made clear that in addition to the increasing complexity, which is depicting linearly as a sequence of family tree – Z.B. Bacteria – Single – Manycell … -, Many of the simple organisms will be preserved and also reversed. The simplest living beings continue to represent the most among the majority of organisms, they can only be the life of more complex who actually represent the parasites. In addition, the parasites of the "top" Organisms for forms that have developed only after they have given them. So they have spoiled herself and exploring the resources of their hosts. Recent theories also ame that quite certainly parasites play a significant role in maintaining evolution, and from their existence an effective mechanism of generating ever new variants, the sexuality, was created. Parasites could also be the cause of symbioses, from which individual and later have developed in manycells. And if there should be a general prere on complexity increase, for example, by evolutionary wettrusts, then all the organisms had to be developed in this direction when they want to make natural selection with the Telos complexity and survive.

Even if the theory of evolution for your dogma is the unmarked change and the "Blind watchmaker" has made proof of every teleology or any lamarckism, the discard is obviously tremendously roughly overlooking the abovementioned objection and only want to explain the increase in the complexity. All the goods were relatively uninteresting and only an insider discussion, if not the life sciences and thus also the theory of evolution had become a paradigm, which serve to explain and justify all possible other areas. That’s why the book of Stephen Jay Gould is also so important in which he tries to show that progress is only an illusion or at least a one-sided perspective, which results from a very selective perception of evolutionary history. If one looks at the entire width of life, then the alleged trend towards the complexity is more a marginal ridge, which, so the thesis of Goulds, is forcibly randomly, similarly as a fallless always occurs sometime to the strain when he gets out of the door of the pub Torque and by completely random steps in all directions just over the curb falls.

His book builds in the largest previously published topics in the great context, the explanation from the point of view of evolutionary theory a stucco continues to drive towards disillusionment, because we are still around the last consequences of Darwinism for Gould: the "Non-predictable non-judgment of life". DESILLUSIONION is nothing special in itself, because we seem to please, but progress is as a constant development, as always occupied, so also in the form of a decay history, certainly still a widespread attitude of people to the story to their one To give meaning. We want to see trends to adjust to it to be able to recognize a directed movement overhever. Trends are naturally empirically occupied by statistics. And, of course, we know that they do not play objectivitat, but must be interpreted, nevertheless, we can easily swap through the apparent objectivity of the surveys.

EXPERRAL SERRORTED Gould from the American perspective, which, of course, remains a bit hidden from the American perspective in its importance, why the baseball does not speak the extinction of the hit average of 0.400 that the players have become worse – maybe one should use the Fubball in this country. In reality, so the thesis, proves the statistical deterioration that the game quality in baseball has improved overall. The pure average does, because in the time sequence, the variation width can only spread in one direction, which, however, as in sports or other benefits carried out by people, "right" Wall stobs, which blocks the further progress – here the technical assessments or in sports the doping can be used.

Also with a story of his life, Gould show that sometimes it could be fatal to subordinate the variety width to the Platonic beings of an allegedly central tendency, resulting from the mean value. If there are nothing of 10 children of a $ 10 and nine, there is a mean of a dollar per child – and a completely false impression. If the fluctuation range is strong in one direction, in one direction, in the other only weak or not expand, the meaning can drove in the irreplace, because you get the impression, everything has moved to one direction. A single Bill Gates can stretch the average of the average income far to the right. A balanced one was seen such a distribution if not considered the mean value, but about the most common value.

Looking at with Gould the complexity of living and their historical development "as changing the entire system of variation", This is how one is difficult to find a general trend towards progress as a complexity increase, even if individual creatures have become more complicated: "Life began with a bacterial shape that stood close to the left wall of the minimum complexity, and today, nearly four billion years of later, the same form is still available at the same place." If there is a minimum bodygroobe, then it can only come to a gross increase in a few species when multiplying the species, while Gould Demonstrates the analysis of the evolutionary history of microorganisms, which is not the most commonly occurring roughly. And the most common living beings have remained the microorganisms since the beginning of life until today ("During a human life alone, the number of colibacteria in the intestine is much gross than the total number of all people who live on earth today and ever lived") and also represent the overweight part of the biomass, and we only discover the huge range of their representatives, which can be found practically everywhere. After Gould, every truly dominant bacterium was laughing about the overlooking the small tail of more complex organisms, which are so far from his mode of life.

Short: Gould do not deny that the evolution has come to an increase in complexity, but he does not see a general trend and also no targeted mechanism. The history of life is occasionally randomly ahead of high complexity, but sometimes a reduction in the complexity as with the parasites. In contrast, Gould distinguishes cultural change, which is very well developed for him for a general trend for him, for example, for technical or scientific progress, that he believes that in the performing artists or in sporting achievements, which are dependent on the human body, the rights Wall has already been achieved often.

And Gould, of course, also offers a morality of history: "The excellent is not a single point, but a range of distinguished", Why one of the diversity about her itself wants to take care, especially since the evolution is an unpredictable and non-directed process, whose "magnificent random product" we are.

Stephen Jay Gould: Illusion progress. The varied way of evolution. S. Fischer Verlag. 287 pages. 1998

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