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 Devolution. Biological Fallacy?

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PostSubject: Devolution. Biological Fallacy?   Fri Dec 19, 2008 11:11 am

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In common parlance, "devolution", or backward evolution is the notion a species may evolve into more "primitive" forms. From a scientific perspective, devolution does not exist.[1] Lay people may see evolution as "progress", reflecting the 19th century ideas of Lamarckism and orthogenesis, but modern genetically-based biological evolution theory asserts that evolution occurs by such mechanisms as natural selection, genetic drift, and mutation, and is therefore not directional, forward or backward in time; hence "devolution" is not a valid concept.

It should not be confused with "evo-devo" which is shorthand for evolutionary developmental biology.


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Biologists refer to this misconception as teleology, the idea of intrinsic finality that things are "supposed" to be and behave a certain way, and naturally tend to act that way to pursue their own good. As the fossil record demonstrates that more than ninety nine percent of all species that ever lived are now extinct it is clear that most species do not evolve despite radical environmental changes. From a biological viewpoint, when species evolve it is not a reaction to necessity, but rather that the population contains variations with traits that favour their natural selection.

Evolution means progress to more advanced organisms.
This presumes that there is somehow a preferred hierarchy of structure and function, for example that "feet are better than hooves" or "lungs are better than gills", and can lead to the idea that change to "less advanced" structure can be called "devolution". To biologists this is an aspect of teleology, the supposition that there is purpose or directive principle in the works and processes of nature. A biologist sees all such changes as evolution, since for the organisms possessing the changed structures, each is a useful adaptation to their circumstances. For example, hooves have advantages for running quickly on plains as horses do, and feet have advantages in climbing trees as the ancestors of humans did.

Humans are the ultimate product or goal of evolution.
This belief is related to anthropocentrism, the idea that human existence is the point of all universal existence, and is a variation on the idea of "progress". To a biologist, describing the biological evolutionary process as goal-oriented would seem as ludicrous as a physicist claiming that the ultimate goal of gravity is to keep the Earth in its present orbit.

Increasing complexity is the necessary outcome of evolution.
Biologists studying the evolution of complexity find evidence of many examples of decreasing complexity in the record of evolution. The lower jaw in fish, reptiles and mammals has seen a decrease in complexity, if measured by the number of bones. Ancestors of modern horses had several toes on each foot; modern horses have a single hoofed toe. Modern humans may be evolving towards never having wisdom teeth, and already have lost the tail found in many other mammals - not to mention other vestigial structures, such as the vermiform appendix or the nictitating membrane.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_devolution


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but modern genetically-based biological evolution theory asserts that evolution occurs by such mechanisms as natural selection, genetic drift, and mutation, and is therefore not directional, forward or backward in time; hence "devolution" is not a valid concept.

I think that's interesting because by asserting that evolution goes in all directions by not being directional invalidates idealistic social notions of directional progress but there is a double edge here in that today's sociality revolves around uniformity, direction, narrowness,assimilation, and stagnant conformism which ultimately destroys biological diversity or difference that is the prime instigator of mutation along with genetical drift in evolution.

If social movements seek out uniformity that inevitably destroys biological diversity and difference that are the very things of biological evolution in the first place how can one say that devolution does not exist?
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PostSubject: Re: Devolution. Biological Fallacy?   Sun Dec 28, 2008 12:24 pm

Any takers?
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PostSubject: Re: Devolution. Biological Fallacy?   Wed Dec 31, 2008 10:35 am

Is it possible to 'please' all of the 'people' all of the time? If your answer to the question is "no" then bang goes the theory that any 'social movement' can have any lasting effect on evolution. Social movements tend to last no more than a generation or two. The loss of an articulation takes a lot longer. Do not make the mistake of equate complexity with efficiency. Why have three toes when one will help you get from A to B just as effectively?

Use it or you''ll lose it; given enough time.....

And if you didn't use something and survived long enough to reproduce...well did you really need that little something in the first place?
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PostSubject: Re: Devolution. Biological Fallacy?   Wed Dec 31, 2008 10:41 am

What the hell is devolution?!!!

Are you people idiots?

Evolution only means adapting, by selecting advantageous traits, to environmental conditions.
any change is an evolution...devolution is based no the wrong assumption that certain traits are preferred or so that they are always passed on and added to...


Stupidity can be an asset in a modern world...in fact it is...and some of you are proof of that.
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PostSubject: Re: Devolution. Biological Fallacy?   Wed Dec 31, 2008 11:03 am

Satyr wrote:
What the hell is devolution?!!!

Are you people idiots?

Evolution only means adapting, by selecting advantageous traits, to environmental conditions.
any change is an evolution...devolution is based no the wrong assumption that certain traits are preferred or so that they are always passed on and added to...


Stupidity can be an asset in a modern world...in fact it is...and some of you are proof of that.

Which people are you referring to as idiots? The ones who wrote the article or the two here who were attempting to discuss it? If you cannot distinguish between the two then you expose yourself to your own charge.
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PostSubject: Re: Devolution. Biological Fallacy?   Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:19 pm

Both.

What is the difference? The inventor or the follower?
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PostSubject: Re: Devolution. Biological Fallacy?   Fri Jan 02, 2009 8:25 am

Satyr wrote:
Both.

What is the difference? The inventor or the follower?


A rephrase:

Evolution happens. No goals no directions.
Social movements have little or no long term effects on evolution; in fact the converse is more likely to be true -evolution produces social movements.
If one toe will achieve what three could then one toe will suffice in evolutionary terms. The horse with the bigger middle toe may gallop away from predators more quickly or reach higher ground with better or more abundant grazing....helping the possessor of said toe to reproduce successfully.

What exactly is the problem with such reasoning? Why does it make one an idiot?
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PostSubject: Re: Devolution. Biological Fallacy?   Fri Jan 02, 2009 10:18 am

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Satyrs Says: What the hell is devolution?!!!

Are you people idiots?

I'm just asking whether such a thing can exist or not.

I'm not saying it does or doesn't exist. I'm merely asking questions.

As for devolution I'm assuming it means biological or social stagnation. At the very least that is how I'm interpreting it.

Quote :
Evolution only means adapting, by selecting advantageous traits, to environmental conditions.
any change is an evolution...devolution is based no the wrong assumption that certain traits are preferred or so that they are always passed on and added to...

Your always talking about how society is trying to destroy all differences and forms of diversity by creating a narrow uniformic existence by pacifying people which ultimately leads to social stagnation.

( I also have discussed this a great deal in the past.)

I created this thread out of curiosity wondering if stagnation could somehow be a form of devolution or not.

If evolution is genetic mutation built upon difference, diversity, and random shifts of adapting biological mechanisms wouldn't a narrow uniformic stagnant social collective be against the fray of evolution in that evolution itself despises stagnant organisms because they are the usually the first creatures to go extinct because of their lack of adapting with change?
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PostSubject: Re: Devolution. Biological Fallacy?   Fri Jan 02, 2009 4:09 pm

The way you describe devolution, whatever the hell that is supposed to mean, it merely means evolving to different circumstances which make certain attributes detrimental to adaptation and others beneficial to it.

In overpopulated environments struggling over dwindling resources nihilism seems to be advantage.
If it does not kill the organism, offering a benefit t9o the whole, it makes it a self-hating, self-denying, automaton seeking a core, a certainty, a new identity, and finding it within an ideal or a religion or humanitarianism.
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PostSubject: Re: Devolution. Biological Fallacy?   Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:55 am

I must concur with Satyr in relation to his main point, that devolution, "whatever the hell that is," is impossible. Of course I am aware that you are trying to define the term in the way you wish it to be defined, but the very idea itself is bunk. Stagnation cannot be a "form" of devolution, because devolution is impossible...end of story. However I will go with the thought and give the thought of stagnation's effects some time. Because "stagnation," if there is such a thing, may have certain effects on the evolutionary process, but it makes little sense to equate stagnation to a type of "devolution," for that as was stated above makes the common chain of being fallacy.Rolling Eyes

I would also pose the question: how exactly would social movements affect biological diversity? To what extent are biological factors influenced by social? Of course, examples of social factors affecting biology can be given...but this does not mean that the apparent uniformity in our social institutions leads to a regress of biological variety. There are many factors that fall under the umbrella of evolution, and it is very difficult, if not entirely impossible, to determine exactly what factors actually are conducive to survival or not.
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PostSubject: Re: Devolution. Biological Fallacy?   Sat Jan 03, 2009 3:18 am

I don't know...

Assuming the evolution exists as a biological imperative and force that increases fragmentation and natural mutation (exponential selection of focused and/or specialized traits) in offspring and throughout ancestry, devolution could be a contrary force that actively resists and constrains a large degree of particular populations so that competition between elites does not become too convoluted or over-strained by numbers.

In other words, imagine if there were a dozen George W. Bushes waiting in line to pick up his presidency. Then, in that sense, devolution exists as a factor to ensure that this does not happen naturally-speaking.
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PostSubject: Re: Devolution. Biological Fallacy?   Sat Jan 03, 2009 11:20 am

myhypocricy wrote:
I must concur with Satyr in relation to his main point, that devolution, "whatever the hell that is," is impossible. Of course I am aware that you are trying to define the term in the way you wish it to be defined, but the very idea itself is bunk. Stagnation cannot be a "form" of devolution, because devolution is impossible...end of story. However I will go with the thought and give the thought of stagnation's effects some time. Because "stagnation," if there is such a thing, may have certain effects on the evolutionary process, but it makes little sense to equate stagnation to a type of "devolution," for that as was stated above makes the common chain of being fallacy.Rolling Eyes

I would also pose the question: how exactly would social movements affect biological diversity? To what extent are biological factors influenced by social? Of course, examples of social factors affecting biology can be given...but this does not mean that the apparent uniformity in our social institutions leads to a regress of biological variety. There are many factors that fall under the umbrella of evolution, and it is very difficult, if not entirely impossible, to determine exactly what factors actually are conducive to survival or not.


Quote :
However I will go with the thought and give the thought of stagnation's effects some time. Because "stagnation," if there is such a thing, may have certain effects on the evolutionary process, but it makes little sense to equate stagnation to a type of "devolution," for that as was stated above makes the common chain of being fallacy.Rolling Eyes


A while back I was talking about entropy with an acquaintance and posed the question whether entire societies or civilizations go through a process of entropy because like anything else societies and civilizations are started by various energies predominantly through the social spectrum where overtime they fade away.

If devolution is impossible like you and satyr have stated could social stagnation be a form of entropy instead?
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PostSubject: Re: Devolution. Biological Fallacy?   Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:01 pm

Devolution = pseudo-scientific liberal propaganda.
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PostSubject: Re: Devolution. Biological Fallacy?   Sun Jan 04, 2009 12:24 pm

deepthought wrote:
Devolution = pseudo-scientific liberal propaganda.

Alright I'm willing to admit that devolution has nothing to do with what I'm trying to articulate.

So could social stagnation be a process of entropy instead?
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PostSubject: Re: Devolution. Biological Fallacy?   Sun Jan 04, 2009 12:29 pm

If people read my first post you would also know that I spoke about a double edge to this topic.

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but modern genetically-based biological evolution theory asserts that evolution occurs by such mechanisms as natural selection, genetic drift, and mutation, and is therefore not directional, forward or backward in time; hence "devolution" is not a valid concept.

It says that evolution is not directional, forward, or backward in time yet is that not what ideals entire civilizations hold dear in the past and present?

Does not entire societies and civilizations in the present embrace the fallacious idea that there is some directional purpose for human beings followed by conceptual imagery of directional progress?
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PostSubject: Re: Devolution. Biological Fallacy?   Sun Jan 04, 2009 7:06 pm

I would, like I said, think about the idea of stagnation. Putting aside devolution, I would stand with you on your assessment of stagnation and talk about that for some time, as you do bring up an interesting point. But again, I have to point out the sociological problems: how do sociological factors affect biological diversity?
I think it does not matter whether or not civilizations believe in any directional progress, or put value in uniformity...because their beliefs are not going to change how the world is. Their beliefs may not correspond to reality. Believing in complete stagnation is not going to change biological diversity.
Evolution is not a way of life...it is a fact about life.
What do you mean about entropy? Could you perhaps explain "entropy" in this context, as I am interested in exactly what you are trying to get at.
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PostSubject: Re: Devolution. Biological Fallacy?   Mon Jan 05, 2009 1:37 am

The Fool wrote:
deepthought wrote:
Devolution = pseudo-scientific liberal propaganda.

Alright I'm willing to admit that devolution has nothing to do with what I'm trying to articulate.

So could social stagnation be a process of entropy instead?
Social history takes place over too small a time for it to have anything to do with physical evolution.

From a cultural perspective I think perhaps you are talking about the failure of human communities to socialize their children properly, resulting in feral, intellectually stunted humans who resemble Neanderthals in their behavior?

Why is the Neanderthal a model for all that is primitive and raw?
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PostSubject: Re: Devolution. Biological Fallacy?   Tue Jan 06, 2009 8:18 am

The Fool wrote:


could social stagnation be a form of entropy instead?

You know what…after thinking about it some, the idea of stagnation as entropy is an interesting one. Even so, entropy in relation to society (lets call it social entropy) implies a direction: towards disorder. So social entropy has a directional, not necessarily purposeful, course, one in which at the extreme end society deteriorates completely. The Fool mentioned stagnation as a form of social entropy. But here is the crux…what is stagnation? Perhaps we can discuss that, because I am not in complete agreement with the entire idea of society “trying to destroy all differences and forms of diversity by creating a narrow uniform[ed] existence by pacifying people which ultimately leads to social stagnation.” I think this really simplifies the issues and does not take into account the varying complexity of social systems. Certainly some simplicity is conducive to valuable insight, but I believe the latter view greatly abridges the issues.

One, we would have to corroborate the notion that societies in general all lead to a monopolization of homogeny thus leading society into a type of stasis which inevitably leads to societal disorder. Because our definitions are not worked out yet, on the surface the claim that stagnation and uniformity leads to disorder or is a form of it, is a little odd…though it is interesting. How exactly does that work? Wouldn’t uniformity create stability, constancy? Wouldn’t it strengthen social patterns and relations by preserving solidarity in the Durkheimian sense, rather than generate unrest?

What would need to be added in order for stagnation to cause disorder…in other words an extra ingredient must be present for stagnation to have the potential to be a form of entropy. So a supplementary component X is necessary for stagnation to realize a type of “socio-dynamis,” taking from Aristotle‘s ideas of potentiality. But what is it? Question

Quote :

If evolution is genetic mutation built upon difference, diversity, and random shifts of adapting biological mechanisms wouldn't a narrow uniformic stagnant social collective be against the fray of evolution in that evolution itself despises stagnant organisms because they are the usually the first creatures to go extinct because of their lack of adapting with change?


Putting “devolution” aside, from this perspective, dogmatically stagnant societies that refused to change when threatening novel environmental factors arose would not survive. That is again assuming such a society had a system that did not pair well with the given environment…so much so that prolongation of the said society would inevitably end in disarray and then extinction. Once more, it must be noted, that it is this environmental factor that is the necessary ingredient that causes social entropy in a (dogmatically, stubborn) stagnant society.

Idea Naturally, not all societies move in the direction of entropy at the same speed, because all societies do not have the same “rate of disorder.” Certain societies last longer than others…obviously. Possibly, certain societies may have a way of adapting and changing according to environmental/other factors while maintaining stasis. This may seem contradicting at first glance, but as I motioned towards in a previous post, perhaps a kind of moving equilibrium is maintained, as proposed by Talcott Parsons.

With this, it is conceivable to see how stagnation may be a form of entropy: by adding the environmental ingredient, and the moving equilibrium premise, societal change may very well occur while still maintaining a sort of stasis…but if the stagnation proves to be utterly stubborn in the face of factors which threaten survival, then entropy is realized in its extreme mode. study
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PostSubject: Re: Devolution. Biological Fallacy?   Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:12 am

Quote :
I would, like I said, think about the idea of stagnation. Putting aside devolution, I would stand with you on your assessment of stagnation and talk about that for some time, as you do bring up an interesting point.

Now that I think about it I wished I made this thread more about stagnation than devolution.

The reason I added devolution into the subject was because I was twisting with a couple of ideas thinking I had somthing for a moment. ( When it came to the subject of devolution it turns out I didn't. Laughing )


Quote :
But again, I have to point out the sociological problems: how do sociological factors affect biological diversity?

That is a very complex obstacle.

Quote :
I think it does not matter whether or not civilizations believe in any directional progress, or put value in uniformity...because their beliefs are not going to change how the world is.

That very well may be.

Quote :
Their beliefs may not correspond to reality.


Which happens quite frequently.

Quote :
Believing in complete stagnation is not going to change biological diversity.
Evolution is not a way of life...it is a fact about life.

Nods.

Quote :
What do you mean about entropy? Could you perhaps explain "entropy" in this context, as I am interested in exactly what you are trying to get at.

Entropy to me is when energy is created but dissolves over time in that in cannot substain itself indefinately.

That would be my most basic definition of it. I'll see if I can find a more indepth elaboration.

But look at this way when it comes to biology or social movements of any kind they have energy whether it's psychological, emotional, or physical.

When I think about the decline and fall of entire civilizations, religions, and various cults entropy is on my mind alot.

I hope what I'm saying makes sense in that I'm not always great at even describing my own thoughts at times.
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PostSubject: Re: Devolution. Biological Fallacy?   Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:22 am

I think that was an adequate definition of entropy...as it was the definition I assumed in my previous post...
And it just exemplifies the idea that stagnation, in order for it to cause a society to realize entropy, must be bolstered by some additional factor...
...because how would a stagnant society, unified in culture, lead to disorder and not solidarity and cohesion?
There must be something more that is needed. Perhaps environmental factors??

I'll think some more. tongue
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PostSubject: Re: Devolution. Biological Fallacy?   Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:23 am

myhypocricy wrote:
I think that was an adequate definition of entropy...as it was the definition I assumed in my previous post. And it just exemplifies the idea that stagnation, in order for it to cause a society to realize entropy, must be bolstered by some additional factor...for how would a stagnant society, unified in culture, lead to disorder and not solidarity and cohesion?

I have ideas as to what factor causes stagnation but of course they are subjective and mere opinion.

To be honest I have never heard much of this subject discussed before until now.
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PostSubject: Re: Devolution. Biological Fallacy?   Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:24 am

what factor do you think causes stagnation?
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PostSubject: Re: Devolution. Biological Fallacy?   Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:30 am

myhypocricy wrote:
The Fool wrote:


could social stagnation be a form of entropy instead?

You know what…after thinking about it some, the idea of stagnation as entropy is an interesting one. Even so, entropy in relation to society (lets call it social entropy) implies a direction: towards disorder. So social entropy has a directional, not necessarily purposeful, course, one in which at the extreme end society deteriorates completely. The Fool mentioned stagnation as a form of social entropy. But here is the crux…what is stagnation? Perhaps we can discuss that, because I am not in complete agreement with the entire idea of society “trying to destroy all differences and forms of diversity by creating a narrow uniform[ed] existence by pacifying people which ultimately leads to social stagnation.” I think this really simplifies the issues and does not take into account the varying complexity of social systems. Certainly some simplicity is conducive to valuable insight, but I believe the latter view greatly abridges the issues.

One, we would have to corroborate the notion that societies in general all lead to a monopolization of homogeny thus leading society into a type of stasis which inevitably leads to societal disorder. Because our definitions are not worked out yet, on the surface the claim that stagnation and uniformity leads to disorder or is a form of it, is a little odd…though it is interesting. How exactly does that work? Wouldn’t uniformity create stability, constancy? Wouldn’t it strengthen social patterns and relations by preserving solidarity in the Durkheimian sense, rather than generate unrest?

What would need to be added in order for stagnation to cause disorder…in other words an extra ingredient must be present for stagnation to have the potential to be a form of entropy. So a supplementary component X is necessary for stagnation to realize a type of “socio-dynamis,” taking from Aristotle‘s ideas of potentiality. But what is it? Question

Quote :

If evolution is genetic mutation built upon difference, diversity, and random shifts of adapting biological mechanisms wouldn't a narrow uniformic stagnant social collective be against the fray of evolution in that evolution itself despises stagnant organisms because they are the usually the first creatures to go extinct because of their lack of adapting with change?


Putting “devolution” aside, from this perspective, dogmatically stagnant societies that refused to change when threatening novel environmental factors arose would not survive. That is again assuming such a society had a system that did not pair well with the given environment…so much so that prolongation of the said society would inevitably end in disarray and then extinction. Once more, it must be noted, that it is this environmental factor that is the necessary ingredient that causes social entropy in a (dogmatically, stubborn) stagnant society.

Idea Naturally, not all societies move in the direction of entropy at the same speed, because all societies do not have the same “rate of disorder.” Certain societies last longer than others…obviously. Possibly, certain societies may have a way of adapting and changing according to environmental/other factors while maintaining stasis. This may seem contradicting at first glance, but as I motioned towards in a previous post, perhaps a kind of moving equilibrium is maintained, as proposed by Talcott Parsons.

With this, it is conceivable to see how stagnation may be a form of entropy: by adding the environmental ingredient, and the moving equilibrium premise, societal change may very well occur while still maintaining a sort of stasis…but if the stagnation proves to be utterly stubborn in the face of factors which threaten survival, then entropy is realized in its extreme mode. study


Quote :
(lets call it social entropy)

That would be my definition. Smile

Quote :
So social entropy has a directional, not necessarily purposeful, course, one in which at the extreme end society deteriorates completely.

Yes.

Quote :
But here is the crux…what is stagnation?

That's the problem. My opinion of stagnation may be different from others.

One could say this while I could say somthing else. Who's correct? Both? One?

( Or as I call it: The problem of relativity. Which is mostly the problem of uncertainty.)


Quote :
Perhaps we can discuss that, because I am not in complete agreement with the entire idea of society “trying to destroy all differences and forms of diversity by creating a narrow uniform[ed] existence by pacifying people which ultimately leads to social stagnation.”

That's my interpretation. But what is stranger is that one who accepts a narrow uniformic idealism could say that stagnation comes from chaotic interpretations that I embrace!

Who's correct? It's a matter that cannot be settled easily.


Quote :
One, we would have to corroborate the notion that societies in general all lead to a monopolization of homogeny thus leading society into a type of stasis which inevitably leads to societal disorder. Because our definitions are not worked out yet, on the surface the claim that stagnation and uniformity leads to disorder or is a form of it, is a little odd…though it is interesting. How exactly does that work? Wouldn’t uniformity create stability, constancy? Wouldn’t it strengthen social patterns and relations by preserving solidarity in the Durkheimian sense, rather than generate unrest?

Quote :
To quote wiki:

but modern genetically-based biological evolution theory asserts that evolution occurs by such mechanisms as natural selection, genetic drift, and mutation, and is therefore not directional, forward or backward in time; hence "devolution" is not a valid concept.

If evolution is going in all directions that is in a inconstant unstable drift and mutation without having any direction at all while humanity on the opposite spectrum is trying to enforce a narrow perceived directional progress or purpose through a narrow mass uniformity I believe that through those conflicting spheres of things alone creates stagnation.

A conflict of nature ( Evolution.) versus mind ( Ego).

( Or as the existentialist philosopher Camus would say the absurdity of rationalizing and stabilizing a indifferent unstable universe. An absurd undertaking to begin with.)


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PostSubject: Re: Devolution. Biological Fallacy?   Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:45 am

I think it is difficult to define stagnat in such a context because society is really never stagnant. There is always new music, new technologies, new ideas. That's why I'm really kind of skeptical about the idea, because I've never heard of a society that is socially stagnant as a whole.

But maybe that leads us somewhere??? If societies are never stagnant as a whole, could there not be aspects of societies that are stagnant? For example a society can be wild and innovative when it came to foreign policy or technology, yet completely dull and boring when it came to art. In this institutional quarter of society it makes sense to say it is stagnant.

With that it is possible social entropy may be a result of stagnation of a single, or several social institutions, but never the whole.
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PostSubject: Re: Devolution. Biological Fallacy?   Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:51 am

The Fool wrote:


If evolution is going in all directions that is in a inconstant unstable drift and mutation without having any direction at all while humanity on the opposite spectrum is trying to enforce a narrow perceived directional progress or purpose through a narrow mass uniformity I believe that through those conflicting spheres of things alone creates stagnation.

A conflict of nature ( Evolution.) versus mind ( Ego).


That is a good assesment. And entropy will not affect such a stagnant society if the enironment is suitable for survival. Fortunately, conflict between our ego and nature has not proven to be absolutely inimical to our existence....yet.
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