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Although the article claims that Dawkins supports the idea of progressive evolution, this is not so. The book (Climbing Mount Improbable) to which it refers has a chapter which Gould claimed was evidence that Dawkins supports selection at levels higher than the gene, but Dawkins clearly disagrees. The year after Gould’s review, Dawkins released Unweaving the Rainbow, in which he observed that, “… Gould is one of the few Darwinians who still think of natural selection as working at levels higher than the individual organism. (p. 199)”

I believe that Dawkins is actually adamant that there is no such thing as progressive evolution. Mayr and Margulis amongst others agree. A summary of the debate is available in the thesis stored here [1]

If we accept that life on Earth is probably about as complex and conscious as it will ever get, since the ever expanding sun will soon change our atmosphere to such an extent that big brains (which require lots of oxygen) are impossible, then the evolution of life on earth is one from single celled organisms and back again Not progressive at all.

Personally, I don't think that is bad news or God denying: our own brains start simple, get complex, and then simplify again before we go senile or die. Yet we enjoy the moment of consciousness when we have it. Ditto for life, and God's enjoyment of life on Earth.

Rev. Dr Jason John, [2]

Can anyone check on this? If RDJJ is right, then we should remove Dawkins name from our statement. Also, please look at the GoThomas citation I added to the page. I'm torn about whether or not it should be there. It fits so well, yet I hesitate to put sectarian things up here, because we want to be welcoming to all, not just Christians. Equinox

"Random" ..? Edit

I think the use of the word "random" there invokes the watch problem: How can you get something like a watch, from random developments?

I think we could explain this in three steps:

  • random -- a false understanding of evolution is that it's just: "everything's random" -- only a very small part of the evolutionary view, involves randomness: sexual genetic selection of genes (whatever language), and mutation -- evolution doesn't mean "completely random"
  • random + feedback -- the environment starts to evaluate and judge and reward and punish the random elements, and things that "work" get promoted forward, things that don't get eaten (or whatever) -- this is not a more classical view of evolution (use appropriate period terminology, whatever)
  • random + feedback + recurring-patterns -- we see that there are familiar patterns of things that "work," we can see some direction to the thing; this is "convergent evolution," and it's explained by yadda, yadda, yadda, ...

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