III. PREVIOUS EVOLUTIONARY THEORIES

In general, science has changed a lot in the past century (20th century) and, yet, regarding the theory of evolution or evolutionary theory it seems strange that it has not changed significantly.

Although there are small updates, the generally accepted theory of evolution is the Darwinian one presented in the work The Origin of the Species in 1859. This evolutionary theory basically consists of what surely all of us have heard about or studied.

Crocodile cancunning
Crocodile

According to the evolutionary theory of Darwin, individuals present random variations and evolution comes about by natural selection. These variations are also categorized as random mutations in order to point out their supposedly unguided nature.

The Darwinian Theory punched the evolutionary theory proposed by Lamarck, according to which the traits acquired during the life of the individuals passed on to the descendants. The classic example is that of the evolution of the giraffes’ neck. According to the evolutionary theory of Lamarck, the first giraffes, by constant stretching of their necks by means of obtaining food, managed to lengthen them and subsequently breeding descendants with necks a little longer. As for Darwin, he maintained that random giraffes born with longer necks were those that had been better adapted than the average, survived better, and bred more descendants.

Among the theories of evolution, strictly speaking, we find the laws of Mendel (1865) about genetic inheritance, whose fundamental elements are the combination of genes and their dominant or recessive trait. Although, regarding the indicated date, it is worth pointing out that at the end of the 19th century, this theory remained absolutely anonymous and not exactly because Mendel didn’t try to publish it as is claimed in some realms.

Therefore, in short, the ideas presented by Lamarck, Darwin and Mendel make up the classical body of the concepts as regards biological evolution or evolution of the species. Nonetheless, it is also worth pointing out the existence of theories derived from the previous one and other theories of religious nature.

Let us go on now to carry out a critical analysis of the most important evolutionary theories without expecting a negative valuation in any case.

Likewise, a brief description of these evolutionary theories is in the addendum of the theories of the human origin.

III.a) Theory of Creationism vs. evolution

I mention the Theory of Creationism and other religious theories because indeed, they relate to the theories of the evolution and many people agree with them in one or another way.

As Theory of Creationism does not follow the scientific method, critic cannot be done within logical thinking, so I can only show my deep respect in religious beliefs.

Notredame
Paris
Notredame Cathedral, Paris

Similar problematic arises when studying the positions or theories on the existence of the soul-body (monism and dualism) and, although in smaller degree, the concepts mind-brain (logical conductism - Wittgenstein, identity and functionalism) to be in the scope of theology and philosophy more than in science.

In any case, I think that religious positions such as Theory of Creationism can compatible with any evolutionary theory, with a metaphorical interpretation of certain literal explanations to the origin of the life of religious character...

III.b) Intelligent Design

The General Theory of Conditional Evolution of Life (GTCEL) does not coincide with the Intelligent Design movement such as the pseudo-tautological idea of the design of the universe in order to admit biological life, as we know it. Yet, in general, it coincides in its essential argument, which is the existence of a teleological or finalist evolution consequence of an intrinsically vital impulse.

Obviously, it undergoes the same attitudes in that some humans try to confuse the General Theory of Conditional Evolution of Life (a fully evolutionary theory) with the Theory of Creationism and do not accept its scientific nature. As if the exclusion of a theory’s scientific nature without any reason were purely an act of true science!

Despite the fact that the General Theory of Conditional Evolution of Life is completely rooted in the scientific method and experimental investigation; as far as any imaginable religious connections of the Intelligent Design movement are concerned, GTCEL supports a religious vision to the same extent in which all religions come together. That is to say, the scientific existence of the aforementioned vital impulse that seems to give meaning to life.

However, any scientific evidence of evolution being finalist would not implicate, in its case, that any particular aspect suggested by the movement or theory of Intelligent Creationism in a broad sense is correct, given its range and heterogeneous nature.

Furthermore, strictly speaking, the GTCEL is not a part of this trend or movement.

Nevertheless, in my opinion, the subject of Intelligent Design seems particularly important for the following reasons:

  • It is a major step that part of religion, call it Intelligent Creationism, Scientific Creationism Theory, or Intelligent Design movement, decides to try to make its beliefs compatible with the physical reality of our world, which is represented basically by science and experimental investigation.

    Thus, science, or rather, the scientific community, will find itself forced to the corresponding; that is, not to deny something which it has no evidence to deny and, therefore, accepting that some ideas like those of Intelligent Design could be valid.

    If this occurred, the scientific community also would be obligated to recognize that their preferred evolutionary theory of Darwin is neither proven nor rigorously formalized, and that, by accepting it as such, recognize that they have made serious errors in the past.

  • The entry of the Intelligent Design movement into science would prompt a greater exploration and seriousness as well as in the Darwinian Theory of evolution, or the currently widespread Neo-Darwinism.

    For example, both theories should explain the concept of Life, when and how they think it began in the universe and persisted to present time. Note that until now one focused on Life and the other on species!

    Along the same line, both Creationism and Darwinism should separate from the context of science those assertions (such as tautology or anything appearing out of nowhere without being able to say exactly when) that are neither verifiable nor refutable.

  • Another essential element of the Intelligent Design’s dynamics is that it represents a small revolution within its own ideas because its own defenders find themselves imposed to place the designer in this world if they really want to accept evolution.

    That is to say, there exists an intelligence producing small changes throughout time, which makes evolution take place. Therefore, it seems sensible to think that this intelligence would be small, not typically human, and even belonging to a micro scale. In other words, with Scientific Creationism, if you want to call it that, humans are no longer the only intelligent beings and with the spirit of improvement.

In short, if the Intelligent Design movement is truly an evolutionary theory, and I would like to believe that it is, religious sentiment it transcending beyond young humanity, which is, in my opinion, positive and implies that it is more rational.

Now all that we needed for modern science is to undertake a similar route and abandon some of its nineteenth century premises that prevent it from being neutral regarding important concepts, such as the evolution of life.

III.c) Lamarck's theory of evolution

Lamarck theory is based on environmental factors, and summarized in the sentence the function creates the organ.

I consider Lamarck's theory of evolution valid but not general.

Among other concepts, the evolutionary theory of Lamarck should do not explain the controls imposed by nature to avoid the effective development of modified characters due to non-permanent environmental changes using external verification.

In addition, Lamarck's theory is too simple for the knowledge of our days. Lamarck only adds a portion of the ideas needed to explain the complexity of the evolutionary dynamic.