Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Scott Adams has been winding-up the Neo-Darwinists again with some cunning logic: Evolution can't be completely true because relativity theory precludes the existence of an objective frame of temporal reference in which species could "evolve over time". So, "if something is not true for all observers, it is only a point of view."

Indeed you might say that Evolution forms the point of view of molecules. For Neo-Darwinists, there's not much more to it than that, but amongst the more expansive (and more poetic) alternative descriptions is that which sees Evolution as a thread through the web of life connecting up the various molecular perspectives that (could) exist in relative spacetime. Borges might have called it a pathway through the labyrinth.

Einstein's theories of Relativity and the other major paradigm shifts in twentieth century physics could all be said to pose fundamental philosophical challenges to the bottom-up, mechanistic outlook − not just as it expresses itself as the reductionist neo-Darwinian interpretation of evolutionary theory. Yet whether your perspective on it is deep or shallow, Natural Selection remains the only reputable explanation for the existence of sentient observers in the first place.

From a photon's speed-of-light perspective it would be hard to observe evolution in action, but that frame of reference is as close as you would ever get to stepping outside the labyrinth, a likely point of rendezvous for both objectivity and subjectivity.

No comments: