Darwin's dangerous idea : evolution and the meanings of life by Daniel C. Dennett

By Daniel C. Dennett

In a ebook that's either groundbreaking and obtainable, Daniel C. Dennett, whom Chet Raymo of The Boston Globe calls "one of the main provocative thinkers at the planet," focuses his unerringly logical brain at the conception of traditional choice, exhibiting how Darwin's nice proposal transforms and illuminates our conventional view of humanity's position within the universe. Dennett vividly describes the speculation itself after which extends Darwin's imaginative and prescient with impeccable arguments to their usually outstanding conclusions, difficult the perspectives of a few of the main recognized scientists of our day.

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They have been hoping for, hunting for, praying for skyhooks, as exceptions to what they see as the bleak vision of Darwin's algorithm churning away. And time and again, they have come up with truly interesting challenges—leaps and gaps and other marvels that do seem, at first, to need makes them financially sound investments—is that we often do want very much to attach something (such as an antenna or a camera or telescope) to a place high in the sky. Satellites are impractical for lifting, alas, because they have to be placed so high in the sky.

7. Robert Richards' account of the history of the Baldwin Effect (1987, especially pp. 480-503 and discussion later in that book) has been one of the major provocations and guides to my thinking in this book. " Richards' heart is clearly with Baldwin, but his mind won't let him bluster, or try to paper °ver the cracks he sees in the dikes that others have tried to erect against universal acid. 80 UNIVERSAL ACID Although it has been regularly described and acknowledged in biology textbooks, it has typically been shunned by overcautious thinkers, because they thought it smacked of the Lamarckian heresy (the presumed possibility of inheritance of acquired characteristics—see chapter 11 for a detailed discussion).

Cede some or all of modern biology to Darwin, perhaps, but hold the line there! Keep Darwinian thinking out of cosmology, out of psychology, out of human culture, out of ethics, politics, and religion! In these campaigns, many battles have been won by the forces of containment: flawed applications of Darwin's idea have been exposed and discredited, beaten back by the champions of the pre-Darwinian tradition. But new waves of Darwinian thinking keep coming. They seem to be improved versions, not vulnerable to the refutations that defeated their predecessors, but are they sound extensions of the unquestionably sound Darwinian core idea, or might they, too, be perversions of it, and even more virulent, more dangerous, than the abuses of Darwin already refuted?

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