Archive for February 12th, 2012
This afternoon I decided to gather uses of evolutionary explanations in fields other than biology. This post features Daniel Dennett discussing evolution in fields other than biology, including languages and music. This discussion is in the video between 15 min and 21 min.
Here is a wealth of other applications of natural selection including mention of Gerald Edelman’s work (it is often called “neural darwinism,” though I didn’t use that term in this article). This same post also discusses Randolf Nesse’s work on “Darwinian Medicine.” Here’s a video featuring Nesse. This same article also mentions Geoffrey Miller, who has relied on Darwin’s work to explain the evolution of art and consumer behavior.
An article in Discover Magazine, “We All Live in Darwin’s World,” discusses yet other applications of natural selection outside of biology. This article includes the following quote:
“Natural selection is a source of insight that is unbelievably powerful,” [David Sloan] Wilson says. And its power is not limited to the life sciences. The same selective paradigm can describe the rise of complexity in inanimate systems: stock markets, transit schedules. Though other mathematical models are capable of simulating complex phenomena, only Darwin’s approach shows how certain complex systems not only arise but also adapt over time to the constraints imposed by their environment, as living systems do.
Here are some more quotes I have collected over the past few months. No particular overall topic here:
If you make people think they’re thinking, they’ll love you; But if you really make them think, they’ll hate you.
Don Marquis (1878 – 1937)
Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.
Herman Melville (1819 – 1891)
“I don’t believe there’s any problem in this country that Americans, when they roll up their sleeves, can’t completely ignore.”
The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you’ve got it made.
Jean Giraudoux (1882 – 1944)
There is absolutely no inevitability as long as there is a willingness to contemplate what is happening.
Marshall McLuhan (1911 – 1980)
A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.
“Almost nobody’s competent, Paul. It’s enough to make you cry to see how bad most people are at their jobs. If you can do a half-assed job of anything, you’re a one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind.” http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Kurt_Vonnegut
The average man, who does not know what to do with his life, wants another one which will last forever.
Anatole France (1844 – 1924)
“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” —Voltaire.
If one sticks too rigidly to one’s principles, one would hardly see anybody.
Agatha Christie (1890 – 1976)
A happy childhood has spoiled many a promising life.
Robertson Davies, “What’s Bred in the Bone”
It is easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them.
Alfred Adler (1870 – 1937)
I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they’d never expect it.
Jack Handey (1949 – ), Deep Thoughts
I find that a great part of the information I have was acquired by looking up something and finding something else on the way.
Franklin P. Adams (1881 – 1960)
The opposite of the religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but the gentle cynic who cares not whether there is a god or not.
Eric Hoffer (1902 – 1983)
To the living we owe respect. To the dead we owe only the truth. – Voltaire
A newspaper consists of just the same number of words, whether there be any news in it or not.
Henry Fielding (1707 – 1754)
“Why do you write strong female characters?”
Answer by Joss Whedon: “Because you’re still asking me that question.” http://mlkshk.com/p/8TNP
You can pretend to be serious; you can’t pretend to be witty.
Sacha Guitry (1885 – 1957)
I have noticed that the people who are late are often so much jollier than the people who have to wait for them.
E. V. Lucas
“If every trace of every single religion were wiped out and nothing were passsed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again.”
-Penn Jillette, God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales