How should we think of mankind’s work in terms of evolution? Should our advancements in technology (cleaner water, better medical care, transportation, etc.) be viewed as part of our continued evolution?
To me, evolution is technically restricted to the realm of biology, but the good work of our hands is the continuation of progress in the advancement of order amidst chaos.
That has always been the view which I have promoted. DNA/RNA is just a tool for information storage and transmission and nothing more. It is a mistake to equate or reduce life to this molecule. The advances in abiogenesis in metabolism first theory and pre-biotic evolution support this conclusion.
That is not to say that @James1 is wrong in what he said. Technically evolution is indeed restricted to biology and the DNA/RNA biochemistry. But it is easy for us to imagine the process of life in very different mediums, and I actually believe the human mind is an example of this.
What if we change biologically over time due to the technology we create?
I’m not sure if there are good examples more recent but this was an interesting article:
There’s hindsight needed to study evolution so it’s hard to evaluate contribution of current technology. E.g. technology developed in killing microbes may doom us in the end. We may artificially preserve and promote weak genes until that ability cannot be sustained.
Sentience and consciousness are emergent properties that gave humans a transcendent advantage but I honestly can’t see how we can escape our biology.
I think the study of evolution needs to be an empirical undertaking, otherwise the concepts and mechanisms become too abstract. But evolution of ideas and how it emulates biological evolution is fascinating. It seems progress can be defined generally as the increase of internal complexity and order (negentropy). Perhaps this can be the measure of the work of our hands. We exist in and contribute to a sliver of exquisite order. But if we don’t also account for the consequent disorder, material or otherwise, compounding around us, we might bring about the “fire next time”.
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