According to the First Meaning

According to the First Meaning of Evolution

It is often overlooked that most accounts of the origin of the species do not assert the evolution of material living beings. They assert the selection of things, which is quite different. “Selection” denotes extraneous activity; but evolution denotes immanent activity- i.e. a sort of “blossoming” or unfolding of the potencies within matter. More of a place needs to be made for evolution in the account of specific origins, since these origins are accounts of what living things do- and to be alive is to have immanent activity.

Overlooking the difference between selection and evolution might be the cause of some serious confusions. Selection gives rise to the idea of “random mutation”, which seems to me an appeal to ignorance, i.e. “we don’t know why mutation happens”*. When it is assumed a priori that the mutation is random, we can only expect a ritard in the search for the natural, internal causes of specific change.

St. Augustine is often quoted as advocating what people call “evolution”. My suspicion is that Augustine’s evolution is evolution properly speaking, as opposed to our modern idea of selection.

Internal causes, and the immanent activity of evolution might also help to explain the speed at which the origin of the species sometimes happens.

Most likely, the the true origin of the species is the result of both selection and evolution. We either give these accounts, or we refuse to give an account at all- species don’t after all just simply “poof” into existence, for the plain reason that nothing in the world ever “poof’s” into existence**.


*a whale, a wolf, a monkey, etc. are not like Quantum entities, where indeterminacy in form is so extreme as to make claims of randomness more than simply assertions of ignorance.

**This does seem to be the thrust of the anti- Darwinian insistence on the “Cambrian explosion”. They seem to be insisting that there was a big “poof” an then there were species. Scientific accounts require more than this.


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