Home > Uncategorized > Economics awaits a Darwinian revolution

Economics awaits a Darwinian revolution

from Blair Fix and RWER issue #90

Modern economics, I have come to believe, resembles pre-Darwinian biology. By this, I mean that economics is captivated by an ideology that is stopping scientific progress. Let’s look at the parallels.

Before Darwin, biologists believed that life on Earth was created by God. This seductive idea stunted scientific progress for centuries. Much of the evidence for evolution – the fossil record, the similar anatomy of different species – was staring scientists in the face long before Darwin proposed his theory of evolution. But because life was viewed as God’s eternal creation, this evidence was mostly ignored.

Darwin’s “dangerous idea”[1] – evolution by natural selection – gave meaning to this evidence. Life was not an eternal order, Darwin proposed. Instead, it was an evolving system, driven by differential reproduction. The plethora of evidence for evolution suddenly made sense.

In hindsight, Darwin’s idea seems obvious, almost trivial. But it was not at the time. Most scientists were simply unable to imagine alternatives to their ideology of an unchanging cosmos. The situation is much the same in economics today.

Like biologists before Darwin, economists are captivated by an ideology that envisions a static cosmos. According to economic ideology, humans are selfish utility maximizers. In a perfectly competitive market, it follows from “natural law” that each person receives exactly what they produce. This is the eternal order.

Except it’s not.

Sitting before economists is a wealth of evidence for our evolved (and evolving) sociality. No more than 400 generations ago, humans lived in small tribes of a few dozen people. The first states formed 200 generations ago. The first empires appeared 120 generations ago. Nation states appeared a mere 10 generations ago. Now we live in states with millions (sometimes billions) of people

Like pre-Darwinian biologists who ignored the evidence for evolution, economists mostly ignore the evidence for the evolution of human culture. It simply does not fit with their static worldview. Economics awaits its Darwinian revolution.

What’s needed is a theory that gives meaning to the evidence for human cultural evolution, and applies this evidence to the study of resource distribution. Fortunately, evolutionary-minded economists don’t have to start from scratch. Sociobiologists have done most of the work already.

What puzzles sociobiologists is the capability of some animals (like humans) to behave both selfishly and cooperatively. This dual nature needs an evolutionary explanation. Sociobiologists think they have one. They call it group selection (or multilevel selection).

I propose we use this theory of group selection to create an evolutionary theory of resource distribution.  read more


[1] Darwin’s Dangerous Idea is the title of a book by philosopher Daniel Dennett.

  1. Meta Capitalism
    February 5, 2020 at 12:30 am

    Before Darwin, biologists believed that life on Earth was created by God.

    Do you really believe this gross oversimplification of the history of evolutionary theory Blair? If you do you are truly ignorant of the history of evolutionary biology and its many theorists through time. You serve neither science or the truth by such gross oversimplifications. Sad to see such nonsense put forward as fact. My daughters, both science majors in biology, future doctors and research scientists, and honors majors, leaned more history in a intro biology course in a community college than you exhibit in this so grossly oversimplified narrative that it borders on ideology rather than knowledge.

  2. Ahmed Fares
    February 5, 2020 at 5:18 am

    Darwinism has been scientifically discredited. Watch this YouTube video titled: “Mathematical Challenges to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution”

    Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noj4phMT9OE

    You can start watching at the five minute mark when the explanation really starts.

    • Meta Capitalism
      February 5, 2020 at 5:58 am

      Evolution — descent with modification as the primary mechanism, or cause, behind evolution and diversification — is a fact overwhelming proven by science. The fact of evolution is descent with variation; that is indisputable. As the black box of variation was opened with the advent of evo-devo we have learned much about the nature of hereditary variation that does call into question the standard Neo-Darwinian story that places natural selection front and center as the creative source of novelty. But none of this new evidence should in any way be confused with Creationism and its erroneous claims that evolution never happened.

      • Calgacus
        February 11, 2020 at 8:54 am

        Nobody ever said it nearly as well as Theodosius Dobzhansky-

        “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”.


        “I am a creationist and an evolutionist. Evolution is God’s, or Nature’s method of creation. Creation is not an event that happened in 4004 BC; it is a process that began some 10 billion years ago and is still under way.”

      • Meta Capitalism
        February 11, 2020 at 11:02 am

        Calgcus claims, without any source citation, that Theodosius Dobzhansky said

        “I am a creationist and an evolutionist. Evolution is God’s, or Nature’s method of creation. Creation is not an event that happened in 4004 BC; it is a process that began some 10 billion years ago and is still under way.” (Calgacus, RWER, 2/11/2020)

        I cannot find any source of this claim. Being he is famous, if the quote is legitimate, you should have no problem providing it.
        You can find the original published paper of that bore the title “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense except in the Light of Evolution” below:

        Nothing in Biology Makes Sense except in the Light of Evolution Author(s): Theodosius Dobzhansky Source: The American Biology Teacher, Vol. 35, No. 3 (Mar., 1973), pp. 125-129 Published by: National Association of Biology Teachers Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4444260

        Indeed, the theory of evolution, as one famous geneticist put it, is what “makes sense” of biology. “Seen in the light of evolution, biology is, perhaps, the most satisfying science. Without that light it becomes a pile of sundry facts, some of them more or less interesting, but making no comprehensible whole” (Dobzhansky 1973: 129).

        Dobzhansky, Theodosius. 1973. Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution. American Biology Teacher 25: 125-129.

      • Meta Capitalism
        February 11, 2020 at 11:12 am

        It is remarkable that more than a century ago Darwin was able to discern so much about evolution without having available to him the key facts discovered since. The development of genetics after 1900-especially of molecular genetics, in the last two decades-has provided information essential to the understanding of evolutionary mechanisms. But much is in doubt and much remains to be learned. This is heartening and inspiring for any scientist worth his salt. Imagine that everything is completely known and that science has nothing more to discover: what a nightmare!
        Does the evolutionary doctrine clash with religious faith? It does not. It is a blunder to mistake the Holy Scriptures for elementary textbooks of astronomy, geology, biology, and anthropology. Only if symbols are construed to mean what they are not intended to mean can there arise imaginary, insoluble conflicts. As pointed out above, the blunder leads to blasphemy: the Creator is accused of systematic deceitfulness.
        One of the great thinkers of our age, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, wrote the following: “Is evolution a theory, a system, or a hypothesis? It is much more -it is a general postulate to which all theories, all hypotheses, all systems must henceforward bow and which they must satisfy in order to be thinkable and true. Evolution is a light which illuminates all facts, a trajectory which all lines of thought must follow-this is what evolution is.” Of course, some scientists, as well as some philosophers and theologians, disagree with some parts of Teilhard’s teachings; the acceptance of his world view falls short of universal. But there is no doubt at all that Teilhard was a truly and deeply religious man and that Christianity was the cornerstone of his world view. Moreover, in his world view science and faith were not segregated in watertight compartments, as they are with so many people. They were harmoniously fitting parts of his world view. Teilhard was a creationists, but one who understood that the Creation is realized in this world by means of evolution. (Nothing in Biology Makes Sense except in the Light of Evolution Author(s): Theodosius Dobzhansky Source: The American Biology Teacher, Vol. 35, No. 3 (Mar., 1973), pp. 125-129 Published by: National Association of Biology Teachers Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4444260. p. 129.)

        I am highly skeptical Theodosius Dobzhansky ever made the statement Calgacus attributes to him. But I am open to evidence (like an actual legitimate citation) that could change my mind.

      • Calgacus
        February 11, 2020 at 7:07 pm

        I got the quotation from Wikipedia last night: Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution. But it does appear in his article – Theodosius Dobzhansky- Nothing in Biology Makes Sense except in the Light of Evolution- American Biology Teacher 35- 3 (1973) [free link] Page 127, immediately before the Unity of Life section.

        It’s not uncharacteristic of him. I recommend his book Theodosius Dobzhansky- The Biology of Ultimate Concern- New American Library (1975) for similar, lengthier meditations.

      • Meta Capitalism
        February 11, 2020 at 9:46 pm

        Thank you Calgacus, got it. Here is the entire quote in context:

        There is, of course, nothing conscious or intentional in the action of natural selection. A biologic species does not say to itself, “Let me try tomorrow (or a million years from now) to grow in a different soil, or use a different food, or subsist on a different body part of a different crab.” Only a human being could make such conscious decisions. This is why the species Homo sapiens is the apex of evolution. Natural selection is at one and the same time a blind and a creative process. Only a creative but blind process could produce, on the one hand, the tremendous biologic success that is the human species and, on the other, forms of adaptedness as narrow and as constraining as those of the overspecialized fungus, beetle, and flies mentioned above.
        Antievolutionists fail to understand how natural selection operates. They fancy that all existing species were generated by supernatural fiat a few thousand years ago, pretty much as we find them today. But what is the sense of having as many as 2 or 3 million species living on earth? If natural selection is the main factor that brings evolution about, any number of species is understandable: natural selection does not work according to a fore- ordained plan, and species are produced not because they are needed for some purpose but simply be- cause there is an environmental opportunity and genetic wherewithal to make them possible. Was the Creator in a jocular mood when he made Psilopa petrolei for California oil-fields and species of Drosophila to live exclusively on some body-parts of certain land crabs on only certain islands in the Caribbean? The organic diversity becomes, however, reasonable and understandable if the Creator has created the living world not by caprice but by evolution propelled by natural selection. It is wrong to hold creation and evolution as mutually exclusive alternatives. I am a creationist and an evolutionist. Evolution is God’s, or Nature’s, method of Creation. Creation is not an event that happened in 4004 B.C.; it is a process that began some 10 billion years ago and is still under way. (Nothing in Biology Makes Sense except in the Light of Evolution Author(s): Theodosius Dobzhansky. Source: The American Biology Teacher, Vol. 35, No. 3 (Mar., 1973), pp. 125-129 Published by: National Association of Biology Teachers Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4444260. p. 127.)

        I have no doubt Theodosius Dobzhansky would have no problem adapting to the most recent findings of science when it comes to evo-devo and theoretical evolutionary biology. He seems to have been a very wise man. Our understanding of evolution by natural experiment continues to evolve.

    • Merijn Knibbe
      February 5, 2020 at 12:20 pm

      Interestingly, Veblen already stated that evolutionary ideas, adapted to the institutional set up of modern economies, should permeate economic thinking, instead of general equilibrium thinking: https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Why-Economics-is-not-an-Evolutionary-Science-Veblen/524ffb8d68fa9152468c756bcd17c63e46c8bb57

      Over one hundred years ago…

  3. Ahmed Fares
    February 5, 2020 at 6:25 am

    The following is a quote from an article by Fred Reed.

    “A problem afflicting evolutionism all through the living world, which I am not sure I conveyed clearly, is that of multiple simultaneous mutations, sometimes called irreducible complexity. These refer to complicated systems which cannot work at all unless all parts appear simultaneously. When the individual parts have no value, which is usually the case, there is no reason for them to stay in the gene pool.

    Consider the horn of the rhinoceros. At the forlorn level of National Geographic or NPR, there is nothing mysterious here. The horn obviously evolved so that the rhino could defend itself against lions. (“So that” raises questions of purpose, which run through evolutionism, but we will here let it drop.) All right, that makes sense. Except that it doesn’t.

    The Wikipedia will tell you that the horn is not of bone, but of keratin, and thus evolved from hair. Well, who could doubt it–but just how did this happen? Did a mutation occur that caused hair to clump together into a hard substance? Would one mutation do this? Why laterally centered on the forehead instead of, say, on a hind leg? After the hair-stick’’em-together mutation did another occur to make the hard patch a cleanly limited ovoid? Next, was there a grow-really-fast mutation to make the hard patch get longer, or long at all, accompanied by a grow-faster-in-middle mutation to make it pointed–at which time finally, it would be ready for poking lions. So what kept it in the gene pool all that time when it had as yet no function.kl?(Actually the horn is more complex, and therefore even less likely.)

    To judge by my mail, I suspect that many people, thanks to popular television, think of mutations as major changes that just happen, such perhaps as the rhino’s horn appearing all at once. In fact mutations are changes in the nucleotide sequence of DNA that may produce a new protein. The mathematical likelihood of getting multiple mutations that just happen to engender a complex result is essentially zero. The mathematics is clear but not easily explained to a television audience, no matter how intelligent.”

    • Meta Capitalism
      February 5, 2020 at 6:44 am

      You are parroting Creationism which has nothing to do with sound science and legitimate debates ongoing in the field of evolutionary theoretical biology. What will you say when in the laboratory evolutionary developmental biologists through a deeper understanding of epigenetics and the regulatory genome are able to recreate major phylogenetic transformation (e.g., chicken to dinosaur). Will you then continue to intellectually parrot the Creation Institutes nonesene denying evolutionary biology and the fact we are evolutionary creatures?

    • Yoshinori Shiozawa
      February 5, 2020 at 8:23 am

      I support Meta without conditions. Fred Reed’s argument gives a good example how mathematics is wrongly used.

      Evolution is a most synthetic hypothesis in biology (and in geology) and it is wrong to argue by raising some of cases difficult to explain. There are many cases that are not yet explained or clarified by science. But, there are overwhelming facts that are explained by evolution. And it is the unique hypothesis (no other hypothesis) that can explain all those facts.

      Are you a close follower of this blog, Ahmed Fares? If you are, I have to change my mind. It is necessary and useful that Blair Fix write the above paper in RWER, although I have two major objections on what he has written.

      • Meta Capitalism
        February 5, 2020 at 12:07 pm

        I must have missed something, who is Fred Reed?

      • Meta Capitalism
        February 5, 2020 at 2:00 pm

        Ok, I see now.

    • Meta Capitalism
      February 5, 2020 at 10:07 am

      [T]here are time machines, of a sort, that enable us to reconstruct ancient fossil communities. These time machines come from science. They are the scientific method itself, along with the many kinds of devices it has spawned: mass spectroscopes, CT scanners, magnetometers, DNA sequences, microscopes of every stripe, ion beam microprobes, radioisotope geochemistry labs, PCR techniques, supercomputers and Silcon Graphics Indigos, and even simple rock picks are the entryways into deep time. With our modern machines there is a way to go back to a place such as Sucia Island, long before it emerged from the sea to become an island of green trees and grey cliffs with the power to beguile a voyager willing to unleash the power of science to learn about the past. (Ward, Peter D. Time Machines [Scientific Explorations in Deep Time]. New York: Springer-Verlag; 1998; p. xvii-xviii.)

      One way to think about evolution is in terms of fact(s), path(s), and mechanism(s).
      The evidence (facts) amassed from disparate fields of science ranging from earth sciences (Sedimentation, Geology), to Paleontology, Anthropology, Archaeology, Biochemistry, Genetics, Molecular Biology, Comparative Genomics, etc., all support the fact of biological evolutionary descent with modification by hereditary variation. Theodosius Dobzhansky’s statement is as true today as when he made it: “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”
      Within each and every domain of science as new fact(s) emerge and new contexts lead to the reinterpretation of old facts, some may call into questions certain theories regarding the path(s) or mechanism(s) underlying morphological change, but it is notable that not a single one calls into the question the fundamental fact and premise of evolution as Darwin proposed it: evolutionary descent with modification by hereditary variation.
      I remember sitting in graduate seminar in which they were discussing the findings of a recent discovery of antennapedia (abbreviated Antp), a Hox gene first discovered in Drosophila which controls the formation of legs during development. This simple observation of a rather odd mutation lead to the discovery of many other cases of deeper homology long since poo pooed as impossible by figures like Ernst Mayr. Stephen Jay Gould tells the story wonderfully told in his magnum opus The Structure of Evolutionary Theory.
      Darwin indeed did propose natural selection as the mechanism of evolution; but he was not a dogmatist as Gould makes clear:

      Darwin has often been depicted as a radical selectionist at heart who invoked other mechanisms only in retreat, and only as a result of his age’s own lamented ignorance about the mechanisms of heredity. This view is false. Although Darwin regarded selection as the most important of evolutionary mechanisms (as do we), no argument from opponents angered him more than the common attempt to caricature and trivialize his theory by stating that it relied exclusively upon natural selection. In the last edition of the Origin, he wrote (1872, p. 395):

      As my conclusions have lately been much misrepresented, and it has been stated that I attribute the modification of species exclusively to natural selection, I may be permitted to remark that in the first edition of this work, and subsequently, I placed in a most conspicuous position– namely at the close of the introduction–the following words: “I am convinced that natural selection has been the main, but not the exclusive means of modification.” This has been of no avail. Great is the power of steady misinterpretation.

      Charles Darwin, Origin of Species (1872, p. 395)
      Gould, Stephen J., & Lewontin, Richard C. (1979) The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm: A Critique of the Adaptationist Programme. PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF LONDON, SERIES B, VOL. 205, NO. 1161, PP. 581-598.
      Through the power of CRISPER (and such technologies) entire new fields of biology have opened up to us (e.g., comparative genomics, personalized medicine targeting an individuals epigenome, regenerative medicine, etc.) that not only have immediate applications but also shed light on fundamental questions like the difference between the arrival of the fittest (cause of novelty in form) vs. survival of the fittest (sifting of already existing phenotypic plasticity) and the nature of deep homology in evolution. We learn that phylogenetic pathways once considered true yesterday are now seen to have been wrong in light of comparative genomics, and mechanism(s) once considered adequate less adequate in light of new evidence, requiring an evolution of evolutionary theory so-to-speak. That is the nature of science.
      The field of evolutionary theoretical biology is in an ongoing transformation similar to the debates now playing out on this forum regarding economics. Unless one is deeply involved in the historical nature of these issues it can easily be invisible to even a purportedly educated scientist. Unfortunately, that is the nature of our siloed academic world today.
      Ahmed, scientific knowledge (ilm) is open to all via inter-subjective verification. The acid test for any religious philosophy consists in whether or not it distinguishes between the realities of the material and the spiritual worlds while at the same moment recognizing their unification in intellectual striving and in social serving. A sound religious philosophy does not confound the things of God with the things of Caesar. Neither does it confound material fact with spiritual faith. What both developing science and religion need is more searching and fearless self-criticism, a greater awareness of incompleteness in evolutionary status. The teachers of both science and religion are often altogether too self-confident and dogmatic. Science and religion can only be self-critical of their facts. The moment departure is made from the stage of facts, reason abdicates or else rapidly degenerates into a consort of false logic.

      • Yoshinori Shiozawa
        February 5, 2020 at 3:45 pm

        The last paragraph must be a good advice for Ahmed and for many others including me..

      • Craig
        February 5, 2020 at 5:38 pm

        Nice little exposition Meta. It states exactly the importance of adopting and habituating the integrative process of taking the particles of TRUTH, the MOST SIGNIFICANT RELEVANCIES, MOST EFFECTIVE APPLICABILITIES/POLICIES and HIGHEST ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS in opposite perspectives which is the very process of the fullness of wisdom.

        “It’s the monetary and financial paradigm paradigm, stupid.”

  4. February 5, 2020 at 6:58 am

    It is highly believed that Darwin learned the idea of evolution from Thomas Robert Malthus, so economics should be the “evolutionary” hometown. The subsequent biological Darwinism might be a detour, as any creature should not be so conscious as human being, therefore the biologically evolutionary step of “selection” is not plausible or resonant among persons, and Darwinism should be deemed only a “quasi-evolution”. Anyway, it is the human that has been really and definitely “selecting”, hence a theory on human evolution is a real, at least, primary, evolutionary theory. But, is human body or human thought evolving? Obviously, the answer is mainly “thought”, therefore a theory on thoughtful evolution should be a purely 100% evolutionary theory. It is the human thought that operates, changes, makes choices and then selects, improves or develops, and occasionally retrogresses. Apparently when a human is watching a creature, he or she would be easy to conjecture and imagine the object as oneself, so “biological evolution” actually and primarily reflects how human minds work. “Subjective valuation” is a necessary factor for the definition of evolution, which works as a scale to identify what is improvement or progress, and what is not; otherwise no evolution at all, but “changes” or “motions” only. And now, the “theory on thoughtful evolution” is ready, named after “Algorithm Framework Theory”, which making evolutions back home! https://goingdigital2019.weaconferences.net/papers/how-could-the-cognitive-revolution-happen-to-economics-an-introduction-to-the-algorithm-framework-theory/

    • February 5, 2020 at 5:37 pm

      BinLi, thanks for the reference to your paper, which I have now read. Your comment on Malthus preceding Darwin looks very significant after reading Polanyi’s “The Great Transformation”. Likewise your distinction between the few computer Operations and the many human Instructions we program them to perform looks as if it will be intelligible even to computing novices. I’m still unhappy with your lay understanding of the word Algorithm, which
      misses the point suggested by your “Algorithmic Framework Theory” and my Algol68-R:

      Consider the opening of your Conclusion: “Albert Einstein’s remarks are well-known: “The grand aim of all science is to cover the greatest number of empirical facts by logical deduction from the smallest number of hypotheses or axioms”.

      The original algorithm, named after the teacher of its arabic method of numbering, clearly does just that. Its facts are the infinity of numbers generated by the program “next <= 0; do next <= next + 1". Rather than generating an infinity of symbols to represent the infinity of numbers the algorithm uses just ten symbols (countable on our fingers) but re-using them repeatedly, as reinterpreted by just one shift procedure. Its Algorithmic Framework thus minimises the data and output as well as the procedure.

      Algol68 was designed to permit long and complicated programs to be written in algorithmic form, with complex data formed into objects structured like arabic numbers or tables, and with procedures to interpret them similarly structured nested by including detailed procedures within these typed overall procedures, in a way similar to ones and tens being nested within the hundreds of an arabic number. Separately defined, the same detailed procedures can be used in a variety of programs and procedures, as are the numerals in an arabic number.

      What I didn't mention where I've discussed this previously is that one doesn't have to write Algol68 programs this way. One can simply string together the Instructions and operations necessary to achieve the result, but the outcome is what we used call "birds nest" programming. Such programs were almost impossible to maintain and develop or use in the automation of operating systems. My first work with Algol68 was largely spent rewriting a suite of birds-nest programs in algorithmic form, working out how best to do so to both make them intelligible and to permit development of their functionality. A classic 1975 text on this is M A Jackson's "Principles of Program Design", Academic Press. Later work refers to its "object-oriented programming". To (say) move an object one doesn't have to move it bit by bit; one can move it whole, or sort an index rather than shuffle books or people.

      Hope you will find that helpful. The object-orientation bit seems relevant what you wrote about deductive and intuitive thinking.

      • February 6, 2020 at 6:06 am

        Dear Dave, thank you for your comments and introduction of the origin and evolution of algorithm, which I am glad and honored to explain and discuss with you further.

        I have learned from you that the word “algorithm” was originally and surprisingly defined narrowly. I got to know the concept from common textbook of computer principles, where it is defined quite wider as: “An algorithm is an effective method that can be expressed within a finite amount of space and time and in a well-defined formal language for calculating a function.” (Wikipedia). Apparently, it expresses exactly, exactly what I want to say. Any human thought has to be restricted to the innate, a priori, and original capabilities or tools of human brain (Kantian idea), and to thinking speed, storage capacity, and hence spatiotemporal factors, and to the supplies of information and other resources, and must be done within a finite period. All of them emphasized here are what absent in Neoclassical economics, therefore the remedies or medicines for it. To my understanding, the word “algorithm” could be very charming and illuminating to economists, and extremely deserving borrow or import by economics. For instance, “economic man” is actually and exactly a man adopting the famous “greedy algorithm”, which when an economist comprehends, he will be deeply inspired. I am surprised nobody has pointed it out for so long times. Consequently, the issue of “selfishness vs. Altruism” (which has been analyzed in Blair’s paper and subject to further discussions) can be explicated clearly.

        Economics should appreciate very much the ready-made works that computer science almost accomplished. Although some demerits exist thereof, they could be some trivia. For example, textbook said: program = algorithm + dada structure, the latter, data structure, has been omitted by me. The borrow is appearing inaccurate, but, in my opinion, spiritually and essentially precise. As a forerunner of computer science, you are certainly eligible to be proud of your earlier work, and might continue your pride for its up-coming beautiful application in economics and social sciences. Please accept my respect to you! Thank you very much!

      • Craig
        February 6, 2020 at 5:35 pm

        The best algorithm to recognize is self awareness. Focusing on that and the present time environment, which is the place where it is experienced most intensely, enables the supreme integration/heightened consciousness known as the dynamic, interactive, integrative, natural and ecstatic state known as grace. The unitary experience of grace after all is the highest state of self awareness.

      • Craig
        February 6, 2020 at 7:18 pm

        Science is the software, self awareness is the thrust of the cosmos/its coder and wisdom is the integrative process and tool for the cultivation of both.

      • February 8, 2020 at 11:23 am

        Dear BinLi, the respect is mutual! The definition of ‘algorithm’ you have been using is very good. Where you need to move on is to human nature performing not just one function but many, and Algol68 enabling one to change the function by inputting an appropriate parameter or responding to an error signal.

        Arguing again about your understanding of English rather than your understanding of the particular word ‘algorithm’, this was not defined “narrowly” as an arabic number format, but generally as “like” an arabic number format, and by a technique I learned working on a pre-computing logistics data base: a Reference Pattern as against a Descriptive Pattern. The latter might identify a screw as being 1 cm dia by 10 cm long, countersunk head, steel, cadmium plated. Back in 1960 the former might identify a transistor as a Mullard 0C71. So here the word honours the inventor, it does not “narrowly define” the invention.

        Going back to “innate”, philosophers here understand that as being built into us by the time we are born. What you don’t seem to be picking up is that the procedures we learn BECOME built into us as we learn them, and Algol68 was about being able to define and build in new types of procedure which had not been used before, like interpreting error codes and manipulating pictures. The relevant science came from Piaget on how babies learn, and Chomsky on how some children learn Chinese and others English!

        Let me thank you sincerely for taking such interest in this. After several years blogging here you are the first to have done so. In Luke’s book in our Christian bible, after the authorities had dismissed Jesus as “just a carpenter”, he says “In truth I tell you, no prophet is ever accepted in his own country” (Luke 4:16-24). How nice it has been, then, for me to be respected by such an intelligent Chinese!

      • February 9, 2020 at 2:42 am

        Thank you for your comments and re-introduction. As to self-objectification, or self awareness (as Craig says), our ideas converge again. In my paper, the words are as follows:

        “Computations are also discrete; hence, one Operation can objectify another (or its result), regardless the latter was done by oneself or anyone else; This causes that a person can objectify either oneself or other persons. ”

        Self-objectification or mutual-objectification are all very important, and anti-Neoclassical. Thanks!

  5. Ikonoclast
    February 5, 2020 at 9:25 am

    “Before Darwin, biologists believed that life on Earth was created by God.” – Blair Fix.

    This is a reasonable generalization. Most educated people in Europe were still heavily indoctrinated Christians in the pre-Dawinian era. Even Darwin himself struggled with a long faith crisis over his theories. Note precisely what Fix writes: “believed that life on Earth was created by God”. This is not the same as writing “formed no early proto-ideas or proto-theories about evolution”.

    “The leading biological scientist of the mid 18th century was the Swedish botanist Karl von Linné (Carolus Linnaeus click this icon to hear the name pronounced in Latin). His 180 books are filled with precise descriptions of nature, but he did little analysis or interpretation. This is to be expected since Linnaeus apparently believed that he was just revealing the unchanging order of life created by God. The goal of documenting change in nature would not have made sense to him. Late in his life, however, he was troubled by the fact that plant hybrids could be created by cross pollination. These were varieties that had not existed before. Linnaeus stopped short of concluding that these plants had evolved.” – Palomar dot edu.

    “The first evolutionist who confidently and very publicly stated his ideas about the processes leading to biological change was a French protégé of the Comte de Buffon. He was Jean-Baptiste Chevalier de Lamarck click this icon to hear the name pronounced. Unfortunately, his theory about these processes was incorrect.” – Palomar.

    “In hindsight, Darwin’s idea seems obvious, almost trivial.”

    “A Truth is permitted only a brief victory celebration between the two long periods where it is first condemned as paradoxical and later disparaged as trivial.” – Schopenhauer.

    • February 6, 2020 at 1:42 pm

      I support the notion Blair Fix has that belief in God was a major handicap to realisation of the idea of natural selection. I don’t think all this argument here about “angels on a pin head” equivalent contributes much to the article. It’s about economics and how it is held back by outdated thinking. Copernicus only revealed his discovery late in life as he knew it would not be accepted. This overdue change in economics [MMT] is controversial, but only for now.

  6. Herbert
    February 5, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    This is not about Darwin. It’s about the evolution of society. What happened 10 generations ago? Biologically, man has not changed, but society has changed. Society has become economic. The social changes that have occurred did not affect all states, and you can compare economically developed countries with economically undeveloped countries to find an answer about the nature of the economy. If you are too lazy to move your brain, then read the finished material on the economic theory of “Darwin” herehttps://globaljournals.org/GJMBR_Volume19/5-Social-System-as-the-Environment.pdf

    • Yoshinori Shiozawa
      February 6, 2020 at 4:13 pm

      Blair’s explanation lacks exactness. Or he is careless in using a new term (the same term with different concept) without giving sufficient cautions.

      Sitting before economists is a wealth of evidence for our evolved (and evolving) sociality. No more than 400 generations ago, humans lived in small tribes of a few dozen people. The first states formed 200 generations ago. The first empires appeared 120 generations ago. Nation states appeared a mere 10 generations ago. Now we live in states with millions (sometimes billions) of people.

      Blair talks about “social evolution” as if it is genetic evolution. This is misleading.

      It may be true that homo sapience evolved through dual inheritance or gene-culture co-evolution (see Dual inheritance theory in Wikipedia). This is a good theory in explaining human development since one million years ago. But in my knowledge there is no clear evidence that humans have changed their genetic characteristics substantially since ten thousand years ago (about 400 generations). What Blair talks is cultural evolution and there is no necessity to emphasize Darwinian theory, because Darwin had no theory like dual inheritance.

      It is quite natural that Herbert get enraged.

      • Meta Capitalism
        February 8, 2020 at 3:43 am

        Eva Jablonka in her Evolution in Four Dimensions notes:

        In the next three chapters we shall describe some very disparate types of heredity systems, all of which allow phenotypic variations to be transmitted from one generation to the next. In chapter 4, we look at the evolutionary implications of cellular inheritance systems. In chapter 5 we focus on behavioral transmission in nonhuman animals, and see what it means for evolution. Chapter 6 will be about human symbolic systems and cultural evolution. (Jablonka, Eva. Evolution in Four Dimensions (Life and Mind: Philosophical Issues in Biology and Psychology) (p. 110). The MIT Press. Kindle Edition.)

        Today we know about genetic (DNA 4-base-pair), epigenetic (genome-environment interface regulating the genes in relation to environment and expressing phenotypic plasticity), behavioral, and cultural inheritance systems. Hence, evolution in four dimensions.

  7. Ahmed Fares
    February 5, 2020 at 7:47 pm

    If you guys are all so smart, how come you’re going extinct?

    No, seriously. Most developed countries, a large part of which are going atheistic, have below replacement level fertility rates. Meanwhile, the religious have large families, and will eventually out-populate you, a natural selection of sorts. Also, fertility rates correlate inversely with female literacy rates (Meta mentions highly educated daughters). That means going extinct even faster.

    Meta wants to turn chickens back into dinosaurs, maybe Meta should think about that higher wisdom which is driving people like Meta to extinction.

    Incidentally, I actually believe that birds came from dinosaurs, and that doesn’t conflict with my religion. That’s just the way God does things. On that note, here’s a quote from Rumi:

    “Secondary causes are only a veil to occupy the common people. God’s elect see through the causes, to the Causer of causes.” —Rumi

    • Meta Capitalism
      February 6, 2020 at 12:27 am

      Ahmed, you are using partial reason and confusing the nature and role of science, its power and its limits, with religious philosophy and spiritual insight and its limits. Therein you lose wisdom and descend into a mixture of sense and nonesense. You may parrot Rumi but you hardly understand him, as Rumi well knew the dogmatic use of even wise words degrade both wisdom and the truth they contain when used to twist truth and create false narratives. My friend, don’t use partial reason or you will end up no better than an ass that bearing a load of books, useless even if they are sacred scriptures (Hadiqat 676-9; Sana’i, Hadiqat 676-9; K62:5). Many Islamic scholars through time knew well the difference and contributed to the advancement of science not by confusing partial reason with true wisdom and spiritual insight.
      Science deals with proximate causes (or secondary if you like), not absolutes (i.e., primary causes in terms of Rumi’s religious philosophy). The idea “That’s just the way God does things” is not in incompatible with science except when such a philosophy assumes to much and ignores fact and material truth. Faith has falsified its trust when it presumes to deny realities and to confer upon its devotees assumed knowledge. Faith is a traitor when it fosters betrayal of intellectual integrity and belittles loyalty to supreme values and divine ideals. Faith never shuns the problem-solving duty of mortal living. Living faith does not foster bigotry, persecution, or intolerance. Faith does not shackle the creative imagination, neither does it maintain an unreasoning prejudice toward the discoveries of scientific investigation.

      Partial reason gives reason a bad name
      Base desire holds us back from our desires
      ‘Tis a dangerous thing to ingage the authority of Scripture in disputes about the Natural World, in opposition to Reason, lest Time, which brings all things to light, should discover that to be false which we had made Scripture to assert.
      — Thomas Burnet, Archaelogiae Philosophicae, 1692

    • Meta Capitalism
      February 6, 2020 at 12:40 am

      Most developed countries, a large part of which are going atheistic, have below replacement level fertility rates. Meanwhile, the religious have large families, and will eventually out-populate you, a natural selection of sorts. ~ Ahmed Fares using Partial (foolish) Reason

      It is a well documented fact that when educational levels rise and girls are allowed to pursue both education and careers on equal footing with men and economic equality is guaranteed that family sizes decline in across culture and religious traditions. You are merely acting like an intellectual parrot parroting this trope (that by the way, islamophobia uses all the time; you are not an islamophobe, are you?) when in truth the facts for the decline of birth rates are readily known through the various scientific and social studies that examine the underlying social and economic causes of declining birth rates.

      Nobel laureate Sir Peter Medawar said, “Catastrophe apart, I believe it to be science’s greatest glory that there is no limit upon the power of science to answer questions of the kind science can answer.” (P. B. Medawar, The Limits of Science, p. 87)

    • Craig
      February 6, 2020 at 12:51 am

      God is the cosmos and its many known and unknown characteristics. Both skeptics and the devout should learn to embrace that fact. Craig

    • Meta Capitalism
      February 6, 2020 at 1:32 am

      … how come you’re going extinct?

      I have now heard on good authority that I’m going extinct. I assure you reports of my imminent extinction are greatly exaggerated ;-)

    • Meta Capitalism
      February 7, 2020 at 3:35 am

      Ahmed, if Al-Haq matters to to do the little (i.e., secondary) truths of fact revealed by someone sound science. To wit: https://youtu.be/IvHP2r4Z_r4

      Your false narrative of religious = more children : atheist = less children serves only to spread false narratives. Do you love the truth enough to follow it whenever it leads?

  8. Irfan Ali
    February 7, 2020 at 10:42 am

    Francis Galton, founder of Regression analysis which places backbone in econometric, is already cousin of Darwin, founder of evolution theory in biology. so Galton was also well known about biology that,s way he injected law of hereditary while explaining regression analysis. this shows that he want to treat economics like biology, physics etc

    • Meta Capitalism
      February 8, 2020 at 2:16 am

      It is difficult to overestimate the importance of Darwinian thinking to American economic reform in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. Evolutionary thought was American economic reform’s scientific touchstone and a vital source of ideas and conceptual support. The Wharton School’s Simon Nelson Patten, writing in 1894, observed that the century was closing with a bias for biological reasoning and analogy, just as the prior century had closed with a bias for the methods of physics and astronomy. The great scientific victories of the nineteenth century, Patten believed, were “in the field of biology.”
      To understand the influence of evolutionary thought on American economic reform, we must first appreciate that evolutionary thought in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era in no way dictated a conservative, pessimistic, Social Darwinist politics. On the contrary, evolutionary thought was protean, plural, and contested.
      It could license, of course, arguments that explained and justified the economic status quo as survival of the fittest, so-called Social Darwinism. But evolutionary thought was no less useful to economic reformers, who found in it justification for optimism rather than pessimism, for intervention rather than fatalism, for vigorous rather than weak government, and for progress rather than drift. Evolution, as Irving Fisher insisted in National Vitality, did not teach a “fatalistic creed.” Evolution, rather, awakened the world to “the fact of its own improvability.”
      In the thirty years bracketing 1900, there seems to have been something in Darwin for everyone. Karl Pearson, English eugenicist and founding father of modern statistical theory, found a case for socialism in Darwin, as did the co-discoverer of the theory of evolution by natural selection, Alfred Russel Wallace. Herbert Spencer, in contrast, famously used natural selection, which he called “survival of the fittest,” to defend limited government.
      Warmongers borrowed the notion of survival of the fittest to justify imperial conquest, as when Josiah Strong asserted that the Anglo-Saxon race was “divinely commissioned” to conquer the backward races abroad. Opponents of war also found sustenance in evolutionary thought. Pyotr Kropotkin argued that the struggle for existence need not involve conflict, much less violence. Cooperation could well be the fittest strategy. David Starr Jordan, president of Stanford from 1891 to 1913 and a leader of the American Peace Movement during World War I, opposed war because it selected for the unfit. The fittest men died in battle, while the weaklings stayed home to reproduce.
      Darwin seems to have been pro-natalist, on the grounds that more births increased the variation available for natural selection. Margaret Sanger argued that restricting births was the best way to select the fittest. Darwin’s self-appointed “bulldog,” T. H. Huxley, thought natural selection justified agnosticism, whereas devout American interpreters, such as botanist Asa Gray, found room in Darwinism for a deity.
      It is a tribute to the influence of Darwinism that Darwin inspired exegetes of nearly every ideology: capitalist and socialist, individualist and collectivist, pacifist and militarist, pro-natalist and birth-controlling, as well as agnostic and devout.
      Darwinism was itself plural, and Progressive Era evolutionary thought was more plural still. The ideas of other prominent evolutionists (notably, Herbert Spencer and Alfred Russel Wallace) were also influential in the Progressive Era, both when they accorded with Darwin and when they didn’t.
      — Thomas C. Leonard (2016) in Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics, and American Economics in the Progressive Era.

  9. February 11, 2020 at 5:14 pm

    Evolution is an adaptation to a changing world. A revolution is a change in the world. One without the other is impossible. Changing we are changing the world, that is, we are making a revolution and ourselves are evolving to these changes. The same thing happens with society, we came up with capitalism and are now trying to adapt to it – we adapt to what does not exist in reality. The economy exists, but we do not know about it, but we know about capitalism and adaptation to it was called the economy. The evolution of the “economy of capitalism” is impossible; one cannot adapt to what is holucinization.

  10. Ken Zimmerman
    February 20, 2020 at 2:53 pm

    We have not dealt with the consequences for economics and society at large for failing to frame our understanding of human survival in terms of evolution. The situation today is this according to David Sloan Wilson, “The field of economics has been dominated by something called rational choice theory, which claims that people attempt to maximize self-interested values. The values are flexible and economists don’t care much about what they might be, as long as they can employ their optimization models. Evolutionary theory was forced into the shadows while these other theories occupied center stage. Even the most talented and open-minded scientists in these fields are handicapped by events that took place before they were born and became the basis of their disciplinary training, as we saw in the case of the BBS [Behavioral and Brain Sciences] authors who had to discover evolution on their own.

    A theory is merely a way of organizing ideas that seems to make sense of the world. Scientific methods are merely ways of rejecting or supporting factual claims that emerge from theories. We do not automatically perceive the world as it really is, and we are especially prone to self-serving biases. These biases are advantageous for some people in the short run by definition, but they are often harmful to other people and even to everyone in the long run. Agreeing to establish, protect, and abide by a body of factual information therefore has a moral quality similar to the norms of a religion or a democratic government. It’s not always easy, especially when one’s own interests appear to be at stake, but facts never lead to actions all by themselves. They can only inform a system of values. I would rather live in a society based on good facts interpreted by a good value system than in any other kind of society. So, what is this theory that seems to make such sense of the world and might even enhance our understanding of ourselves?” EVOLUTION!

    The stakes are high, very high. Wilson argues that group selection may have been an especially important force in human evolution. Thus, Human social groups may have the potential to be as functionally integrated as beehives and coral colonies. But human groups are not superorganisms as are beehives and coral colonies. In fact, the genetic structure of human populations is very different from what is found in other ultrasocial species. Some might conclude then that it follows that we should not expect a human social group to act much like a single organism. The problem with this reasoning is that it treats genealogical relatedness as the only important variable in the evolution of group-level functional organization. It is not. It makes no difference if altruists settle with altruists because they are related [genealogically] . . . or because they recognize fellow altruists as such or settle together because of some pleiotropic effect of the gene on habitat preference. We therefore need to evaluate human social performance as a special case of the general theory of multilevel selection. I would say a unique case in terms of earth life forms. When we do this, we find that humans, bees, and corals are all highly group-selected, but for different reasons.

    The members of a group do not need to be genealogically related for group selection to be a strong evolutionary force. Especially, for humans. Since the processes that substitute for genealogical relatedness often require sophisticated cognitive abilities and, in some cases, the ability to create and transmit culture. So, these models may explain not only why humans are group-selected, but why they have experienced a distinctive diversity of group selection. For humans, unlike any other species ever to live on Earth, evolution does not end with genetics and genealogy but continues with culture. And perhaps never ends.

  11. February 22, 2020 at 6:55 am

    Maybe you should find only one criterion responsible for the social and economic interactions of people in order to understand the economy? I don’t think it’s hard to complicate the search for the definition of evolutionary paths, if there is one goal in nature, it is called survival, and in human society it is profit. Profit in human society is as important as survival in the wild. There are not many ways to survive; kill, hide, run away. There are also not many ways to make a profit; work, possess and rule. Simple model. Everything else countless interpretations of one scenario

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.