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Week Three

alexandrakg's picture

So, in class last Thursday we were discussing two different ways of looking at the progression (or I guess lack there of) of life, foundational and non-foundational, non-narrative and narrative, and came to the conclusion that many of us have a hybridized idea of the world based on both sides.  I still can't quite wrap my head around that.  It's true Darwin may have had a more hybridized idea, but I think that his text suggests that for several other reasons.  First, the times.  We can't forget that for Darwin to be taken seriously at all, he cannot completely discount religion, which had a very strong and historic base in society.  Many of Europe's socio-political structures were directly related to religion, so a total upheaval would be unimaginable to people of the time.  Given that there is still revulsion to the idea of Evolution today in 2011 when it was first suggested over a century ago, I would say he didn't have a choice but to acknowledge the possible existence of a higher power.  Second, because the idea of religion was so strong, Darwin may not have been able to imagine a completely random world himself.  To think of Natural Selection as the force running everything in some ways replaced the higher power and made the theory more logical, to him, at least.  Also, back to the quote we were discussing, that the idea of everything being totally due to chance is a "wholly incorrect expression" (178).  I think what he means is we are not completely randomly human.  Our characteristics were shaped over time due to surrounding circumstances.  Our species does not randomly have legs, for example.  We need to move, to find food and escape predators.  If legs were not at all of use to us, we would not have kept them for so long, when we have lost many former functions of our ancestors.  So perhaps what he was trying to say is less so that a divine being decided we must look the way we are, but that our surroundings have shaped us, even though the origins of our surroundings perhaps are more random.

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