ranking biological success

Phillip McClean mcclean at plains.NoDak.edu
Tue Jan 11 14:36:44 EST 1994

Jonathan Marder writes:

: In the second book, Pirsig discusses evolution and points out that the
: different levels (cells, organisms, societies) each show their own
: evolutionary levels.  e.g. an organisms may evolve so that certain
: cell types are favoured and an ecosystem can evolve at the expense of certain
: species.

   Many disucssions of evolution suggest that it is an event in which
some entity decided to do.  Ecosystem is a man-made definition.  It does not
exist outside of man's mind.  Suggesting that the "...ecostystem can evolve
at the expense of certain species." presumes that the ecosystem has a 
choice to make.  From my perspective this type of comment prescribes human
qualities to a non-human entity.  The species fails in the new environment
becuase it does not have the genetic triats that allows it to be 
reproductively successful in the new environmnet.  Success has nothing to do
with the nature of the ecosytem, rather the persistance of 
the species is a function of the ability of the species to use its genetic
resources to reproduce in a changing environment. 

: I suggest that the massive growth in human population is not really a result
: of individual fitness, but of social evolution.  It seems that your can't
: measure the latter by DNA complexity or any other "biological" parameter.

  I feel this comment will only be correct if we can ascribe genetic traits to
our "social evolution."  

: One suggestion is to change the question to definining
: the **purpose** of life;-) Then it can be discussed in another newsgroup.

  Do we know that any other species considers the "purpose" of life?  Is this
a human luxury that we suggest other species would like to partake?

Phil McClean
mcclean at plains.nodak.edu

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