How have improvements in technology influenced the development and review of the Modern Theory of Evolution?

How have improvements in technology influenced the development and review of the Modern Theory of Evolution?

[ 25/3/20 ]

Hugely.

The development of x-ray crystalography allowed Franklin to to develop images of DNA crystals that allowed Watson and Crick to deduce the structure of the molecule. That led fairly directly to understanding how proteins are coded within the triplet codons of the base pair sequences.

A vast range of developments in optical and electron microscopy allowed us to see ever better pictures of the micro-structure of life.

Many different types of tools have allowed us to understand more and more about the mechanics of life.

Many different technologies are allowing us to sequence entire genomes of different organisms ever more easily.

Perhaps the greatest technological advance is computation, and our ability to create digital models and simulations.

Now we are starting to get a reasonable handle on the level of cooperative complexity present.

We are starting to understand just how complex things are and can be even just at the molecular level. At levels above that it is clear that living systems are in many contexts very close to maximal computational complexity.

So a modern understanding of evolution is of survival of replicators in contexts, and we can now clearly identify at least 15 levels of replicators present in human beings, all of which cooperate to enable us to be what we are.

So the idea common in most cultures that evolution is all about competition couldn’t be further from reality. For complex organisms like ourselves it is much closer to reality to say that evolution is all about cooperation, and it is always vastly more complex than that, as both competitive and cooperative systems are present in all real systems, and cooperation always requires complex attendant systems to survive.

And it is true to say that our survival as both individuals and cultures is predicated on cooperative systems – competitive systems are secondary – always! Modern modeling and a deep modern understanding of the mathematics and logic of complexity and strategy of evolving systems in uncertain open contexts leaves no room for reasonable doubt.

And that is deeply complex and contains multiple levels of fundamental uncertainty – so all anyone ever has is probabilities. And some of those probabilities can very closely approximate unity in some contexts.

There is a key message from all that complexity and evolutionary strategy – if you value life and liberty, then cooperate to preserve both. Covid-19 is the biggest threat in the last 100 years. It is manageable, but only with cooperative action.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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