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He purported the theory that strength is the only acceptable or even desired quality in a human being and weakness in any form was a great failing, good will survive, and bad will fail. Ultimately, goodness will be replaced by strength; humility will be replaced by pride, the very basis of survival will be threatened by equality and the principle of democracy and power will replace justice in all aspects, and power will eventually be the judge of the destiny of humankind. The Church and religious heads of the time vehemently opposed these theories since they felt that this meant that human kind would be subjected to the theory of the 'survival of the fittest' wherein the weak become exterminated by the strong. (it's a Matter of life or Death)
Nietzsche's thoughts, though for the most part forgotten, do stay alive in 'Philosophical Investigations' by Wittgenstein, where Nietzsche's 'Theory of Knowledge' was elucidated at length, and through some of Thomas Kuhn's works on the 'closed circle' theory. Nietzsche has been likened by many as a warrior who had to fight against the dogmatic and inflexible type of thinking of his times. (Nietzsche Theory of Knowledge or Epistemology)
Another philosopher who theorized on the evolution of man was Aristotle. He was born in the year 384 BCE, in Stagira in Northern Greece. Though he was trained in the field of medicine, he studied philosophy with Plato. Aristotle was responsible for the writing of more than 150 philosophical treatises on a wide range of topics like morals and aesthetics, politics, and physics, and most importantly, biology. Aristotle felt that the 'ultimate reality' lay in the knowledge and the recognition of the various physical objects of the world, as opposed to Plato who stated that the ultimate reality lay in the knowledge of forms through reason and creative ideas. Aristotle felt that all objects were made up of a certain potential or possibility, and this was signified by the matter with which they were composed, and the reality of their innate form. (Aristotle: (384-322 B.C.E)
This is how, he said, a block of marble or 'matter' as he defined it, had the potential or the capacity to grow into the 'form' that the sculptor was giving it, just like the seed or the embryo of a plant being able to grow into the potential form that Nature had intended for it to grow into. In a living thing, Aristotle felt, the form was in fact the 'soul' of the thing; whereas plants possessed the lowest type of soul, and animals the higher, it was only human beings who were in possession of the highest class of souls that had reasoning power and rationale, and the power to feel things like emotions. Aristotle not only developed theories on philosophy, he also developed scientific treatises in which he was able to classify animals into different forms according to their shape and sizes, and was even able to describe in great detail the embryological development of a chick, a virtual feat at his time.
The great philosopher also expounded on the sciences of the Earth, meteorology. Aristotle believed in the theory that the Universe as such was 'Eternal', in that it did not have either a beginning or an end. Any change that would take place within the Universe, he stated, were cyclical, that meant, in other words, that though the materials in the earth may change, the conditions in earth will never change. For example, when water evaporated from the river, the same water would come back to the earth in a cyclical manner as rain. Therefore, everything was constantly evolving and constantly changing. (Aristotle: (384-322 B.C.E)
Aristotle was responsible for the setting up of a total intellectual agenda wherein he defined the 'Great Chain of Being', sometimes also known as the 'Ladder of creation'. It is here through this theory that he describes the method of the classification of all things in the correct and perfect manner in which it has been done by Nature in the Universe. The system stated that all living beings could ultimately be arranged in one single line, that is, in a 'one-dimensional' way. (Aristotle's Taxonomy), ranging from the highest spiritual levels of the human being to the lowest of all evolutionary creatures, the lowly worm, and extending from the very Throne of God to the center of the Earth. This theory became one of great importance even in later years when philosophers were trying to decipher the cosmological ideas of the evolution of Man. (Chain of Being)
Lee Spetner, a modern day contemporary theorist on the theory of evolution, talks about his views in his book entitled 'Not by Chance'. In the review of the book by Gert Korthof in 2003, he starts with the theory of Darwin that stated that a species is not fixed but is evolving and changing at all times, from their ancestral life forms by the process of natural selection and of heritable variation. Modern scientists today still see the validity of this theory, and they liken it to the theory of 'mutations' of today. These mutations are supposedly variations or errors of the DNA that is present in all living things, and that such mutations are 'random', that means that the mutations need not have any effect on the organism that they make up. They may be beneficial or harmful, and the beneficial mutations will be chosen and selected to be represented in the next generations, just in sufficient enough numbers to make sure that the process of evolution goes on unhindered. (Could it work?)
Dr. Lee Spetner however, is one of the scientists who believe that there is not enough number of positive mutations to keep the forces of evolution running. To quote an example of the unrealistic method of depicting the evolutionary process, Dr. Spetner derides the 'weasel' experiment conducted by scientist Richard Dawkins wherein he used the computer to make a choice or a selection out of a string of 28 random letters of the alphabet given to it, and substitute it with different alphabets, one at a time, until it read 'methinks it is like a weasel', a method, he emphasized, that was similar to the 'natural selection' theory offered by Charles Darwin in his treatise on the evolution of man. Spetner opined that this experiment served no great purpose since in selection in real life there could be no long-ranging goal; the mutation process would not be this quick and this pressurized, and that all positive mutations in real life tend to disappear over a period of time because of random effects. (Could it work?)
The fact that DNA sequences in real life is very much lengthier than what the experiment tried to demonstrate was also a moot point for Spetner. This led him to ask the question: can the accumulation of quite a few random mutations end up creating a totally new species, and how many are needed for the purpose? 'Speciation' is the general term for the 'getting' of a new species in scientific terminology. In other words, speciation involves the splitting up of one single species into two different ones; Spetner however avoids the use of this term. He preferred to delve into the nature of speciation and the various effects of mutation on speciation, the role that chance plays in the selection processes, the actual mechanisms of speciation, and the number of generations that would be involved to successfully create 'reproductive isolation'. He was able to calculate the probability or possibility of 500 steps of mutations occurring consecutively without a break. The figure he was able to arrive at was 2.7 multiplied by 10 to the power of 2793, which was derived by multiplying the possibility of each step 1/300,000 into 500 times. (Could it work?)
According to this figure, Spetner stated that it was impossible to produce the sufficient number of favorable mutations to produce a new species successfully. This part of the theory is considered by many to be wrong, as the speciation model he had adapted by him to demonstrate his calculations were by itself wrong. Spetner also made the mistake of mixing up 'reproductive isolation' and 'genetic distances', according to Gert Korthof. Generally, speciation also means reproductive isolation achieved by either geographic isolation or by the process of natural selection, and not the culmination of a series of small mutations as explained by Spetner. Reproductive isolation can be very quick and fast today, as demonstrated in the single-gene speciation of a Japanese snail in the space of a few generations alone.
Spetner's theory of 'Non-Random Evolutionary Hypothesis' is one that explains his alternative solution to Darwin's theory of evolution, wherein he states that NREH is capable of producing large-scale evolution, and is also a better alternative to microevolution. Spetner did have some religious motives for these alternative theories of evolution but his innate background as a physicist contributed to the development of many of…[continue]
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