Two hundred years after Darwin’s birth, the theory of evolution is still evolving — and finding relevance in realms far outside the biological.
Evolution is being scaled up to the level of populations, even whole ecosystems. Moreover, scientists say evolution is intertwined with other dynamics in ways science is just starting to understand.
“The process of evolution is fundamental to the universe,” said Carl Woese, a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign microbiologist and one of the first proponents of this newly revised evolutionary framework. “Biology is the most obvious manifestation of it.”
People who have heard me talk know that I try to take a different approach to the theory of evolution. Especially the popularised (albeit presented as scientific) version that circulates among the populace. Since this is the year of Darwin, many articles appear on the subject.
What bothers me about these articles is that they as a rule remain on the main road, the popularised version. In that myth, evolution is the result of the battle for survival, and solely engineered through the ministrations of genes. I hold a quite different view, and actually modern biology has gone much further than the myth – but for some reason biologists don’t speak up. Maybe they think “normal” people are not equipped to understand, I do not know. But this blog on Wired made at least an attempt to broaden the scope and I recommend reading it (including the links).
(btw: notice the iPod earphone wires coming from young Darwins vest ;-))