Anthropocentric
Theories of Evolution

D   
iscovery channel's "shark week" brings to mind a longstanding disagreement I have with the modern purveyors of evolutionary theory. To wit ...

In probing the anal recesses of all creatures great and small, why is it necessary to posit that every physical or behavioral trait accorded to a specimen is beneficial to its species?

After all, aren't most species that ever lived extinct? How did they get that way in general? Could it be that they were not just superceded by better designs but rather "slipped up"? Can mother nature make a long term design error?

Apparently not, judging by the enthusiasm generated for fitting in every fact with the established "line". There is a constant stream of rationalization saying that "This trait is advantageous because ... blah, blah, blah ... ". I have never seen the opposite tac given any play at all - "This trait is a complete disadvantage and will inevitably result in the extinction of the species ...".

In fact, one cannot determine whether a given trait is an advantage or disadvantage because of the extended time over which evolution must operate. Hence, we wish to believe that the animal is here and therefore has existed for some great length of time relative to us. Therefore, "It must be doing things right to have got this far".

But the argument is faulty.

Differences between species may be advantageous or disadvantageous by degrees. An obviously unusual trait may be harmful or do nothing at all to help or hinder the development of that species. We simply do not know until we have observed the species for perhaps many thousands of years.

We may only record our observations, add them to the accumulating pile and perhaps make a "mild" speculation about possible harm or benefit in the long run. Most biologists seem pretty dam sure of their "logic" to me. But I'm very sure of mine too ... which is ... "You don't know jackshit about the direction this or that trait is taking an animal".

The reason I'm so sure of my position is that I never hear the flip side of the coin. It always comes up heads (the trait benefits the animal because...).

Let me make a counter prediction (equally as useless as any of theirs). I predict that the hyena goes extinct before the lion because it leads a physically and psychologically "sick" existence ... and they are uglier than sin as well. These animals are defective given the general nature of animals. The traits they have developed are degenerate and are leading to the slow destruction of the species in general.

A counter argument from bioligists would attempt to show (with confidence) just how a "fake penis" on the female as well as female dominance is an advantage ( ! ). And they WILL find the evidence to support they're claim just as I could find evidence to support mine.

The difference between us is that I personally know that my opinion isn't worth a dam given the shortness of my life and relatively sparse access to data (~1 century ... for cripe sake!) compared to the play of evolution.

I am beginning to think that, in general, bioligists have fallen victim to "Gaiaism".

Mother nature is a witless whore ... inanimate ... mechanical.

Like capitalism, it just does its thing oblivious to the result ... sometimes bad (from our viewpoint), sometimes good and most often just "... blecch". And in regard to the behavior of animals this is probably closer to the truth :
10% is beneficial (+ or - just a hair)
10% is detrimental (+ or - complimentary)
And 80% is just plain meaningless.


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