C-38. What Darwin missed

What did Darwin miss? What did hundreds of others also miss? Or touch on – but only touch on?

Why and how?

We got plugged up intellectually (IV; 0:S-P) with the procedural tools (App. VII) we developed from the primitive cognitive start we had (App. III). And off we went, sometimes far along on dysfunctional tangents (e.g., in expectation of an underlying order of things. and depending on non-chance occurrences to guide us [C-17]).

We, as behavioral entities, come from a long history of collisions, far beyond the horizon of recorded human history, far beyond the horizon of recorded (in fossils) speciation. And collisions are still very much with us. Thousands of them every day. Collisions that are to be, that can be, avoided and arranged == because we are now very much indeed behavioral entities (BE).

Collisions have a story to tell us, a story that bears on Darwin and evolution, a story more detailed and informative than the historical record as observed by Darwin and countless others. Collisions tell an unbiased story. But collisions are poor story tellers. They draw our attention to particulars: to particular collisions and to the particulars of and about those collisions.

Thus a huge bias confronts us, made prominent by the priority of the closest collision (PCC), to which the sensory capacities and developed BE capabilities of exposure, focal attention, cognition, memory and questioning, together with moves of one kind or another (VII), respond. Any prospective collision turns our minding’s emphasis to a particular body or body-body relationship. Then it continues later when we begin to generalize about particulars and bodies (i.e., to sort the particulars of our situational problems [I]) in order to cope with circumstances.

It is hardly unexpected, then, that our understanding of particular behaviors resulted in interpretive methods that emphasize particular bodies and body-body relationships. Behaviors, as particulars, became seen as attributes of them – and helped to identify them (e.g., “is as does”). Languages embedded behaviors via particulars, as adjectives and verbs. Behaviors, not behavior.

Nor is it unexpected that an interest in tactical economy would look for oneness among particulars (e.g., common nouns and concepts re instances), and look for generality via universality among particulars, and strive for oneness in arranging collisions of particulars (e.g., coherence in ordering), and seek to discover order wherever it could be found. The order and ordering of things are valuable resources in composing, as best one can, one’s lifetime of collisions. Bodies, particulars and order/ordering are very much stage-front in our lives.

The huge bias, the plug on intellectual development – i.e., on our minding — is thus a three-fold combination (further compounded by linguistic embodiment [C-39]):

Body (entity) (B) against step (behavior) (S): B/P > 1 Particulars (and universality) (P) against generality (G): P/G > 1; and,
Order of things (O) vs. Nature of Things (N):
O/N > 1. (“> 1″ does not do full justice to the imbalances –i.e., biases — involved.)

If we remove this BPO plug then all that we have accomplished within this paradigm could be doubled, then doubled again: first to give steps (S), generality (G) and the Nature of Things (N) the attention they deserve and we need for a complete and accurate understanding; and second to realize the potential of their respective interdependencies and complementarities in this World of Possibility (XI).

How did this bias affect Darwin’s search and subsequent account of evolution?

He set out to catalogue differences among particular bodies. To catalogue, to order them in so far as there were similarities among the differences. He was on the trail of differences, focusing his attention on them. He encountered in the Galapagos differences in body-body relationships (species by locale), similar to those already found in fossils (species by stratum), and came to ponder these as particular changes. To wit: evolution.

Being “on the trail” focuses attention but can limit exposure. Cognitively controlled focal attention (e.g., directed by a given question and/or belief) limits cognition as well as exposure. It’s easy to miss something of consequence. Darwin was a victim of the BPO bias.

Compare these scenarios, the first emphasizing particulars and ordering, the second emphasizing generality and the Nature of Things: A naturalist on Planet Earth encounters a track in the mud or snow, and asks which animal made that track. The same naturalist encounters a track on the surface of Mars – and exclaims, “There’s life here!”


What then did Darwin miss?

He missed the similarity beyond those similarities evident as shared particular body differences (e.g., species). This is the effect of using cataloguing as a procedural tool, of seeking to discern the “natural order” of particular bodies – what we are now given to see as a (taxonomic, and rooted) “tree of life.”

He missed what is common to all behavioral entities but which is not all that obvious, apparently, across the genus and species of bodies, nor across plants and animals. This generality is behavioral necessity – in light of the Nature of Things and its general persisting conditions of qualities without quantity (III). It is manifested in collisions, in the functional needs for a way or ways to mind, and that linked with a way or ways to move. From the dandelion’s opening to the sun, to the calcite eyes of the trilobite, to the tumbling moves of E. Coli, the particulars are various indeed. But the functional needs are not. (This is the true, behavioral problem misconstrued as a question by the “mind-body problem.” See VII.)

He missed the collisions prior to recorded events, and so the early impact of behavioral necessity on body and step changes. He missed the step taking, then step making, changes (and those related to body changes), step changes which have accelerated (C-37: see rates) over the millennia – so that now compositional changes rival circumstantial changes, and even, as in the case of global warming, profoundly affect them.

As soon as behavioral entitles emerged from the early period of entities plus post-Big Bang movement (one-steppers, so to speak, as in orbits), with collision consequences of combination – sometimes – but not composition, to become step-taking entities (multi-steppers), their collision-rife relationships put a growing premium on evolving capacities and developing capabilities to mind and move better (V) – or grow a shell, or hide, to avoid collisions. And as each BE improved in minding and moving capabilities the others needed to improve along the same functional lines, escalating development. Also the need of the body for energy increased as step taking increased. That led to more improvements in arranging collisions, favoring focal attention over exposure (but stimulating an accommodation, as with peripheral vision and social communication), advancing minding from recognition and reaction to cognition and communication’s compositional and questioning acts.

(See App. III: Communication gave names to anything that was to be related by cognition, then to relations used to establish relationships by cognitive relating [helped it would seem by inside-outside and before-after being apparent in many visible relationships – if not immediately realized independently as relations], then to the resultant relationships so they could become a party to a further composed relationship, and then to the thingks [C-27] that were the answers to pointed questions [X], such as “What’s inside?” and “What came before?” – which resultant thingks could then be used as focal objects (elements) to be used for new relationships (e.g., ideas) and/or in pointed questions …. On it goes.)

The consequentiality of this generality (behavioral necessity) was company to that of particular, local circumstances (C-20). (And which still-needed functional capability now prompts us to develop further – as in nurturing ADEPT as a capability as well as tempering our use of ADAPT and ADOPT as behavioral strategies (C-9).

He missed seeing that even the relationship of body differences to locale differences implied entailed functional needs. Which is that structure follows function, not just vice versa.

If we correct for the BPO bias, the following hypotheses about evolution seem indicated (see C-20):

1. Evolution is as much in consequence of the general persisting conditions of the Nature of Things (partial order, consequentiality, discontinuity: behavioral necessity: collisions per se and functional need) as it is of particular local conditions.

2. Development and evolution processes have co-existed – and interdependently so (see XI: body x step) — since the emergence of behavioral entities after the Big Bang event.

2a. From that emergence of behavioral entities the behavioral problem has obtained along with situational problems (I).

3. Given the omnipresence of the general persisting conditions, they are more likely than local conditions of time and place to have contributed to BE similarities of step and/or body; and, conversely, local conditions are more likely than the GPC to have contributed to BE differences of step and/or body.

Evolution as a theory, it seems, has given us an incomplete and sometimes inaccurate picture of BE history. We remarked earlier (C-20) that it badly neglects the ADEPT portion of behavior – despite ADEPT’s behavioral prominence in recent centuries.

The inaccuracy is perhaps most serious in the conceptual interpreting of behavior and some behaviors metaphorically via evolutionary terms (e.g., “shared” [responsibility? capacity? capability? for] minding’s exposure and focal attention functions among members of a species [seen as "altruism"]).

Other questions arise. For example:

Q. Are we making too much of species populations (aggregates) as a focal BE unit in light of functional similarities? Because of our overemphasis on bodies relative to steps?

Q. Isn’t function=> structure the more telling line of history than structure => function, once BE emerged in consequence of the Nature of Things’ persisting general (structural) conditions of partial order, consequentiality and discontinuity?

Q. Doesn’t needed consideration of function => structure together with structure => function imply that we require (all) three kinds of behavioral theory: a theory OF, a theory FOR and a theory ABOUT (C-40) … so as to be applicable before the fact as well as after the fact?

Q. Does physiological analysis (e.g., “brain studies”) over emphasize the structure => function aspect of behavior, continuing the BPO bias? And over emphasize the promise of drug therapies, among others, for mental and emotional health (App. V)?

Q. Do the fact and facts of function-based emergent BE characteristics remove the need for a teleological explanation for behavior(s)? Developed capability is purpose enough – of which capability its products are but expressions (App. VIII)?

Q. Does DNA have a functional origin? Are we over emphasizing here again structure => function relative to function => structure? Does this bear on the recent discovery of DNA as the core physiological site in humans of natural selection?

Q. Has the BPO bias constituted such an impediment to development as to make human progress unnecessarily incremental – and invite, even justify, the use of evolution as a metaphor for change? (See C-39.)

Q. Does the addition of collision-inspired developmental changes to the evolutionary record, thus extending the historical horizon back considerably farther than the fossil record, alter our framing of the “evolution vs. creationism” controversy (which previously pitted the fact of evolution [sometimes overblown to concept and theory] against creationism as theory (C-20), and which allowed the latter to easily accommodate the former – if historical documents [e.g., the Bible] were not to be read too literally)?

(But enough questions for now. Many more questions are suggested by BFPS. Some have already been raised in earlier discussion. More will follow in later comments.)

(c) 2012 R. F. Carter