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Towards a General Theory of Selection.

Towards a General Theory of Selection.

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Published by alemis9
A New fully empirical model for cultural selection, designed to displace the philosophy of history with a Logico-empirical alternative.
Shannon's equation for information entropy is applied to show that life on earth necessarily generates disequilibrium - thus falsifying the so called Gaia Hypothesis. An alternative model, called Macro-biology, is suggested.
A New fully empirical model for cultural selection, designed to displace the philosophy of history with a Logico-empirical alternative.
Shannon's equation for information entropy is applied to show that life on earth necessarily generates disequilibrium - thus falsifying the so called Gaia Hypothesis. An alternative model, called Macro-biology, is suggested.

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Published by: alemis9 on Jun 18, 2009
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06/17/2009

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 Towards a General Theory of Selection.
By A.S.N. Misra B.A. (Hons) M.A. (Oxon). © 2009. (All rights reserved).
Contact; mnmhnmisra@aol.com
 
 1. Introducing Cultural Selection...............................................................................................22. Punctuated Equilibrium and Thermodynamics......................................................................43. A General Theory of Cultural Evolution................................................................................74. Cultural Equilibrium..............................................................................................................95. The Fundamental Unit of Cultural Selection.......................................................................106. The Principle of Entropy Maximization...............................................................................117. Thermal Equilibrium............................................................................................................128. How Shannon’s Equation Objectively Contradicts the Gaia Hypothesis............................149. The Birth of Macro-Biology................................................................................................1610. Evolution of the Arts..........................................................................................................1711. A Note on Natural Liberty and Ethics................................
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1. Introducing Cultural Selection.
The theory of evolution has led to the expression of a principle (sometimes called
Gall’s law
)which states that complex forms or structures always evolve or develop out of earlier, simplerforms.
1
Natural selection and the associated Neo-Darwinian synthesis explicates how this principleis enacted in the natural world; but should there not be an equivalent theory which scientificallyexplains the similar emergence of complex forms and structures in the
cultural
world? Do thesenot also, in some sense,
evolve?
Thomas Kuhn seemed to think so;“The process described in section 12 as the resolution of revolutions
 
is the
selection byconflict 
within the scientific community of the fittest way to practice future science. The netresult of a sequence of such
revolutionary selections
, separated by periods of normal research,is the wonderfully adapted set of instruments we call scientific knowledge. Successive stagesin that developmental process are marked by
an increase in articulation and specialization
.And the entire process may have occurred, as we now suppose biological evolution did,without benefit of a set goal, a permanent, fixed scientific truth, of which each stage in thedevelopment of scientific knowledge is a better exemplar. [My italics.]”
2
 Karl Popper, perhaps inspired by the above passage, gives a still more explicit account of thesame process of selection and suggests that it might be generalized to give us a complete empirical
theory of knowledge;
 “All this might be expressed by saying that the growth of our knowledge is the result of aprocess closely resembling what Darwin called
 Natural Selection
; that is the
natural selectionof hypotheses:
our knowledge consists at every moment of those hypotheses which haveshown their (comparative) fitness by surviving so far in their struggle for existence; acompetitive struggle which eliminates those hypotheses that are unfit… this statement of thesituation is meant to describe how knowledge really grows. It is not meant metaphorically,though of course it makes use of metaphor. The theory of knowledge which I propose is alargely Darwinian theory of the growth of knowledge. From the amoeba to Einstein thegrowth of knowledge is always the same; we try to solve our problems and to obtain, by aprocess of elimination, something approaching adequacy to our tentative solutions.[Hisitalics]”
3
 And more recently Henry Plotkin has observed;“If the primary heuristic {biological evolution} works by selectional processes, which it mostcertainly does; if, as will be argued in the next chapter, culture works by selectional processes,which is fairly widely agreed to be the case; and if that other embodiment of the secondaryheuristic that deals with our uncertain chemical futures, namely the immune system, works by
1
Gall, John,
Systemantics.
1978. Pocket.“A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked.” P71.
2
 
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.
Thomas Kuhn. 1962. University of Chicago Press. P171.
3
Popper, Karl,
Objective Knowledge.
P261. 1972. Routledge.

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