Tuesday, May 06, 2008

quoting the smart (5)

"I'm strongly opposed to carrying over from one domain of phenomenon to another a model which works in one domain but not in the other. I wouldn't want to carry over nuclear physics to the organization of society, nor even to biology. I don't want to carry over Darwinian evolutionary principles to historical changes in human societies. They're not the same.

... that's why I'm so disdainful of people who talk about cultural evolution or linguistic evolution. Why evolution? Culture has a history, language has a history; but the minute you say it's evolution there's a certain implication that the structure of Darwinian evolutionary theory can be laid on; and I, as an epistemologist, dislike that."

-- Geneticist Richard Lewontin, interviewed for CBC Radio's Ideas: How to Think About Science. I'm pretty sure he's not talking about how frontier, free-market, deregulationist capitalism is being applied to the business of cultural creation on the Internet. But what if he was?

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