A Galapagos Lizard
The Darwinian Delusion
There are a multitude of reasons to disregard Darwin’s much-feted theory of evolution. But let’s not entirely condemn the scientific efforts that brought it to the fore and adopted it as dogma. Much useful work was done and continues to be done in creating the phylogenetic tree for planet Earth.
The phylogenetic tree, if you weren’t aware, is a diagram that shows the evolutionary relationships among various biological species based on similarities and differences in their physical or genetic characteristics. The evidence strongly suggests that all life on Earth is part of a single phylogenetic tree, indicating common ancestry. This is something with which Gurdjieff would probably agree.
The nature of that tree, how it evolved and what causes it to evolve is where contemporary science and The Work part company.
The Scientific Narrative
A big problem with Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is that its adherents have been unable to demonstrate it taking place in laboratory conditions. It is thus supported only by a colorful narrative based on selective circumstantial evidence. That is why it is still regarded as a theory.
There are many aspects of it that could be disputed, but the primary one is the reality of “biological complexity.” Simply put, this objection argues that many biological systems are far too complex to have evolved by natural selection. The mechanism proposed for evolution by Darwin can be roughly stated as follows:
Individuals within any species vary in their physical traits (such as size, shape, color, food preferences, etc.). Traits are passed from parents to offspring. At times, more offspring will be produced than can survive, and the competition for resources will emphasize particular advantageous traits. In time, these physical traits are crystallized by genetic mutation, leading to a new species.
It’s the final sentence where the problem lies. That we can intelligently breed within a species to promote distinct traits has long been known. It is responsible for the many breeds of dogs and horses that exist. It is also the case that new species of plants can be created by hybrid cross-breeding, and this can also happen in the wild. (For example, the dandelion is believed to be a hybrid between two species of thistle.) So new breeds do not become new species, although hybrid do.
The problem is that random mutations are very very unlikely to create a new species. And huge biological leaps, like, for example, the development of the eye or the emergence of vertebrates, attribute a level of intelligence to random mutation, that random activity by definition cannot possess
The astronomer Fred Hyle put it best, saying:
“The chances of the elaborately constructed machinery of a living organism arising by chance are comparable with the chances of a tornado sweeping through a junkyard and assembling a Boeing 747.”
The Work Perspective
Those (usually from a religious background) who advocate the idea of Intelligent Design are more on point than the Darwinists. The problem is that they never proposed a mechanism by which this could happen. The Work simply suggests that the whole of the universe is both alive (at every level) and Trogoegoautocratic. This means that everything (absolutely everything) in the universe feeds everything else in the universe.
For this to work, a harmony is required that every living thing has sources of food and provides through its excretions food for every other living thing (whether it is a cell, a plant, man, an angel, a planet, a sun or a galaxy). If this harmony is disturbed at any level, then living things are destroyed, but their very destruction must in some way provide food for some beings somewhere.
So we can apply this idea, which applies to the Universe at every level, and reduce it just to the level of Nature. If, by virtue of change anywhere within Nature (say the disappearance of one or more species) disharmony results, then Nature must create new species (perhaps very different from what went before) to replace what was lost. Nature does not evolve single species it evolves whole ecosystems – a fact that is clearly supported by the different ecosystems that exist on different continents and large and even small islands. This process is not at all random.
And Nature itself is under the sway of the larger beings of which it is part. It is, from a Work perspective, driven by the behavior of the planets. It is very likely that it is always in flux in some way. Thus it may be creating new species (at the level of single cells) all the time.