I used to treat evolution as a hereditable self-education. Having read Jacob’s Evolution and Tinkering recently it became evident to me that this approach might have been discreditably simplified at best. The paper made me look at the object from a slightly different angle of how a scientific approach should be applied, for this method “does not consist simply in observing, in collecting data, and in deducing from them a theory”. However, collecting raw material with any noesis being unavoidable, a short description of phylogenetic pattern of humans is mandatory.
Scientific Approach as Opposed to Creation Models. We must keep in mind that “most systems of explanation – mythic, magic, or religious – generally encompass everything”. In my opinion, this is where the strengths of creative models start and finish. Adopting dogmas is really simple and calming, it knows neither hesitations nor doubts turning out to be a perfect filler for those who prefer observing and collecting to deducting. Should “attempts confront the possible with the actual” where the observer meets challenging options. Many new questions now appear to be uneasy to cope with, for instance: “…How does blood circulate in vessels?” instead of noted “…What is the essence of life?” Jacob provides a logical chainlet here: “while asking general questions led to limited answers, asking limited questions tuned out to provide more and more general answeres” which leads to a deeper, more extensive feeling of creative models’ weakness. This brings me to the opinion that scientific approach is mandatory to proceed. Science adresses these problems with the now existing different research branches – chemistry, physics, biology, sociology etc. One should no more be surprized that scientific approach reveals controvercies very often, which would possibly mean to be a never-ending research.
Engineering vs Tinkering. As far as I know, the Ancient Greeks were among the first who used to treat a statement by means of confrontation. It is uneasy to explain what luxury is to a prince until he would experience poverty as in Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper. Jacob managed to tinker evolutionary approach in a similar fashion. Indeed, comparison of a well-thought engineering who “works according to a preconceived plan…” and “…has at his disposal both material specially prepared… and machines designed solely for that task” with a tinkerer “who does not know exactly what he is doing… but uses whatever he finds around him” serves amazingly for creating the posed imaginary picture.
As we shall see later, a tinkerer is provided with numerous opportunities, the result of which he would never know – “what he ultimately produces is generally related to no special project”. Tinkerer’s tools are in accordance with his raw materials: “… non of the materials at the tinkerer’s disposal has a precise and a definite function”. In my opinion, as for human evolution this approach fits best – most of humanoid historical branches exist no more, unless they provided basement for the next game. “That depends on the opportunities” – the pre-historical times saw many climate changes, predator threads, environmental dangers, food shortage. These conditions impacted all aspects of humanoid behavior, most significantly those involved in procreation durability.
Human Phylogenetic Pattern (Smithsonian Institution web site).
Ardipithecus ramidus of the early hominids lived in moist woody regions, suggesting that ecological changes 4,4 mln years ago lead their migration into savanna. Bipedal walking is known to benefit in the latter. Australopithecus anamensis relicts suspect it belonged to erect walking species, which is in contrast to his amp-like jaw anatomy. Australopithecus afarensis again has too much in common with the ape (high palate and small cranium) in contrast to walking habits. Australopithecus africanus is suspected to know nothing about hunting and would eat carrion, and also had primitive extremities. Hence, doubts exist whether phylogenetically it can be connected to a human. Herbivorous Paranthropus boisei and Paranthropus robustus lived in East and South Africa respectively. Homo habilis manufacturered primitive instruments (treated pebbles) wighting 45kg and gave evolution to ancient people Homo ergaster. These developed hunting, skills that allowed to increase body weight, and mastered fire. Cannibal Homo erectus developed from the previous but gave no one ahead. Homo heidelbergensis due to his prominent mandibul is claimed to start primitive speak, having occupied the kope, gave push to Homo neanderthalensis. Homo sapiens developed around 195,000 years ago and moved far away from Homo neanderthalensis to East Asia. Recent DNA studies suggest multiregionalism of the architect.
While analyzing the phylogenetic human tree I came to an amazing observation. Most of the relicts have in fact become evolutionary abortions, as it were. In various humanoid branches (many not shown in this essay) most have been estimated to result in dead end. “Thus, in [most] of the total conceptions, something is wrong to begin with”. Many of these evolutionary omegas are to be closely realted to inability to cope with ecological drifts (periods of cold span many years over the multi-million time segment), hunting and fire management requirements, erectus walking as opposed to other time- and energy-consuming locomotion. But in order to challenge all frustrations of the wild nature a drove is ought to communicate effectively. I stress special attention to this particular point as socialization certainly eases occuring loads, and allows the society euther primitive or modern to proceed more accurately and effectively. Oral speech skills presented superiority over previous modalities, neighbouring evolutionary branches and animals. This reorganization of the behavior pattern is for sure the mainstem for society development. Thus, many potentially malorganized or otherwise defected branches dissapearerd. “this reveals the imperfections of a mechanism that is at the … core of any living system and that has been refined over millions of years”.
Accidental evolution is in contrast to creationists’ positions as well as many scientific believes. Random events, as stated and discussed by Jacob might be in perfect accordance with evolutionary suppositions. A great deal of occurences in the past, as shown in case of human phylogenetics, was a set of stochastic events that could not have been predicted. Should we concider evolution a fundamentally reandom process, modern species will probably not be thought of designed.
In conclusion, I have to admit that tinkering evolutionary approach gives a more clear explanation of the numerous tries and branches discovered by archeologists and chroniclers. It is becoming acceptable now why so many evolutionary attempts resulted in nothing from today’s point of view. The numerous rames might have been nature’s tries to find one of myriads that would endure most with all the necessary features implemented. No other approach (creation models, engeneering tentative) can compete in logics or accomplishment. After one recognized the human evolution as tinkere “who during eons upon eons, would slowly modify his work, unceasingly retouching it … seizing the opportunities to adapt it progressively to its new use”.
Had not the Nobel Prize winner Francois Jacoub got intersted in evolution issue I would still consider evolution to be a more or less smoothly passing process of genetic modifications.