The Evolution of Specious

The Evolution of Specious was produced during my PhD and was first shown as part of the Sydney College of the Arts PostGrad show in 2008. It was updated for 3 days in the Evolution of Specious 2009, and is an ongoing project.

‘It seems that Darwin’s theory of evolution, which is proving so valuable to us in the field of natural sciences, might as readily apply in the cultural sciences…. An Acquired Knowledge adaptation. A kind of survival of the fittest ideas … might not Herbert Spencer’s interpretation of Darwin’s theory apply as readily to culture as to nature? Except of course the time frame is much shorter – we are not talking millions of years but merely a few generations, which requires another mechanism to speed up the adaptation of changes.

Perhaps Lamarck’s notion, where the environmental factors that we adapt to are passed on to our offspring, provides more insight into this matter. The effectiveness of Darwinian evolution is dependent on a very long time-frame because nature must determine which mutation is inadequate through a long and tedious process of elimination – of a whole species if necessary. Apparently, Nature is not creative and therefore relies on something akin to gambling, as it must chance upon the appropriate response. Lamarck provides us with a far more immediate solution – a fairly quick response that sensibly conserves the energy and limited resources that may be available in particular environments. Of course his idea has been thoroughly discredited, largely due to its teleological assumptions, which scientists need to be most wary of. But we have replaced teleology with this notion of completely random events, where any intelligent adaptation is impossible. At the very least, when we see that even the behaviour of wild animals is affected by human social conditions, which in turn are affected by the variance of environments, the Lamarckian notion would work quite well. We could call it ‘Para-evolution.’

Extracted from: D.N.Keynes, The Origin of Specious – a pictorial and written account of the voyages to the New Hybridies.

See the first stage of Specious: The Specious Voyages