05 April 2005

Evolution, Natural Selection, Biology

It’s like a drill in one of those boring workbooks for a foreign language. We can ask the question in 18 ways:

Is Aristotle’s (physics/metaphysics) (consistent with/corroborated
by/partially supported by) modern (biology/evolution/natural selection)?

Clearly, deeper or more superficial aspects of this thought may be more or less supported by scientific theories that are more or less general.

For instance, evolution is one thing, evolution by natural selection is another. Evolution—that species change over time, and that this change displays some kind of intelligible sequence—is not consistent with the (relatively superficial) philosophical view that animal species are fixed for all time. Natural selection, a mechanism meant to account for evolution, seems not consistent with the (relatively deep) philosophical principle of teleology.