Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Understanding Evolution, the Daniel Dennett Way


From Daniel C. Dennett's:
Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon

I'm sure he does it just as well other places, it is actually kind of fun the way he drops this whole well crafted paragraph completely parenthetically at the bottom of page 120:

(Evolution it's all about processes that almost never happened. Every birth in every lineage is a potential speciation event, but speciation almost never happens, not once in a million births. Mutation in DNA almost never happens--not once in a trillion copyings-- but evolution depends on it. Take the set of infrequent accidents--things that almost never happen--and sort them into the happy accidents, the neutral accidents, and the fatal accidents; amplify the effects of the happy accidents--which happens automatically when you have replication and competition--and you get evolution.)