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Copyright © 1997, Jay Ligda.  All rights reserved.  Published by Humans in the Universe and Jay Ligda.

Theory of Evolution (Darwin)

      The theory of evolution is credited to Darwin.  While it was simultaneously discovered by Wallace, Darwin published his findings first and the credit went to him.  The theory is as follows: First, a random mutation occurs in the genetic structure of an organism.  This mutation produces a characteristic that is unique to that individual.  Mutations occur within a species frequently, however most of the characteristics acquired through mutation do not survive.  On occasions, however, the special characteristic aids the individual's survival and the characteristic gets passed on to its offspring.  Eventually the characteristic spreads throughout the entire species, and the species evolves.

      Stress is a force behind evolution. When a majority of organisms within a species fall out of equilibrium due to lack of food or a rise in predation (an increase in stressors), one solution is to evolve into a species that is more capable of returning to equilibrium, and thus become more adaptable to the environment.  The lion, commonly referred to as the king of the jungle, is known to lay around most of the day.  There is very little in the environment that disturbs its equilibrium.  With each evolutionary advance, an increase in the number of stressors to the neighboring species also occurs, thus supporting their likelihood of further evolution.

      Darwin (1872) refers to this as "natural selection" or "survival of the fittest."  The "fittest" characteristics and species survive, while the unfit parish.  Margulis and Sagan (1986) point out that at the microcosmic level, evolution more accurately resembles networking and symbiosis rather than competition as Darwin's theory suggests.  Nonetheless, evolution is a dynamic interplay between a species and its environment; an environment that contains both nonliving matter and other species that are also involved in a dynamic interplay with their environment.  It was from this dynamic interplay that intelligence evolved.

by Jay Ligda

(This work is a all or part of an original work first published/written for John. F. Kennedy University:  Final Integrative Project., Mar1996.)

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  • Darwin, C. (1872).  The Origin of Species & the Descent of Man.  New York, NY:  The Modern Library.
  • Margulis, L. & Sagan, D. (1986).  Microcosmos:  Four Billion Years of Microbial Evolution.  New York, NY:  Summit.
  • Pert, C. (1980).  "The Wisdom of the Receptors:  Neuropeptides, the Emotions, and Body-Mind." Ch. 13 in R. Ornstien & C. Swencionis (Eds) The Healing Brain. pp. 147-158.  New York, NY:  Guilford.
  • Pearson, D. & Shaw, S. (1982).  Life Extension:  A Practical Scientific Approach.  New York, NY:  Warner.


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