Darwinism is incomplete because it only takes account of matter and ignores spirit.
Evolution is a process of matter ascending and spirit descending. It is a process whereby physical substance goes through process that prepares it to accommodate the descending spirit. The continuity of living matter is sustained by hereditary and it takes on various forms due to adaptive radiation. But these forces come from the earth and they tie organisms to the environment and lead only to specialization. They take organisms down ever narrowing paths. The fossil record is a tableau of forms that are frozen in their specializations, evolutionary dead ends. These earthly forces radiate from the centre.
The spiritual forces work in the opposite direction drawing the living substance outwards, emancipating it from the earthly forces. Through these forces organisms separate out from the earth as a plant grows towards the sun. Emancipation is evident in such things as inner temperature control, freeing of the upper limbs to perform creative functions rather than them being used for locomotion or support and taking responsibility for care of offspring.
It is only in the human form that the self-conscious ego can occupy physical substance as a material individual. This is the place on earth where matter and spirit meet. In as much as each of us know ourselves, we know the spirit within. And this is only possible because our form has been prepared in such a way that it can accommodate our ego, the spirit within.
The physicist Arthur Zajonc provides us with his view of science that gives me hope for the future
Science can lead us away from reality into abstractions. It is too easy for the model to take over from the reality it is supposed to represent. The lived experience of the phenomenal world often takes a back seat. Zajonc gives us a couple of examples where the model dominates. The genetic code is one, and the neuroscience of the brain as a representative of the mind is another. If we are not careful our models become idols and the living reality is forgotten.
From a radio documentary featuring Arthur Zajonc he gives his views on Goethe’s science:
If you look at the actual practice that he undertakes it is I think faithful to the core principles of science, namely, it is empirically grounded, it proceeds from one methodical experience to the next, and it comes to a kind of insight, a moment of aperçu, of discovery.
He thinks that all good science proceeds in the way Goethe describes. It begins with insight. An example of which is Newton connecting a falling apple with the movement of the moon.
Continuing a discussion I and one or two others were having in the thread vincent-torleys-disappearing-book-review it is of little surprise that those responding to what I said, along with many of the posters here, regard consciousness as a product of matter. I believe that it is the other way round. As with Owen Barfield and John Davy, I came to this conclusion many, many years ago, and for me like them, Rudolf Steiner was a big influence in solidifying this view. Here is an extract from an article about Owen Barfield from Richard A. Hocks
Barfield’s precoccupation with the history of consciousness is different from even the most saturated analyses of the past, such as Erich Auerbach’s Mimesis. Barfield maintains that, in any thoughtful consideration of evolution, it is both more reasonable and more illuminating to hold that mind, or consciousness, precedes matter rather than the reverse–though not individualized mind or self-consciousness. Not only does the origin of language point toward this supposition but also the content of the great myths, indeed even the very archetypes that a thinker like Jung explores so deeply yet without ever considering that that they might inhabit the world “outside” the human head–or a vast collection of human heads. In other words, evolution for Barfield begins with mind as anterior to matter, as a given “field” out of which, as it were, matter compresses. Barfield’s thesis herein does not merely challenge the Darwinian argument; in a sense it turns that argument on its head: for not only does mind precede and bring matter into being, and a form of intentionality replace chance-ridden natural selection, but the very same physical evidence used in support of the received position is never directly challenged or discredited, but interpreted differently…
Here are some words from John Davy (pseudonym, John Waterman) who gives an overview of Steiner’s thoughts on the evolution of physical life better than I ever could:
The evolution of man, Steiner said, has consisted in the gradual incarnation of a spiritual being into a material body. It has been a true “descent” of man from a spiritual world into a world of matter. The evolution of the animal kingdom did not precede, but rather ;accompanied; the process of human incarnation. Man is thus not the end result of the evolution of the animals, but is rather in a certain sense their cause. In the succession of types which appears in the fossil record-the fishes, reptiles, mammals, and finally fossil remains of man himself-the stages of this process of incarnation are reflected. Continue reading
It is here proposed that the evolution of life was destined to produce self consciousness out of physical matter just as surely as self-consciousness is destined to be produced by the build up of matter from the human zygote.
Our external vantage point allows us to see the process whereby an individual human matures from the point of conception We are in a position to witness all the stages in the life of individual humans. Activities such as birth, death, growth and decay go on all around us. Conversely on the grand scale of things, taking life as a whole, we are in the middle of evolving life and so we don’t have an overall, clear picture of the process.
In this video Sean B. Carroll states that:
…living things are occupying a planet whose surface is always changing. Hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, tectonic movement, ice ages, climate changes whether local or global, all of these keep changing the environments that species are in, they are running to keep up and most of the time they fail. So we have to think about earth’s history to understand life’s history. We have to understand what’s going on at any particular place to appreciate what’s going on with any particular species.
The same could be said for the cells in your body. Their environment is always changing and most of them do not survive as you change from embryo to adult. From an individual cell’s point of view there may not seem to be any direction.Some live some die, some change slowly, others change dramatically. But from the higher perspective of the whole body there certainly is direction.