The lecture by Judy Stone titled “The Unfinished Business of the Darwinian Revolution” was an eye-opening experience for me; for it made me realise that revolutions are underway all around me. Years down the line, our successors will credit this present time as an extremely important time in mankind’s history, not realising that revolutions are happening in their time too.
Judy Stone talked about one of those revolutions, one which had not reached its final evolutionary stage yet. The spark kindled by Charles Darwin had yet to enlighten the human mind wholly. The theories proposed by Darwin are now seldom unheard of around the world, yet this revolution faces a roadblock which needs to be dealt with for the revolution to remain relevant. This roadblock I talk about is the incomplete interpretation of evolution throughout the globe. The most profound example can be found in the iconic image of evolution itself, which shows the different stages of man during different times. This reinforces false typological thinking, considering Darwin implied evolution to be a branching process rather than ladder like. Moreover, evolution is never meant to be depicted as moving towards a goal, as the image does. Instead, evolution results from the process of natural selection, where all sorts of distinct variations within species function as the key ingredients for natural selection.
This brings me to my next point, that being our ability to ignore those variations within humans and place different people within different categories, never acknowledging the continuous genetic variations within our species. This has been enforced within the public mind most commonly through the ‘gene’ which has led people to use baseless assumptions to reach false conclusions, which can have trivial, irresponsible and even criminal impacts. One of those instances occurred where differentiating people through races led to creation of race-specific medicines. This is clear ill-usage of principles of evolutionary biology where medicinal growth is seriously being impacted.
Evolutionary biology has already impacted our lives in various ways, and shall continue to do so, provided we proceed in the right direction in the next step of this unfinished revolution. It seems that exploration of genomes and deep further research in personalised medicine seems the right way forward, but who knows, if we are evolving, who is to say that revolutions aren’t?