The talk called The Unfinished Business of the Darwinian Revolution by Professor Judy Stone was very different from the previous Darwinian talk. While Janet Browne from Harvard University spoke about how revolutionary should Darwin be considered, Professor Stone focused more on the evolution theory itself. Stone, I believe attempts to ground us with what Darwin’s evolution theory was really about and where we should be today. More specifically, Stone’s talk engrains in us Darwin’s branching tree diagram and how this was misinterpreted and wrongly encouraged typological thinking when we should have a more realistic, non binary view of evolution.
Darwin is very well known for his studies of the branching tree pattern and the evolution of natural selection. The branching tree, according to Stone was misinterpreted by being understood as a typological diagram where species strived to be a specific type. Type said stone is an idea people messed with that makes the branching tree diagram and idea one that supports 1) evolution as a ladder rather than branching 2) evolution as moving towards goal 3) reinforces typological thinking. The typological thinking point was fairly new to me but makes perfect sense as people strive to make things in life clear, cut, and striving for a certain type is a clear way to think of something. Like this, people are obsessed with categorizing. Putting place things into types which allows them categorize and at the same time rank them. Stone brought up a great point that related the typological thinking that originated from Darwin’s branching tree to present day racism. Typological thinking was said to influence thoughts on race, a man made concept that places people into categories and allows for ranking as well. The biological reality however is that people no matter what their race is are almost genetically identical. Also, depending on the environment people live in is what allows for certain traits to live on that are commonly found among the area.
Thus, typological thinking is dangerous it allows for the obsession of a type, perfection, better and worse features, pathetic comparisons of features, and the ridiculous stories that are made up to defend the different ideas that exist around certain types. Through Darwin’s observations in travel he did not mean to encourage typological thinking, evolution as moving towards a goal or evolution as a ladder rather than branching the idea was to look at what genetics help you survive, in which they are then passed on. Darwin encouraged the idea that we should see evolution from a more unified and ever going tree, not moving towards a specific model. Like this, we should be able to embody and be grateful for diversity and be amazed by the different trajectories organisms can take based on their environment. In addition, with this line of thinking, racism and prejudice against biological differences should be eradicated. However, I believe everything, at least in the U.S. is made to support this typological thinking. A certain compilation of identities is what allows individuals to take full advantage of life in the U.S.