Prior to Professor Stone’s lecture, I had never thought about the problematic nature of how we think about evolution. The classic image where a chimpanzee crawls along the ground at the left-most part of the image and then a human is shown walking on two feet at the right-most part of the image is problematic because it forces the idea that humans are superior to another species. It supports the idea of typological thinking that Professor Stone spoke against.
The idea of typological thinking began with the work of Plato and Aristotle, and their study of taxonomy/ the systematic classification of species. The practice of Taxonomy speaks to this idea of typological thinking, because it showcases those perfect species against those who may have some kind of variation. Thus, we can see that Typological thinking is deeply rooted in history.
The work of Darwin speaks against this idea of typological thinking. He spoke against the idea of humans being genetically identical regardless of the color of their skin. We now know through additional scientific research (the Human Genome Project) that this is in fact correct. However, even though we have the scientific evidence to support the idea that humans are all the same species, racism still exists in our world. The antiquated idea that some humans are superior to others is rooted in this idea of typological thinking that Professor Stone mentioned even though in many senses it has been scientifically proven to be incorrect. Today, this manifests itself in the form of racism. For some reason, people continue to be racist even though we know from scientific evidence that there are no genetic differences among humans with different skin colors.
Another point that professor Stone made in her lecture was the difference between evolutionists and mutationists- a distinction that I did not realize until professor Stone made it during her discussion. Mutationists view mutations as the source of variation within a species and that Natural Selection hinges on how good these mutations are. Evolutionists on the other hand, recognize that the inter-species variation that exists within a species does not render one member of that species as drastically different from another. We must begin to shift our thinking from more of an evolutionist perspective from that of a mutationist.
My favorite part of professor Stone’s lecture was her final slide where she showed her proposed new image of how to depict evolution. Instead of having the image move from chimpanzees to humans, it moved from a single species and showcased the branching out to many different species. Thus, there was no single terminus point and the evolution was continuing outwards. Following this image, there is then no one species that is better than any other and the typological thought that professor Stone mentioned at the start of her discussion is eliminated.