The Mythology of Evolution

The Mythology of Evolution

by Chris Bateman

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Overview

What is the nature of life? Scientists turn to natural selection, genes or adaptation to explain the living world, but much of the imagery used to present evolution threatens to distort our understanding of the incredible history of our planet. There is no science without mythology, and the only way to reveal the facts is to understand the fictions.

The Mythology of Evolution exposes seven spins given to evolutionary theory, each resting upon an ideological interpretation of an otherwise neutral idea. There are myths of progress and destiny, such as the 'ladder of progress' and 'only the strong survive'. There are stories magnifying the significance of genes such as 'the selfish gene' or 'kin selection'. There are more grandiose myths such as 'survival of the fittest' and the infamous 'intelligent design'. All related to a final myth – that of 'science as truth'.

By liberating evolution from these misrepresentative stories, we can find a more nuanced vision of life that shows how advantages persist, trust is beneficial, and the diversity of species emerges from a refinement of possibilities made possible by a chain of inheritance that stretches back to the beginnings of the itself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781780996493
Publisher: Hunt, John Publishing
Publication date: 09/16/2012
Pages: 278
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

Chris Bateman is a game designer, outsider philosopher and author, best known for the games Discworld Noir and Ghost Master, and the books Game Writing: Narrative Skills for Videogames, 21st Century Game Design and Beyond Game Design. He has worked on more than thirty digital game projects over the last fifteen years, primarily with his acclaimed consultancy International Hobo.Graduating with a Masters degree in Artificial Intelligence/Cognitive Science, he has since pursued highly-acclaimed independent research into how and why people play games. In 2009, he was invited to sit on the IEEE's Player Satisfaction Modelling task force, in recognition for his role in establishing this research domain. His most recent player model, BrainHex, is based upon neurobiological principles published in his paper 'The Neurobiology of Play', and the BrainHex test has been taken by more than 75,000 people.Chris has also travelled the world studying religious practices and beliefs, and has taken part in everything from Native American sweat lodges to Pagan solstice celebrations, as well as visiting Buddhist and Shinto shrines in Japan, and witnessing traditional tribal religions in Africa whilst visiting the Sahel Reserve near the Sahara desert.His blog Only a Game (http://onlyagame.typepad.com) deals with both philosophy and digital game theory, and contains a prolific array of articles, many of which have been featured elsewhere. He is considered to be one of the major commentators on the videogame industry, an expert on player satisfaction modelling, and a proficient philosopher.

Table of Contents

Biographical Notes x

Other Books Chris Bateman xi

Preface 1

1 Scientific Mythology

Imagining the Birds 8

Myths and Metaphysics 14

Popper's Milestone 19

Rewriting Science 24

The Myths of Evolution 32

2 Progress and Destiny

Imaginary Selection 37

The Ladder of Progress 48

How-Why Games 56

Survival of the Fittest 62

3 Gene Supremacy

The Gene Confusion 70

Myths of Selfishness 80

Why Co-operation? 89

Evolving Alliances 99

Symbiosis Everywhere 104

The Secret of Life 116

Flexible Mutants 128

4 Metaphors of Design

Intelligent Design 139

Kant's Restraining Order 147

Evolution Before Darwin 156

Sneaky Theology 164

Beyond Adaptation 175

5 True Myths

Fact and Fiction 188

Orthodox Science Fiction 194

The Borders of Science 199

Positivism 209

Creation Myths 218

Facing Silence 227

References 237

Glossary 255

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