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russ_watters
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#54
Feb8-08, 04:20 PM
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P: 22,001
Lets have another look at the OP's question:
The details of how evolution (if this is indeed the right term to use) operates in each case are of course different. The purpose of this post is to ask folk who take an interest in the whys and wherefores of such matters (those who have a philosophical bent and some knowledge of physics?) if there could be a common factor that defines “evolution”.
Now please don't take my position the wrong way: I have, in fact, argued in favor of such things as social development being evolutionary processes with similar drivers to biological evolution. I do believe that social development is a "survival of the fittest" (a "Darwinian") process. But while this is similar to biological evolution and the usage of the word is the same, things like "stellar evolution" are not.

So perhaps what we may want to do here is make two lists - one of things that follow the general biological concept of evolution and ones that don't. That's actually relatively easy since the word "evolution" predates Darwin and you can simply look at the history and development of these areas of study to find the answer. Ie, the concept of "social evolution" isn't referred to as "social evolution", it is referred to as "social Darwinism". Stellar evolution, on the other hand, is not referred to as a Darwinian process.

Now, that said, things like the pursuit of science can be considered Darwinian processes, but the cone of potential paths is inverted: biological evolution diverges, evolution of physics theories (and political/social theories) converges.