Understanding Transformation: Cross-Disciplinary Applications of Revisionist Darwinian Theory
Dramatic advances in biochemistry since the 1970s have called Classical Darwinism into question. In response, some biologists have revived the previously-discredited theory of emergence, which allows a dramatic quickening in the pace of evolution. This theory, which emphasizes the transforming effects of numerical density and communication, can be applied across subject areas. Emergence provides the vocabulary and conceptual tool kit to explain rapid transforming change in many disciplines. This paper examines how emergence can facilitate learning across subject areas. It focuses on: (1) the problems that biological emergence was designed to address; (2) how the mutually supporting concepts of density and improved communication (the integron) are applicable across disciplines; and (3) on the explanatory power of the emergent characteristics that flow from conditions of increased numbers and augmented communication. It concludes that an increased sensitivity to new communication methods acting on an expanded audience can deepen and broaden our understanding of rapid qualitative change.
Keywords: Emergence, Integron, Uniformitarianism, Reductionism, Saltation, Punctuated Equilibrium, La Longue Duree
Dr. Michael Fontenot
Professor, History Department, Southern University At Baton Rouge
Dr. Karen Fontenot
Department Head, Department of Communication, Southeastern Louisiana State University