Re: virus: FAQ: version 1.0

Eric Boyd (
Fri, 18 Jun 1999 17:28:53 -0400


Wade T.Smith <> writes: <<
>(e) What is Universal Darwinism?

It's a small point, but I don't like this. Either the phrase, or the attaching of the '-ism' to Darwin. I especially dislike the 'Universal', because, well, it comes with some baggage, politically and ideologically, and besides, every fact is backed up by the entire universe anyway.

I suggest 'Expanded Evolution' - and I hope there is no tradition applying to the UD phrase, because, well, it sucks. In any case, who are we to stand on tradition? Huh?

Hmmm. There is a lengthy history behind Universal Darwinism as the name for this idea (was it coined in The Seflish Gene, or did Dennett coin it later?). The real point in using Darwinism instead of "evolution" is that Universal Darwinism is a generalization of *natural selection* as a mechanism driving evolution, not a generalization of evolution (change over time) itself.

We could probably find a different term non-the-less, but we must balance our aesthetic taste against our chances for being understood. The current term ("Universal Darwinism") expresses perfectly the concept it stands for.