After reading Charles Darwin’s “Natural Selection” from his book, the Origin of Species, as well as the complimentary readings for this week, I believe that the main argument is whether social evolutionism was either based off of ethnological time, or created by Darwin through his theory of natural selection.
Prior to depicting this argument, there are three important concepts that shall be defined. The first being that, social evolutionism is focuses on social behaviour of humans ancestors and the consequences they had on the human evolution; in which it shaped how humans changed overtime. The second concept, of ethnological time, which to my understanding, is defined as the time frame in which human history fell apart, but then appeared in a later time frame. It has been connected to the time of the Earth, and it’s revolution. Lastly, Darwin’s famous theory of natural selection is defined as as the generations continues, only those with the surviving qualities survive and continue to reproduce. With all that being said, the debate how humans changed over time, and their origins has been heated. On one hand, you have someone like Darwin that focuses more on the biological aspect. He mainly states that those who better adapt to the lifestyle are successful in reproduction.
The issue that seems to arise from this is that humans have been present before this was official created, therefore it does not account for the full historical change. Also, he states that we have evolved from a common ancestor, which also raises the issue, of how can one say such a thing with full certainty? In regards to social evolution, since those who survived shared similar characteristics, they most likely socialized, and built on top of the current knowledge they possessed in order to evolve into where we are now. Even though, his rationale for the previous statement is based off of his evident of natural selection, there is still controversies and others who have a different opinion. Anthropologist, such as Thomas R.
Trautmann, argues that their theories while are not created out of nothing, are also not created by a specific set point in time, Rather, it aims to explain evolution from the very beginning without necessary stating when that beginning was. In other words, they break down things to it’s simplest form, by the means of understanding the social interactions among people throughout time. Hence, the base of his argument rests on ethnological time. Just like the Earth evolved, so did us humans.
For example, the Earth finds ways to adapt to the changes it experiences (although there are negative consequences), such as global warming, in order to keep going. Similarly, for humans, the way our ancestors behaved among each other must have been changed and adapted to over time in response to the external changes that arises; and as the external changes continued, so did the the allowance of reproduction from successful individuals. In relation to the current world, I think controversies like this are important because not only do they pave a way for more research to be done, but they allow of us to think more critically of how we came to be. We tend to believe what we read without questioning it, and as it is being shown, there are such uncertainties regardless of the evidence provided. It’s needless to say either belief about how we have evolved, and how we will continue to evolve is either right, or wrong.