By Golnar Naghavi
One of the debates about Darwin's Evolution Theory is determining if progress is the direct result of Evolution. As long as Evolution can be related to different aspects of life, progress can also relates to different conditions such as society, politics, and science. Bernard Shaw believes that progress is not the result of Evolution. There are some other beliefs that Natural Selection theory causes some misunderstanding that species that are the biggest, the fastest, and the most intelligent will survive. Many academics who study Evolution think that this is a wrong understanding of Darwin's theory of Natural Selection. They explain that the fittest species means the species that are best suited with their environment. In other words, species can be small or slow and well adapted to the environment and survive. For example, turtle moves slow, but it adapted itself to its surrounding by having the hard shell that protects it from danger. However, this example itself demonstrates how turtle has evolved and improved the hard shell to survive.
From a Butlerian point of view Natural Selection is the driving force in nature that creates new materials or organs. Moreover, the new functions are created that were not supposed to be useful in the past. I look at these new useful functions as progress and improvement. There is another view called Orthogenesis which is the hypothesis that life tends to move in a uni-linear direction due to some internal or external force. A lot of naturalist are the proponents of Orthogenesis and believe that life can change to different directions, but all directions end up on a progressive or more perfect point. Some of the Orthogenesis advocates have refused the theory of Natural Selection as the mechanism of Evolution. Yet, it seems to me that Natural Selection is the same force in Orthogenesis view and this force makes the progress in all organs.
In my opinion, Evolution is going towards progress. Progress can be observed in creation of human from ape as human's mind is an advanced form of ape's mind. Also, I believe that human life in general makes progress and improves as time passes. In comparison with ancient time, science has improved and human has reached huge breakthrough in technology. I reject the idea that human being is not the improved version of other animals. If you compare human with animals, human is free to think, choose, decide, and be responsible for the choices he/she makes. Animals are not as conscious as human about the behavior they divulge and as Chesterton believes animals do not have the skills to create art. These examples all demonstrate that creation of human through Evolution from apes was an improvement.
Another example is that women are more powerful and more effective in different societies nowadays in comparison with previous centuries. They break stereotypes that used to treat human beings based on their sex. Participation of women in society has caused improvement in different aspects of life such as politics and economy. For example, men had the pressure of being responsible for paying all life expenses. Entry of women into the workforce divided the responsibilities between the two. Thus, this showed progress of society that women can choose to work outside of home and can succeed in the work force. As a result, the Evolution goes towards progress. In conclusion, I believe that history displays a lot of improvements and as Evolution is related to all aspects of life, I conclude that Evolution results in progress.