Basing evolution on Stoicism


Stoic physics posited the existence of a fifth element, in effect a World Spirit, that first created and now maintains the integrity of the natural world. Where skepticism and Epicurean atomism inspired today’s physical sciences, Stoicism was first embraced by biologists, its World Spirit inspiring Deism, widespread throughout the Enlightenment.

The greatest impact of these philosophies on today’s “Grand Narrative”—the meaning we give our own lives--has been through evolutionary theory. Darwinism is an application of atomism—individual living creatures are identical “atoms” distinguished by their association with other atoms, characteristics, that in each generation first get sorted at random into new combinations, those combinations then being selected for how well each supports adaptation to the environment. This sorting and selection (and genetic mutation) are purely physical processes. Success of this theory has served as a powerful endorsement of physical determinism applying universally. In support of it, theories based on Stoicism or Deism are dismissed as “Creationism,” advocacy of Christianity, despite critical differences between the two “deities” involved.

My theory of evolution might qualify as the basis for an updated Stoicism. In it genomes take the place of the Stoic fifth element. I’d welcome help evaluating this proposal. See "Are You Wonderful?"