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Culture change vs. biological evolution essay


FredParisFrance 61 / 7  
Jul 16, 2007   #1
Hello,

Could you please read my short Anthropology essay and give me some feedback?

The prompt is:

How is culture change analogous to biological evolution? What important limitations are there to this analogy?

Thank you in advance.
Frederic


The field of anthropology focuses on both human biology and human culture without any limit of time or space. Although those two topics seem so discrete from each other at first sight, they nonetheless concur in some points. Their similitude and differences appear most significantly during the study of changes that happen in human biology and culture. The biological change, also known as biological evolution, and the culture change share at least three common points and nevertheless diverge because of at least two reasons. On the one hand, the factors of biological evolution and culture change are sources of new variations, spread and their success depend on selection. On the other hand, they divide on their cause and process.

First, the sources of variation in biology and culture are abrupt and unrelated to past events. In biology, they materialize into genetic mutations whereas, in culture, they occur through discoveries, which are applied through practical innovations. Second, the diffusion of those variations propagates thanks to the principle of dissemination. Biological mutations proliferate through gene flow while the circulation of cultural changes varies through diffusion. Third, biological and cultural changes happen to maximize the chances of success of organisms. Biology emphasizes the natural selection that selects for individuals with advantageous traits and/or rejects the ones with prejudicial characteristics. Culture proceeds to comparable selections. Their aim is to preserve valuable cultural changes that enhance the cultural system, which acts as the host.

Conversely, culture changes differ from biological evolutions because of the reasons that initiate and develop their processes. Primarily, the most significant difference emerges from the raison d'ętre of the commencement of the changes. Biological changes originate from genetic mutations that, from a scientific point of view, randomly happen. On the contrary, culture changes are the fruits of deliberate attempts at creating something new. Furthermore, those changes progress haphazardly during their development in biology whereas they evolve in a systemic way in culture.

Such a comparison, which highlights common features and discrepancies, is nevertheless not only prejudiced but also inadequate. That evaluation insinuates that biological and cultural changes might evolve in the same way whereas the former involves unicellular organisms and the latter concerns multicellular organisms. Consequently, it is dangerous to draw a parallel between phenomena which only common point is to share the same name: evolution. Biological evolutions stem from genetic mutations and from mixes that happen during the meiosis. Cultural evolutions spring from ideas and behaviours that are learnt and transmitted though non-genetic means although biological agents may apply selective pressures on cultural evolutions. Therefore, such a kind of comparison should help us to keep in mind that micro and macroevolutions do not necessarily act in the same ways. In addition to the attempts to correlate them, the endeavours to associate biological and cultural evolutions lead to dubious confusions that are quite ominous for the ones who would utilize the scientific method to study the human species.

EF_Team2 1 / 1,709  
Jul 17, 2007   #2
Greetings!

I'd be happy to help with some editing:

On the one hand, the factors of biological evolution and culture change are sources of new variations, spread and their success depend on selection. - This sentence does not really make sense. Perhaps some of it got lost in editing?

Culture proceeds to comparable selections. - I'm not sure what this means.

Consequently, it is dangerous to draw a parallel between phenomena whose only common point is to share the same name

...biological agents may apply selective pressures on cultural evolutions. - This is an excellent point! (Just had to say that!)

Great job!

Thanks,

Sarah, EssayForum.com


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