Biologie cellulaire et du développement

Biologie cellulaire et du développement
Libre accès

ISSN: 2168-9296


On the Ambiguity of Firsts: Symbiogeny and Evolutionary Creativity

Stanley Shostak

I want to take issue with static concepts of origins. Predecessors of what exists at present are not necessarily what came first.

It isn’t as if the problem of identifying origins is unique to biology. Western culture is dominated by concepts of origins firmly rooted in the present. Historically, Western religions have assigned priority to what exists by anointing it with attributes of origins and characterizing these attributes as fundamental. God, after all, is said to have created man in his image amounting to a first among firsts. At the expense of God’s image, symgiogeny theory flies in the face of the rule that what is must have its origin in something similar that came before.

My object here is to examine how originary prejudices distort questions of origins and the attributes of ancestors. I’m especially eager to strip away notions of original characteristics from present organisms. I want to imagine what was different in the past.