Leapfrog: how diversity speeds up the evolution of ideas

the leapfrog advances faster than the single team: when you have multiple groups with differing theories and interpretations observing each other and the environment, the advance of understanding will tend to proceed more readily and more rapidly than if you had the same number of people all following the same general interpretations and theories- because of internal inertia and resistance to abandonement of a whole corpus of beliefs when new data might invalidate some part of them, people tend to show much resistance to modification of their belief system to accomodate new understandings. An outside observer is often likely to be the first to adopt a modified view- and synthesize a new belief system that incorporates the new data. Moreover, since multiple groups of belief systems are highly unlikely to always be synchronously at the same stage of development or crystallization, those groups which are in a more flexible formative stage will be able to take advantage of what more established, mature belief systems cannot adopt without falling to pieces. In time those will become more crystallized, and the roles can reverse. Moreover, since it is also evident that it is easier to completely replace one belief system with another than it is to modify an existing belief system within a single group, it is an outside group observing and making adjustments to a belief system which is more likely to replace its existing one with the amended borrowed one from elsewhere- the same one whose new adjustments were likely rejected by its orginal adherents. Thus, cultures and belief systems will tend to leapfrog each other in terms of accuracy to observed physical reality, with much better results than a single universal belief system would be able to do. If the development of belief systems and models of the real universe which more accurately describe or predict real phenomena is an evolutionary goal, a plurality of distinct cultures will progress much more effectively than a monoculture. This file and all other content on the VAXpower.org site copyright 2008 by G. Economou