Paul Krugman highlights one of his old Slate pieces taking on Supply-Side economics. Its interesting overall, but there is a particular point I want to pick up on. Krugman says
Biologist Richard Dawkins has argued famously that ideas spread from mind to mind much as viruses spread from host to host. It’s an exhilaratingly cynical view, because it suggests that to succeed, an idea need not be true or even useful, as long as it has what it takes to propagate itself. (A religious faith that disposes its believers to become martyrs may be quite false, and lethal to its adherents, yet persist if each martyr inspires others.)
Ironically perhaps, I read this and said out loud: wait, what’s the other view? So deeply infected am I with the notion that evolution drives everything in the living world that it seems hard to frame the world as anything else. Of course, those things most adapted to persist, persist. There is no other criterion on which persistence could be based.
Given that after this long, the world is made up only of persistent things we should expect this to underlie our entire reality.
Again, ironically though, this should make us – or at least me – pause and ponder whether evolutionary explanations really are true or just highly infectious.