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In my reading of Dawn by Octavia I picked up on a lot of the evolutionary references.  This huge war on Earth leads to the extinction of the human race.  The science fiction part comes in to play in that the humans that do survive are not what they were before, but more evolved because of artificial selection by the Oankali.  History shows that after every extinction on Earth there was a new explosion of life, each time seeming to produce creatures more advanced than the last.  The theory of extinction is that organisms die out because they are not fit enough to in their environment, which Jdahya points out.  He says that humans would never have survived because of our two flaws, intelligence and our hierarchy system.  He goes on to talk about genetic engineering and how it enables them to “survive as an evolving species instead of specializing ourselvess into extinction or stagnation.”  They are ever evolving, and they are working towards making the race on earth the same way through what seems to be eugenics (he tells Lillith that he can make sure her offspring has a good viable gene mix).  The main idea of evolution is that it has no goal, it just is what it is and works within natural selection.  Here, it is suggested that this medusa-like species is the driving force behind it.

Within the story there is also another level of hierarchy.  Lillith is told that her people will end up being a mix of humans and Oankali, making them more fit to the new environment (meaning more fit than humans).  The Oankali say that they have no hierarchy, however the entire basis of evolution is on a hierarchy.  The Oankali are the most fit because they have the ability to adapt themselves to whatever environment they are in, these new humans are next because the Oankali are sharing their genetic advancements with them, and then you have humans who destroyed themselves and aren’t fit at all.  The other downfall that humans have according to Jdahya is intelligence, however in my reading; I would consider the Oankali extremely intelligent in how they ‘perceive’ everything and have been able to systematically genetically enhance themselves and others.  There is a tendency for hypocrisy with people on the top of the hierarchy in that they often don’t see that what they are doing is exactly what they are trying to fix.   Is this maybe Butler pointing out the ignorance of whoever is on top of the hierarchy?

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