jakoye wrote:Another thing... I don't understand what you mean by "un-natural selection"? Are the Bene Gesserit not part of nature?
That's a standard "western" objection to Daoism. You might say everything is part of nature (this would actually be a statement about the supernatural) but I'm talking about the sense in which an English garden is more natural than a French garden. It's about trying not to impose on the world machine-like strictures originating from the human mind and its simplistic and partial understanding of nature. I don't want to write an essay so please start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daoism
Going by the rumors*, Herbert might well have gotten his notions about Daoism (and some other stuff referenced in the Dune books) from this guy which might therefore be a better starting point: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Watts
*for instance: http://henrycorbinproject.blogspot.ch/2 ... -dune.html
jakoye wrote:since the Bene Gesserit are part of nature, what they're doing is surely PART of natural selection. Removing humanity or its effects on nature from the equation doesn't make natural selection any more natural.
Natural selection has a specific meaning (natural doesn't mean non-supernatural): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_selection
It's un-natural to select individuals for breeding according to artifical tests and it wouldn't work in the long run. I guess the BG are much smarter than that and Herbert obviously wasn't about to explain a realistic program in a novel. But you can get an idea of the kind of approach they're using (how mechanical it is, how they deal with individuals instead of populations and how they exclude the environment). And you contrast that with Leto II's way who claims drive evolution by being a predator. He's emulating natural selection and therefore conducting his program according to the principles of nature.