History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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More on Mt. Improbable

July 24th, 2008 · 11 Comments

Re: comment at Evolutionblog, and subsequent comments.

I am not surprised at the incomprehension of the eonic effect at a site such as Evolutionblog. First point, Darwinists, yes I insist on the term, have been lowballing so long around Darwin, Dawkins and natural selection, etc, that they have lost all perspective on what ‘evolution’ is, at least for the descent of humans.
The point is that we can closely observe man’s ‘evolution’ in a macro sense by looking at a very late phase of it, in its overlay with world history and the emergence of civilization. And it has nothing to do with natural selection climbing Mt. Improbable. There is an explicit evolutionary directionality at work, which suddenly stands out if we apply careful analysis using periodization.
Forget fitness landscapes and all of that. To grasp ‘evolution’ you must have closely tracked data, and a method that looks at the full spectrum of human culture, in all its aspects. Then you will see a dramatically coherent pattern stand out, one that can only be called ‘evolution’.
Darwinism makes people lazy and careless, because it offers an oversimplification that appeals to a mass public. Do the work on world history indicated, and the result will become clear.
You can cheer for Dawkins all you please, but you will never get ‘evolution’ straight using the current paradigm.
The reference was to:
The Eonic Effect: Climbing Mt. Improbable

Tags: Evolution · The Eonic Effect

11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Stephen P. Smith // Jul 24, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    Perhaps it would help if “periodization” with its “dramatically coherent pattern” were recast in terms of error recognition?

    What we need is a method to discover our mistakes, not a rule that points at a particular directionality.

  • 2 Helioprogenus // Jul 30, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    It’s really sad and unfortunate that you buy the empty rhetoric of what you call the Eonic effect. The problem here is a lack of temporal perspective. We as humans function in relative finite life spans, and thus, have a difficult time envisioning changes that can take thousands of years. Now apply these problems to millions and billions of years, and it’s easy to have a skewed perspective. Microevolution is not a separate entity from macroevolution, it just happens to be based on the time frame you’re looking at. This whole idea of eonic effect would be like looking at the solar system and assuming that the relative orderly pattern of distribution of planets, the Earth’s location in the habitable zone, the fact that we have massive planets guarding the inner solar system from constant bombardment, all indicate a directed formation. Well, that’s still a poor teleological argument, and you’re using those same standards to apply to evolution. By mining the past with preconceived notions of teleological ideas, you’re going to run into instances that may indicate directed evolutionary development. The only reason you subscribe to this illusion is because you’re using parameters that can’t be falsified. You have gone beyond critical thinking, and scientific theory. Nothing of substance that you have can explain the natural process of evolution as well as natural selection, and you desperately need something to reassure yourself of it. Regardless of how you choose to define things, evolution by natural selection will proceed. Even if we had never uncovered the process, (Darwin here isn’t the threat, he’s just the man who uncovered a process, much like Newton with his gravitational laws), it would still be ongoing. Now that we have, we can understand a great deal about nature, the diversity, and our own moral and ethical behaviors. You can’t switch the paradigm just because a few people feel uncomfortable and can’t embrace the truth. Fear and comfort act as barriers, and perhaps because of the fear that we live in an apathetic universe with no direction or goal, you find yourself creating fantasies.

  • 3 nemo // Jul 30, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Empty rhetoric the eonic effect is not. I don’t think there is a more comprehensive, detailed, and documented demonstration of a non-random pattern in world history that what is provided by the analysis of the eonic effect. Period. The result is a falsification of the Darwinian claims applied to the descent of man, and certainly to world history. The psychoanalysis you attempt would be better applied to Darwinists who can’t face the reality that their theory of natural selection is an undocumented speculation that satisfies their ideological bias. They seem more comfortable with an unproven theory whose violent potential they can’t seem to grasp.
    The eonic effect is a pattern of periodization carried out in great detail with data that is visible to the naked eye. Natural selection has no such documentation, as a theory of evolution. Noone is denying that ‘natural selection will proceed’, the point is simply that its existence is not the same as evolution itself.
    You dismiss the distinction of micro and macroevolution, without any basis, while the eonic effect shows us directly the distinction.
    I recommend you read the book.

  • 4 Helioprogenus // Jul 30, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    There is a basis indicating that micro and macroevolution are essentially the same thing. If you look at the fossil record, along with molecular genetics fully correlating with it, you can observe the differences and similarities between species, and even amongst individuals within the same species but in vastly different geographical zones. If your whole focus is on trying to delineate a major distinction between the rate of evolution compared to a small time window, as opposed to a larger window, then you’re already proceeding with a preconceived bias. It is not the “darwinists” as you call it, but those that follow data with little evidence, who need to avoid preconceived notions.

    There are certain shale beds in Wales with extremely well preserved fossils. When you look at the various strata, you can delineate the rate of morphological change of species through the geologic history of that region. If for example, you look at a certain strata, call it G, and then you look at strata T in the more distant past, then you may focus on certain species that look very similar, yet obviously morphologically distinct. Yet, if you look at strata L, you’ll determine that there’s a missing link between the two species. Further up, if you go to strata J, then you’ll notice a creature that is very similar to that in strata G but still somewhat distinct. When you get to layers I a then H, the line between those species tends to blur, and you may wonder whether strata H represents a distinct species, or a variance of the same species in G. As you know, species designations are rather arbitrary anyway because there’s a large blur between variance and speciation. Coyotes for example can openly breed with domestic dogs, yet they are classified as separate species due to their behavioral differences.

    Now, looking at it from the molecular perspective, we see that two morphologically similar species, call them X and Z, also maintain only minute differential mutations in their non-expressing regions of the genome. Without evolutionary constraint, these regions are free to mutate at a given rate with no consequences to the organism. Yet, you also have key regions that do mutate, and by comparing these differences, you can arrive at how distinct these species are from each other. Looking at coyote genomes for example will show differences in non-coding regions of the DNA with that of dogs, and perhaps even differences in some expressive proteins, but compare those differences with that of Bears and you can see the major changes in key regions that lead to such distinct organisms, as well as the time frames involved. The key here is that mutations in time create key differences in a given group of organisms, and given enough time, these differences become large enough for speciation to occur. That is evolution through natural selection, and you don’t need another paradigm to express it. It’s extremely simple, well founded, and backed by a mountain of data from hundreds of correlative sources. The great advantage of this theory is it’s relative predictability. We know without doubt that certain creatures will evolve to fill the ecological niches of those that become extinct. In fact, on the most famous evolutionary relevant islands of all, the Galapagos, we know from past serious el ninos that the reduction in certain types of seeds will result in birds of the same species, but with smaller beaks selected for. Now if these conditions persist for long enough, eventually these birds will have evolved to retain their smaller beaks.

  • 5 nemo // Jul 30, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    My answer is, very interesting, but I wasn’t there, so I am not sure. My point is to rescue human evolution and history from the obsession with reducing macro to micro, and I can do that because we have tangible data at the centuries level to show a clear difference between two levels. That leaves one suspicious of these generalized dogmatic statements about deep time.
    The point is that a macro factor could be present and you would not see it. OK? You say all this is backed up with facts.
    Phooey. Noone was there. And I am tired of Galapagos nonsense. I fail to see real evolution in Darwin’s finches.

  • 6 nemo // Jul 30, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    I also discussed all this in a post today:

    I have a hard time with true believers in Darwinism defending their theory. I simply disregard their conclusions because it is impossible to sort out the case on the basis of their lack of correct observation

  • 7 Dave Finn // Jul 30, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    The fundamental problems of Darwinism derive from its religious basis. The central concept of “Natural Selection” makes this clear – it is assumed that there is a fundamental divide in nature, biology and evolution between the species homo sapiens who has been given “dominion over all the beasts of the world” and has a unique, god-given place in the universe as the only sentient species capable of understanding anything of its place in the universe and of doing anything about its place. There is nothing in genetics, biochemistry, chemistry, physics or any other real science to justify this homocentric division of the world. The history of physics and chemistry makes it clear that assigning special privileges to man and his location is a recipe for superstition and bad science. It is truly ridiculous that on encountering an organism we must first consult our history books to see if the species has been involved with homo sapiens and must be regarded as “bred” before we can ask questions about its evolution. While there are noticeable differences between a managed breeding program and the proliferation of unmanaged species there are other ways of categorising the differences without an appeal to “natural world” versus “man” theology.
    The alternative is simple – genes are not isolated entities – with few exceptions they function as a component in a genetic mechanism. One of the types of genetic mechanism is the genetically encoded algorithm – a piece of “wisdom” about the world encoded as a rule of life that benefits the owner of the rule. It is not necessary for an organism to understand its genes to benefit from them. Genetically encoded rules or instincts are useful in all phases of life, eating, reproducing and evolving. Ignoring the algorithms on the grounds that the owning organism is not a sentient and therefore superior species leads to serious errors. The distinction is not between “natural selection” and “Man” but between evolution in the absence of algorithms (classic NeoDarwinism) and evolution driven by the influence of an algorithm, of any origin. While most evolutionary algorithms are of infrequent application, often requiring the temporary direction provided by the presence of more successful species with better genetic algorithms, they dominate the overall process of evolution. It is the refusal to admit that even a lowly bacterium may own a guideline to its own evolution and therefore not depend solely on random change that gives rise to the mismatch between observed and theoretical evolution.

  • 8 Helioprogenus // Jul 30, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    True, we have only really started probing these mysteries for the last 150 years, and our scientific progress hasn’t really taken off till the last 50, but the proof is in fossil evidence and molecular biology. You never bring up molecular biology because you have little understanding as to the genotypic changes that lead to an observable phenoytpic difference. You can look at the phenotype alone, as in the case with fossil evidence, and you can look at the genotype alone, and either way, there is clear evidence for incremental changes. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking at the molecular evidence and seeing changes in protein expression, or suppression rates, or even in a given protein itself, or you’re looking at the fossil record and comparing the anatomical changes through the stratigraphic layers. Either way, you come to realize evolution through natural selection at work. You can’t disconnect the two from each other, because natural selection would not work without the random mutations that the environment selects for. It’s true that sometimes, these mutations are neutral until a certain point that confers some evolutionary advantage, but in the end, ultimately, it’s the environment that plays the determining factor. By environment, I mean the ecological niche, sex selection, random genetic drift, and other such processes that lead to genomic changes.

    The problem however is that without a thorough understanding of molecular and developmental biology, genetics, genomics, proteinomics, etc., you’re going to find yourself in a very difficult position to judge evolution and evolutionary change. The lack of perspective comes from a lack of understanding these processes at the deeper level. It’s easy to distort your thinking and form some kind of deluded theory when you can’t reduce the data to comprehensible fragments. As I’ve mentioned, you gloss over the anatomical and molecular data, and exclude them in your analysis. You have to be able to incorporate this data into your theory, and from what I’ve seen, you haven’t been able to do that. You haven’t used critical analysis on this data, and expect us to embrace these concepts when they can’t pass muster on even the most superficial levels. This theory cannot even survive past the simplest molecular levels. For any solid theory, you need rigid, well founded evidence. For the Galapagos finches, you’ve clearly made your mind up based on a superficial cursory glance at the data. Not only is the theory of evolution through natural selection strengthened based on further observations of these finches, we now have the molecular data (which Darwin lacked in his time) to do a more thorough analysis. Through this data, we now know the date at which the radiation of these finches from their mainland counterparts occurred. Further, we can compare this molecular data to the geographic record and determine just when the Galapagos were formed. Amazing as it may seem to you, when you look at both sets of data, they correlate. We now know exactly when the islands were formed geographically, and subsequently, through molecular data, we also know when these finches would have radiated on the newly created islands The genetic similarity between the island finches to those of the mainland has already been established, and further, the similarity of birds in adjacent islands with those of more distant neighboring islands is further proof that both the molecular and geographic data correlate to show us exactly how evolution through natural selection works. If for example, the genomic data showed that the birds radiated 20 millions years before the formation of the islands, then I would say either the genomic data can’t be trusted, or perhaps our understanding of these events is incorrect. Yet, that didn’t happen, and both data corroborate with each other. It’s not just the finches either, it’s also representative of the land iguanas, tortoises, and even invertebrates. This is the beauty of an island Archipelago, and furthermore, the beauty of predictability with the theory of evolution through natural selection.

  • 9 nemo // Jul 30, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    I don’t propose ‘still another theory’. What I do is to look at history, and detect a form of evolution there, and then create a barrier against misappropriation of history by stupid science. I demonstrate a series of empirical issues that must be explained and I do this without proposing another theory. Quite the contrary, I bring in the issue of Kantian distinctions between phenomenon/noumenon to suggest that the process of real evolution is partially veiled from us beyond our representations.

    This form of evolution has nothing to do with genetics, and therefore you statements about genetics are irrelevant. (and of course still of great interest).

    The real evolution of man, at least, is something that Darwinists can’t conceive of in their current fixations.

    The reason I find these discussions tiresome is that nothing Darwinists say is trustworthy, I must fact-check everything said, and that creates a backlog.
    Meanwhile I have an independent ‘general exception’ to false generalizations,, the eonic effect.
    I can ‘see’ how evolution happens, in one instance, and it shows the existence of a ‘macro’ issue that Darwinists don’t evens suspect. How that would apply to other stages of evolution is not clear, exactly, but it is obvious suddenly that biologists are falling into a trap of equating the whole of evolution with one limited part, the other part being hard to observe.

  • 10 Helioprogenus // Jul 30, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    How convenient that you toss out all the empirical data, and decide on some philosophical grounds that in order to interpret reality, you need to see it from a perspective outside it. If you had argued a form of solipsism I would say fine, but your arguments are even vaguer then that.

    My whole point is that everything we know about science and technology has occurred because we’ve used the scientific process, through empirical evidence, and the scientific method. First and foremost, we observe and gather data. Once we have collected the data, we propose hypotheses to explain the data. Then, we test these hypotheses, experiment so to speak, and arrive at at theory. In some instances, it’s impossible to experiment so we deduce the theory by developing corroborative interdisciplinary evidence. Obviously, explaining long-term evolution is impossible in the laboratory because we don’t have millions of years to work with (thanks to our limited life-span). Yet, nature is a living laboratory, and we can use the evidence we gather, whether geologic, microscopic, macroscopic, anatomical, molecular, agricultural, paleobotanical, paleontological, etc, and try to deduce a theory. Since ALL of this evidence points towards evolution through natural selection as the simplest explanation for the diversity of life, that is the model we use to apply towards living organisms. Everything from cancer research, gene therapy, bio-technology, and other such advances come to use because we understand the evolutionary process and can exploit it to benefit humanity.

    The real evolution of man is not in the cursory history that you apply it to, but in the real science that can be gathered by doing real work in the real physical world. We can’t dissociate ourselves from this, and try to explain it using some weak logic that can’t stand on evidence and empirical data.

  • 11 Helioprogenus // Jul 30, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    As for Dave Finn, let me just say you clearly don’t understand evolution through natural selection at its deepest level. How can you assume that it’s a directed process when nothing in nature indicates evidence for it. You assume from an anthropocentric view that because we exist, therefore there was some direction towards our ultimate development. Evolution is completely random and there is no purpose in it. It’s just a natural process that amounts to an organisms fitness within its given environment. That is all it is, and the random mutations that occur to its genes result in individuals that are fitter to survive in their given environment. If the CO2 level of the Earth goes up 5% then pretty much all life as we know it will disappear, yet, some individuals, not humans, but some life, whether cyanobacteria, planets, etc, will survive and they will be the fittest within the new environment. Evolution is directed only by the whims of the environment, and not some inherent process within an individual. There are complex models to account for epigenetics, and other gene related changes, but this does not in any way amount to evidence for directed evolution. We can still explain all of this through natural processes that are completely random, and undirected. There is no invisible hand of god or whatever construct of our imaginations to do it. There is no algorithm that determines a directed outcome. Such are the facts, and no amount of empty philosophical rhetoric and constructionist arguments can ever chip away at the facts.

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