History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Fourth edition, models, and an evolution formalism

August 31st, 2010 · 3 Comments

A passage from an email to a new reader of WHEE. For the online text, starting up, go to history-and-evolution.com

The theory is more in evidence in the third edition, while the fourth uses only what I call an ‘evolution formalism’ which is just to one side next to a world history, starting in Chapter Four.
The eonic model is deep and elegant and shows a direct correlation to a Kantian idea, but I have never met anyone who understood it!
So I replaced it with a simplified ‘evolution formalism’, which is simply a variant of the punctuated equilibrium macro/micro distinction, which was invented but not understood by S.J. Gould. We can use this to optionally connect the old model to the evolution formalism. But this is not ‘theory’, but a device to describe the remarkable set of punctuations and the semi-equilibrium bewteen them, in world history.
The eonic effect is (descriptively) a remarkable case of ‘punctuated equilibrium’, inthe dictionary sense of the words. The terms should have been used for this from the start.

To get the idea of the old model: ‘Evolution in quotation marks’ appears as the intermittent macro sequence, while the historical component appears Janus-faced as ‘History’ in the micro stream. It is a unique and beguiling variant of a type of dynamical alternation model, which can be expressed as an ‘evolution of freedom’.
To see the strange reality of this relationship of ‘system’ and ‘agents’ I often give the example of a ship and the passengers, and a distinction the Action of a System (the boat, the macro) and the ‘Actions of the Individuals’ (inside the boat, the micro). This relation of a ‘system action’ and the ‘free activity’ of people related to that system is actually an idea we have in our repetory, but the minute you explain it to the centipede he gets confused and can’t walk.

Armed with these concepts we can unravel the mysteries of, e.g. the Axial Age, which as you saw Karen Armstrong couldn’t get straight.
We don’t understand what we are seeing world history.
Don’t worry if this isn’t clear at first. Just follow the logic of the outline of world history, and its embedded transitions.

Tags: Fourth Edition · The Axial Age · World History and The Eonic Effect

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Larry Arnhart // Aug 31, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    “But I have never met anyone who undersood it”


  • 2 nemo // Sep 1, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Good question: I am exaggerating, of course, many have understood the basics, but the combination of novel ideas as a whole is considerable. An identical statement could be made of Kant’s thinking, and for the same reason. But in fact I offer a clever way to understand Kant without reading his main critique first.

    In fairness to myself, I have not put it to a test by asking via a poll how many readers understood xyz in the book: the online book has had a huge audience, suggesting the difficulties are mostly at the edges: the core material speaks for itself. But what I meant was that you lose 1. Christians because of an Old Testament critique, and 2. Darwinians, because of a critique of Darwinism, 3…..
    That’s a lot of readers to lose at step 1. And the minute you even refer to Kant, many flee in panic. And Kantians stay away because the academic Kant world refuses to challenge Darwin, and can’t even discuss Lenoir’s book on Kant and evolution.

    As with calculus, all it needs is a short course with will to learn. It isn’t that hard! Look at Kant’s Third Antinomy: if that makes sense, then my model will makes sense. We could honestly say that noone has understood Popper on historicism, or Isaiah Berlin on historical inevitability, so I am in good company. This question is unavoidable, and the sad reality is that most students of history have been confused to the point of idiocy by Darwinism.
    Something like this approach is essential to reconcile causality and freedom in history, but standard science training blocks the realization that that is important. If you think natural selection will produce free will (Dennett), it is not surprising few get beyond the first step.
    Nor is it my fault: if you look at what Karen Armstrong did to the idea of the Axial Age (in part to attack me indirectly) you can see why people have problems with visualizing world history. The mess she made of that material is beyond belief, but was heavily promoted, even as she lied to create her public.
    The source of the problem lies in the complexity of world history and the need to set aside propagandas, Darwinian and/or Christian-historicist, to see the reality of what happened. A way must be found to reconcile science and freedom issues, but current science publics have been brainwashed out of seeing the problem.

    But most of all, anyone who criicizes Darwinism never really gets readers, unless he is a rightwing conservative proponent of ID arguments.

    Why, Mr. Arnhart. I might close by blaming you for peddling Darwin oversimplifications. So, Mr. Arnhart, it’s your fault.

  • 3 Darwiniana » Difficulty of eonic model? // Sep 1, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    […] Comments of difficulty of eonic model […]

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