Darwiniana

History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Chapter 7 coming online

October 1st, 2010 · No Comments

Chapter 7 now coming online, but still needs proofing (the Index software from word collides with the webpage software, a hastle). But the rough spots are not too many, so you can start.

We reach the end of the broad indication of the historical eonic pattern, called the eonic effect, whose structure gives us a strange, and incomplete, glimpse of an evolutionary process that transcends the incidents of civilization, and yet is the source of its generation. Our emphasis has been empirical, avoiding theories, and, using only the simplest methods of periodization, we have uncovered a rich structure of universal history that we have also interpreted as evolution. The fallacy of evolutionary theories has been the attempt to create a universal generalization, mimicking a law of physics that will explain evolution in the abstract in all situations. But such generalizations are bound to fail, and the legacy of Darwinian natural selection can be seen to miss almost entirely the real substance of evolutionary dynamics. The eonic effect shows us that ‘evolution’ changes course along its sequence of action. In the main we see that ‘man makes himself’, but that this self-evolution is directed by an intermittent macroevolutionary driver that seems to reset the course, or courses, of microevolution. This ‘stream and sequence’ relationship of the action of a system and the free action that operates inside it is the clue to understanding of evolution and history operating together.

History and Evolution: a paradox resolved We have found the resolution of the paradox of history and evolution with which we began in our brief outline of world history in light of the eonic effect, and the result is an unexpected and spectacular sense of its coherence and greater unity. Beyond the clear pattern of data, we detect the evidence of an abstract dynamical system, a process of discrete-stepping evolution, operating behind the scenes. We need not speculate about such a system, instead replacing it with careful periodization to help us follow the ‘track of evolution in history’ along a time-line: the deeper dynamic is hidden from us, as with the Kantian noumenal behind the phenomenal.

We constructed an evolution formalism to deal with this pattern, as a simple model, not as a new theory of evolution, but as way to help us understand what we are seeing in world history. We then saw the relation of that formalism to a Kantian perspective. This exploration of an ‘evolution formalism’ fell short of deriving a theory, which requires a true ‘theory of everything’. Better to follow evolution as an empirical sequence. We see the reason that debates over evolution end in a chronic metaphysical dilemma. We can, however, with our simple method, track evolution and visualize its action over time, with a surprising result. Just as biologists distinguish the fact and the theory of evolution we can use the ‘fact’ of the eonic effect to understand world history in a new way. Everything we need is available with our basic model of the evolution formalism.

It is ironic that it should be world history that would show us the existence of non-random evolution, where the vistas of deep time fail to reveal the real clue to the evolutionary riddle, of man at least. The reason for this is obvious, we cannot zoom in on deep time to the proper evidence density, even as the eonic effect shows us sudden and decisive change occurring in intervals of mere centuries, a mere instant in relation to the scale of deep time. Strictly speaking our usage of the term ‘evolution’ is actually more precise than the usual sloppy Darwinian usage, and is arrived at by deducing that there must be an overlap between the evolution of passive organisms and the history of active agents. It is difficult at first to accept the use of the term ‘evolution’ for world history, but the logic is inexorable, and the evidence, given that logic, almost overwhelming. Upon reflection, it could hardly be otherwise, and yet Darwinian thinking has not proved capable of handling this simple necessity in any theory of human evolution.

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