The previous post discussed the difficulty of really understanding how economies work. In fact, the far harder case of large scale historical systems may be ‘simpler’ in one way, and the place to start, because they adopt the scale required to actually see a dynamics at work at the level of ‘history/evolution’. Economies are at best subsystems in that larger framework, and may never resolve to any clarity because of that larger scale.
And detecting the factor of teleology is especially treacherous, and requires very careful empirical study. Trying to impose calculus on such a subject will fail at once if teleology is true of that system. So it is with mathematical economics.
Problems with random evolution, and
How would we detect teleology?
The perspective of Darwinism is that of random evolution, and this framework has always concealed a host of problems, however attractive the concept is for proponents of reductionist science. Random evolution
1. must skirt severe improbability, as the scientist Fred Hoyle warned,
2. overcome without a template, system memory, or feedback control the inherent tendency to peter out, deviate, or retrogress,
3. operate in partial steps to construct complex objects at random, with no direct connections between steps, in constructs with tens of thousands of parts,
4. effect infinitesimal, geographically isolated innovations into species level change over large regions or whole species.
This is but a short list. It should remind us that Darwinism is implausible from the start, and yet seems to be scientific because the fantasy of natural selection is never tested against reality and thus avoids the really difficult implications in our list of problems. At the same time, our four problems point to something that must be complex beyond our understanding. It is not surprising biologists cling to an oversimplification like natural selection that makes these difficulties vanish.
Detecting Teleology It is not hard to deduce what evolution should look like from these difficulties, which must leave their signature in the data of any given chronicle. The problem is that these issues imply something controversial: teleological sequences. What form would teleology take, and how would we recognize it?
There are very few solutions to this set of contradictions: one is that of an explicit evolutionary driver, a sort of macro process that operates intermittently over the long range, and acts on wholes via transitional areas of reasonable size. That’s a tall order. But sure enough world history will give us an example.