Darwiniana

History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Reading WHEE

February 23rd, 2013 · No Comments

We posted the wrong file yesterday, so here is the long post of WHEE links, before we start over…

http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap2_1_2.htm
The failure of Darwinism on evolution and ethics is matched by the alarming inability of scientists to see the problem…
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Handing the theory to designists
http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap2_1_1.htm: the failure of biologists to critique Darwinism ceded the issues to outside critics (such as the ID-ists)

The Rise of the Modern: A Second Axial Age
http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/intro1_2_4.htm

The basic pattern of the ‘macro’ effect, as punctuated equilibriumhttp://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/intro1_2_3.htm

Theory failsafe
http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/intro1_1_1.htm

Limits of Observation Biologists often distinguish the ‘fact’ of evolution from the ‘theory’. The difference is crucial, for it is relatively easy to see from the fossil record that evolution occurs as a succession/progression of animal forms, but to confirm that this occurs by a process of natural selection is far more speculative, and probably false. Truly observing evolution is difficult, and we cannot easily infer the mechanism from generalizations about immense vistas of time. What if evolution is an active or intermittent process that occurs at high speed in short intervals that we never observe?

History and Evolution A paradox confronts the distinction of evolution and history: when did evolution stop and history begin? This odd question is the clue to seeing that the relationship of history and evolution must show an interconnection. Further this braiding together is likely to show a series of transitions between the two. With this clue we can rapidly find the evidence for just this, which we call the ‘eonic effect’.

Theory Failsafe We are so beset by simplistic speculative theories that we fail to really observe or understand what evolution is. Simply tracking an evolutionary sequence over time is a useful discipline and a reminder of the real complexity of evolution. Tracking the evolutionary sequence detectable in world history is an immense task. We cannot easily produce theories about this.

An Evolution Formalism Darwinism is an oversimplification of what should be a standard formalism or model of evolution: this involves a kind of macro/micro distinction, and in the case of man takes the form of the idea of the ‘evolution of freedom’ as the passage from passive evolution to active free history through a macroevolutionary process or Transition (in this case a series of transitions) matched with a microevolutionary history of man’s self-realization of his emerging freedom. This overall framework (which is not a theory but a generalized descriptive device) fits human history perfectly, and the remarkable data of the eonic effect finds a useful clarification in terms of the evolution formalism. Students of evolution have already seen a distorted example of such an evolution formalism in theories of punctuated equilibrium, where the partition into macro and micro arises spontaneously. The point here is that ‘evolution’ is about some ‘macro’ ‘force or process’ that drives development.

http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/intro1_1_1.htm

The Meaning of Evolution We are so accustomed to Darwinian or reductionist definitions of genetic evolution that we forget the meaning of the term: evidence of developmental emergence by any process or dynamic. By that definition history shows a clear pattern of non-random evolution in the development of civilization (and the parallel development of human individuality).

Evolution in history? http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/intro1_1_1.htm

Evolution in history? It is not clear at first how we can bring the idea of evolution in history itself. In fact, any process of developmental emergence is ‘evolution’, and the question is rather what relation this has to the earlier descent of man. The answer is that the relationship is most probably direct, and that world history can therefore suggest something to us about man’s emergence.

We are going to start over with the link expo from WHEE: here we look at the empirical approach to evolution as chronicle, rather than the pursuit of abstractions beyond observation
http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/intro1_1_1.htm

A dose of empiricism The revolution in our knowledge of world history has uncovered something that must challenge the Darwinian assumptions about random evolution and natural selection. As we extend the scale of history to the scale of five thousand or more years, the empirical given of the historical development of civilization in a remarkable portrait of spontaneous self-organization shows us something that Darwinism cannot explain, and, further, the result looks like a complex hybrid of history and evolution. Instead of botched theories that distort our thinking we can follow the empirical outlines of episodes of evolution using periodization and descriptive analysis.

This popular series has generated more than ten thousands hits: we can start over tomorrow with a slightly different slant…

We have jumped to the end of the series here (and will start over tomorrow on this popular series):
Ecological Endgames: A Tyranny of Markets
http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap7_3_2.htm

The ‘end of history’ propaganda
http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap6_5_1.htm
Abolition and the macro effect
http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap5_4_1.htm
The macro factor in world history can be unsettling: we see the induced factor of abolition: a sad judgment on man as he is …
Indian religion is impossible to understand without the understanding of the Axial Age
http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap5_2_3.htm
The history of Indian religion is impossible to understand without the understanding of the Axial Age
Ancient Israel in the Axial Age
http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap5_2_2.htm
Axial Age Greece: http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap5_2_1.htm
The evidence of the Axial Age
http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap5_2.htm

Non-genetic evolution
http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap5_1_1.htm
From Life’s Origin To The Dawn of Human Culture Detecting teleology in the evolution of life is very hard, even though the evidence is directly in front of us…The macro model can give us hints

http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap4_2_2.htm
Big Histories, Universal Histories
http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap4_2.htm
The Goldilocks Enigma Paul Davies in The Goldilocks Enigma asks, Why does the universe seem so well-suited to life? Is this not really the answer to its own question: the transition from Big History to Universal History is effected by this ‘fine-tuning’ emerging in the Big Bang itself. Physics itself, although physicists are reluctant to admit it, gives us a hint of the mechanism beyond natural selection. This insight has been confused by metaphysical design arguments. But the empirical basis for a consideration of evolutionary directionality, beyond random evolution, is there…

Idea(s) for a universal history…
http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap4_1.htm
Does evolution involve a global system?
http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap3_5_1.htm
http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap3_5_2.htm: the idea of creating a sequence from a stream is so strange at first it seems nonsensical, but world history gives the idea meaning.

An (Eonic) Outline of History http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap3_5_3.htm
The problems with evolutionary theory and, for that matter, human psychology is that a timeless component is invovled…
http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap3_4_1.htm

http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap3_3_1.htm

http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap3_3_2.htm

The eonic effect as model for earlier human emergence
http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap3_3_1.htm The eonic effect is probably the model for earlier human evolution: a global teleological process opering in finite transitions…

This series is very popular with over 20K pages views this month…

http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap3_1_1.htm

http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap6_5_1.htm: Last and First Men
http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap3_1.htm: The attempt to get random evoluton to ‘climb mountains’ won’t work…

http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap2_3_5.htm

Visions of a ghostseer: the permanent crisis of metaphysics haunts evolutionary theories…
http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap3_2.htm

Darwinism is said to claim that evolution is non-progressive and without purpose. This is one of the most defended assertions of Darwinists. Our data throws such assertions under a cloud, notwithstanding the dangers here of ideology. Darwin made life easy for the critic. Granting that the idea of progress has many dimensions, we can nonetheless detect ‘evolutionary progress , or progression’ like clockwork in world history. Darwin ’s theory of natural selection makes a very extreme and ambitious claim, a kind of universal generalization about evolution and about ‘reality’, as seen in its assumption that no purposive evolution can be found anywhere. That makes it an easy target. We don’t even have to produce a substitute theory. We can simply show that there exists at least one non-random non-genetic evolutionary sequence showing directionality related to purpose somewhere in the universe, in this case in visible history, and Darwin ’s stock plummets.

http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap2_2_2.htm

Non-random Evolution We should consider that ‘non-random evolution ’ means, although not exclusively and open to further definition, and requiring an exemplar instance, a driving process, associated with a force or determinate principle of sufficient reason, operating, perhaps like a feedback or other device, externally, and possibly acting to transcend continuity in space and time (geographically or in discontinuous succession). Redefinition as an internal or immanent process is also possible, but invokes something unknown and unintuitive. References to ‘macroevolution ’ often invoke a variant of this thinking.

The Eonic Effect gives us a stunning example of non-random evolution in a series of beats or waves stretching over many millennia.

http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap2_1_3.htm

Is a science of evolution possible? This provocative question should stand as a warning that the question of evolution probably won’t reduce to the category of science in the usual sense. We should support the project of empirical research, as science, in the exploration of the facts of evolution in deep time, but mindful that the limits of observation and the intersection with the domain of values demands an extended definition of science (such as, indeed, was pioneered by the philosopher Kant

http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap2_1.htm

The Developmental Perspective Although the findings of so-called ‘evo-devo’ have already been grafted onto the mythology of natural selection, they raise the question of developmental interpretations of evolution, thence of natural teleology. As we examine world history in light of the eonic effect a developmental sequence unconnected with genetics emerges with a demonstration of evolutionary directionality visible as macroevolution over five millennia. The representation of teleology as intermittent directionality suddenly gives meaning to the idea of ‘punctuated equilibrium’. World history has its own ‘evo-devo’, with no connection to genetics.

The Rise of the Modern: A Second Axial Age
The eonic model would make a good replacement for historical materialism: it shows the way that the rise of the modern left is part of a larger macroevolutionary process.

Historical materialism is a failed reductionist theory.
http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/intro1_3.htm
Continuing through our link series, round two: the short survey of world history in the Indroduction resolves a riddle, and we can name the phenomenon the ‘eonic’ or ‘macro’ effect, as we call in Descent of Man Revisited.
The idea is very simple, in a high-level perspective: world history shows a progression of epochal intervals initiated by transitions.
http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/intro1_2_1.htm
The question of modernity in the context of evolution is provocative, at first counterintuitive, but in the end useful.

The taboo on discussing the Axial Age, and the question of the Old Testament
The Old Testament Enigma
Starting over with a series of WHEE links, we arrive at the question of the Old Testament and the Axial Age: the sudden appearance of Israelite monotheism in the Axial interval, next to the ‘atheist’ buddhism, is a puzzle of world history, one not understood by monotheists, and taboo to even mention among secularists.

http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/intro1_1_1.htm We will start over with WHEE and go through the text incrementally: this section summarizes the key ideas in the book, starting with the idea of the connection of evolution and history.

People are nervously afraid Darwinism might be wrong and check out this argument to consider how to deal with what is a propaganda situation.
http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap6_6_3.htm

The distinction of ‘sacred’ and ‘secular’ is misleading: ‘secular’ culture has a core of a spiritual theme beyond the ken of religious anti-modernists.

“…high-speed change can occur on the scale of just a few centuries…”
The theory of Darwin arises in a context where close observation of evolution is absent: the real thing happens so fast that we can’t observe it in deep time…
http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/intro1_3.htm

Our suspicion is confirmed that high-speed change can occur on the scale of just a few centuries, witness the Axial Age. And this effect shows us that evolution is hiding behind history in the form of a series of intervals of rapid emergence. World history yields its secret to simple periodization and shows from the invention of writing a clear developmental sequence, with a question mark about its probable source in the period of the Neolithic, the natural starting point for the rise of civilization. The great clue of the Axial Age suddenly provided the gestalt of a larger system at work. The Israelites were right, there is a process of greater evolutionary dynamism that frets the universal history of man.

http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap6_3_2.htm
The place of economic systems in historical has been completely miscalculated, even by Marxists. A more generalized model can put the economic factor in perspective…

http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap4_1.htm
A link today http://criticallegalthinking.com/2012/02/20/is-history-a-coherent-story/

A close study of WHEE can restore the sense of coherence in world history, even as it answers the attacks on ‘grand narratives’ by the postmoderns.

http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap7_5_1.htm

The biggest secret of world history (and ‘evolution’) is the cyclical nature of the data.

The Great Transition: http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap7_6_2.htmThe suspicion arises that the ‘evolution’ of civlization is really a later form of human speciation, at the species level. The Social Darwinist idea fails completely with its focus on the individual alone.

Theoretical self-defense
http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap7_6.htm
People can’t defend themselves against Darwinism buttressed by its establishment.
http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap7_1.htm
The readership of WHEE jumped after the publication of Descent of Man Revisited (both online) and has remained high ever since. But understanding of the ‘eonic model’ can be difficult, in part because the ‘theory’ can get in the way of the raw data, which is overwhelming, once you grasp its overall structure.

This is one of the stranger sections of WHEE, but after the discussion of the ‘republic lost’ this week, its significance may be clearer: http://history-and-evolution.com/whee4th/chap6_4.htm
The philosophy of Kant exposes the trid of metaphysics issues that plague evolutionary theories

There is nothing mysterious about the Darwin debate or the limitations of Darwinian theory: value-free science must eliminate questions of the value domain. But is this legitimate for the question of evolution? Related to this is the attempt to produce purely causal explanations of ethical behavior and its evolution. The positivist methodology of scientific reductionism, by declaring the rigid separation of facts and values, leaves us to wonder if nature itself truly respects this division in all its processes, especially those of evolutionary emergence.

Is a science of evolution possible? This provocative question should stand as a warning that the question of evolution probably won’t reduce to the category of science in the usual sense. We should support the project of empirical research, as science, in the exploration of the facts of evolution in deep time, but mindful that the limits of observation and the intersection with the domain of values demands an extended definition of science (such as, indeed, was pioneered by the philosopher Kant.[i]

Sometimes the naturalistic fallacy is cited here. But how do we know that evolution doesn’t process values amidst facts, this in a naturalistic fashion? Reductionist science has, ironically, made itself blind to the high end of evolution. In general, a theory of ethical behavior must explicate the consciousness of an ethical agent, and produce a model of choice-based behavior. But theories of evolution cannot yet account for consciousness. To make ethical consciousness an epiphenomenon of natural selection, and to propose that it arises as an adaptation in the game of survival beggars the nature of the phenomenon itself. What’s more, this approach creates a de facto standard of ethics based on the evolutionary ‘value’ of pure selfishness.

The Axial Age and Values As we examine the historical dynamic behind the phenomenon of the Axial Age we see the explicit transformation of values in a complete and balanced spectrum of opposites. Religion, philosophy, science emerge together in a mysterious seeding process that occurs very rapidly, and over independent cultural regions. Remarkably, this seems to show a

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