History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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World history and the confusions of historical theory

July 25th, 2014 · No Comments

I am told that a number of readers have found the first part of the Appendix to LFM clarified the enigma of the so-called ‘macro model’.
This model is designed to replace the whole confusing nexus of historical theories with a simple outline, so the basic idea is ‘not hard’.

As we study world history in the light of the discovery of a ‘non-random’ process

we see that historical materialism is essentially falsified by the striking appearance of complex emergent entities on all levels: culture, religion, art, philosophy, and politics. Reductionist scientism just doesn’t work here. That said, design arguments can lead us astray. The emergence of a religion of beggars, with begging bowls, in Axial Age buddhism isn’t in the vein of historical materialism, yet has a most ironic economic sub-melody. The issue in science is the discovery of mechanisms. But this has led biologists astray, in that evolution is something more complex. The data we have, is closer to ‘creative evolution’, and shows the sudden appearance of unexpected novelties. Many will demand such complexity requires a design argument. But in the midst of this complexity a strangely mechanical action is at work: a cyclical or recurrent driver forcing us to think in terms of a system in a frequency pattern. We cannot make the claim that a designer would operate in such a pattern. Our approach is that of a model and this in turn is simplified to a basic outline or chronicle of history. We should then take up the ideas of the model on the side. This model isn’t complex, but does invoke some unfamiliar ideas. We should simply list some of the basic concepts, and then return to our outline approach. The basic framework is
1. a finite transition model, based on the idea of a macrosequence in a frequency pattern, initiated by triggering transitions. This sequence is designed around relative transformations, and does not require an absolute beginning. These transitions can also appear in parallel, as in the Axial period.
2. a new ‘fundamental unit of analysis’: the transition, instead of the civilization. These transitions seed oikoumenes in their wake.
3. the macrosequence generates globalization via a subset mainline following an acorn property or frontier effect.
4. a distinction of ‘macro’ and ‘micro’ can divide the analysis into two levels.
5. We must distinguish the action of a system, and the free action inside it. And this connects with the transition of transitions, i.e. the macrosequence: the transition from evolution to history, in the emergence of active men/hominids (free action) from passive ‘to bed men’. This generates the deduction of a transition model, very elegant, but quite mysterious..

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