Darwiniana

History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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“Are humans now in control of the forces of evolution…?”

March 31st, 2015 · No Comments

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/are-humans-now-in-control-of-the-forces-of-evolution/2015/03/27/b538a008-b07d-11e4-827f-93f454140e2b_story.html

These attempts to figure the present and future of (human) evolution all miss the point that Darwin’s theory of natural selection isn’t the real evolutionary dynamics. The distinction of macro and micro is very helpful here: the micreovolutionary drift of genetics will indeed induce changes. But none of them will really produce true evolution.
The macro effect of WHEE shows how a macro/micro distinction can be understood, with a possible insight into what is needed for a true future evolution of man.
Last and First Men tries to wrest the question from social darwinist ideology, indeed from darwinism, by looking at the way large scale cultural transformations are visible in our recent history. And the suggestion is that such macro effects were in some variant characteristic of the early emergence of homo sapiens, indeed of the lineage of hominids from the Autralopithecines onward. And the macro effect in world history shows the way man is emerging from passivity into active ‘self-evolution’. However the latter is doubtful at the level of individuals: can they manage to transform a species. But the future of man is likely to show the gradual mastery of an ‘evolutionary techology’. But at the moment such a thing is almost too dangerous to contemplate: we cannot tinker with homo sapiens. Or, in fact, we can tinker, if only because we can’t stop people from doing so, but the results are not likely to be anything close to speciation.
The dangers here must be considerable: we don’t even understand the man we represent with complex modules of consciousness in several varieties, creative art impulses and potentials, ethical potential and a factor of ‘will’, and centrally the key advance of language as we find in now. We cannot tinker with something so complex, and we can’t allow the social darwnist foundation of modern capitalism to stage an eugenic coup: the creation of passive commercial/industrial human robots. Such a future search for a new man has to mature at the level of the buddhas as masters of consciousness, and that still isn’t enough. It may well be that the evolution of man, to proceed warily around ‘design’ arguments, was helped along with the aid of ‘demiurgic powers’ of nature, as discussed in my Descent of Man Revisited, with an idea from J.G.Bennett. Only beings inside nature, but in some way, higher than man, could stage the evolution of a being as complex as homo erectus/sapiens. This is very different actually from a ‘design’ argument of the type proposed by Xtian creationists or ID-ists. We don’t have a clue to this reality, but it is not illogical to propose ‘higher beings within nature’. The point in any case is that dealing with a brain that is also the brain of the buddhas requires something we can’t even conceive of yet. The neuroscience of the age of scientism isn’t there yet and attempts as with the Holocaust to perform species level eugenics via genocide is a clear dire warning at man’s first disastrous attempt to ‘tinker’ with his own evolution.

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