Darwiniana

History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Homo sapiens and the ‘anthropocene’?

April 4th, 2015 · No Comments

http://darwiniana.com/2015/04/03/the-crossing-of-the-homo-sapiens-threshold/: apparently this is the entry to the Anthropocene era, a useful idea, although homo erectus remains a (proto-) anthropocene puzzle.
Another question is whether man’s ‘evolution’ is complete, as speciation, or whether the period between the onset of homo sapiens (?) and the rise of civilization/the Neolithic represents a further ‘speciation event history’ or whether it is a period of ‘evolution off’, so to speak, to work out the implications of earlier ‘macroevolution’, on the way, perhaps, to a further period of ‘macroevolution’.
It is hard to see how man could go through macroevolution once he has seen the process in action. (The term ‘macroevolution’ simply spins out the micro/macro distinction, very useful once we see its significance). This is also quite undarwinian. I suspect, but can’t be sure, that the onset of civilization, despite its cultural focus, tells us more than we realize about the earlier organismic evolution of man. But nothing in my historical model allows me to jump to such conclusions, with any certainty.
There is something like this that could have easily adapted itself to the primordial evolution of ‘hominids to homo’: that would entail: repeated ‘macro’ return at intervals of 2400 years on a constellation of early hominids and their environment. The process must be able to locate the ‘tribe’ after 2400 years, etc…Is this a design argument. We hardly know but it is active and directional and thus armed with something like a blueprint??? In any case, the African ‘zones’, jungle to savannah, are a very reasonable-if-speculative ‘potential evolution scenes’, with clear possibilities of ‘species isolation’, etc… However the ‘macro effect’ of WHEE shows a ‘global evolution process’ that is indifferent to isolation: it can operate on ‘zones’ that blend over with nearby and/or interior targets.
Look at the Greek Archaic in this argument, from WHEE: we see the sudden onset of multiple cultural complexes in the realm of language, art, poetry, epic, political trending toward republicanism (then democracy), a proto-enlightenment, steps to both a last flowering and ‘proto-secular critique’ of (aesthetic) polytheism,…The number of innovations here is staggering and further has a useful ‘non-macro’ comparison in the earlier Mycenaean world.

The macro process we see in world history is thus able to be global. But the relationship of this, if any, to genetics is unclear. It would seem that genetical evolution requires a tighter hold on the speciating population. We hardly know and must be mindful that we have not observed human speciation and are now mindful of just how fast some macro changes can be: the Axial Age shows massive transformation at the three centuries level.

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