Darwiniana

History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Why do historians have such a hard time with WHEE?

July 12th, 2015 · No Comments

The fault is partly mine: the text is somewhat opaque and doesn’t make good reading. Why not just edit the text to public standard? I tried that and the result is a book with a different meaning.
Another problem is protecting the integrity of the dull/concept model. Why? The ‘macro model’ is like a keg of dynamite with a ‘no smoking’ sign. What? What is meant is no ‘theological smoking’ by theologians or religious prophets anywhere near this model which is kept dull to prevent escape into the realm of a world religion. Since this has happened already, the warning is vital. The pattern of the macro effect is quite spectacular and can induce hallucinations.

But more generally the material impinges on ideas of ‘evolution’, teleology, design arguments, values in dynamical contexts, and the tantalizing wish to create god-design arguments out of what seems like a story. We see the dangers in the Old Testament. The Israelites created a religion out of such a saga: the Axial Age transform in ancient Canaan. The result is completely tantalizing but it is not sufficiently documented to grasp what happened. But the comparison with Axial Greece is compelling…

But the Israelites correctly understood that a macro transformation in which they were immersed looked like a theistic deadringer: the design is so complex it can’t be sociological causation.

But try that with modernity: if you apply ‘god’ to the events of the early modern people won’t buy it: they can see that our ‘transition in a field of effects’ is sypercomplex but doesn’t really look like theistic action.

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There is the other difficulty of visualizing large blocks of world history. Ordinary historians have the same problem. There is classic book by Michael Polanyi called ‘Personal Knowledge’. Taking that phrase as is (from the complex context of the book) we can see that our knowledge of history is personal, i.e. we have each read a different set of books about given historical intervals. An objective reference is thus hard to come by. But our method is valid because we speak of non-random clusters in an historical series. But multiple different observers would most likely agree that ‘Archaic Greece’ shows a non-random pattern, properly defined…

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