A devastating question haunts standard thinking on evolution: what if the real force of evolution acts intermittently at high-speed over a range of mere centuries? The vastness of deep time would swallow up such brief episodes and leave no trace whatever. As we examine world history precisely this possibility becomes confirmed. The question of the so-called Axial Age arises in this context with an ominous warning that we can get the question of evolution completely wrong, as a myth of ‘scientism’. We are thus prone to hallucinate evolution with substitutes, using oversimplifications such as natural selection. And history simply won’t conform to the assumptions of Darwinism and reductionist scientism. It may well be that a full theory of evolution is beyond human abilities as yet, and we might do better to follow the facts of evolutionary sequences empirically, mindful of the dangers of naïve theories.