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The Neolithic and the Macro Effect // Scientists Seek to Update Evolution | Quanta Magazine

November 23rd, 2016 · No Comments

The discussion of the ‘extended synthesis’ is mostly confusion. This quote shows how biologists impinge on the terrain of the eonic effect, save that, the Neolithic is not as such the object of the claims made for later civilization. But the unity of the subjects is highly probable. However, the model of the eonic effect shows a series of relative transformations: we can begin anywhere. The Neolithic could be two or three stages, or more, or a continuum with the Paleolithic. But the mystery of the Neolithic in a two or three stage version almost certainly joins the rise of later civilization as the first phase in its unfolding and that suggest strongly that the ‘causal/sociological’ attempts to explain it will fail…

The Neolithic then in this view is the first phase in a directional teleological unfolding of a macro sequence (whose side effects are civilizations): the stage of mastering agriculture is a crucial first step.This view is beyond the capacity of current science, the reason also that it will never find a theory of evolution, that is, science in its current form.

The Extended Evolutionary Synthesis may also help make sense of another chapter in our history: the dawn of agriculture. In Asia, Africa and the Americas, people domesticated crops and livestock. Melinda Zeder, an archaeologist at the Smithsonian Institution, gave a talk at the meeting about the long struggle to understand how this transformation unfolded. Before people farmed, they foraged for food and hunted wild game. Zeder explained how many scientists treat the behavior of the foragers in a very Modern Synthesis way: as finely tuned by natural selection to deliver the biggest payoff for their effort to find food. The trouble is that it’s hard to see how such a forager would ever switch to farming. “You don’t get the immediate gratification of grabbing some food and putting it in your mouth,” Zeder told me. Some researchers suggested that the switch to agriculture might have occurred during a climate shift, when it got harder to find wild plants. But Zeder and other researchers have actually found no evidence of such a crisis when agriculture arose. Zeder argues that there’s a better way of thinking about this transition. Humans are not passive zombies trying to survive in a fixed environment. They are creative thinkers who can change the environment itself. And in the process, they can steer evolution in a new direction.

Source: Scientists Seek to Update Evolution | Quanta Magazine

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