Descent Of Man Revisited

Book Blog

Descent Of Man Revisited header image 2

DMR: Preface

January 30th, 2013 · 2 Comments

t is remarkable that in an age of advanced technology, science still has no coherent account of human emergence. The riddle has not been solved by modern Darwinian theory. It is not a simple question! The purpose of this book is to demonstrate the discovery of a new perspective on evolution, and to also serve as a reminder of our ignorance near the presumptions of Darwinists that the basic problems have been solved. The alternative is a dangerous oversimplification used to enforce conformity to a narrow, and quite false, definition of science. The result is to cripple human potential. We can offer one hint, via a look at world history: the realization a clue is right under our noses, if we know where to look. The fuzzy perception of evolution in deep time is clear enough. But the attempts to produce a theory of that set of processes is a task for the future. The problem lies with insufficient observation. Here historical chronicles offer a hint.
This is the first edition of Descent of Man Revisited, (with a website at descentofmanrevisited.com), and was intended as an introductory companion to World History and The Eonic Effect (online and in its Fourth Edition, with a projected fifth edition of the original under a new title and imprint). But it has become a new work, with a new terminology and an extended perspective beyond that of the previous book. This is the first volume in a series, and began as a ‘net book’ at the history-and-evolution.com website, but has remorphed into a completely new form. It also echoes another ‘net book’ there, Last and First Men, in a discussion evoking the classic by Olaf Stapleton, with a sort of pun on Nietzsche’s dark semantics of this phrase. This book will touch on these issues, as it examines the question of evolution reaching our present, thence future. How can we cure the bad habit of bringing ‘evolution’ into our present as Social Darwinism? Answer, by bringing evolution into our present, but doing it right! A close look at world history suggests a way to do this.

The design debate, design vs. natural selection, is destined to be deadlocked. The strategy of reductionist scientism has failed here. But so has creationism trying to use design arguments as proofs of the existence of god. ‘God’ cannot ‘exist’ inside space-time, and is ‘outside’ of ‘existence’ in a different mode, being, beyond knowledge. This makes the whole debate nonsensical. And we cannot speak of ‘intelligent’ design in predicates for ‘god’. Monotheists have lost the distinction between ‘supernatural’ and the ‘spiritual’ inside the realm of the material/natural, but it is present in the Old Testament as ‘elohim’. That then would be an empirical issue, a ‘phenomenology’ of ‘spirits’, the ‘heavenly host’ of the Christians, perhaps. Outlandish, but logical. In a sense the design argument should be a natural sideline to scientific research, since teleological machines are a staple of biochemistry, now confronting the epigenome. But this has nothing to do with theism, necessarily. The ‘natural teleology’ of Kant suggests that ‘design’ begins as a naturalistic phenomenon, whatever the mysteries of unknowable divinity. And there is a third possibility, as noted: a natural demiurge (plural?) acting within space-time, science fiction perhaps, but logical. The materiality of the ‘spiritual’ resolves the questions of material soul, short of the supernatural, which is beyond knowledge. The idea of a material soul (as opposed to an enlightened being beyond soul) is unknown to Christians, but is known in the Sufistic and Indic traditions. The problem with design arguments is, ironically, the way in which religious mythology has distorted the use of the term ‘god’, leaving it dangerously ambiguous, and design arguments fairy tales. The ancient prophets warned severely of the use of such terms of pop theism, reserving reference to a ‘pointing to’, as in the abstract referent IHVH. The strange record left by the Old Testament has actually lost the thread of its deep discovery of historical ‘evolution’, which can indeed impinge on design questions. But this record conceals a revolutionary discovery, which the creators of Israelitism did not yet understand.

It is normal in all fields of science save biology and Darwinism for given paradigms to be challenged, extended or replaced. The tenacity of the Darwin brand suggests an ideology in play. Since critiques of Darwinism are marginalized, the demand for outsiders to take up the task generates its own supply, and the new world of e-books and POD self-publishing is, in any case, set to challenge the constricted realm of Big Publishers. It is no accident the Darwin paradigm is weakening under these conditions. The critique of Darwinism is not hard, but is virtually impossible in the context of the Darwin Propaganda Machine, and is probably better done by a non-professional, if he is careful to evade the pitfalls.
The design debate has come to haunt Darwinian ideology. The whole question of design needs a new perspective. The attempt to use the theory of natural selection to coopt design arguments has backfired, so we are in the crossfire, and will clearly point to areas where ‘design’ is indicated. This makes no claims about ‘intellligent design’ or ‘theistic designers’. The so-called macro effect in world history will generate an overwhelming sense of ‘design’, stunning in its details, but we must remain cautiously neutral with a default ‘systems analysis’ that looks at a particular type of model. But we must acknowledge the almost uncanny precision and detail of the ‘design’, which corresponds to no known mechanical system. There is a stage beyond the genetic, or even the epigenetic that corresponds to something like ‘bio-fields’, global systems able to assess and pinpoint geographical regions, induce high-level cultural change, and operate over tens of thousands of years. Small wonder that design issues won’t go away. The phenomenon of the Axial Age, especially, precipitates a crisis in our views of what mechanical systems really are, the more so since the Old Testament gives a theistic rendering of one part of that period. A very confusing situation. We will, however, discipline ourselves to our genre of descriptive systems analysis to try to ‘see’ an evolutionary dynamic in motion. The debates of theists and the so-called ‘New Atheists’ tends to be counterproductive: we can invite both parties to use our neutral account to come to a better understanding of evolution in the current confused debates. Thus the designist is challenged by a systems account, the reductionist scientist by a provocative design argument. The two sides need to find a common ground, as strange as that might seem.

    The problem with design vs mechanism debates can be seen by considering some sci-fi: the case of a super-advanced race of cloaked technologists constructing planet-level ‘evolutionary machines’, technically ‘engines’ and/or creating the appearance of fake designers as cover stories. This machines would seem to pass a Turing test and seem alive. This example shows why the design issue may be insoluble, as yet. This may seem outlandish, but the point is that the ‘designer’ in the Old Testament looks ‘designed’.

The prophets of Israel were onto something, as with our macro-effect, but our neutral interpretation is far more exciting than the primitive concoction that has muddled later monotheism. The Old Testament lost the thread of its own ‘miracle’, and the real history of Israel/Persia up to the Exile is simply beyond the reckoning of normal causal sociology. Better than science fiction, for it has outstripped theology!
It should be noted that the current Intelligent Design movement is a conservative interest group often plying anti-modernist reaction, and the rest of it. It should therefore also be noted that Marx has recently been criticized for a design argument! It should more generally the task of secularists to take up design arguments and discipline them, and to take up the perception that modernity is simply another in the series of transitions in the unfolding design of civilization. It is important to see, contra religious reactionaries, that modernity, secularism, indeed democratic revolution, and the world historical tilt toward the left in the wake of the Reformation are part of the ‘design’ of greater world history.

The public needs a self-defense against the Social Darwinism in disguise legitimized by Darwinism. The recent #OccupyWallStreet movement has energized the awareness of inequality in the current economic system.
The book contains a clear and useful default naturalistic ‘evolution’ framework that can be used by leftist groups as a self-defense against Social Darwinist ideology not crippled by the usual kowtowing to the Darwin paradigm.
The hidden place of Social Darwinism in the framework of biological theory, Darwinism, deserves a critique from the left. The concealed abuse of biological theory as economic ideology goes unchallenged by mainstream science. I hope that the framework of ‘evolution in history’ can help to see beyond the Darwinist regime imposed on political discourse. Social activists need a perspective on evolution that is not burdened with the theory of natural selection, and this without the metaphysical debate over design or other religious issues. The way to do that is to see that our evolutionary past stretches into our present, and that evidence of macroevolution must show its hand in history itself.
Although the material here is the same as that treated in World History and The Eonic Effect, the term ‘eonic effect’ has not been used, and we refer only to the data in question as the ‘the evidence of macroevolution in world history’, the ‘macro effect’. The issue of macroevolution and microevolution has been with us from the beginning, as in the version of Lamarck. It is completely sensible to think, as he did, that there are two levels to evolution, his drive toward complexity, and what Darwinists make the sole process, an interaction of emerging forms with their environment.

    This perspective enforces an interesting exercise: a discussion of evolution that makes no reference to genetics. The result curiously resembles distinctions of high-level software vs machine code languages. Since we do not know this higher ‘language’ we must start sifting the data with a frequency hypothesis to see if clusters of data echo these ‘voices of silence’.

In the Introduction we set the basic goal, and list a series of requirements that a theory of evolution must satisfy. In the second chapter, evoking the title of a classic by Greene, we explore the problems of ‘science, ideology, and world view’, in relation to Darwinism, and this in the context of ideologies of Social Darwinism. And we begin to consider the context of history. In Chapter Three we present our argument, and provide an outline of world history, and the implications for issues of the ‘random’ and ‘non-random’ found there. The evidence of rapid evolutionary transformation in world history is the stunning confirmation of this suspicion. In Chapter Four we look at the issues of Darwinism, and natural selection, and the real significance of ‘punctuated equilibrium’. The problem with Darwinism is seen in the context of ‘scientism’ and the positivistic closure of science in the nineteenth century. Then in Chapter Five we produce another short world history, again in outline, showing the clear sequential logic visible since the invention of writing. The demonstration is left fuzzy, yet is decisive, a de facto falsification of Darwinism. The reader can read the first three chapters, which present the whole argument, and the conclusion, and use Chapters Four and Five as reference. The text is designed to be somewhat repetitive, and the reader can also jump between the mulitple textbox summaries.
The issues of Darwinism are also the focus of the blog, Darwiniana, by nemo/nemini and here the author should acknowledge and thank the many (almost always anonymous) commentators there (and online readers of World History And The Eonic Effect) for feedback, and advice, that has helped greatly in the exposition of the material here. The original book on the eonic effect was judged as too difficult. In fact, the treatment is robust, but requires perhaps a course of reading and would make a good outline for study of world history. Nonetheless, a simpler approach might be useful. The ‘macro’ effect in history is elusive, and requires some new habits of thought. It also requires some new methods of exposition, for something that is in between an exposition of systems modeling, and a discussion of aesthetics! We set about a simple task here: demonstrate the non-random in world history.
The reader is left with an extraordinary suggestion: world history shows the clue to evolution, and the process is ‘meta-genetic’, with a teleological aspect, and two levels of action. Many will persist in thinking that evolution cannot be found in history, and that the ‘real thing’ is the account of random evolution and its genetics in deep time. But the case that this is ‘evolution’ becomes transparent, leaving the suggestion we have found an episode of the real process. It is hard to avoid this conclusion, since the discovery of the non-random, supposed to not exist, must caution our Darwinian assumptions and legacy. It was the philosopher Kant who warned that biology was not physics, and that it seemed wrong to hope that ‘one day there would arise a second Newton who would make intelligible the production of a single blade of grass…’ The science of biology is a vigorous research program, but it suddenly goes dead on the subject of evolution. Our historical analysis suggests why. We make no claims to a final theory, but we can put the issue into its correct context of macroevolution, and directionality, suggesting a teleogical wild card missing from sciences based on the triumphs of physics.

Tags: Uncategorized