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       Descent Of Man
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        The Hidden Clue To Human Evolution


  Descent Of Man Revisited The book (but not the Kindle version) is lavishly illustrated with over a hundred classic images in the public domain: buy the book!

    From South Fork Books, 2012

  Descent of Man Revisited: full text: PDF

The debate over evolution has endured for over a century but the outcome remains uncertain, in a debate that has been muddled by the ideological agendas of all parties. Even as biological research explodes in new directions in a robust science of the organism, the question of evolution, and its theory, seems to be mired in a concealed metaphysical scientism. In fact, the question of evolution is not solved by a science taken as the successor to physics. The issues of theory are confounded by the fact/value dichotomy, and by the difficulty of truly observing evolution in action. And this is the reason that the field is confronted by religion proponents of Intelligent Design. The debate over design will not go away, whatever it status as science, because it points to a complexity of natural law that current science is blind to. Among other issues that of teleology lurks ominously over the domain of reductionist thinking, and this is an issue as old as Aristotle, and commented on systematically by the philosopher Kant.
We can propose that the deadlock over evolution can be resolved by looking at the suggestive evidence of world history, which shows a clear non-random process at work in the sense of 'macroevolution'. We can use this to debrief our obsessive Darwinian fixations and to consider the hint this gives about the earlier evolution of man. 

    Online text

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It 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.
The question of human origins is a great mystery, and the dogmatic application of Darwinian theory to its study has produced a great confusion. The reductionist character of Darwinism has been made to work by postulating a creature of fiction, the survivor of the ‘survival of the fittest’ scenario, a kind of Social Darwinist untermench, also an expert, apparently, at economics of the capitalist brand. This creature has been stripped of his humanity and made into a mechanical object with no soul, free will, ethical agency, or much in the way of consciousness. Especially problematic are tendencies toward altruism. In a market economy, greed is good. A theory to make this plausible is an object of supply and demand. As the saying goes, it’s the economy, stupid.
Chapter 2: Science, Ideology, and World View

The controversy over evolution endures as one of the most intractable of modern civilization. Fueled by the agendas of those ambitious to control the defining ideology of human origins, the debate has obfuscated the real meaning of evolution, and created a set of competing propagandas, religious and scientific. The fact of evolution is clear empirically as a set of facts about the fossil record, but becomes entangled in the confusion of theories ambitious to explain those facts. Darwin’s Origin of Species induced the sudden public realization of the fact of evolution and ignited the revolution of thought we associate with the idea of human emergence from nature. But the theory of natural selection that came on the back of that breakthrough was problematical and ignited a controversy, ‘one long argument’, in Darwin’s phrase, that continues to this day. The subtitle alone is a provocative ideological confusion with dangerous implications.
Chapter 3: World History: A Hidden Teleology
The issue is not science versus religion, but the promotion of Darwinian pseudo-science beyond the limits of observation, and the metaphysical projection of natural selection as a universal law of biological evolution. In reality those limits make the empirical demonstration of the mechanism of evolution very difficult. We can see that there are degrees to the discovery of the fact of evolution. We might detect evolution, but even so we must zoom in to study the process in detail before we can get a sense of how it works. This is a tremendously difficult thing to do. The task assumes we can observe the entire record of a species over a vast terrestrial space and over many thousands, or millions of years to verify the claimed mechanism. Put that way we see that actually observing evolution in full is close to impossible, and the result is that we are left with inferences. It is here that the temptation to make natural selection a ‘law of evolution’ not requiring verification in all cases arose as if in imitation of physics. But there is no such universal law. If we are to have ‘laws of evolution’ they must be something far more complex than what science currently considers. A study of history shows at once the fallacy of this kind of thinking. We take for granted the need for a continuous chronicle of all events. But with evolutionary histories a lesser standard has somehow become the norm. The situation is almost preposterous, and there is every possibility we have missed the key to the dynamics altogether. We must retreat to the stance of chronicling evolution, wary of premature speculative theories of its mechanism. In fact, this is what scientists actually do, if we observe the reality beyond the endless debates.
Chapter 4: The Evolution Controversy
The modern discovery, or rediscovery of the idea of evolution, was one of the greatest turning points in the development of human thought. First appearing during the Axial Age, in Greece and India, then reemerging in the period of the Enlightenment (note how it follows our non-random pattern), it begins a complex development in multiple dimensions, beside its track toward science, from the Kantian philosophy of history, the teleomechanists, Hegelian Naturphilosophie, and the embryologists. The work of Lamarck and Erasmus Darwin foretells the coming of evolutionary science with the first theories. The marriage of Darwin’s theory to population genetics will lead in the twentieth century to the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis.
Lamarck, especially, had the gist of a true theory of evolution, despite his thinking about acquired characteristics. But in the next generation, in the fall-off of the Enlightenment kleiglight we see the onset of positivism, and the crystallization of Darwinism as a brand of reductionism.
As in the tale of the blindmen and the elephant, we find a dialectical field of candidates, each with a piece of the answer, and then a collapse into an obsessive reductionism armed with a fragmented piece. The result is the classic metaphysical deadlock of the Darwin debate, effectively depriving the public of any clarity or viable options on the subject of evolution. The sudden crystallization of positivism reduced science to what is sometimes called ‘scientism’, the obsessive application of reductionist universalism to all forms of explanation. This is part of the mystique of natural selection. The result is, for example, a disregard of the fact/value distinction. But if this distinction is essential for understanding evolution, then a new category of methodological science is needed.
Chapter 5: History and Evolution

Our historical outline has uncovered the unexpected evidence of the non-random in world history. We have set this as a minimal claim, about randomness, but our pattern is a clue to something deeper. We could stop there, our job done, and leave the example of the non-random as a challenge to Darwinism, and erect a counter to any attempt to darwinize world history. But our discovery is really a gateway to a deeper set of insights. As we zoom in it shows us far more, beginning with a clear sequential logic in a series of intermittent intervals, at the middle of which we find the so-called Axial Age. It is hard at first to grasp the full sequential logic, and we can focus on the data of the Axial Age in isolation. And anyone who thought ‘slow development’ was a law of nature is in for a shock. High-speed changes over discontinuous intervals make selectionist ‘slow evolution’ look mythological.
Chapters 1, 2, 3, Conclusion
Our expedition through world history is complete, and our discovery of a resolution to the riddle of evolution springs from a giveaway pattern of non-random dynamism in plain sight, one whose sequential logic shows a meta-historical directionality that in turn demands reopening the question of teleology. The macro effect shows dramatic evidence of ‘self-organization’, minimally, and more cogently the action of mysterious ‘global bio-fields’ operating over time and space, and almost biospheric in their range. These bio-fields must act globally, over tens of millennia, scan their action areas, and seed ultra-complex elements of culture, i.e. art, religion, literature... That provokes a crisis with our ‘brown paper bag’ usage of evolution, but the term remains the basic descriptive category of choice.
All this provokes a question about a Gaian interpretation of evolution.


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Descent of Man
World History:
The Hidden Clue to Human Evolution

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 LCCN 2011917995

ISBN 978-0-9847029-0-9