discovery of evolution was one of the greatest turning points in the development
of human thought. It changed manís perspective on himself as profoundly as any
other breakthrough in the development of science. First appearing in early Greek
and Indian thought during the Axial Age, the idea resurfaced powerfully during
the Enlightenment. Then Darwinís seminal publication of his Origin of
Species in 1859 more than anything else precipitated this revolution in
yet a tremendous controversy, one long argument, has from the beginning
accompanied Darwinís achievement. This has produced the intractable and almost
endless Darwin debate, which has become a central feature of modern culture
itself. In part, this is the result of the renewed outbreak of the conflict of
science and religion.
the debate was always much broader than the religion-science divide, or even the
question of evolution itself. It was the theory of natural selection, hence of
random evolution, that Darwin brought to his data that caused many even of those
who embraced the factual discovery of evolution to challenge Darwinís claims.
limits of observation The problem with Darwin's theory is one of the
correct observation of deep time. We apply natural selection in the abstract
to incidents that are not documented by direct verification. The result is
misleading. We are only observing the surface of development, the drama of
survival and 'jungle life'. This is really micro-evolution.
and ethics Darwinian assumptions are especially misleading with the
emergence of man, a very complex creature with a potential for action that is
not plausibly explained by the Darwinian scenarios of adaptation. Man's
self-consciousness and relative degree of freedom is hard to explain as an
adaptation, and yet must be the basis for any account of his cultural
totality. Darwinism, despite the various face-saving theories of group and kin
selection, fails decisively here.
metaphysics of evolution The theory of natural selection is really a
disguised metaphysical thesis. It purports to resolve issues that have long
been a stumbling block for human thought. The evolutionary limits of thought
have been clearly mapped out by such figures as Kant who pointed to the
inexorable contradictions arising around the ideas of divinity, self, and free
will. Darwinism is especially vexed by just these questions. Biologists
rightly seek naturalistic explanations without divinity or design arguments,
but have no clear account of 'self' or any conclusive stance on the issue of a
human 'will'. Thus biology is hard-pressed to produce a truly foundational
definition of even something as fundamental as a definition of the 'organism'.
way to break the deadlock of the Darwin debate lies in the study of history
itself. Darwin's theory is about non-random evolution, and the claim that chance
processes can achieve the feat of 'climbing Mt. Improbable'. Unexpectedly, the
study of world history can show us the falsification of Darwinian claims by
demonstrating a distinct non-random pattern of what we can only call
'macroevolution', the long lost missing key to the evolutionary enigma.