7. Conclusion

 
 
Beyond Darwinism: 
A Theoretical Self-defense 

  

Section 7.6




 
World History 
And The Eonic Effect

Civilization, Darwinism, And Theories of Evolution
4th Edition
The Book
By  John Landon

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 CHAPTERS:
 

 

 
 

 
7. Conclusion  
     7.1 History and Evolution: A Paradox Resolved 
        7.1.1 Transition and Divide: A New Perspective on Modernity 
    7.2 The Eonic Effect As a Resolution of Kant's Challenge      
      7.2.1 Freedom’s Causality, Teleology and Politics  
        7.2.2 Free Will, Moral Action, and Self-consciousness       
     7.3 Will Democracy Survive? Toward A Postdarwinian Liberalism    
      7.3.1 Modernism, Eurocentrism, Imperialism, and 'Western' Civilization
        7.3.2 Ecological Endgames: A Tyranny Of Markets
     7.4 Ends and Beginnings       
NOTES  
     7.5 Critique of Historical Reason  
        7.5.1 Spengler, Toynbee, and Cyclical Theories 
        7.5.2 Is There a Postmodern Age?  
        7.5.3 Evolution and The Idea of Progress
        7.5.4 The Case of the Missing Centuries 
     7.6  Beyond Darwinism: A Theoretical Self-Defense
         7.6.1 The Meaning Of Evolution
         7.6.2 The Great Transition

 

 
  
        

    World History And The Eonic Effect: Fourth Edition

     7.6 Beyond Darwinism: A Theoretical Self-defense 

 

Darwinian thinking has caused great confusion in the study of history. Our result grants a self-defense  against claims of science in the confusions of Darwinism applied to history. History with its rich concert of values must be the standard of evolutionary interpretation, not the reductionist programs of stripping evolution of all significance in the mechanization of all processes.

The use of the term ‘evolution’ might prove a stumbling block. Nothing in our data requires the use of this term, but by a process of elimination that’s all we are left with. Slowly it dawns on us that this is the right concept, taken descriptively. The discovery of this pattern must confound us, in its magnificence, and stealth action, and induces a kind of double take, what are we seeing? An unnamable Something operating globally over tens of millennia, able to remorph whole time slices of culture in one evolutionary eye blink. What are we seeing? We can ascribe no agency to this X. It seems impossible. Yet the evidence is overwhelming, whatever its interpretation, once we have focused our perceptions with organized periodization. Short of such interpretation, our method is beyond reproach, the opinionated foibles of an eonic observer apart. These could be replaced with volumes of precise tracking data, and a project of ‘dialectic’ to unify, perhaps, the contradictory productions of eonic emergence. But we can merely point to these contradictions, and still make our case. And we are done without indulging in the distinction of ‘spiritual and material’, set aside as a species of pidgin talk, often with reference to the nth god name sequence. Set aside, but never replaced. We can hardly hope to reform the linguistic habits of millennia. A Kantian tune-up, or the formulation of a Schopenhauer, at least allows us to slip away from the distinction. We tried hard, but a Cartesian dualism seems destined to persist as a basic human confusion.

Armed with nothing more than simple periodization, pointing to, we have detected a system rich in structure and almost fantastic subtlety. Propaganda and a failure to examine history as a whole has blinded us to the obvious, once seen. Our eonic model gives us the means to stand up to the misleading claims of Darwinists, and expose the social agenda this represents. The same can be said for the accretions of mythology arising around the emergence of monotheism. This theoretical self-defense allows us to challenge claims for science in the promotion of Social Darwinism by the violent gangs of flat history, given a free gift of theory in the presumptive teleologies of social conflict.

This elegant outer simplicity gives us at least a powerful sense of the coherence of history, and a transparent clue to the meaning of evolution. What’s more the significance of the Old Testament falls into our lap in something like its real meaning. Although incomplete our perception of this awesome driver climbing Mt. Improbable shows us the unmistakable evidence of something larger than the temporal happenstance of the historical chronicle. As the pieces of a puzzle come together to show a fragment of meaningful significance we suddenly detect with the most ordinary sense of widget-recognition the operation of a dynamic of prodigious scope and nothing short of Gaian range. An overwhelming sense of design arises spontaneously, and yet, oddly, any design argument fails, as we are left with a bare systems analysis of an ‘evolution of some kind’ that fulfills exactly, yet outstrips, the category of ‘self-organization’. No designer would operate with a discrete-continuous method, but pursue the emergent clusters to mideonic completion.

This result must stand as the severest challenge to conventional Darwinian assumptions, both as to history and the emergent evolution of earliest man. Armed with the data of the eonic effect, and the eonic model, one can free oneself from the misperception of history created by Darwin ’s theory of natural selection. The most we can find is the ‘selection’ of evolutionary advance regions, but these are immediately balanced by generated instruments of explicit ecumenization, in some cases these were actually religious formations. The long-range action of our system clearly moves to bypass the down-shifting outcomes of the ‘survival of the fittest’. ‘Evolution’ is about a whole species, and beyond that a stream of primates, not a privileged subset.

We have discovered the factor of directionality, hence teleology, but this is balanced with the factor of realization. The abuse of teleological ideology that overrides ethical considerations has no place in this type of model with its discrete series, and distinction of macro-action and micro-action. The latter cannot fulfill some phantom of teleogical futurism via the voiding of ethical judgments.

In any case, a theory of evolution in closed form is probably impossible: the limits to our perceptions, in this case at least, are built-in. We can’t concoct universal generalizations and then impose them on history in the name of theory. All we can do is approximate evolution in action over observed intervals of time. The suspicious appearance of a formal schematic roughly isomorphic to elementary ‘transcendental idealism’ should give us pause on that score. We have produced no ‘deduction’ of this ‘ism’, but we do have a gestalt that matches its requirements at a stroke. And we have wasted no time on futile discussions of idealism vs materialism, a basic ‘material’ phenomenology being sufficient, whatever its basis. The eonic model, despite its accretion of a few extra assumptions, delivers us from the contradictions of continuity and discontinuity notions, however useful heuristically, and allows us to adopt an empirical approach based on a schema of periodization, one of exceptional stability, in a short range. Since we are confined to this short range, we adopted a stance of relative motions, relative beginnings, and relative free action in that context. We don’t have to derive anything from string theory or prior stages of evolution. Darwinists may not interrupt this island of significance with sophistical pseudo-arguments about deep time, which they have not observed to this degree. There is no mystery to our success with simple means: the mechanical and the value domain must intersect and resolve their contradiction, and we see the remarkable result in practice. Our brand of ‘methodological naturalism’ saw no need for a rigorous separation of facts and values, save only the critical dualism of causality and freedom, which we abstracted in a two-level model that bypassed any claims for a transcendent plane.

Contemporary historiography frequently dismisses such projects of universal history with a distinction of ‘empirical’ and ‘speculative’ history in the aspiration to a science of history beginning with the ‘empirical’. And it would be quite natural at first to consider the eonic effect a speculative venture bordering on the metaphysical. But in fact we have turned the tables on the proponents of flat history, outsmarting in the process the usual ideologies that grow around this natural belief of flatlanders. For, if we review our method, we see that our basis has been empirical, cataloguing a series of breaking fronts of innovation, suspecting their interconnection. We merely claimed that if we lay down a grid or timeline, we see a clear and overwhelming correlation of clustered data, data we called ‘eonic emergents’. This non-random pattern becomes almost self-explanatory, as we form a complex gestalt of a system operating, we suspect, in a frequency. It is the flat history assumption that is speculative. The facts show something else. The result is to see the chugging cycles of a locomotive driving the emergence of civilization in an alternating rhythm of epochs.

And it prompts us to consider the issue of causality directly, over the whole of history, and this in the context of the idea of freedom itself. The result was the discovery of macro-historical directionality, that can only mean a teleology we suspect, but do not fully see, which transforms the very idea of an historical science into a larger framework. In the process we have discovered the subtle echo of that larger framework in the kludge of ‘transcendental idealism’, so perfectly suited as a companion to Newtonianism, and whose implication was that the dynamic of motion stood in a close analog to a phenomenal/noumenal distinction, and that the appearance of the eonic effect at the limits of our knowledge veiled that dynamic beyond those limits. We thus lost our science at the point of finding it, and defaulted to a time-and-motion model of transitions, operating in concert with the correlated manifestations of that hidden dynamic. The antinomy, that there must be, but that there cannot be, a science of history, is satisfied both ways by our schema. For we have found the causal line to have been directly implicated in the generation of freedom. Thus our system reproduces the contradiction, and uses it for its own mechanics. In a tour de force our system even offers one glimpse of freedom generation in the large, in the discrete freedom sequence, in a very precise timing, a striking confirmation of our method.

Taken just thus, the burden of proof falls on those who propose the flat history thesis, left with indigestible randomized incidents and isolated causal fragments, unmindful such a Newtonian analysis should require a ‘force’ analog. But that they cannot find, while in the eonic effect we have found just that, although the language of ‘force’ is one we should think to pass beyond. We can see that any ‘science’ (and we have made no claim to complete such a science) must therefore confront, and explain the eonic effect, venturing into the curious worlds of the ‘science of freedom’. True, we have been forced to assess our data with complex forms of judgment, not just theoretical, but ethical, and aesthetic. But it stands to reason that this was always unavoidable, the hopes for a numerical parametrization as a prelude to model formation being what it always was, an idle fantasy.

Our starting point was the Darwin debate  itself and its legacy of chronic equivocation over natural selection. Great confusion arises over the ‘fact’ and ‘theory’ of evolution. The evidence points strongly to the reality of evolution as seen in the fossil record, but the claim that natural selection completely explains its dynamic has always been subject to challenge. Darwin ’s theory arose in the tide of positivistic scientism, and many significant issues are simply bypassed in the ambitions of reductionism. The factor of consciousness, and beyond that the evolution of ethics, or an ethical agent, is never properly addressed by anything more than plausibility arguments thrown at unobserved periods unknown to us in detail. And here Darwinism naïvely ignores the unforgiving ‘metaphysics of evolution’, the basic antinomies of divinity, self, and free will, exposed by philosophers such as Kant, which set limits to the possibilities of knowledge at the boundary of the unconditioned. The question of even defining an organism, let alone its evolution, is likely to defeat the early efforts of biologists to map out the space-time nexus of developing creatures.

The improbability of random mutation and natural selection performing the task of evolving complex organisms has always haunted Darwin ’s theory, which can’t even define the organism to be evolved. The defensive claim by biologists such as Richard Dawkins that natural selection is actually non-random, shaped by its environment, misses the point, and changes the meaning of the terms. Non-random evolution, able to climb Mt. Improbable, should take the form of macroevolution in some sense, and we are left wondering if we are not missing something, the ‘missing force’ driving evolution. In the data of the eonic effect, we have found exactly that. Darwinism suspiciously resembles a misapplied ‘Newtonian’ science where the second law of motion is confused with the first. What we think is evolution might really be microevolution, the horizontal differentiation of forms under the regime of bare survival. The uphill of evolutionary advance might show the sudden appearance of some other process. This possibility is simply withdrawn from consideration because it raises the possibility of evolutionary directionality, or even teleology, and violates the canon of the four basic physical forces.

It is significant that the real founder of evolutionary theory, Lamarck, naturally posited two processes or levels to evolution, these being reduced to the single level of natural selection by Darwin . We are left to wonder if our observations of evolutionary emergence run true, and actually detect the process at all. Conjectures about punctuated equilibrium fall naturally into this uncertainty. The vistas of deep time are an almost unimaginable expanse, and it is all too easy to project backward a ‘likely explanation’ or ‘Just So Story’ based on the convenient inference of natural selection. But the fact remains that we have barely observed this realm of primordial time. We have enough evidence to detect the fact of evolution, but close range observations, sufficient to track the course of natural selection over many generations in designated geographical regions, is missing, and any theory demands this higher standard of evidence. In fact, the standard of historical chronicle suggests that ‘how things happen’, at least with respect to human evolution, requires a very high evidence density, ‘facts’ at the level of centuries or less.

We have virtually no data sets that match this requirement, with one exception, world history, the chronicle of the emergence of civilization, now seen in the light of the archaeological revolution, showing us a relatively detailed record since the invention of writing , and an incomplete but still usable history beginning with the Neolithic. Although we naturally distinguish in our minds the domains of history and evolution, there is an obvious relativity to the distinction, and we cannot exclude the possibility that evolution and history overlap, and that we can find evidence of evolution in historical times, or, conversely, that the real ‘beginning of history’ lies in the earlier periods of the descent of humans. If we distinguish the two, then a paradox arises: how does evolution become history? There ought to be some sign of a transition between them. In fact, the evidence of the so-called Great Explosion is highly suggestive in this regard. But since this transition would by definition be a unique circumstance its evidence, if any, would show a change in direction, or an intermittency, as it interacted with the basic continuity of evolution. This would be visible as some kind of non-random patterning of evolutionary data, and, if we were lucky, alternation in a series. It would be worthwhile to subject world history to a careful randomness check, to see if our data shows any signs of a non-random pattern, or the tail end of this possibility.

We don’t have far to look, and discover that our work has unwittingly been done for us by historians. World history always had a suspiciously clustered character to its chronicle, witness the clear perceptions of advancing and medieval periods. We have an immediate clue to a non-random pattern. And this can be seen from two perspectives. By trial and error, under the assumption of discrete alternation, we discover very easily a non-random sequencing based on an interval of about 2400 years. This can be calibrated around the years -3000, -600, and 1800, these dates taken as tokens of an interval of transition of some kind. Periods of strong innovation and seminal renewal occur around these intervals, with strangely sluggish intermediate periods. We cannot ascribe this to chance. From another angle, the second of our intervals begins with what scholars have come to call the ‘Axial Age’, the extraordinary pattern of synchronous emergence across the Eurasian land mass, from Rome to China in the interval from ca. -900 to -400. A spectacular period of simultaneous advances achieving a new order of civilization occurs in a very short period of time, and then, unexpectedly, shows a distinct fall-off in its creativity. Almost as significant as the phenomenon of the Axial Age is the history by contrast of what arises in its wake. It seems as if an age period has been set, and the advance slows, as the system realizes the potential in the period of its transition. It is in this context that we see the significance of the rise of the modern. It is, as it were, the ‘next’ Axial Age, the sudden emergence of a new stage of advance, in a precise timing, and generating a new phase of civilization, now as a global oikoumene. Suddenly the era leading up to the Axial Age becomes transparent as we move backwards to find the first of our ‘axial’ intervals at the birth of civilization, in reality, the first visible transition in a mysterious series. It is probable that we can keep on moving backwards, but we begin to reach the limits of close range observation required for our analysis.

 We called this overall perception of general sequencing in world history the ‘eonic effect’, and it qualifies very easily as a non-random pattern. It is much more than that, but to a first approximation, we see that in the one interval of historical evolution for which we have centuries level data the thesis, and assumptions, of randomness fail completely, leaving us with the unsettling suspicion that missing something in the prior eras of the descent of humans. A phenomenon on this scale cannot sit easily with conventional assumptions about evolution. Indeed, the data confirms our hunch that the passage between evolution and history should take form as a series of transitions, in the alternation between ‘evolution dominant’ and ‘history dominant’, in a braiding of periods expressing a kind of ‘evolution of freedom’. This ‘eonic evolution’ forces Darwinian thinking into a photo finish test, one that it fails, for the data effectively falsifies the basic claim of Darwinism, the efficacy of natural selection, as far as history is concerned. We can see that the eonic effect shows the way that history is brought to bypass the horizontal outcomes of such a microevolutionary process..

 

    Notes

   Web:  chap7_6.htm

 
 

 
 


 

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Last modified: 10/04/2010