The question of evolution is on the one hand empirically robust, but fails as a theory based on natural selection or random evolution. How science got hijacked by this confusion has been studied many times, but the reality fails to sink in, although that has finally started to change, viz. the work of academics such as Fodor and Nagel. Long ago Robert Wesson exposed the issue in his Beyond Natural Selection, but it sank like stone, although Wesson seems to have survived ostracism. The issue is starkly simple and can be used by amateurs and outsiders against the attempted paradigm control of the ‘pros’ who are rigidly controlled by academic cancel culture, and/or fired on the spot for dissent. Fred Hoyle long ago exposed the utterly stupid statistical fallacy of natural selection. But instead of facing this reality we find for example the Wikipedia entry with a page on ‘Hoyle’s fallacy’. This situation borders on the grotesque and has corrupted scientific discourse. You have to be wary of scientific claims ‘from now on’, although the issue on that score is easy to resolve: the hard sciences do their work right and are extremely careful to show proof, experimental verification. So the basic sciences: physics, biochemistry and a host of properly based sciences in relation to these basics, e.g say climatology, etc…In fact evolution, Darwinian or not, demonstrates a break point from the hard sciences to more marginally scientific fields like sociology, psychology, and…evolution. Evolution is NOT a hard science in the sense of theory, but very robust at the level of empirical discovery and description. The latter gives a veneer of rigor to the former which in reality is a tricky state of affairs. The issue is utterly simple, yet rarely discussed, let alone debated: evolution has insufficient evidence from deep time to verify the action of natural selection. We can see the fact of evolution as an empirical demonstration of fossils but that a given trait or species emerges by random evolution and natural selection has never been demonstrated properly in any case. Often marginal cases that seem related confuse issue, e.g. the ‘evolution’ of the biochemistry of covid. But the issue of term ‘evolution’ for such casesis misleading. Many have demanded a distinction of micro and macro evolution to clarify the confusion here. Macroevolution is usually equated roughly with species formation, while microevolution is a lower level process that includes many processes far short of speciation. Speciation could never be processed at random: it is analogous but far more complex than, say, constructing an airplane. It is simply nonsense to say that a complex body plan could self-construct at random. Further, as noted, we have very little evidence of natural selection doing anything in a demonstration at close range: it is an impossible task. Not a single case of natural selection generating speciation in deep time exists, a remarkable fact. Biologists have exited the realm of science into speculative fiction and failed with natural selection. And the result is a pseudoscience at the core of science, education and public philosophy, undermining scientific and social integrity.
How did this situation arise? We still haven’t quite figured it out. In part Darwin was just plain stupid, but buttressed his claims (which many have thought really the work of Wallace) with a general philosophy of culture poisoned by British imperialism, racism, and incipient social Darwinist ideology and the way it finds favor with capitalists. The critics lost headway as the social philosophy of Darwinism took root and rooted deeply where others could make no headway. A recent book by Vintner: Some Mistakes of Darwin (which I can’t endorse since I haven’t fully read it) discusses the way some attempted to warn Darwin: Herschel, for example, who saw at once that Darwin’s theory couldn’t be right. In addition, there is work of the teleomechanists in the Kantian school who developed the rudiments of a theory done right in the period of the high Enlightenment, introducing the controversial issue of teleology. And then there was Lamarck who essentially produced the first draft of a true theory as a two level process, viz. the rise of complexity and environmental interaction. The two level distinction emerges from that. Wallace we should note soon progressed beyond Darwin but like the others he could gain no traction. The problem is that if you preceded the first form of an evolutionary theory the mystery of the subject is baffling and a theory of ‘natural selection’ (a double entendre) acts as place holder for a proto theory. All in all this is an almost horrifying situation, especially the way social authority has made any doubt on the question verboten. It is a clear case of the Big Lie at work, enforced by academic and scientific orgs who soon become locked into an unfalsifiable delusion.
The work cited above might help to demonstrate the complexity of real evolution and the way the term ‘evolution’ can apply to both deep time speciation, and the descent of man, and remarkably to the emergence of civilization. We can’t be sure but the evolution of civilization as the so-called ‘eonic effect’ shows realistically a glimpse of evolutionary action. First, with the invention of writing ca. 3000 BCE man began to make historical records and that makes all the difference: we hardly understand the Neolithic, no one kept records at close range. With the invention of records history starts to show structure if you have records over five thousand years at the centuries level. Suddenly we see, or suspect, the remarkably simple and suddenly obvious first draft of an answer. The reason for this is that ‘evolution’ operates in a frequency system with a wave length that shows system return. It operates over the surface of a planet, both locally and globally, It shows directionality and generates forms in a given region in parallel planetary sectors. And…gasp, it must be able to do ‘system return’ to its prior action. A real humdinger! There is more, but we can least ground the subject in a saner depiction. This is not a theory yet, but it points in that direction. However a key mystery remains: the form factor, ultra complex that generates body plans, and species formats, and tests them against environments, operating by system return over diverse regions. It is thus a directional hence probably semi-teleological process.
We will stop here, careful to be wary of any staments about deep time, and stopped in our tracks by the realization that evolution is complex by an order of magnitude beyond our current ‘sciences’. And we are confronted with the issue of design arguments. The latter has produced the so-called Intelligent Design group which rightly exposes the factor of design. To call that Intelligent is a speculative extension to the clear reality of design.But make no mistake, ‘design’ is real: biological machines as the action of chance is a laughable interpretation. The connection of evolution in the sense of civilization to the evolution of organisms/man is strewn with pitfalls, and we can detect only a small fragment in world history, but the evolution of organisms, and then of man, and then of civilization, must overlap in some sense: organisms develop ‘freedom’ in some sense, viz. the emergence of ‘animals’ with some degree of free locomotion, and then rise of increasing levels of autonomy in primates and then the actual ‘will’ in some sense in man with his mind, self, etc…And the actual dramas of freedom in history. Is there not some continuity in these subjects?
We can fall into a trap here, because the ‘predicate’ intelligent may only be a wild guess. The eonic effect shows overwhelmingly the way some macro process generates seed ideas and forms. It seems intelligent indeed, but while the evidence for design clear, the predicate ‘intelligent’ suddenly complicates the issues with navigate into rock of speculative metaphysics. In a Kantian vein we can’t produce a proof of the existence of ‘god’ using design arguments. Ironically, a secularist might do better with design arguments because the theism confusion here is rampant. This generates religious and ‘creationist’ hallucinations in a metaphysical theism. This has confused the issue: the issue of cosmological ‘creation’ is not resolved in the theism of the monotheist Old Testament. Creative evolution, however, must exist in some natural, and not supernatural process. Our technologies will feed science with new insights but as yet we cannot yet even come close to evolution, as far as we know. The emergence of AI for example is highly suggestive, tantalizing: maybe some process bootstraps evolution and the result is mechanical yet getting smarter as it goes along. Speculation, but clear case where new technology makes us start some serious headscratching.
The issue of evolution then is at a threshold to a new form of science beyond the basics like physics and in the nonce the subject has been captured by rogue metaphysicians, Alack!