Humanity’s Evolutionary Destiny
A Darwinian Perspective
In evolutionary history, no two sub-species have ever been able to cohabit a limited ecology. The outcome of this inherent selective conflict is written in the history of the human genus Homo, that is, the successive increases in brain size and intelligence and the disappearance of earlier, less corticalized forms of Homo. Civilization will eventually be shaped by the domination of Homo sapiens sapiens.
Table Of Contents
- About the author
- About the book
- This eBook can be cited
- Books by Seymour W. Itzkoff
- Part I—Dynamic Progressions
- Chapter 1. Originating Adaptations of Animal Life
- Chapter 2. We Dominating Mammals
- Chapter 3. The Primate Pathway
- Chapter 4. Homo: Wherefrom?
- Chapter 5. Natural Selection of Homo
- Chapter 6. Cro-Magnon—Homo sapiens sapiens
- Part II—Evolutionary Outcomes
- Chapter 7. Homo sapiens sapiens: A Unique Animal Intelligence
- Chapter 8. Civilization: Symbolic Dynamics
- Chapter 9. Civilizational Dynamics: Exemplars
- Chapter 10. Symbolic Thought: The Universal, the Plural
- Chapter 11. Cro-Magnon’s Progeny: The Modern Mind
- Chapter 12. Dream of a Universal Humanity
- Chapter 13. Natural Selection of Humanity
- Chapter 14. Reality Suppressed
- Part III—Our Twenty-First Century and Beyond
- Chapter 15. Conditions of International Survival
- Chapter 16. Utopia Interdict
- Chapter 17. The United States in Transition
- Chapter 18. Catastrophe, Renewal, and Law
- Chapter 19. Destiny
Humanity’s Evolutionary Destiny is an essay intended to integrate our biological heritage as a species with our current and future social embodiments of this evolutionary process. It is a product of many years of study, much writing, teaching, and lecturing. Above all this writing has been stimulated by the growing concern for the future of our own biological species. We are in this precarious situation together, and need a Darwinian perspective. Humans still are biological animals despite the social and political buzz to the contrary. All right, unique perhaps, but still subject to those classical principles of evolutionary dynamics laid down by the great Englishman and his worldwide scientific successors.
The reader should first know that this writer is a liberal in its classic twentieth-century sense. Growing up in a semi-socialistic working-class family, the first thing I learned was the need to stay with factual reality, if only to keep our heads above water, to survive. Reality checking eventually forced us from socialism, with its ideological mirage, a product of tough times.
The evolutionary perspective here being presented as both prolegomenon to and explanation of our ongoing international crisis is a result of my own ← 1 | 2 → movement away from satisfying youthful emotionally rooted ideologies. As one of my professors once said, quoting another: “If you are not a communist by the time you are twenty, you have no heart. If you are a communist by the time you are thirty, you have no mind.”
In the latter parts of this book I will try to apply our Darwinian evolutionary knowledge of who we are as animals to our contemporary situation of perpetual crises. Sadly, our chaos of confusion is a product of an as yet undisciplined dimension of our human nature, religion/ideology. It has been very difficult to rein in these fantasies of mind whether theological or secular. Our contemporary world of science is still marred by enslavements, persecutions, wars, and genocides, now for well over a hundred years and ongoing. Perhaps several hundreds of millions of innocent Homo sapiens have been sacrificed in these most recent delusional carnages.
Thus while the exposition in the following chapters is factual and explanatory, the underlying vision is moral: to return us to a liberal vision of secular reality, so that we can deal practically and rationally with these accumulated, if unique evolutionary and historical circumstances, mostly of our own making. Using one’s cortical capacities to distill reality from fantasy in order to act with practical world efficacy is in itself a deeply moral commitment. Perhaps in the process we could save the rest of the living forms that accompanied our species forward in time, and which have been decimated in kind and numbers in our ignorant thrust to momentary evolutionary power and dominance. These remaining vertebrate and non-vertebrate companions through time also need our consideration.
The reader should be helped to understand the context behind the words that follow in this book. How did the writer come to the views that he presents in summary and conclusion? What is the nature of this claim to be liberal? Many might see in these arguments a substantial deviation from what is today deemed “liberal,” especially in these precarious times.
Growing to maturity in a post–World War II world, I was an activist for social equality, striving with unions and other “liberal” organizations to shed America of its racial, ethnic, social-class prejudice and deprivations, a supporter of the 1950s Civil Rights Movement’s generation of new ideals of enthusiasm and hope. To rid all governmental impositions of inequality was the great ← 2 | 3 → dream of a Martin Luther King and of all his liberal contemporaries. Even into the ’60s, with Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” reintroduction of government activism in creating the more equal society hoped for by everyone, this novitiate academic was still on the bandwagon.
However, in spite of enormous efforts by the liberal community, governmental and voluntary, equality wasn’t happening. The renewed institutional efforts to open the doors to opportunity weren’t working. Here was the perennial hypothesis in the search for social equality. Stop the institutions of power from discriminating. Instead there now arose a steadily increasing cacophony of demonization. Supposedly, deeply ingrained prejudicial motives were subtly impeding these moral efforts. If so, only greater government intervention could reverse this majority incubus of hatred.
Naturally, in a free society all assumptions of power had to be analyzed and critiqued. By the 1970s the psychologists, psychometricians, had begun to analyze the mystery of the lack of success in equalizing minority achievement with the majority. Their analysis was built on over one hundred years of research concerning IQ. This earlier seminal work by scientists of the mind involved no racial and little ethnic analysis. It concerned itself with the existing majority Europoid populations of Europe and North America. Its aim was to relate educational and workplace achievement with presumed bio-genetic diversity in intellectual potential. But this new 1970s research, because it now discussed majority/minority IQs, quickly became anathema to those arguing for purely societal causations. Such analysis thus became “politically incorrect,” and finally subject to institutional interdict. Most researchers, psychologists, anthropologists, and geneticists quickly scurried to the sidelines to save their careers.
But why would not a factual analysis promulgating a non-societal causation be warranted, at the least as legitimate intellectual inquiry? We needed to know the truth. The vendetta against these researchers also smacked of totalitarian-like ideological intimidation. After all, other policy routes might lead to human equality rather than the one that led to the demonization of a society and then the tremendous ideological political pressure to introduce massive socioeconomic redistribution.
To this writer, the purely psycho-genetic explanations fell short of the necessary explanatory structure that might allow for a more rational set of social policy initiatives. Then began a decades-long study into the origin and meaning of what really was a world of inequality. Viewed within this 1970s context it was clear that the issue was not necessarily a racial one. The ← 3 | 4 → Japanese, Koreans, and the Chinese were demonstrating very clearly that they could emulate and even outrun the dominant Europoid ethos (even if the Japanese could not win its mid-twentieth-century world war).
My graduate training was in the philosophy of science (physics) and in epistemology, a neo-Kantian analysis into the workings of the human mind as the mind constructs knowledge from its sensory origins. Parallel with this study was a deep curiosity about evolutionary theory itself. There had to be answers here, to allow us to understand the clear differences in human civilizational and cultural attainments throughout human history and into the realities of the twentieth- and twenty-first-century world.
These differences ought not stimulate the angry rhetoric that had now spread into what once was the liberal intellectual community. There were enough evil doers in this twentieth century to explain its horrible events, without creating pseudo-demons. Any research that would attempt to clarify the realities of such human differences in general intelligence, IQ, ought not to exclude the further step and question, why? Certainly nature could tell us something about our heritage and destiny, of both evil and good.
Thus, over the past three-plus decades I have been researching and writing about humanity’s evolutionary push into contemporary reality. My most comprehensive and recent analysis of our evolutionary journey, The Inevitable Domination by Man (2000), summed up the purely evolutionary forces that brought modern humans to the fore. This present essay takes the argument and much of its substance from this earlier work. It adds new materials, as well as a significant expansion into the historical and contemporary circumstances of the United States and the world around us. Evolution has consequences, even into our own day.
While some of the research conclusions of the earlier work were controversial, both theoretically and concretely, I am gratified to note that in every case these hypotheses, after more than a decade of third-person scholarly research, have in the main been substantiated and in no instance have they been factually countered or refuted.
Creationism: Right and Left
The ultimate contemporary concern of this book is that the western European/North American leadership has been led astray by the emotional pulsations of the lower brain now blurring the critical cortical functions of factual analysis. This is understandable given the avalanche of scientific, technological, economic, and demographic change and expansion hurled at us by the past several centuries. ← 4 | 5 →
We are a species that behaves not as militarized ants. On the contrary we are specialized vertebrates now with very diverse non-instinctual symbolic enthusiasms, desires, and skills. For all of civilized history we have seen conflicts even among closely related ethnicities and nationalities that have attempted to annihilate each other for reasons of social difference. Our horrifying civil war, which set ethnic whites against each other because of moral concerns about slavery, freedom, and equality, is but one recent example.
Perhaps Karl Marx codified this most recent intellectual malaise in his theory of history, his revolutionary predictions of European class warfare, again, “like against like.” Indeed this happened in World Wars I and II, with many genocides and the Holocaust for good measure. The modern ideological embodiments of this perception of human difference and inequality are revealed in the horrors of modern fascist and communist totalitarianism—here, punishment of those who succeed. These same demonological views about talent differences may be more latent in the West. However the effect of those policies—which do not encourage and treasure intellectual and social accomplishments, which on the contrary encourage social dependency—places the so-called democratic world on the road to national suicide.
To explain this intellectual perversion of reality one can invoke the term “creationism.” Oddly in one of the most advanced societies on our planet, the United States, we have seen official attempts in the various states to outlaw Darwinian perspectives on evolution and at the least institute for parental choice the Judeo-Christian Bible’s perspective on the origin of humans as set forth in Genesis. Most of these individuals in power able to shape the education of the young, either in the lower schools or in state-run higher education, find no difficulty in functioning in the modern world, probably applying in their own practice mass media versions of Darwin’s supposed fang-and-claw “selectionism.” One might call these creationists of the “right” quaint atavists. But, they have too much power.
Fortunately, the rational scientific community has rallied in the varied states to forestall the complete misshaping of young minds. However, in vast portions of the world such ideologies dominate the education of the masses. In only a few Islamic nations do we see any attempt to limit the religio-obscurantist controls of the imams over the minds of young and old alike. ← 5 | 6 →
An even greater insidiousness lies in the creationism of the left. It should be said that Marx himself was a devotee of Darwinism, and in many ways shaped his argument in terms of the selective powers inherent in evolving modern economic systems. But his totalitarian followers reshaped the argument to assert that humans had no inherent biogenetic social needs. Stalin, following the work of the theorist Michurin, allowed his lackey, Trofim Lysenko, to try to reshape Soviet agriculture, this to enable him the more easily to collectivize the kulaks, functioning Soviet farmers, mostly in the Ukraine. Ultimately Stalin subjected them to genocide.
Unfortunately, environmentally reshaping oats into wheat and barley into corn or whatever fantasy Lysenko attempted to realize in his Lamarckian anti-Darwinian and anti-Mendelian crusade, created an agricultural disaster. Lamarck, an eighteenth-century French visionary naturalist, thought that changes to the phenotype (external characteristics) of an individual or species during its lifetime could be transferred to progeny. But that was interesting and innocent eighteenth-century speculation. By dint of Stalin’s purges, many great Russian biologists and geneticists were eliminated; most died in the gulags. The idea that humans had no inherent biogenetic characteristics that could make their way into the social arena was anathema to an ideology that despised and feared inherent human diversity of mind.
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- Publication date
- 2016 (February)
- Humanity evolutionary history civilization biology brain neurological function natural selection