September 14th, 2011 • 3:04 PM
REVIEW: The History of Mankind and the Biosphere Can Not Exclude Mankind

by Aaron Halevy

 
BOOK REVIEW:
“Evolutionary History – Uniting History and Biology to Understand Life on Earth”

by Edmund Russell
Cambridge University Press, New York, 2011
216 pages, paperback, $21.97
 

Lyndon LaRouche's Basement Team of researchers is developing the concept of biospheric management, in order to reorient current liberal scientific methods to the proper self-conception of mankind as creators. If mankind is to survive this current breakdown of the entire global financial system, he must confront the great fallacies in thinking which have brought him to this point.

Edmund Russell's book, Evolutionary History, is written first, as an analysis of man's specific effect on “evolution in populations of other species which in turn has shaped human experience,” and second, to forge from this, a new academic field which unites history with biology. “One of the central goals of this book,” he writes in his first chapter, “is to contradict the sense many of us have that evolution is something that happens, 'out there' – well away from us in time, well away from us in space, well away from us as a species, and certainly well away from us as individuals.”

This view, to expand the study of human history to include a knowledge of the history of the biosphere and its changes over billions of years, is a case which the great historian and dramatist Frederich Schiller would agree, “... the whole history of the world at least would be needed to explain this very moment.” Yet in attempting this, Edmund is debilitatingly unaware of the genesis and the effects of the mental disease known as environmentalism which plagues our species today. We live in a society today which has been effectively lobotomized. Very few human beings recognize that human beings are the only species on Earth who can willfully express the unique characteristic of creativity, and the people who should be most cognizant of this fact, "scientists," are often the most ignorant of it. To propose a “synthesis of man and nature” today, without taking this qualitative difference properly into account, is flatly untrue.

Evolution of the Biosphere

Edmund begins his study from the works of Charles Darwin. “Evolution,” he writes, “involves changes in inherited traits or genes of populations over generations.” It can result from any cause including natural (i.e. animal – unconscious) or intentional (human – conscious). For Edmund, all forms of evolution, including man induced evolution, fall somewhere in these categories. “I like to think of this book as following in the Darwinian tradition, which partly explains my fondness for appealing to Darwin's ideas.” Apparently Edmund is unconcerned that Darwin seems consciously to have sold his own humanity to serve the animal kingdom instead.1i.e. The British Empire! See, The `No-Soul' Gang Behind Reverend Moon's Gnostic Sex Cult, by Larry Hecht, 21st Century Magazine (2002) 2See From Darwin's Autobiography, written in 1876, when he was 67 years old, 6 years before his death (pg 26):
 
“I have said that in one respect my mind has changed during the last twenty or thirty years. Up to the age of thirty, or beyond it, poetry of many kinds, such as the works of Milton, Gray, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Shelley, gave me great pleasure, and even as a schoolboy I took intense delight in Shakespeare, especially in the historical plays. I have also said that formerly pictures gave me considerable, and music very great delight. But now for many years I cannot endure to read a line of poetry: I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me. I have also almost lost my taste for pictures or music. Music generally sets me thinking too energetically on what I have been at work on, instead of giving me pleasure. I retain some taste for fine scenery, but it does not cause me the exquisite delight which it formerly did. … My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive. A man with a mind more highly organised or better constituted than mine, would not, I suppose, have thus suffered; and if I had to live my life again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week; for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied would thus have been kept active through use. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.”

The fallacy of this approach from the beginning, as Vernadsky states in his work,3See The Biosphere, by Vladimir I. Vernadsky (1926) is that there is no such thing as an individual species. All species are an interconnected representations of the developing biosphere as a whole; each individual form of life represents a sort of door through which the chemical elements – specific isotopes, including the cosmic ray spectrum – pass through; what Vernadsky termed the biogenic migration of atoms. All life must be observed as a single developing system. Each of the biosphere's new species is an advancement of forms with higher and higher biogenic-throughput into the living system. Evolution is a phenomenon of the system, as in the development of life capable of living out of the oceans in the Ordovician, or the period of the dominance of the mammals 65 million years ago, and can not be seen as a local change in the system. This process as a whole, striving into more complex life forms, into more species diversity, for over 4.5 billion years, reflects that which Moses Mendelssohn defines as beauty: “The striving for unity, a harmony in multiplicity.”4Moses Mendelssohn, On Sentiments (1761)

Mankind's Evolution

Mankind's emergence on the planet is easily understood as the summit of all the previous changes in this evolutionary process of the biosphere – until the turn of the 20th century, it was seen by most people as the obvious truth. Edmund cites a few examples of this view: Thomas Bell, in 1837 said that domestication shows the “triumph of human art and reason over the natural instincts of the inferior animals.” Yet in the chapter “Evolution Revolution” Edmund Russell mocks this view of man as “the master breeder narrative” and poses a few cases, such as the early domestication of dogs and the so-called agricultural revolution of 10,000BC, where these processes could been given less intention, and more chance and accident.

Dogs have been with mankind since before recorded history, so the genesis of this relationship is difficult to settle. An interesting Russian experiment initiated by Dmitri Belyaev in 1958,5Conducted by the Russian Academy of Sciences, through the Institute of Crytology and Genetics-Novosibirsk, Russia. took more than 100 wild Siberian foxes and selectively bred them on the basis of “tameness.” After only a dozen generations of this breeding some unique, unsuspected, but well known traits in these animals began to appear, as if miraculously. The new foxes began to have more curly tails, more floppy ears, their coats had more variation in color, they began barking (which foxes do not do) and they looked for attention from their human caretakers: they had been tamed, within the lifetime of one human being. Later, it was assessed that the adrenaline content was much lower in these foxes than their untamed cousins. The conclusion reached by the team was that the change in the adrenaline effected the chemical balance in the other genes, or combinations thereof and “this chemical imbalance made some traits dominant and others recessive.”

Now Edmund says the “master breeder narrative” compels us to believe this domestication process as intentional and full of imagination and pre-knowledge: early man must have 1. understood the inadequacy of his ancestor's methods of hunting, 2. must have imagined he could domesticate a wild species (which had never been done before) 3. “imagined traits in wolves … that they had never seen,” 4. “believed they could tame wolves by raising cubs in captivity,” etc. etc. This scenario shaped by Edmund in a specifiably pessimistic bent, brings him to the conclusion that this is all absurd, “In addition to calling for almost divine foresight and skill, the mater breeder narrative makes dicey assumptions about wolf biology.” The issue is not the knowledge beforehand which makes a discovery, it is the hypothesis about the universe which allows the unknown to be tested, anyone who knows Johannes Kepler's work , knows that that is what creative discovery, a uniquely human ability, is! That is the difference of man and animal.

Instead of accepting the paradox of all mankind expressing a quality of reason, Edmund writes, “Rather than assuming that people fifteen thousand years ago used breeding techniques common today, let us see how domestication might have resulted from actions hunter-gatherers took for immediate gain.” Edmund next forms “another narrative” in which he sees the wolves hiding outside the camp of nomadic man, picking up his scraps on the side. Those wolves who have the courage to come up and get closer to the men seem to have an advantage, and they eventually get very close to men, and eventually, by the benefits these specific wolves received, were tamed. Taken this “more likely” scenario together with the evidence from Dr. Belyaev's team, Edmund writes that “these findings, provide evidence that people could have created dogs from wolves, by piling chance on unwitting chance.”

In his other main example, Edmund poses the domestication of cotton and other plants in a similar way: 'some say mankind thought about domesticating plants, but I feel like you could say that it happened on accident, because man would shit out the seed near camp and eventually realize that he could farm from that.' Again he is viewing evolution and domestication as a change in relationship between two fixed animal species, and he asserts that domestication which benefits the domesticated rather places a demand on the domesticators, making them serve their partner species. “We might say that domestication depends as much on domesticating a population of human beings as on domesticating a population of non human species.”

Returning to the Vernadskian view, the universe is embedded with purpose, with intention, and Edmund Russell's failure to recognize that, and his inadvertent determination to attack its manifestation in mankind throughout his book, as is popular among the environmentalists today, is the source of his failure to grasp the higher role of man in the universe and our distinction to subdue the animals, not become them.

Mankind and the Biosphere

The main point of Evolutionary History, is Edmund's attempt to solidify the benefits of the unification of biology and human history. Edmund converges on this point, “as if by accident,” in asserting that each stage of human development requires the entire history of all living species, all civilizations, and their interconnections up to that point. His crowning example is the chapter titled, “Evolution of the Industrial Revolution,” in which Edmund argues that the invention of the cotton gin and the manufacturing capability of Britain which is called the industrial revolution was not all that should be credited, and that the whole 5000 years of farming and breeding of the cotton strain which was capable of withstanding the machines also should be included and credited for the revolution. “The agricultural revolution,” Edmund writes, “was an evolutionary revolution because it depended on domestication, which altered inherited traits and genes of populations and organisms over generations. So most of recorded history is a by-product of anthropogenic evolution.” Therefore “anthropogenic evolution facilitated the Industrial Revolution by enhancing the suitability of cotton fiber for spinning and weaving.”

Edmund rightly argues that this idea is itself a challenge to modern historians, “one might challenge my proposition on the grounds of intentionality, sufficiency, or proximity,” but instead of taking the point to assert this connection over long periods of time as prescient intentions. Edmund also rightly asserts that “when people modify organisms to provide human beings with goods and services, those organisms become tools.”

Yet in all cases, Edmund allows the environmentalist dogma of 'man as beast competing with beasts' to ruin his otherwise useful ideas. According to Edmund near his conclusion, human induced evolution of plants and animals should be seen as merely a “mutually beneficial,” agreement, “an adjustment … rather than one species imposing its will on another.”6Shakespeare's Edmund should love to join this remark with his infamous, “Now gods stand up for bastards!”

Mankind is an Immortal Species

The conclusion of Edmund's book, “...uniting the insights of history and biology in evolutionary history enables us to understand the past more fully than either discipline does alone,” might find its way into the future of human thought, but not in the way the Edmund wishes it. Only by rejecting the environmentalist-fascist ideology can man understand his true role on the planet and in the galaxy. When humans evolve, we do not grow extra limbs or webbed feet, we evolve in the culture, in the means by which we perpetuate our species at a higher quality and higher density of people. This is the view of Vernadsky, Lyndon LaRouche and the basement team, and only an understanding of this idea can bring about a moral and scientific view of mankind as both a living and a spiritual being in this universe as we know it.

We have arrived at a time in which there is no living entity on Earth which is too small, or too large for humanity to be able to study and interact with it. We aid the growth of plants by helping them develop certain characteristics, we keep alive those which would otherwise die off, or produce little; we protect animals, develop their best traits for survival, and bring them into a higher population density than they ever could alone; we bring new species into existence which would take hundreds of thousands of years to develop otherwise; we can have an effect on what we deem good as well as bad bacteria in agriculture. We exterminate diseases for ourselves and our animal friends; we plant new forests, drain swamps and marshes, create new water sources and bring rivers to deserts to transform them into fertile meadows. He tames the wildness of nature to create a place for a better peace of mind. Mankind uplifts all living things on this planet to a more important significance by his use, and brings life one step closer to it's goal: spreading life beyond this planet.

The place to truly begin the study of human history, is from the future: what will the human species be doing in 100 years? 1000 years? 10,000 years? As there has not been a limit to the habitation of man in any realm of the Earth so far, which has included short forays into nearby “space,” is there any limit on the potential of man to ferry civilization to other planets? To mine the Moon and to harvest the asteroids for their resources? Using those refined materials to manage a solar economy? To use that as a basis from which mankind begins to colonize the galaxy? And then beyond?

No, there is no limit to the creative potentials of mankind, there is no limit to the evolution of the biosphere which man shall bring with him as he develops, and therefore there is no second law of thermodynamics and no need to continue to tolerate the religion of environmentalism.

Footnotes

1i.e. The British Empire! See, The `No-Soul' Gang Behind Reverend Moon's Gnostic Sex Cult, by Larry Hecht, 21st Century Magazine (2002)
2See From Darwin's Autobiography, written in 1876, when he was 67 years old, 6 years before his death (pg 26):
“I have said that in one respect my mind has changed during the last twenty or thirty years. Up to the age of thirty, or beyond it, poetry of many kinds, such as the works of Milton, Gray, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Shelley, gave me great pleasure, and even as a schoolboy I took intense delight in Shakespeare, especially in the historical plays. I have also said that formerly pictures gave me considerable, and music very great delight. But now for many years I cannot endure to read a line of poetry: I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me. I have also almost lost my taste for pictures or music. Music generally sets me thinking too energetically on what I have been at work on, instead of giving me pleasure. I retain some taste for fine scenery, but it does not cause me the exquisite delight which it formerly did. … My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive. A man with a mind more highly organised or better constituted than mine, would not, I suppose, have thus suffered; and if I had to live my life again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week; for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied would thus have been kept active through use. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.”
3See The Biosphere, by Vladimir I. Vernadsky (1926)
4Moses Mendelssohn, On Sentiments (1761)
5Conducted by the Russian Academy of Sciences, through the Institute of Crytology and Genetics-Novosibirsk, Russia.
6Shakespeare's Edmund should love to join this remark with his infamous, “Now gods stand up for bastards!”

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The Basement Project began in 2006 as a core team of individuals tasked with the study of Kepler's New Astronomy, laying the scientific foundations for an expanded study of the LaRouche-Riemann Science of Physical Economics. Now, that team has expanded both in number, and in areas of research, probing various elements and aspects of the Science of Physical Economy, and delivering in depth reports, videos, and writings for the shaping of economic policy.

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