Progress Debunked: The Creation-Destruction Balance and Ancient Wisdom's Primacy

Progress Debunked: The Creation-Destruction Balance and Ancient Wisdom's Primacy

by Samuel W Thomsen

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781947537019
Publisher: Thomsen Technical Consulting, L.L.C.
Publication date: 09/15/2017
Pages: 212
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.63(d)

About the Author

Samuel W. Thomsen is a writer, philosopher, and software developer living in the Rockies with his wife and some brilliant, rambunctious little ones. He holds an Honors degree in Physics from Caltech, and master's degrees from the world-renowned departments of Philosophy and History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh. His essays on technology, education, and metaphysics have appeared in several journals, including Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, The Salt Lake Tribune, and The Sydney Traditionalist Forum. He blogs at www.samuelthomsen.com.

Table of Contents

Unscientific Preface

Introduction: The Argument All Too Briefly

Chapter I

MALTHUS’S PRINCIPLE, EXPLAINED AND EXPANDED

Misconceptions about Malthus

The Birth of Progress

Malthus’s Principle

Not Prophesy, Proof by Contradiction

Generalization of Malthus’s Principle

Malthusian Pressures are Common

Summary and Philosophical Implications

Chapter II

DARWIN’S LAW

Malthus’s Principle and Birth Control

Evolution and Birth Control

Darwin’s Question

The Influence of Malthus on Darwin

Darwin’s Theory in a Nutshell

A Note on the Terminology of “Selection” and “Mutation”

Eugenics as Tyranny

Can Mutation be “Overcome”?

Summary and Philosophical Implications

Chapter III

CULTURAL EVOLUTION

Biology versus Culture

Prototyping Humans?

Culture is Subject to Darwin’s Law

The Half-Hearted Debate over Cultural Evolution

Our Question: Can Culture Overcome Natural Selection?

Eugenics as a Kind of Culture

The Current State of Genetic Engineering

Cybernetics, Artificial Intelligence, and the “Singularity”

Darwin’s Law as Universal

Cultural Progress Debunked

Summary and Philosophical Implications

Chapter IV

VALUES AND THE BALANCE OF JOY AND SUFFERING

Joy, Suffering, and Utilitarianism

Creation Causes Joy, Destruction Causes Suffering

The Rise of Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism Evolves

The Balance of Joy and Suffering

Religion and the Evolution of Values

Biological versus Cultural Evolution of Values

Summary and Philosophical Implications

Chapter V

EVOLUTION AND COMPASSION

Does Human Evolution Equal Social Darwinism?

Social Reform versus Property Rights

Evolution, Religion, and Greed

Evolution, Diversity, and Charity

Altruism and “Group Selection”

The Ultimate Simulation and the Fate of Civilization

Summary and Philosophical Implications

Chapter VI

ECOLOGY AND THE FATE OF CIVILIZATION

Civilization and the Biosphere

Global Economic Growth and Ecology

The Past, Present, and Future of the Biosphere

An Eternal Mystery?

What We Can Learn

Summary and Philosophical Implications

Chapter VII

PHILOSOPHY REVITALIZED

How Progress Has Destroyed Philosophy

Progress Makes Monocultural Minds

How to Think the Ancient, Ecological Way

Back to the Classics

What is the Task of Philosophy?

Ancient Wisdom’s Primacy

Appendix 1: The Mathematics of Malthusian Equilibrium

Appendix 2: The Mathematics of Darwinian Equilibrium

Appendix 3: Evidence for Cultural Evolution in the History of Technology

Variation

Continuity

Blindness of Variation

Diffusion

Natural Selection

Appendix 4: Computer Simulations and the Evolution of Compassion

Suggested Reading

Bibliography

Endnotes

Acknowledgements

Index

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