Comments on Edmund Chattoe-Brown’s Essay (2019) “Does Sociology Have Any Choice But To Be Evolutionary?”

— Notes on Text

This work examines an article by Edmund Chattoe-Brown, appearing in the Frontiers in Sociology (26 Feb 2019, https://doi.org/10.3389/fsoc.2019.00006).  My comments rely on the category-based nested form and other relational models within the tradition of Charles Peirce.

‘Words that belong together’ are denoted by single quotes or italics.

Prerequisites: A Primer on the Category-Based Nested Form, A Primer on Sensible and Social Construction

Recommended: The Human Niche, An Archaeology of the Fall, How to Define the Word “Religion”, Two Primers on the Organization Tier, Speculations on Thomistic Evolution

— Table of Contents

Introduction and Conclusion   0001

Cheese in the Middle    0004

The Sandwich is Firm   0010

Evolution and a Cheese Sandwich     0022

Conclusion    0029

— Introduction and Conclusion

0001 Edmund Chattoe-Brown opens with an observation.

Sociology, as an academic discipline, tends to rule out evolutionary approaches.

Surely, sociologists want to avoid any connection between social behavior and genes. Or, should I say, society and genetics?


First, it is not polite.

Second, anthropologists have already thrown in with Darwin.  Archaeologists are convinced of the importance of evolution in understanding where the world comes from and how humanity comes to be.  Any sociologist interested in evolution can go into anthropology.

Consequently, sociologists face a choice whether or not to adopt evolutionary approaches.

0002 Edmund Chattoe-Brown concludes his essay, asking “What can evolutionary accounts do for sociology?”

For one, let us not put the cart before the horse.  Sociology is not to be at the service of evolutionary accounts.  Just the opposite, evolutionary accounts should make sociology “fun”.  Sociologists should not walk on eggs when discussing evolutionary accounts.

But, what is an evolutionary account?  Descent with modification?  Natural selection?  Or does it always reduce to biology, innate dispositions and the reading of gene sequences?

For two, today, sociology is a jumble of eclectic approaches, making it difficult to define a disciplinary core.  What kinds of analysis do sociologists engage in?  Non-quantitative historical sociologists rely on one toolbox.  Social statisticians work from another, quantitative toolbox.  One provides diachronic insights.  The other offers synchronic results.

Well, evolutionary accounts have similar specializations.  For example, diachronic radionuclide dating of fossils and synchronic genetic surveys complement one another.

For three, evolutionary analysis is able to lay a foundation for both diachronic and synchronic approaches.

But, obviously, such evolutionary analysis is not biological.  Genes will have nothing to do with unifying sociological evolutionary theories.

So, what does the term, “evolution”, mean to sociology?

0003 I suppose that evolutionary analysis is like a horse, at the service of sociology.  Also, sociology is like a cart, held up by a wheel on either side.  One wheel is historical and qualitative.  The other wheel is statistical quantitative analysis.

Chattoe-Brown sits in the driver’s seat of this horse-pulled cart, driving out of the barn of the introduction and conclusion.

— Cheese in the Middle

0004 Okay, my metaphors are goofy.  I hope that that will be a source of comfort and entertainment.

Chattoe-Brown’s introduction and conclusion act like two slices of bread.  In the middle, he places the Agent-Based Model (ABM).

The idea of an agent appeals to the theoretical inclinations of the historical sociologist.

The ABM allows the narrow numerical focus of the statistical side of sociology.

Does that mean that the ABM will contribute to evolutionary approaches?

I defer an answer.

0005 I ask, “How does the ABM fit into the category-based nested form?”

In order to answer, I draw upon A Primer on the Category-Based Nested Form and A Primer on Sensible and Social Construction.  These short pieces are enough to build a bridge between an ABM and an evolutionary approach.

0006 What does it mean to be an agent?

Well, an agent does “things”, broadly defined.  These things are actions that, ideally, can be qualitatively observed and quantifiably measured.  A bare-bones survey asks three questions.  What is happening?  What are you doing?  Why are you doing what you are doing?

In the synchronic moment, an agent acts2, in the normal context of what is happening3, upon the possibilities inherent in accomplishing ‘something’1.

Here is a picture of this content-level nested form.

Figure 1

0007 What does the term, “agent-based model” indicate?

Well, an agent does things. What is happening3 defines the content levela of an interscope.

 In addition to what is happening3a, an agent has the potential1 to situateb what he or she is doing2a.  This assessment1brelies on what I am supposed to do2b.  This assessment2b occurs in the normal context of what does it mean to me3b.

For sensible construction, what I am supposed to be doing2b better make sense2b.  These elements are both real and contiguous.

Here is a picture of this situation-level nested form.

Figure 2

0008 The situation-levelb actuality2 takes on the complete, dyadic structure of Peirce’s secondness.  The category of secondness is the realm of actuality.  Secondness consists of two contiguous real elements.  For the agent who models “his” own actions, the two real elements are making sense2b and what I am supposed to do2b.

The nomenclature looks like this: making sense2b [contiguity] what I am supposed to do2b.

The term, “contiguity”, typically means contact, attachment, dependency, sharing, holding together, two closely timed events and so forth.  Contiguity expresses causation, in the broadest sense.

The empirical sciences try to relate contiguity to material or force-field causation.  For example, iron filings on a sheet of paper align to the magnetic field of a magnet beneath the paper.  A magnetic field causes the iron filings to align.  The notation is magnet [contiguity] iron filings.  The contiguity is the magnetic field.  The contiguity is the point of interest for physicists.  They aim to mechanically and mathematically model this field.

What about the contiguity between making sense2b and what I am supposed to do2b?

The contiguity between these two real elements is yet to be articulated.

Still, the sociological imagination should already be engaged.  Humans always make sense2b of what they are supposed to be doing2b, even when their behavior makes no sense at all, to a so-called “disinterested” observer.

0009 Situationb virtually emerges from (and situates) contenta.

Together, they compose a two-level interscope.

Sensible construction is the hallmark of the two-level interscope.

Here is a picture of these two levels.

Figure 3

— The Sandwich is Firm

0010 So far, I imagine that an agent is an individual in community.

I am disabused of this notion with Chattoe-Brown’s first example.  The agent is a business firm.

Does a firm fit the picture of what an agent does2a and what an agent models2b?

Well, I suppose some translation is necessary.

0011 I start with the content level.

How does a business firm compare to an individual in community?

Here is my guess.

Figure 4

0012 The business firm obviously belongs to a different tier than the individual in community.  The relation among tiers follows the same pattern as the interscope.  The organization tierB emerges from (and situates) the individual in community tierA.

Nevertheless, there are parallels in the relational structures.

Management3aB ought to know what is happening3aA in the firm.  Sometimes, it3aB does not.

Production2aB strives to accomplish what must be done2aA.  This necessitates cooperative action.  Cooperative action increases productive capacity.

Does management2aB know this?

If they don’t, then human resources1aB should tell them3aB.  If the firm is not running smoothly, capital1aB is not put to best use.

There is a certain irony in the location of both labor support1aB and capital1aB.  Typically, labor associates to production2aB, the actualization of financial capital1aB.  However, labor2aB also comes with its own human capital1aB, which may or may not be utilized by a firm3aB.

Surely, this is an opportunity for sociological research.  What is the nature of human capital1aB?  Can human capital1aB be treated in a fashion that complements financial capital1aB?  

0013 What about a comparison of the situation levels between the firmbB and the individual in communitybA?

Figure 5

0014 This comparison touches base with Chattoe-Brown’s example of sales and price.

The firm3bB places products2bB onto a market1bB.  If the products do not sell2bB at a given price2bB, then the situation becomes dire for the entire firm.  In 1950, the economist, Armen Alchian, discusses a discontinuity between individualsAand firmsB.  The stakes are higher for firms, even though no one dies when a firm goes bankrupt.

Yes, the death of a firm seems so much larger than an individual’s fate.  Many individuals have done what they are supposed to do2bA, working at the firm3aB.  Suddenly, the firm no longer makes sense2bA.  A dream becomes a nightmare.

0015 The market is like an actuality independent of the firm.

Can a firm be considered an adaptation into a market niche?

Does that sound evolutionary?

What is a niche?

The following diagram presents Darwinian evolution as a sensible construction.

Figure 6

0016 The normal context of natural selection3b’ brings the actuality of an adaptation2b’ into relation with a niche1b’.  A niche is the potential1b’ of an actuality independent of the adapting species2a’.  

By comparison, a firm is an adapting species.  The actuality independent of the adapting species2a’, is the market.  The market2a’ is as changable as an evnironment2a’ or ecology2a’.  However, the biological terms do not capture the character of the market2a’, because the market is both material and immaterial.  The market plays upon what is real and what is imagined.  The Germans formulated a word that captures the market2a’ as a quixotic being.  The term is “Zeitgeist”.

Time is real.  Ghosts are unreal.

No wonder ancient civilizations worship the space between earth and heaven.  The god of the air, the wind, the cloud and the storm works under various names, including Yaltaboath.  Yaltaboath behaves like the actuality underlying the niche that any corporation adapts to.  Is Yaltaboath the personification of the open market’s multiplicity of specializations?  What about the market’s creative destruction?

0017 And, what about the times before civilization?

What about the era before business firms?

Is our current Lebenswelt the same as the Lebenswelt that we evolved in?

Consider An Archaeology of the Fall.

Okay, that’s a plug.

The contemporary firm belongs to our current Lebenswelt.

0018 Chattoe-Brown’s example of the firm as an agent-based model brings me right to the threshold of evolutionary theory.  The civilizational Zeitgeist is as fickle as Yaltaboath.  Change is in the air we breathe.  Yet, at the same time, each civilizational Zeitgeist lasts long enough to establish firms and profit from their endeavors.  Yaltaboath rewards as well as punishes. Attending to this god makes sense.

0019 So, let me go back to the previous figure.  Let me summarize.

How does natural selection3b’ work?

An actuality independent of the adapting species2a’ exists.

This actuality2a’ has a potential that can be exploited by the adapting species1b’.  This potential is called the niche1b’.

An adaptation2b’ exploits its niche1b’, leading to increased reproductive success in natural selection3b’.

0020 How does the business firm, as an agent-based model, fit into this picture?

The situation-level of the firm is the adapting species2b’.  The market is the actuality independent of the adapting species2a’.  So, the niche1b’ is the potential of the market2a’.

Here is how that looks.

Figure 7

0021 So, the content-levela of the firmB does not even appear in an evolutionary approach.  It is as if the abilities of management3aB, production2aB and support staff1aB are assumed to be functional.  The sales department1bB situates its product2aB as something that offers an advantage in the current market1b’.  Every product2aB fills a market niche1b’.

Just as every adaptation is a guess about how to exploit a niche, every firm speculates about the market that operates independently of the firm.

Of course, this must be a first approximation.  A second approximation will be required, because the presence of the firm itself may alter the market.

— Evolution and a Cheese Sandwich

0022 So far, the agent-based model is the cheese between the bread of the introduction and the bread of the conclusion.  As it turns out, the agent-based model may be re-articulated as a two-level interscope.  The two-level interscope is synchronic.  The two-level interscope expresses sensible construction.  The two-level interscope belongs to the organization tierB, which has parallels to the individual in community tierA.

Here is how that looks for firms.

Figure 8

0023 Plus, there is a diachronic, evolutionary twist.

For firms, the entire nested form for the situation levelb goes into the slot for adaptation2b’ in Darwinian evolution.

Here is how that looks.

Figure 9

0024 If sociology has no choice but to be evolutionary, then this double vision cannot be avoided.

The situation-level of a firmbB must be analyzed as it emerges from (and situates) its corporate content-levelaB.  To me, this analysis includes synchronic data and time-restricted models, typical of quantitative sociology.

The situation-level of a firmbB must also be pictured as an adaptation2b’ into a market niche1b’, where the market2a’ is (on first approximation) independent of the adapting species. (The second approximation brings in the idea of niche construction).  This drama is depicted in historical sociology.

Surely, the double vision cannot be resolved into one, even though both start with the relational structure of the agent-based model.

0025 With this said, I proceed to Chattoe-Brown’s second example of agent-based modeling: foraging.

He dwells for three sections on a case study for foraging for food.

Perhaps, the simulation applies to elk, in addition to ancestral hominins.

Is that a far cry from firms?

After all, the agent-based model starts with a two-level interscope of individuals in community.

Here is how that looks.

Figure 10

0026 This raises an odd question, “Does the individual adapt, in the Lebenswelt that we evolved in, in the same way as the firm adapts in our current Lebenswelt?

In our current Lebensweltthe firmb’ adapts to the potential of the market2a’.  The market offers rewards (and punishments) in the milieu of unconstrained social complexity.  The behavior of a firm allows agent-based modeling to the extent that the Zeitgeist remains sensible.

Does this parallel human evolution?

0027 Consider the key hypothesis presented in the masterwork, The Human Niche.

In the Lebenswelt that we evolved inthe situation level of the individual in communityb’ adapts to the potential1b’ of triadic relations2a’.  Triadic relations offer opportunities for sign-coordinated cooperative actions.  Surely, the milieu is constrained social complexity. The innate behavior of individuals allows agent based-modeling to the extent that ecology remains stable.

Here is how that looks.

Figure 11

0028 This raises interesting questions.

Do markets2a’ and triadic relations2a’ have common characteristics?

My impression?

The more diverse the market and the more diverse the sign-relations, the greater the “wealth” of organizationsB and individuals in communityA, respectively.

0026 Is there a homology between the adaptations of firms and individuals in community?

Here is a comparison of the two situation-level nested forms.

Figure 12

0027 My impression?

A sale2bB matches what I am supposed to do2bA.

A price2bB points to making sense2bA.

What about the potential of situating production1bB?

The sales department echoes an individual trying to situate what “he” is doing1bA.

No wonder everyone seems to be selling themselves.

The resonances multiply. 

Individuals in communityA enter into the market2a’.

Individuals in communityA also enter into management3a, production2a and support for a corporation1a.

So, the organization tierB and the individual in community tierA are entangled.

0028 Does that suggest that Chattoe-Brown’s cart is going out of its lane or that the cheese sandwich melts?

No.  But, it does imply that genetics has nothing to do with the way sociologists investigate the organization tier.

Of course, biologists confound genetics and evolution.  They apply for grants on the grounds that genetics solves questions in evolution.  It does.  But, there is always another, often ignored, side to biological evolution.  That side is Darwinian natural selection.

Chattoe-Brown’s exercise in computer models concludes that both the environment and genetic-dispositions are in play in the evolution of foraging strategies.  However, these “genetic-dispositions” are not phenotypes, they are adaptations.

Geneticists can eat their cake and have it too.  Their cake is phenotypes.  But, they claim that phenotypes are the same as adaptations.

Sociologists must approach evolution in terms of Darwinian natural selection.  Institutions are adaptations.

— Conclusion

0029 Is there a disciplinary core to sociology?

According to Chattoe-Brown, not at this time.

Chattoe-Brown is an enterprising sociologist.  He tries to sell agent-based modeling as the portal to evolutionary approaches.  The gambit works because agent-based modeling is a symptom of human evolution and a feature of the organization tier.

Human evolution occurs in the Lebenswelt that we evolved in, as illuminated in The Human Niche.

The organization tier differentiates from the society and the individual tiers in our current Lebenswelt, as portrayed in How to Define the Word “Religion”.

The transition from the first Lebenswelt to the second is a unique, prehistoric event, the first singularity, as captured in the fiction, An Archaeology of the Fall.

0030 Chattoe-Brown anticipates that evolution will provide a disciplinary core to sociology.

He may be correct in ways that he does not currently imagine.

There may be a parallel between the evolution of firms in our current Lebenswelt and the evolution of humans in the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

Here is a short list of comparing firmsB and individuals in communityA.

Figure 13

Comments on Edmund Chattoe-Brown’s Essay (2019) “Does Sociology Have Any Choice But To Be Evolutionary?” (Introduction)

Prof. Edmund Chattoe-Brown publishes a work in Frontiers of Sociology (26 Feb 2019; https://doi.org/10.3389/fsoc.2109.00006)

He asks, “How will sociology eventually face topic of evolution?”

Well, at the moment, sociology does not face up to evolution.  In this, it ignores two important points.  First, social organization does not explain itself.  Second, social organizations are historical, therefore one must account for novelty and genuine change on the macro-level.

Chattoe-Brown proposes that Agent-Based Models may provide paths to packaging evolutionary theory for sociology.

In the next blog, I comment on this article.  I place these comments on my blog in order to introduce intrepid students and teachers to the style of the masterworks and commentary available at Smashwords.com.  The methodology is synthetic.  The results are astounding.

The comments on Chattoe-Brown’s essay start with a question, asking, “What does a sociologist mean by the word, ‘evolution’?”

Is evolution only about genetic changes over time?

Or, does evolution pertain to civilization and history?

What is the logical structure of evolution?

These are good questions.

For example, in economics, there is a clear connection between prices and sales.  Is this connection an adaptation?  If so, what is the niche?

For example, in sociology, there is a clear connection between “something that makes sense to me” and “the answer to the question, ‘what am I supposed to do?’”.  Is this connection an adaptation?  If so, what is the niche?

The comments in the next blog track Chattoe-Brown’s argument into the thicket of Agent-Based Models.  Institutions behave like individual humans.  They try to figure out normal contexts and potentials.  Agent-based models allow the inquirer to see parallels between the relational structures of organizations and individuals in community.

The comments touch base with three master-works.

The master-work, The Human Niche, argues that our genus adapts into the niche of triadic relations.  If this is so, then humans think in terms of triadic relations, such as the category-based nested form.  Do current agent-based models account for this?  Yes, they are structured according to category-based nested forms.

The master-work, An Archaeology of the Fall, proposes that our species underwent a fundamental cultural transition during the past 7820 years.  The first singularity potentiates unconstrained social complexity.  This is precisely what Sociology studies.

The master-work, How to Define the Word “Religion”, opens the door to inquiry into our current Lebenswelt.  Clearly, our current Lebenswelt is not the same as the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.  Sociology investigates our current Lebenswelt.

In the long run, Sociology has no choice but to be evolutionary.

Sociology has a choice as to how to approach evolution.  Is it only a biological process?  Or does evolution follow a particular logic?  If so, then that same logic may apply to social change.  The category-based nested form may well be integral to how Sociology finds value in evolutionary concepts.


Comments on J.B. Stump’s Article (2020) “Did God Guide Our Evolution?”

0001 These comments are offered on my blog as a sample of the character of works that are available for sale at www.smashwords.com.  They seem rather dry and technical.  Nevertheless, they offer an innovative postmodern approach that should interest enterprising students and scholars.  Here, the category-based nested form and the two-level interscope come into play.

These categorical structures are introduced in A Primer on the Category-Based Nested Form and A Primer on Sensible and Social Construction.

0002 J.B. Stump offers his views in the March issue of Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith (volume 72(1), pages 15-24).  Perspectives is the flagship publication of the American Scientific Affiliation.  Stump’s article may be available for download at their website.  If not, please request.

Stump addresses the question, “Did God guide our evolution?”

He reviews several broad ways to answer, then discusses his favorite.

0003 So, does God guide our creation?

What about the scientific description of human evolution?

These questions point in different directions, C2 and C1.

The second direction (C2) is that God intentionally creates human beings in His image.

The first direction (C1) claims that evolution is the best scientific explanation for the origin of our species, Homo sapiens.

0004 These two claims can both be formulated as category-based nested forms (CBNF).

The CBNF contains four expressions.  The fourth is paradigmatic.  A normal context3 brings an actuality2 into relation with the possibility of ‘something’1.  The subscripts refer to Peirce’s categories.

0005 Now, I associate features in each direction to the CBNF.

The normal context3 for C1 is science3.  The normal context3 for C2 is the Genesis portrayal of God’s work3.

The actuality2 for C1 is human evolution2 and for C2 is the Genesis creation of humans2.

The potential1 for C1 is ‘natural selection and genetics’1.  The potential1 for C2 is ‘the picture of humans as images of God’1.

0006 Here is how that looks in technical notation.

0007 So, did God guide our evolution?

According to Stump, the first strategy (A1) for answering the question relies on semantics.

I ask, “What problem does semantics solve?”

Well, I see two nested forms.  How do they interact?

0008 Normal contexts follow the logic of exclusion, alignment and complement.

If they exhibit the logic of exclusion, the nested forms come into conflict.  It’s God’s work3 or science work3.  It is either one or the other.

If the logic is complement, then one could end up with Steven Gould’s idea of “non-overlapping magisteria”.  This is not much of a complement.  Perhaps, a truce is a better description.

If they exhibit the logic of alignment, then one nested form virtually emerges from (and situates) the other.  This structural relation is called a “two-level interscope”.  The two levels are contenta and situationb.  Contenta goes with Peirce’s category of firstness (the realm of possibility).  Situationb associates with Peirce’s category of secondness (the realm of actuality).

The two-level interscope has two flows.

In the upward flow, contenta underlies situationb.

In the downward flow, situationb orders contenta.

0009 So, I have two statements (C2 and C1) and two levels.  Which goes with which?

Here is where semantics comes into play.  Semantics is about language.  When I talk about science, my words are usually content-oriented.  When I think about God’s creation, I am contemplating my own (and everyone else’s) situation.

There is another, more technical semantic argument.  The religious statement (C2) cannot be situated by the science statement (C1), because the Positivist’s judgment rules out metaphysics.  The Positivist’s judgment is developed in Comments on Jacques Maritain’s Book (1935) Natural Philosophy.  I cannot help but smile at this application.  From a semantic point of view, how could science situate a nested form that it cannot consider?

Here is a picture of the semantic-ordered, two-level interscope.

Figure 2

0010 Ironically, this model initiates questions that key into Stump’s second answer, the nomological strategy (A2).  The nomological strategy suggests that the laws of human evolution are not well understood.  The laws of evolution may be, but there is something wrong with their application to human evolution.  Stumps reviews some critical arguments.

0011 The two-level interscope pictured above endorses the “yes, but” character of the nomological approach, addressing the question, “Did God guide human evolution?”

If science is so smart, then it should situate the religious nested form, rather than the other way around.  The fact that the Positivist judgment excludes metaphysics indicates that science can understand human evolution only in terms of material and instrumental causalities.  However, I personally situate the evolution of my species in terms of my religious sensibility, which involves immaterial causalities, such as final attributes and formal design.

What does this imply?

The ultimate human niche is not material.

Indeed, this is the central thesis of the masterwork, The Human Niche, available at www.smashwords.com.

0012 The semantic (A1) strategy may be adjusted by the nomological (A2), producing something like this.

Figure 3

0013 Well, if our hominin ancestors adapted over millions of years into a niche that is not material, then the third answer, the causal joint strategy (A3), comes into play.  The causal joint strategy suggests that God does not obviously intervene in human evolution, but God nevertheless creates.  The question is, “How?”  Stump considers several authors with very curious answers.

0014 These answers have something in common.

They exploit the dynamics of the two-level interscope.

The divine situationb guides the science contenta.

The scientific contenta underlies divine subtle interventionb.

“Subtle” means “below the threshold of detection”.

0015 How could this happen?

I only need to substitute God’s Will3b for the situation-level actuality3b and God’s Presence1b for the situation-level potential1b.

Here is how that looks.

Figure 4

0016 God’s Will3b associates to God’s work3b and what this means to me3b.

God’s Will3b provides subtle guidance to science work3a and what is happening3a.

Subtle guidance underlies the Anthropic Principle.

God’s Presence1b associates to the potential of humans (including me) being created in the image of God1b.

0017 How does God’s Presence1b manifest?

God’s Presence1b is the potential underlying God’s will3b.  Also, it1b stands in the slot 1b, which is the potential1b of situating the content level actuality2a.  This associates God’s Presence1b with the potential of situating human evolution2a.

This potential to situate operates according to joint causes, in the realm of possibility1.

God’s Presence1b virtually situates (and is emergent to) the potential of ‘natural selection and genetics’1b.  The word, “virtual”, means “in virtue” (rather than the modern use, “in simulation”).  The term, “in virtue”, goes with final attributes and formal design.

So, while the stuff of Neodarwinism may be scientifically regarded according to material and instrumental causes, the virtue of God’s Presence1b cannot be fully ignored in either the adaptation1a or the phenotype1a.  This is the central point of the joint causal (A3) answer.  Biologists cannot avoid joint causality when they discuss adaptation or phenotype.  Many modern biologists label God’s Presence1b, “chance1b” or “random1b”.

0018 In sum, divine subtle intervention operates in the realms of normal context3 and potential1, as pictured above.  Neither of these can be scientifically observed or measured.

0019 The pertinence of the joint causal (A3) semantic (A1) approach does not stop there.

Adaptations1a and phenotypes1a are actualities that have the potential1a of underlying human evolution2a.

That means that adaptations2 and phenotypes2 are actualities with their own nested forms.

One can imagine that God directly intervenes in either nested form by manipulating its underlying potential.  Such intervention avoids detection because the actualities, adaptation2 and phenotype2 refer to the same biological entity2.  In other words, two actualities2 constitute a single entity2.  Therefore, the two actualities2 are confounded.

0020 Let me develop this scenario in a little more detail.

Neodarwinism1a consists in two independent nested forms, as noted in Comments on Dennis Venema and Scot McKnight’s Book (2017) Adam and the Genome.  These nested forms belong to the situation-level of a two-level interscope.

In one, natural selection3b brings adaptation2b into relation with a niche1b.  The niche1b is the potential1b of situating an actuality independent of the adapting species2a.

In the other, body development3b brings phenotype2b into relation with genotype1b.  The genotype1b is the potential1b of situating DNA2a.

In the joint causal answer, God could directly manipulate either an actuality independent of the adapting species2a, the foundation of the niche1b, or DNA2a, the foundation of the genotype1b, without detection.  Why?  A change in one can mask a change in the other.  They are confounders.

0021 Here is a picture of these independent category-based nested forms.

Figure 5

0022 The adaptation2 is not the same as the phenotype2.  Each arises from a different potential1.  Each requires its own normal context3.  However, adaptation2 and phenotype2 pertain to a single actuality2, the biological entity, in this case, the human being2.  The human being is the intersection of adaptation2 and phenotype2.

According to the chapter on presence in How to Define the Word “Religion”, intersections are mysterious.  They contain contrasting features that cannot be resolved through the logic of noncontradiction.  Biologists present distorted views when they claim that evolution consists in either natural selection or DNA-based body development.  The intersection of these two nested forms codifies what biologists are really trying to say, but fail, because of preferences for either natural history or genetics.

0023 So, the joint causal answer suggests that, even if God directly manipulates the actualities underlying the niche1b or the genotype1b, scientists could never detect the intervention, because the evolved biological entity2 is an intersection, filled with contradictions.

Here is how that looks.

Figure 6

0024 This brings me to Stump’s favorite strategy (A4), the epistemological.

The epistemological strategy highlights the contrast between science work3a and God’s work3b, while simultaneously asserting that they cannot be divorced.  I am a product of human evolution2a.  I am created in the image of God2b.  Science work3a is what is happening3a. God’s work3b is what this means to me3b.

Here is a picture of that strategy.

Figure 7

0025 Now, I address the elephant in Stump’s room.

I do so in a roundabout way.

I start with a question about the question.

0026 Does God guide human evolution?

What is the difference between this question and…

Did God guide human evolution?

0026 One strategy to answer this question is semantic (A1).

Human evolution is in our past.  Are we no longer are evolving?  It sure seems that we aren’t.  In fact, who knows what we are doing?

0027 What does this imply?

The nomological strategy (A2) comes to bat. 

Homo sapiens comes into existence, and lives for some time, in the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

Currently, we are no longer in the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

Therefore, our current Lebenswelt is not the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

I conclude that a transition from one Lebenswelt to the other is missing in current accounts of human evolution.

This missing element is hypothesized in The First Singularity and Its Fairy Tale Trace and reflected upon in Comments on Original Sin and Original Death: Romans 5:12-19.  This transition is dramatized in An Archaeology of the Fall, available on www.smashwords.com.

0028 With this said, the joint causal strategy (A3) cannot be ignored.

If (as proposed in The Human Niche), humans adapt into the niche of immaterial triadic relations (such as the category-based nested form), then God’s work3b virtually situates nature’s operations, as understood by science3a.  In our evolution, the material world enters into an evolving awareness of immaterial triadic relations, without compromising its instrumental and material causalities.

0029 On top of that, the epistemological strategy (A4) says that God’s work3b and science work3a cannot be divorced, in the same way that what this means to me3b cannot be divorced from what is happening3a.

0030 So obviously, the elephant in the room is concordism.

Did God guide human evolution?  How does God guide us today?

These questions aim to harmonize scientific formulations and Biblical revelation.

Stump is on target.  Four different strategies apply.  But, the target is so much larger than he realizes.

For example, Comments on Christy Hemphill’s Essay (2019) “All in a Week’s Work” introduces a harmony between cognitive psychology and metaphors within Genesis 1.

The concord between humans created in the image of God2b and human evolution2a will prove to be multi-faceted, addressing who we are2b as well as who we evolved to be2a.

0031 My thanks to J.B. Stump for publishing his evocative article.


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