Saturday, April 25, 2015

Comment on Andrew Targowski's Winter 2014 ISCSC newsletter article "State of Civilization Where Are We Heading"

Benjamin L. Landis

I am very much disappointed in the article by Doctor Targowski in the Winter 2014 edition of the ISCSC.  Entitled “State of Civilization Where Are We Heading” it is ideological, not pedagogic; it is opinionated, not objective; it is superficial, not substantive.  Essentially it is the Gospel as declared by Doctor Targowski without any basis in history or fact.  And it is almost totally erroneous.
He begins by declaring “…Apparently man is unique universe-wise, too, or how do we explain that for 4.5 bln years no other “human” visited the earth or no signals betraying one have been recorded by the earth-based SETI system.”  This is nonsense.  The reason no other being has visited Earth is probably the same reason no member of our planet has visited any part of the universe outside our solar system.  We have not discovered how to exceed the speed of light.  We should not blame other societies for the same failing.  Years ago I remember Dr. Carl Sagan saying that there was a strong probability that other living species existed beyond our solar system.  Doctor Targowski’s reliance on the negative results achieved by SETI needs to be clarified.  Does SETI have the necessary equipment to probe the vastness of the universe and to detect living beings?  Has SETI attempted to do so?  If yes, has it covered the entire universe?
Next, he declares that the human species has evolved and endured thanks to the survival of the fittest.  Then, he immediately thereafter writes, maybe it was “…thanks to the skill of collective social life…”  And then again he continues by writing that “…another factor…was the advantageous shape of the hand…”  Or…  In fact, all these concepts are one.  They simply represent different phases or aspects of the evolution of the human species.  Furthermore, the use of the term “survival of the fittest” should have been clarified.  It does not mean in evolutionary theory the survival of the biggest and strongest and healthiest.  It means the survival of those organisms or animals which can best adapt to environmental changes.
The next paragraph that begins “…Further development of man was about the development of civilization…” is filled with inaccuracies.  Unfortunately, I cannot cite them in detail because of the limitation (500 to 1,000 words) on a blog post.
He begins the next paragraph by writing, “In the 21st century, the progress of the civilized man reached its climax, as illustrated by the …large scale use of the internet.”  This is totally unsubstantiated.  How can he know that civilized man has reached a climax?  Believing this, Doctor Targowski demonstrates that he does not understand what a civilization is.  He then writes, “The 21st century mass use of mobile phones…will soon lead to the contraction of the human brain…”  This is totally unsubstantiated.  Doctor Targowski needs to produce statistical or psychological proof that the use of mobile devices causes a deterioration of the brain.
In the next paragraph he states that the [internet] “...leads to the reduction of the world’s diversity as it promotes the expansion of the unified Global civilization…”  The use of the term “Global” is misleading.  Doctor Targowski needs to read Toynbee, who discerned the Westernization of the dying civilizations still in existence in the early 1950’s.  This “globalization” is a one way street.  Western Civilization is westernizing the rest of the world.  None of the other civilizations is impregnating Western Civilization.  But, in contradiction to what he shows on the chart accompanying the article, the world will not be completely westernized by the end of this century.  The transformation of a civilization, even a moribund one, takes centuries.
He then writes, “…the Global civilization…loosens [the] capability [of “social groups living in the same territory”] of self-defense and survival.”  This is a statement totally unsubstantiated by experience.  Doctor Targowski needs to explain how this could or would happen.
He writes, “This is expressed in the detachment of politicians from their service of the voters right after election and offering their services to various groups, scattered across the world, and represented by lobbyists.”  An unfortunate generalization.  He is saying that 100% of the politicians in all the countries of the world are corrupt.  He should know that this is not true.  There are bad politicians and there are good politicians.  There are honest politicians and there are dishonest politicians.  Someone once said or wrote (I think it was an Englishman) that a people has the politicians it deserves.  So, Doctor Targowski would do better to take after the people of the world and not their politicians.  Furthermore, “politicians” are a creation of Western Civilization’s democracies.  There existed civilizations before politicians and democracy.
Finally, he writes, “This is corroborated by the 21st century structural crisis of the states forming the Western Civilization, which in fact has been replaced by the Global Civilization.”  Again, wrong!  What does he mean by “structural crisis”?  Is he implying that 100% of the states of Western Civilization are undergoing this crisis?  He needs to substantiate that proclamation.  And lastly, he repeats his confusion:  Western Civilization has not been replaced by a Global Civilization.  On the contrary.  Western Civilization is creating a Global Civilization, but it will not come into full existence for several centuries.
My final word:  If you have time to waste, read the article, but don’t believe a word of it.  (I wish I could have been more detailed in my analysis of Doctor Targowski’s article, but I had word limitations imposed.)

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