Pitfalls of a Technological Animal: the Good Steward versus the Voramon
Copyright 2010, John Manimas Medeiros
Synopsis of the Work:
As a child I developed a desire to determine who and what we are. My aptitude as a student persistently returned to the compulsion to focus on the human identity and not a more specialized field of study that would have been far more likely to result in professional and financial success. No university or college has a Department of Human Identity. Spending much of one's life on such a personal search for truth is not a helpful element in the resume of a person seeking employment. I did find that social worker was the most suitable employment for me, enhancing understanding of human nature on many levels, adding to one's knowledge of how society works, what are human expectations, the human mind, and affording an opportunity to follow the advice of Jesus by nurturing the weak and liberating the strong. HERE I present a comprehensive thesis of the human identity that possesses the unique quality of being consistent with both science and religion (the teachings of Jesus Christ). My thesis is consistent with religion only if one considers the premise of my book The Primacy of Stewardship: The Handbook for Christians Who Believe in Democracy, to be convincing. In that book, the focus is on the scientific content of Jesus' teaching. With the concept of the "Good Steward versus the Voramon" presented here in this essay, I focus on ways in which modern science and evolutionary science in particular supports a conclusion that the Good Steward is the fittest to survive and the Voramon (Voracious, mindless, monster), cannot succeed because the Voramon is not the "fittest."
Critique of a Technological Animal:
I am like a visitor from another species examining the human species and concluding that the human species is a technological animal that possesses technology -- or technological skills -- without understanding. From my viewpoint, "science" means knowledge and more specifically science means knowledge of how Nature does what it does, and not how humans do what they do. "Technology" has a substantially different meaning. It is not even close to synonymous with "science" and it is restricted to a description and explanation -- always incomplete -- of how humans do what they do, how humans exercise control over matter (and over energy if energy is different from matter).
Scientific Dissent Equals Religious Dissent:
To dissent in a field of science, or many fields of science, is suicidal. If a person aspires to be a "scientist," conformity is just as essential as in any other human social engagement. Think of that "legal" phrase from the "art of war" called "the rules of engagement." To be a scientist requires social skills, and an extremely astute ability to manage the precise balance between conformity and doubt, compliance with authority and questioning authority. The scientist does not succeed as a scientist only because he or she possesses a facility with mathematics and the material of a particular field, such as biology or nuclear physics or astronomy. The scientist masters social and "legal" conformity in an environment of intellectual curiosity and the careful, very careful, selection of a doctrinal detail that can be questioned and "researched." The successful scientist rarely questions the entire house of cards. Only a few can do this, and only when there is a strong consensus in the authority for a scientific field. This is what has occurred today and is known as "the search for dark matter." The measurements made by most scientists in the field of astrophysics, meaning using measurements to measure -- from a great distance -- the quantity of "visible" matter in distant galaxies, yields results inconsistent with the most fundamental theories of modern physics, such as the general theory of relativity. The scientists report that "something is wrong." The matter that we detect is far too small to hold a galaxy together. There could not possibly be enough gravitational force to prevent a galaxy from flying apart. And there are more than a hundred billion of these galaxies within our "view." Therefore, there must be some form of matter that exerts gravitational force to hold the galaxy in its more or less spiral or circular or elliptical shape. Great forces are at work, cosmic forces, but we do not -- or rather our instruments do not -- detect the quantity of matter that would generate the gravitational force necessary to form a "visible" galaxy. In fact, the physical matter we detect is less than ten percent of what would be required to generate sufficient gravity to form a galaxy. What are we missing? And Why? And How? It is called "dark" matter because it is not visible to us. I find it profoundly meaningful that the physical science of the human species, supposed to be an "antidote" or the opposite of superstition and religion, proposes that there are "unseen forces" and "dark" entities in the universe that control the physical world -- not a spiritual world -- and exercise cosmic influence over virtually everything, including us, but we cannot "see" it. It is "dark."
Ever since I was a child I felt that I have a different outlook on life. I have believed or strongly suspected throughout my life that something separates me, or my thinking mind, from the rest of the human species. This phenomenon is called "alienation" by psychologists, and it can be considered to be a personality disorder or a mental illness. After all, if an individual really feels separate from all other people, it opens the doors to narcissism and emotional detachment. It could be used to justify criminal violence. When such detachment or a sense of superiority infects a group of like-minded people, it becomes elitism, oligarchy, racism, the worst of human behavior in political movements that seize power and justify genocide and authoritarian violence on a planetary scale.
Therefore, scientific dissent is considered to be very dangerous.
We are taught that during the Middle Ages in Europe there were religious dissenters who were severely punished by religious authorities -- imprisoned, tortured, executed, because they disagreed with religious doctrines. This is only partly true. During the Middle Ages in Europe, the religious authorities were also the scientific authorities; they were the ones entrusted with knowledge, with the storage and protection of knowledge about the real universe. Therefore, the "religious" dissenters were also "scientific" dissenters. They were scientists who disagreed with the science of the church. In our "more humane" society of today, scientists who disagree with the scientific authorities are not tortured physically or killed physically, they are tortured economically and killed politically and socially. They are not allowed to be scientists. They are expelled and labeled as "nuts" or irrational or as people whose position is simply not supported by "the evidence." Therefore, in the land of the free and the home of the brave, in the "world's greatest democracy," we do still have authoritarianism. Scientific dissent is severely punished. Those who propose that scientific doctrines are wrong commit social suicide. They become outcasts who must hide their viewpoints in order to have even an ordinary job. The power and influence and pleasure of a career in science is closed to them -- because they disagreed with the authorities. If you, the reader, do not believe this is true, ask a few scientists, especially graduate students, if this is true. This is what turned me away from a career in science. Millions of young students turn away from mathematics and science for this same reason: the authoritarianism of scientists is repulsive and overwhelming. The dissenter must hide, conceal their dissent until it no longer matters. A common assessment of men, by women, is true: when asked a question, a man, especially a scientist, feels compelled to pretend he knows the answer. A scientist is a man who is in love with his thoughts. I am a scientist, but I am also a scientist with a high level of self knowledge. Here, and in other writings of mine, I commit social suicide; I open myself to rejection and ridicule. Why? Because I might be right, and that is why I must sacrifice myself to the gods of knowledge. What we don't know can destroy us.
1) Anthropology and History
The Flaming Sword of Genesis: What Made us Human:
(The first cause of technological humanity) The ancient Greeks got the creation myth right --- Prometheus stole fire from Zeus and gave it to humans. There are many animals that can learn from experience (dogs, dolphins, birds, etc.) and have well-articulated hands (monkeys, squirrels, raccoons, even toads and chameleons). The technical breakthrough, in addition to the neurological breakthrough of rational and analytical thought, that made us human -- meaning that caused us to transform from ordinary animals into technological animals -- was when we lost our fear of fire. No other animal accepts and uses "friendly fire." Friendly fire enables offensive hunting, giving humans the power to terrorize virtually any animal or adversary, as well as the initial step in the basic technologies of home heating, flint tools (heat stones then douse with cold water), pottery, metals, slash and burn agriculture, safe disposal of dead bodies, sterilization, cauterization, and so on.
For a fictionalized commentary on the argument that humans are "fire monkeys," meaning mischievous risk-loving children, rather than mature and cautious "wise apes," take a look at: (Fire Monkey)
One of my personal interpretations of Genesis is that it is incomplete. There is a section that was removed and was lost. What is missing is the reaction of Adam and Eve after they realize they are expelled from Paradise just because they made a decision on their own. The story that is missing is that they came back to the gate where they were expelled and pleaded with the angel with the flaming sword to obtain God's forgiveness and be allowed back in. But the angel was prepared for this pitiful apology and begging for forgiveness.
"Sorry. Once you decide that you can learn on your own, God sets you free to learn until you have learned enough to understand who and what you are, and until you accept full responsibility for what you know and what you do. So long as you continue to attribute your fortunes and fate to God, you will not be ready to come back to the Garden and discover what it is. God loves you and wants you to succeed, but that means you have to do what you have already decided to do, learn on your own. You decided that you do not need God to tell you what to do, and that decision is final. It was your decision, not God's. Your decision was the sign that told God you were willing to learn from experience and he did not need to guide you any longer. Goodbye and good luck."
(The second cause of technological humanity) The ability to isolate "number" as an independent quality of objects in the external universe is and was absolutely necessary in order for an ordinary animal to become the human technological animal. Our capacity to learn from experience AND understand and manipulate matter with the level of precision that effective technology requires could occur if and only if we developed the ability to count and measure. All measurements are based on the same astoundingly simple process: identify a unit of measurement, then count the units. Arithmetic is the first technology, the first step in perceiving a natural physical process with precision and then planning and executing the action of controlling or manipulating a similar process (science and technology). We alone can measure and count and other animals cannot perform this function as we do, because we possess a small increment in mental skill that has the cosmic effect of elevating us from ordinary animal to technological animal: We can attach the quality of number to anything. We can and do conceive of number as an independent quality that is not necessarily attached to an object. One human being can say: "Give me a five." And a respondent human being can respond with five of anything, even five thoughts. Some primates can be trained to respond with five bananas or five blocks, but they cannot be trained to respond with five of anything, because their brains attach number to specific objects and cannot conceive or express number as an independent reality.
Without this ability regarding number, we would be rather interesting primates, but not the technological wonders that make us "human."
2) Psychology and The History of Science
The Age of Instrumentation:
When photography was first practiced in the nineteenth century, people said "Photographs don't lie." And it was believed that if one saw something in a photograph, such as a man kissing a woman, that photograph would serve as proof that the event depicted did occur. Such a photograph could be used as evidence in a court that the two persons involved met at the place shown in the photograph. The date and time could also be established by that photograph. During the twentieth century we learned how to make photographs lie. We even learned how to make digital photographs depict a moving dragon -- an animal that does not exist -- fly over a real house that does exist. We call this "special effects." We enjoy this technology in our entertaining films, but this technological ability is destructive when it is used to deceive and control the opinions and behaviors of people for political purposes. Keep in mind that this technology was already developed to such an extent as early as 1969 to allow some people to claim that the electronic depiction of astronauts landing on the Moon was faked. What might a government contrive in order to be in control of an entire civilization. Or the outcome of a military conflict? Or an economic conflict?
The photos and films that lie are only one example of a phenomenon that I believe reveals a defect in what I call twentieth-century physics. Although we are now in the twenty-first century, according to our system for counting centuries, virtually all of our physical science is based on theories and conclusions arrived at between 1900 and 1999. I believe there are fundamental flaws in this science. By that I mean we have not only made errors in our understanding of the details of reality, but we have made errors in our understanding of the fundamental rules or laws of Nature. I believe that our understanding of time, and of light and how it propagates, and of particle physics, is in error on a fundamental level. The reason for all of this error that I propose is one factor, the same factor that enables us to enjoy movies that provide us with "special effects," and that is what I call instrumental illusion. Even before the invention of the camera, artists and the pioneers of psychological science demonstrated that our own organic senses could cause us to experience an optical illusion. If objects were arranged just right, our brains could tell us that an object was distant, when in fact it was very close. A small object could appear large; an object could be made to appear inside a container when it was not inside a container. The camera was first understood to be an instrument that avoided this risk of a perception being an illusion. But, because of human technology and because of human nature, the instruments we create can be used to deceive instead of to ascertain. A film that employs special effects is an instrumental illusion.
Beginning before 1900 of course, but especially during the twentieth century, we manufactured more complex and more subtle instruments of detection and measurement. The psychological problem that attaches to our most complex electrical and electronic instruments of detection, especially our experimental instruments, is that physicists are still in the mind-set of the nineteenth century when it was believed that an instrumental measurement was vastly superior to a human perception and "does not lie." The belief in the superiority of instrumental detection is flawed. If we are not absolutely one hundred percent certain of what exactly a scientific instrument is detecting, then our interpretation of what it detects can be wrong. An instrument can detect what we would normally define as an "event" but we can interpret the detection as a "particle." The detection of infra-red radiation is also the detection of heat, or temperature. We know that, but there was a time when we did not know. Are there other physical phenomena that are the same but which we perceive as two distinct objects or events? An instrument that is deemed to measure "duration" or time span might in fact provide a signal that is not dependent on the beginning or end of a time span. On and on it goes. The certainty that an instrument has rendered a reliable detection is the basic premise upon which all of twentieth century science depends. If any instrument used in the experimental designs that gave us our basic principles was a misreading of what the instrument detected, then we have suffered the process of "instrumental illusion."
During the nineteenth century, the pioneers of modern psychological science were building the foundation that would enable the field to make the transformation from the study of the paranormal (hypnotism, visions of ghosts, séances, psychic powers, spiritualism) to physically executed measurements. This foundation led to what we currently call "psychometrics." This foundation also led to the electronic measurements that are used in the science of neurology and brain development and brain disease. What the psychology pioneers accomplished is enormous, and at the core of much social and political progress that has occurred in our time, including the effective description and defense of the principles of democracy. The pioneering psychological experiments can accurately be designated as "sensory tests" because they involved precise measurements of human perception -- hearing, sight, touch, duration of stimuli. However, there was and is a particular sensory test missing from the inventory of those psychology pioneers. Some would argue that this missing perception test is incidental and trivial. I believe it is profoundly important and the missing test created a kind of hole in both mathematical and physical science. To get your brain wrapped around this "outside the box" psychological theory of a defect in mathematics, take a look at: (The Missing Sensory Test)
and How the (Mathematicians Failed Civilization)
3) Physical Error #1: Time is a "Dimension"
Time as a Fiction of Consciousness:
I believe that time is a fiction of consciousness. This is a startling concept to many, including most physicists. Time t appears in virtually every mathematical formula deemed useful in the field of physics. However, I propose that Nature has no need for time and therefore a "background" of time is not necessary in order for any event to occur. Events simply occur. Nature is process, and Nature does not require nor create any records of what has occurred. There are mostly cyclical events in Nature (possibly only cyclical events in Nature), and therefore we use cyclical events as units of duration or units of time. Time is a measurement that we make, but Nature does not make such measurements. Physics is so enthralled and obsessed with time, that to conclude it is not a real, independent quality of the physical world is hard to swallow, hard for many to even consider. I am certain that time has no independent existence. I have attempted to provide convincing evidence and arguments for my position and links to such works appear immediately below. Note that physicists and other scientists argue that time is real and is the background upon which events occur. The essential quality of the "time" of physicists is that if there were no matter and no events occurring in the universe, there would still be the passage of time. It is like saying that for a very long time, nothing happened, but then an event occurred that was the beginning of the existence of matter. If time is independent of matter, then we can have time without matter and matter without time. If time is joined to matter, then all matter incorporates a quality that we call "time." This joining of matter and time is consistent with the inescapable reality that we cannot define, discuss or observe any occurrence of time without reference to the change that takes place in the material process of a cyclical event. This must mean, therefore, that time is inseparable from cyclical events. But cyclical events are simply what Nature does, events described as the process of ever-changing matter. When we count the cyclical events, our brain experiences the measurement of duration or time, but there is no physical evidence that this counting of units of time possesses an independent existence outside of our calculating, learning, observing brains. My perception and conclusion is that we possess a sense of time as the result of intellectual evolution: in order to be a technological animal, the animal must be able to conceive of cause and effect, and in order to conceive of cause and effect, the animal must observe the sequence and duration of events. The duration of an event is equal to the number of other cyclical events (years, months, hours, clock escapements) that occur between the start and end of that event. Physicists should acknowledge, logically, that in order to submit convincing proof that time exists outside the human mind, one would have to demonstrate that time is something other than a measurement. Why is this important? Because if the goal is to understand Nature, we need to know with certainty whether time is something other than a measurement of duration, something that is not restricted to the counting of cycles.
(A Non-Anthropomorphic Theory of Time) and (The Disappearance of Time)
and Theory of Electromagnetic Propulsion and the (Amazing Horseshit Clock)
4) The Physical-Philosophical Error of "Quantum Probability":
the Meaning of Free Will and Determinism
My psychological orientation to human nature has led me to psychoanalyze physicists as a group. The character of the mathematician, physicist and chemist involves accepting the myth that a scientist is automatically a "genius." The reason the public deems mathematicians and those who use math for their science of physics and chemistry is because they are technicians. Technology gives them power, and their power is held in awe. All of the power of warfare and medicine and mechanics and electronics arise out of the power of mathematics, physics and chemistry. But, scientist are only human and they make mistakes. When they make a mistake, the consequences are far more serious than when a landscaper plants the wrong shrub or a carpenter cuts a board short.
Physicists naturally have attempted to understand how the universe works at the smallest accessible level. That means physicists use complex instrumentation in order to "study" the behavior of atoms and "sub-atomic particles" and learn how cause and effect takes place within and around the nucleus of the atom. Of course, human technology in the field of "nuclear physics" has included the nuclear bomb and all of the more constructive technology that involves the characteristics of nuclear radiation. However, when humans "observe" an atom, the size of the student compared to the size of the subject of study is comparable to a person with an eyeball twice the diameter of the Earth trying to observe the expression on the face of a single human being. A physicist, whether genius or con artist, is guessing. That is why much of "nuclear physics" is theory. The theories are tested, and there is technology that works, but that does not mean we really know why it works. Technology invariably means creating a machine that can be operated by an operator who does not need to know why the machine does what it does, only how to manage the controls in order to get desired results.
Long ago, in ancient Greek society, a scientist who had no instruments to study matter, only his brain and his imagination, said that "there is a smallest possible particle" of matter. He called it an "atum" or "atom." The word "atom" is derived from the same word root that means "spirit" or "God." The atom is deemed by all physicists to be the smallest possible particle of stable matter. Each of the elements is comprised of an atom with a structure that is different from the structure of other atoms in terms of the number or protons, electrons and neutrons held together by forces not yet understood, but allegedly observed by manufactured instruments. Much of the basic theories of atomic physics has been popularized in high school text books. Physicists continue to study "particles" or alleged particles with a very expensive and very large instrument called a "particle accelerator." Twentieth-century physics includes many theoretical "particles" that exist but not within a stable atom. They fly hither and thither and are deemed by physicists to be possibly the secret or magical factor that determines how matter behaves in accordance with natural law. The physicists are so enthralled by their own imaginary theories, they have actually searched for, and announced publicly that they may have found, the "God" particle. That would fulfill their need to be priests as well as scientists, finding the key particle that, like "God," determined how the world works. They are no different from boys and girls chasing butterflies. They want to find the most beautiful butterfly and impress their parents and their peers, and those who pay for butterflies and bombs.
One of the most important and discussed theories of the physicists is "Quantum Mechanics" which describes how the behavior of the atom is not determined by individual electrons but rather by packets or "quanta" of electrons or "quanta" of particle energy. That is hardly a description suitable for a physicist, but it is just a statement that there is such a theory. There is also the "wave theory" of the propagation of light, and other things. Quantum Mechanics and "wave theory" include conclusions that at the sub atomic level, which means in practice at the atomic level, the behavior of matter departs from our traditional deterministic understanding of cause and effect, and that the outcome of a physical event is the result of probability. This viewpoint, defended forcefully by some physicists, would mean that the behavior of matter is not determined by cause and effect, but that the outcome of a particular event could be either A or B, or possibly C or a set of other "probabilities." There are "probability curves" and "probability waves." All this is used by some physicists to suggest that they have discovered the origin of "free will" or human freedom in the behavior of matter. This is nonsense based on the physicist lack of attention to what freedom really means. Freedom does not mean that matter is not ruled by cause and effect processes. Freedom means that a calculating, learning observer, a conscious and willful being such as a human being, makes plans and makes choices.
The intellectual problem of free will versus determinism is very old and has been contemplated by philosophers, theologians, scientists and practically everyone since humans could think. We hold people responsible for their behavior and that makes sense to us and seems entirely fair. But, if a person is mentally disabled in some way, by injury or disease, and appears to have lost contact with the meaning and outcomes of one's actions, then we make compromises on the issue of accountability and we sometimes go so far as to conclude that a person who committed what is normally considered to be a criminal act should not be found guilty, due to the evidence that they (the person in the brain) did not exercise personal control over the actions of their body. This concept of personal accountability is obviously key to the concept of "sin." How could a person be deemed to have "sinned" if their behavior has a cause or causes beyond one's willful control. Thus, morality, the concept of good behavior and bad behavior, requires the concept of individual freedom and free will. The individual chooses their behavior or there is no virtue and no malice, neither good deeds nor sinful deeds. Free will is deeply etched in the common concept of the human identity and human nature. It cannot be easily dismissed or discarded. Therefore, the physicists and chemists and mathematicians, who persistently explore the perfectly innocent "cause and effect" that is found in every nook and cranny of the natural and real physical universe, were always at risk of destroying the moral and legal foundation of civilization. This "cause and effect" phenomena could not be used to discredit free will and individual responsibility for one's choices and behavior. This is the intellectual threat, that modern science constantly presented to moral and religious philosophy. If everything, including human behavior, is subject to the process of cause and effect, then even though the elaborate causes behind an individual thought or choice might be difficult or impossible to list, that would still mean that the individual was not acting upon "free will" but rather upon "determinism," meaning the deterministic causes, however long or torturous the causal chain, the sufficient causes that caused the birth and development of that person, the thoughts and the personal decision resulting. Therefore, the physicists had and still have a disposition to discover a physical reality that does not discredit "free will." Some physicists have no problem with their search for understanding and do not see learning about "cause and effect" at the atomic level to be a threat to "free will." Let me offer an explanation that upholds both physics and free will.
Human brains plan and make choices:
The discussion of free will and determinism can go on at great lengths, involving excursions into the meaning of "can" and complex philosophies about how human beings make decisions or have preferences and genetic factors and on and on. All this can be very interesting, but none of it leads to a satisfactory conclusion. The key to the solution to the problem is first examining an event involving a human decision backward from the future to the past and then again from the past to the future.
If a woman chose to marry a man who asked her, we could trace the origins of her decision back to her thoughts about the man and about her situation, then an examination of her youth and development from child to adult, including key events in her life that impressed her as teaching important lessons, or principles, to apply when making important decisions. Then one could examine her childhood, the behavior of her parents and peers, and the moral codes of her reference group, meaning the religious or social groups with whom she identifies herself as being a loyal or nominal member, and then even the greater society or culture within which she receives her identity as a human being and a participant in social, economic and political life, and possibly spiritual life. This includes an enormous quantity and subtle qualities of "input" that can be reasonably expected to influence her concept of purpose, goal, and decision. With all this, we might even want to consider the possibility that the human brain possesses, through its vast complexity, the ability to revise and re-invent social and moral ideas and develop a set of principles and purposes that are uniquely personal and surprisingly internal and independent of all of the many external influences that we deem to apply force on the life decisions made by any individual member of society. In any case, as we traced the origins of this decision by looking backward at all of the possible events and forces and factors that would have an influence, it does appear that although we may not be able to draw a precise map of the causal chain, the long series of many contributing causes that we could say actually caused her decision to be what it was, we could logically advance the argument that her decision, however personal and no matter how much it appeared to be an exercise of free will, was in fact determined by the laws of Nature, and she could not have decided otherwise. This process of examining the origins of an act or decision by following a suspected chain of contributing causes over time, can have the logical effect of revealing that the subject act or decision was in fact caused and therefore determined by natural laws and not an act of a free will. However, we discover an equally powerful contradiction when we take the opposite trip, and examine what occurs after an individual makes a decision or takes a previously contemplated action -- conceives of a plan and acts upon that plan.
Plan, principles, purpose, goal, action, results:
Let's say that an adolescent boy or girl has an interest in making models and airplanes and is fascinated by the basic laws -- learned in school -- about powered flight (aerodynamics). Follow the boy. He earns money doing odd jobs and saves his money to buy a model airplane that will fly in circles, controlled by lightweight cables attached to a control handle, by means of a small gasoline engine. At the time that he is saving his money and thinking about the project, what kind of plane he wants -- he would look at kits for sale in the hobby store -- and how much he is willing to spend, and how long it will take to save enough money and then build the model, we must conclude that he has conceived of a plan. It does not matter at this point how that plan arose. We are not trying to discover on this trip the causes of his plan. It is there. It is a plan. It is a purpose and a goal. He is in fact applying certain principles that he must have learned during his as yet youthful lifetime: saving money results in the ability to make a larger purchase; building a model is a satisfying experience; flying a model airplane that is powered by a real internal combustion engine is fun -- and a little excitingly dangerous, but something for which adolescents receive enthusiastic adult approval. He makes the purchase, builds the model, buys or obtains any additional accessories needed. He takes the model to a field he knows to be used for such purposes, and has a friend start the engine. He has the control handle in his hand and the model plane rises into the air. He has had a little practice before so the plane takes off successfully and flies reasonably well in his control. The plan has been executed. There is more to come, but we have the elements of what we would logically call an act of free will. The person conceived of a plan and was aware, through previous education and experience, of the steps to be taken to achieve their purpose and goal. There were principles to be applied. In this case those principles included concepts of how to fly a small, engine-driven model airplane with cable controls. The project was a "success." The results, the effect that was caused by the boy's plans and decisions and applied principles, is what he desired. This was and is an act of free will. One might well wonder how anyone could question that this description of a plan, a project and its execution could be deemed to not be an act of free will. It is foolish and irrelevant to argue that the boy did what he did because of cultural values or because of the child-rearing practices of his parents. Once again, we are not examining the causes of his decision on this forward trip. What matters here on this examination of cause and effect, or determinism, is that the results of his planning and active behavior, the series of the many decisions he made over the process of saving, buying, assembling, and executing the flight of the model that was his original purpose, ALL occurred because of cause and effect, ALL occurred because the boy knew that certain actions and behavior would be followed by certain expected effects or results. In other words, the only reason this person, or any person, could conceive of a plan, adopt a purpose and a goal and then apply principles and knowledge in order to obtain the desired and EXPECTED RESULT (effect) is if and only if events in the natural world are DETERMINED by natural laws of cause and effect. By sticking to the mission to examine a plan and the results of an executed plan, without persistently trying to assign a specific "cultural" or behavioral cause to a person's motivation, we can see that the only way any human plan or project could possibly be worth the effort is if and only if the results we expect from our behavior are reliable, and in order to be reliable our goals and purposes must be effects that can be caused by known and executable causes. Stated in more mundane and direct words, if we could not do what we wanted to do, there would be no sense at all to the concept of free will. The only logical conclusion that one can derive from this examination of a human plan, forward to the results, is that free will cannot exist unless the natural world is determined by natural laws. This logical conclusion means that free will is not only compatible with scientific determinism, but in fact free will is impossible without scientific determinism. If we cannot choose a goal and achieve it, free will has no meaning. And, the only way we can choose a goal and achieve it is if the accomplishment of our goal is an effect that we know how to cause. This I submit as proof that the natural world or physical universe must be determined in order for a human being, or human group, to be able to make a choice (exercise free will).
5) Physical Error #2: Light Does Not Decelerate
Our physics is based upon the fundamental theory that light does not decelerate (slow down) over time or over cosmic distance. This means that according to modern physics light that was emitted from a star ten billion years ago is still traveling at the same velocity as the light that was emitted this morning from your light bulb when you turned on a lamp. But there is evidence, physical evidence acknowledged by physicists, that light is a particle, an electron that is in a certain energy state that causes it to behave as a photon particle. A particle is matter. If a particle of matter can travel for billions of years without slowing down, then it is not in compliance with other laws of physics. Matter cannot travel at the same velocity over cosmic distances unless it is subject to zero influence from other matter. That is not possible because space is not empty but is occupied by matter. Stated differently, if it is true that matter must decelerate over time when it is subject to the influence of other matter, and light is a photon particle, then light must decelerate over time. Light particles could avoid deceleration only if they were completely insulated from any influence from other matter. Further, being very small in terms of measurable mass, only a small mass of other matter -- or energy -- would logically be required to influence a traveling photon particle.
Physicists offer proposed solutions to this problem. One is "quantum mechanics" and sub-atomic nuclear physics, particle physics, wave theory, and other imaginative theories such as string theory and plasma physics. These are all interesting, but I do not see any satisfactory method to demonstrate that these are true "discoveries" as opposed to the inventions of physicists who are under pressure to "know" how the physical universe works. My view of modern science arises from my instincts and temperament as a psychologist. Physicists and mathematicians are suspiciously secretive and obscure about their world. They have a socially contrived assigned role to be "creative" and "imaginative" and "a genius." It is my carefully considered opinion that they are boys who want to please their parents by being creative, imaginative, and a genius. Or they want to please themselves and be liked by others by being creative, imaginative, and a genius. This social performance does not require that they be precisely correct, only impressive. They are impressive. But I believe they are wrong.
My attempt to describe my proposed theory of how light does what it does appears through the two links below. Essentially, I believe that light particles behave in a manner that is consistent with Newtonian physics, but for reasons no one fully understands, photons travel in a spiral path. The photon has most of the qualities of an electron, and therefore the frequency and amplitude (the spiral path that looks like a metal spring) determines the impact that the "radiation" of the particle has on both non-living and living tissue. Also, the particles (within the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation) are not really all traveling at the same velocity. Each particle travels at the velocity required to meet the limitation that all "spiral paths" are executed within the same fixed duration of time. In other words, the spiral path of the particle is like a dot on the outer edge of a spinning disk that moves along a wire that passes through the center of the disk. As the spinning disk travels along the straight wire, the dot traces a spiral path. The forward velocity of the flat disk is always the same, but the velocity of the spiraling particle, with each level of "radiation" tracing a spiral path of different frequency and amplitude, travels at a unique velocity. If the particle slows down, or changes its frequency or amplitude over time, that deceleration of the particle could cause the so-called "red-shift" of distant stars. That would mean the stars are not necessarily increasing their velocity away from our viewing site (Earth) but they are sufficiently distant for their light particles to slow down before reaching us. A related theory is that the alleged "background" radiation in space, deemed to be evidence of a "big bang" cosmic explosion that "created" the universe, is actually "spent light" or "old" light that has lost both its momentum and vector over cosmic distance and cosmic duration. Light or electromagnetic energy appears to be a "wave" because a wave is the appearance of a spiral path that is detected or observed in only two dimensions. The Spiral Path Theory of Light could be demonstrated if someone devised a special "gelatin" substance and a means to emit a single photon through a block of this "gelatin." If that photon marked a trail in the gelatin, it would not be a straight line but rather a spiral line. Most light might obstruct such a test, even if we could approximate such an apparatus, because most light might act like a mass of woven fibers with particles traveling in distorted spirals that intertwine and change their path patterns but create a cumulative effect of the "wave" phenomenon that is detected by the instruments believed by the physicists.
The Velocity of Electromagnetic Radiation: The Spiral Path Theory of Light: The (Spiral Path) Theory of Light and The (Spiral Path Theory Illustrated)
6) Physical Error #3: The Separate Designation of Energy
Event Theory: a Universe of Matter Only, or , Energy as a Fiction of Consciousness:
My observation of action in the universe, on every scale, suggests to me that the process of the natural universe is best explained and described by what I call "Event Theory." In Event Theory, everything that occurs in the universe is an "event." The separation of reality into matter and energy as being two different entities is discarded. Objects are events as well as actions or processes that we refer to by other words, such as "interaction," or "collision," or "explosion," or "energy." The initial and powerful evidence for the proposition that "energy" does not exist separately from matter, and is possibly another "fiction of consciousness," is the fact that we have no method to measure energy without direct reference to matter. If one studies the measurement of different forms of energy, one finds that an "amount" or quantity of energy is always expressed as the quality that the so-called "energy" imparts to the matter. For example, foot-pounds, or meter-kilograms of movement. A quantified measure of the energy of water falling is deemed to be the weight or volume of the water times the velocity, and of course the velocity is deemed to be the distance the water travels per unit of time (duration). I pursued this many years ago, and noted that anyone who endeavors to define the "force" of energy will find that there is no independent occurrence of force except in terms of the movement of matter or change in a quality of matter, such as temperature.
Another quality of energy that is suspicious is the time span in which it is deemed to occur. Before modern science, humans recognized the "energy" inherent in fire or in a galloping horse or in the "force" that drove an arrow into the air and through a shield or into the body of an animal. But we did not recognize the "energy" that occurred much more slowly, such as occurs in photosynthesis or the internal processes behind the growth of a plant. We did not conceive of internal invents, such as blood circulation or digestion as being events that involved significant quantities of energy. We did not know that planets revolving around a star were events that involved very large quantities of "energy." Energy traditionally was assigned to events that occurred very rapidly and that involved a visible and dramatic change in matter, often instantly, such as by a ship caught in a storm being dashed to pieces on a rocky shore. Energy was linked to "chaos," and matter was linked to "order" and "stability." A tree would not be described as "energy" nor a rock. But both the tree and the rock -- according to modern science -- are both receiving and radiating energy on a sunny day. Both were created by energy and will be changed by energy. What, therefore, is energy? It is something that happens. Energy happens. Energy occurs. But rocks, trees, cats and hammers happen. These are things that occur, and we tend to think of them as objects. But a cat is energy, isn't it? Following this line of thinking leads to my "Event Theory." The star is an event and the light that it emits is also an event, and if the star explodes, the explosion is an observable event and the "energy" that is observed and measurable in some way -- always with reference to matter -- is also an event. If both of these are treated as events: matter, which appears to be stable and enduring as is over time; and energy, which appears to occur as a continuous stream of violent change, which occurs either over an instant of time or over cosmic or deep time, then we can understand Nature not as being divided into objects and actions or into matter and energy, but more uniformly as matter only; and certain types of events possess the qualities of an "object" and other types of events possess the qualities of "energy," but both are equal in the eyes of Nature because both are events. Clearly, the most obvious quality of a material "object" is that it changes very slowly, and the most obvious quality of "energy" is that it changes quickly and we detect the rapid change as a form of "energy." But the object is also receiving and producing energy. If we simply assign each event the appropriate qualities, including the duration over which the process of change takes place, then we see that everything in Nature is an event, and every event possesses duration. All is process. When we change matter, we change the event. Energy is an acceleration of change.
7) The Evolutionary Superiority of a Good Steward Species
A superior intelligent species will not be exploitative of Earthly human beings because the pattern of exploitative behavior is not naturally selected for survival of a technological animal. A superior intelligent species will be a good steward, which is what Jesus taught and why I wrote my book, The Primacy of Stewardship.
Begin with "The Evolution of Evolution." Is this just a word game? Not at all. I propose that there is the evolution of evolution, and I would divide natural evolution into four main stages or phases:
1) Micro-evolution; the evolution of single-celled organisms and those of only a few cells up to those organisms that form colonies of many cells but more or less as though the entire organism is one "tissue," meaning, the colony that survives as a colony is really a colony of many of the same type of cell -- there is no differentiation into separate tissues at the cellular level;
2) Physical evolution; with differentiation into different tissues, and then the evolution of sensory tissues (eyes); auditory tissues (ears); vibration and texture tissues (touch); chemical detectors (smell); and then structural tissues: muscle, bone, blood, vessels, kidneys, heart, and so on. You get the picture. However, it is important to keep in mind that "brain" tissue occurs very early in the evolution of evolution, because any accumulation of sensory or motor nerve tissue (neuron, axon) of any kind, however small, is a brain. Transportation begins to evolve even at the cellular level, and continues of course, to invent transportation or movement modes in physical evolution.
3) Intellectual or intelligent evolution. That's us, or that is how we usually claim to be different from the strictly "physical" animals "beneath" us. This means of course that the survival trait or traits evolving in phase three are no longer "physical" but rather are "neurological" or "intellectual" or brainy. What this means of course is that the animal is no longer developing survival traits that involve physical structure or strength, physical skills (running, swimming) or durability, but rather a body of knowledge or a capacity for understanding that enables tool-making, learning from experience, recording of new knowledge, and all those intellectual and technological traits that play a role in changing and controlling the life-supporting environment, including obtaining food (hunting, farming) by methods that employ intelligent planning and technology, not just stealth and a good arm or accurate throw.
4) Spiritual evolution. That is the phase that we are invited to enter into, by Nature or natural process, and by the teaching of Jesus Christ. Thus, my argument that the teachings of Jesus is science rises to its most explained and most coherent level here, because this proposition endeavors to complete the building of a coherent and unified theory of the human identity. Let me explain…
1977. I am in a theatre with a very large screen, sitting mid-section with my two young sons, watching Star Wars. I am having a ball and so are they. The action is fast and exciting and it is so easy to distinguish between who is good and who is bad (not like real life -- stories serve to provide some truth with some relief from real life). One reason we are having such fun is because I like science fiction and my boys like adventure stories about heroes. They are normal boys, and I am therefore a proud father. Another reason I am enjoying this new high-tech special-effects movie with them is because I feel that I am sharing a dear part of my youth with them, when I went to the movies to see films about cowboys and Indians. Later we get Star Wars toys, a model of C3PO and R2D2. Later, Star Wars becomes the icon of an awakening philosophical age, the movie that is based on The Force and the nature of good and evil, and how they might both be found in the same person. Later…
And later, contemplating the Star Wars stories and what they mean, a lingering uneasy feeling becomes a fully formed thought for me, a very important and concerning thought: the Star Wars characters were cowboys and Indians. The good guys hit their targets with their comical laser rifles and pistols and the bad guys couldn't hit the broad side of a planet. The good are repeatedly chased by the bad and narrowly escape due to better skills and a lot of good luck (God) and the struggle leads to a situation where only the one hero -- or a very small group of heroes -- will be able to overcome the powerful forces of evil, the apparent greater strength of the bad, and save the day, the universe, humanity, and the faith of the audience. I could go on. Of course there is a love interest. Princess Leia (a most fortunate name) is an abrasive Tomboy with a galactic dowry. Han Solo is a bounty hunter with a heart, a friend (Chewbacca) and a reliable if rusty set of rockets (wheels). And so this crew, with the serious boy Luke Skywalker who wants to learn from Oh-Be-Something-Important Kenobee, how to "let the force be with you." The latent theme, molded to subtly hit one in the head with a sledge, is that Luke, an ordinary person, can become a superhero if he lets "The Force" lead him, so that he can exercise the strength, wisdom and skills necessary to defeat the big black evil one, Darth Vader. The dark side of evil doth (Darth) invade us, if we are not careful.
This sophisticated kind of philosophical interpretation -- there are other variations of course -- does not change the inescapable reality that what Star Wars suggests to us, is that after a thousand years or more of additional evolution, we are still cowboys and Indians, or, if you will, stubborn irrational assholes. That is the thought that disturbed me. Could this be true. My mind said "No." But this was more or less only an assertion in my mind. I could be accused of being optimistic, or childish, which is the accusation slung by cynics at anyone who argues that the human enterprise has a positive destiny.
Further, the main reason that Star Wars was so successful as a story and a movie (series) is probably that the "monster from outer space" is us, or certainly beings just like us, people who want wealth and power and are willing to steal and kill for it. Both before and after Star Wars we had the seemingly infinite march of "monster" movies, from outer space or inner space, or both. Godzilla, recovering or visiting dinosaurs, larger versions of spiders, ants, octopuses, insidious blobs, bacteria, viruses, invisible creatures or forces that take over the human, mind, heart or soul. All manner of monsters that eat us or use our bodies without paying rent. Actually, the philosophical contemplation wrapped in high special effects, a great plot and well executed evolution of character, came to us twenty-two years later in The Matrix. The Matrix series is in the genre of science fiction combined with political terror, being in this case the common human nightmare that everything that we believe is real is actually a deception, so that our bodies can be used, again without paying rent. By watching science fiction movies, a lot of them as I have, you can contribute a great deal of material toward your "learn at home" doctorate in psychology, because what one can learn from science fiction movies, all types, is what humans fear. They fear a lot, and much of their fears are not unfounded. Most human fears are based on experience and observation, such as watching a spider suck the insides out of a living fly, or a lion tear off a chunk of meat, or hearing a child cry while being beaten, or reading about how "the greatest democracy in the world" began with one of the greatest thefts (of land) in the world.
But I (do not) digress. What I am talking about here is our concept of the future, the evolutionary future. If one believes the theory of evolution -- I find natural selection thoroughly convincing -- then it is sensible to ask how do we evolve next. Will we grow a second set of arms, a larger brain, bigger genitals, more durable muscles, greater stamina? Will we run faster, develop a digestive system that can utilize wood chips? Will we develop endocrine glands that use more energy but provide greater immunity to disease? Will we become better swimmers? Will our eyesight grow sharper, or our hearing? Will we get taller, bigger, heavier, develop stronger bones? What kind of questions are these? They are in fact stupid questions, because they presume that to become "more fit" and be among the "fittest" that survive we will continue to evolve physically. But, a more interesting question to ask is whether physical evolution reaches a limit to its usefulness. After all, we have a lot of evolutionary experience on this planet Earth, and we have been able to study the past in rather helpful detail. We know that in the past there were larger animals, animals that survived for millions of years (supposedly) and then became extinct without any human assistance. We know that animals have evolved here in thousands of different forms, and with many different sensory devices and self-defense devices and modes of housing, moving and surviving in diverse environments, from highest mountains, to depths of seas, ice cold water, hotter than boiling water, even inside rocks. With this kind of durability and adaptability in mind, we must contemplate ourselves, and ask the eminently important question as to why we are still here.
There are animals with better eyesight, with sharper hearing, that can smell chemical traces 600 times better than we can, that can hear sounds we cannot hear, that can see very clearly at night due to infra-red vision (pit vipers for example) or locate prey with sound, or communicate with chemicals or movements, or run faster than us, fly when of course we cannot fly (there is a hint hidden here), or swim and breath under water, crush us with teeth (lion, tiger, grizzly bear) or with a foot (elephant) or kill us with the strike of a beak or clawed foot (ostrich, kangaroo) or kill us with a sting (too many to list) or the many microbes that can turn us into odorous ooze even though we cannot see them and often cannot figure out how they get inside us to do their agonizing slow consumption of the "wise [wise ass] ape." And none of these "enemies" have to attack an adult human being. They can pick off an infant. There goes the family values!
So, with so many potential enemies, being surrounded by monsters, why are we still here? Surprise of surprises. Just in case you have not figured it out yet, we are still here because of what philosophers and naturalists guessed long ago, because physical evolution was transformed some time ago, between a million and fifty thousand years ago, from physical evolution to neurological or intellectual evolution. Stated in other words, we are still here because our powerful and extremely successful survival trait is our brains. We mark the point where development of a physical trait that enhances the chances for survival has been replaced by the development of the ability to understand cause and effect, learn and apply technology, and thereby create for ourselves practically any physical capacity we want without growing anything new inside or upon the surface of our bodies. For this long, from a million to fifty thousand years, our persistence is owed not to physical evolution, but to our ability to learn from experience and to make tools. Look around. Except for a few minor anomalies, we have cornered the tool-making niche. There are birds who drop clams on rocks, apes who drop rocks on nuts, birds and insects who build nests. But in the case of all other animals who use a tool, it is just that: they use one tool. They do not show signs of possessing that intellectual quality that educators call "transference." What we have that the others don't have is this capacity to transfer one occurrence of learning or technology to others. We do not just make one tool, but somehow, long ago, we came to understand that being able to make one tool we could make many tools. And we have been making them ever since, with no end in sight.
I am convinced, though I am not confident I can convince others, that the two traits that are entirely responsible for our humanity and dominance on Earth are:
1) We possess the intellectual ability called "technology" precisely because our brains are able to attach the concept of number to any other object or concept. This is why we can count and measure, and an animal must be able to count and measure before it can engage in the pattern of behavior we call "technology." A few other animals can distinguish "five fish" from "four fish" or "five bananas" from "three figs," but only humans can take a five and attach it to anything: five days, five seconds, five inches, five people, five legs (even though unknown in nature), five horses, five houses, five letters, five words, five births, five sevens, five pounds which is sixteen ounces and one four hundredth part of one ton.
2) We lost our fear of fire. Can you name an animal that is not afraid of fire? No. There is only one. Us. The ancient Greeks got it right. The most realistic "creation myth" is the story of Prometheus stealing fire from Zeus and giving it to humans. Prometheus could not "give" fire to humans unless the humans were able to take it, accept it and use it. In order to get fire, and all of the technology that results (warmth, cooking, pottery, metals, healing, warfare, hunting, sterilization, farming, and on and on) the animal must not fear fire, must feel competent to control it and use it. This is when we crossed the line from animal to "human."
So where am I headed? I have set the stage to move on to the next step in my argument. Through the phase of physical evolution, all the possibilities for "monsters" are visited and exhausted, poisonous, heartless, mindless monsters, even very large monsters, dinosaurs and "sea monsters" have all been here already. They do not come back again, and there is a reason why, which I will endeavor to explain now. The reason in summary is because being a monster, especially a voracious destructive mindless consuming monster, is not really a good survival trait. If it were, the dinosaurs would still be hear, and we would be snack food. Instead, we are the snackers who snack on everything, and we are even contemplating snacking on algae, cellulose, and chitin. We are so in love with our technology, with our ability to "manufacture," we do not even feel obligated to grow or harvest food. We are convinced we can manufacture it, which may not be as good an idea as some (manufacturers) claim, especially in view of the fact that they want what food is made of and how it is made to be secret. --- What is that wonderful barbecued thingy you are eating? Who the hell knows?! It might be the old sneakers I threw into the "Save the Universe" bin last month.
Here we are then, making the connection between Star Wars and science fiction and the physical phase of evolution and what happens to us next (evolutionarily speaking). Is the expectation that we will succumb in the future to a monster that consumes us or uses our bodies as I have stated "without paying rent" consistent with the theory of evolution? I say that the concept of "the survival of the fittest" is over-simplified in the minds of many people, perhaps most people, perhaps even including the biologists themselves, and historians and anthropologists and political scientists and philosophers. They all try so hard to be "realistic," but they have such a bad habit of confusing cynicism with realism. I say that we need to take a good hard look at the survival traits of monsters, small or large animals that engage in voracious consumption of their prey, or their food to be more neutral about the process, and the concepts of symbiosis and over-harvesting, and then to the religious concept of "good stewardship" or caretaking and environmental protection. What I want to do here is examine certain "monstrous" qualities in terms of how they work as survival traits. Further, and probably more importantly, what is the usefulness and effectiveness of "monstrous" traits after evolution makes the transition, through us, from physical evolution to neurological and intelligence evolution? One might rephrase this evolutionary question to ask: "Can an intelligent species be also a monstrous species?" This is a good question, actually a very, very interesting question, especially since we humans like to think of ourselves as intelligent while we are persistently perplexed by evidence that we sometimes engage in behavior that is "monstrous." Does this mean that "survival of the fittest" can be equivalent to "survival of the monstrous."?
I will argue that monsters are not the fittest, and that is why our future is not to become either Star Wars characters or a giant space octopus or the victims of a giant space octopus. I will argue, on evolutionary theory, that "survival of the fittest" means "survival of good stewards," really. Whether the future passes through a phase of Star Wars, or The Matrix, or the angular compulsive insect chewers of Star Troopers or non-Episcopalian pterodactyls of Pitch Black, or all of these in a kind of rip-shit chop-suey of cosmic food fight, the eager eaters do not win in the end. Good stewardship, I say, is the character trait that wins over all others. That's why we were told, so that we would know the future that is determined by the same natural processes that determined the past.
Ten years later still came Avatar, more obviously cowboys and Indians then Star Wars, where the good guys are the local natives who are bound to the natural world and the Americans have come to take the land and the mineral wealth and destroy the "Home Tree" [the Tree of Life] of the beautiful Navi people (Navaho?) who live so close to Nature they are inseparable from it. They dress and dance like Native Americans, their signature background drums throb with the intensity of a heartbeat, they ride horses and fight with bow and arrow and spear and help from the life-spirit to which all living things are connected. They are the "primitives" who are more accurately defined as the just ones, the good stewards of the life-supporting environment. This time they win. And this imaginative special effects story made me very sad, because it is driven by a falsely advertised identification with the primitive people who are bonded to Nature. This is beautiful and poetic, but suggests that we now want to identify with the victims of technology, greed and "unintended consequences." We want to re-write history and have those who practice reverence toward Nature be the victors in the conflict with technology and acquisition by violence. Thus, the human schizophrenia continues: we are destructive in reality, but bonded to Nature in our imagined ecological world (electronic heaven), the world our industries and armed forces are trained to destroy. This is the source of my reaction of sadness: humans still want an imaginary world that is better than the real physical world, still want good to win over evil in dreams, thoughts, words and images, but not on the ground.
In defending my position, I am disagreeing with the statement made recently (April 2010) by the physicist Stephen Hawking, who said that extraterrestrials, or humanoid aliens, are likely to be greedy and domineering and exploitative toward us, the same as we have been whenever a human culture with more advanced technology encountered a culture of significantly lesser technology. My position is that if they are really more advanced than we are, they will be better than we are. They will have journeyed through the phase of spiritual evolution and succeeded. They will be good stewards. This does not necessarily mean they will make life easy for us, but it does mean they will in fact protect our best interests because that is what good stewards do. And the reason they will be good stewards is not because I want them to be or wish them to be, but rather because they have to be good stewards in order to be the fittest to survive. After the phase of neurological development approaches the phase of spiritual development, Nature has already concluded "monsters need not apply." Monstrous behavior is not a higher level survival trait. Monsters over-harvest, damage their own food supply and disrupt the harmony of the natural environment that all livings things place high on their wish list. One might say that the majority rules, and the majority of living things select the good stewards to rule the world, because they meet the needs of the voters. Monsters are tyrants. That is why the toothiest of all known real monsters was named Tyrannosaurus Rex or "tyrant lizard king." Got that? A tyrant, a lizard, a king. These are a few of your not favorite things. And it turns out that Nature does not favor them either.
Good Steward or Voramon?
What are we? Good stewards or tyrant monsters? Anyone who has observed human history would have to say that so far we are a "mixed bag." We clearly do have the skills and the disposition to take care of things, especially the things that we want. We also are known to engage in monstrous behavior, sometimes as individuals, sometimes in groups, sometimes as nations. But the play is not over yet. We are still on stage, still have some lines to deliver, drama to act out. Here is the real issue: Does "survival of the fittest" or natural selection mean that nature would favor an animal that was a voracious, mindless monster? What is a voracious, mindless monster or Voramon? We have our image of the Tyrannosaurus Rex, massive muscles, rows of teeth like a row of thick swords, small brain, massive clawed legs, possibly toxic saliva (like the living Komodo Dragon). Was the Tyrannosaurus Rex a Voramon? What would be a Voramon today? How about humans. Humans combine the awesome organizational instincts of ants with a uniquely vast appetite to consume everything in sight, and the unique technological capacity that only humans possess (on Earth). I would say that an individual human being is not a Voramon, but we humans live as communities and nations, not as individuals. I would argue therefore, that the closest thing we have devised that operates like a Voramon is a factory ship, the giant ship that sucks fish out of the sea like a vacuum cleaner sucking dust out of a rug, and processing the fish faster than the fish can regenerate themselves through their natural reproductive process. This is called over-fishing. It can cause the extinction of a species of fish. It may have caused the extinction of the cod fish as we know it. (See Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World, by Mark Kurlansky). In any case, the place that the cod fish occupies in the ecology of the sea has been changed because of human over-harvesting. We humans have a habit of over-harvesting. We caused the extinction of the do-do bird and passenger pigeon. We came close to causing the extinction of the bison and a few species of crane, as well as the bald eagle and the California condor. Is over-harvesting a character trait of a Voramon, a voracious, mindless monster? There is a lot of speculation about why the dinosaurs disappeared. Although a meteor or climate change may have played a major role, there is also reason to suspect that disease could have played a role. I say that possibly the dinosaurs, known to have been the largest class of animals that have existed on Earth, comparable only to the surviving blue whale in size, that probably needed an impossible amount of food. Did the plant-eating dinosaurs eat themselves to the point of starvation? Did the meat-eating dinosaurs eat all of their prey until there was no prey left? That would be over-harvesting, by a voracious, mindless monster. Let's discuss this further.
The issue of interest here is which character trait is selected by Nature to make a technological animal into an intelligent species, the species most "fit" to survive: the good eco-steward who functions as the competent caretaker of life, or the Voramon? My comprehensive viewpoint presented here, which I claim is consistent with both science and religion, is that the Voramon is and will be an evolutionary failure. The Good Steward, the eco-steward that is a technological animal with the will to be an effective caretaker of the life-supporting environment, is definitely the "fittest" to survive, and will endure indefinitely. Those who are aggressive and acquisitive and selfish consumers are at high risk to step over the edge into the abyss of becoming the Voramon, the being whose consumption of all things and disruption of natural processes -- over-harvesting and unintended consequences and unplanned ecological change -- becomes "mindless" as the opposite of "mindful" and thereby drives himself to extinction. The scientist and engineer without a soul becomes a monster who destroys himself. Why do people question this viewpoint? We have an excellent example of this self-destructive process in the Voramon we know as Adolf Hitler. He was only human, not sub-human and not super-human but over-confident, arrogant, and mentally deranged. He was traumatized by mustard gas on a battlefield during World War I. His civil life involved personal failures, fears, and losses, maladjustment. During his rise to power he was prescribed powerful drugs that were continued and increased in dosage and psychotic effects during his war to conquer Europe, if not also the world, by means of a violent and heartless "science." His nation's technology was superior at the time, but the Voramon in the unfortunate person of Adolf Hitler miscalculated the importance of taking care of life. Having become the enemy of Life, the Nazi war machine lost the support that it had previously earned with beneficial programs: transportation, communications, security technology, athletics and public education and training, a Germanic vitality and worship of the energy of the human spirit in the arts and music and the active life, nationlism. Mindless, cold violence became the excessive harvest, the separation of the human tribe from the universal tribe of Nature. The entire Earth cried out to stop the Nazi Voramon. The Voramon can take hold of anyone who is not careful. The Voramon is the "dark side" (Darth) who can invade (Vader) the heart and soul of anyone who does not protect themselves with the light of "The Force," the light of faith, hope and the love that prompts us to nurture the weak and liberate the strong. Why do people continue to make the claim that by virtue of "social Darwinism" the survival of the "fittest" means the survival of those humans who are aggressive, acquisitive, and selfish and who devour the resources of the life-supporting environment? Who take and consume whatever is within reach, and who use their technology to extend their reach to everything? The allegedly "superior" or "more fit" humans who rely on their technology-without-understanding deceive themselves by persistently introducing toxic chemicals into the natural environment that deteriorates in response to the changed chemistry. Herein is the essence of my proposition. Following physical evolution, we have not only "social evolution" as implied by "social Darwinism," but we have both intellectual and spiritual evolution, wherein the technological animal possess free will and chooses its final phase of evolution: either the Good Steward or the Voramon. The Good Steward, serving its meaningful purpose as the caretaker of the Universal Tree of Life, lives indefinitely. The Voramon self-destructs through the unplanned and violent disintegration of the life supporting environment.
Let's take a look at a few of our most important behavior patterns that suggest our inner struggle between the Good Steward and the Voramon:
R and D becomes (Recover, Reuse, Recycle) or Safely Store or Digest
The (Divided Mind of Humankind) and (Total Cost Accounting)
and (Chemically Caused Immune System Failure): the coming abomination and desolation.
7) The Profound Loneliness of Scientific Dissent:
What good is such a wildly different and dissenting viewpoint? What happens to the dissenter, who must live as a kind of secret intellectual hermit with no one to talk to? What kind of strength of mind, or of character, is required to continuously doubt the human species and one's own thinking simultaneously? What is science? What is mathematics? There is no meaningful psychology of mathematics or of science, because science is the religion of our civilization and is therefore the "exempt institution."
Identifying the Religious Beliefs of a Society or Civilization:
The "exempt institution" in any society, primitive or advanced, identifies the true religion of that society. In Europe in the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church was the exempt institution. They had the privileged position of being the ultimate authority, the institution that stores, monitors and dispenses information about how the universe works, and what are the answers to the most difficult technical and theological questions or cosmic questions about the Natural World. They exercise the right to discuss ultimate truth or cosmic knowledge among themselves. The most important identifying factor of the "exempt institution" is that they may not be criticized or seriously challenged by "non-members." That means that only members of the Roman Catholic Church, priests, bishops and cardinals, were deemed qualified to discuss the doctrines of the natural and theological law. They could and did severely punish those who questioned or challenged their absolute authority.
What is the exempt institution in the modern United States of America? Or in American Civilization? Or in Western Civilization? Or in human civilization? In American Civilization the exempt institution is Mathematics, or science in general and mathematics in particular. Have you not heard the defensive boast that applies to any theory or business project: "We did the numbers." ? Yes, if we did the numbers, confirmed our plans or ideas or projects or theories, with mathematics, then it is beyond question. Mathematics is the natural law in American society, the way that God or Nature or whatever one wishes to label the ultimate authority in the universe does all things. Only members can question or challenge the ultimate authority of mathematics. The institutions of science and mathematics are authorized by society to punish anyone who disputes their authority -- or their accuracy or precision -- by ridiculing such dissenters and disabling their capacity to be heard and considered. They are not killed physically dead, but they are killed politically and socially and intellectually dead. The mathematicians and the physicists are the priests of modern American society, and that is why they talk and write about the cosmos and how the laws of the universe operate and how they will find (or have found) the "God particle" and how they see magical occurrences in the universe such as "strings" or the "fabric of space-time" or "parallel universes" or time travel, none of which are demonstrably real. These concepts openly discussed by physicists as though they are real are no different from the imaginary "heaven" of ancient theologians that was deemed to exist "in the sky" and be a special realm of complete peace and happiness. Scientists are given awards, and money, when they make the claim that they have faith and see something "mysterious" in the universe. The same type of statement of faith that was made by theologians in the past and can be made by any young child today. The priests of the Church used to say that no one could have a relationship with God, or with the divine spirit of life, except through membership in the Church and compliance with its rules. Today, scientists state that one cannot understand the universe unless one understand calculus. Linguistically, these two statements are the same. Each states an absolute imperative that obstructs one's access to the sacred except through the exempt institution. The scientist is the priest in American society.
Note that if an institution is not exempt, one can easily observe that it is examined by the most powerful intellectual tools used by the society. In our Western Civilization, the most powerful tools of analysis are in the field of psychology and sociology. We have used the tools of our intellect to dissect and meticulously examine human motivation and human development, the origins of human ideas and beliefs about human nature and how our social and political life, and religious practices, come to be what they are. We have dissected The Church. With our tools for intellectual examination we have laid it out on the table and cut it to pieces, viewed each small piece under the microscope, dried it, powdered it, thrown it into the wind to watch how the particles fall. We have proposed psychological and social motives as the source of religion, theology, faith and anything else that religion entails. But have we performed this same service for mathematics and science? Has anyone conducted a psychological study of mathematics and mathematicians? Have they been cut into pieces so that we can examine their psychological motives for believing in "the calculus"? Have we placed the fields of mathematics and science in a sociological perspective and examined how they develop, how they meet some mundane or suspect emotional human need? Have we taken them apart and thrown them into the sky to see how the particles fall? NO, we have not done this. Math and science are exempt from such examination because they are the true religion of American Civilization. They enjoy the same privileges that were enjoyed by The Church in Europe during the Middle Ages, also known as the Dark Ages. Even a person reading this argument with an open mind will cringe or struggle with the concept that the authority of mathematicians and scientists should be questioned. That is how the people of the past felt about The Church: how can you question their sacred authority? Don't you fear God? In our times, mathematicians and physicists are the church, and their authority is the authority of God. In any case, when you are analyzing a group or society, and you want to know what their religion is, you do not find out by asking them what they believe and how they celebrate life, or marriage, or birth, or how they bury their dead. The right way to discover the religion of any group or society is to identify the "exempt institution." That is their religion, that is where the sacred authority resides that cannot be questioned or examined. That is and will be the source of their self-destruction, their absolute authority, the locus of human authoritarianism and all of the errors and miscalculations and consequences that are unforeseen and unintended. Authority corrupts. I have said this using many words. Jesus Christ said the same thing in the few words of Matthew Chapter 23, and said it better than it has been said by anyone else. That is why I cry out to the world that Matthew 23 is the most important document on Earth. It is the key to our self-knowledge and chances for survival. Authoritarianism is in the human heart and soul. The only way to salvation is good stewardship, servant-hood, serve life, all of Life, and we obtain the opportunity to survive as a species indefinitely. That is the best that Nature can promise to approach the meaning of "live forever."
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