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    Challenging Evolution
    What if our current view of human history which Darwin's theory of evolution propagated is fundamentally flawed?

    As we head into a time in which we are faced with more technology than wisdom to know what to do with it - where on the horizon is bioenhancement, extended life span, machine-mind interfaces and much much more, where we are starting to run into the idea of "accelarated evolution", I believe it important that we take a look at our current view of human evolution and its history.

    At the moment, the overwhelming majority of scientists (but not all), and especially laymen, follow the view of evolution first put forth by Darwin and furthered by many scientists and discoveries since. It is the preeminent theory of human origins, and has had many effects on our current world model.

    You can see the effects of Evolution everywhere. Just today I saw an ad in which a human regresses all the way into a reptile. It's very deeply ingrained in western culture. Kids grow up seeing it used in so many different contexts, to explain so many different processes besides human evolution. It's used in culture, business, economics, social networks – it can be applied to any system, and very often, is.

    Lets take a look at what effects the theory of evolution has had on our current world model.

    First of all, the theory of evolution gave science its real stronghold in the models of belief of the western world.

    An atheist before Darwin could have said, following Hume: "I have no explanation for complex biological design. All I know is that God isn't a good explanation, so we must wait and hope that somebody comes up with a better one." I can't help feeling that such a position, though logically sound, would have left one feeling pretty unsatisfied, and that although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.
    — Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, page 6

    Not just applying to athiests, it put forth a viable, realistic, and most of all, imaginable explanation of human origins, which has also been adopted by religious institutions today. Even the Royal Church of England recently issued a posthumous "apology" to Darwin for condemning his ideas during his lifetime.

    What the theory of evolution did, to start with, was challenge the reigning King of human knowledge during recorded history, Religion.

    In my opinion, the challenging of western religion was necessary. Western religion in whatever way did not satisfy a large percentage of the population (it still doesn't). Western religion had grown throughout the centuries into a lumbering behemoth, a ship sailing the seas that had been patched and repatched (but still leaks, there is a crew always manning the bails), with many good, but many bad captains who steered them into wars and took advantage of their charge.

    But this is not something that's regulated to religion alone. It applies to any institution, whether we look at a religious institution, or a political one - many that start out with good intentions turn bad.

    Science and the promotion of the Rational, at this time, was all good intentions. Let us not rely on half-witted explanations about the world that don't make much sense, but let us rely on Scientific Theory and the inexorable FACT.

    But institutions, once headed on their way, resist a change in momentum.

    In the 20th century, science has taken hold as a new religion. Not that the two are incompatible - far from it. but so much trust is placed in Science that, many times, it is considered heresy to go against commonly-held beliefs.

    And it is, in many cases and from conversations I have had with people, almost heresy not to believe in Evolution.

    It's hard to argue the idea of evolution. We are always evolving - from birth to death, physically and emotionally. Our bodies evolve, our minds evolve - the entire universe is in a constant state of change. Nor do I disagree with the idea of natural selection - these things have stuck with us precisely because they make so much sense because we see them all around us all the time.

    I do not find fault with these ideas. What I am interested in exploring is the effect that Darwinism, Neo-Darwinism and the idea that humans evolved from primates has had on how we view our species.

    So let's leave aside personal attacks on Darwin (don't kill the messenger) and concentrate on the effects that his ideas have created.


    Evolution gave rise to the idea that people could manifest their own 'natural selection.'

    In short, eugenics is a social philosophy which advocates the improvement of human hereditary traits through various forms of intervention.[2] Throughout history, eugenics has been regarded by its various advocates as a social responsibility, an altruistic stance of a society, meant to create healthier, stronger and/or more intelligent people, to save resources, and lessen human suffering. (from wikipedia)

    Before WWII, it spawned the ideas of compulsory sterilization, and became a widespread concept finding homes (and over a hundred thousand compulsorily sterilized people) in Japan, Cyprus, Sweden, England, and the United States.

    Eugenics is most often related to the Nazis and the idea of "purifying" the undesirables and creating a Super-race of Aryans. After WWII and the genocide, many disassociated themselves from the concept of Eugenics, because Hitler had related his ethnic cleansing to it.

    Now we're about to hit a whole new level of Eugenics. Another link to the Great Enhancement Debate.

    Nor does it end with Hitler. Marx, Lenin, and Stalin also cited Darwinism as proof of their ideologies:

    "On Lenin’s desk in the Kremlin there stood, for most of the years he worked there, a strange bronze statue of an ape gazing with an expression of profound bewilderment and dismay at an oversize human skull… It was the only piece of sculpture on the desk, the first thing that met the eye; and whenever Lenin looked up from his desk to gaze at the very large photograph of Karl Marx, he would inevitably see the ape…

    For a Russian intellectual to dispute Darwinism or any other acceptable scientific theory was to commit a heresy"

    “the Life and Death of Lenin,” by, Robert Payne

    …After reading Darwin’s Origin of Species, Marx dashed a note to Engels, saying, ‘This is the book which contains the basis in natural history for our views.’

    Ann Coulter

    The Rise of the Rational and the fall of the Subjective Experience

    I'll venture out onto a limb and say that once a viable explanation of human origins was created, a paradigm shift in thinking started, and the scientific western civilization began to believe that it would be able to try to explain everything using scientific theory. And began to believe, in fact, that science should be trusted more than our own experience.

    Even today, we hear, be rational. Did you see something unreal? Be rational. It couldn't be real. Those don't exist. Are you sure you saw it? You aren't fooling yourself? You know the mind is a tricky thing. Many trust what is told to them so much that even if they see something that completely contradicts what they are told, they will explain it away to themselves because it can't possibly be true.

    Take Synesthesia. It's an emotional experience. Some research was done on it during the 1910s and 1920s, during the same time as Color Organs and Orchestras were in vogue. Much “synaesthetic” artwork (that made by non-synaesthetes) and poetry was made during this time. But then Behaviorism took hold, along with Freud - and started trying to explain emotions rationally as manifestations of the subconscious - again based on the idea that we are creatures that have developed a certain way and therefore can be predicted in some way or another. There was no further research done on synesthesia until the 1980s.

    Then, in the early 1980s, when Dr. Cytowic monitored the brain waves of his friend and first subject of study with synesthesia, they were able to confirm that brain activity was taking place during the synesthetic experience in that particular part of the brain.

    His subject was deeply relieved that the machine proved his experience real. It wasn't enough that he knew he was really experienced what he was - he trusted science more than his personal experience, enough that if the machine had not verified his experience, he would have believed that he was actually crazy.

    What's the message here? You can't trust yourself. Trust science. Trust fact. You can't trust what you feel.

    Man Evolved from Apes

    Much of the western world went from "Man descended from the heavens" to "Man evolved from Apes" in 50 years. To me, that's a pretty big change in the way of thinking. On one hand you've got this celestial idea of Man, and on the other, you have this bestial, primal idea, which has shaped to a certain extent what opinions western civilization has formulated about the relationship between man and animal.

    Well, knowing that made it much easier for people to say, well, this is it, we evolved from animals and we're not much better than a step above them. What makes us so different? Andrew Carnegie and Rockefeller were proponents of Darwinism as well - this ruthless "survival of the fittest" in daily life, capitalism, and war.

    It also put a timetable on human history.

    According to Darwinists, the first undisputed fossil evidence for life on earth goes back about 2 billion years. They say the first apes and monkeys appeared about 40-50 million years ago. The first ape-men (called Australopithecus) appeared about 4 million years ago. These were followed by other apemen called Homo habilis, Homo erectus, and Neanderthal man. The first human beings of modern type (Homo sapiens sapiens) appeared only 100,000 or 200,000 years ago. Civilization, according to modern scientists, is less than 10,000 years old.

    Michael Cremo

    The ability to explain away human origins simply and understandably produced a great change in the past 100 years and gave western civilization and science the ability to change Man from a mystical creature to an evolved beast - science has proceeded much along this path in explaining away so called 'mystical experiences', but not just those - anything that science can't explain has been able to be put under these pretenses.

    Now is the time where I do here proclaim I am of sound mind, body, and reason - am not a conspiracy theory propagator - so journey down this path with me and explore openly with me.

    The proof for the current view of human history is not as strong as we've been taught it is. Much is based off of conjecture, unreliable dating methods, and of course, that lumbering behemoth that is institution.

    In Michael Cremo's book Forbidden Archaeology, he documents a vast amount of anamolous scientific evidence and archaeological finds that points to the idea that humans have coexisted with the Homo Erectus, Homo Habilis, Neanderthals, all the earliest humanoids, and declares that Homo Sapiens Sapiens have existed upon earth far longer than the theory of Evolution supposes.

    Over the last 150 years, there has been a systematic discreditation of evidence that does not fit in with the evolutionary theory - scientists have been blacklisted, evidence hidden, samples have disappeared from collections, systematically put down as frauds, but most often ignored until they fade into obscurity.

    He also takes a look at the evidence that is cited to support the theory of Evolution. Much evidence that the Evolutionary Theory RELIES on has undergone little to no real scientific skepticism - dating methods have been tried and retried until the desired age was found. There is a double standard involved in how the evidence and samples are treated.

    The archaeological community balked at the book. It went so far that Michael Cremo wrote another book, called Forbidden Archaeology's Impact, which is documentation of all the letters, reviews, and correspondance that Michael Cremo had as a response to Forbidden Archaeology.

    If you go on, you'll see many comments calling him a crackpot, a creationist, a member of a Vedic Institution trying to push its ideology.

    Or, if you have an open mind, you'll recognize when a challenge is brought to the table, won't dismiss it off-hand and will give it the scrutiny it deserves, according to the scientific process.

    Many would say, why would the archaeological and anthropological community be against the finding of evidence that does not support Evolution?

    Galaleio was considered a heretic. Darwin was considered a heretic. An institution resists change. Pride is at stake. Professional reputation is at stake. I won't go into the depths of Forbidden Archaeology here (if you're interested you can find it and read it on your own), but it suffices to say that IF ONE OF THE PIECES OF EVIDENCE is real, then the entire modern view of human history needs to be rethought - textbooks need to be rewritten - and humankind will need to consider other alternatives to our view of human origins.

    I, for one, think this should come now, at the time where we are heading towards an advanced evolution or (d)evolution which is in our hands.

    As in Wildcat's post on Richard Dawkins speech (for those of you who don't know – Dawkins is one of the foremost proponents of Darwin's theory and often referred to as a neo-darwinist) – we will never be able to understand the world fully, because of the middle-sized universe in which we inhabit limits us from understanding the full universe. Or, said more eloquently,

    Perfect knowledge cannot be received with imperfect senses. Only through perfect senses can perfect knowledge be received.
    - S. P.

    We don't have perfect senses (and in my opinion never will, in this existence), but we are starting to expanding those senses that we do have – and more of our surroundings are becoming understandable. But there is a caveat:

    The problem arises when these theories and hypotheses become mental constructs— it is a short hop in the collective consciousness from "the theory supported by the most scientists" to "scientific fact". New data that falls outside these constructs (that is, data which "flies in the face of accepted scientific wisdom!") are assumed to be anomolous, and are tossed aside; data that supports, fits the constructs is sought out and embraced.
    Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes often described his detection method as scrupulously collecting facts, while AVOIDING the formation of theories. Keep collecting facts— without the blind spots imposed by hypotheses— until you have ruled out all possibilities but one. That remaining possibility, no matter how improbable, is the one true possibility.

    - Anonymous Comment, Review of Forbidden Archaeology's Impact

    I don't care for the one true possibility, nor am I particularly striving to find it – what I am most interested in is staying away from the creation of these “blind spots”. These blind spots are what do the damage – they are those which create misunderstanding, ignorance, arrogance, and ideologies which are not driven by the desire to understand more but by the wish to uphold (I)deals – I deals - ideals (however flawed) by sacrificing possibly beneficial change.

    So far we have just been talking about physical evolution – but what about mental evolution? Cultural evolution? You could say that we are no better, or perhaps even worse, than our predecessors – we still cheat, lie, steal, kill, and commit a futher host of injustices. We waste our time passively, watching silly videos and keeping up with localized and blown-out of proportion dramas, La Societe du Spectacle - whereas we could use that time for positive action, if the will was there. Whereas 1000 years ago we lived in relative harmony with our environment (by meaning not doing lasting damage to the world), now, we are well on our way to destroying it (but, trying to save it, like a high school student cramming before a final exam).

    I propose a segregation and differentiation of the Theory of Evolution as just that, a theory of human origins, and the Idea of Evolution itself when applied to systems – culture and memes, economic systems, and our own, always continuing personal evolution. I believe the connection that the two have at the moment can be a very detrimental one.

    Let us divorce ourselves from scientific theories and free ourselves from assumptions.

    We must rethink our origins to rethink our future.

    Tue, Oct 21, 2008  Permanent link

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    hunter     Fri, Oct 24, 2008  Permanent link
    I have to say I disagree with some of your views.

    To say that science has become the new religion is exaggerated and not true. Sure, some institutions are more traditional and they can be slow at accepting new ideas. However, you can challenge any idea, even Evolution itself, and if you would actually present hard evidence for what you are saying, scientists would accept it. Actually, this happens every day. New theories are presented all the time, especially in some dynamic fields such as cosmology. Some of them not only challenge, but even oppose preexisting explanations - if they turn out to be true, they are accepted.

    You go on to explain the horrors of eugenics. We all know what Hitler, or Stalin or whoever did... But the fact that something had negative consequences does not mean it is not true. Natural selection (even among humans) is true and well documented - these dictators have merely misunderstood and/or misused it.

    In paragraph "The Rise of the Rational and the fall of the Subjective Experience" - your anger at people's inability to trust their own experience is somewhat misdirected. There are many people with mental disorders and they experience unreal thing every day. So, no, an experience does not have to be real just because you think you experienced it. And, no, sometimes you can not trust yourself. Sad, but true.

    I haven't read Michael Cremo's book, but I think that if he were right, other archeologists would support him. Your stance that the scientific community is too proud, or couldn't be bothered to write new textbooks is not very sound. First of all, rewriting textbooks and changing courses would mean more profit for educational institutions and publishers - they would love it! And second, scientific community is not a block of stone - it consists of individual scientists - many of them compete, and would love to be ahead of their peers!

    I will not go further, but I will only say that science and religion ARE incompatible. Proponents of "compatibility" are merely religious people who have realized that they cannot compete with common sense and are trying to make peace with an enemy they cannot overcome. With human progress, religious notions will continue being defeated one by one, until there is nothing left.
    david_phil     Sat, Oct 25, 2008  Permanent link
    Hi, I'm new here. I am an amateur scientist and over the last 25 years or so ( I'm 40) I have been very intersted in how science itself has evolved now it has all this new technology to use. Ever since Black holes started to make big news the universe has been a huge facination for me. I don't have any degrees or anything like that but was brought up on a plant nursery, I am a qualified horticulturist and have always been active in Botony. I ended up with engineering as a profession and over the years have had time (while waiting for my machines to finish making things) to think about the world around me.
    Now I am a stout atheist but a scientist more so and for me science is about two things finding the truth and using only hard data to come to that truth. Of course you have to do some calculated guess work that will put you in the right direction quite often and anyones ideas or theories have equal chance is being right until they are proved wrong.
    With Darwins theory it is what it is, a theory all beit very compelling and seemingly complete but apart from the irregularities that notthisbody has mentioned I feel that there are much more noticable problems from a botonist's point ove view. If we are the advanced life forms on this planet and plants and other animals are far more basic then how does a Bee Orchid now what a Bee looks like? The Orchid has none of the senses that we associate with learning even on an evolutionary scale, no eyes, ears, touch etc and there are lots of other examples like how plants follow the sun light, this is known as Phototropism, is this their light sense? How did plants know by using certain chemicals that they can do this? Botony explains how they do this but not how they worked out how to do this and nor does evolution.
    The other problem with evolution for me does actually give religion a one up on science in a wierd way and that is that all life on this planet has one thing in common... numbers. Maths infact. Maths are used everywhere in nature from the DNA sequence to fractals in plant and crystal design but isn't math only found in advanced life forms? You could say that the very starting of life was a mathmatical formula that only advance beings could have worked out?
    The chances of all the right conditions for life to come about were calculated as pretty small so was it helped?
    I know you guys will think that this is all rubbish and I should stick with engineering but for me I am a great believer in logic ( no I am not a Vulcan!) and a lot of Darwins theory does not seem logical to me. Plus the more unusal ideas that people have the more chance that a professional scientist can say " Hell! He might have something there!" And so the evolution of science continues.
    hunter     Sat, Oct 25, 2008  Permanent link
    Actually, david_phil, evolution does explain the things you mentioned.

    1. An orchid does not know what an orchid bee looks like, and it does not need to know. The interaction between insects and flowers was more or less effective with different kinds of insects and flowers. Those who had more success, managed to produce more offspring, and passed on more of their genes. This produced pairs that seem made for each other. Don't be fooled, it is possible to design much better and more efficient pairs then bees and bee orchids. If someone had created life he would have done it more efficiently. But they didn't. It was evolution - and this is what evolution created.

    2. Math is the fundamental abstraction for everything - not just life. Life is highly unlikely, according to math - but it is still much probable than God, or any other explanation.
    notthisbody     Wed, Oct 29, 2008  Permanent link
    @ Hunter:

    Religion is a system of beliefs based on subject fact, theories, and subjective evidence. Science is a system of beliefs based on rational fact, theories, and objective (oh wait, no such thing) evidence that is usually incomplete.

    I compare science to a new 'religion' because they are both belief systems, and the Scientific belief system has spread far and wide into territories that used to belong to Religion.

    Proponents of "compatibility" are merely religious people who have realized that they cannot compete with common sense and are trying to make peace with an enemy they cannot overcome.

    I highly disagree with your use of the word 'merely' here. You're discounting too many people and points of view, even highly respected figures in the scientific community.

    Your stance that science and religion ARE incompatible is directly at odds with the necessity of a scientist to be open to new theories and explanations. What if one day Science 'proves' that a higher intelligence and/or more importantly higher levels of existence exist? What if one day Science proves conclusively that there is something Science can't explain? Whatever you say, you can't rule it out. An open, reasonable, and critical (not in the negative way) mind has to be kept.

    However, you can challenge any idea, even Evolution itself, and if you would actually present hard evidence for what you are saying, scientists would accept it.

    This is a assumption, would being the key word. What I am saying is that we cannot 'assume' anything (especially when it comes to institutions, traditional or otherwise) because that leads to conclusions, and conclusions lead to a narrowing of what the mind is open to, therefore closing out what we are willing to understand. I am not saying that Science does not accept new theories and explanations - I know this is the basis of the Scientific Process, and it is much more willing to change than say, a religious institution. The system does work to a certain extent, but it's not perfect, because individuals are not perfect.

    As all groups, stereotypes, etc ARE made up of individuals, I believe in the impact THE Individual can have in making or shaping or changing the human race's perspective on itself. So if one, or two, or three individuals (who don't have to be connected in a conspiracy or anything like that) have an agenda, a mistaken belief in a 'fact', they can work against progress and SLOW DOWN GREATLY the time it can take a theory to change.

    I bring up Eugenics because I was not aware that the Theory of Evolution had such a large impact as this. Now we're really going into another level of eugenics in these next 20 years. If this idea had these consequences 70 years ago, then I think we could all agree that we don't want it leading this way again. I don't think we've advanced culturally enough to avoid the possibility of repeating ourselves in some form or another. Evolution HAS been misunderstood. It HAS been misinterpreted. This is my cause for a critical eye, and why I bring it up.

    I believe in a balance of the rational and subjective. I believe that the senses are imperfect - therefore to base completely off the subjective is not the best idea - because they can lead us to fool ourselves. But to base ourselves off only the rational and not the subjective can lead down paths that shouldn't be followed, either, including great harm to our fellow inhabitants of the world.

    Our senses are what form our interaction and view of the world around us, and everyone's senses are not the same. Most of us happen to be born and have been able to interact about the same as most of the other people in the world. But just because someone with a mental (dis)order experiences the world in a radically different manner that you or I, I am not willing to discount the importance of the way they experience it versus my own. Take a look at my new post - what she has to say is stronger than anything I can on this point.

    In My Language

    I have some questions for everyone out there. Do mathematics explain emotions? or do they file them away into 'behaviorism'? does it explain human interaction, feelings, intuition? Does the universe take into account the energy of our minds? Mental action, i.e. thoughts, lead to physical action - there's a transformation of energy going on there - so mental energy must interact with physical energy, right?

    Newton's 3rd law is "To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction".

    I see no reason why this should be limited to the physical. I do not believe that Newton's 3rd law is complete without bringing in the actions and reactions that all creatures have with their environment and fellow inhabitants.

    First Dark     Tue, Sep 29, 2009  Permanent link
    First of all, I would highly recommend that anyone who is serious about challenging evolution to visit TalkOrigins.

    Next, I am in complete agreement with hunter here. Science: it works.
    notthisbody, see: 

    @ david_phil: Evolution is both a theory and a fact.
    Infinitas     Fri, Oct 2, 2009  Permanent link
    Science, it works, until we have nothing left to prove, and in order for humanity to further evolve, we will be required to change our ideas and look at things in a totally different, often radical light. Will it still be called science when our current understanding of human development ends and the next new dawn of man begins? Maybe it will, maybe it won't. We can't prove anything until the opportunity is presented to us.

    I have never liked how evolution usually is associated with pure fact. (A current professor always proclaims this!) New information is always being found contradicting past ideas, and this may happen forever and ever because we are always evolving, becoming smarter and significantly more knowledgeable, enabling us to question even more complicated and deeper ideas.

    For example, a recent hominid fossil finding from about 4.4 million years ago is now begging us to ask whether or not we really are descended from chimps and gorillas, as has been previously thought for so long.

    Early human development is not well known at all, at I find it completely foolish to accept something as fact especially when that "fact" is based on such a limited amount of data. Just because an idea is outlandish, doesn't mean that it is incorrect. All angles must be analyzed in order to find the answers we are looking for.
    First Dark     Fri, Oct 2, 2009  Permanent link
    It doesn't matter if we label it differently. The scientific method is unrivaled in its performance. There is no supportable reason to believe a radical shift in thinking will dispense of the scientific method in favour of something completely different.

    You may not like that evolution is a fact, but it is a fact in the only meaningful sense of the word. Perhaps you did not follow the link I provided in response to david_phil; here is an excerpt:

    The honest scientist, like the philosopher, will tell you that nothing whatever can be or has been proved with fully 100% certainty, not even that you or I exist, nor anyone except himself, since he might be dreaming the whole thing. Thus there is no sharp line between speculation, hypothesis, theory, principle, and fact, but only a difference along a sliding scale, in the degree of probability of the idea. When we say a thing is a fact, then, we only mean that its probability is an extremely high one: so high that we are not bothered by doubt about it and are ready to act accordingly. Now in this use of the term fact, the only proper one, evolution is a fact. For the evidence in favor of it is as voluminous, diverse, and convincing as in the case of any other well established fact of science concerning the existence of things that cannot be directly seen, such as atoms, neutrons, or solar gravitation ....

    So enormous, ramifying, and consistent has the evidence for evolution become that if anyone could now disprove it, I should have my conception of the orderliness of the universe so shaken as to lead me to doubt even my own existence. If you like, then, I will grant you that in an absolute sense evolution is not a fact, or rather, that it is no more a fact than that you are hearing or reading these words.

    - H. J. Muller, "One Hundred Years Without Darwin Are Enough" School Science and Mathematics 59, 304-305. (1959) reprinted in Evolution versus Creationism op cit.

    Your professor is right, there is no significant debate as to whether or not evolution is a fact. It is.
    As Richard Dawkins puts it, there is actually more evidence for evolution than there is for the Holocaust. Therefore to deny the fact of evolution is an even more poorly supported position than to deny that the Holocaust occurred. Only certain mechanisms of evolution are topics of serious debate (such as Ardipithecus), the overall process itself is well beyond reasonable doubt at this point.

    Perhaps it would be best for you to simply read Dawkins' latest book, The Greatest Show On Earth. If your doubt can withstand that, then there is probably no convincing you.

    We should be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains fall out:

    Please watch this