The Triumph of the Necrophiles
By John Modrow
1 The Prescientific Sources of the Mechanical World View
2 Towards an Alternative World View
3 The Origin and Nature of Life
4 The Triumph of the Necrophiles: The Singularity is the New Normal
Apparently there actually exist people who don't even believe in life after birth. Consider, for example, the following statement by the highly influential behavioral scientist, B.F. Skinner: "Physics did not advance by looking more closely at the jubilance of a falling body, or biology by looking at the nature of vital spirits, and we do not try to discover what personalities, states of mind, feelings, traits of character, plans, purposes, intentions, and other perquisites of autonomous man really are to get on with a scientific analysis of behavior."1 This world view conceptualizes humans and other living beings as inanimate objects as devoid of sentience as billiard balls being pushed and pulled by external forces. Marvin Minsky, an important cognitive psychologist and pioneer in artificial intelligence, is no fan of behaviorism, but when it comes to metaphysics he is on the same page as Skinner. Minsky has stated that the human mind is more like a computer than like the mind of an ape! Moreover, he also believes that some day it will be possible to upload the human personality into a computer and people will be able to live inside a computer! And he is far from being alone in believing this. The high priest of this mechanistic religion is Ray Kurzweil who firmly believes that-to quote the title of one of his recent books-The Singularity is Near when computers will be every bit as smart as humans-in the year 2029 to be exact. According to Kurzweil, machines will then become much smarter, so that humankind will have no choice but to merge with machines into a sublime totalitarian technocratic unity. Kurzweil firmly believes he's never going to die and that he is going to live forever inside a computer. Meanwhile, Kurzweil is taking good care of himself: he's taking 250 pills a day-nutritional supplements he hopes will prolong his life until that blessed day when he is safely uploaded into life eternal inside a computer!
In this essay I will argue that the ideological components that make up the mechanical world view are very ancient and have more in common with religion than they do with science: that they have their origin in prescientific sources and are totally at odds with every major scientific advance that has occurred since the mid nineteenth century. For example, in his two-volume study, The Myth of the Machine, Lewis Mumford points out that the concept of the machine logically implies some kind of purpose: a machine is, after all, an instrument consciously designed for some preconceived end. This mechanical or teleological world view was thoroughly discredited by Charles Darwin in 1859. Nevertheless, this world view has been part our cultural DNA for thousands of years and it is not going to be going away anytime soon. Nature, for example, was viewed by the ancient Hebrews in a purely instrumental or utilitarian way as typified by the commandment in Genesis 1:26 to have dominion over all this planet's creatures. Devout Christians and devout mechanists view the human body in exactly the same way-the only difference being that the former believes that there is a ghost in that machine while the latter does not. However, both concepts-"machine" and "ghost"-are equally prescientific in nature.
This essay is a very thorough and comprehensive critique of the mechanical world view: it elaborates in great detail the prescientific sources of this world view and also the main scientific advances that discredit this world view. Furthermore, it also constructs an alternative world view that is more consistent with known scientific facts and principles than the world view it critiques. It also shows how this alternative world view more adequately explains the origin and nature of life. In the concluding section of this essay I show where the mechanical world view is taking us. The only values sanctioned by this world view are those of mere speed, efficiency, productivity, and power-everything else is marginalized as totally insignificant or an outright illusion or delusion.
The prescientific sources of the mechanical world View
The mechanical world view also stems from our ancient Greek heritage-specifically from two influential Greek philosophers, Plato and Pythagoras. Indeed, as Alfred North Whitehead has noted: "The history of the seventeenth century science reads as though it were a vivid dream of Plato or Pythagoras."2 Since the views of these two philosophers have had a more direct influence than even our Judeo-Christian heritage in shaping our "scientific" world view, their views merit a very close and detailed scrutiny.
However, before I examine the views of these two thinkers I want to examine the three arguments that are used to support the mechanical world view. I call these the three pillars of mechanistic thought. The first pillar argues that machines and living beings must be identical since both are governed by the same mechanisms or laws. The second pillar maintains as an obvious and undeniable fact that there is absolutely no difference between living and nonliving matter. It is argued that since there is no real difference between the atoms found in living beings and the atoms found in nonliving things it is argued that the difference between the two must be one of mere complexity. The third pillar of mechanistic thought involves the use or existence of computers that simulate thought processes that used to be the exclusive domain of human beings. It is claimed that the mere existence of these computers somehow "proves" that the human mind is a machine. In order to thoroughly undermine these three pillars of mechanistic thought I will show how they are based on assumptions that are simply false-on assumptions that both predate science and are inconsistent with science.
First, let's start with the assumptions which predate science by examining the views of Pythagoras. In his History of Western Philosophy, Bertrand Russell described Pythagoras as a strange mixture of Einstein and Mary Baker Eddy. On one hand, Pythagoras was a brilliant mathematician credited with discovering the theorem named after him. On the other hand, he was the leader of a mystical religious cult who advocated some very odd views, such as his claim that the flatulence caused by eating beans could cause one to fart out their soul. Pythagoras' most influential idea was his mystical belief that the world is made of numbers, that there is a mystical one-to-one correspondence between mathematics and physical reality. In Selections from Early Greek Philosophy, Milton C. Nahm writes : "the Pythagoreans conceived the cosmos as a mathematical structure. Their speculations was enormously influential in establishing the quantitative interpretation of the world and its processes."3
It is very easy to see how Pythagoras' views have had an enormous impact on the development of science. Indeed, even now his views remain extremely influential: superstring theorists at all the major universities in the world are currently busy publishing thousands of papers and devoting millions of man hours to developing what is nothing more than Pythagorean metaphysics. These theorists are seeking to unite all the forces of nature-gravitational, electromagnetic and nuclear-into one grand, explain-all theory that contends that the cosmos is composed of at least ten dimensions. However, not only isn't there a single shred of empirical evidence that supports their views, there is also no way their theories could possibly be put to an experimental test. For example, Leonard Susskind, one of the original founders of superstring theory, admits that it would take an atom smasher at least the size of an entire galaxy to test their theories.4 However, as several critics including Lee Smolin5 and Peter Woit6 have pointed out, things are considerably worse than that, owing to the fact that string theory does not provide anything to test because it does not have any equations capable of making any predictions! Indeed, as even Susskind admits: "With all the years String Theory has been studied, no one has ever found a single defining equation! The number at present count is zero. We know neither of what the fundamental equations of the theory are nor even if it has any."7 Yet they persist because they have faith-faith that there some kind of mystical one-to-one correspondence between their mathematical theories and the structure of the universe.
Ray Kurzweil is the ultimate Pythagorean: he believes that his entire mind and body can be duplicated by a string of ones and zeroes and that this will allow him to live forever inside a computer. Indeed, he seems very eager for this to happen because he seems quite disgusted with his biological body, particularly the fact that 90% of the cells in his body are not really him, but rather bacteria that live in his gut.
Pythagoras also had a profound influence on Socrates and Plato. Plato is usually considered the greatest philosopher who ever lived and, like Pythagoras, he also had a profound influence on the development of the mechanical world view. Like Pythagoras, Ultimate Reality for Plato consists of bloodless, lifeless abstractions-the eternal, changeless realm of Ideas or Forms. The physical world for Plato was merely a distorted reflection of this ideal realm of Forms and, because the physical world is constantly changing, it is not even real in the fullest sense. According to him, we are like prisoners chained to a wall in a cave who mistakenly believe that the flickering images or shadows they see projected against the cave's wall are real persons or objects. Plato thus denigrates the physical world and he has no trust in the reliability of the physical senses.
Like B.F. Skinner, Plato was a sadistic control freak and his most important philosophical work, The Republic, reads like it has been plagiarized from Skinner's utopian novel, Walden Two. (According to Karl Popper, Plato's students and associates include no less than nine tyrants.) Here is Plato expounding on the ideal society: "The greatest principle of all is that nobody, whether male or female, should be without a leader. Nor should the mind of anybody be habituated to letting him do anything at all on his own initiative; neither out of zeal or playfully . . . . For example, he should get up, or wash, or take his meals only if he should be told to do so. In a word, he should teach his soul, by long habit, never to dream of acting independently, and to become utterly incapable of it."8 Plato's Republic consists of three castes: an aristocratic upper class, the Guardians; a Warrior class; and at the very bottom, the workers-the human cattle. Looming above all three of these castes is the absolute dictator, the Philosopher-King, who just happens to be none other than Plato himself. According to Plato no one in his republic-not even the Guardians-should display any initiative or independence of mind. Everyone should be fed "noble lies" that would function to keep everyone in their place. According to Plato all social change is corruption, decay or degeneration-and this applies not only to social change but to any and all forms of change. Furthermore, anything that serves to arrest change or to create social or intellectual stagnation is inherently good.
Plato was also a necrophile and his entire philosophy can best be understood as a mere sublimation of his perverted tendencies. Here, for example, in his dialogue, Phaedo, Plato is speaking through his ventriloquist dummy, Socrates: "the true votary of philosophy . . . is always pursuing death and dying; and if this be so, and he has had the desire of death all his life long, why when his time comes should he repine at which he had been always pursuing and desiring ?" Plato then goes on to disparage all of life's pleasures, whether it be eating or drinking, money, sex, love, or just having a good time. But if Plato doesn't like any of these things, then what really turns him on? Book IV of his Republic supplies a clue. Here Plato projects his own perversion onto Leontios: "saw dead bodies lying beside the executioner. He desired to see them and felt disgusted at the same time . . . but the desire was too much for him. He ran up to the bodies . . . calling out, 'There, confound you! Stare your fill at the beautiful sight!'" Like "Leontios," Plato was ashamed of his perverted tendencies and his means of coping with them was one of denial, projection and sublimation. In the physical world-or life itself-with all its variety, beauty, spontaneity, and in its capacity for growth and change-Plato saw nothing but corruption, decay and degeneration, a putrefying corpse which at once attracted and repulsed him. This revulsion caused him to view the physical world as unreal-an illusion of the corrupt senses-and he therefore sought refuge in an ideal, unchanging world immune to corruption or decay, in his world of Ideas and Forms, in lifeless abstractions, the very antithesis of life.
Now we turn to the world of seventeenth-century science, when the mechanical world view came into existence. This was the world of Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo-an historical moment that reads, as Whitehead reminds us, like "a vivid dream of Plato or Pythagoras." Every competent historian of science-whether it is Alfred North Whitehead in Science and the Modern World, Alexandre Kóyre in From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe, Charles Coulston Gillipie in The Edge of Objectivity: An Essay in the History of Scientific Ideas, or E.A. Burtt in The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Physical Science-is in total agreement that Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo were all profoundly influenced by the metaphysics of Plato and Pythagoras.
A.E. Burtt regards Kepler, an astrologer, mystic, and sun worshipper as markedly more superstitious than was normal even for a man of his time, while Alexandre Kóyre regards both Copernicus and Kepler as essentially medieval thinkers. Yet both men were brilliant mathematicians who made very significant contributions to science.
However, Galileo was of a more modern cast of mind and in him the essential outline of the mechanical world view is more clearly articulated. Therefore, his views merit closer scrutiny. Of special interest is his doctrine of the primary and secondary qualities. According to Galileo, primary qualities are the real, objective, immutable qualities that are an intrinsic part of physical objects such as number, figure, extension, position and motion-qualities which can be wholly expressed mathematically. The secondary qualities include such qualities as colors, sounds, tastes and odors. They are changing, unreal, merely subjective, and do not even exist in the real world, but merely in the sense organs of individuals who are so deluded that they think those qualities are actually real. Such individuals are like the deluded prisoners who are shackled to a wall in Plato's cave and who mistake flickering images or shadows projected against the wall in that cave for real persons or objects. Of course, only Ideas and Mathematical Forms-i.e., the immutable, unchanging primary qualities-are real. Where have we heard this before? This is nothing but warmed over Platonic-Pythagorean metaphysics given a slightly different twist!
I am, of course, being facetious: the basic metaphysical outlook of Plato and Galileo may be quite similar but there is also a very significant difference. Where the Ideas and Forms of Plato are merely objects of passive contemplation, the abstract ideas of Galileo and those who came after him are tools that provide the practical means of predicting and controlling physical reality. Thus, after four hundred years of steady scientific progress, a huge scientific and technological apparatus has been built up, giving a selfish and predatory elite unprecedented power to impose their will on the rest of society. This is power that Plato in his utopian fantasies could only dream of having! Where physicists of the seventeenth century could declare secondary qualities such as colors, sounds, tastes, and odors nonexistent, the behaviorists of the twentieth century could declare feelings, thoughts, plans and purposes equally nonexistent. Real progress has been made: every sensible person now "knows" that everything that exists is mere dead mechanism. Plato's necrophilia has now become hard science.
Descartes and other thinkers who came after him have drunk this mechanistic Kool-Aid. For Descartes, all of nature including the human body is nothing more than a gigantic mathematical machine, except that in humans-but not in other animals-there is a ghost. But where is this ghost? Is it located in the pineal gland or is it diffused throughout the entire nervous and circulatory systems? As time went by that ghost simply went poof! It vanished. And what was left was not very pretty. As Whitehead notes: "Nature is a dull affair, soundless, scentless, colourless; merely the hurrying of material, endlessly, meaninglessly."9 However, just because neither Galileo nor Descartes was able to stuff colors, sounds or odors into mathematical formulae does not necessarily imply they don't exist.
I now think it is about time that I do some demolition work. However, before I begin let me bring you up to date on some philosophical developments that have occurred since Galileo and Descartes made the absolute distinction between primary and secondary qualities. For example, George Berkeley pointed out that the primary qualities are also wholly subjective due to the obvious fact that Plato's, Galileo's and Descartes' precious mathematical Ideas or Forms could not possibly exist anywhere else other than in the minds of those individuals. So the theory had to be changed. Now we are told that we don't experience the physical world at all-not even the primary qualities-but rather only our own sense impressions. David Hume developed Berkeley's ideas and offered a less idealistic and more consistent theory which has come to be known as phenomenalism. Then, in the first half of the twentieth century, the logical positivists developed Hume's ideas further and made phenomenalism even more rigorously consistent, only to have their theory completely demolished by the British philosopher, J.L. Austin. Philosophers are now in complete agreement that phenomenalism has been totally discredited, claiming that we can have direct experience of the external world-a world in which the so-called "secondary qualities" really exist.
Now for some really heavy duty demolition ! Let's start with the first pillar of mechanistic thought, which states that living beings and machines must be identical since both are governed by the same mechanisms or laws. The validity or soundness of this argument depends upon the validity or soundness of the metaphysics of Plato-and especially Pythagoras. For the mechanical world view to be literally true it must be established that there is a perfect one-to-one correspondence between its mathematical systems and physical reality. However, in order for this to be even logically conceivable it must be possible at least in theory to construct a system that would encompass all of mathematics into a system that would be perfectly consistent. I think it is obvious why this must be so. If we have different mathematical systems that are not consistent with each other, then how could we possibly know if any of them are actually consistent with physical reality? If it can be established that it is not possible to have a mathematical system that is both complete and consistent at the same time, then mathematics would lose its magical or mystical authority and would become just another human language not all that special or different from other languages such as German, Norwegian, or Swahili. In fact, this has already been proven.
In this age of computers and other high-tech gadgets philosophers don't seem to get much respect, but this shouldn't be the case. Without philosophers like Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead there wouldn't be any computers at all, because computers are nothing more than a synthesis or merger between electronics and the symbolic or mathematical logic system that those men created about a century ago. I have referring to their monumental work, the Principia Mathematica. In this tour de force, Russell and Whitehead were able to create a logically consistent system that encompassed all of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, abstract algebra and set theory. However, in 1931 the mathematician, Kurt Gödel was able prove that certain mathematical truths lie outside Whitehead and Russell's system and which could not possibly be deduced from that system. Moreover, Gödel was also able to prove that no mathematical system could possibly be both complete and logically consistent: if a system is complete then it must be inconsistent, if consistent then it must be incomplete. Oddly enough, Gödel was an ardent Platonist, but his proof smashed both Platonic-Pythagorean metaphysics and the mechanical world view into a million tiny pieces that can never be put back together again!
Let's examine the extent of the damage. Consider, for instance, the gravitational theories of Newton and Einstein. For over two hundred years the scientific community thought Newton's law of gravity was the absolute infallible truth-until it was superseded by Einstein's general theory of relativity. However, it is rather unlikely that Einstein's theory is infallible either. For example, physicists are concerned by the fact that Einstein's equations break down when applied to black holes by indicating that their gravitation is infinite. Indeed, in 1949 Gödel himself was able to demonstrate that there might be something amiss with Einstein's equations by showing that his equations could be interpreted in such a way as to imply a rotating universe instead of an expanding universe in which time travel would be possible, where one could travel into the past, present, and future and back again-or time does not exist in any universe where general relativity holds. Neither Einstein nor any physicist who came after him could find any flaw in Gödel's reasoning. There have been literally dozens of attempts to either modify Einstein's theory or to supersede it altogether, but those attempts have always failed. However, even if another gravitational theory were to supersede Einstein's theory as Einstein's superseded Newton's, there would still be no guarantee that that theory would be infallible either. Gödel's proof suggests that this process could go on ad infinitum.
Due to Gödel's proof and also to Newtonian physics being superseded by the strange counterintuitive concepts of quantum theory-concepts that are anything but mechanistic in nature!-physicists no longer claim to know what nature really is, but rather they are only able to describe or predict what nature does. Since the comprehension of nature is now largely considered an illusory goal and prediction and control is considered everything, what could it possibly mean to claim that either nature in general or living beings in particular are nothing more than machines? Erich K. Kahler explains what the mechanical world view is all about:
Theoretical abstractions . . . mathematical symbols and formulae, correspond to practical abstractions, i.e., machines and gadgets. Conceptual abstractions are nothing else than theoretical machines used for the mastery of the world. Machines are nothing else than materialized, materially applied conceptual abstractions used for the purpose of manipulating and utilizing the physical world.10
Rather than a noble search for truth, it is all about power-power over the physical world and through power over the physical world, power over other people.
Living beings are not abstractions, nor do abstractions correspond to living beings. Failure to make this vital distinction is what Whitehead terms the fallacy of misplaced concreteness, i.e., the error of mistaking the abstract for the concrete. It is the very nature of abstractions to be incomplete-to leave things out. Gödel has provided powerful proof that this is in fact the case: any and every consistent mathematical system is necessarily incomplete. It leaves things out: like life, for instance.
However, Gödel's proof not only annihilates the first pillar of mechanistic thought, but the third pillar as well. This is the idea that, because computers can simulate thought processes which used to be the exclusive domain of humans, this somehow "proves" that the human mind is nothing but a machine. This is such a pathetic argument that I won't waste much time on it. As I have mentioned before, computers are nothing more than a system of symbolic or mathematical logic embedded within an electronic matrix. They are completely limited by that system and cannot possibly transcend that system because they are that system-but humans can. Gödel was able to prove mathematical truths that lie totally outside of Russell and Whitehead's system and that could not possibly be deduced from that system, something that no computer could possibly do. This means that the human mind is qualitatively different from and superior to any computer and is therefore not a machine.
Alonzo Church and Alan Turing have also produced theorems that demonstrate the limitations of computers. However, like Gödel, who remained an ardent Platonist even though his great mathematical proof seriously undermined Platonism, both Church and Turing remained staunch mechanists even though their theorems seriously undermined their mechanistic world view. But the mere fact that neither Church nor Turing were able to transcend their ingrained prejudices is totally irrelevant. For a detailed analysis of the implications of the theorems of Gödel, Church and Turing, the reader is advised to consult Roger Penrose's The Emperor's New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds and the Laws of Physics.
Computers are an absolutely awesome creation. One would think that the mere fact that humans could create such wonderful machines would be cause to celebrate the excellence of the human mind. But do we ever hear this? No! Instead, the mere existence of computers is used to belittle the human mind! And we hear this all the time, but it shouldn't surprise us. Since the dawn of the Industrial Age, machines have always been used to deskill, disempower, oppress, and dehumanize people.
It is very important to bear in mind exactly what computers are. They are the result of a merger between electronics and a system of symbolic logic. Now, Whitehead claimed that in creating that system of symbolic logic it was never his intention to help people think or think more clearly, but rather to completely mechanize certain operations that used to require thought so thinking would no longer be necessary. And that is exactly what computers do: they perform operations that used to require thought. But they don't think. They are no more capable of thought than are vacuum cleaners or refrigerators. But that is not exactly what we are led to believe, is it?
Instead, we are indoctrinated or conditioned to regard ourselves as separate from nature and not at all similar to other animals but rather as more like the gadgets found in our homes-like computers, for instance. Everyone who has ever owned or loved a cat or a dog knows that those animals have emotions that are very similar to ours. Indeed, since the time of Darwin we have had very sound scientific reasons for believing this. In his book, The Expressions of the Emotions in Man and Animals(1872), Darwin provided very sound empirical evidence that this is in fact the case. Yet, until quite recently it was fashionable in the scientific community to ridicule the notion that other animals are very similar to us. We were being told by these "experts" that we were being utter fools and simpletons in "anthropomorphizing" animals because they were not all like us, but were merely machines!
Yet while these very same savants were ridiculing us for anthropomorphizing animals, they were busy anthropomorphizing computers! Take Marvin Minsky, for instance. When it comes to anthropomorphizing computers, no one beats Minsky. Back in the 1980s Minsky made the statement that the human brain is more similar to a computer than it is to the brain of an ape. He also claimed that as computers become more complex they will be capable of having emotions. Where do people like that get such ideas? Well, since it is obvious that there is no real difference to be found in the atoms that make up living beings on one hand and nonliving things on the other, it is argued that the only difference between the two is one of mere complexity. So people like Minsky think that all they need to do is add a few more bells and whistles to computers and make them a little more complex-or a lot more complex-and then they will be magically transformed into living beings!
We are now confronted with the last remaining pillar of mechanistic thought: the notion that the lack of difference between atoms and molecules that make up both living beings and nonliving things somehow proves the difference between the two must be one of mere complexity.
In discussing the influence that Platonic-Pythagorean metaphysics has had on the development of the mechanistic world view, I haven't yet mentioned Isaac Newton. This is because Newton wasn't a devotee of the cult of Plato or Pythagoras. Any influence that those two Greek philosophers might have had on him would have to have been of a strictly indirect nature via Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Descartes. Still, that influence did exist inasmuch as Newton accepted the distinction between the primary and secondary qualities.
The major prescientific influence on Newton was his acceptance of the Christian world view. That world view teaches that the universe is a machine designed by God. And in accordance with that world view Newton believed that the universe was like a clock that God had wound up and set into motion. Newton also believed that sometimes God would need to intervene and rewind that "clock" in order to keep the universe from winding down.11
Now, in regards to the notion that the only difference between machines and living beings is one of mere complexity: it is a notion that rests upon two interrelated fallacies or mistaken assumptions. First, it is ridiculously obvious that there is a very significant difference between the two besides complexity: one is a product of intelligent design, the other the product of evolution. Perhaps the proponents of mechanism are unable to tell the difference between the two. Or more likely they can, but the implications of this difference has not sunk into their thick skulls! The other mistaken assumption has to do with the idea that life has absolutely nothing to do with the inherent properties of matter but has everything to do with mere pattern: Marvin Minsky, Ray Kurzweil and others seem to think that all that is needed to create life is an appropriate pattern of ones and zeros inside a computer! They seem to think of atoms and molecules as mere lifeless abstractions not inherently different from ones and zeros. They seem to view matter as inherently dead or lifeless-a view that is held by all hardcore mechanists. However, if this were the case and matter were merely an inert, lifeless substance then it would not have been possible for living organisms to have evolved: like machines, they would have needed an intelligent designer.
In the rest of this essay I will draw upon the fields of physics, chemistry, and biology to build a case for the notion that matter-atoms, molecules and subatomic particles-is alive and sentient.
If the above statement strikes one as totally bizarre, it is with very good reason. It runs counter to over two thousand years of Western thought. Both Platonist philosophers and Christian theologians held the material world in very low regard. They viewed matter as an essentially lifeless substance. The animating principle was conceived as something external to matter: the soul. The body was conceived as a sort of corpse or lifeless puppet which the soul manipulates or animates via strings. When these strings are severed and the soul departs from the body the body decays into a putrid mess.
The entire world was conceived in much the same way: God, angels, demons and saints were constantly manipulating strings, causing both miracles and mischief in the world. The world view in Newton's day was becoming increasing secular, but the traditional view still held sway. Basically, the mechanistic world view of Newton and his contemporaries merely represents a slightly secularized version of the traditional Christian world view. A statement by Robert Boyle, an experimental physicist and close friend of Newton's, beautifully illustrates how the Christian world view was being transformed into the mechanical world view. Like Newton, Boyle was a devout Christian and the views of the two men were very similar. Boyle made the statement that the world was not like a puppet that was being manipulated by strings but rather like the clock inside the Strasbourg cathedral.12
Boyle's statement is revealing for a number of reasons. On one hand, it represents a clear, sharp, radical departure from an idea of the world as controlled by spiritual or supernatural forces to a world controlled by strictly materialistic and mechanistic forces. Yet, at the same time his statement also exhibits a lot of continuity with the older world view: in the older view matter is being pulled by strings while in the newer view matter is being pushed by gears and springs: in both cases matter is viewed as a totally inert substance being controlled by external forces. In both cases matter is viewed as totally lifeless or dead.
To sum up: the mechanical world view was created by five brilliant men: Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Descartes, and Newton. The precision and accuracy of their discoveries shouldn't obscure the fact that the basic assumptions underlying their world view were highly questionable to say the least-and that their world view was fashioned out of materials that were thousands of years old! The last of these five men-Newton-spent most of his time in alchemical studies and writing strange theological treatises and weird commentaries on the Book of Revelation. He would be the first person to admit that he didn't have all the answers.
Since Newton's Principia was published in 1687, the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries have come and gone. During that period of time the discoveries of science can be represented on a graph as a sort of bell curve: in the first half of that period of time every discovery of science seemed to confirm the accuracy of the mechanical world view, while in the second half nearly every major scientific advance only served to undermine that world view. It is now time to take a detailed look at the major scientific advances that have shattered the mechanical world view. However, before we do, Lewis Mumford, in Technics and Civilization, bids us to take one last look at the lovely world that seventeenth-century science bequeathed to us:
By his consistent metaphysical principles and his factual method of research, the physical scientist denuded the world of natural and organic objects and turned his back on real experience: he substituted for the body and blood of reality a skeleton of effective abstractions which he could manipulate with appropriate wires and pulleys . . . Were machines not conceived in terms of primary qualities alone, without regard to appearance, sound, or any other sort of sensory stimulation? . . . What was left was a bare, depopulated world of matter and motion: a wasteland.13
This may be a wasteland, but it is also a place where the likes of B.F. Skinner, Marvin Minsky, and Ray Kurzweil feel right at home. The seventeenth century is their comfort zone. Such persons should be grabbed by the scruff of their necks and dragged kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century!
2 Towards an Alternative world View
What are the major scientific advances of the last one hundred fifty years that have undermined the mechanical world view? There are hundreds or perhaps even thousands of them, but three of the most important are the theory of evolution, the theory of relativity, and quantum physics. Of course, there is also Gödel's proof-a discovery of the first magnitude that I have already shown completely demolishes two pillars that support the mechanical world view. While it is completely true that the theory of evolution does support a totally secular and materialistic world view, it does not lend any support to the mechanical world view. Instead as I've already shown, if the proponents of the mechanical world view were to be totally consistent in their beliefs, they would oppose the theory of evolution and insist that the world was created by intelligent design. The concept of the machine is a teleological concept that logically implies some kind of purpose: a machine is, after all, an instrument consciously designed for some preconceived end. As I will later show, the theory of evolution supports a dynamic, ever-changing, ever-developing organic view of the world rather than a static, mechanistic world view. Then there is the theory of relativity-a theory that annihilates thousands of years of preconceived notions about the intrinsic nature of matter. In Western thought matter has always been conceived as an inert, lifeless substance that needs to be acted upon by some external force: either to be "pulled by strings" in the view of Christian theologians and Platonist philosophers or to be "pushed by gears and springs" in the view in seventeenth-century physicists such as Boyle and Newton. However, Einstein's relativity establishes that matter, rather than being a dead, inert substance is instead pure energy, process or activity-attributes we usually associate with life. However, as far as undermining the mechanical world view the most significant scientific advance has been the development of quantum physics, which has completely superseded the mechanistic physics of Newton. The most revolutionary aspect of quantum theory is Bell's theorem and the concept of entanglement, which strongly implies that matter is indeed sentient!
However, the theory of evolution has been around for over 150 years and relativity and quantum physics for nearly a century-so long that people have taken those theories for granted. As a consequence, they have become completely desensitized and are no longer aware of those theories' revolutionary implications. For example, as far as religion is concerned, the implications of the theory of evolution are quite stark: if that theory is correct, then God is at best an unnecessary hypothesis and at worst an outright superstition. Although it is perfectly true that the theory of evolution does not necessarily prove that God does not exist, the implications are such that if such a being were to actually exist, it would be a being infinitely more impersonal in nature than anything the eighteenth-century deists could possibly have imagined! Yet educated Christians have long made peace with the notion of evolution. Accepting evolution as an established scientific fact-and that the creation account in the book of Genesis might not be literally true-they still believe in a God that listens to-and even answers-their prayers. They still believe that Jesus was a divinity that rose from the dead-and they still believe they will do likewise after they die. Such persons are living in a state of denial even worse than their fundamentalist coreligionists: at least the latter are fully aware of that theory's philosophical implications!
In the early decades of the twentieth century it was generally recognized that relativity and quantum theory had totally discredited the mechanistic world view of Newtonian physics. However, we are no longer living in the early part of the twentieth century. Several generations have passed since then and people no longer seem to have any awareness that the mechanical world view has been totally discredited. The oxymoronic phrase "quantum mechanics" that I see all the time says it all! Again, this is another example of people living in a state of total denial. I think this is due in large part by the spectacular advances that have been recently made in computers and artificial intelligence. People have been absolutely dazzled by the capabilities of those machines and this bedazzlement has given the mechanical world view a new lease on life. However, I don't think Whitehead would have been at all bedazzled or mystified as to what these machines actually are: he would have recognized in them nothing more than the materialized application of the symbolic logic system that he himself had created.
Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) was a mathematician, logician and physicist who lived during a transitional period when the Newtonian system was being replaced by relativity and quantum theory. He taught mathematics and logic at Cambridge until 1910, then physics at the University of London from 1910 to 1924, where he was mainly interested in the philosophical implications of physics. It has been said that when Einstein first published his general theory of relativity there were only about a dozen people in the world who were capable of understanding it-and Whitehead was one of them. Moreover, as I will soon show, Whitehead's grasp of the philosophical implications of the quantum theory is simply unbelievable! He then moved to Harvard, where he taught philosophy and developed his own metaphysical system. Everyone who had ever met Whitehead came away overawed by his intellect, including the arch-mechanist B.F. Skinner, who later gave Whitehead credit for helping him clarify certain ideas which went into his book, Verbal Behavior. Indeed, in order to find a speculative philosopher of his intellectual caliber you would have to go all the way back to Leibnitz (1646-1716), the co-discoverer of calculus with Newton, or Immanuel Kant (1724-1804).
However, not only was Whitehead a world-class mathematician, logician and physicist, he was also a world-class historian. Whitehead and
E.A. Burtt were the first persons to understand that the mechanical world view was derived from prescientific sources: that it was nothing more than a mixture of religious superstition and Platonic-Pythagorean metaphysics wrapped up in impressive-looking mathematical formulae. This is now well known by every historian of science. Whitehead's metaphysical system consists of three main components: the theory of evolution, the theory of relativity, and quantum theory. Although his system is solidly grounded in science, it represents the very antithesis of the mechanical world view: it is both organic and panpsychic in nature. I will not even attempt to go into the details of his metaphysical system here, but later I will take a closer look at his system. I must confess that I have absolutely no interest in Whitehead's metaphysics. Rather, I admire Whitehead because he is most profound and formidable critic of the mechanical world view who has ever lived. He was an absolute genius for being able to see the philosophical implications of scientific theories. The very core or essence of his metaphysical system is contained in this remarkable passage from his book, Science and the Modern World published in 1925:
my theory involves the entire abandonment of the notion that simple location is the primary way in which things are involved in space-time. In a certain sense, everything is everywhere at all times. For every location involves an aspect of itself in every other location. Thus every spatiotemporal standpoint mirrors the world.14
Here Whitehead anticipates the development of Bell's theorem and the phenomenon known as "entanglement" that is only now being widely accepted in science!
In 1935 Albert Einstein, along with his colleagues Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen, wrote a paper that took note of what Whitehead had noticed ten years previously. In a thought experiment, Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen hypothesized that, according to quantum theory, if a two-particle pair were shot off in opposite directions and the spin of one of those particles were to be deflected by an electromagnetic force upwards, for example, its twin particle would somehow "know" this and would simultaneously spin in the opposite direction, downwards. The key word here is simultaneously: the communication between these particles takes place at a faster than light speed so no form of energy could possibly be exchanged between these two particles. Einstein viewed this as a "spooky action-at-a-distance" and contemptuously dismissed the mere possibly of this ever occurring in nature. All this indicated to him was that quantum theory must either be incomplete or seriously flawed.
In two papers published in 1935 and 1936, the great physicist Erwin Schrödinger weighed in on this issue. Schrödinger used the word "entanglement" to describe the phenomenon mentioned by Einstein and his colleagues. According to Schrödinger, entanglement was not merely an aspect of quantum theory but instead represented the very essence of quantum theory. However, like Einstein, Schrödinger felt that quantum theory would probably need to be reformulated.
In 1964 John S. Bell, a physicist at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland, devised a mathematical theorem that would allow physicists to experimentally test the so-called Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen effect. Bell's theorem also affirmed that entanglement was indeed the correct interpretation of quantum theory. Bell's theorem was first confirmed in 1972 by John Clauser and Stuart Freedman at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory.15 But the Clauser-Freedman experiment was inconclusive because it was unable to confirm faster than light communication between subatomic particles. Full confirmation of Bell's theorem didn't arrive until 1981, when Alain Aspect at the University of Paris did in fact confirm superluminal communication between subatomic particles.16 Bell's theorem was further confirmed by Nicolas Gisin at the University of Geneva in 1997 and then again in 2004. This latter experiment confirmed entanglement between two subatomic particles at an incredible distance of 50 km or 31 miles!17
What does all this mean? Bell's theorem stipulates that once two subatomic particles, atoms or molecules have been in contact with each other they will remain entangled with each other regardless of the distance they are "separated" from each other. The word "separated" is in quotes because they will always be in contact with each other by means of something that is eerily similar to mental telepathy. However, before the Big Bang all of the matter in the universe was compressed tightly together in an area of about one millionth of the diameter of an electron! So physicists are forced to conclude that we do indeed live in an entangled non-local universe. Therefore: "In a certain sense, everything is everywhere at all times. For every location involves an aspect of itself in every other location." What was once metaphysics is now mainstream science. This amounts to nothing less than a full experimental verification of the central core of Whitehead's metaphysical system! And it also represents the final deathblow to the mechanical world view. All three pillars supporting that world view have now been totally demolished!
Of course, it is only to be expected that parapsychologists would be having a field day with the concept of entanglement and would be using it to "explain" phenomena such as telepathy and other types of ESP. An example of this is Dean Radin's 2006 book Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality. However, whether or not ESP actually exists is totally irrelevant. For example, if it could be established that ESP actually exists, then what would that really prove? It would prove that we live in a non-local universe. But that has already been established with a precision and an elegance that no sorry-ass parapsychologist could possibly match!
The logical positivists, a very influential group of philosophers in the first half of the twentieth century, proposed the verification principle as the criterion that separates science from metaphysics: the theories of science could be experimentally verified while metaphysical theories could not. Nearly every scientist agrees with this view. However, according to that criterion superstring theory should be demoted to the status of metaphysics while Whitehead's metaphysical system should be elevated to the status of science.
Since the Newtonian system became hegemonic in the eighteenth century, metaphysics has been sneered at as akin to superstition; it has always been viewed in relation to science in pretty much in the same way as astrology is viewed in relation to astronomy and alchemy to chemistry. If this is indeed the case, how is it possible for an "intellectually backward" metaphysician such as Whitehead to have displayed more insight into physical reality in 1925 than two of the world's greatest scientists-Einstein and Schrödinger-did in 1935? I think it is quite a scandal that Whitehead isn't being given any credit for this, but nowadays no one who calls himself a metaphysician will ever be given credit for anything! So far, besides myself, the only other person who seems to exhibit any awareness of the fact that Whitehead's metaphysics is supported by Bell's theorem is Joachim Klose of Dresden, Germany. From his 2007 paper, "Process Ontology from Whitehead to Quantum Physics," it appears that Dr. Klose is a Whiteheadian scholar and not a scientist.
However, Whitehead's metaphysical views are supported by more than just Bell's theorem. The Pauli exclusion principle-like Bell's theorem-lends support to the notion that subatomic particles and atoms are indeed sentient. Pauli's exclusion principle is one of the most important principles of physics because all the particles that make up the atom-protons, neutrons and electrons-are subject to it. It also has very significant ramifications in chemistry and biology because it determines the very nature or structure of the hundred or so chemical elements. In 1925 the Austrian physicist Wolfgang Pauli discovered that no two electrons in an atom can be exactly alike or occupy the same quantum state-that is, they must either have a different spin or a different momentum. A hydrogen atom has one electron and this electron can move in any way permitted by the quantum laws of motion, which would be the most energetically favorable state. A second electron in another hydrogen atom would occupy the exact same state as the first electron. However, in a helium atom the mere presence of the first electron forces the second electron into a different quantum state. In a book titled The Nature of Physical Reality, Henry Margenau, a Yale University physicist, explains:
It is though the second electron "knew" the first was there even though it does not interact with it by forces of the familiar kind . . . In a crude manner of speaking, each particle wants to be alone; each runs away when it "smells" the other, and its sense of smell is keener the more nearly its velocity equals the other's. Somehow, this analogy with sentient behavior seems more appropriate for the description of the correlations here encountered than an appeal to ordinary forces, the chief reason being the very unusual character of the forces, and especially the velocity dependence, which would be required for the purpose . . . It is as though here, for the first time, physics had discovered within its own precincts a purely social law, a law that is simple in its basic formulation, yet immense in its collective effects. Mechanistic reasoning, already far behind, has gone out of sight as a result of this latest advance.18
Other physicists such as Louis de Broglie have expressed similar views. I first came across the views of de Broglie and Margenau in regard to the exclusion principle several decades ago upon reading a remarkable article "Mind, Matter, and Quanta," published in 1966 in the journal Main Currents in Modern Thought by an experimental physicist, Andrew
A. Cochran. Cochran took note of the fact that organic chemicals found in living organisms do not differ in any fundamental way from inorganic chemicals found in nonliving things. There is no "vital spark" that differentiates the two. However, to Cochran that did not necessarily mean that atoms are lifeless or that the difference between living organisms and nonliving things is merely a matter of complexity, but rather that "atoms must possess at least a rudimentary degree of life that can be made additive or cumulative by combination . . . in the wonderfully intricate organization of atoms in living matter."19 Cochran states his hypothesis as follows:
Consider Bohr's analogy between the dual aspects of man and the dual aspects of matter. Man is both matter and mind, while atoms and fundamental particles of matter are both particle and wave. If one suspected that a rudimentary degree of life were possessed by all matter, he would naturally suspect that the dual aspects of man are a direct result of the dual aspects of matter from which he is made, and that the mind of man and the wave properties of the electron are two extremes of the same thing: the mind properties of matter.20
From his hypothesis that the wave properties of matter are the mind properties of matter, Cochran makes several predictions. First, Cochran predicts that the wave properties of matter are strongly predominant in living matter, specifically in proteins. Secondly, he predicts that since carbon and hydrogen together comprise approximately 80% of the atoms in proteins, the wave properties of matter would be most predominant in those two elements. Thirdly, he predicts that since nitrogen and oxygen comprise 19% of the remaining atoms in proteins, they would have less of a wave predominance than either carbon or hydrogen but more than any of the other elements. Fourthly, he predicts that the next abundant elements in living matter-phosphorus and sulfur-would have less of a wave predominance than carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen or oxygen, but more than all the other elements. The ten elements with the highest wave predominance are (in decreasing order): carbon, hydrogen, boron, nitrogen, beryllium, silicon, oxygen, fluorine, phosphorus, and sulfur. As it turns out, carbon and hydrogen-the most abundant elements in proteins-have the highest wave predominance of all the elements; nitrogen and oxygen occupy number 4 and 7 in this series, and phosphorus and sulfur are number 9 and
10. As Cochran notes: "the coefficients of correlation, based on the average position of the wave predominance series, are a perfect +1.00 for C and H; +.98 for C, H, N, and O; and +95 for C, H, N, O, P, and S . . . These results cannot be achieved by presently-accepted theories."21 The elements beryllium and fluorine are not found in living organisms while boron and silicon are found only in trace amounts. According to Cochran, the reason these elements are not abundant in living organisms is due to their lesser ability to form bonds by means of electron delocalization, the most important characteristic of molecules that are essential to life. Electron delocalization refers to electrons that are not associated with a single atom but whose orbits extend over several adjacent atoms and this too involves a marked predominance of the wave properties of matter. According to Cochran, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur can more readily form multiple bonds by means of electron delocalization than all the other elements-and hydrogen atoms participate in these bonds.
What does this all mean? It means that the life principle is contained within the very nature and structure of matter itself: not in some "vital spark" that distinguishes living matter from nonliving matter, not in some animating principle external to matter whether supernatural or mechanical in origin that pulls or pushes matter about, and not in mere complexity that somehow transforms nonliving atoms into living organisms. Indeed, matter is beginning to assume a spooky or even a spiritual aspect with faster-than-light communication occurring between subatomic particles at enormous distances with no possible transfer of energy occurring between them, as the Aspect and Gisin experiments demonstrate. In their book, The Conscious Universe: Parts and Wholes in Physical Reality, Menas Kafatos and Robert Nadeau suggest that Bell's theorem implies that the universe might be conscious. It is noteworthy that these authors quote Whitehead and mention his accomplishments in mathematics and logic in no less than four places in their book. But they fail to see any connection between Bell's theorem and Whitehead's metaphysics.
It is time to take a closer look at Whitehead's metaphysical system. Whitehead's metaphysical system as set forth in his 1929 book, Process and Reality, is fantastically complex. It includes eight categories of existence, twenty-seven categories of explanation, and nine categorical obligations. His book includes so many technical terms that trying to read it is like trying to read a foreign language. However, a bare outline of some of his basic concepts will suffice here. As I have already indicated, Whitehead rejects the locality assumption that is central to mechanistic thinking that physical objects occupy a definite and separate location in space and that two things can only interact by direct contact, or by the transmission through space of some object or force that itself comes in direct contact with both objects. Moreover, like all modern philosophers and physicists, Whitehead did not assume that the universe is divided into separate physical objects but rather into separate events: some of which may be momentary, while others may be repeated over a period of time and therefore give the impression of being solid enduring objects.
In creating his metaphysical system Whitehead confronts two problems which he sees plaguing the mechanical world view. The first problem consists of the fact that scientists are unable to demonstrate any interconnection between any series of events. For example, they may be able to demonstrate that event B always follows event A, but they are unable to explain why this should be so. Whitehead derives this line of reasoning from the eighteenth-century philosopher David Hume. Hume's critique of causality-though irrefutable-was simply ignored by the scientific community for a long time. However, with the development of quantum theory in the twentieth century the scientific community could no longer ignore Hume's critique or its implications. Scientists began to observe strange, inexplicable events occurring within the atom: electrons seemingly jumping from one path in a molecule to another without crossing the space in between; electrons and other identical particles mutually debarring each other from taking the same state, as in Pauli's exclusion principle; radioactive molecules seemingly remembering what other nearby molecules have done and timing their radiation accordingly. Then there's Bell's theorem which suggests that every molecule in the universe is inexplicably entangled with every other molecule in ways that science cannot possibly understand. As a result of this, physicists have given up any hope of understanding what nature really is: they can only observe what nature does. In short, they may know that event B always follows event A, but just as Hume argued back in the eighteenth century, they cannot know that event A caused event B or establish any meaningful connection between those two events.
The second problem Whitehead confronts is the age old conundrum of the apparent split between mind and matter. If we are mere machines composed of lifeless atoms, then how is consciousness possible? Whitehead solves both of these problems by positing that the universe is composed entirely of minds. The most important concept in order to understand Whitehead's panpsychic system is his technical term, "prehension." Derived from the words "apprehension" and "comprehension," with the first syllables deleted, prehension denotes the most generalized awareness possible-an awareness that need not even be conscious. Philip H. Bagby, one of Whitehead's former students, describes the concept of prehension as follows:
Now, for Whitehead every event, physical or mental, prehends aspects of all other previously existing events. That is to say, it reflects or grasps them within itself and they form part of its own nature. It does not prehend every other event in its totality, but rather such aspects as they present to it. And, in turn, it presents aspects of itself to all subsequent events. Each event may be thought of as having a subjective and an objective side. The first is constituted by all the aspects of prior events which it prehends, the second by all its own aspects which are prehended by later events. Together these two facets of event form its whole nature; separately, they may be thought of as corresponding roughly to the "mind" and "body" of other systems.22
Rather than being merely passive, prehension involves an active organizing process that seeks unification and order. Prehension involves two complementary principles: the principle of integration and the principle of differentiation. The principle of integration or conformity involves events being aware of each other and imitating each other and accounts for the appearance of solid enduring objects. It also justifies causality because the events conform to regular patterns of behavior we call natural laws. The principle of differentiation accounts for novelty, change, and evolution: events assert their own individuality by looking toward the future. Bagby explains that:
One of the principle ways in which events differentiate themselves and organize their differences and inter-relationships, is space. Space has no objective existence of its own; it is not a vast empty container in which events take place. It is simply the way in which some, not all, events are inter-related; or, to put it more exactly, the way in which they organize their prehensions of each other.23
In Whitehead's world view everything from the universe as a whole to the tiniest subatomic particle is a living organism.
I'm going to move on to the field of biology in an effort to ascertain which of the two world views discussed above better explains the origin and nature of life. The conventional view has always been that matter is composed of lifeless atoms and that life arises as a result of mere complexity. It is therefore complexity itself that is the life principle and not matter itself, because matter is thought of as inherently lifeless. Hence the bizarre beliefs expressed by Minsky, Kurzweil and others that ones and zeros can be substituted for atoms and molecules in creating living beings. Therefore living organisms-including humans-are viewed as nothing more than very complicated abstractions. According to Whitehead, this view represents the fallacy of misplaced concreteness-or according to Jacques Barzun, the fallacy of misplaced abstractness: in either case concrete living reality is dismissed as illusionary and lifeless abstractions are viewed as the ultimate reality. "Life" is merely a more complicated form of death. This world view has a long intellectual pedigree going back to the seventeenth-century physicists, who believed that nature was inherently lifeless and that colors, sounds and odors were unreal because they wouldn't fit inside their mathematical formulae, and ultimately to that disgusting necrophile, Plato, the godfather of the mechanist death cult.
In the world view I am promoting, the life principle is to be found in the inherent nature and structure of matter itself and not in some purely extraneous factor such as mere complexity. Nor in some external force acting on matter, whether it be mechanistic or supernatural in origin. Nor in some mysterious "vital spark" that somehow distinguishes living from nonliving matter. This world view is of an even more ancient lineage than the mechanistic world view and goes back to the animistic beliefs of hunter-gatherer cultures, who regarded all of nature as essentially alive. In the Wikipedia this world view is described as follows: "In many animistic world views found in hunter-gatherer cultures, the human being is regarded as on a roughly equal footing with other animals, plants, and natural forces. Therefore it is morally imperative to treat these agents with respect. In this world view, humans are considered a part of nature, rather than superior to, or separate from it." Is this world view really all that irrational? It seems to me that it is a more realistic and humane way of viewing things than is to be found in the mechanistic world view favored by a parasitic and predatory elite who view all of the world and all of the people in it as mere raw material to be manipulated and exploited. When contrasted with an animistic world view, what are we to think of Descartes, the founder of modern Western philosophy and a major contributor to mechanical world view, who thought only humans had souls and that other animals were lifeless mechanisms, and because of this you could stick a knife into them and they wouldn't feel a thing? Do such views represent a glamorous advance toward enlightenment, as B.F. Skinner and others of his ilk seem to think? And what are we to think of people who turn their backs on life and encourage others to do likewise, who ridicule people for "anthropomorphizing" animals and who encourage others to anthropomorphize computers?
We now have two competing world views or theories. One world view was fully developed long before the theory of evolution, the theory of relativity, and quantum theory were ever heard of. That world view is composed mainly of a mixture of religious superstition and Platonic-Pythagorean metaphysics dressed up in some impressive-looking mathematical formulae. It is supported by pervasive propaganda, by powerful and prestigious institutions, and by loads and loads of sheer intellectual intimidation. The other theory has the theory of evolution, the theory of relativity and quantum theory as its three main components and is supported by Bell's theorem, as well as being totally consistent with everything that is known in the fields of physics and chemistry. Which theory more adequately explains the origin and nature of life? The necrophilic theory or the biophilic theory?
3 The origin and Nature of life
As I have shown, we have good reason to believe that matter contains within itself at least the rudiments of life and sentience. That being the case, rather than being a freakish accident, the appearance and continuing evolution of life can be reasonably viewed as an inevitable consequence of the intrinsic nature of matter. However, this isn't what we've been led to believe. Instead, the new wine of evolution has been poured into old mechanistic bottles, resulting in what is now known as neo-Darwinism or the so-called Modern Synthesis. The term "Modern Synthesis" refers to the unification of Darwin's theory of evolution by means of natural selection with the laws of heredity originally discovered by Gregor Mendel in 1865. Mendel's work wasn't widely known until after 1900 and it wasn't until the early 1930s until the aforementioned synthesis finally began to take place, when three brilliant mathematicians-J. B. S. Haldane, Ronald A. Fisher, and Sewall Wright-produced mathematical formulae merging Mendel's laws with Darwin's concept of natural selection. Sewall Wright also developed the concept of random genetic drift. During the 1930s and 1940s Theodosius Dobzhansky, Julian Huxley, G. G. Simpson, Ernst Mayr and others also made important contributions to the development of this neo-Darwinist line of thought. Another important contributor to this line of thought was Hermann J. Muller, who discovered that mutations can be induced by X-rays. Basically, the neo-Darwinist theory as to how organisms evolve comes down to this: cosmic rays or ultraviolet light, etc. strike organisms, causing mutations. The vast majority of these mutations are harmful and are weeded out by natural selection. However, occasionally, by mere chance, a mutation arises that benefits the organism and makes it better adapted to its environment so that it is able to out-compete and therefore produce more progeny than organisms without this mutation.
However, as it turns out, the term Modern Synthesis can be more accurately called the Premature Synthesis or even the Obsolete Synthesis. Part of the problem lies in the unfortunate fact that the neo-Darwinian synthesis is based upon Mendel's original 1865 analysis. According to Mendel's analysis, each trait is controlled by one particular gene, or "factor," as he called it. However, as Eva Jablonka and Marion J. Lamb note:
geneticists . . . now think . . . in terms of genetic networks composed of tens or hundreds of genes and gene products, which interact with each other and together affect the development of a particular trait. They recognize that whether or not a trait . . . develops does not depend, in the majority of cases, on a difference in a single gene. It involves interactions among many genes, many proteins and other types of molecule, and the environment in which the individual develops.24
According to these authors, when neo-Darwinists were confronted with these awkward facts: "They were considered to be part of the 'noise' in the system. When these deviant traits were acknowledged at all, they were excused, not studied . . . At best they were considered to be eccentric cases that did not alter the general picture, at worst they were simply ignored."25
In short, the mathematical formulae developed by Haldane, Fisher, and Wright may be beautiful and elegant, but they bear no relation at all to biological reality. Thus, the entire theoretical framework upon which the Modern Synthesis is based collapses. Moreover, this also impacts the validity of Richard Dawkins "selfish gene" theory. If Dawkins had spent more time studying biology and less time reading Ayn Rand, he would realize that his selfish gene theory is nothing but a pseudoscientific fantasy: genetic atomism is dead: genes don't act like hyper-individualistic Randian anarchists and-as I will later show-they can be turned off and even permanently altered by environmental stress. They are hardly the omnipotent critters that Dawkins and his fellow Darwinian dittoheads imagine them to be!
There are even more serious problems with the neo-Darwinian premature or obsolete synthesis. Darwin himself stressed that evolution is a very gradual process and proceeds by very small increments and if it were ever proven otherwise, his theory would be wrong. Neo-Darwinists are-or at least were-even more adamant on this point and for two very good reasons. First of all, if evolution is a process that involves completely random mutations of which the vast majority are harmful and only a very rare few confer any benefits, then evolution would necessarily have to be a very slow and gradual process-with the emphasis being on the word gradual. This process must be gradual, secondly, because the conditions that cause these random mutations-cosmic rays disrupting DNA molecules, random DNA copying errors, etc., always remain constant and never change: therefore, evolution must be a very gradual process. If this could ever be proven otherwise, then mutations could not be completely random. However, this has in fact been proven otherwise and this idea of evolutionary gradualism has now been totally discredited by the findings of two Harvard university paleontologists and evolutionary biologists, Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge.Gould and Eldredge have established that evolution proceeds by what they call punctuated equilibrium: periods of rapid change alternating with very long periods of almost no change at all. In fact, it has been known for a long time that some organisms undergo almost no change at all for hundreds of millions of years.
At first the findings of Gould and Eldredge were greeted with dismay, but now the consensus among card-carrying neo-Darwinists can be summed up as roughly: "So what? We knew this all along!" However, if they always knew this was true, then why did they claim otherwise for several decades? Why did they not only adamantly claim that evolution must necessarily be a totally gradual process but also viciously attack anyone who dissented from this view? When in 1940, for example, the distinguished geneticist Richard Goldschmidt dissented from this gradualistic view, he became such a figure of hate among this fellow evolutionary biologists that you would think his name was Goldstein instead of Goldschmidt! However, apparently this has all gone down the collective neo-Darwinist memory hole: they have always been ardent believers in punctuated equilibrium because it is perfectly consistent with their theoretical perspective!
Contrary to what the neo-Darwinists claim, the 1972 findings of Gould and Eldredge were nothing less than powerful evidence that the mutations propelling evolution are not of a wholly random nature. More explicit evidence that this is in fact the case began to emerge sixteen years later, in 1988, with the publication, by John Cairns and his Harvard colleagues, in an article titled "The Origin of Mutants" in Nature, the most prestigious British science journal.What their experiments demonstrated was that rather than being random, mutations are induced by the needs of the organism. When Cairns' group introduced a strain of Escherichia coli bacteria (commonly known as E. coli) that could not use lactose sugar as an energy source into a medium that contained only lactose sugar, the number of mutants that arose allowing them to use the sugar was significant.26 In an experiment also involving E.coli bacteria, Barbara Wright similarly found a significant rise in mutations enabling them to survive when these organisms were put under stress.27 Lynn Helena Caporale provides an interesting prospective on the significance of these findings. The E. coli bacterium contains 4.7 million nucleotide base pairs in its genome. (The human genome contains 3 billion base pairs.) Now, to put the following into perspective, consider that the estimated number of atoms in the entire universe is 1080-that is, 1 followed by 80 zeros: "For a given E. coli to explore placing each of the three other bases at each position in its genome would require 102.8 million (1 followed by 2.8 million zeros) genomes . . . So E. coli cannot randomly try every possible change and then wait for selection to capture the very best ones."28
The non-randomness of mutations is also proven by the fact that "the part of our DNA that encodes the pathogen-binding part of our antibody genes can mutate much more quickly than the rest of our DNA." As Caporale explains:
our immune system has evolved the ability to focus mutations. There is information in our genome that directs mutation to the pathogen-binding region of antibody DNA. This information is found in the DNA near, but outside of, the DNA that encodes the antibody's amino acid sequence. We know that this information is there because if you remove certain pieces of DNA that are near the rearranged variable region, you can stop the hyper-mutation.29
The notion that mutations are wholly random is totally at odds with current knowledge as to how genes are actually organized on the chromosomes of all organisms, ranging from viruses to humans. As Antonio Lima-de-Faria explains:
When immunologists started to publish data, showing that genes with similar function were located close to each other, geneticists dismissed such results as incorrect. The occurrence of random mutations and random rearrangements would not permit the establishment of a functional order along the chromosome . . . Since then the evidence accumulated has disclosed that, in all types of organisms, genes with similar functions tend to be clustered, building a functional package. Moreover, the assembly has been preserved throughout evolution, the gene cluster being transmitted with little or no alteration . . . Gene clustering related to function is already present in viruses and it extends from bacteria to humans. This represents an enormous stretch of evolutionary history.30
Likewise, the recent discovery of the Hox genes also provides clear and dramatic proof of the essentially non-random nature of the evolutionary process. Hox genes are master genes that control the development of body regions at different positions along the body axis in various organisms. What makes this discovery so remarkable is the fact that the very same genes shape or control the development of body regions in organisms as different from each other as worms, insects, starfish and humans! These organisms diverged from each other over five hundred million years ago, yet they all share the very same master genes. Other master genes these organisms share in common include the Pax-6 gene, which controls the development of the eyes, the Distal-less gene, which controls the development of the limbs, and the Tinman gene, which controls the development of the heart-named after the character in the Wizard of Oz who lacked a heart. Not only was the discovery of such genes totally unanticipated, it was also pretty much the consensus among evolutionary biologists that such genes could not possibly exist. The views of Ernst Mayr, one of the major architects of the Modern Synthesis, are typical of this view:
Much that has been learned about gene physiology makes it evident that the search for homologous genes is quite futile except in very close relatives. If there is only one efficient solution for a certain functional demand, very different gene complexes will come up with the same solution, no matter how different the pathway by which it is achieved. The saying 'Many roads lead to Rome' is as true in evolution as in daily affairs.31
Mayr's views make perfect sense if one accepts his assumption that the mutations propelling evolution are of a wholly random nature, but this is clearly not case. These master genes-the Hox, Pax-6, Distal-less, and Tinman-are interconnected with networks of genetic switches that encode instructions unique to individual species, which then enable different animals to be made from essentially the same set of master genes.32 These genetic switches serve as focal points of evolution, but they evolve not by means of random mutation, but rather by means of duplication and specialization of function.33
As their name implies, these genetic switches control the expression of other genes by turning them off and on. For example, every cell in the human body contains exactly the same genes, yet during development, as an embryo, the expression of many of these genes are turned off, enabling the cells in the body to differentiate and specialize. Some become nerve cells, some red blood cells, some liver or heart cells, and so forth. The most striking example of this is the moth and the caterpillar, two entirely different organisms that share exactly the same genome. And here's an even more remarkable fact: much of evolution is epigenetic in nature and involves no change in the genome itself, but rather in what genes are expressed. Significant evolutionary change can occur without any mutations taking place! Changes in the environment can impact organisms in such a way as to turn some of their genes on or off and, moreover, these changes can be inherited!34
As I have previously mentioned, evolution proceeds by punctuated equilibrium, by periods of rapid change alternating with long periods of very little change. Normally it is the tendency of organisms to resist change. Rapid change only occurs when the environment changes and organisms are put under stress and must change in order to survive. According to Jablonka and Lamb:
Epigenetic variations are generated at a higher rate than genetic ones, especially in changed environmental conditions, and several epigenetic variations may occur at the same time. Furthermore, they may not be blind to function, because in epigenetic marks probably occur preferentially on genes that are induced to be active by new conditions. This does not mean that all induced changes are adaptive, but it does increase the chances that a variation will be beneficial. This combination of these two properties-a high rate of generation and a good chance of being appropriate-means that adaption through the selection of epigenetic variants may be quite rapid compared to adaption through genetic change.35
Moreover, according to these authors epigenetic variations:
bias where and when mutations occur . . . augments the probability of genetic assimilation because it maintains a new developmental pathway until it can be established more permanently by the selection of the appropriate combination of alleles. [and thus] . . . paves the way for the more stable genetic variants that may follow.36
With this in mind we are now able to understand evolutionary processes that were once inexplicable when we were using the assumptions of conventional neo-Darwinian doctrine: namely, the evolution of reptiles from their primitive amphibian ancestors and their leaving their once aquatic environment in their conquest of dry land. In his brilliant anti-mechanistic polemic, The Ghost in the Machine, Arthur Koestler explains the difficulties involved in this transition:
The decisive novelty of the reptiles was that, unlike amphibians, they laid their eggs on dry land; they no longer depended on the water and were free to roam over the continents. But the unborn reptile inside the egg still needed an aquatic environment: it had to have water or else it would dry up before it was born. It also needed a lot of food: amphibians hatch as larvae who fend for themselves, whereas reptiles hatch fully developed. So the reptilian egg had to be provided with a large mass of egg yolk for food, and also with albumen-the white of egg-to provide the water. Neither the yolk by itself, nor the egg-white itself, would have any selective value. Moreover, the egg-white needed a vessel to contain it, otherwise its moisture would have evaporated. So there had to be a shell made of a leathery or limey material, as part of the evolutionary package-deal. But that is not the end of the story. The reptilian embryo, because of this shell, could not get rid of its waste products. The soft-shelled amphibian embryo had the whole pond as its lavatory; the reptilian embryo had to be provided with a bladder. It is called allantois, and it is in some respects a forerunner of the mammalian placenta. But this problem having been solved, the embryo would still remain trapped inside its tough shell; it needed a tool to get out . . . embryos surrounded by a hard shell need a mechanical tool: thus snakes and lizards have a tooth transformed into a kind of tin-opener . . . All this refers to one aspect only of the evolution of reptiles; needless to say, countless other essential transformations of structure and behavior were required to make the new creatures viable. The changes could have been gradual-but at each step, however small, all the factors in the story had to cooperate harmoniously. The liquid store in the egg makes no sense without the shell. The shell would be useless, in fact murderous, without the allantois and without the tin-opener. Each change, taken in isolation, would be harmful, and work against survival. You cannot have a mutation A occurring alone, preserve it with natural selection, and then wait a few thousand or million years until mutation B joins it, and so on, to C and D. Each mutation occurring alone would be wiped out before it could be combined with others. They are all interdependent.37
One can readily agree with Koestler's point that the notion of all these mutations occurring simultaneously by mere chance is an affront not only to common sense, but also to basic principles of scientific explanation. However, as I have already noted, several epigenetic variations can occur simultaneously and, since these changes occur in genes that are induced to become active in changed conditions, there is a indeed a good chance that these changes may be functional or beneficial. Furthermore, these epigenetic changes serve to bias the direction in which mutations will later occur and thus act as a sort of holding pattern until these genetic changes catch up. At present, this is the only halfway adequate explanation.
The phenomenon of convergent evolution presents another challenge to neo-Darwinist dogma. Examples of these phenomena include old world vultures evolving from hawks and new world vultures evolving from storks. The most famous example of convergent evolution is the striking similarity between the placental and marsupial mammals that evolved independently of each other. If evolution is a wholly random affair, how do we explain such similarities? As Koestler remarks, it is as if two artists who were totally unaware of each others' existence had painted a series of nearly identical portraits without the benefit of shared models. The phenomenon of convergent evolution has been a source of embarrassment or inconvenience to evolutionary biologists since the time of Darwin, but now Darwin's faithful followers, the neo-Darwinists, are getting a handle on this problem. How? By redefinding it out of existence! No, this is not a joke! In a January 2008 issue of the neo-Darwinian journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution, there appeared an article by Jeff Arendt and David Reznick "suggesting the concept of convergent evolution be eliminated based on a totally genetic analysis."38
Obviously, evolution is not being controlled by some external force or unfolding in accordance to some plan. Evolution is like a winding river following a meandering course, taking the path of least resistance: it undoubtedly involves a lot of randomness and happenstance-such is the nature of life. However, what the neo-Darwinist true believers seem to be unable to understand is that the apparent randomness of evolution is severely constrained by physicochemical laws. As Caporale observes: "For each genome, certain genetic changes are orders of magnitude more likely to occur than others simply because of the physical properties of different sequences of DNA."39 In a passage worthy of Whitehead, Jablonka and Lamb concur with this view:
The cell's chances of finding a mutational solution are enhanced because its evolutionary past has constructed a system that supplies intelligent hints about where and when to generate mutations . . . It would be very strange indeed to believe that everything in the living world is the product of evolution except one thing-the process of generating new variation!40
Nowhere else are the limitations and deficiencies of Darwin's theory of evolution, as well as its more mechanistic neo-Darwinist variation, more evident than in its utter inability to explain the origin of life or the evolution of the first cell. Before the first cell came into existence mutations and natural selection simply did not exist. Darwin's theory starts with life and explains how life changed and evolved but it does not explain how life arose in the first place. This is a huge gap! For example, several decades ago I remember reading a book titled The Meaning of Evolution by the neo-Darwinist luminary G. G. Simpson, in which that author claims that the appearance of the first cell marked the midpoint of evolution, that the evolution of the first cell stood midway between the appearance of humans and other higher animals and the primeval soup out which the first cell arose. However, that book was published in 1949, before it was fully recognized just how complex cells really are. Most likely the first cell that appeared was probably a lot more like us than it was like the primeval soup out of which it arose: evolution could have been as much as two-thirds complete by then! So just think about it: the much-vaunted Modern Synthesis, with its random mutations and its natural selection, is totally irrelevant in regards to explaining two thirds of our evolutionary history and-as I have already demonstrated-it does a lousy job in explaining the remaining third!
Life, according to Antonio Lima-de-Faria, "has no beginning; it is a process inherent to the structure of the universe."41 Lima-de-Faria is a distinguished Portuguese-born Swedish molecular cytogeneticist whose experimental research elucidating the molecular organization of the chromosome and its evolutionary path has won him many honors, including being knighted by the Swedish government. Equally dismissive of both neo-Darwinism and vitalism, Lima-de-Faria maintains that life evolves strictly in accordance with physicochemical laws and he sees a lot of continuity between organic and inorganic matter. According to Lima-de-Faria, evolution began immediately after the Big Bang; three separate evolutions-of elementary particles, of chemical elements, and of minerals-preceded biological evolution; and "that they followed similar paths and carried their mark into the biological levels."42 And, moreover, because living organisms and minerals have the same atoms, the symmetries of minerals are "transferred intact to the cell and organism level."43
All four of these separate evolutions followed a similar path: the path of self-assembly. All serious students of evolution, including even Darwinian fundamentalists like Richard Dawkins, will readily agree that self-assembly is absolutely necessary to explain the evolution of the first cell.
Lima-de-Faria provides several examples of self-assembly. One example is that of a tobacco mosaic virus reassembling after being degraded into protein and RNA and being every bit as infectious as before it was disassembled.44 Furthermore, essential components of the chromosome have the physicochemical information needed to guide their self-assembly.45 Marine sponges, when pushed through a fine cloth and dissociated into single cells, will settle to the bottom of a vial, but after four days will completely reassemble into a sponge.46 Hydras are highly complex organisms with a nervous system, a head, tentacles and stinging cells, but when dissociated into single cells it also is capable of reassembling.47 Even dispersed cells from human tissue and organs-such as cells from the liver, skin and capillaries-are able to self-assemble.48 "Mixed cells from different organs and from different organisms have the ability to recognize one another and to build separate organs. Mouse cartilage-forming cells, when combined with chick kidney-forming cells, group themselves in such a way that the mouse cells reconstruct cartilage and the chick cells the tubules."49
[Mechanists please take note: If a computer or any other machine or gadget were to be completely disassembled and put into a bag or box would it be able to reassemble itself into a functioning gadget?]
A particularly interesting form of self-assembly involves a process known as symbiogenesis: the merging of the genomes of two different species of organisms to form a third hybrid species. Owing to the work of Lynn Margulis we now know this is the way the first nucleated cell evolved. Symbiogenesis begins with symbiosis: the intimate long-term association between organisms of two different species. Eventually these two organisms become so interdependent that they are unable to survive on their own and eventually merge into a single species. Mitochondria are the energy-producing organelles inside the cells of animals, plants, fungi, and protozoa. They exist outside the cell's nucleus and have their own separate genes and DNA. According to Margulis, they are:
The descendants of bacteria that swam in primeval seas breathing oxygen three billion years ago . . . They took up residence inside, providing waste disposal and oxygen-derived energy in return for food and shelter. The merged organisms went on to evolve into more complex oxygen-breathing forms of life.50
As recently as the early 1970s Margulis' theory was dismissed as utterly preposterous by her neo-Darwinist colleagues but they had to eat their own words and now her theory is universally accepted.
A central dogma of neo-Darwinism is the notion that acquired characteristics cannot possibly be inherited. But this is triply wrong. First of all, we know that epigenetic variations can occur where environmental stresses can cause genes to be deactivated or switched off. This occurs via RNA silencing, which produces chromatin marks on the chromosome that allow these environmentally acquired changes to be inherited. Moreover, as Jablonka and Lamb remind us: "Epigenetic changes that are induced by stress can do more than just reveal previously hidden variation. They can also guide the selection of genetic variants."51 Secondly, symbiogenesis involves the inherence of acquired characteristics on a truly grand scale: the acquisition and inherence of entire genomes! An example of this is the green sea slug (Elysia viridis)a relative of the common garden variety of slug we are more familiar with. This organism is a true animal-plant hybrid: a slug that ate but did not digest algae-rather the algae entered into the tissues of that animal and stayed there. Now that slug no longer needs to eat but can get its nutrients via photosynthesis like any plant.52
Another classic example of symbiogenesis are lichens. They are green and plantlike and grow on tree bark and rocks. But they are not plants, but rather hybrid organisms consisting of fungi and photosynthesizing partners-either green algae or cyanobacteria. Moreover, they are very different from their component parts: they are neither fungi nor algae nor cyanobacteria, but totally unique organisms. About one quarter of all known fungi have been "lichenized" and must live with photosynthesizing partners-amounting to about 25,000 species of lichen.53
Some biologists believe plants are a product of symbiosis of algae and fungi, where the algal rather than the fungal partner was dominant, making them something like lichens in reverse.54
The importance of the symbiotic process is aptly summed up by Margulis and Sagan:
The symbiotic process goes on unceasingly . . . Certain families of plants . . . cannot live in nitrogen-poor soil without the nitrogen-fixing bacteria in their root nodules . . . Neither cows nor termites can digest the cellulose of grass or wood without communities of microbes in their guts. Fully ten percent of our own dry body weight consists of bacteria, some of which, although they are not a congenital part of our bodies, we can't live without. No mere quirk of nature, such coexistence is the stuff of evolution itself.55
(Transhumanists such as Ray Kurzweil have their own ideas in regard to symbiosis: humans have formed such an intimate symbiotic relationship with machines that they can no longer survive without them and will ultimately have no other choice but to merge with them.)
A third way acquired characteristics can be inherited consists of genetic transfer by means of bacteria and viruses. Bacteria have evolved many tools that enable them to readily swap genes with other bacteria-so much so that all the varieties of bacterium together can be viewed as a single superorganism. Bacteria also acquire DNA from viruses that infect them. About 100 million types of viruses are thought to exist, making them the most plentiful and diverse genetic entities, storing a more varied biochemistry in their DNA and RNA than is to be found in cellular life. These viruses are everywhere: geneticists have discovered the remains of viral infections in the genomes of all living organisms. The really strange thing about this is the fact that these viral remnants aren't simply taking up space but are retained by the cell because they serve a useful function. These permanent viral additions to the genome are called endogenous retroviruses and they "appear to be heavily involved in gene regulatory networks, which control when and where genes are switched on and off."56 These retroviruses also act as vectors causing the hybridization of unrelated organisms by transferring genes from one host to another. For example, "a piece of snake DNA was found in cows."57 It is estimated that 14 per cent of living plant species and about 10 per cent of animal species are hybridized in this way.58
This hybridization of unrelated species due both to viral genetic transfer and to symbiogenesis makes complete hash out of Darwin's "tree of life" concept-a unifying idea that traces the lineage of evolved species to their common ancestor. This tree is beginning to look more like a web-a web that can be viewed as a sort of biological complement to the entanglement we see in physics.
In addition to mutations, epigenetic variation, symbiogenesis, and viral genetic transfer, there is a fifth avenue of evolutionary change that is behavioral in nature. Animals actively shape their own evolution by acquiring new skills. Jablonka and Lamb cite two interesting examples of this. Their first example concerns English tits learning to open milk bottles left outside of peoples' homes. By the 1940s this habit was already widespread and had spread to several species of birds throughout the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe. The birds had even begun following milk trucks. Their other example concerns Israeli black rats learning to eat pine seeds by stripping pines cones in a forest near Jerusalem.59
Like behaviorists such as B. F. Skinner, neo-Darwinists are dyed-in-the-wool mechanists and view organisms as similar to inert billiard balls being pushed and pulled by external forces, passively adapting to the environment. However, the environment is as much influenced by this planet's organisms as its organisms are influenced by the environment. As James Lovelock explains:
Evidence . . . shows the Earth's crust, oceans, and air to be either the direct product of living things or else massively modified by their presence. Consider how the oxygen and nitrogen of the air come directly from plants and microorganisms, and how the chalk and limestone rocks are the shells of living things once floating in the sea. Life has not adapted to an inert world determined by the dead hand of chemistry and physics. We live in a world that has been built by our ancestors, ancient and modern, and which is maintained by all things alive today.60
Moreover, according to Lovelock the entire biosphere is a living, self-regulating organism. Indeed, if plants, bacteria, and algae weren't removing greenhouse gases from the air this planet would have become so hot that its oceans would have boiled away, leaving the Earth as lifeless as Venus or Mars!
I have indicated earlier that I believe the origin and continuing evolution of life is an inevitable consequence of the intrinsic nature and structure of matter. I think this is obvious to the point of being a mere tautology: if matter was not structured in such a way as to permit life to arise then obviously it wouldn't. Period. However, the neo-Darwinists will not accept this. Because they believe-like all mechanists-that matter is inherently lifeless, they believe that life must have arisen as a sort of freak accident-a mere statistical fluke: the old monkey-at-a-typewriter argument: if there are enough explosions in enough paint factories, then sooner or later all of the world's art treasures will end up splattered on these factories' walls. Natural selection is the only ordering principle that they will accept.
However, as I've already explained, neither natural selection nor mutations (random or otherwise) can explain the origin of life or emergence of the first cell. It can only be explained by the inherent nature of matter to self assemble. To put it bluntly: life arose due to the inherent nature of matter to create life. We must not be held hostage to prejudices and superstitions we inherited from a few illustrious ignoramuses living back in the seventeenth century. As I have shown earlier, both the Pauli exclusion principle and Bell's theorem support the notion that even elementary particles have some degree of sentience: matter is not the lifeless substance that neo-Darwinists and other mechanists want us to believe. Moreover, as I've abundantly shown, neo-Darwinism does not represent cutting-edge science but is instead reactionary, ideologically-driven pseudoscientific crap that is now in the process of being replaced by a more adequate scientific theory.
If we were living in a rational society, the widespread acceptance of the theory of evolution would mark the demise of the mechanical world view-and other superstitions as well. However, we're not living in a rational society and neither the mechanistic world view nor neo-Darwinism are going away anytime soon. Although it is hopelessly inadequate and obsolete, neo-Darwinism will remain the hegemonic "scientific" theory for the foreseeable future because it serves the ideological needs of a predatory ruling class. Darwin, of course, was an ardent supporter of laissez faire capitalism and it is well known that he borrowed his theory of natural selection from the English economist Thomas Malthus. Darwin believed that the misery and carnage caused by unrestricted competition was the motor of both evolution and human progress.
Owing to the totalitarian and plutocratic nature of the society we're living in, scientists who don't support Darwin's theories will tend to be dismissed as cranks and they will find it nearly impossible to get research grants, while the research of Darwinian dittoheads will be lavishly funded and promoted in the corporate media. An especially illuminating illustration of this is to be found in an interview with Lynn Margulis, published in the April 2011 issue of Discover magazine. At the end of that interview Dr. Margulis relates the following story:
Population geneticist Richard Lewontin gave a talk here at UMass Amherst about six years ago, and he mathematized all of it-changes in the population, random mutation, sexual selection, cost and benefit. [In other words the standard neo-Darwinist crap .] At the end of his talk he said, "You know, we've tried to test these ideas in the field and lab, and there are really no measurements that match the quantities I've told you about." This just appalled me. So I said, "Richard Lewontin, you are a great lecturer to have the courage to say it's gotten you nowhere. But then why do you continue to do this work?" And he looked around and said, "It's the only thing I know how to do, and if I don't do it I won't get my grant money."
The United States is the most corporate dominated country on this planet and the people in this country are living in a social Darwinist hell and don't enjoy the same basic human rights as people living in other countries. For example, the United States is the only industrialized country in the world that does not recognize free health care as a basic human right. Even the Nazis recognized that right! Or take maternity leave, for example. In Sweden mothers get up to 69 weeks off at two-thirds pay while in Norway mothers get up to one year off at 80% pay! Of 173 countries, only five don't recognize maternity leave as a human right and the United States is one of them-the rest are impoverished African nations.61 While traveling through Europe I got a vivid reminder that the United States isn't even a halfway normal country. Whenever I would go into a supermarket or any kind of store whether it be in London, Paris, Vienna, Prague, or Rome I would always see the clerks sitting in comfortable chairs while checking the merchandise while in the United States grocery clerks have to stand at attention like servile peasants!
A few years back I was reading a magazine article which featured a graph ranking countries from the most to the least affluent, and another graph ranking countries from the most religious to the most secular. With hardly any exceptions, the most affluent countries were also the most secular, while the poorest countries were the most religious. The major exception to this was the United States, which was one of the most affluent but also one of the most religious countries. The reasons why this is so are easy to understand: living in a social Darwinist paradise creates a lot of insecurity so people need to cling to religious superstition. This is an arrangement that suits the ruling class because religion makes people stupid, docile and easy to manipulate. However, it also causes problems.
For decades now, hordes of religious imbeciles have been demanding that creation science and, more recently, intelligent design be taught in the public schools. Their real objective, of course, is to ban any mention of evolution altogether. This is having a real impact on the scientific community, causing them to mindlessly rally around Darwin. Any criticism of Darwinism or neo-Darwinism, especially coming from within the scientific community itself, is now viewed as giving aid and comfort to the enemy. This is creating a chilling effect on honest and open scientific debate within the scientific community.
In his iconoclastic book Cold War in Biology, Carl C. Lindegren quotes the Cambridge University biochemist, N. W. Pirie, who wrote that "a cynic can assess roughly the eminence of a scientist by the length of time for which his theories are able to hold up the development of science after his death." Lindegren then adds the following comments:
A great innovation is usually achieved by oversimplification at the cost of accuracy. This is especially true in biology because the field is so enormous that no human mind can encompass all of it . . . Morgan delayed the study of the instability of the gene and the autonomy of the plasmone by thirty years. Pasteur and Koch held up progress in the study of the life cycles of bacteria by more than half a century.62
By Pirie's admittedly cynical criterion, Darwin must be considered the greatest scientist who ever lived because he, along with his mindless, cult-like followers-the neo-Darwinists-have been able to retard the advance of evolutionary science for more than a century!
4 The Triumph of the Necrophiles: The singularity is the New Normal
Just as apocalyptically-minded Christians await the Rapture, transhumanists such as Ray Kurzweil await the Singularity when computers and other gadgets will miraculously become fully conscious and will equal and then surpass humankind in intelligence. Some fear that when the gadgets we make become smarter than we are they will take over and dominate the world. Unfortunately, however, the Singularity has already occurred: our creations have already taken over and totally dominate us. These entities are not computers, however, but corporations. In his book, Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism, Sheldon S. Wolin asserts what is now becoming increasing obvious: we are indeed living in a totalitarian society. But unlike classical totalitarian societies, where politicians controlled the economy, ours is an inverted form of totalitarianism, where the economy or corporations control the politicians. What person in their right mind can now doubt this? Mussolini's definition of fascism immediately comes to mind: "Fascism can be more accurately defined as corporatism-as the merger of corporate and government power." However, conditions here in the United States have gone far beyond anything Mussolini could possibly have envisioned. For example, members of Congress often don't even bother to read the bills they pass: those laws are written by their lobbyists-that is, by corporations. Moreover, since at least the time of Reagan it has become increasingly obvious that the president of the United States performs merely a ceremonial role and does not really run the government but is merely a corporate spokesperson. Furthermore, due to extensive outsourcing and privatization, hardly anything remains of what was once the federal government, other than a slew of overlapping corporate fiefdoms.63
The Singularity has been long in coming, from the Supreme Court allegedly ruling in 1886 that corporations are persons entitled to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment,64 to the 2010 Citizens United ruling granting corporations "free speech" rights under the First Amendment (to buy politicians and elections ), to Mitt Romney's recent outburst, "Corporations are people, pal!" The belief that corporations are indeed persons entitled to all the rights of any other person has now been written in stone. However, if corporations are persons, they are not the sort of persons you would want to invite into your home: Dr. Robert Hare, an internationally recognized authority on psychopathy, has found a very close match between his diagnostic checklist of psychopathic traits and the corporation's institutional character.65
If I were to guess the exact date at which the Singularity arrived, I would choose September 11, 2001-the most singular date in all of human history. On that date all of this country's Armed Forces and all 16 of its intelligence agencies proved to be no match for 19 hijackers armed with the most sophisticated state-of-the-art box cutters.66 In total defiance of the laws of physics, instead of taking the path of least resistance and merely falling over, three skyscrapers at the World Trade Center collapsed in perfect symmetry at near free fall speed-a truly singular event since no fire had ever caused a steel-framed building to collapse either before or after 9/11, even though many of those fires had burned far longer and had totally engulfed those buildings with towering walls of flames. And yet on 9/11, by some inexplicable miracle, not one but three steel-framed buildings collapsed in a perfectly-symmetrical way at near free fall speed! One of those buildings-Building 7, a 47-story skyscraper-wasn't even struck by a plane, while the Twin Towers seemed to explode, pulverizing concrete into fine powder in midair and throwing multi-ton steel beams 600 feet from the base of the towers, creating a huge pyroclastic cloud in the process stretching halfway to New Jersey. Under each of the three collapsed buildings pools of molten steel were later found which remained hot for several weeks-something neither burning jet fuel nor office fires could possibly cause.
Conspiracy theories abound. For example, an outfit calling itself Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth comprised of 1,658 architects and structural engineers claim that those three buildings were destroyed by means of controlled demolition. An international team of scientists associated with these architects and engineers were even able to get their outlandish theories-"Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe"-published in the April 2009 issue of the peer-reviewed Open Chemical Physics Journal. They are also joined by Tom Sullivan, an explosives loader or technician who used to work for Controlled Demolitions, Inc, who claims that it was "crystal clear" in his mind from day one that Building 7 of the World Trade Center had been destroyed by controlled demolition.He now believes the same is true of the Twin Towers. Even the world-renowned biologist Lynn Margulis has entered the fray, claiming that controlled demolition is the only viable scientific explanation as to why the three skyscrapers collapsed. Obviously, all 1,658 of these architects and engineers, the international team of scientists, Tom Sullivan, and Lynn Margulis are all simple minded crackpots. They seem totally unable to understand the simple fact that 9/11 changed everything, including the laws of physics. It's the Singularity, stupid!
The 9/11 Singularity has unleashed a huge governmental and corporate crime wave that just keeps on getting worse and worse. However, if 9/11 is viewed from a proper perspective, this sudden outbreak of lawlessness is only to be expected. After all, if even the laws of physics are breached, then how can we reasonably expect national and international laws or the Constitution to remain intact? On the governmental side we have had an endless series of aggressive wars based on lies. Totally innocent persons have been kidnapped off the streets, flown to secret black sites, and tortured. Moreover, in regards to torture, it appears that we have undergone a major paradigm shift: before 9/11 torturers were regarded as the scum of the earth, even worse than murderers. But after 9/11 the very same people are celebrated as heroes in the global war on terror. Basic civil liberties such as habeas corpus no longer exist. Now the government can detain anyone without charging them with a crime and hold them indefinitely, torture them, and deny them a trial, due process, or access to an attorney. We now have "free speech" zones and no fly lists containing over a million names. Millions of Americans were subjected to illegal warrantless wiretapping. Congress found this last governmental crime so intolerable that they were forced to pass a law to make it legal. Moreover, our current president claims the right to assassinate any American citizen without due process of law, to start wars without consulting Congress, and has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all the previous presidents combined. The crimes of George W. Bush caused a lot of controversy and dissent, but when Mr. Hope & Change took office our Nobel laureate president was able to neutralize the antiwar movement and lend a veneer of bipartisan respectability to his predecessor's crimes. Counseling us not to look backwards on crimes committed in the past, he went on his merry way, authorizing more bailouts for the banks, more tax cuts for billionaires and corporations, more deregulation, more money for endless wars and weapons of mass destruction, and more austerity for the rest of us-cuts in social security, medicare and medicaid scheduled to take effect in 2013 when he is either safely re-elected or out of office. He will then join Dick Cheney in making millions writing his memoirs, "making heads explode," bragging about the crimes he committed, knowing he will never be held accountable.
Early examples of the corporate crime wave include such major corporations as Enron, WorldCom, Global Crossing, Aldephia, and Tyco International imploding due to widespread corruption and fraud. Some made the rash suggestion that maybe the economy should be re-regulated to prevent this from happening again, but "saner" heads prevailed and the economy was further deregulated, making it possible for another corporate crime wave to occur on a much grander scale. This led to the selling of fraudulent mortgage-backed securities that the seller could bet against, knowing they would fail, and the large-scale robo-signing of counterfeit mortgage documents. The result almost destroyed the world economy: millions of people have lost-and are still losing-their homes, jobs, pensions and medical benefits. Matters are not helped by the fact that since 2001 over 42,000 American factories have closed, representing about 32 percent of our manufacturing capacity.67 While people are being arrested for feeding the homeless, no one at Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, or Morgan Stanley will ever be arrested or prosecuted for perpetrating the greatest financial fraud and theft in all of human history!
Karl Marx theorized that the laws of history are such that just as feudalism was later transformed into capitalism, capitalism would inevitably be replaced by socialism. However, it looks like capitalism is now in the process of reverting back into feudalism, with a few immensely rich and powerful men ruling over a powerless and impoverished peasantry. Moreover, it appears that these new feudal masters have learned a few tricks from their medieval forebears. Just as the medieval ruling classes manipulated the superstitious fears of the peasantry and pretended to protect them from sinister covens of witches lurking in their midst, using these fears to cow them into submission, so our neo-feudal masters are doing their best to induce an irrational and unthinking fear of sinister sleeper cells of terrorists lurking in our midst in order to get us to mindlessly submit to their authority so we can feel "protected." This is thoroughly medieval, complete with dungeons and torture chambers: like witches, terrorists need to be tortured in order to make them confess. Consequently, in order to keep these fears at a constant fever pitch, FBI agents will hang around mosques or troll radical Islamic websites looking for angry and confused half-wits whom they can manipulate into carrying out terrorist acts, furnishing them with money, encouragement, advice, and fake bombs so they can plant stories in the media how they had heroically foiled another dastardly terrorist plot. Examples of this include the pathetic Portland Christmas tree bomber and the mentally-deranged clown who wanted to use model airplanes to blow up the Pentagon and US Capitol.
The most obnoxious fear mongering and intimidation occurs at the airports, where a passenger is forced to undergo a degradation ceremony whereby she is either X-rayed or groped. Small children and even infants have been groped by TSA agents. One woman was forced to remove her prosthetic breast. A 95-year-old leukemia patient was forced to take off her diaper. An endless number of atrocities like this are being perpetrated to make us "safe." Because of this I will no longer even consider getting on a plane. However, most people will meekly submit to this without even giving it a second thought, and now the authorities know they can take even greater liberties. Soon these machines will start showing up at courthouses, sports stadiums, train, bus and subway stations, and eventually at shopping malls.
According to an article in the October 1, 2009 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine, there are now 30 million surveillance cameras in the United States, shooting about 4 billion hours of footage per week. Many of these cameras are equipped with artificial intelligence capable of analyzing "suspicious" behavior and alerting their human overseers. The Department of Homeland Security is now in the process of augmenting these cameras with surveillance cameras mounted on unmanned aerial vehicles or drones capable of firing multiple tasers for the purpose of "crowd control." 68 However, Leon Mexico is where the real action is at: developments taking place there will soon make Big Brother look like a pitiful little wimp in comparison:
The million-plus citizens of Leon, Mexico are set to become the first example of a city secured through the power of biometric identification. Iris and face scanning technology from Global Rainmakers, Inc. will allow people to use their eyes to prove their identity, withdraw money from an ATM, get help at a hospital, and even ride a bus.69
The first phase of this operation will begin at exactly where you would expect it to begin: at law enforcement facilities where criminals will be automatically enrolled in a biometric data base. Then after these scanners are in place at police stations, detention centers and security check points, the second phase will begin: in the next three years these scanners will begin appearing at mass transit centers, hospitals, banks, shopping malls, and other public and private locations. According to Jeff Carter, GRI's chief business development officer, "every person, place, and thing on this planet will be connected [to the iris system] within the next ten years."70 In fact, India has already begun the formidable task of scanning the irises of all
1.2 billion of its citizens and enrolling them in a biometric data base.71 Carter, who used to head a think tank that had Harvard, MIT and Bank of America as partners, is working hand and glove with the Pentagon and various US intelligence agencies to implement this project. As he explains: "we've even worked with three-letter agencies on technology that can capture 30-plus feet away. In certain spaces, eventually you'll be able to have maybe one sensor the size of a dime, in the ceiling, and it will acquire all our iris in motion, hundreds-probably thousands as computer power continues to increase-at a time."72 This technology has obvious implications for privacy, as Carter bluntly acknowledges:
If you've been convicted of a crime this will act as a digital scarlet letter. If you're a known shoplifter, for example, you won't be able to go into a store without being flagged. For others, boarding a plane will be impossible . . . When you get masses of people opting in, opting out does not help. Opting out puts more of a flag on you than just being part of the system. We believe everyone will opt in.73
Here we are confronted with enormous privacy issues. Not only does this technology have the potential of completely replacing every other means of access, whether it be licenses, passports, credit and debit cards, or keys, it also has the potential of rendering cash and checks totally obsolete so that any purchase made-just as any building entered or any means of transportation used-will be controlled by means of the iris scan system. Opting out of such a system would be virtually impossible. Because such a system would be highly unpopular, it is only likely to be implemented during a crisis, when people tend to be so frightened and so disoriented that they are unable to organize an effective resistance.
However, such a crisis is now on the horizon-one much more severe than the Great Depression of the 1930s. There may be nothing we can do about this, but that does not apply to the elite. As Naomi Klein meticulously documents in her book The Shock Doctrine, the people who run the world economy are not ones to let a good crisis go to waste and will always take advantage of it to impose sweeping and radical changes that they would otherwise be unable to get away with in normal times. In fact, they have already been in the process of doing this since Reagan and Thatcher took office over thirty years ago and after 9/11 they really went on a feeding frenzy. When the crisis finally comes, they will finish the project they started over thirty years ago: they will impose austerity: lower our standard of living, cut social programs and services, including social security, medicare and medicaid so more money can be freed up to bailout banks, fund more wars, and reward more bonuses to those hard working people on Wall Street who really deserve it. It is also likely they will roll-out more bogeymen to frighten us into giving up what little civil liberties we still have left, then roll-in the iris scan system along with tens of millions of additional surveillance cameras, making all of us feel safer and more secure. These cameras are becoming so cheap and so cost effective that in about ten years they will probably outnumber people. Due to the wonders of modern science and technology the entire world can at last be transformed into a fully integrated concentration camp: the perfect reification of the mechanical world view. As the world economy slides into a bottomless depression we'll be living-or slowly or rapidly dying-in an inhuman, totally regimented society beyond the worst nightmares of Kafka and Orwell or the most grandiose dreams of Hitler and Stalin. People, of course, will adjust. After all, Americans are used to being mistreated. If they'll put up with having their breasts and genitals fondled by uniformed thugs at airports and security check points, they will put up with anything-and the authorities know it. Americans are the most passive and submissive people on this planet.74 When bad things really begin to happen, they will either join Rick Perry in prayer, get drunk, or go down to the pharmacy to have their prescription for Prozac refilled. Any rebellion-including that of the self-proclaimed "99%" whose actual numbers amount to far less than 1%-can easily be put down by the truly awesome police-state apparatus that our wise and benevolent rulers have been putting in place for the last forty years for our own protection.
Meanwhile I lie awake at nights tossing and turning in bed. Should I take a sleeping pill? I don't want to, because I'm hoarding them. Soon conditions might become so intolerable that I might need to gulp them all down in order to put myself to sleep permanently. Others are worried too. According to a June 8, 2011 CNN poll, 48 percent of Americans fear another Great Depression is likely within the next 12 months. Europe, the world's largest trading bloc, is on the verge of economic collapse. Moreover, another credit crises is pending in this country involving the leveraged buyouts of American corporations by private equity firms. Having access to lots of pension money and easy credit, these private equity firms went on a buying spree between the years 2001 and 2007, spending $2.7 trillion buying out American corporations. This collateralized private-equity debt is very similar to that of collateralized subprime-mortgage debt except that the debt of the former will not begin to come due until 2012. Then between the years 2012 and 2014 it is estimated that about half of the private-equity corporations being over their heads in debt will begin to go bankrupt. This will directly impact the state pension systems of California, New York, Michigan and Washington state and will also hurt the banks as they gradually write off their losses-or seek another bailout.75 Then there's peak oil. While demand for oil continues to skyrocket-the Chinese are buying more cars than Americans!-oil discoveries had reached their peak in the 1960s then declined with each succeeding decade finding less oil than the decade immediately preceding it-a pattern than has persisted into the 2000s! Meanwhile, existing oil fields are rapidly being depleted. As Michael Ruppert reports: "Depletion of existing oil reserves is both pronounced and accelerating. In 2005, it was reported that 33 of the largest 48 oil-producing countries had entered decline. Data compiled in 2008 showed that of the 50 largest oil-producing countries in the world, 42 had reached their peak and are in decline."76 If this true, this will mean the end of industrial civilization and a mass extinction involving billions of people! And then there's global warming. We keep hearing ad nauseam about how we should seek to lower our greenhouse gas emissions, but this will do absolutely nothing because we have already reached the point of no return. We are presently leaving the Hollocene period, a period of relative stability and relatively mild weather and climate that had made civilization possible for the last 12 thousand years.77 As world conditions become increasing chaotic and a Rick Perry/Sarah Palin-like nut enters the White House, nuclear war becomes increasingly likely. We have completely surrounded both Russia and China with military bases equipped with both radar and anti-ballistic missile systems whose purpose should be obvious to anyone. If Russia, for example, were to launch a first-strike missile attack against the United States, these anti-ballistic missile systems would prove to be totally ineffective in protecting us against these incoming missiles. They would only prove useful in the event of a US first-strike attack on Russia and China, where most of their missiles would be eliminated. As far back as the mid to late 1970s it was obvious that the United States was indeed planning a first-strike against Russia and China. In his 1978 book, The Counterforce Syndrome, Robert C. Aldridge, a former Lockheed engineer writes:
Many things led to my ultimate resignation from Lockheed, but seeing a nuclear policy shift had the most profound effect. At the onset of the Trident missile program, I discovered the Pentagon's interest in acquiring a precise "counterforce" weapon capable of destroying "hardened" military emplacements such as missile silos. This was a profound shift from a policy of retaliating only when fired upon, because it does not make sense to attack empty silos (which is all that would be left following an enemy first-strike on the United States).78
The United States' military spending is currently at its highest level since the end of the Second World War, including even the Korean and Vietnam wars. It would be foolish indeed to dismiss the possibility-or even the probability-of the United States initiating a nuclear war in light of its well-established pattern of fascist aggression since its false flag attack on 9/11. However, even if a nuclear war is somehow averted, that does not necessarily mean a nuclear holocaust will not occur. At least 48 of our aging and decrepit nuclear power plants are known to be leaking radioactive tritium.79 These nuclear power plants contain or store more radioactive poisons at their facilities than are in our entire nuclear arsenal. Already freak "once in a century" natural disasters are becoming pretty much the norm. Any idiot glued to the boob tube watching the daily news should know this by now. In the years and decades to come these freak weather patterns will become become increasingly more common and severe as our planet inexorably heats up. There will be many more Chernobyls and Fukushimas in the not too distant future spewing radioactive poison around the world. Actually, both kinds of nuclear disasters are bound to happen, maybe even simultaneously. In that case, through a miracle of modern science, maybe we will be able to succeed in reversing over a half billion years of evolution so that the only things left living on our planet will be very primitive organisms known as archaea that are able to live and even thrive in radioactive waste.
Here's what really amuses me. First we place nearly our entire industrial or manufacturing infrastructure in China and then we prepare to bomb China (and Russia) with missiles containing electronic components manufactured in China! Can you think of anything more hilarious than that?
The United States in controlled by two main centers of power: Wall Street and the Pentagon. Maybe the right hand doesn't know or care what the left hand is doing.
The triumph of the necrophiles is now at hand. What began as a necrophilic wet dream of Plato's, as an insatiable lust for power and total domination, is now in process of being fully realized. First as a wakeful nightmare, a living hell. Then the abyss: the whole world a smoldering tomb.
1 Skinner, B.F. Beyond Freedom and Dignity. (New York: Bantam/Vintage, 1971.) pp. 12-13.
2 Whitehead, Alfred North. Science and the Modern World. (New York: The Free Press, 1967.) p.32.
3 Nahm, Milton C. Selections From Early Greek Philosophy. (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1964.) p.46.
4 Susskind, Leonard. The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design. (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2006.) p.261.
5 Smolin, Lee. The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science and What Comes Next. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006.)
6 Woit, Peter. Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory and the Search for Unity in Physical Law. (New York: Basic Books, 2006.)
7 Susskind p.124.
8 Quoted from Popper, Karl R. The Open Society and its Enemies: The Spell of Plato. (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1966) p.7.
9 Whitehead. p.54.
10 Kahler, Erich. The Tower and the Abyss: An Inquiry into the Transformation of the Individual. (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 1989.) P.21.
11 Burtt, E.A. The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Physical Science. (Amherst, N.Y.: Humanity Books, 1932.) pp. 293-297.
12 Burtt. p.202.
13 Mumford, Lewis. Technics and Civilization. (New York: Haringer Books, 1963.) p.51.
14 Whitehead. p.91.
15 Freedman, S. and Clauser, J. (1972) "Experimental test for local hidden variable theories." Physical Review Letters, 28: 934-941.
16 Aspect, A., Grangier, P. and Roger, G. (1981) "Experimental Tests of Local Theories via Bell's Theorem." Physical Review Letters, 47: 460-463.
17 Marcikic, I., de Riedmatten, H., Tittel, W., Zbinden, H., Legre', M. and Gisin, N. (2004) "Distribution of time-bin entangled qubits over 50 km of optical fiber." Physical Review Letters 93: #18.
18 Margenau, Henry. The Nature of Physical Reality: A Philosophy of Modern Physics. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1950.) pp. 435, 442-443.
19 Cochran, Andrew A. "Mind, Matter, and Quanta" Main Currents of Modern Thought March-April 1966 Vol. 22, No.4. p.80.
20 Cochran p.80.
21 Cochran p.87.
22 Bagby, Philip H. "Whitehead: A New Appraisal." In: Beyond the Five Senses. Eileen Garrett, ed. (Philadelphia: J.P. Lippincott, 1957.) p.288.
23 Bagby. p.289.
24 Jablonka, Eva and Lamb, Marion J. Evolution in Four Dimensions: Genetic, Epigenetic, Behavioral, and Symbolic in the History of Life. (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006.) p.6.
25 Jablonka and Lamb. p.7.
26 Cairns, John, Overbaugh, Julie and Miller, Stephan. "The Origin of Mutants." Nature Vol. 335 September 8, 1988.
27 Wright, Barbara, Longacre, Angelika, and Reimers, Jacqueline M. "Hypermutation in derepressed operons of Escherichia coli K12." Proceedings of the National Academy of Science Vol 96 pp.5089-5094, April 1999.
28 Caporale, Lynn Helena. Darwin in the Genome: Molecular Strategies in Biological Evolution. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003.) p.72. This number was so astronomical that I had trouble believing it so I e-mailed Dr. Caporale asking for a clarification. Her reply is as follows: "Please do check our calculation yourself. Here is the way to frame the calculation: 1) there are 4 versions of each position of the genome (A, T, G, or C). 2) the sequenced genome of E. coli K-12 has 4,639,221 base pairs. Therefore, keep multiplying 4, 4,639,221 times (i.e. 4 raised to the power 4,639,221) for the total number of possible versions of a genome with 4,639,221 base pairs. (Of course, this is an underestimate as it ignores altering the genome through insertions and deletions.) As you pointed out such numbers are huge. Let me know if your answer differs from 10^ 2.8 million by orders of magnitude." I did the calculations in my head and found her figures to be correct. (By the way, that last comment was suppose to be funny.)
29 Caporale pp.51-52.
30 Lima-de-Faria, Antonio. Praise of Chromosome "Folly": Confessions of an Untamed Molecular Structure. (Hackensack,N.J.: World Scientific, 2008.) p.134.
31 Carroll, Sean B. Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo. (New York: W.W. Norton, 2005.) pp.71-72.
32 Carroll. pp.64-75.
33 Caporale. p.181.
34 Jablonka and Lamb. pp.144-145, 246-276.
35 Jablonka and Lamb. pp.144-145.
36 Jablonka and Lamb. pp.275-276.
37 Koestler, Arthur. The Ghost in the Machine. (Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1967.) pp.128-129.
38 See also: Mazur, Suzan. The Altenberg 16: An Expose of the Evolution Industry.
(Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2010.) pp.337-343.
39 Caporale. p.189.
40 Jablonka and Lamb. p.101.
41 Mazur. p.83.
42 Mazur. p.82.
43 Mazur. p.83.
44 Lima-de-Faria. pp.306-307.
45 Lima-de-Faria. pp.313-314.
46 Lima-de-Faria. p.315.
47 Lima-de-Faria. pp.316-317.
48 Lima-de-Faria. pp.321-322.
49 Lima-de-Faria. p.322.
50 Margulis, Lynn and Sagan, Dorian. Microcosmos: Four Billion Years of
Microbial Evolution. (New York: Touchstone, 1986.) p.19.
51 Jablonka and Lamb. p.260.
52 Margulis, Lynn and Sagan, Dorian. Acquiring Genomes: A Theory of the Origins of Species. (New York: Basic Books, 2002.) p.13.
53 Acquiring Genomes. pp.13-14.
54 Microcosmos. p.35.
55 Microcosmos. p.21.
56 Hamilton, Garry. "Welcome to the Virosphere." New Scientist, August 30, 2008. p.40.
57 Lawton, Graham. "Uprooting Darwin's Tree." New Scientist, January 24, 2009. p.38.
58 Lawton. p.38.
59 Jablonka and Lamb. pp.169-171.
60 Lovelock, James. The Ages of Gaia: A Biography of Our Living Earth. (New York: Bantam Books, 1988.) p.33.
61 Hill, Steven. Europe's Promise: Why the European Way is the Best Hope in an Insecure Age. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010.) pp.75-76.
62 Lindegren, Carl C. Cold War in Biology. (Ann Arbor, Michigan: Planarian Press, 1966.) p.6.
63 In his 2008 book, Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing, Tim Shorrock documents that about 70 percent of the federal funds spent on intelligence goes to such private firms as Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Booz Allen Hamilton, ManTech, etc. In her 2009 book, Shadow Elite: How the World's New Power Brokers Undermine Democracy, Government, and the Free Market, Janine Wedel indicates that about 3 out of 4 of all the jobs that used to be performed exclusively by the federal government have now been outsourced to private corporations.
64 The Supreme Court never made such a ruling. What happened instead was that in the 1886 Santa Clara County v. South Pacific Railroad Co. trial the court reporter, John Chandler Bancroft Davis, merely inserted the following into the court headnotes: "The defendant Corporations are persons within the intent of the in section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which forbids a state to deny any person equal protection of the laws." See: Jack Beatty. Age of Betrayal: The Triumph of Money in America, 1865-1900. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007.) pp.171-172.
65 Joel Bakan. The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power. (New York: Free Press, 2004.) pp.56-57.
66 There are several books that deconstruct the official 9/11 narrative. Probably the best of the lot is Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed's The War on Truth: 9/11, Disinformation, and the Anatomy of Terrorism. (Northampton, Mass: Olive Branch Press, 2005.) Michael C. Ruppert's Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil also provides valuable insights. Note that none of those two authors mention the possible controlled demolitions of the three World Trade Center skyscrapers-a subject they avoid as too controversial. The best information of that subject can be obtained from the website of the Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth: www.ae911truth.org. Note that those architects and engineers do not stray from their narrow field of expertise and do not promote any theories as to why those buildings were destroyed or who did it. Books by David Ray Griffin and Webster Griffin Tarpley-The New Pearl Harbor and 9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in USA, respectively-both promote the preposterous theory that no plane struck the Pentagon but rather it had been struck by a missile instead. In promoting that moronic theory they leave out-or contradict-possibly the most damning evidence of all that 9/11 was an inside job, the testimony of Norman Mineta, Bush's Secretary of Transportation, before the 9/11 commission of what he had witnessed while inside the White House bunker while the "nonexistent" plane was approaching the Pentagon:
During the time that the airplane was coming in to the Pentagon, there was a young man who would come in and say to the Vice President, "The plane is 50 miles out." "The plane is 30 miles out." And when it got down to "the plane is 10 miles out," the young man also said to the Vice President, "Do the orders still stand?" And the Vice President turned and whipped his neck around and said, "Of course the orders still stand. Have you heard anything to the contrary?" (Ahmed. p.288.)
67 McCormack, Richard. "The Plight of America Manufacturing." American Prospect, December 21, 2009.
68 Murray, Peter. "Tased From Above! New Robot Copter To Begin Patrolling Our Skies (video)." http://singularityhub.com/2011/08/21/tased-fromabove-new-robot-copter-to-begin-patrolling-our-skies-video/, August 21, 2011. 69 Saenz, Aaron. "Iris Scanning Set To Secure City in Mexico, Then the World." http://singularityhub.com/2010/09/26/iris-scanning-set-to-secure-city-inmexico-then-the-world-video/, September 26, 2010.
70 Carr, Austin. "Iris Scanners Create the Most Secure City in the World. Welcome, Big Brother." http://www.fastcompany.com/1683302/irisscanners-create-the-most-secure-city-in-the-world-welcomes-big-brother, August 18, 2010.
71 Polgreen, Lydia. "Scanning 2.4 Billion Eyes, India Tries to Connect Poor to Growth." New York Times, September 1, 2011.
74 And probably the stupidest as well. For example see Morris Berman's Dark Ages America or Thomas Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas?
75 Kosman, Josh. The Buyout of America: How the Private Equity Will Cause the Next Great Credit Crisis. (New York: Penguin Group, 2009.) Chapter Two: The Next Credit Crisis, pp.37-51.
76 Ruppert, Michael C. Confronting Collapse: The Crisis of Energy and Money in a Post Peak Oil World. (White River Junction, Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2009.) p.22.
77 McKibben, Bill. Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet. (New York: Times Books, 2010. As is evident from the subtitle of his book "making a life" McKibben sugarcoats things a bit for emotional dummies who can't accept what is clearly inevitable: the human species is about to join the other 99.99 percent of the species that once lived on this planet but are now extinct.
78 Aldridge, Robert C. The Counterforce Syndrome: A Guide to U.S. Nuclear Weapons and Strategic Doctrine. (Washington, D.C.: Institute for Policy Studies, 1978.) p.ix.
79 Donn, Jeff. "Radioactive tritium leaks found at 48 US nuke sites." Associated Press, June 21, 2011.
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