The Triumph of the Necrophiles



The TRIUMPH of the NECROPHILES

A Critique of the Mechanical World View

BY JOHN MODROW



THE TRIUMPH OF THE NECROPHILES A Critique of the Mechanical World View Copyright © 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017 by John Modrow.
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The Triumph of the Necrophiles

Contents
Introduction
The Prescientific Sources of the Mechanical World View
Towards an Alternative World View
The Origin and Nature of Life
The Triumph of the Necrophiles: The Singularity is the New Normal
NOTES



Introduction

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.

Apparently not even Kurzweil’s views are bizarre enough for Silas Beane and his colleagues at the University of Bonn in Germany. These researchers claim they have evidence that the universe is a computer simulation devised by aliens—that we are already living inside a computer—a finding that delights fundamentalist Christians since it validates their belief that the universe was created via intelligent design.

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 of our cultural DNA for thousands of years and will not 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 there is a ghost in the 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 that world view. Furthermore, it also constructs an alternative world view 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. In this section—and to some extent throughout this entire essay—I will argue that the mechanical world view represents nothing less than an abstract expression of a naked will to power and that power not only corrupts it also destroys.

1 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. 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. (Note the similarities between Plato’s cave and the computer simulated universe of Professor Beane and his associates: in both cases physical reality is viewed as illusory while the only things that are considered real are lifeless abstractions or mathematical entities.) 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 shackled to the wall in Plato’s cave who mistake flickering images or shadows projected against that wall 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 Galileo or Descartes were not able to stuff colors, sounds or odors into mathematical formulae does not mean they don’t exist. It is now time to 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 perfectly consistent system. 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 any other language. 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 am 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. 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 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, truths that could not possibly be deduced from their system, which is 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 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 this shouldn’t surprise us. Since the dawn of the Industrial Age, machines have always been used to deskill, disempower, oppress, and dehumanize people. Furthermore, while we are constantly being subjected to dehumanizing propaganda claiming that computers will soon surpass us in intelligence and that we are nothing but machines, techno-mystics such as Ray Kurzweil and Silas Beane are literally deifying computers: Kurzweil claims that computers have the power to confer eternal life on people like himself while Beane claims computers are capable of creating an entire universe! 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. In creating his system of symbolic logic Whitehead claimed 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 that 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 at 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 Minsky 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 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 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, 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 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—not to mention 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 have been the first person to admit 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 probably hundreds 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 highest 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 of seventeenth-century physicists such as Boyle and Newton. However, Einstein’s special theory of relativity with its famous equation E=mc2 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, its 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, 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 to the spectacular advances that have been made in computers and artificial intelligence. People have been absolutely dazzled by the capabilities of these 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 his own system of symbolic logic. 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 quantum theory is simply unbelievable! He then moved to Harvard, where he taught philosophy and developed his own metaphysical system. Everyone who either met or knew Whitehead came away in awe of 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. The logical positivist philosopher A. J. Ayer also sought Whitehead’s critical comments before publishing his book, Language, Truth and Logic. 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 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 the 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.

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 speed faster than light 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. Niels Bohr was another physicist who responded to Einstein’s paper. Bohr argued that the problem that Einstein and his colleagues were referring to was merely an artifact of that particular formalism, and that one must give up any notion that one can derive a realistic picture of the world from the equations of quantum physics. Like Einstein, Bohr considered any genuine physical nonlocality an impossibility. Bohr’s view—known as the so-called Copenhagen Interpretation— would remain pretty much the consensus of the physics community for decades to come. 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 elegance that no 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 three of the world’s greatest scientists—Einstein, Schrödinger and Bohr—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! This failure to accord Whitehead kudos for his insight in regard to nonlocality is especially deplorable in light of the fact that there exists an extensive literature exploring the relationship between quantum physics and Whitehead’s metaphysics, and the philosophical and metaphysical implications of Bell’s theorem. Examples of this literature include Physics and Whitehead: Quantum, Process, and Experience, edited by Timothy E. Eastman and Hank Keeton; Philosophical Consequences of Quantum Theory: Reflections on Bell’s Theorem, edited by James T. Cushing and Ernan McMullin; and The World View of Contemporary Physics: Does it Need a New Metaphysics?, edited by Richard F. Kitchener. These three books include essays by 35 different authors, 34 of whom exhibit not even the slightest awareness there exists any significant relationship between Bell’s theorem and Whitehead’s metaphysics. The sole exception to this is Henry P. Stapp, a U.C. Berkeley physicist, who has contributed essays to all three of the aforementioned books. Dr. Stapp has written extensively about the relationship between Bell’s theorem and Whitehead’s metaphysical system. However, Dr. Stapp exhibits such a profound misunderstanding of Whitehead’s theories, including Whitehead’s most basic concept “prehension,” that he has come to the mind-boggling conclusion that Whitehead’s metaphysics needs to be modified in view of its alleged incompatibility with Bell’s theorem! As Joachim Klose comments: “Stapp did not sufficiently take into account Whitehead’s discussion of prehensions when he claimed Whitehead’s system of metaphysics is incompatible with quantum theory due to Bell’s theorem. In contrast, Bell’s theorem could be used to support process philosophy”18 [i.e. Whitehead’s system]. Michael Epperson in Quantum Mechanics and the Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, concurs with Klose’s view: “quantum nonlocal phenomena are wholly compatible with Whiteheadian metaphysics.”19 Sadly, aside from myself, it appears that Klose and Epperson are the only persons who exhibit any awareness that Whitehead’s metaphysics is supported by Bell’s theorem.

Bell’s theorem suggests that even atoms and subatomic particles must have at least a scintilla of life and sentience that can be made additive or cumulative in the marvelously complex organization of atoms and molecules in living organisms. Hence 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; subatomic particles that spin both clockwise and counterclockwise simultaneously; 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.

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.

In Whitehead’s world view, as Joachim Klose explains: “Nature does not appear anymore as coexisting, separated particles of matter but rather as a network of organically interconnected entities.”22 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 illusory 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, and is 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. Moreover, this is no longer mere speculation: it has now been established beyond a reasonable doubt by the new science of quantum biology that such basic life processes as respiration, photosynthesis and heredity are controlled by and only made possible by the laws of quantum physics—laws that are anything but mechanical in nature.23 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 that 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.

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, 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”. Second, this process must be gradual 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 the 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 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 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’s as if two artists who were totally unaware of each others’ existence had painted a series of near 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 clearly wrong. In fact, it is now known that acquired characteristics can be inherited in no less than three different ways. 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 its tissues 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 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. The 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, Bell’s theorem supports 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 acolytes 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. Clearly we 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.63 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? That “our” government is corporate controlled and totally unresponsive to the needs and interests of its citizens is both widely known and well documented. For example, after reviewing 1,779 congressional bills in their definitive 2014 study, Martin Gilens of Princeton and Benjamin Page of Northwestern University conclude: “The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”64 This is such common knowledge that most people no longer even bother to vote. In considering Wolin’s concept of inverted totalitarianism a definition of fascism attributed to Mussolini 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. That the person warming the seat in the Oval Office has little or no role in formulating the policies of the U.S. government is evident from the striking continuity of the policies of the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations. Regardless of whether a Democrat or a Republican occupies the White House the main policies always remain pretty much the same. Rather than the president, these policies are formulated by such corporate-funded think tanks as the Brookings Institution and the Heritage Foundation. For example, the spectacularly corrupt mess known as Obamacare is the creation of the right-wing Heritage Foundation.65 However, when it comes to formulating foreign policy the plutocratic Council on Foreign Relations has a virtual monopoly. In his book Wall Street’s Think Tank: The Council on Foreign Relations and the Empire of Neoliberal Geopolitics, 1976-2014, Laurence H. Shoup found that between 1976 and 2014 80.2 percent of the top U.S. government policy positions were filled by members of the CFR; the same was true of 70.8 percent of those who filled the top advisory organizations and policy boards. These are the people who really formulate the policies of the U.S. government. The president merely adopts these policies as his own and sells them to Congress and the American people. This is pretty much what one can expect. After all, the only skill necessary in order to be elected president of the United States is that of a salesperson or a con artist. 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.66 The Singularity has been long in coming, from the Supreme Court allegedly ruling in 1886 that corporations are persons entitled to equal

* such as delivering a cute speech every Thanksgiving in which a turkey’s life is spared.

protection under the Fourteenth Amendment,67 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.68 Moreover, once such trade agreements as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) are ratified which--despite recent setbacks--it is highly likely they eventually will be, these psychopathic institutions will become virtually omnipotent: national sovereignty will become a thing of the past: multinational corporations will become empowered to overturn laws enacted to protect the environment and the rights and welfare of citizens living in countries located on no less than five continents! 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.69 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 despite being constantly doused with water, remained hot for three entire months—something neither burning jet fuel nor office fires could possibly cause. Even more puzzling was what was not found at the site where the Twin Towers once stood: hardly an ounce of the concrete that had once covered those buildings. Instead, those buildings’ concrete had been reduced to fine powder and was spread out all over lower Manhattan from river to river covering even the Brooklyn bridge. Conspiracy theories abound. For example, an outfit calling itself Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth comprised of over 2,900 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 2,900 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 have reached the point to where the difference between the military and the police has pretty much disappeared: section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) gives the military the authority to arrest anyone without charging them with a crime and simply make them disappear while the police have become little more than an occupying army: armed thugs equipped with heavy-duty military equipment—armored personnel carriers, submachine guns, assault rifles, grenade launchers—who can murder with complete impunity. In 38 states police have acquired military surplus firearm silencers whose only conceivable purpose is in conducting covert assassinations.70 By 2023, if one report is to believed, police SWAT teams like their counterparts in the military will be equipped with laser weapons.71 In addition to their license to murder with near impunity, the civil asset forfeiture laws grant police departments across the country the authority to seize money, cars and houses from people without even charging them with a crime. In 2014 through these asset forfeiture laws police took more property from American citizens than did burglars--$5 billion as opposed to the $3.5 billion burglars took.72 Moreover, with the coming of the kleptocratic Trump regime with Neanderthal Jeff Sessions at the helm of the Justice Department no one’s property will any longer be safe.73 Furthermore, we now have “free speech” zones where protesters are caged like animals far away from the media and onlookers and no-fly lists that snare such “dangerous terrorists” as war-protesting Roman Catholic nuns and—on at least 5 separate occasions—even the now-deceased Senator Ted Kennedy.74 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. It is now known that the National Security Agency collects, monitors and stores all phone calls, emails, bank and credit-card transactions, travel itineraries, and medical records of everyone in the U.S. and abroad. Soon they will have the capability to record and store all conversations in perpetuity and pull up what you said at any time.75 In order to store all this information the U.S. government has spent $1.7 billion to construct a huge one million square foot building in Bluffdale, Utah containing among other things a Cray CX-30 supercomputer capable of performing 100 quadrillion calculations per second. As Mike Lofgren explains: “This mammoth structure is intended to allow the NSA to store a yottabyte of information, which is equal to 500 quintillion pages of text [equivalent to 50 billion libraries each containing 10 million 1,000-page books]. The NSA needs that much storage to archive every single electronic trace you make.”76 Moreover, Obama claimed the right to assassinate any American citizen without due process of law, to start wars without consulting Congress, and has not only prosecuted more than twice the number of whistleblowers than all the previous presidents combined, but has also gone after journalists and has in effect criminalized the very act of investigative journalism itself.77 And then there’s the Obama administration’s Stasi-like Insider Threat Program, a government-wide crackdown requiring all federal employees to keep close watch on their coworkers in order to ferret out any Edward Snowden-like leakers, a program that “extends beyond the U.S. national security bureaucracies to most federal departments and agencies nationwide, including the Peace Corps, Social Security Administration and Education and Agriculture departments.”78 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. Moreover, upon Donald Trump assuming the presidency the U.S. government has become a naked kleptocracy. The Trump administration intends to scrap myriads of social programs that benefit the middle and lower classes so that money can be funneled upward to billionaires and corporations. His administration also threatens to further deregulate the economy—to further empower polluters and fraudsters—and thus unleash another massive corporate crime wave. 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.79 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! It would be a grave mistake to think those bankers haven’t learned from the economic disaster they had caused. They now know no matter what crimes they commit they will never be prosecuted because in the words of former Attorney General Eric Holder they are simply too big to jail: “I am concerned that the size of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them because if you prosecute—if you bring a criminal charge—it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even on the world economy.”80 Consequently, we can now expect to be struck by wave after wave of ever more brazen financial fraud. An example of this is the so-called Libor scandal involving 16 of the world’s biggest banks manipulating global interest rates for their mutual benefit and to the detriment of everyone else, a mega-scam involving 500 trillion dollars of financial instruments, including student loans, mortgages, municipal bonds, credit-card rates, and derivatives.81 Then there’s another vicious and truly massive robo-signing scam similar to the one that forced millions of homeowners out of their houses, only this time the banks are sending fraudulent paperwork through the courts to sue people for credit-card debt they often don’t even owe—and without even notifying their victims they are being sued so the banks can win by default when their victims fail to show up in court.82 These banks have also figured out a way to legally steal houses even when their victims have fully paid off their mortgages by buying up billions of dollars of tax liens from local governments nationwide and then foreclosing on their victims when they are unable to pay the exorbitant penalties and legal fees added on to their original tax bill.83 Not content with stealing houses, Wall Street and the big banks are also busy looting pension funds.84 Then there’s the confiscation of customer deposits in Cyprus banks, an innovative business practice pioneered by MF Global, a brokerage firm that looted $1.2 billion from their customer accounts. According to Ellen Brown, an attorney and president of the Public Banking Institute, it would be a mistake to think the Cyprus confiscation scheme couldn’t happen here: “Although few depositors realize it, legally the the bank owns the depositors funds as soon as they put it in the bank. Our money becomes the bank’s, and we become unsecured creditors holding IOUs or promises to pay.”85 Moreover, when the looming 1.2 quadrillion dollar derivatives bubble finally bursts these bank deposits will be looted big time!86 In a letter to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, Congressman Alan Grayson complained that banks such as Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley in addition to having used the trillions of dollars of bailout money87 to buy up other banks, they have “recently expanded their businesses into such fields as electric power production, oil refining and distribution, owning and operating of public assets such as ports and airports, and even uranium mining.”88 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.”89 Moreover, according to the Federal Aviation Administration there could be as many as 30,000 drones in the American skies watching us by the end of this decade.90 Finally, complementing the roll-out of these tens of millions of surveillance cameras, is the FBI’s new billion dollar face recognition project, their Next Generation Identification system, a nationwide database of mug shots/drivers licenses/passports/Facebook photos, iris scans, voice-prints, DNA records, and other biometrics, which will become fully operational by 2014.91 Meanwhile, everyone seems to be actively engaged in making themselves easy to surveil: they post intimate details of their lives on Facebook and other social media; they stay glued to their smartphones so they can be tracked everywhere they go, their conversations monitored and recorded even while their phones are turned

* People who voiced concern about being zapped by X-rays were ridiculed. They were told that by merely being on a plane flying at high altitudes they were being exposed to much more radiation than they were from the X-ray scanners which were claimed to be absolutely harmless. However, as more and more evidence started accumulating showing that those machines were causing cancer, they were replaced by microwave scanners that are nearly as harmful.

off, and even have their smartphones take pictures of the interior of their homes without them knowing about it.92 The Internet of Things is another major component of a now emerging apparatus that is keeping us under continuous surveillance. By 2020 it is estimated that as many as 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet storing and transmitting massive amounts of data. This means that a huge variety of household appliances and objects such as television sets, cars and toys will be able to monitor and record our conversations.93 Moreover, James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, and David Petraeus, the former director of the CIA, have gone on record stating that these Internet-connected devices will be used to spy on us.94 Worse yet these devices can be hacked: pacemakers and other medical devices can be turned off95 and cars can be remotely carjacked.96Moreover, if the research being funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) ever pans out, then human beings will be among the myriad of gadgets connected to the Internet: soldiers on the battlefield will have brain implants so they can communicate with each other telepathically.97 These DARPA scientists have found a way of implanting these devices into the brain through the blood vessels without having to open the skull.98 Physicists, neuroscientists and chemists at Harvard University have found another way of creating human cyborgs by means of using a syringe-injectable electronic mesh that fits over the brain.99 Finally, Space X and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk is launching a new company Neuralink for the purpose of creating brain implants that will merge human brains with computers.100 The way things are progressing now it wouldn’t surprise me if several decades from now it becomes mandatory to have brain implants. No doubt there are millions of technology-worshipping lunatics who would welcome this. 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.101

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.”102 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.103 Meanwhile, here in the United States we are in the process of catching up with India and Mexico. On July 11, 2013 CNN reports:

A growing number of schools are replacing traditional identification cards with iris scanners. By fall, several schools— ranging from elementary schools to colleges—will be rolling out various iris scanning methods . . . In the next year, industry insiders say the technology will be available all over—from banks to airports. That means instead of entering your pin number, you can gain access to an ATM in a blink. Used in an airport, the system will analyze your iris as you pass through security, identifying and welcoming you by name.104

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.”105 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.106

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. Opting out of such a system would prove to be especially difficult in the event of all of the countries of the world becoming cashless societies. This is already happening in Denmark107 and Sweden108 where cash is in the process of being banned altogether. Moreover, this war against cash is spreading to other countries. France and Italy have made cash transactions of over 1,000 euros illegal while Switzerland, Russia, Spain, Mexico and Uruguay have similar laws.109 On February 15, 2016 Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, indicated he was seriously considering phasing out the 500 euro banknotes due to their use in criminal activity.110 One day later Lawrence H. Summers, former U.S. treasury secretary, wrote an article in the Washington Post titled “It’s time to kill the $100 bill.” This war against cash is in essence a war against savings. Bank runs or withdrawing savings from a bank would not be possible in a cashless society. This in turn would allow the banks to loot our savings either incrementally by means of negative interest rates or at one fell swoop by means of a bail-in when their bets on derivatives turn sour. And needless to say, this would be a giant step in destroying what little privacy we still have left. Because such a totalitarian system as outlined above would be extremely unpopular, it is only likely to be implemented during a crisis when people tend to be so frightened and 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. As economist Michael Hudson explains:

Adam Smith long ago remarked that profits often are highest in nations going fastest to ruin. There are many ways to commit economic suicide on a national level. The major way throughout history has been by indebting the economy. Debt always expands to reach a point where it cannot be paid by large swaths of the economy. That is the point where austerity is imposed and ownership of wealth polarizes between the One Percent and the 99 Percent.

Today is not the first time this has happened in history. But it is the first time that running into debt has occurred deliberately, applauded as if most debtors can get rich by borrowing, not reduced to a condition of debt peonage.111

This is exactly what happened in Greece and this is precisely what is now happening worldwide. 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 either the iris scan or more likely a more general facial recognition system112 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. (After all, if we are only machines—mere instruments to be utilized by others—then why even think about freedom.) 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.113 When bad things really begin to happen, they will either fall on their knees and pray to a nonexistent god, get drunk, or go down to the pharmacy to have their prescription for Prozac refilled—or any of the other brain-damaging psychiatric drugs that a full 20% of the people in this country are now on.114 Any rebellion, including a future occupy, labor or antiwar movement, 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.

Like manufactured products that have been designed to become almost instantly obsolete or to begin malfunctioning or falling apart after a short period of time, it is apparent that our creatively destructive civilization has not been engineered to last very long. This is because as our civilization becomes more technologically advanced it also becomes increasingly more fragile and vulnerable to collapse since it depends on the continued availability of an increasing number of irreplaceable mineral elements known as the so-called rare earth elements that are ubiquitous in products that are designed to become instantly obsolete. For example, household appliances such as refrigerators, electric stoves and furnaces used to last for decades. But this is no longer true. These newer Internet-connected, “energy efficient”, “green”, “environmentally friendly” appliances are so filled with computerized crap that in a matter of a few years they end up in landfills along with obsolete or defunct laptop computers, printers, iPhones, iPads, and other electronic trash. Since waste—and with it damage to the environment—is the essence of capitalism only a fool can think this process can continue forever.

However, under this current lawless deregulated neoliberal regime these destructive practices will not only continue but will get markedly worse after such NAFTA-like trade agreements as the TPP and the TTIP are ratified, giving corporations the power to void any law or regulation that interferes with their ability to maximize their profits. If for example a government were to prohibit a corporation from maximizing its profits by saving money by discharging lead, arsenic or radioactive waste into a lake, river, reservoir or aquifer, that corporation can sue that government for its loss of profits before a secret international tribunal staffed by corporate attorneys acting in the combined roles of judge, jury and prosecutor where the party initiating the lawsuit cannot possibly lose. And yes, radioactive waste is being dumped into our drinking water. This is happening at a leaking toxic waste dump owned by Waste Control Specialists near Andrews, Texas. As Paul Derienzo reports:

The highly radioactive spoils of nuclear power plants from 36 states—as well as other seriously toxic or carcinogenic substances such as PCBs dredged from the Hudson River—are being dumped there on a regular basis, and will continue until the designated hole in the ground is filled. That hole happens to be on the Ogallala Aquifer, according to environmentalists. At 174,000 square miles the Ogallala Aquifer is the world’s second largest, providing water to 27 percent of the entire agricultural land in the United States. An aquifer can be a superhighway for nuclear waste, as shown by studies of the movement of waste at polluted sites as Hanford, Washington.115

It is known that radioactive waste from Hanford has contaminated the Columbia River.116 Meanwhile, Ontario Power Generation, the world’s largest nuclear power utility, is planning to bury its radioactive waste at its Bruce Nuclear Generating Station near the shore of Lake Huron under the assumption that Lake Huron would be large enough to dilute any radioactive waste that might leak and drift downstream to where tens of millions of Americans and Canadians get their drinking water.117 According to Gregory Jaczko, former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, it takes 60 years to decommission a nuclear power plant and properly dispose of its waste.118 However, if our civilization were to collapse before all these nuclear power plants are shut down—which is not at all unlikely—all of these nuclear facilities would go critical and would meltdown and the resulting radiation would wreak havoc on the genomes of all of the earth’s organisms causing mutations, cancer and death. The scientific and technological prowess of our industrial civilization belies its essential fragility. Any number of factors can cause our civilization to collapse including the sheer recklessness and criminality of its elite, natural forces over which humankind can have no control, or the exhaustion of just one irreplaceable mineral element or raw material necessary for its continued existence. For example, it is inconceivable that the Industrial Revolution could have occurred without fossil fuels and steel. Moreover, despite the wishes of many environmentalists, it is also inconceivable that our industrial civilization can continue to exist without fossil fuels—particularly without petroleum and a myriad of petroleum-derived products including—to name just a few—asphalt, synthetic rubber, nylon and plastics as well as fuel for heating and transportation. We are fast approaching peak oil, the maximal rate at which oil can be extracted followed by an inevitable decline in oil production. But if we are indeed approaching peak oil then how are we to explain the fact that the world now appears to be awash with oil and that the price of a barrel of oil has fallen more than 70 percent since June 2014? This is because we are now in the beginning stage of a worldwide economic collapse where due to a lack of demand the price of all commodities including petroleum has fallen precipitously. This situation is compounded by the fact that despite the steep drop in the price of oil Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, continues to pump out oil as fast as they can. They can afford to do this because the Saudis’ pumping costs are a lot lower than that of their competitors whom the Saudis’ would like to drive out of business. However, the Saudis’ will not be able to continue to do this for very long.119 Year after year the world has been using a lot more oil than it has been finding and this has been a long-term trend: 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 that has persisted into the 2000s. The recent discovery of hydrofractured shale oil has done very little to reverse this trend since shale oil amounts to only 5 percent of world oil production.120 Even more disappointing is the extremely short life span of shale oil wells as compared to conventional oil wells. As Shawn Tully reports:

Unlike conventional projects, shale wells enjoy an extremely short life. In the Bakken region straddling Montana and North Dakota, a well that starts out pumping 1,000 barrels a day will decline to just 280 barrels by the start of year two, a shrinkage of 72%. By the beginning of year three, more than half of the reserves of that well will be depleted, and production will fall to a trickle. To generate constant or increasing revenue, producers need to constantly drill new wells, since their existing wells span a mere half life by industry standards.

In fact, fracking is a lot more like mining than conventional oil production. Mining companies need to dig new holes, year after year, to extract reserves of copper or iron ore. In fracking, there is intense pressure to keep replacing the production you lost last year.121

What applies to shale oil also applies to shale gas. In an article titled “Oil’s tipping point has passed” in the January 26, 2012 issue of the British science journal, Nature, Sir David King and James Murray write in regard to shale gas and hydraulic fracturing:

There is no doubt that US shale-gas resources are immense, but recent reports suggest that both reserves and future production rates have been substantially overstated. For sites such as the Barnett and Fayetteville shales, where a long production history can be studied, there has been an extremely large annual decline in production rates. Geological consultant Arthur Berman, director of Labyrinth Consulting Services in Sugar Land, Texas, and a world expert in shale gas, has put this [annual] decline in the range of 60-90%.

Rates of decline of this magnitude are not sustainable nor is it conceivable that alternative energy sources will come on line fast enough to prevent the inevitable collapse of our industrial civilization and a mass extinction involving billions of people. Meanwhile, existing oil wells 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.”122 Even the International Energy Agency accepts the fact that as far as conventional oil is concerned its maximal rate of production was reached in 2006.123 That we haven’t yet reached peak oil production is due to the expanded production of such unconventional sources of petroleum as Canada’s tar sands, Venezuela’s extra heavy oil, oil produced from coal, oil shale and natural gas, and biofuel additives. Although it is somewhat uncertain exactly when peak oil will arrive, the mere fact that we are reduced to scraping from the bottom of the barrel so to speak in depending on these costly, inefficient, and environmentally-damaging energy sources is a good indication that peak oil can’t be that far off—that it will probably be here within less than ten years. Moreover, peak oil aside, it is obvious that the era of cheap, easy-to-get-at oil is now over: hereafter the law of diminishing returns will inexorably strangle the world economy—just as Joseph A. Tainter has documented in his magisterial tome, The Collapse of Complex Societies, it has caused the collapse of every known civilization. After the arrival of peak oil further economic growth will be rendered impossible and an inevitable contraction of the world economy will ensue—a truly ominous development since all economies whether capitalist or socialist must grow in order to stave off collapse. Moreover, this collapse is inevitable in view of the obvious fact that infinite growth on a finite planet is an absurdity. It always makes me laugh whenever I hear talk of the United States becoming the new Saudi Arabia with enough oil reserves to last for at least another hundred years. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, proven U.S. crude oil reserves amount to just over 36 billion barrels.124 Since the U.S. consumes about 7 billions barrels of petroleum per annum that amount of oil should only last for about 5 years. Already it is becoming increasing apparent that our technological civilization is beginning to falter and retreat. Nowhere is this more evident than in the widespread use of such laughably retrograde energy-generating devices as windmills—something that Don Quixote took issue with centuries ago.125 Even more retrograde is the deforestation of large areas of the southeastern United States, the Amazon, and British Columbia to supply wood pellets for power plants in the United Kingdom, Germany and other European countries that used to burn coal. Similarly, vast areas of Indonesia and Malaysia are now being deforested to set up palm-oil plantations to supply the booming biofuels market. This is incredibly stupid and even criminal: deforestation causes soil erosion, a loss of biodiversity, and is a major cause of global warming because forests lock up huge amounts of carbon. Then of course there’s global warming. We keep hearing ad nauseam about how we should seek to lower our greenhouse gas emissions. However, due to peak oil and the austerity measures the ruling class will impose on us, we will in fact lower our greenhouse emissions* but this will not solve the underlying problem because we have already reached the point of no return. We are presently leaving the Holocene period, a period of relative stability and relatively mild weather and climate that had made civilization possible for the last 12 thousand years.126 Consequently, this means extreme and persistent drought, food scarcity,127 more and more out-of-control wildfires, the spread of tropical diseases made worse by the fact that most of our antibiotics no longer work due to their widespread misuse, and damage to our already crumbling infrastructure costing in the trillions of dollars due to monster hurricanes and floods of biblical proportions. As world conditions become increasing chaotic and an even worse president than Donald Trump 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

* The ruling elite are undoubtedly aware of peak oil and the impending energy crunch. The smart grid, smart meters, and Internet-connected household appliances are designed so that these appliances can be remotely turned off during periods of peak energy usage. That these gadgets can also be used to spy on us is mere icing on the cake.

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).128

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. For example, there is a 9 percent increase in federal funding for nuclear weapons in the 2014 budget proposal to Congress.129 Furthermore, due to “Russian aggression” Obama--and now Trump-- plan to spend a trillion dollars over the next thirty years to upgrade and modernize our nuclear arsenal.130 On top on that Trump intends to add an additional $54 billion in military spending.131 Trump who has been viciously and relentlessly attacked for wanting to have good relations with Russia is now in the process of mending his ways and has authorized another round of economic sanctions against Russia—sanctions that will harm our European allies. Another indication that we are headed for war is that on June 19, 2013 the Pentagon issued a report to Congress on behalf of President Obama outlining its “Nuclear Employment Strategy” reaffirming its counterforce strategy of a first strike against enemy missile silos.132 However, according to a couple of recent studies, even a very limited regional nuclear war between India and Pakistan would cause a 25-year nuclear winter and famine which would result in two billion casualties.133 In fact, if even a single nuclear bomb were to be detonated in the mid-stratosphere over Kansas, it would produce an electromagnetic pulse that would fry the entire U.S. electrical grid.134 Nevertheless, like psychopaths who think they can get away with anything, the elite who direct our foreign policy are incorrigible optimists who think a nuclear war is winnable. For example, “The Rise of U.S. Nuclear Primacy” an article published by the Council on Foreign Relations in their March/April 2006 issue of Foreign Affairs, clearly reveals the mindset of the lunatics who determine U.S. foreign policy:

...the age of MAD [Mutual Assured Destruction] is nearing an end. Today, for the first time in 50 years, the United States stands on the verge of attaining nuclear primacy. It will probably soon be possible for the United States to destroy the long-range nuclear arsenals of Russia and China with a first strike. This dramatic shift in the balance of nuclear power stems from a series of improvements in the United States’ nuclear systems, the precipitous decline in Russia’s arsenal, and the glacial pace of modernization of China’s nuclear forces.

Furthermore, with the U.S. instigation of a fascist coup in Ukraine in February 2014, the demonization of Vladimir Putin as the “new Hitler”, the endlessly repeated CIA-planted lies that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election, the economic sanctions against Russia together with the collusion with the Saudis to flood the market and drastically lower the price of petroleum in order to weaken and destabilize the oil revenue dependent Russian economy,135 the massing of NATO troops and military equipment along the Russian border accompanied by provocative war games, and also from “a report published by the Associated Press [on June 4, 2015] ... that the Pentagon was actively considering the use of nuclear missiles against military targets inside Russia”,136 it is obvious that we are already headed down a path that could very likely lead to World War III. Then there was the very dangerous conflict that had been taking place in Syria between the Russian air force and the U.S.-backed terrorists trying to overthrow the Assad regime. Moreover, with the recent pivot toward the Asia-Pacific region, the United States also appears to be on a collision course with China, instigating a series of provocative measures including the re-militarization of Japan—a move strongly opposed by a vast majority of that country’s citizens. 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.137 Many of these nuclear power plants are located either within major earthquake zones, near rivers that flood, or near the coastlines making them vulnerable to hurricanes and tsunamis. These nuclear facilities contain or store more radioactive poisons than are in our entire nuclear arsenal. Already “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 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.* Furthermore, due to the virtual inevitably of such disasters, on April 15, 2013 the Environmental Protection Agency issued new “Protective” Action Guides that allow extremely high radioactive contamination of our food. In essence, these new guidelines absolve the federal government of any responsibility for cleanup in the event of a widespread radiation release due to a meltdown.139 Actually both kinds of nuclear disasters—nuclear war and the meltdown of nuclear reactors—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 is 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.

* Despite a notoriously poor safety record China is planning to build 500 new nuclear reactors.138


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