Monday, April 23, 2007


Richard Dawkins writes in "River Out of Eden," one of several of his polemics on evolution,
"Airplanes built according to scientific principles work. They stay aloft and they get you to a chosen destination....Western science, acting on good evidence that the moon orbits the Earth a quarter of a million miles away, using Western-designed computers and rockets, has succeeded in placing people on its surface. Tribal science, believing that the moon is just above the treetops, will never touch it outside of dreams".

Using this analogy Dawkins equates evolution with the hard science of physics and any disagreement with evolution is equated with tribal superstition. Does the analogy hold? Our understanding of gravity led to the airplane. Our understanding of the expansion of gases led to the combustion engine. Our understanding of electricity led to the light bulb. So, is Dawkins et al., prepared to create a living being? If the principle of life "at it's core" is so well understood by evolutionary biologists, then when can we expect the first manufactured being to arrive? When can we expect the first man-made creation that grows, or that replicates, or that has will, or that is conscious? And please don't confuse genetic engineering with the creation of life. If I understand how my channel changer works I can change the progamming of my television. That doesn't mean that I know anything about how to build a television or that I know how to write, shoot, direct, act or in any way create television shows.

If you cannot see your 'self' or your consciousness or your will or emotions or intelligence, how can you expect to discover the very core of life from physical observation? When Watson and Crick discovered the double helix construction of the DNA molecule, had they discovered "God" as they had initially claimed or had they discovered God's channel changer? In all the subsequent research evolutionary biologists have determined that genes code for the manufacture of enzymes and proteins. But genes code for much more than that. Genes code for shape as well as content. The newly combined genetic code in a fertilized egg attracts to it a particular nexus of consciousness, will, intelligence and information that infuses the physical body and makes possible all it's myriad functions. If the only function of genes were to produce proteins and enzymes, gestation would result in a shapeless puddle of meat rather than a human baby. This is why so much of the code is considered 'junk' DNA, because scientists cannot 'see' a use for it. This is why the particular way all the billions of genes are folded over and over into the nucleosome is not considered a relevant bases for study; because the mystery of the genes is considered solved. If we can get a bacteria to manufacture insulin by genetic engineering, then why look further? All questions are supposedly answered.

The story of evolution is presented as a rational, easily understood account of how life developed from 'simple' single celled organisms into the one hundred trillion celled creatures that we call human beings. Supposedly, from these simple one celled beginnings, after many, many mistakes, we gradually, one step at a time, evolved because our ability to survive improved as we became more perfected and complicated. All of nature's mistakes have disappeared because they were 'devoured' by the more improved survivors that replaced them. Let's look at this argument piece by piece.

First there is the simple beginnings, the cells. Almost four billion years after they arrived on this planet, we are still studying these 'simple' building blocks of life. Before we get into endless, hairsplitting arguments about which genus the digger wasp belongs to or the sexual predilections of the male stickleback, let's look at this 'simple' cell. For all the years of dedicated research and the chest thumping of Watson, Crick, Dawkins and their ilk, there is not one, I repeat, not one, function of that simple cell, which is the very beginning of the story of evolution, that is truly understood by Western science, or that can be produced in a laboratory. We cannot create anything that replicates anything. We cannot create anything that digests anything. We cannot create anything that grows. We cannot create anything that metabolizes. We cannot create anything that is aware of its surroundings. The basic building block of the whole history of evolution, which is supposedly so clear, rational and logical, is an absolute and utter mystery! This story that begins in simplicity, actually begins with transcendent intelligence and unfathomable complexity.

Then, we have the gradual perfection of organs until we come up with the highly perfected organs of a creature such as ourselves. Along the way, according to the story, many genetic 'mistakes' were made, species that could not compete with the genetically superior species that we find today. Does this make any sense, really? When you look at the structure of a microscopic eukaryotic cell, the building block of all complex plant and animal life, you find a nucleus containing millions or billions of enfolded genes, with ribosomes and vesicles and reticulums, with vacuoles and lysosomes and centrioles, with microscopic membranes separating hundreds of chemical reactions all going on simultaneously in perfect synchronicity. When you look at all this dazzling complexity and precision at the very beginning of life, do you really believe that there were vast multitudes of species roaming this earth that were bunking into trees and walking off of cliffs, because they couldn't see well enough; that starved to death because they couldn't digest their food, or that died of fevers or chills because they couldn't regulate their temperatures? The whole thing is absolutely laughable. Beings make perfect adaptations to the particular niche of the environment that they inhabit. When there is a change in the environment, a shift in the weather, in the composition of the atmosphere, the arrival of a new predator or a new competitor, a change in the food source, etc., sometimes the genetic adaptation cannot act quickly enough to adjust to a rapid change. A species that was perfectly adapted to earlier circumstances, suddenly finds itself at a disadvantage. A good example is right now, when our dedicated physicians, researchers and, yes, genetic engineers, are working frantically to stem the tide of cancers, diabetes, heart and kidney conditions in our own species due to the dramatic change in our diet and air quality since the beginning of industrialization. Don't forget that for hundreds of thousands of years we were all organic, locally grown and seasonal eaters. The recent barrage of pesticides, preservatives, growth hormones, fillers and various and sundry chemicals that we are eating in our food, drinking in our water and breathing in our air is too much for our amazing but still limited abilities to adapt. But the idea that dinosaurs were weaker than we are, that pteradactyls were poor flyers, or that this earth was cluttered with evolutionary mistakes that were so completely devoured that nothing is left of them, not even their bones, is beyond absurd.

Underlying this whole theory is the most base, materialistic view of life imaginable. According to this theory, we are here to survive and replicate, plain and simple. Anything that doesn't survive as well as we do, gets devoured and disappears. But why, why do we want to survive? Just to survive? Just to eat so that we can replicate more of our own kind that can eat and replicate more? Yecch! We survive because we want to survive. We survive, that is all of our species, because, when our survival needs are met, when we have enough nourishment, when we are warm enough and cool enough, when our offspring are cared for and we are in the environment that we are so exquisitely adapted to, we love life. We, that is all of us, in the absence of need, feel in harmony, balance and deep connection with our surroundings, and this feeling is intensely peaceful, loving and pleasurable. We have to lose the 'National Geographic' sense of the wild, which focuses on the one minute violent, dramatic struggle for dominance between male Tibetan yaks and ignores the thirty years of peaceful grazing which makes up the rest of their lives. Aside from the bias of Darwinists and most historians, life is not about those occasional, dramatic struggles for survival, but about the much longer, peaceful, harmonious interludes, and the quest for that peace and balance that keeps all of us wanting to survive and replicate.

And finally, does our ability to survive improve as we become more complicated? Absolutely not! The total population of humans is not even a footnote to the population of microbes, plankton, amoebas and bacteria. If the thrust of life were replication, we would have stopped at the beginning. Every drop of ocean water, every square inch of soil on this planet is teeming with microscopic life. We do not live in order to survive. We survive in order to live. Our organs have not improved through evolution, so much as they have adapted to fit our different needs. The sense organs of a cell let it know when a virus is arriving and mobilizes anti-bodies to defend itself against that virus. When we need protection from viruses we turn to the abilities and sensitivities of the cell which far surpasses the abilities and sensitivities of the human organism as a whole in regard to virus protection. Each species gets the genetic equipment it needs to sense and deal with its particular environment. We are oblivious to all the ways a bacteria senses its environment in the same way that a bacteria is oblivious to all the ways in which we sense ours. The evolution of senses, motor skills, digestive organs, etc. has not been so much an improvement, but rather a change to adapt to different environmental demands. If there has been an upward, spirallic evolution of intelligence and consciousness resulting in human beings, it is for very different reasons than simple survival.

In sum, then, what do we really know about the creation of life? Western science has unlocked a part of the code for the manufacture of proteins and enzymes, the physical contents of living things. Who controls that code, who signals which of the three thousand enzymes and one hundred thousand combinations of enzymes will be produced within the one hundred trillion cells of the human body, at every moment of our existence, has not been determined. But the code itself, the arrangement of nucleotides in the DNA molecule, has been discovered, which is hugely important but is still only one small part, and the least subtle, least causal part of the entire picture. On a subtler and more causal level, is the coding for the shapes and energy pathways of living things. Western scientists have only recently begun to explore this area and could get much wisdom and insight from traditional understandings, particularly from the philosophies that underlie acupuncture and aryuvedic medicine. On a still more subtle plane, is the particular will and intelligence that forms an individual being. In our stubborn refusal to acknowledge anything we cannot see, we refuse to recognize the presence of will and intelligence, except, of course, the will and intelligence that we experience ourselves, even though it infuses and permeates every aspect of life and every process and every formation that we see through our microscopes. And finally, on the most subtle, the ultimate causal plane, is consciousness. Not only have Western scientists begun to deny the existence of consciousness (in another post) but they will never discover anything about it if they continue to limit themselves to the methods of physical observation and analysis.

In the homeland of that same tribe that Dawkins referred to as 'believing the moon is just above the treetops,' a television has mysteriously appeared. A tribesman fiddling with the channel changer has discovered that he can get many different, amazing results by pressing these different buttons. Not realizing that these programs are made thousands of miles away and transported invisibly to that little box, people begin to worship it, and worship each of the numbers on that channel changer. The tribesman who figured out how that channel changer works becomes the high priest of this new magic cult. He is celebrated and his little numbers are worshiped as gods. The name of that tribesman leading his people in bowing down to those numbers is Richard Dawkins.

Any thoughts? I sincerely welcome your feedback.


Bill K Ramsey said...

I found my here via Michael Prescott's blog. It will take me a long time to read and absorb everything you have written so far. You write what I have always believed. My comments for right now will be very general.

I had the experience of "no self" (it lasted for a few hours). As a programmer I tend to get absorbed in the problems I am trying model in code. I spent a restless night with my brain churning constantly all night. With no sleep, and the time to get up only a few minutes away, I begged (mentally) for just a few minutes of silence. And then my brain stopped . . .

Nothing has been the same since. And for those that think this is some glorious experience which instantly transforms you into saint, guess again. I knew during the experience that it would fade. During the experience I was OK with that. But the next day I was in a very bad place. You see, now I **knew** that I didn't know.

I went through all the stages of grief: loss of that state of consciousness. Acceptance was years in coming.

As a fellow seeker, I salute what you are attempting. Since we are all one, those parts of ourselves that are ready will find there way here.

Keep leaving the trail of bread crumbs...even if the birds come and eat them.

Anonymous said...

Have you heard of cellular automaton? The program is in the positioning of the original cells, and the rules are embedded into the system.

Matt Chait said...

I am reading now about cellular automatons. These are not really cells, but cells are the word that is used to describe the one or two dimensional units of which these one or two dimensional patterns are made. Also, these 'cells' have two possibilities, black or white, or 1 or 0. The point, I think, is that if our greatest analytical minds working at their full capacity must struggle to come up with a program that reproduces a two dimensional pattern of two possibilities; why would anyone think that the physical equipment of life, which is composed of at least four dimensions (don't forget time; that each real cell is in a constant state of change, of growth, birth, death and shape change over time) of almost infinite possibilities; why would anyone think that a system of infinitely more complexity would be created, or programmed if you will, by 'no mind,' by 'no intelligence' when it took our greatest human intelligence to program the stick figure variety?
That being said, all of the above is not life. Life is that which experiences all of the above. The above is the equipment that the Creator (and don't you think anyone that intelligent deserves a capitalized name?)gave us which allows us to experience the world through this equipment.

Anonymous said...

In my previous post (the 2 or 3 words one) I forgot to mention will and inteligence along with consciousness.

If i understand you well, the more subtle and causal planes that you mention are totally imatterial. I mean, you are not talking about things like astral bodies, are you?

Matt Chait said...

Consciousness, being spirit and not a 'thing,' is not really divisible. Living beings are a way of giving the illusion of a separate, compartmentalized consciousness.' So we, as an inextricable part of the universal consciousness, make a decision to commit ourselves to a particular genome, a particular brain-body, culture, family and history, to experience this 'separate' existence. I do believe that an astral body is an intermediary, an energy form coming out of an idea, or many, many accumulated ideas; and the growing body fills out that form. The genes, the enormously elaborate firing patterns of the genes and the enormously elaborate and precise delivery system of the manufactured proteins, provide the 'material' to fill out those forms and forms within forms, but the astral body provides the energy blueprint that those proteins molecules along with sugars and fats, fill in. So will is our commitment to the material world and intelligence is how we manipulate the material world to fulfill our desires, but will and intelligence are not, in themselves, material. An astral body is a transitional stage between a non-physical idea or ideas and a material body just as a blue print is a transitional phase between a builder's idea and an actual building.