Wednesday, February 19, 2014



‘We are survival machines......’ writes Richard Dawkins in his most popular book, ‘The Selfish Gene.’ ‘We’..he goes on to say, ‘does not mean just people. It embraces all animals, plants, bacteria, and viruses.’ So profound is this insight, according to Dawkins, that  'intelligent life can only be considered to come of age' when it has made this earth shattering realization. Now Dawkins is so sure of the truth and profondity of this premise, expounds his theories based on this premise with such haughty confidence, so disparaging of any other possible way of viewing the world, that he has convinced millions of people, people who also want to 'come of age' and who do not want to risk the wrath of the formidably arrogant Dawkins, of the truth of his premise and the conclusions that follow from it.

I have two problems with this original premise. First of all to call anything a survival machine is for all practical purposes completely, utterly and absolutely devoid of meaning. Regarding man made machines, every single one is a survival machine by the mere fact that it is either still working, which would make it a successful survival machine, or it is no longer working, which would make it an unsuccessful survival machine. Regarding living beings, no matter what their shape, structure, any possible thing you could concoct in your imagination, it would be, if it was presently alive, a successful survival machine, and if it wasn’t, an unsuccessful survival machine. Every machine, man made, at least, has, obviously, some other function besides survival. Why else would it be built? Certainly, when building a machine, you want it to survive, at least to survive long enough so that it can be used at least once (for some purpose other than survival!). But to build a machine simply to survive is inane. Why would anyone waste the energy? To say that the reason humans are here is that we are survival machines, means precisely that we are here, but that we are here for no reason at all.

The second issue I have with this ‘survival machine’ business, is that although it may be the product of many years of Dawkins’ research, of observing bodies and brains and genomes and cellular structures of countless plants and animals and reading about studies of countless more observations of bodies and brains and genomes and cellular structures of countless more plants and animals, it does not include any time spent observing the observer. Just who is it who is making all these observations? This is a crucial point.  If Dawkins is going to bandy about that word 'we' with such assurance and tell us that 'we' are survival machines and 'we' began as a replicating molecule, and 'we' are descended from whoever he thinks we are descended from, then we had better be very clear about just what he means by the word 'we'; because my understanding of we is not anything observable or measurable.  We are not what we are observing, but the observer, itself. Everything that Dawkins has observed to come to his conclusions is not 'us', is not part of 'we' but is the equipment, the apparatus that we use to relate to the world.  If Dawkins would stop for a moment, just one serious and relaxed moment, and look within, he would quickly discover that ‘we’ are not our bodies or our brains, but we are ‘that which’ experiences the world and desires things in the world through our bodies and brains (Of course, Dawkins will never do that.  It is easier to get a Taliban to burn a copy of the Koran, or to get a Chasidic Jew to eat pig's feet, than to get a Darwinist to spend a quiet moment of meditation.)  We are not our bodies, but that which experiences our bodies. And we are certainly not our brains, which are collections, although  fantastically designed, fantastically complicated collections, of nerve cells, connections between nerve cells, and currents of electricity running through those connections. We are that which experiences the world by, somehow, translating those streams of electrons, into the sights and sounds and smells and tastes and touches and feelings that is the non-physical, experiential and actual content of our lives.

I don't want to dwell on this for too long, but I want to be very clear.  This is not something 'far out' or 'weird' or 'mystical.'  Isn't it obvious that you are not your face, but that which expresses itself through your face; that you are not your eyes, but that which sees the world through your eyes; not your ears, but that which hears through your ears, etc.?  The seer of your sights, the thinker of your thoughts, the intender and the doer and the experiencer of all the things that you do with your body, but not the body itself; the context, the ground of your experience, that is the real you or, in plural, the real we, and this real we never even shows up in anything that the self acclaimed genius Dawkins or his mentor Darwin have to say.  

This is not just a minor semantic point. To say that we are in possession of, we are connected to, we use a body which is a survival machine, is very, very different than saying that we are a survival machine. Viewed in this way, the real purpose of living bodies becomes clear. Living bodies are designed to survive, not just for the sake of survival, but to serve us, the consciousness, that which desires and experiences; to serve us in fulfilling our intentions. Think about it. The moment we desire to do something, or even intend to do something, the several hundred thousand or million or ten million precise neurons are fired that initiate a cascading process of electrical transmissions, blood circulation, muscular contractions and releases, that allow us to realize that desire. This is happening at every waking moment of our existence. Our bodies, and by ‘our’ I mean all living bodies, are the servants of our desires, and the purpose of living bodies is to provide the conscious being that dwells within the body an experience of the world through the particular agency of this particular body with it’s particular genome, it’s particular set of desires and its particular way of experiencing the world. All the survival mechanisms of the body are there not just to survive for the sake of survival itself, but for the purpose of allowing us to have this unique experience for as long as possible.

Since someone else's, or some other organism's experience cannot be seen or measured through a microscope,the unaided eye or any other instrument of observation, the real purpose of all these 'survival machines' eludes the cadres of scientists who can only measure and observe.  Hence they conclude, falsely, that the purpose of living organisms is to survive, because they cannot see or measure what these physical bodies and brains are surviving for.  Consider comatose patients in a vegetative state.  Should we continue to keep them on life support?  If it is determined that the body is surviving but they are no longer conscious (no longer experiencing anything) then we determine that all the money we are spending on their survival is pointless and pull the plug.  However, if we determine somehow that they are still conscious, that they are still experiencing something, even if they cannot satisfy any of their needs without assistance (that 'they are still in there' is, interestingly, the way we say it) then it becomes our moral duty to not pull the plug, no matter what the expense.  Clearly, experience and the fulfillment of desire, not survival, is the purpose of life.

And think about this. We do not try to survive. We know very little about our specific survival needs. Even Dawkins; do you think he foregoes his colonoscopies and blood tests because he is such an eminent biologist that he already knows exactly what is going on in his own body at any given moment without any testing or instrumentation? Of course not;  he is just as ignorant as the rest of us in that regard.  And that is most certainly true of all the myriad of non-human species. We survive because when we experience hunger we eat, and we eat what we want to eat. When we experience thirst we drink, and we drink what we want to drink. When we experience fatigue we rest; when we experience being hot we seek coolness; when we experience being cold we seek warmth, and when we experience being horny we seek out what we want, which just so happens to be, in most cases, a being of the same species of the opposite sex. In this manner, being totally ignorant of our survival needs, but just by fulfilling our desires, we manage to survive and our progeny manage to survive. Each of us, all living beings included, is the recipient of an exquisitely designed set of desires, desires which can never be seen or measured, but which are always individually experienced, and which deliver to us, without our direct knowledge of it, exactly what we need to survive and replicate. The issue may be clouded a bit because in our strange and unnatural society we are advertised at and culturally encouraged to have all sorts of extraneous desires on top of our natural ones which may or may not be advantageous to our survival. But certainly all non-human animals, and all humans in a natural state, are in possession of that perfectly aligned set of desires that will insure their survival and the replication of their species.

And this set of desires, perfectly aligned with our survival needs, could not possibly have evolved. It had to be there from the very inception of life. No organism could survive for more than a moment if it did not desire the things it needed for its survival. This exquisite design of non-physical desires, without which we could not survive, and the experience of the satisfaction or frustration of which is the real reason for living bodies, makes all of Dawkins’ and Darwin’s theories of random, accidental and mindless evolution not just wrong, but entirely irrelevant.

Living beings are opportunities for consciousness to experience life in a particular way. Cosmic consciousness, Infinity, God, if you will, is a non-local phenomena. It is beyond space and time. It is everywhere, having no boundaries as well as, in a sense, no where, since it is not a thing and does not occupy space or time. The laws governing matter, the creation of matter based on these laws and the creation of living beings are all the result of ideas; ideas that began in the Cosmic Consciousness. Consciousness causes matter. Matter, no matter how complex, does not cause consciousness. Living beings are a way of giving indivisible consciousness a unique, dramatic, but ultimately illusory experience of a separate existence. 

Survival machines indeed!

I welcome your comments. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014


I just heard an infuriatingly idiotic debate between Bill Nye the science guy and someone named Ham from the Creation Institute.  If I have to choose between neo-Darwinist evolution and a rigid fundamentalist interpretation of Genesis, if those are my only two choices, then I respectfully abstain from voting.  They are both EQUALLY idiotic.  Nye and other scientists, and millions of non-scientists, believe that if you can prove that the earth is considerably more than six thousand years old than the theory of neo-Darwinian evolution must be right.   REALLY?  First of all the idea that God created the earth in six days is based on the idea that the Hebrew word that we take to mean 'day' in Genesis, actually means a 24 hour day which is based on one complete revolution of the earth.  The obvious problem with that is that the earth, according to Genesis, was not created until the third day.  "Let the water below the sky be gathered into one area, that the dry land may appear. God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering of waters He called Seas.....And there was evening and there was morning, a third day." Does it really make sense to think of those first two days, before there was even earth, when there was just a void and then light and darkness, and then water and sky, to think of that as a one revolution of the earth, a twenty-four hour day?  Can this make sense even to the most die-hard Creationist?

Matters become even worse for the Creationists when we get to the fourth day.  "God said, 'Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate day from night; they shall serve as signs for the set times-the days and the years; and they shall serve as lights in the expanse in the sky to shine upon the earth.' And it was so.  God made two great lights, the greater light to dominate the day and the lesser light to dominate the night, and the stars.  And God set them in the expanse of the sky to shine upon the earth, to dominate the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness.  And God saw that this was good.  And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day." Right in this paragraph we have the use of the word day to mean the period of time when there is light, a few hours at best when you are in polar winter and a full six months when you are in polar summer. And, we have a specific reference to the setting of the length of time of a day, but not until the fourth day.  And how are we to imagine a twenty-four hour revolution of the earth meaning 'day' before there was a sun or even a star to denote in the sky when a full revolution was completed?  Clearly the word day, in the ancient Hebrew of 3500 years ago, referred to different periods of time and probably to just a period of time, like the word 'age' or 'period' or 'era' refer to indeterminate time spans in modern English.

And yet the great majority of the 'debate' if you can call it that, was to determine whether the universe, the earth and all the variety of living beings within it was actually created in six twenty-four hour days and that the earth and the entire universe is only six thousand years old, because at the end of the week of creation, Genesis provides an elaborate list of successive generations of people which Creationists estimate is six thousand years of people, and since people, according to their interpretation of Genesis were here by the end of the first week of creation, then the entire universe is six thousand years old.

If this sounds incredibly stupid, it is no more stupid than the other side of this debate, the neo-Darwinist side, which claims that all the precise physical laws of the universe, laws without which there would be no matter, no energy and no universe, were here by some sort of freak collision (but collision of what, I wonder, since there was nothing to collide with!) but certainly not created by any intelligence what so ever.  And from these accidental collisions came atoms and molecules and from atoms and molecules,  by another series of freak and unintelligent accidents came life.  But, it was not life as we know it now, but it began with a replicating molecule, a molecule that just freakishly and accidentally began replicating by itself.  DNA was the original candidate for this replicating molecule but it has now been decided by the 'authorities' that DNA is too complicated to have just formed by random collisions, so it must have been a simpler molecule which just suddenly started replicating by itself.  Well, it's a good thing that DNA was eliminated, because DNA is not a replicator, by the neo-Darwinist definition! DNA does not replicate by itself.  It has no self.  It is a molecule.  It replicates at the behest of a cell and that process of DNA replication happens in conjunction with an entire cell's replication and is begun by certain signals, in the form of precisely formed protein molecules which, at the precise point in the replication of the cell, bond with precisely formed nucleic acid molecules to initiate the DNA replication.  What we are to believe is that some other, simpler molecule, was replicating by itself.  How was this done?  Where are these replicating molecules?  Were they molecules composed of the known elements or were they other molecules of elements that no longer exist? If they were molecules composed of known elements, why aren't they still replicating?  If they were made from unknown elements,  where are they?  What traces do we have of these replicators? Can molecules just disappear?

Understand that when you say that a molecule started replicating by itself, then you are talking, according to the neo-Darwinist, materialist, view of things, you are talking about the first initiated activity in the universe.  Everything else has been a reaction, explained by one of the four laws of physics.  Atoms and molecules don't act, they react to the forces impinging upon them.  Replication, however simply you fantasize this, requires not just reaction, but action.  In replication energy is used to overcome what would naturally occur, to overcome gravity, or inertia, or the laws of thermo-dynamics. No thing can do anything by itself if it does not have a system of metabolizing energy so it is not just at the mercy of the natural forces that are impinging on it.  If you talk of a molecule that just starts replicating you have to also talk of a molecule that just starts metabolizing as well, and has a whole system to support that metabolizing process.  And if the molecule is to be replicated and replicated again and again, then the metabolizing system that initiated the first replication has to be replicated along with the replicating molecule!

And, if the only process of change from one species or one life form to the other, according to neo-Darwinists is by random, accidental copying errors in the replication process, then how in the world did a replicating molecule composed of other elements than exist today or of current elements that for some reason stopped replicating, how did such a molecule by a series, any series, of replicating accidents, evolve into a replicating molecule of completely different elements (DNA)???

And then, with a whole series of preposterous events that were supposed to happen, this molecule developed a body around it, a body that digests, eliminates, grows, senses it's environment, is able to distinguish the elements it needs in its environment from those that it doesn't need and those that threaten it, a molecule that has developed a nervous system and an elimination system and a circulation system, all through the avenue of replication accidents!

Anyway, then we come to single celled creatures, which are the first creatures that we actually have any evidence of ever existing, as opposed to replicating molecules.  How did these organisms survive and even thrive dealing with all the vissicitudes of life on early earth, including constant volcanoes, collisions with meteors, great heat, great cold, dramatic shifts in the chemical composition of the atmosphere and the waters?  We now know that during that time, billions of years ago, there was such a thing as gene swapping, whereby a single organism, that just happenned to have (accidentally, of course!) the precise genetic material to ward off a new environmental threat, would share precisely that genetic material with it's brethren organisms, by growing pilli, or ducts from it to the precise place in the other organism where that genetic material could be used.  In this way whole communities of organisms could survive if only one of those organisms had the mutation (accidental, of course!) that allowed it to cope with this current new threat.  Think of it:  a surgical process so far beyond the abilities of our current day finest surgeons, taking place billions of years ago, without which single celled organisms, which are the foundation of all more complex life, could not have survived.  And this amazing procedure was done, according to neo-Darwinist, materialists, with no planning, no design, no intelligence, but just the result of random copying mistakes!

Consider this: why do we survive?  Because we know so much about our biological workings?  That may be said for a few arrogant biologists (who are actually just scratching the surface of their understanding) but for everyone of us from humans down to microbes, we survive not because of what we know of our own biology, but simply because when we are hungry we eat, and when we are thirsty we drink, and when we are tired we rest, and when we are hot we seek coolness and when we are cold we seek warmth, and when we are horny we seek a person of the opposite sex but of the same species. In other words each of us, living beings, has a certain set of desires, which may be connected to chemical conditions in our bodies, but which are not chemical conditions, but actual experiences.  And what we experience wanting is exactly what will best suit our biological needs.  The koala climbs the eucalyptus tree to seek out those irresistable leaves, while the wood beetle goes only half way up the tree to gorge himself on that scrumptions bark, while the dung beetle waits patiently at the bottom of the tree in the hopes that the koala may drop in his vicinity some of that divinely tasty koala poop.  And for the koala, leaves are the perfect food, for the wood beetle, tree bark is the perfect food, and for the dung beetle dung is the perfect food.  Each of us has inherited an exquisitely designed, but unobservable and unmeasurable series of desires which, if we fulfill them, will provide our best chances of survival.  And this system of desires could not possibly have evolved.  No species, no life form, could exist for a moment if it did not desire the nutrients and the water and the right amount of warmth and coolness that it needs.  So, since scientists will only describe what they can see and measure, this whole system of desires, absolutely vital to the existence and survival of all living beings, and absolutely impossible to have gradually evolved, is completely overlooked by materialist/Darwinist biologists.

Does Darwinian theory make sense as a satisfying explanation of the development of life?  No!  Is the six day Creationist Theory any more stupid than the random, non-intelligent, freak collision theory of the neo-Darwinists?  No! And I have just listed a few of the inanities of neo-Darwinist theory.  If you would like to read about a whole bunch more, and also be introduced to a way of understanding evolution which makes a whole lot more sense, please check out more of this blog.

Thanks, and, as always, your comments are most welcome.