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INTEGRAL WORLD: EXPLORING THEORIES OF EVERYTHING
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Publication dates of essays (month/year) can be found under "Essays".
Imre von Soos, architect, civil engineer, research scientist, philosopher and writer is a Hungarian born, Hungarian and Australian national. His anti-communist activities have forced him to escape from Hungary, and he lived and worked since in Australia, France, Germany, Austria, England, Switzerland, Brazil, the Czech Republic and now again in Austria. Read more...
Reply to Dawkins
Professor Dawkins' Gods
and Intelligent Replicators
Imre von Soos
The materialist credo became a religion as dogmatic and as full of bigotry as are the most obsessive ones of them.
There finds itself between my collection of particularly peculiar pet premises an especially splendid one, coming directly from the lines of the neo-Darwinian brotherhood. Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist and Professor For The Public Understanding Of Science at Oxford University, who enjoys the high regard of his mainstream peers both for his writings and his thinking, is an ultra-Darwinist, if there ever was one, even if his "Darwinism" has as little to do with Darwin himself as that of the rest of his clan.
"It rapidly became clear to me thus he that the most imaginative way of looking at evolution, and the most inspiring way of teaching it, was to say that it's all about the genes. It's the genes that, for their own good, are manipulating the bodies they ride about in. The individual organism is a survival machine for its genes."
In his book The Selfish Gene he argues that genes are the fundamental units of natural selection, and calls them "replicators." He gives no reason to believe that he doesn't mean it seriously, that organisms, like also ourselves, are the "vehicles" and "propagators" for these "replicators."
"Our genes are like a colony of viruses he says socialized viruses, as opposed to anarchic viruses. They're socialized in the sense that they all work together to produce the body and make the body do what's good for all of them.
From the selfish-gene point of view, we are robot survival machines, and because genes themselves can't pick things up, catch things, eat things, or run around, they have to do that by proxy; they have to build machines to do it for them. That is us. These machines are programmed in advance."
Their propagation, survival and, I suppose, well-being depends on their ability to make a good job out of building us well for their purposes.
"If you pick any hitherto unstudied species so he and subject it to minute scrutiny, any evolutionist will confidently predict that each individual will be observed to do everything in its power, in the particular way of the species plant, herbivore, carnivore, nectivore or whatever it is to survive and propagate the DNA that rides inside it."
They even induce us all to have progenies just in order to have and transport more of them, more of the "replicators". Accordingly, we have a replicator-centric planet, if not universe, for whom the infinite systems are wheeling, and we humans, together with all the other living beings, are but marionettes in the hands and power of our genes. Well, at least we have some purpose after all, and are not only some "worthless scum" as professor Stephen Hawking has expressed it after meticulously calculating it.
Dawkins forgot to speculate on how marvellously creative and intelligent those tiny deoxyribonucleic acid "replicators" must be in order to be able to design and work out and create all of us various organisms to their liking, each in its appropriate ecology niche within harmonious feeding interrelations, some of us even developed to the extent as to be able to fabricate further vehicles just to ride, drive or fly them about to any corner of the planet, where the little "replicators" can enjoy the sunny beaches and the whole general environment, which, by the way, their kind has also created all for tiny themselves, as the Oxford Professor informs us in his book The Extended Phenotype.
Hmm, the clever little bastards. If that isn't outright "intelligent design"! And he seriously means it too, and considers it "the most inspiring way of teaching it" to all the young "replicator-propagators" of our species. But this, of course, is best Understanding of Science at Oxford University, science of the highest academic niveau, destined to keep all the "replicator-propagators" of the species Homo sapiens well informed in the cimmerian darkness.
Lacking, apparently, the correct comprehension, I fail to reconcile his purposefully, intelligently, interactively and co-ordinately "manipulating" genes, able to produce, and thus producing "survival machines" for themselves in the form of highly complicated "individual organisms", with his neo-Darwinian "randomly error-mutating" genes, lacking all purpose, intelligence, interaction and co-ordination in the process.
My insight does not fail me, however, in recognising the purpose behind all the scientific mambo-jumbo: the dogma-spreading of the nihilist-materialistic neo-religion lacking all rational foundation, save the negative approach of discrediting the biblical Genesis fable; a feat that any reasonably intelligent child of unobstructed thinking can arrive at all by little himself, without inventing cock and bull alternatives in the process and without plunging right away into an opposite extreme, and also without hooking up all other, to him disagreeable ideas, with that obvious nonsense.
But the professor is resolutely set to demolish a fable addressing, in his latest book, The God Delusion, the intellectually less endowed and more jammed subspecies by placing his key question of "either Jesus had a father or he didn't", apparently expecting a DNA evidence to settle a query, which would be scientific, but quite irrelevant anyway.
Relevant are His words and examples as an independent outstanding individual and historical figure, which were powerful enough to uplift that generation and many to follow in many lands, even if those words were subsequently misused by those who organised their power-politics on its inertial force. The fact that very few people care nowadays about what He said, but only about the half-witted notion that He died in order that "man can live for evermore" irresponsibly and immorally, is only due to the inane mentality of a bovine subspecies cunningly manipulated by the mafias of instituted religions.
For Dawkins, however,
"the question is a scientific one, and scientific evidence, if any were available, would be used to settle it. The same is true of any miracle and the deliberate and intentional creation of the universe would have to have been the mother and father of all miracles."
Why would "the deliberate and intentional creation of the universe" have to have been more "the mother and father of all miracles", than the actually suggested ad hoc emergence of a dimensionless point in non-time and non-space, containing all the actually existing energy, material and the laws of their being, actions and interactions in itself, which, then causelessly exploding with a big bang, happens to happen, through an infinity of further ad hoc events, into its actual state, including all organic matter, like us?
There is no scientific evidence for any of the actually dominating cosmological paradigms, only idiosyncratically translated observational fragments guess-juggled into each other contradicting theories, mushrooming practically daily, but none of them getting even close to "settle the question", as it will be seen later in this book. The high-priests of scientific dogmas have absolutely nothing over the high-priests of religious dogmas; and neither have their paradigm-sharing communities over each other. And the quite obvious fallacy of either is no proof of the correctness of the other one, even if it is the only trump the two camps are able to raise against each other and for their own justification, both proving conclusively that ideology is antithetic to competent, rational thought.
Professor Dawkins fights all non-nihilist-materialist thought through the simpleton 'God-as-an-extrinsic-person' image presented by Moses (the kind who punishes the man who screws his neighbour's wife, and the child who doesn't eat his spinach), with the just as simpleton challenge that "God could clinch the matter in his favour at any moment by staging a spectacular demonstration of his powers, one that would satisfy the exacting standards of science."
What a weird suggestion! Even if there would exist an extraneous, personal Almighty there where the wheeling systems darken in that infinity of an Universe, why would He be interested to "clinch the matter in his favour at any moment by staging a spectacular demonstration of his powers", just to convince, consistently with their idiosyncratic "exacting standards of science", some squabbling scientific specialists just about one third up the ladder of local universal evolution, living on a sextillionth or even smaller fraction of that infinity?
"To be sure, he admits we do need some kind of explanation for the origin of all things. Physicists and cosmologists are hard at work on the problem. But whatever the answer a random quantum fluctuation or a Hawking/Penrose singularity or whatever we end up calling it it will be simple."
Simple will have to be already the explanation for the origin of "a random quantum fluctuation or a Hawking/Penrose singularity or whatever we end up calling it" before any of their kind can be used as a simple explanation for the origin of all things.
"The first cause cannot have been an intelligence. he states ex cathedra Intelligent, creative, complex, statistically improbable things come late into the universe, as the product of evolution or some other process of gradual escalation from simple beginnings. They come late into the universe and therefore cannot be responsible for designing it."
Beside not existing any scientific evidence about the "origin" of intelligence and creativity, save idiosyncratic guesses, the statement contains the already familiar semantic manipulation, hiding a "deus ex machina" within its lines: "evolution" is a process, not a subject, not an acting agent; intelligence and creativity can be the qualities of a subject, an entity, who can evolve his intelligence and creativity through self-generated action, but not originate them out of nothing. The ex cathedra statement has action and object, but lacks the acting subject, into the role of which the personified concept of a process was cleverly manipulated.
Thus personified "evolution" and "natural selection" are "perceiving", "testing", "selecting", "deciding", "favouring", "intending", "allowing", "programming", "making", "producing", "operating", "amplifying", "writing", and even "tinkering", "honing", "whittling", "carving" and "re-jiggling" and generally manifesting all mental and physical action necessary to produce, maintain and evolve in dynamic equilibrium the whole planetary life-community. Only who, what and where are, and when and how have originated those two busy subjective agents, and primarily! why do they, between themselves, perpetuate all this infinite pandemonium, is missing from all the highbrow scientific theories, dogmas and credos.
It is worthwhile to study the whole line of deduction of the Oxford Professor, because it contains the arguments actually very much in vogue.
"In the familiar world of human artefacts, complicated things that look designed are designed. To naοve observers, it seems to follow that similarly complicated things in the natural world that look designed things like eyes and hearts are designed too. It isn't just an argument by analogy. There is a semblance of statistical reasoning here too fallacious, but carrying an illusion of plausibility. If you randomly scramble the fragments of an eye or a leg or a heart a million times, you'd be lucky to hit even one combination that could see, walk or pump. This demonstrates that such devices could not have been put together by chance. And of course, no sensible scientist ever said they could. Lamentably, the scientific education of most British and American students omits all mention of Darwinism, and therefore the only alternative to chance that most people can imagine is design."
"Even before Darwin's time, the illogicality was glaring: how could it ever have been a good idea to postulate, in explanation for the existence of improbable things, a designer who would have to be even more improbable? The entire argument is a logical non-starter, as David Hume realized before Darwin was born. What Hume didn't know was the supremely elegant alternative to both chance and design that Darwin was to give us. Natural selection is so stunningly powerful and elegant, it not only explains the whole of life, it raises our consciousness and boosts our confidence in science's future ability to explain everything else."
"Natural selection is not just an alternative to chance. It is the only ultimate alternative ever suggested. Design is a workable explanation for organized complexity only in the short term. It is not an ultimate explanation, because designers themselves demand an explanation."
If you randomly scramble the fragments of a human artefact a million times, you could be lucky to arrive at one combination that would work like that artefact does, because all of its parts were ready in the device in which you have scrambled them, not forgetting, that both the parts and their scrambling were the results of conscious design and willed action. However, none of the fragments, or the genetic information of the fragments of an eye could appear by chance and independently from each other in various generations of a lineage, until, all having been collected and preserved, they happen to scramble-assemble themselves into an eye, once more all by chance, or, as suggested, be assembled by Natural Selection that is, by a "Natural Selector" with whom we are back at a "doer", a subject, a "Designer", whose "even more improbable" existence begs explanation.
Unless all of the fragments, together with the genetic instruction of their assemblage, co-emerge, as so many ad hoc and coinciding genetic mutations, each fragmental genetic blueprint, being senseless and useless by itself, will be cleared out of the chromosomal spiral by repair-genes, right at their occurrence.
The reference to Darwin limps heavily too. What the scientific education of most British and American students should not omit is the study of Darwin and not that of so-called neo-Darwinism. As already discussed further above, Darwin held that new characteristics were acquired by an organism as a result of environmental influence and then passed on to its offsprings, a theory that has originated from Lamarck. This change, he believed, combined with what he called "natural selection", but called also the "survival of the fittest" (even replacing with it in one of his editions), has resulted in the evolutionary progress in the lineage of that organism. The new characteristic had to be acquired first in its entirety by an organism that is, the eye, or a more evolved edition of it, had to be already there , which, if it represented an improvement in surviving, was used and perpetuated by the organism, because it has made it fitter to survive.
And now compare Professor Dawkins' above exposed statements with those of the National Academy of Sciences, also championing the neo-Darwinian paradigm:
"evolution is a tinkerer, not an engineer."
"Genetic variation is random, but natural selection is not. Natural selection tests the combinations of genes represented in the members of a species and allows to proliferate those that confer the greatest ability to survive and reproduce. In this sense, evolution is not the simple product of random chance."
"Natural selection a differential, greater survival and reproduction of some genetic variants within a population under an existing environmental state has no specific direction or goal, including survival of a species."
Note the aimless tinkering of the already discussed personal "Natural Selector", replacing the just as irrational personal Biblical God.
All this boils down to the reality that Natural selection, or the "survival of the fittest", or "the prevalence of the more capable", or "the strongest dog screws" is the assertion of a fact of nature that, due to particular specific rituals serving as means to prove and advance individual excellence, only the most capable and the best will propagate; a fact of nature, of which only man has made himself an exception since he has abandoned the tribal traditions, deleting them from his practice, consciousness and conscience, separating himself thus from the Natural Harmony.
It is also generally ignored that in order that this fact of nature can manifest, particular individuals had to evolve themselves into the fittest, which is an active self-generated and self-activated achievement and not a passive ad hoc fluky incident that could have happened to anybody, even if the actual degenerated Zeitgeist scientific, religious or social supports the latter.
It is just as much ignored that DNA is not an active generating agent, but a passive recording and transmitting one: a genetic blueprint, the intelligent activity of which consists of recording the current state of the organism for the purpose of eventual organismic repair and genetic transmission, and of making self-repairs in case of faulty mutations.
And what about the enigma that while "selection towards survival" should work towards fitting better into the environment, true evolution, and not simple survival or adaptive change, is marked by spearheads who entered unto hitherto untrodden, survival-unfriendly roads? a process that slowly splits a species and results periodically in evolutionary splits, all appearing as "evolutionary jumps" or "punctuated equilibrium". And further: why do the frequencies of saltatory evolutionary changes, and thus evolutionary splits increase exponentially at higher levels, all connected also with increased cephalization, if the common and uniformly functioning cause of evolution on any level is but mind-, purpose- and causeless random mutation?
The attribution of personal nature to the abstraction "Natural Selection" which Darwin never did! not only does not "explain the whole of life or raises our consciousness", but, together with all the contradictory uses, explanations, and all the fogging and squabbling around, and the knuckle-headed sticking to pet scientific dogmas related to evolution, would hardly "boost anybody's confidence in science's future ability to explain everything else".
As an induction to some fundamental thoughts regarding the origin of the All, and the chronology of consciousness, creativity and intelligence, I can only refer again to, and underwrite Schroedinger, Bohm and Einstein.
Schroedinger speaks in the already quoted paragraph of the "individuality" and the "identity" of "our ultimate particles" and of "small organizations of particles as atoms or small molecules", representing, or underlying their "shape and organization", and asserts that
"for eternally and always there is only now, and the same now; the present is the only thing that has no end."
But to understand this Reality, which also implies that it neither has a beginning, and is thus the womb of the infinite becoming, one doesn't only have to be one of the most outstanding nuclear physicist of the twentieth century, one also must be at a well advanced level of self-generated evolution and expanded consciousness, like was also David Bohm, contending, that
"this approach of wholeness could help to end the far-reaching and pervasive fragmentation that arises out of the mechanistic world view. In this flow, mind and matter are not separate substances. Rather they are different aspects of one whole and unbroken movement. .. The ability of form to be active is the most characteristic feature of mind, and we have something that is mind-like already with the electron."
For Albert Einstein, as also already quoted but cannot be repeated often enough,
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."
There is no final goal for evolution, for there is no limit to it. Psychological growth, mental evolution manifested somatised in physical development, is its own goal; each utopia is only a stepping stone that opens the view and the way to new utopias. Each sphere fulfilled, each act completed, turns out to be a fraction of a greater sphere, of an act of greater complexity. Accomplishment, like Joy, is in the way of growing.
The vociferous attack against what Dawkins considers his and his mechanistic world's greatest opponent is most emotional and biting, and is, by using the collective pronoun, pretending to talk for "science" itself, or at least for its quantitative but not qualitative majority.
"Not only is the god hypothesis unnecessary. declares he It is spectacularly unparsimonious. Not only do we need no God to explain the universe and life. God stands out in the universe as the most glaring of all superfluous sore thumbs. We cannot, of course, disprove God, just as we can't disprove Thor, fairies, leprechauns and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. But, like those other fantasies that we can't disprove, we can say that God is very very improbable."
Materialistic scientists "need no God to explain the universe and life"; all they need are some conjured up dei ex machina to explain their model of an ad hoc and pointless universe, supporting it all through the negativum of the non-existence of the anthropomorphous, extraneous and personal, quite obviously inadequate god-image of the theomorphous western man, and with it also the non-existence of any kind of mind-like, conscious, creative, intelligent and rational Underlying Principle, Implicate Order or evolutionary process.
Why consider that the only alternative to the Judeo-Chrislamic religions is atheism, which is a negative concept anyway a vacuum , and why not respect any man's particular theistic or atheistic credo, regardless how naοve or primitive it may be, if it fits his intellectual level and gives him peace in his evolutionary niche, as long as he stays there with it and doesn't use it as a cornerstone for an irrational argument in favour of a dogma; but fight against all and every one, who insists on forcefully brainwashing their pet credos into others, should these be religious, materialistic or scientific, through schooling or any other field of the public media. The most bizarre in Dawkins' and his brethrens' bitter bickering is their unconstrained exertion in substituting the Judeo-Chrislamic religious irrationalities with the neo-Darwinian scientific irrationalities and the inevitable materialists' "gods", dei ex machina, popped up from behind the scenes, "who" make the materialist faith just another institutionalised cult.
What the Oxford Professor, together with the rest of the neo-Darwinians fighting tooth and nail on the internet discussion forums, has convincingly proven is that scientific paradigm-sharers, materialistic dogmatists and atheistic sectarians can be as doggedly doctrinaire as can the most bigoted onhangers of any religious cult.
What appears to be the aim behind all the materialist and sadly mainstream scientific theories, is the advocating of a purposeless and senseless universe, and consequently earthly existence, where chance dominates the human lives, and where random occurrences and ad hoc "selection", "endowment", "favouring" and "privileging" by some disinterested impersonal extrinsic entity deus ex machina rules the events, and remove with it all the obligations and responsibilities from all the decent and innocent human victims of uncontrollable ad hoc causations.
The interests of commerce, politics and institutionalised western religions demand, for obvious reasons, the keeping the dualistic paradigm alive, in the service of which also the mainstream scientific community is employed. The scientific support of the worldview of a purposeless and senseless human existence through presenting a purposeless and senseless universe and life in general, helps in tearing down personal sovereignty, morality, and family life, like the third-rate educational system does in the schools.
The lack of personal sovereignty leads to mass-behaviour and pliability in the hand of the political and religious potentates, while the melange of aimless existence and materialism spawns material-mindedness, compulsive consuming, and transforms the values from education and culture to material possessions as status symbol. The materialist credo became, due to self-protective psychological rationalization, a religion as dogmatic and as full of bigotry as are the most obsessive ones of them. Profoundly integrated into the consumer society and its indoctrinated irrational social, political, religious and commercial irrealities, mainstream scientists follow its circumscribed course, banning, even from the back of their thoughts and thus from their work and theories, anything and everything that would hurt the feelings of this consumer society, and consequently close the taps of their research funds.
But and I have to stress this fiercely the giants of past and present scientific and philosophical thought, the individuals of all scientific progress, whose spirituality and global vision developed out of their scientific knowledge, stand behind the idea, or rather, the knowledge, expressed concisely by the Nobel laureate biologist George Wald of Harvard: "The stuff of the universe is mind stuff." This, however, leading to a holopanentheistic worldview, suits neither the materialists, nor the western instituted religions, and globalising commerce even less so.
While religious discussions can only be based on dogmas, which are not expected to be more than that, the dogmas of materialist science based on the proposition that only matter and the products of its interactions exist have no such privileges, and demand explanations and scientific proves of the nature, origin and process of these interactions, without hiding their dei ex machina behind semantic manipulations. Instead of this while hypocritically proclaiming that "intellectual honesty is better than dogmatism" and that "science has become the pre-eminent sphere for the demonstration of intellectual honesty" scientific fogging, concept twisting, ad hominem attacks, and straight out nonsense is used by the "danger zone IQ paradigm-sharers", the well-organised high priests of the dualistic paradigms; working astutely at the same time on the suppression, or at least on the deceptive representation of any other scientific manifestation.
As long as the representation of "science" will be in the hands of paradigm-sharing groups, disregarding the greats of science, misinterpreting, manipulating or ignoring the results of scientific research, and using institutionalised scientific authority to promote the credo of materialism and uncompromising atheism, neither the respect of intelligent individuals nor the attention of bovine masses will "science" be able to enjoy.