MAYA-GAIA INTRODUCTION & SITEMAP page initiated: 07 23 12
Note: My Anthropic Trilogy webbook, evolving since 1997, is a chronicle of my passing all considered opinion
through the lens of my Nirvikalpa Samadhi with both an open-mind and healthy skepticism.
Notes On Evaluating Credibility of Belief, Knowledge and Knowing -
Epistemology, Empiricism, Phenomenology, Heuristics, Samadhi
The Third Secret - the eternal quest
The first secret is the lies we tell others
The second secret is the lies we tell ourselves
The third secret is...the Truth!
"Imagination is the power on which all the errors, superstitions and prejudices of revealed religion rests."
The notes that follow are a framework for further exploration of great thinking on these subjects. The only aspect I feel qualified to comment on is nirvikalpa samadhi that according to the consensus reality of the non dual tradition is the definitive experience of knowing. The first event in my samadhi journey while still in a state of conscious duality was suddenly being imbued with knowledge of everything. (This is in synchronicity with an ephemeral All Mind that the soul experiences in it's passage through the cosmic cosmology to Isvara - metaphorically described in the Katha Upanishad.) It was as if my consciousness became a quantum computer with access to an infallible Internet that instantly provided total rational understanding of whatever phenomenal topic I thought of - regardless of its complexity. This state only lasted about a minute and was quickly perceived at the time, in rapid succession - first as awesome; then insignificant; finally irrelevant (to the non dual state of ultimate reality that unbeknownst to me, as my space-time transport proceeded at light-speed, was about to be revealed). After my return from samadhi, I had no memory of the vast body of knowledge I had sampled. One qua-phenomenal interpretation of this episode is that I was momentarily metaphysically entangled with humanity's dual collective consciousness and that this may be a component of a Homo sapiens "instinct program" - epigenetic software, inexplicably evolving, that orchestrates behavior of all life from single-cell organisms to members of herring schools, ant colonies, meerkat troops and other social creatures. This consciousness archive continues to build in a transnuminous state but we gradually lost cognitive connection - as existential free-will arose in neolithic times to dominate our individual behavior. The eclipsing of this primordial coherence plus the unrestrained growth of our population has resulted in our becoming increasingly dysfunctional as a species in our ability to maintain symbiotic balance and sustain either the viability of our social structure or the remains of our impact on Earth's habitat.
Spiriritual Evolution Epigenesis is the philosophical/theological/esoteric idea that since the mind was given to the human being, it is the original creative impulse, epigenesis, which has been the cause of all of mankind's development. According to spiritual evolution, humans build upon that which has already been created, but add new elements because of the activity of the spirit. Humans have the capacity, therefore, to become creative intelligences—creators. For a human to fulfill this promise, his training should allow for the exercise of originality, which distinguishes creation from imitation. When epigenesis becomes inactive, in the individual or even in a race, evolution ceases and degeneration commences.
I should emphasize that neither the dual or non dual "knowing" imbued by my personal nirvikalpa samadhi experience infers more than an infinitesimally partial insight into the ultimate nature of cosmic reality - despite the claims of non dual traditions that sahaja, nirvikalpa, bodhi or satori create fully realized beings that are literally "all-knowing". I present my samadhi-inspired philosophy for a Concurrent, Two-Tier, Dual-Nondual, 200 Percent Model of Reality - a heuristic metaphysical construct that manifests a living relationship in duality with a Cosmic Consciousness within Advaita's ultimate nondual state of Brahman and Buddhism's Void.
Aside from a direct samadhi experience of "knowing" - compared to all of the many hundreds of reference links by which I've tried to integrate my Nirvikalpa Samadhi, the closest that any published work comes to revealing reality in a synthesis of science and spirtuality is the new (2015) book by Sutapas Bhattacharya The Brainstem Brainwaves of Atman-Brahman - The Synthesis of Science and Spirituality. I've just read this downloadable Chapter 1 where Bhattacharya takes us - with a thoroughly justified pro-active India-centric vigor - on a scholarly, comprehensive sweep through three millennium of history of how light is the core of all the world's mystical traditions which eminated from India - the cradle of philosophy. These 54 pages are a compendium of intimate perspectives and connections to the subject - of virtually every authorative source and individual in philosophy, metaphysics and science I've encountered in my integration effort over the past fifteen years. Bhattacharya says he spent 7 years writing The Brainstem Brainwaves of Atman-Brahman, and has just published his website preview. See also Publisher's Introduction See also: m-g's Brainstem Brainwaves Atman Brahman book review.
Knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity with someone or something, which can include facts, information, descriptions, or skills acquired through experience or education. It can refer to the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject. It can be implicit (as with practical skill or expertise) or explicit (as with the theoretical understanding of a subject); it can be more or less formal or systematic. In philosophy, the study of knowledge is called epistemology; the philosopher Plato famously defined knowledge as "justified true belief." However, no single agreed upon definition of knowledge exists, though there are numerous theories to explain it. The following quote from Bertrand Russell's "Theory of Knowledge" illustrates the difficulty in defining knowledge: "The question how knowledge should be defined is perhaps the most important and difficult of the three with which we shall deal. This may seem surprising: at first sight it might be thought that knowledge might be defined as belief which is in agreement with the facts. The trouble is that no one knows what a belief is, no one knows what a fact is, and no one knows what sort of agreement between them would make a belief true.
A Precise Definition of Knowledge: Knowledge Representation as a Means to Define the Meaning of Meaning Precisely by Carey G. Butler August 24, 2014 What is this video about? In this introductory video I would like to explain what knowledge representation is, how to build and apply them. There are basically three phases involved in the process of building a knowledge representation. Acquisition of data (which includes staging), collation and the representation itself...The collation and the representation phases of the process are mentioned here. What is Knowledge Representation? Knowledge representation provides all of the ways and means necessary to reliably and consistently conceptualize our world. It helps us navigate landscapes of meaning without losing our way; however, navigational bearing isn't the only advantage. Knowledge representation aids our recognition of what changes when we change our world or something about ourselves. It does so, because even our own perspective is included in the representation. It can even reveal to us when elements are missing or hidden from our view!...What Knowledge is not! Knowledge is not very well understood so I'll briefly point out some of the reasons why we've been unable to precisely define what knowledge is thus far. Humanity has made numerous attempts at defining knowledge. Plato taught that justified truth and belief are required for something to be considered knowledge. Throughout the history of the theory of knowledge (epistemology), others have done their best to add to Plato's work or create new or more comprehensive definitions in their attempts to 'contain' the meaning of meaning (knowledge). All of these efforts have failed for one reason or another. Using truth value and justification as a basis for knowledge or introducing broader definitions or finer classifications can only fail.
Empiricism Wikipedia - Empiricism is a theory of knowledge that asserts that knowledge comes only or primarily from sensory experience. One of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism, idealism, and historicism, empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence, especially sensory experience, in the formation of ideas, over the notion of innate ideas or traditions; empiricists may argue however that traditions (or customs) arise due to relations of previous sense experiences. Empiricism in the philosophy of science emphasizes evidence, especially as discovered in experiments. It is a fundamental part of the scientific method that all hypotheses and theories must be tested against observations of the natural world rather than resting solely on a priori reasoning, intuition, or revelation.
Ontology Wikipedia - Ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of being, existence, or reality, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations. Traditionally listed as a part of the major branch of philosophy known as metaphysics,
Heuristic Wikipedia - Heuristic refers to experience-based techniques for problem solving, learning, and discovery. Where an exhaustive search is impractical, heuristic methods are used to speed up the process of finding a satisfactory solution. Examples of this method include using a rule of thumb, an educated guess, an intuitive judgment, or common sense. In more precise terms, heuristics are strategies using readily accessible, though loosely applicable, information to control problem solving in human beings and machines.
Hermeneutics Wikipedia - Modern hermeneutics encompasses everything in the interpretative process including written, verbal and nonverbal forms of communication as well as prior aspects that affect communication, such as presuppositions, preunderstandings, the meaning and philosophy of language, and semiotics.
Solipsism Wikipedia - Solipsism is the philosophical idea that only one's own mind is sure to exist. The term comes from the Latin solus (alone) and ipse (self). Solipsism as an epistemological position holds that knowledge of anything outside one's own mind is unsure. The external world and other minds cannot be known, and might not exist outside the mind. As a metaphysical position, solipsism goes further to the conclusion that the world and other minds do not exist. As such it is the only epistemological position that, by its own postulate, is both irrefutable and yet indefensible in the same manner. In the history of philosophy, solipsism has served as a skeptical hypothesis. As a metaphysical concept of reality it is reflected in the Vedic concept of maya that holds that our self and the material universe is an illusion that the goddess Lakshmi veils over our dual consciousness that obscures the singularity of Brahman non duality.
William James on Belief: turning Darwinism against empiricistic skepticism (Library Infotrac access full text - Author: Matthew Crippen, Source: Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society. 46.3 Summer 2010 p477)
Abstract: Few address the extent to which William James regards the neo-Lamarckian account of "direct adaptation" as a biological extension of British empiricism. Consequently few recognize the instrumental role that the Darwinian idea of "indirect adaptation" plays in his lifelong efforts to undermine the empiricist view that sense experience molds the mind. This article examines how James uses Darwinian thinking, first, to argue that mental content can arise independently of sense experience; and, second, to show that empiricists advance a hopelessly skeptical position when they insist that beliefs are legitimate only insofar as they directly correspond to the observable world. Using his attacks on materialism and his defense of spiritualism as examples, I particularly consider how Darwinian thinking enables him to keep his empiricist commitments while simultaneously developing a pragmatic alternative to empiricistic skepticism. I conclude by comparing his theory of beliefs to the remarkably similar theory of "memes" that Richard Dawkins uses to attack spiritualistic belief--an attack that James anticipates and counters with his pragmatic alternative.
Is transpersonal psychology consistent with a materialist account of consciousness? by Marilena Avraam-Repa, 2012. “Am I a meaningless accident in a meaningless cosmos? The result of zillions of meaningless molecular collisions that just happened to turn this way? Is the mind nothing but a production of the physical operation of the brain?” wonders Charles Tart (2009); notable parapsychologist and transpersonal psychologist, synopsizing the challenges brought about by the philosophies of materialism and determinism. This, often, radical intellectual and intuitive readjustment is posed by physicalism; the monistic materialistic philosophy of reality giving primacy to matter as the explanatory substrate of existence, mentality and conscious life (Blackmore, 2003; Dietrich, 2007). However, various prominent scientists question the general explanatory potentiality of materialism when it comes to meaningful psychological, spiritual and transcendental variables (Grof, 2000; Baruss, 2003; Walach, 2010); commonly investigated by the scientific transpersonal psychological branch (Lancaster, 2004; Daniels, 2005). Namely, these conscious experiences, occasionally, seem to resolve “the usual identification with the limited biological, historical, cultural and personal self” explains elsewhere Tart (1997, as cited in Freeman, 2006, p. 96). Accordingly, this –seemingly- contradictious relationship between transpersonal psychology and physicalism will be thoroughly explored in terms of both compatibility/ incompatibility; namely logical consistency, and incommensurability... Additionally, Baruss (2003) also wonders whether a materialistic account of consciousness can sufficiently grasp the essence of several transpersonal experiences. Thereupon, it could be concluded that both a non-reductive, though philosophically debatable, materialistic approach and the transpersonal orientation may be equally useful and functional; nevertheless for different levels of observation, analysis and explanation.
Transpersonal Psychology: Science or Pseudo-science? by Marilena Avraam-Repa, 2012. Considering the proposed criteria, transpersonal psychology cannot be dismissed as pseudoscientific for a variety of counter-arguments; namely: Transpersonal research embraces the idea of James's “radical empiricism” (Braud & Anderson, 1998), and thus aims at an investigation of everything liable to direct experience. Accordingly, empirical studies have been conducted within both clinical and laboratory settings. Namely, several researches have revealed the psychotherapeutic value of transpersonal approaches like regression therapy (Simoes, 2003, as cited in Rodrigues, 2010), experiential oriented therapy (Holmes et al., 1996, as cited in Rodrigues, 2010), mindfulness (Travis, 2006; Grepmair et al., 2007, as cited in Rodrigues, 2010), hypnosis and holotropic breathwork (Grof, 1992). Additionally, correlational and laboratory researches have systematically investigated variables like spirituality and alterations in consciousness (Grof, 1992; Rodrigues, 2010). Admittedly, much attention has been given to theoretical aspects and hermeneutics (e.g. models of spiritual and consciousness? development) (Daniels, 2005). This observation is also confirmed after scrutinizing the content of some major transpersonal journals. Nevertheless, a plethora of transpersonal phenomena are still liable to formal, empirical investigation (Daniels, 2005, pp. 274-275)...Transpersonal psychology is acknowledged for its interdisciplinary approach, since its main objects of interest overlap with various scientific domains (Braud, 1998; Daniels, 2005, p.68; Grof, 2008), like traditional psychology, parapsychology and consciousness? studies.
Spiritualism - the Cognitive Science of Spirituality in contrast to Bertrand Russell’s skeptical atheist temperament. by Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S., Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India, The Spiritualism that I describe is not about religious faith or belief and the Spirituality that I write about is not concerned with religious practices or rituals. I claim that man is a Spiritual being because of the spiritual nature of his living matter or living substance and focus on the nature of cognitive abilities of a living cell or living organism; the abilities such as recognition, responsiveness, communication using signals, memory, ability to process, store, retrieve, and use information that could be innate or acquired, the ability of adaptation to changing internal or external environmental conditions, and the fact of awareness of its own existence; the awareness of its internal condition, and the awareness of its external environment.
Genetic Knowledge Excerpts from Ebook by Winfried Hoerr. Can evolution be a spiritual belief system in its own right, one by which a person can live without recourse to any of the traditional religions? Genetic knowledge is knowledge we have at birth. We inherit these ideas (genes) from our parents with this type of knowledge having been referred to as that which is ‘deep within’, innate, inborn or instinctive. Freud referred to such as knowledge as the Id. A ‘gifted’ child is born with certain genetic ideas significantly different from other children. Genetic knowledge is present before experience. Cultural knowledge, the subject of the next chapter, is acquired after birth, by experience. All organisms have genetic knowledge. When a tree seed (an embryo) grows it acts on its environment in a particular way. It inherits a set of genetic ideas on what to do in life. The tree knows what to do. Part of this knowing includes being able to interact with any changes of environment, not only on a day-to-day basis, but also second by second, depending on environmental cues as well as its genetic goals. The tree is not conscious of its acts in the same way that we understand human mental consciousness. Rather there is a ‘chemical awareness’ of what it needs to do in order to survive. This chemical awareness, or consciousness, might not be great but is still considerably more than an object such as a rock but also considerably less than the consciousness we enjoy as humans.
Renowned Scientists Row Over Evolution [guardian.uk] About the heated spat between Richard Dawkins and E. O. Wilson over how evolution works, 2012. Wilson referred to the biological basis of behavior as the "genetic leash.": His sociobiological view is that all animal social behavior is governed by epigenetic rules worked out by the laws of evolution. In his book Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, 1998, he presents a dazzling journey across the sciences and humanities in search of deep laws to unite them. Dawkins, famously known as the 'atheist's rottweiler', attacks Wilson's new book The Social Conquest of Earth in his typically evangelical zeal, "as implausible and as unsupported by evidence". (m-g comment: Aside his academic disagreement with Wilson's science, I suspect what drives Dawkins' level of disparagement arises from his impassioned loathing of anything that smacks of spirituality as philosophically manifests throughout Wilson's work.) See also: E.O. Wilson Foundation.
References Regarding Know How Manifested Via Embodied Cognition
Embodied Cognition In philosophy, the embodied mind thesis holds that the nature of the human mind is largely determined by the form of the human body. Philosophers, psychologists, cognitive scientists, and artificial intelligence researchers who study embodied cognition and the embodied mind argue that all aspects of cognition are shaped by aspects of the body. The aspects of cognition include high level mental constructs (such as concepts and categories) and human performance on various cognitive tasks (such as reasoning or judgement). The aspects of the body include the motor system, the perceptual system, the body's interactions with the environment (situatedness) and the ontological assumptions about the world that are built into the body and the brain.
In a kind of knowing/know-how: a mind/body status that gifted human individuals acquire or are graced, for a unique talent exponentially surpassing normalcy - viz. the performance of an extraordinary virtuoso musician can approach the functional precision that every member of other species inherit though instinct, genetics and epigenesis. Cases in point: the exquisite dexterity in birds of paradise courtship displays and precision in behavior of insect mating; the functioning of the bacterium flagellum and the coordination in virus infection and behavior of DNA. Example of knowing/know-how: Hoop Performance Youtube video by Hillary Dunks, 2015. See also: Gymnastic Dance Youtube video of Anastasia Krutikova and Artem Panasiuk from the Ukraine - a learned performance analogous to the instinctive precision of insect mating.
Random Dance Company The company exists to support the artistic ambitions, work and legacy of choreographer and artistic director Wayne McGregor - renowned for his visionary approach to developing innovative work, and creating high quality, cutting edge dance performances. See also: Entity Science
David Kirsh is Professor in the Department of Cognitive Science at the University of California, San Diego. He runs the Interactive Cognition Lab at UCSD where the focus is on the way humans are closely coupled to the outside world. His research on dance examines the nature of distributed creative cognition, choreographic instruction, and how a human body can be used as an instrument of cognition. See also: Creative Cognition in Choreography, 2011
Neurophilosophy & Sociocognition A blog by Leslie Marsh - Agents interact with others and their environment to circumvent cognitive limitation. Stigmergy is a property supervening on informational amplification and decay in complex adaptive social environments, environments that have sets of “search space” constraints. Stigmergic cognition is a socio-cognitive view (an externalist view) of knowledge and mind, necessarily dual aspect, that shows how individual cognition subject to cognitive and epistemic constraints, resolves the so-called ”coordination” paradox: that is, how does one reconcile the prima facie “chaotic” behavior of individuals with collective achievement, be it an anthill or an economy.
Cognitive Systems Research A journal covering coverjng all topics in the study of cognitive processes, in both natural and artificial systems. Stigmergy in the Human Domain - From Ants to Economies.
Embodied Cognition by Lawrence Shapiro, Routledge, August 2010. Embodied cognition often challenges standard cognitive science. Shapiro sets out the central themes and debates surrounding embodied cognition, explaining and assessing the work of many of the key figures in the field, including George Lakoff, Alva Noë, Andy Clark, and Arthur Glenberg. Beginning with an outline of the theoretical and methodological commitments of standard cognitive science, Shapiro then examines philosophical and empirical arguments surrounding the traditional perspective. He introduces topics such as dynamic systems theory, ecological psychology, robotics, and connectionism, before addressing core issues in philosophy of mind such as mental representation and extended cognition - essential reading for all students of philosophy of mind, psychology, and cognitive science.
Update 11 26 2012
The Limits of Intelligence Scientific American Magazine July 2011, [Previews of subscription full articles but provides all commentary] The laws of physics may prevent the human brain from evolving into an ever more powerful thinking machine. [But as my experience suggests,] we humans may have been graced with better ways of expanding without the need for further biological evolution. After all, honeybees do it: acting in concert with their hive members, they form a collective unity that is smarter than the sum of their parts.
(See: The Buzz About Bees: Biology of a Super Organism by Jurgen Tautz, photographs by Helga R. Heilmann, 2008. Whereas bee colonies were once seen as perfect societies of selfless workers and drones ruled by a queen, Tautz presents them as a self-organized adaptive system that he considers "a mammal in many bodies". This comprehensive introduction to the biology of the honybee explores how bees collectively obtain and utilize information from their environment "whole animal gametes"
and the comb's role in the sociophysiology of the colony.)
For millennia social interaction and written language has enabled us to store information outside our bodies, beyond the capacity of our brain to memorize. The Internet is the ultimate technological consequence of this outward expansion of intelligence beyond our body. In a sense, it could be true that the Internet makes you stupid: collective human intelligence - culture and computers - may have made evolving a smarter brain irrelevant.
In the same issue
Leonard Susskind: The Bad Boy of Physics [Preview] As the father of string theory, Susskind has concluded that physical reality may forever be beyond the reach of our understanding.
Consciousness Cosmic Evolution and the Technological Singularity by Tom Lombardo, Ph.D., Center for Future Consciousness. A critical examination of two influential evolutionary visions of the cosmos — those of Eric Chaisson and Ray Kurzweil — focusing on their explanations of the evolution of human consciousness within their theoretical frameworks. My central argument is that neither Chaisson nor Kurzweil provides a scientifically and philosophically credible account of the “technologically singularity” or how consciousness fits into a cosmic evolutionary scheme. (It should be noted that this year Kurzweil (2012) is publishing a new book— How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed that is obviously relevant - but that Lombardo has not been able to take into account for this essay.)
Truth - Naked Singularity and Samadhi Scientific American January, 2009 Do Naked Singularities Break the Rules of Physics? The black hole has a troublesome sibling, the naked singularity. Physicists have long thought--hoped--it could never exist. But could it? All kinds of processes unknown to science may occur at the singularity, yet they have no effect on the outside world. Astronomers plotting the orbits of planets and stars can safely ignore the uncertainties introduced by singularities and apply the standard laws of physics with confidence. Whatever happens in a black hole stays in a black hole according to the Cosmic Censorship Hypothesis. Yet a growing body of research calls this working assumption into question. Researchers have found a wide variety of stellar collapse scenarios in which an event horizon does not in fact form, so that the singularity remains exposed to our view. Physicists call it a naked singularity. Matter and radiation can both fall in and come out. Whereas visiting the singularity inside a black hole would be a one-way trip, you could in principle come as close as you like to a naked singularity and return to tell the tale.
(m-g: This suggests a tantalizing analogy or synchronicity to the role of Nirvikalpa Samadhi realization and its relationship to the phenomenal, material world in which we are born, live in and die. It provides a state of consciousness by which a consciousness singularity is exposed to our view and we are returned to tell the tale.)
The Truth of Truth by Patrick Laude - Parabola Journal, Winter 2011-2012 "WHAT IS THE TRUTH?" (John 18:37-38), asked Pontius Pilate in response to Jesus' use of this ponderous word to refer to himself and his mission. Besides its flavor of worldly and blase skepticism, this half-intrigued, half cynical question seems to invoke an understanding of the truth that would be an object "out there," a reality that might be discovered and perceived as an outer phenomena, as one comes to know facts and figures. Such a "manifest" object, such an evident formula, is plainly not what Jesus had in mind...Truth is not like a thing the eye can see, nor like a sentence one may memorize, nor even like a demonstration one may grasp, Unintentionally no doubt, but not without some providential humor, Pilate's question presents us with a kind of enigma that may open the way, for those "who have ears to hear," to a much more substantial and encompassing intuition of the truth...What is truth then?...a good beginning would be - truth is "reality as it is" or the "nature of things." When capitalized, Truth does moreover refer to the Principle of reality, which is the Real par excellence, and through which everything else comes to be, or escapes reality...(The essay proceeds to examine the paradoxes and imagination inherent in both scientific and traditional ontology - ending with: "...let us be reminded that light and space, although not perceptible as such, since they are preconditions of perception itself, can nevertheless be experienced, and known to be, through the spectrum of dazzling refractions and the infinite dance of creatures."
The truth about Truth by Rita M. Gross, Tricycle, Summer 2012 - Few Western students of Buddhism, in my estimation, realize how thoroughly they have imbibed the values and outlook of the European Enlightenment, especially in its definition of truth as something that is empirically verifiable. This is a materialist understanding of truth, not a Buddhist [or non dual] one. Nevertheless, because such students have decided that Buddhism is "true", they conclude that anything narrated in traditional Buddhist stories must be true in the only way they understand - as something that happened in space and time just as the texts describe it. The idea that the story instead takes place in the realm of
imagination and symbol challenges their notion of truth. It means to them that the story is false and is without validity. People who do not take seriously biblical stories about talking serpents offering apples are quite comfortable with a Buddhist story about texts hidden in the undersea realm of the half-human, half-serpent nagas...While empiricism, scientific materialism, and systematic reason - ways of thinking that characterized the European Enlightenment and thus the modern worldview - have greatly improved our way of life in many respects, the great loser in this process has been any ability to appreciate symbols, metaphors, and allegories. See Also: Buddhist teacher and author Rita Gross dies following stroke by Lions Roar staff, November 12, 2015
Truth (Wikipedia: extensive compendium of philosophical quotes) Truth is a term used to indicate various forms of accord with fact or reality, or fidelity to an original or to a standard or ideal. The opposite of truth is falsehood, which, correspondingly, can also take on logical, factual, or ethical meanings.
The Human Reality A Reinterpretation of Our Origins and Evolution by Peter Prew, 2006. The book is much more than a study of human anthropology and evolution. It reveals how the startling degenerative changes in human behavior from small evolutionary groups of hunter-gatherers at home in the world, into re-evolutionary composite animals called nations (resembling giant human beings) at war with the world, have specific implications that threaten human extinction.
State of the Species - Does success spell doom for Homo sapiens? by Charles C. Mann - Orion magazine, November/December, 2012 about the author Why and how did humankind become “unusually successful”? And what, to an evolutionary biologist, does “success” mean, if self-destruction is part of the definition? Does that self-destruction include the rest of the biosphere? What are human beings in the grand scheme of things anyway, and where are we headed? What is human nature, if there is such a thing, and how did we acquire it? What does that nature portend for our interactions with the environment? With 7 billion of us crowding the planet, it’s hard to imagine more vital questions. It’s a long and informative essay, and the Japanese concept of hara hachi bu, described near the conclusion, may seem particularly poignant.
A phenomenon, in the most original sense of the word, is an appearance and therefore something relational. It is what something is for something else; it is a being for by opposition to a being in itself independently of its apprehension by another entity.
First-person Methodologies: What, Why, How? by Francisco J. Varela and Jonathan Shear. I: Inside-Outside, The Misleading Divide: By first-person events we mean the lived experience associated with cognitive and mental events. Sometimes terms such as ‘phenomenal consciousness’ and even ‘qualia’ are also used, but it is natural to speak of ‘conscious experience’ or simply ‘experience’. These terms imply here that the process being studied (vision, pain, memory, imagination, etc.) appears as relevant and manifest for a ‘self’ or ‘subject’ that can provide an account; they have a ‘subjective’ side. In contrast, third-person descriptions concern the descriptive experiences associated with the study of other natural phenomena. Although there are always human agents in science who provide and produce descriptions, the contents of such descriptions (i.e. of biochemical reactions, black holes or synaptic voltages) are not clearly or immediately linked to the human agents who come up with them. Their defining characteristics refer to properties of world events without a direct manifestation in the experiential-mental sphere; they can only be linked to this sphere indirectly (via the actual laboratory life, the modes of scientific communication and so on). Such ‘objective’ descriptions do have a subjective-social dimension, but this dimension is hidden within the social practices of science. The ostensive, direct reference is to the ‘objective’, the ‘outside’, the content of current science that we have today concerning various natural phenomena, such as physics and biology. Now, recent history and philosophy of science often suggests that this apparent objectivity cannot be characterized as dealing with things-out-there, as independent of mental contents-in-here. Science is permeated by the procedural and social regulations that go under the name of scientific method (empiricism), that permits the constitution of a corpus of shared knowledge about natural objects. The linchpin of this constitution is public verification and validation according to complex human exchanges. What we take to be objective is what can be turned from individual accounts into a body of regulated knowledge. This body of knowledge is inescapably in part subjective, since it depends on individual observation and experience, and partly objective, since it is constrained and regulated by the empirical, natural phenomena. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 6, No. 2-3, 1999, pp. 1-14
A clear conception of the Possible to the Actual From the Phenomenology of Heisenberg to the Ontology of Whitehead by Peter Mutnick. Wisdom in the mental world and Understanding in the physical world are synthesized by Knowledge in the emotional world. Knowing, Knowledge, and Knower represent Subject, Superject, and System. The System is the Object qualified as a Symbol.
Phenomenological Approach to the Study of Religion: A Historical Perspective by Rev. Emeka C. Ekeke, Lecturer Religious Studies Department, University of Calabar, Nigeria and Chike A. Ekeopara, Senior Lecturer Religious Studies Department, University of Calabar, Nigeria - Abstract: The issue of methodological approach in the study of religion has remained an enigma to many scholars of science of religion (religionswissenshaft) for many centuries. This led to the formulation of many methods such as historical, philosophical, psychological, sociological, phenomenological and the rest in the bid to solving this problem. This paper therefore looks at one of these methods known as phenomenological approach to the study of religion from the historical perspective to ascertain the origin and development of the method. Phenomenological study of religion deals with a personal participation of a scholar in the religion he seeks to study in order to understand the essence (meaning) and manifestations of the religious phenomena of the particular religion. This he does through the grouping of the phenomena, the suspension of value judgment, which was previously held about that religion, and the taking of a neutral stance in order to understand what he is studying. Indeed, phenomenology of religion may testify to a predilection for metaphysical questions and religion as essential reality.
Immanuel Kant, who was a contemporary of Lambert, also used the term twice wherein he laid the foundation for its development "when he distinguished things as they appear to us (which he called phenomena) from things as they really are (which he called noumena)" (Moreau, 2001: 249). Kant proposed that it is not possible to have a true and genuine knowledge of the transcendent (noumena) as a science but in the immanent (or phenomena) it is possible since this is a description of the structures of human experience. He therefore proposed phenomenology as an appropriate field of philosophical and scientific inquiry.
In a surprising aberration of his esteemed philosophical rationality, Kant endorsed a theory by the most influential natural historian of the 18th century, Georges-Louis Leclerc - known as Count Buffon, that all native American biota were degenerate. Buffon wrote the 36-volume Natural History, still regarded as a masterpiece and his claims shaped the European belief in American inferiority. An intellectual descendant of Buffon, the Prussian Abbé Cornelius de Pauw, saw degeneration in the New World as all encompassing. He found the only flaw in Buffon was that he had not gone far enough and extended the case to all Americans, including immigrants and their descendants. Kant, displaying a lack of pure reason, wrote of de Pauw that "even if nine-tenths of his material is unsupported or incorrect, the very effort of intellignce deserves praise and emulation, as making one think and not simply read thoughts." [Jefferson's Moose Scientific American Feb. 2011 - subscription online archive.]
Another scholar who used the word phenomenology was Georg W. F. Hegel in his Phenomenology of the Spirit published in 1807. Reacting against Kant’s splitting of phenomena into noumena and phenomena he argued that instead of a split of phenomena of Kant, "phenomena were actual stages of knowledge progressing in evolutionary fashion from raw consciousness to absolute knowledge" (Moreau, 2001: 249). He explains further that "in phenomenology, the soul now raises itself by means of the negation of its corporeity into the purely ideal nature of self-identity. It becomes consciousness, ego, has being-for-self in the face of its other". (Qtd in Petry, 1978: LXXI).To Hegel, phenomenology was the science by means of which we come to absolute knowledge through studying the ways our minds appear to us.
1900s witnessed a series of publication and studies on phenomenology during which time a German group showed their insight into phenomenology. One of such great thinkers was the Austrian-born Philosopher Edmund Husserl, who "sought to give philosophical foundations to a generally intuitive non-empirical approach of phenomenological methodology" (Moreau, 2001: 250). One major factor that led Husserl into the formulation of his view on phenomenology was the reigning idea at that time that "science alone is the ultimate court of appeal" (Ekeke, 2006: 55). This means that scientific method has seen itself as the only method of achieving the truth and falsity of any issue. He was therefore reacting against the scientific methodology, which demands that life experiences be thrown to the mud for objective empiricism. Husserl counters this view by saying that life experiences should be recognized, rather than being hindrance, could be used as a means through which reality could be explored.(268 et al)
Religion in Evolution Tricycle Summer, 2012 (A subscription provides access to archive of full articles to 1991) Review of book Religion in Human Evolution by Robert N. Bellah, 2011 - Tricycle asked: How can we approach the study of religion in a way that is both affirmative and critical? It is not at all self-evident that a book with the title Religion in Human Evolution would be an inviting read for the religiously sensitive. Nor is it, necessarily. Bellah has written a scholarly, critical book. He draws on scientific explanations and historical facts to present and support a new multistranded theory of religion, one that places the human pursuit of meaning squarely in the context of our social history, which in turn rests in the context of our biological and cosmological evolution.
In Bellah’s view, the nature of evolution as it applies to capacities for human meaning is never “out with the old, in with the new” triumphalism. New modes of understanding always arise in dependence on existing conditions. Theoretic culture arose in dependence on mythic culture, which in turn arose in dependence on mimetic culture. And new capacities don’t supersede the old ones. “Nothing is ever lost” is a Bellah signature refrain.
The Truth About Truth - The dangers of literalism by Rita M. Gross (Tricycle, Summer, 2012) The Heart Sutra is the charter text for many Mahayanists, who view it as an accurate account of the words of the historical Buddha. But it cannot be considered historical if by “history” we mean, as we usually do, a factual narrative about things that happened empirically, events that a camcorder could have recorded had it existed at that time, something that could be included in a documentary. While empiricism, scientific materialism, and systematic reason—ways of thinking that characterized the European Enlightenment and thus the modern worldview—have greatly improved our way of life in many respects, the great loser in this process has been any ability to appreciate symbols, metaphors, and allegories. The assumption in this way of thinking is that symbols are much less convincing than empirically verifiable facts, and so anything valuable in a religion must be factual, not “merely” symbolic. The motto here seems to be “Either it’s a fact or it’s meaningless.”
Which Buddhist Magazine is Best? original twitter post 2009 ...need a post from you comparing/contrasting the existing Buddhist print rags. Consider it a special request. - Evokes a mostly critical overview of all three from this dharma practitioner. Well, I can’t say no to a “special request”, can I? First off, I rarely read The Big Three. Occasionally...I will grab a copy of Tricycle, Shambala Sun or Buddhadharma to get me through thesis-writing. Buddhadharma directs its efforts toward the actual practice of the Dharma. This obviously appeals to me being primarily a Home-Practitioner and needing all the support I can get. It remains very Zen and Tibetan-centric. There is one huge glaring problem with these publications though – the lack of inclusion of Asian Practitioners (as well as any minority) in the ranks of their staff-writers and advisors of these magazines. UPDATE: Well thanks...I was made aware of a fourth “big” Buddhist publication ~ Buddhism Today. Extensive commentary from followers of twitter account.
A Precise Definition of Knowledge Completing the harmony of creation and discovery with knowledge representation: knowledge, wisdom, learning, insight and understanding by Carey G. Butler. Knowledge Representation as a Means to Define the Meaning of Meaning Precisely. In this Knowledge Representation Video I explain what knowledge representation is, how to build and apply them...Throughout the history of the theory of knowledge (epistemology), others have done their best to add to Plato's work or create new or more comprehensive definitions in their attempts to 'contain' the meaning of meaning (knowledge). All of these efforts have failed for one reason or another. Using truth value and justification as a basis for knowledge or introducing broader definitions or finer classifications can only fail. An ontology, no matter how sophisticated, is incapable of generating the purpose of even its own inception, not to mention the purpose of objects to which it corresponds! The knowledge is not coming from the data itself, it's always coming from the observer of the data – even if that observer is an algorithm!
Symbiotic Reality (... written before the Esalen Evolution and Consciousness Conference of November 2004) The conjecture is that reality is an inseparable symbiosis between physical environment and biological processes. The focus is on reality, as a phenomenon. The focus is a shift away from the split formulation of objective reality sprinkled with points of consciousness. Taking reality as a phenomenon that emerged along with consciousness has grounds for justification and offers a way to sidestep the endless contradictions and dead ends of non-phenomenal dualism. Reality is a compact between matter and knowing organisms. Viewed from this perspective, a case is made that the character of knowledge is best described as a symbiosis – an ongoing if opportunistic, mutual effect and maintenance relationship. The second principal argument is the logic that niche construction plus adaptable behavior plus social integration plus cultural learning is a description of an iterative, emergent process that has the potential to adapt-to/construct what can only be described as an expanding niche. The construction of features of a niche and the adaptation of behavior to that constructed feature can set up a reciprocity loop between organism and environmental feature where both evolve. We are inseparable from this grand, co-evolving niche.
Scientific Perspectivism by Ronald N. Giere, U.of Chicago Press, 2010 - Review by Peter Lipton, Dept. of History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge U. Many philosopher of science think that although whole truth and nothing but the truth is an asymptote, science is objective and increasingly comprehensive descriptions of a largely visible universe. Others would not go this far and their retreats from the full-blooded truth view take one of two forms: partial truth or constructivism - the later of which Kant and Thomas Kuhn took in adapting their philosophies. (m-g comment: It seems scientific constructivism is analogous to the constructivist interpretation of mystical experiences of Steven Katz and also reflects on the mind-body problem opened in the Copenhagen Interpretation, as to whether the "observation" that collapses the quantum wave function can be made by a recording device or must involve subjective cognitive observation. If "subjective" is meant via human consciousness the obvious argument is that human observers were not around during the 14 billion years a Quantum Universe was evolving but if by "subjective" is meant conscious observation - anthropic cosmic consciousness offers a "subjective" super observer with as much credibility as various multiverse theories. End m-g comment)
Scientia Humanitatis Reason, empiricism and skepticism are not virtues of science alone Scientific American, June 2015, by Michael Shermer. In the late 20th century the humanities took a turn toward postmodern deconstruction and the belief that there is no objective reality to be discovered. To believe in such quaint notions as scientific progress was to be guilty of “scientism,” properly said with a snarl. In 1996 New York University physicist Alan Sokal punctured these pretensions with his now famous article “Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity,” chockablock full of postmodern phrases and deconstructionist tropes interspersed with scientific jargon, which he subsequently admitted were nonsensical gibberish. I subsequently gave up on the humanities but am now reconsidering my position after an encounter this past March with University of Amsterdam humanities professor Rens Bod during a European book tour for The Moral Arc. In our dialogue, Bod pointed out that my definition of science—a set of methods that describes and interprets observed or inferred phenomena, past or present, aimed at testing hypotheses and building theories—applies to such humanities fields as philology, art history, musicology, linguistics, archaeology, historiography and literary studies. Regardless of which university building scholars inhabit, we are all working toward the same goal of improving our understanding of the true nature of things, and that is the way of both the sciences and the humanities, a scientia humanitatis.
Ignorance is Bliss The dangers of a high-information diet 15 January 2010 by Paul Parsons. We might be in danger of knowing too much. "Information can potentially be extremely dangerous", says philosopher Nick Bostrom, director of the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford. "The effects arising from knowledge can be momentous." Bostrom has coined a term for the danger that arises from knowledge: he calls it "information hazard". (mg comment: Although the article focuses on the practical hazards of information overload in technology- I'm sure Bostrom has considered the subject as it relates to the ontological problem for direct aperception of non dual reality where intellectual expectations or mediation interfere with the clearing of consciousness to a state of stillness and utter desirelessness.)
Childhood Origins of Adult Resistance to Science (Register for online archive full text articles) Science, 18 May 2007, by Paul Bloom and Deena Skolnick Weisberg. Resistance to certain scientific ideas derives in part from assumptions and biases that can be demonstrated experimentally in young children and that may persist into adulthood. In particular both adults and children resist acquiring scientific information that clashes with common-sense intuitions about the physical and psychological domains. Additionally, when learning information from other people, both adults and children are sensitive to the trustworthiness of the source. Resistance to science, then, is particularly exaggerated in societies where nonscientific ideologies have the advantages of being both grounded in common sense and transmitted by trustworthy sources. In a 2005 Pew Trust poll, 42% of American respondents said that they believed that humans and other animals have existed in their present form since the beginning of time, a view that denies the very existence of evolution. This is not the only domain where people reject science. Many believe in the efficasy of unproven medical intervention, the mystical nature of out-of-body experiences, supernatural bodies, etc. (m-g commentary: Here the authors' physicalist bias in their "scientific paradigm" precludes any possibility for mystical reality - unjustified by the uncertainty of qua-quantum evidence.)
Why Do Many Reasonable People Doubt Science? We live in an age when all manner of scientific knowledge—from climate change to vaccinations—faces furious opposition. Some even have doubts about the moon landing. By Joel Achenbach Photographs by Richard Barnes - National Geographic Magazine March, 2015. We live in an age when all manner of scientific knowledge—from the safety of fluoride and vaccines to the reality of climate change—faces organized and often furious opposition. Empowered by their own sources of information and their own interpretations of research, doubters have declared war on the consensus of experts. There are so many of these controversies these days, you’d think a diabolical agency had put something in the water to make people argumentative. And there’s so much talk about the trend these days—ithe inesxplicablen books, articles, and academic conferences—that science doubt itself has become a pop-culture meme. [See also: The Cult of Mary NatGeo Mag December, 2015 as example of the inexplicable nature of religious belief.]
The Normative Evaluation of Belief and the Aspectual Classification of Belief and Knowledge by Matthew Chrisman, University of Edinburgh. It is a piece of philosophical commonsense that belief and knowledge are states. Some recent virtue epistemologists have been tempted to ignore this common sense because they think doing so is the key to some of the open and difficult questions in epistemology. In this authors view, however, they are wrong to do so, especially when it comes to two important questions about the normative evaluation of belief. The basic problem, he argue, is that denying that belief and knowledge are states offends not only against philosophical commonsense, which is a popular whipping boy, but also against ordinary common sense, at least as far as this is manifested in the meaning of the words we ordinarily use to talk about belief and knowledge.
Jefferson Bible In the latter years of his life, Thomas Jefferson created a final revised version of the Biblical gospels which he titled The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth by cutting and pasting numerous sections from the New Testament as extractions of the authentic words of Jesus. His task, as he put it, was to create a doctrine of Jesus- "abstracting what is really his from the rubbish in which it is buried, easily distinguished by its lustre from the dross of his biographers, and as separate from that as the diamond from the dung hill." Jefferson's condensed composition, which subsequently became more commonly known as the Jefferson Bible, is especially notable for its exclusion of all miracles by Jesus and most mentions of the supernatural, including sections of the four gospels which contain the Resurrection and most other miracles, and passages indicating Jesus was divine. Jefferson generally referred to himself as a Unitarian although he is perhaps one of the Founding Fathers with the most outspoken of Deism tendencies. However, Frazer, characterizes Jefferson as not a Deist but a "theistic rationalist", because Jefferson believed in God's continuing activity in human affairs.
Consciousness and Mind Abstracts of Philosophy Theories. Center for Consciousness Studies, Tucson, AZ - Toward a Science of Consciousness is the largest and longest-running interdisciplinary conference emphasizing broad and rigorous approaches to the study of conscious awareness probing fundamental questions related to conscious experience.
Epistemology Wikipedia - Epistemology - (from Greek (epistēmē), meaning "knowledge, understanding", and (logos), meaning "study of") is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope (limitations) of knowledge. It addresses the questions: What is knowledge?; How is knowledge acquired?; To what extent is it possible for a given subject or entity to be known? Much of the debate in this field has focused on analyzing the nature of knowledge and how it relates to connected notions such as truth, belief, and justification. One view is the objection that there is very little or no knowledge at all- skepticism. The field is sometimes referred to as the theory of knowledge.
What Defines a Meme? Our world is a place where information can behave like human genes and ideas can replicate, mutate and evolve [Adapted from The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood, by James Gleick, 2011] For this bodiless replicator itself, Richard Dawkins proposed a name. He called it the meme, and it became his most memorable invention, far more influential than his selfish genes or his later proselytizing against religiosity. “Memes propagate themselves in the meme pool by leaping from brain to brain via a process which, in the broad sense, can be called imitation,” he wrote. They compete with one another for limited resources: brain time or bandwidth. They compete most of all for attention. For example: Ideas. Whether an idea arises uniquely or reappears many times, it may thrive in the meme pool or it may dwindle and vanish. The belief in God is an example Dawkins offers—an ancient idea, replicating itself not just in words but in music and art. The belief that Earth orbits the Sun is no less a meme, competing with others for survival. (Truth may be a helpful quality for a meme, but it is only one among many.) Other kinds: tunes; catchphrases; images.
The Development of Epistemological Theories: Beliefs About Knowledge and Knowing and Their Relation to Learning by Barbara K. Hofer, Paul R. Pintrich, University of Michigan. Abstract: There have been a number of research programs that have investigated students’ thinking and beliefs about the nature of knowledge and knowing, including definitions of knowledge, how knowledge is constructed, and how knowledge is evaluated. However, these different research programs have pursued varying definitions and conceptual frameworks and used quite different methodologies to examine students’ epistemological beliefs and thinking. In the first section of this article, we provide a critical and comprehensive review of these different research programs. In the second part of this article, we identify nine crucial theoretical and methodological issues that need to be resolved in future research on epistemological theories. As these issues are addressed in future research, there will be more consensus regarding the nature of epistemological theories, and their relation to cognition, motivation, and learning will be made more explicit.
The Hierarchy of Epistemological Beliefs: all ways of knowing are not created equal Author: Tabitha R. Holmes - Source: Studies in Meaning. (Jan. 2010): p281. (Excerpt from full text via library Infotrac) Over the last several decades, psychologists have grown increasingly interested in understanding how individuals think about the nature of knowledge and themselves as knowers. Research in this area has primarily focused upon the relationship between personal epistemologies and how individuals learn in settings of formal education. Against this backdrop, different epistemological perspectives have been presented as part of a hierarchical, developmental sequence anchored by dualistic, objective epistemologies at one end, and contextual, constructed ways of knowing at the opposite end. Embedded in such a trajectory is the implicit (and often explicit) assumption that not all epistemological beliefs are created equally; some are viewed as cognitively complex and superior, while others are positioned as primitive and less than ideal. Such a view discounts how different ways of knowing may be adaptive and functional across different ecological contexts. Similarly, it ignores the possibility that many individuals have objectives that differ from those promoted and rewarded by institutions of higher education. With this in mind, the purpose of this chapter is to address the biases and limitations inherent in current models of epistemological development.
Epistemology, the study of knowledge or justified belief, began as the purview and product of philosophers who were interested in the structure, source, and limits of knowledge (Steup, 2008). Over the last 50 years, however, this area of scholarship has grown far-reaching tentacles that extend across disciplinary boundaries. Researchers from all backgrounds, favoring all types of theoretical orientations, have described, deconstructed, and debated how knowledge is created and disseminated across cultures (e.g., the East vs. the West; Harding, 1996), disciplines (e.g., the "hard" sciences vs. the humanities; Muis, Bendixen, & Haerel, 2006), and historic periods (e.g., Period of Enlightenment; Moodie, 2003). Most of this work has emphasized the merits and pitfalls of different intellectual traditions, be it rational-empirical modes of knowing or constructivist approaches, with particular attention given to the epistemological consequences of cultural hegemony, imperialism, and colonialism.
In the literature that examines epistemological differences, the "West" is often portrayed as an epistemic bully, advancing rational-empiricism and heralding the merits of scientific evidence and methodology while repressing and ridiculing alternative ways of knowing (Moodie, 2003). In a critique of intellectual traditions and ways of knowing, for example, Moodie points out that "Western society continues to arrogate to itself the right to judge what is 'superstitious' or 'mumbo-jumbo' and what is 'scientific,' what is invalid and what is valid in the total field of human knowledge" (p. 15). Smith (1999) makes a similar point by suggesting that "The globalization of knowledge and Western culture constantly reaffirms the West's view of itself as the center of legitimate knowledge, the arbiter of what counts as knowledge and the source of 'civilized' knowledge" (p. 63). As these quotes illustrate, scholarship in this area often has an overt political tenor that links Western ways of knowing to dehumanizing practices, sciences, and technologies that have failed around the world (e.g., Harding, 1996).
Psychologists and educators have generally taken a different approach to understanding theories of knowledge by focusing upon personal epistemology, "how the individual develops conceptions of knowledge and knowing and utilizes them in developing an understanding of the world" (Hofer, 2002, p. 4). This work examines the variability in people's beliefs about how knowledge is defined, acquired, and evaluated, thereby shifting the conversation to the epistemological diversity found within communities, cultures, and contexts. Clearly, all Western knowers are not shackled by positivist, mechanistic beliefs about knowledge; rather, there are a range of epistemological perspectives found side-by-side within most cultures. Such plurality raises questions about epistemological elitism at the local level of analysis--how certain beliefs about knowledge are valued more than others within classrooms, organizations, and cultural institutions. This requires a better understanding of how and why individuals develop diverse ways of knowing.
Searching For the Mind The Emperor of Cells – How Intelligent are Cancer Cells? by Jon Lieff, M.D., 2012. Microbes have abilities to make decisions, communicate, and solve problems. In fact, large numbers of microbes in the human body (ten microbes for every human cell) are in constant communication with human cells and provide many functions for normal human life including defending against dangerous species, boosting the immune system, protecting from autoimmune disease, helping maintain appropriate weight, helping avoid stress, and making babies healthier. While microbes appear to have a type of cognition, the neuron has been observed to be vastly more complex with its own intelligent activity, an entire civilization by comparison to a microbe.
Consciousness in a Cockroach? The insect nervous system provides clues to attention, consciousness, and the origin of the brain. by Douglas Fox - Discover Jan 2007. Over the past 35 years, neurobiologists at the University of Arizona have probed the minute brain structure of cockroaches, water bugs, velvet worms, brine shrimp and dozens of other invertebrates and small mammals. Using microscopes, tweezers and hand built electronic and nano devices in vibration-insulated mini-labs, researchers tease apart - ever so gently - the cell by cell working of brain structures the size of several grains of salt. From the years of tedious analysis their conclusion: "Insects possess the most sophisticated brains on this planet". Further - that brains of all animal life, from insects, crabs, fish, amphibians, birds, reptiles, mammals and yes, humans may have a single bilaterally symmetrical ancestor called Urbilateral whose brain evolved and survived in a unique synchronicity a billion or more years ago. The inference as to what constitutes consciousness and the degree that lower life forms have in conscious commonality with human cognition, may provide insight into the greatest mystery and challenge facing science today - the role of consciousness in perceiving and/or creating reality.
Nondual Science by Kent Duane Palmer, Ph.D. - Primarily a philosopher, his main emphasis is on ontology and how new things come into existence. He is currently working to develop a non-dual science philosophy under the rubric of Social Phenomenology. The latest project concerns the social extension of autopoietic theory. His Nondual Science Institute is dedicated to the study of Nondual Sciences based on Special Systems Theory which is a new way to conceive the relation of the Western Philosophical, Scientific and Technological tradition in relation to formal models of nonduality and past traces of nondual science that previously had been practiced in traditional non-Western cultures so that it can inform Modern Western Science about nonduality. Palmer has created a rich body of significant work online including his PhD thesis: A Phenomenological Analysis of Emergent Design; Books: Nondual Science 2004 (see chapter - Nondual Science Heuristics) and The Fragmentation of Being and the Path Beyond the Void 1994 - the foundations of the Western worldview; Papers and Essays.
Top papers on Consciousness, Knowledge, Reality from Academia.edu news feed July, 2014
On the Limits of Human Understanding download paper by Nagel, McGinn and Stove.
The Primordial Leap and the Present download paper by Ed Mahood - This is a revised and updated version of an introduction to the work of Jean (Hans) Gebser and his five-stage model of consciousness unfoldment. It has may also be found at GaiaMind.org.
Through a glass darkly, part 2 download paper by Ed Mahood - Though considered by materialists to be a mere epiphenomenon of matter, consciousness is an elusive, yet essential and determining, facet of what it is to be human. This is not to say that there are no other sentient beings or that humans have achieved a special status. Instead, a clearer understand of the emergence of consciousness in human beings can help us better understand our true role in nature and as part of the planet's overall ecosystem. This paper presents Jean Gebser's model of consciousness unfoldment as compared to various other models and theories of consciousness and...
Dialogue on Alternating Consciousness: From Perception to Infinities and Back to Free Will (download paper by Claus Janew - Can we lead back consciousness, reality, awareness, and free will on a single basic structure without giving up any of them? Can the universe exist in both real and individual ways without being composed of both? This metaphysical dialogue founds consciousness and freedom of choice on the basis of a new reality concept that also includes the infinite as far as we understand it. Just the simplest distinction contains consciousness. It is not static, but a constant alternation of perspectives. From its entirety and movement, however, there arises a freedom of choice being more than...
Die Erschaffung der Realität subscription download (The Creation of Reality) by Claus Janew - The main argument in this book is the undeniable openness of every system to the unknown. And the fundamental question goes: What does this openness produce? We are a part of the infinite universe and an incorporation of its wholeness. Both for us means an individualized reality, through which the universe expresses itself and on the other hand through which it is built up with. It also means our necessity, importance and indestructibility for the sum of its incorporations. Most connections among ourselves are hardly conscious for us. Meanwhile the infinitesimality structure of all...
The Nazi Gospels - A History (UK) video documentary of how a nation of 66 million literate, modern, civilized people were manipulated into an atavistic collective belief in the fantastical gospels of Hitler and his high priest of the SS - Heinrich Himmler. Despite the fact that this culture had already evolved the most sophisticated philosophical tradition in the West with peers like Kant, Hegel and Husserl along with pioneers of modern science like Einstein and Planck, the populous elected to start a war that caused mass destruction, calculated genocide and the death of 61 million lives worldwide in order that their mythical Aryan "master race" might attain dominion over the world. Another equally unjustified belief would be to assume Germanic (or Japanese) people have a unique genetic propensity or psyche twist that allowed such an ideological abomination as Nazism to arise and be exercised as a state agenda. Examples from evolutionary, historic and ongoing contemporary scenarios show that virtually every human society regardless of size, race, color or creed can become dominated by a "genocidal" collective belief - given the confluence of only some of the factors that propelled the rise of the Third Reich and the Imperial Japanese Empire.
An iconic manifestation of the absurdity of belief arising from human imagination is the tomb of a Chinese emperor who constructed a replica terra-cotta army that he
believed would protect his empire from enemy attack in perpetuity after his death. In fact, four years after his death, his empire fell to invaders who burned his
tomb, collapsing the roof which turned all the statuary into rubble.
Terra-Cotta Warriors in Color by Brook Larmer National Geographic June 2012 - The monochrome figures that visitors to Xian’s terra-cotta army museum see today actually began as the multicolored fantasy of a
ruler whose grandiose ambitions extended beyond the mortal realm. The first emperor to unify China under a single dynasty from 221 to 210 B.C., Qin Shi Huang Di
prepared for the afterlife, with the construction of a 6000-man, life-sized army of fully-armed, clay soldiers, horses and chariots in a burial complex that covers
35 square miles.
Addressing Complexity Science 18 July 2008 Book Review by Kim Sterelny Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings: Piecewise Approximations to Reality by William C. Wimsatt, 2007. This rich collection of essays argues that philosophy of science has chosen the wrong models of scientists, of their products and of their explanatory targets and that this explanatory body results in only partial, multiple and plastic approximations. The Bayesian approaches and Popperian models of theory are unhelpful rational idealizations while fallible, context-dependent heuristics are central to the success of science. What we most need to explain is the cognitive success of limited beings so a good model of science must focus on working heuristics to approximate the reality of the "causal thicket".
Human Knowledge Brian Holtz 2002-2009 This living hypertext is a systematic summary of the knowledge attained by human civilization. For each subdivision of human knowledge, the text identifies its fundamental concepts, principles, mysteries, and misunderstandings. This text aims to assert humanity's analyses and theories that are most valid (i.e. convincing and defensible, as opposed to merely logically well-formed). Potentially contentious assertions are those sympathetic to ontological materialism, epistemological empiricism and positivism, mental functionalism, theological atheism, axiological extropianism, political libertarianism, economic capitalism, constitutional federalism, biological evolutionism, and technological optimism.
(m-g commentary: an example of how an impressive intellect (compare to Richard Dawkins) can create an immense body of knowledge with magnificent scale and scope- yet treat perennial metaphysical enigma as having no epistemological value. When one's worldview is treated with ontological materialism, epistemological empiricism and theological atheism the intellectual bias simply cannot allow a transcendent reality to be revealed...with some psychological analogy to hysterical blindness.)
Defining two classes of materialist or physicalism bias: Traditional/naive materialism is the belief that there is a material world and that that is the only ontological realm which exists. Modern materialism is the belief that all patterns of connection and influence can be reduced to physical patterns of connection and influence - that physical determinism is necessarily true. Either protocol rejects any and all reality to theistic, metaphysical, paranormal, numinous or transcendent epiphenomena while even more ephemeral topics such as dark energy, wormholes and god particles are respected as visionary knowledge since they are evolved from the physicalist continuum of theoretical physics. Meanwhile- the entire subject of consciousness is cast into limbo.
The Epoch Times - English version of a news and commentary portal delivering an objective critique on all aspects of China's evolving global status. Beyond Science is a section presenting an ecumenical compendium of news articles about mysterious micro, macro and cosmic physical and conscious phenomenae that material science can not yet explain.
Limitations of Science - Part II By Du Won Kang, 2010 - The Epoch Times Some of the greatest thinkers, seek to determine the nature of mathematical reasoning in order to improve their understanding of the concept of "proof" in mathematics and tried to codify the thought process of human reason, as applied in mathematics. Gödel's proof seems to show that the human mind can understand certain truths that axiomatic formal systems can not prove. Of this, some scientists and philosophers argue that the human mind can never be fully mechanized.
Near Death Experiences: 30 years of research (Part V) By Stephanie Lam. 2011 - The Epoch Times Perspective of Dr. Eben Alexander, Durham, NC, USA, a neurosurgeon who had contracted acute bacterial meningitis - experienced a state where his brain was not working but his mind was going through experiences more vivid than reality. Perspectives on NDEs and quantum consciousness.
Quantum Biology, Quantum Consciousness and Morphic Fields
Quantum Biology: Do weird physics effects abound in nature? by Jason Palmer and Alex Mansfield - BBC News and BBC Radio Science Unit. Disappearing in one place and reappearing in another. Being in two places at once. Communicating information seemingly faster than the speed of light. This kind of weird behaviour shows up in laboratories in the branch of physics called quantum mechanics, but what might it have to do with plant photosynthesis and migrating birds? Welcome to quantum biology. Under quantum rules energy comes in discrete chunks, called quanta. Superposition: A particle exists in a number of possible states or locations simultaneously - strictly, an electron might be in the tip of your finger and in the furthest corner of the Universe at the same time. It is only when we observe the particle that it 'chooses' one particular state. Entanglement: Two particles can become entangled so that their properties depend on each other - no matter how far apart they get. A measurement of one seems to affect the measurement of the other instantaneously - an idea even Einstein called "spooky" Tunnelling: A particle can break through an energy barrier, seeming to disappear on one side of it and reappear on the other. Experiments suggest bird brains can 'observe' this action within single molecules in birds' eyes. The way birds sense it could be a kind of 'heads-up display' like what pilots have: an image of the magnetic field... imprinted on top of the image that they see around them" that enables the precision of their migration navigation.
(m-g comment: Alternatives as to what constitutes 'measurement' in the Copenhagen Interpretation were proposed by John von Neumann and Eugene Wigner, who specified that consciousness itself plays a vital causal role, being required to bring about the so-called "collapse of the wave-function.". Henry Stapp further reformulated 'measurement' to state that "A device is just another part of the physical universe... Moreover, the conscious thoughts of a human observer ought to be causally connected most directly and immediately to what is happening in his brain, not to what is happening out at some measuring device... Our bodies and brains thus become...parts of the quantum mechanically described physical universe. Treating the entire physical universe in this unified way provides a conceptually simple and logically coherent theoretical foundation". Quantum biology suggests that the scope of 'observers' may be expanded to include even the simplest forms of life like slime molds and amoeba that may have embodied quantum cognition inherent in their primordial consciousness.)
Morphic Fields and TGD View about Quantum Biology by M. Pitkanen, 2012 An integrated review of Rupert Sheldrake's A new Science of Life: the Hypothesis of Formative Causation and The Presence of the Past: Morphic Resonance and Habits of Nature and Topological Geometrodynamics (TGD) Theory of Quantum Biology. There is no need to accept Sheldrake's views, just the reading of his arguments teaches a lot about the fundamental ideas and dogmas underlying contemporary biology and forces the reader to realize how little we really know - not only about biology but even about so called established areas of physics such as condensed matter physics. The initial motivation for the notions of morphic fields, morphic resonance and formative causation was that populations located in different parts of the world developed the same skills. The theory leads to ideas about learning and memory at the level of species and also to an idea about gene expression at species level in which remote activation of the genome takes place using morphic signals from the past. Sheldrake discusses inheritance and suggests that besides genetic inheritance and epigenetic inheritance, morphic fields could give rise to a new kind of heritance. The basic question is whether the acquired characteristics resulting from adaptation could be inherited in some manner. This is usually known as Lamarkcian inheritance of acquired characteristics. One can also ask whether these adaptations can be interpreted as mutations of morphic field software that transforms the Genome hardware.
The Quantum God: Why Our Grandchildren Won't Know Atheism by John S. Denker, Universe, 2010 (Google eBook) As heretical as it may sound to the modern orthodox views of both science and religion, science has proved God to be real. It is time for those in the religious community to address this. Is there a God? Is there life after death? Is evolution directed? As in his book, "Why Science Proves God," which received a five star review on Amazon.com, John Denker answers these questions through the use of modern physics. Most people will be surprised, if not shocked, by what modern science has to say.
Quantum Physics and Theology: An Unexpected Kinship by J. C. Polkinghorne, Yale University Press, 2007 (Google eBook) - Despite the differences of their subject matter, Polkinghorne identifies and explores key similarities in quantum physics and Christology From his unique perspective as both theoretical physicist and Anglican priest, the author considers aspects of quantum physics and theology and demonstrates that the two truth-seeking enterprises are engaged in analogous rational techniques of inquiry. His exploration of the deep connections between science and theology shows with new clarity a common kinship in the search for truth.
References to Instinct Programming and Embodied Cognition
Behavioral Genetics SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on Animal Behavior: Instinct.” SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. n.d.. Web. 30 Nov. 2012. Ernst Mayr, a leading figure in twentieth century evolutionary thought, saw behavior as a continuum ranging from completely closed, or fixed by the genotype, to completely open, extremely flexible and dependent on the environment. Behavioral genetics has become an increasingly important field as modern technology has allowed researchers to locate specific genes and alleles responsible for some behaviors.
From Ants to People, an Instinct to Swarm by Carl Zimmer NY Times, November 13, 2007 By studying army ants — as well as birds, fish, locusts and other swarming animals — Dr. Couzin and his colleagues are starting to discover simple rules that allow swarms to work so well. Those rules allow thousands of relatively simple animals to form a collective brain able to make decisions and move like a single organism. Dr. Couzin is carrying the lessons he has learned from animals to other kinds of swarms. He is helping Dr. Naomi Leonard, a Princeton engineer, to program swarming into robots. The rules of the swarm may also apply to the cells inside our bodies. Dr. Couzin is working with cancer biologists to discover the rules by which cancer cells work together to build tumors or migrate through tissues. Even brain cells may follow the same rules for collective behavior seen in locusts or fish.
Slimy Start for Immunity Immune-like Phagocyte Activity in the Social Amoeba by Guokai Chen, Olga Zhuchenko, Adam Kuspa [Science - 3 August, 2007] These gooey soil dwellers, which straddle the boundry between single cell amd multicell creatures, gooble up bacteria as food. They can also be laid low by bacterial attack. However researchers report that slime molds deploy cells that combat pathogens - a discovery implying that specialized cells preceeded the event of muticellar evolution. The widely studied social amoeba Dichdictoselium descoideum has now provided strong evidence for that idea. The amoebas, also known as cellular slime molds, lead a double life. Most of the time they are squishy individuals. But if food run short, as many as 100,000 individuals congregate into a slimy blob know as a slug. Reachers discovered that that these cells which they dubbed sentinel cells, also battle the bacteria that menace the slug. In lab dishes, the cells snared the amoeba's main pathogen banishing it from the slug. To benefit the rest of the slug, 1% of the cells essentially put themslves in harm's way. Social amoebas and their kin diverged shortly after the amoeba/plant split, and the results suggest an early beginning for the specialized immune system now seen in muticellur organisms. (m-g comment: It seems possible that this could be a primordial example of swarm cognition that evolved not only into our human immune system but features of our embodied cognition as well.)
DNA coding, programming, consciousness and A.I.
An extensive thread in Philosophy Forums speculating as to what extent DNA based genetic programs create self-awarenessness unique to humans as compared to other animals or to futuristic A.I.s (artificially intelligent robots).
Instinct, Intellect and Leadership by Janet L. Crawford (Argues a conclusion opposite to the theory that free-will has eroded our collective instinct.) But instinct is equally present in humans, and nowhere is unconscious neural programming more evident than in our communal interactions. Contrary to the idea of individualism, humans are social animals. Our brains have developed over millions of years in response to the fact that we don’t survive well in isolation. An entire new field, Social Neuroscience, studies the neural processes that support the complicated social systems necessary for human survival. From this body of research has emerged a resounding rebuttal to the pre-eminence of the individual. Instinct exists to automate the patterns that keep us alive, so that the precious resources of the neocortex can be used for more valuable purposes. We’ve now engineered our way into a society where many of our instincts are no longer necessary to keep us alive. The critical point is that they have not been erased out of our brain’s programming, and they still dictate our behavior! We can override them, but to do so uses precious and limited brain resources.
The Epoch Times - English version of a news and commentary portal delivering an objective critique on all aspects of China's evolving global status. Beyond Science is a section presenting an ecumenical compendium of news articles about mysterious micro, macro and cosmic physical and conscious phenomenae that physicalist science can not yet explain.
Limitations of Science - Part II By Du Won Kang - The Epoch Times Some of the greatest thinkers, seek to determine the nature of mathematical reasoning in order to improve their understanding of the concept of "proof" in mathematics and tried to codify the thought process of human reason, as applied in mathematics. Gödel's proof seems to show that the human mind can understand certain truths that axiomatic formal systems can not prove. Of this, some scientists and philosophers argue that the human mind can never be fully mechanized.
Near Death Experiences: 30 years of research (Part V) By Stephanie Lam. 2011 - The Epoch Times Perspective of Dr. Eben Alexander, Durham, NC, USA, a neurosurgeon who had contracted acute bacterial meningitis - experienced a state where his brain was not working but his mind was going through experiences more vivid than reality. Perspectives on NDEs and quantum consciousness.
Ignorance as a State of Mind to be Praised
and Having Educational Value
Seeing Value in Ignorance College expects its physicists to teach poetry By Alan Schwarz, NY Times October 16, 2011 "Learning is born of Ignorance" is an axiom that the tiny college of St John takes literally and expects — in fact, requires — its professors, who might have no background in its discipline - to teach almost every subject, leveraging ignorance as much as expertise. Here professors act more as catalyst than connoisseur and avoid the often numbing tradition of presenting lectures in "a sage on a stage" format.
Joshua Lederber's Interest in Ignorance Science, 30 May, 2008. Marlys Hearst Witte, A request for a copy of my article "Ignorance in infectious diseases" began an exchange of letters, reflections, and references about how to use ignorance - unanswere questions and unquestioned answers - rather than knowledge as the terrain for learning and discovery.
In Praise of Ignorance: Science Challenges the Young 1996 Opening Convocation at Brown University. The speaker is Rockefeller University Prof. Joshua Lederberg. His address exhorted first-year students to assess information with a critical eye and to seize the unique opportunity they have to use their intelligence and their ignorance to assess anew the assumptions presented to them.
Ignorance-Inevitable but Invigorating: use of ignorance in the pursuit of knowledge Review by Robert H. Moser, MD of artic[e by Marlys and Charles Witte and Dennis Way. To dramatize their "pursuit of ignorance," the authors selected the topic of lymphatic obstructive disorders to highlight the remarkable lack of knowledge that pervades any pathophysiologic discussion of this still enigmatic major drainage system of the body. Certainly ignorance abounds here. But they could have selected almost any other system. For example, the psychoneuroimmunological messages that fly thick as arrows between mind and body remain a great mystery. But no generation of students in medicine has been more humbled by exploding knowledge than ours. "Thus, some of our best students, by dint of hard work, probing intellect, and resourcefulness, are leaving the University of Arizona College of Medicine more ignorant than they entered!"
Ignorance: A Powerful Tool for Teaching and Learning Critical Thinking in the Strong
Sense Item in extensive Curriculum Vitae of Ann Margaret Kerwin, Ph.D. with Marlys Witte, M.D. Fourth International Conference on Critical Thinking
and Educational Reform, Sonoma State University, California, August 1986.
“What to Do with What We Don’t Know?” in Flux Anthology, Oslo: 2005
Embracing Ignorance Jack Miles On His Path From Belief To Disbelief And Back by Sam Mowe
Mowe: You write that religion can be a claim to special knowledge or it can be a "special
acknowledgment of ignorance." How is religion an "acknowledgment of ignorance"?
Miles: My journey through life has forced me to acknowledge ignorance as my constant companion. At key moments in my past I’ve made big decisions with limited knowledge.
In 1962, at the age of twenty, I took perpetual vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience when I joined the Society of Jesus...yet, looking back, I see that I didn’t understand then where I fit into the American religious mosaic, nor where I was in my own personal maturation. A decade after leaving the Jesuits, I made new vows — marriage vows this time — and went on to father a daughter and remain married for thirty years. At the end of that marriage I
knew immensely more about who I had been at the time I’d wed than I had known on my wedding day. I do not make or break commitments lightly, and the fact that these two commitments turned out not to last a lifetime does not, in my mind, mean that they were mistakes. The years that followed each impoverished but also enriched me. I still love and respect both the Society of Jesus and my first wife. Nonetheless these experiences and others have left me keenly aware that perfect rationality is beyond us. Even the most reasonable among us must close the gap between indecision and decision, paralysis and action, not with knowledge but with something else. I expect the darkness of ignorance to continue to surround me until my dying day. In a sense, that darkness is my enlightenment. By embracing ignorance I achieve a kind of patience with the “crazy” ideas people rely on to help them solve problems. I welcome religion under that umbrella. In other words, if we’re making decisions not on the basis of perfect knowledge but on the basis of something else, then why not religion? The religious are no crazier than people who turn to some other source of strength or guidance under the same circumstances. We’re all stuck
with ignorance as we move from quandary to quandary. What I want to do is make a case for religion as one of the means to cope with this irremediable human condition. Atheists cope in other ways, but they don’t do it by pure knowledge.
“Increasing Your Power, Value and Safety Through Ignorance”, University of Arizona, Sierra Vista, l998
Epigenetics and Epigenesis References
Epigenetics is advancing our understanding how all lifeforms, from viruses and fungi to humans, function according to symbiotic evolution and helps explain the exquisite interdependency that occurs in every strand in the web of life, including the co-evolution of multiple antimicrobial peptides that fight infections specific to each species. See some epic examples of interspecies symbiosis.
Rhythm Epigenises Exploring sexual dimorphisim in the evoluton of diverse species of birds of paradise and bowerbirds as it relates to those evolutionary processes that may have shaped a young human child's ability - unique among all other animals - to express motor skill in synchronization to ambient musical beats and tempo.
All That Makes Fungus Gardens Grow Science 23 May 2008. The discovery of parasitic yeast shows ways that pathogens stabilize the fungus gardens of attine ants and other symbiotic networks and this knowledge has enormous potential for managing microbes in medicine and agriculture. The four-part garden symbiosis of ant, cultivar, pathogen, and bacteria has accelerated a transition from studying symbionts two at a time toward thinking of interacting organisms in networks, not pairs. Ulrich Mueller, an intergrative biologist at the University of Texas, Austin predicts that hundreds of attine symbionts may yet be discoverd - but regardless of the number, the fungal gardens are poised to answer critical questions about evolution of cooperation, conflict, microbial ecology and epigenetics and will keep inspiring scientific research for the next decade or more.
Epigenesis (biology) Wikipedia - In biology, epigenesis has at least two distinct meanings: the unfolding development in an organism, and in particular the development of a plant or animal from an egg or spore through a sequence of steps in which cells differentiate and organs form; the theory that plants and animals develop in this way, in contrast to theories of preformationism. A well-known example of epigenesis is that of the honey bee. Larvae that are fed with a pollen and nectar diet develop into worker bees, while those fed royal jelly develop into queens, growing larger and with different morphology.
Epigenetics In biology, and specifically genetics, epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene expression or cellular phenotype caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence.
Evolutionary Arms Race Discover Magazine, 2012. Examples of co-evolution in parasite-host and epigentic adaptations in single cells to survival threats like antibiotics. Catagorized Under: animal behavior, evolution, evolutionary arms races, insects, invertebrates, sex and reproduction.
The Ghost In Your Genes (YouTube Documentary) Educational ChanneI, 2013. Biology stands on the brink of a shift in the understanding of inheritance. The discovery of epigenetics -- hidden influences upon the genes -- could affect every aspect of our lives. At the heart of the new field of epigenetics is a simple but contentious idea -- that genes have a 'memory'. That the lives of your grandparents -- the air they breathed, the food they ate, even the things they felt, saw or heard -- can directly affect you, decades later, despite your never experiencing these things yourself. And that what you do in your lifetime could in turn affect your grandchildren. The conventional view is that DNA carries all our heritable information and that nothing an individual organism does in its lifetime will be biologically passed to its spawn. Epigenetics adds a whole new layer to genes beyond the DNA and calls into question the accepted view of the DNA sequence -- a cornerstone on which modern biology sits. Epigenetics proposes a control system of 'switches' that turn genes on or off -- and suggests that things all life forms experience, like nutrition and stress, can control these switches and cause heritable effects in their offspring.
Epigenetics I: Turning a DNA Packaging Problem Into a Developmental Control System by James A. Shapir (Author, 'Evolution: A View from the 21st Century'; Professor of Microbiology, University of Chicago) We are beginning to discover how many epigenetic configurations are inherited across generations. This is the kind of inheritance that can have a profound influence on evolution, because it can be selected and expand in a population. Some very stable multigeneration genome changes are, in fact, "epimutations" that do not involve any DNA sequence alteration, only chromatin reformatting. Other transgenerational changes are reported to be induced by a wide range of environmental factors, such as environmental stress, endocrine disruptor chemicals, infection, and even maternal grooming. The ability of environmental factors to cause inherited epigenetic modifications makes this form of genome coding particularly attractive to neo-Lamarckists. [The inheritable modification of non-deterministic genetic features also provides a wedge for some credibility for metaphysical speculation about the evolution and function of our individual bio/consciousness.]
Epigenomics of Alzheimer's disease progression sciencedaily.com 2015 Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Our susceptibility to disease depends both on the genes that we inherit from our parents and on our lifetime experiences. These two components -- nature and nurture -- seem to affect very different processes in the context of Alzheimer's disease. A new study of epigenomic modifications reveals the immune basis of Alzheimer's disease. Manlis Kellis and his team at MIT were able to Identify both genetic and non-genetic (lifestyle) effects on human health from studying cells from people with Alzheimer's and a mouse version of the disease. Findings suggest that an immune disorder is partially responsible for the symptoms and while disruptions were coded in the cell's genetics, the changes in the brain cells appeared to be influenced by environmental inputs like diet, education, physical activity and age."We have an interplay between genetics and epigenetics - and you might not be able to do anything about the genetics but you might be able to do something about the epigenomic by - I don't know - maybe reading more books." (Or tackling some computer or Internet projects.)
Epigenetics does not mean that thinking makes it so Science Blogs: Posted by Orac (David Gorskion, Ph.D) April 13, 2012 - The latest way that quacks are trying to push the idea that you have near total control over your health is by abusing new findings in epigenetics. If there’s one thing quacks hate, it’s genetics. The reason, of course, is that they view genes simplistically in a deterministic fashion, constructing an elaborate straw man of modern genetics in which genes are destiny. Epigenetics frees them from that, because they can now use it as a near-magical talisman to invoke as an alleged mechanism by which one’s activities can permanently alter one’s gene expression. [This plays into the woo paradigm that says you can go Down the Rabbit Hole and create your own reality.]
Beyond DNA: Epigenetics - Deciphering the link between nature and nurture by Nessa Carey, 2012 - Excerpted from The Epigenetics Revolution: We talk about DNA as if it’s a template, like a mold for a car part in a factory. In the factory, molten metal or plastic gets poured into the mold thousands of times, and, unless something goes wrong in the process, out pop thousands of identical car parts. But DNA isn’t really like that. It’s more like a script. The dreadful privations that survivors of an event in World War II known as the Dutch Hunger Winter - also created a remarkable scientific study population. The Dutch survivors were a well-defined group of individuals all of whom suffered just one period of malnutrition, all of them at exactly the same time. Because of the excellent health-care infrastructure and record-keeping in the Netherlands, epidemiologists have been able to follow the long-term effects of the famine that provided evidence that epigenetic processes partner with DNA mutations to effect how species evolve.
The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter, & Miracles by Bruce H. Lipton, 2005 - Dr. Lipton is one of the world's foremost cellular biologists who pioneered research that deals with the epigenetic characteristics of a cell's DNA. This relationship offers sound scientific evidence to support a clear separation in the function of mind and matter, which in turn supports the concept that genes and DNA do not control our biology. Instead, DNA is controlled by signals from outside the cell emanating from our consciousness. See also: Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future and a Way to Get There from Here by Bruce H. Lipton, 2010 - Dr. Lipton invites readers to reconsider: the "unquestionable" pillars of biology, including random evolution, survival of the fittest, and the role of DNA; the relationship between mind and matter; how our beliefs about nature and human nature shape our politics, culture, and individual lives; and how each of us can become planetary "stem cells" supporting the health and growth of our world.
Epigenesis Cloud evolving an amoebic life form. Source:
Sculptural Model LUCA
One infinitesimal phenomenal insight into symbiotic epigenesis involved in the creation of form, function and ecology of every living organism.
Bacterial Protection of Beetle-Fungus Mutualism - Science 3 October 2008: Cameron R. Currie, et al - ABSTRACT: Host-microbe symbioses play a critical role in the evolution of biological diversity and complexity. In a notably intricate system, southern pine beetles use symbiotic fungi to help overcome host-tree defenses and to provide nutrition for their larvae. We show that this beetle-fungal mutualism is chemically mediated by a bacterially produced polyunsaturated peroxide. The molecule's selective toxicity toward the beetle's fungal antagonist, combined with the prevalence and localization of its bacterial source, indicates an insect-microbe association that is both mutualistic and coevolved. This unexpected finding in a well-studied system indicates that mutualistic associations between insects and antibiotic-producing bacteria are more common than currently recognized and that identifying their small-molecule mediators can provide a powerful search strategy for therapeutically useful antimicrobial compounds.
Experimental Man: Environmental Chemicals interact with one another in a toxic soup inside our bodies and have an epigenetic impact on possibly thousands of genes. by David Ewing Duncan, 2009 (Discover Magazine, May, 2009) See also: Experimental Man: Duncan's book, 2009. Tested for hundreds of chemicals and genes associated with disease, emotions, and other traits. this science journalist examines his genes, environment, brain, and body, exploring what they reveal about his and his family's future health, traits, and ancestry, as well as the profound impact of this new self-knowledge on what it means to be human.
The Epigenesis of Mind: Essays on Biology and Cognition coeditor Susan Carey, professor of psychology at Harvard University, 1991. This volume presents many of the emergent themes reflecting the focus of a Jean Piaget Symposium entitled Biology and Knowledge: Structural Constraints on Development. Innate knowledge, cognitive development - result from multiple learning mechanisms and the problems ofinduction with respect to concept acquisition are even harder than originally thought
Cognitive Science of Spiritualism a blog by Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S., Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India., Class of April, 1970. The author's view about human soul and spirit differs from the views shared by the three major Indian Schools of philosophy. In his opinion, the ground substance that is called ‘cytoplasm’ is a spiritual substance (the substance that I recognize as the substance associated with Soul/Spirit) and this corporeal substance or living matter is fundamentally distinct from non-living matter. The structure and function of human ovum or the egg cell must be clearly understood to know the Spiritual Basis for Human Existence. This egg cell is capable of immanent actions, displays cognitive abilities, and performs intelligent functions. It is conscious and is fundamentally distinct from non-living, inanimate, insentient, inorganic matter.
Deep Ethology Epigenesis and the Epigenetic Cascade Neil Greenberg Ph.D, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, U.Tennessee, Knoxville. EPIGENESIS refers to the influence of the environment on the expression of the genetic code. Many genes require specific environmental circumstances in order to be expressed; many genes are never expressed. The genetic "program" refers to the potential for initiating and orchestrating specific physiological processes that MAY ultimately manifest themselves in a trait such as behavior. In 1893, Thomas Huxley, wrote, “Evolution is not a speculation but a fact; and it takes place by epigenesis.” Note that evolution’s chief defender did not complete his sentence with the phrase “natural selection”.
De Generatione Animalium by Aristotle, Translated into English by Arthur Platt, Oxford. Clarendon Press,1912. (m-g comment: I found this tome reads in a surprisingly modern style and presents remarkedly advanced concepts concerning the generation of life forms that Aristole was aware of. He is even credited with proposing a theory of epigenesis that has only recently been embraced in the form of epigenetics by the neurobiogenetic science community.)
The Cosmic Serpent DNA and the origins of knowledge by By Jeremy Narby, 1999. This adventure in science and imagination, which the Medical Tribune said might herald "a Copernican revolution for the life sciences," leads the reader through unexplored jungles and uncharted aspects of mind to the heart of knowledge. In a first-person narrative of scientific discovery that opens new perspectives on biology, anthropology, and the limits of rationalism, The Cosmic Serpent reveals how startlingly different the world around us appears when we open our minds to it. Anthropologist Jeremy Narby explores a theory that integrates entheogen-inspired visions of indigenous shamans of serpents gifting medicinal knowledge about endemic plants with the attributes of DNA as is evolving in the ongoing discoveries of molecular biology. See: Author's First-Person Chronicle excerpted from book.
See also: Intelligence in Nature (Google eBook) by Jeremy Narby, 2006. Continuing the journey begun in his acclaimed book The Cosmic Serpent, the noted anthropologist ventures firsthand into both traditional cultures and the most up-todate discoveries of contemporary science to determine nature's secret ways of knowing. Anthropologist Jeremy Narby has altered how we understand the Shamanic cultures and traditions that have undergone a worldwide revival.
Resources for Indigenous Knowledge
Indigenous Heritage and Intellectual Property: Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge, and Folklore by Silke von Lewinski, Anja von Hahn, 2004. For indigenous cultures, property is an alien concept. Yet the market-driven industries of the developed world do not hesitate to exploit indigenous raw materials, from melodies to plants, using intellectual property law to justify their behavior. Existing intellectual property law, for the most part, allows industries to use indigenous knowledge and resources without asking for consent and without sharing the benefits of such exploitation with the indigenous people themselves. It should surprise nobody that indigenous people object. Recognizing that the commercial exploitation of indigenous knowledge and resources takes place in the midst of a genuine and significant clash of cultures, the eight contributors to this important book explore ways in which intellectual property law can expand to accommodate the interests of indigenous people to their traditional knowledge, genetic resources, indigenous names and designations, and folklore.
Intellectual Property Rights for Indigenous Peoples: A Source Book by Tom Greaves (Editor) 1994. See: Intellectual Property Rights for Indigenous Peoples by Dean B Suagee pp 193-208
Intellectual Property Rights and Indigenous Peoples - Annotated Bibliography by Jessica Scott Jerome.
On Faith and Knowledge
Life and Mind in the Universe The Origin of Death by George Wald, 2001 I have come to the end of my scientific life facing two great problems. Both are rooted in science; and I approach them as only a scientist would. Yet both I believe to be in essence unassimilable as science. That is scarcely to be wondered at, since one involves cosmology, the other consciousness.
How is it that we have a universe of matter at all?
So we can take this to be a universe that breeds life; and yet, were any one of a considerable number of physical properties of our universe other than it is -- some of those properties basic, others seeming trivial, almost accidental -- that life, that now appears to be so prevalent, would become impossible, here or anywhere. I can only sample that story here and, to give this account a little structure, I shall climb the scale of states of organization of matter, from small to great.
What we recognize as the material universe, the universe of space and time and elementary particles and energies, is then an avatar, the materialization of primal mind. In that sense there is no waiting for consciousness to arise. It is there always. What we wait for in the evolution of life is only the culminating event, the emergence of creatures that in their self-awareness can articulate consciousness, can give it a voice and, being also social creatures, can embody it in culture: in technology, art and science.
...the anthropic principle states essentially what I have just said: that the universe possesses the properties it does in order eventually to produce physicists.
...a universe - that to be - needs to be known and to that end has taken on a design that breeds and fosters life; so that life might eventually, here and there, evolve scientists who could cast back upon the history that produced them, and could begin to understand it. That, through their knowing, the universe could achieve increasingly the reality of becoming known, of coming to know itself.
I created pages about evaluating the credibility of New Age; prayer; yoga; siddhis; transcendence and Hawking on God
Critical Thinking vs Obama Politics
On the extraordinary degree under the Obama presidency whose lies, guile and deceit have resulted in a host of utterly false narratives promoted by the mainstream media that advance his ideological agenda to transform America into a socialistic state based on the European model. These narratives cater to an entitlement society plus persuade a sizeable population of gullible or clueless constituents incapable of critical thinking and pose an existential threat to the national and international character and security of our republic.
Cognitive Bias: Bad Thinking and Bad Decision Making by Michael Elliot (politics and critical thinking) Two things which fascinate me are the ways in which we logically or illogically argue and how our observations can succumb to certain biases. If you routinely study the styles of argumentation which people reason from and then reverse engineer their language, you start finding the fallacious thinking and bias that drives their outlooks. The best examples of when this is on parade are discussions concerning politics or religion, however, they also permeate the minutiae our daily conversations as well. (see also: Cognitive Bias Your brain is primed to reach false conclusions by Christie Aschwanden (2015). Specifically the “illusion of causality” and how it pertains to the anti-vaccination movement.
J'accuse some major false Obama and Hillary narratives:
- Hands Up- Don't Shoot False Narrative
- Army Sgt. Bergdahl-Taliban Prisoner Swap
- IRS Stonewalling
- Reset Cuban-U.S. Relations
- Executive Orders to free Gitmo Terrorists
Obama Wont connect Islamists and Terrorism
- Obama Creating An Entitlement Society
- Hillary Clinton Refuses Request For Personal Server for independent confirmation about Benghazi emails while Secretary of State and to reveal details regarding contributions by Saudi and other foreign governments to the Clinton Foundation before and after her tenor as Secretary of State.
- Accusation that Netanyahu's "flip-flop" on a Two-State Solution - justifies Obama to "reassess" U.S.-Israel relations - totally ignoring the changed reality on the ground since 2009 when there was some hope that a Palestinian state would live in peace with Israel to the evolved state where the Palestinian government is in alliance with Hamas - pledged (alongside surrounding terrorist forces of Hezbollah in Lebanon, Isis in the Golan Heights and a nuclear Iran) to the annihilation of the Jewish people).
- Fatal Flaw in Obama's Deal With Iran Obama's plan will guarantee (at best might slightly delay by a one year) the state-sponsor of terrorism will attain nuclear weapons and eventually obtain intercontinental missles.
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