Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Evolution or Intelligent Design?

It has been my line of thinking for some time now, that humans could not have evolved to their present state of development naturally on this planet. Any scientists who support the idea that that human evolution is plausible, must at numerous turns, try to make the pieces of this particular jig-saw puzzle fit by using a mallet, because the pieces just don't fit together otherwise. For centuries, that mallet was the church, for even when Darwin explained evolution to us (and don't get me wrong, evolution does indeed occur in all species), the church was still very much in control of the sciences, as in many ways it still is to this day. But now we also have another mallet that is commonly used, and that mallet is an amalgamation of scientific totalitarianism and scientific propaganda. I do not want to go into this in great detail here, because I have other issues that I wish to hit on that are more pertinent to the topic at hand. Let us just say, that it is easily shown, that scientific discovery and advancement is normally expensive. Funding is needed (and often a lot of funding) to make even the smallest breakthroughs. Ask any scientist that you may know, how hard it is to get funding for a project that is not only outside of the current consensus of a given field, but indeed is in direct opposition to said consensus, and they will tell you, that not only is the funding rarely available, but that any scientist attempting such a move also risks their own professional future. This is not something that most scientist are willing to risk as it can mean the ruination of ones career and/or livelihood. Believe me on this, I do not wish to reveal too much here, but I am quite familiar with the phenomena. Anyhow, let us move on to issues that are closer to the topic at hand.

Humans, what a strange and wonderful creature they are. I think we might all find agreement with the strangeness part of that and possibly even some disagreement on the wonderful part, if we look too closely at ourselves. But I am obviously not talking about wonderful in the sense of always being pleasant to be around. No, I am using the term wonderful to describe humans from the aspect of their uniqueness on the planet and also their diversity as a group or species. Yes, at any given moment, you might see someone who looks like me, walking the streets of a city near you (or more likely driving, since you are probably in a so called advanced part of the world if you are reading this), but if you knew me, and then went up to that person who resembles me, you would most likely find little beyond the physical appearance to connect that person to myself. Those who think like I do, most likely look nothing like myself and may not even be of the same ethnic origin or even the same gender. One thing that we do have in common though, is our humanity, an aspect of us, that as I said earlier, is far removed from the beasts of the field or the wild.

Let us consider for a moment the attribute of speech. This has been to me, a life long obsession. If we grant, that the evolutionary process, is one of keeping and using beneficial traits to promote a species, then we are forced to accept the idea, that if speech (and by this I mean true speech and language skills) which has made us "masters" of our world, were indeed a beneficial trait, then why have in all these millions of years of evolution, other creatures not evolved the same ability? Why haven't at the very least, other primates developed language? Even primates that have been taught to use sign language (IMO this is like what parrots and other talking birds do when they repeat our words and phrases), still fail to teach such a language to their peers and/or their offspring? You would think, that if evolutionary theory were as true as claimed, that it would only be natural for them to do so. At least I would think so. So yes, language has always been a virtue in humans that has puzzled me, by it's absence in other life forms, including and even especially relating to other primates. Humans are the only primate on our planet who actually do anything more than grunt, growl, moan, whine, yipe, cry, mimic, use body language or any of the other communicative gestures that my dogs or cats or a parrot can do. I am very close with my cats and with all the dogs I have had the good fortune to have had as companions over the years, but I would not in any significant way, rate them even close to humans on anyone's evolutionary development scale.

Ok, so we have hit on the issue of language, and the oddity that it happens to be, on a planet that really is not in need of it as expressed by every other living creature on the Earth.

So you might ask at this point, are we just aliens to this planet then?

Are our origins completely non-terrestrial?

I would indeed have to reject that premise. When I consider, that we share more than 90% of our DNA with a friggin' banana, I must conclude, that we are a part, a child if you will, of this planet We are far too similar to all other life on this planet, to have simply been an alien species of animal life, dropped here for whatever reason. No, we are, or at the very least, part of us, is from right here on Terra Firma. I would go as far as to say, that our origins include us rising from the waters even and among our ancestors, were small rodent like creatures, that being warm blooded, survived the Apocalypse that destroyed the dinosaurs and many other cold blooded creatures, which perished when a large mass hit the Earth, around a point on the Yucatan Peninsula, and caused a cataclysmic event a few million years ago. My point of course being, that we are indeed of Terrestrial origin.

The question which we must all ask at this point then, is are we strictly the product of Terrestrial evolution? I have already covered the issue of language, which I defy anyone to dispute. I could also go into the issue of hair and/or fur covering, that is in it's absence, pretty unique among us as a mammalian species. Like I reminded you earlier, if we are solely the product of evolutionary changes and natural selection, then why are we such an oddity on a planet that is so similar in all other aspects when it comes to animal life in general, and mammalian life in specific? Show me another bald of hair primate for example. Most primates and indeed most mammals are covered in thick fur or hair, but oddly enough, most humans have very little of the stuff. So the question arises once again, if evolution is all about keeping those traits which are beneficial and discarding those traits which are not, then what is up with the hair situation?

The following is what I think probably happened. Simply put, a long time ago, extraterrestrial visitors arrived on this planet and found it was abundant with all forms of life. They marveled at the diverse mixture of flora and fauna and were pleased with the vast array of mineral resources. After a long period of investigation, they determined that the planet was void of intelligent lifeforms, so they decided, for reasons I will not go into at this time, to genetically alter one of the species of primate. Using some of their own DNA, they modified the highest form of primate that they found to create the first humans and scattered them around the planet. Ever since then, they have been periodically returning to check up on their new creation. These visits increased after the 1940s, when they found that humans had developed nuclear capabilities. They then saw a short time later, that mankind had reached a point of being capable of space travel and of the beginnings of us being able to  manipulate multi-dimensional reality. I do believe that we are under very close scrutiny at this point and it is probably only a very short time from now, that all will be revealed to us.

☮ doc haynes

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I Exist. I Think.

"COGITO ERGO SUM" ~ Rene Descartes
Basically that interprets from the Latin to mean, I think therefore I exist.

I often wonder about existence. What is it? Why do we do it? How do we do it? The same questions come to my mind when I consider thought. What a strange creature man is, that we would actually contemplate thought itself. To the best of our knowledge, we are the only creatures on this planet that exhibit this peculiar trait. We are at least the only ones who have managed to fill libraries with the study of this age old question.

What is thought? According to Wikipedia; "Thought" generally refers to any intellectual or mental activity. It can refer either to the act of thinking or the resulting ideas or arrangements of ideas. Similar concepts include cognition, sentience, consciousness, and imagination.

So thought and thinking are mental forms and processes, respectively. Thinking allows beings to model the world and to represent it according to their objectives, plans, ends and desires.

But what exactly is it?

In Eric Baum's book, What Is Thought?, Mr. Baum proposes a computational explanation of thought. Just as Erwin Schrodinger in his classic 1944 work What Is Life? argued ten years before the discovery of DNA that life must be explainable at a fundamental level by physics and chemistry, Baum contends that the present-day inability of computer science to explain thought and meaning is no reason to doubt there can be such an explanation. Baum argues that the complexity of mind is the outcome of evolution, which has built thought processes that act unlike the standard algorithms of computer science and that to understand the mind we need to understand these thought processes and the evolutionary process that produced them in computational terms.
Baum proposes that underlying mind is a complex but compact program that exploits the underlying structure of the world. He argues further that the mind is essentially programmed by DNA. We learn more rapidly than computer scientists have so far been able to explain because the DNA code has programmed the mind to deal only with meaningful possibilities. Thus the mind understands by exploiting semantics, or meaning, for the purposes of computation; constraints are built in so that although there are myriad possibilities, only a few make sense. Evolution discovered corresponding subroutines or shortcuts to speed up its processes and to construct creatures whose survival depends on making the right choice quickly. Baum argues that the structure and nature of thought, meaning, sensation, and consciousness therefore arise naturally from the evolution of programs that exploit the compact structure of the world.(ref)

Got all that? I have to ask then, if evolution were the key to thought, then why would more animals not exhibit the same traits as we do when it comes to the thought process? Why would we alone, as a species, which shares so much of it's DNA with all other lifeforms on the planet, act in such a unique way? To my understanding, evolution has a tenancy to repeat mutations that have proven to be beneficial. Such as the common eye and the fact that most creatures on the planet which have eyes, have two of them, allowing for binocular vision and the ability to judge distance. For that matter, in an overwhelming number of cases, said evolution has kept a common theme of creating things in pairs. Two eyes, two ears, two front limbs and two hind limbs, just to name a few. So, I have to wonder, since evolution is renown for it's repetitive nature, then why are we, so different from all other creatures, when it comes to thought?

So, please pardon me, if I do not go for the simplistic theories of Mr. Baum on this matter.There is obviously something more to this, than a simple matter of biochemistry.

Let us return to the thoughts of Rene Descartes on this  matter. Keep in mind however, that Descartes was in the end a religious man. I personally do not hold the same prejudicial bias on the matter, but I will try to not get into that at this time, but instead save it for the topic of future thoughts.

For those of you who are not familiar with Rene Descartes, I offer the following three minute video:

Or to be more precise on Descartes view on the matter, I offer  the following two videos:

So, do the musings of Descartes explain what thought really is? Does he explain how or why we think? To me the answer would have to be, a resounding no, he does not. But he does bring us to one undeniable conclusion; Since we ask the question of our existence, than we must indeed exist, otherwise, we would not be able to even ask the question at all. I think, therefore I exist, the rest of you however, may yet end up being figments of my overactive, highly dubious and bizarrely humorous imagination.

I may not be able at this time, to explain what thought is, but so long as I exist, I will continue to think. And so long as I exist, the thoughts that I have, I will attempt to report here for your consideration, as this blog is after all, dedicated to my thoughts.

Peace, love and light to you all,

doc haynes