Posts Tagged ‘Evolution’

Animalism Is Not A Humanism

February 24, 2021

More Is Different. Similarly, Humanism Is More Than Animalism. Identifying Humanism To Animalism Is Incorrect, And No Way To Progress.
All advanced animals, including squirrels, have consciousness (by definition of “advanced”). But animals have more or less consciousness, and much more, or much less, can be very different. Studies on worms have shown that as little as three neurons can endow a worm with apparent free will: three neurons, free will. But of course worms do not have consciousness and free will as we do.

An analogy will help the wise: an isolated ensemble of very few particles is endowed with, and controlled by, quantum properties; however an ensemble of many particles, with few exceptions (Bose-Einstein condensates) is a classical object: more is completely different. The quantum description vanishes, the classical description replaces it. Similarly and for the same reason, from quantum to classical, or a variant thereof, the animal description disappears and the human description appears.

In the end, we are completely different from squirrels.

Now, of course, should one be a Nazi one may want to consider people to be no more than animals, so the Nazis elevated animals to the level of humans, to better exterminate the latter. After all, one exterminated insects with Zyklon B, and, having identified people to insects, the Nazis could then exterminate the former like the latter… with the same insecticide!

Our ancestors 60 millions years ago, resembled squirrels, but they ate insects. Our descendants became ever more brainy, in great part because of their carnivorous diet and habits: running after potentially dangerous prey while clinging to branches requires much intelligence… while squirrels, content to much on nuts, a less demanding task neurologically, stagnated neurologically. A quick look at evolution tells us that squirrels are probably 100 millions years away from civilization (should all of their deadly competition, namely primates, magically disappear; with primates to eat them, squirrels would never get there, to civilization, because predators tend to stay smarter, and primates are dozens of millions of years of intellectual superiority over squirrels).

To claim ever more intelligence makes no difference in grounding morality should be a well-known pitfall.

Civilization’s progress ever since there are animals and they think, is called humanism.

Animalism is not a humanism. Sentient mussels are not conscious chimps. Much more mind is completely different.

Patrice Ayme

Magnolia (named after French botanist Magnol), Monterey cypress, Luna… Berkeley CA, 2/23/2021 Do other animals appreciate beauty? Some apparently do. But surely not as much as humans do.

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P/S: this is the second essay on the “Animalism Is Not A Humanism” theme in a few days. What is going on? There is obviously a deep propaganda campaign launched suddenly by the plutocracy promoting the opposite, namely that animalism is humanism. Plutocrats are animals, but we should think of them, all of a sudden, as human (that seems to be the secret message supposed to imprint our subconscious: you are just an animals, thus we are all equal, rich or poor, commander of the world, or not). This time the spark to my reaction above, a comment which I sent to the New York Times, was an article in the New York Times 2/23/2021, today… in the NYT’s philosophical series called “THE STONE“. My comment was blocked, as it put the plutocratic newspaper to shame. Here are extracts of the NYT’s article, with comments I add now (those were not sent to the plutocratic propaganda paper, naturlich!):

Humans Are Animals. Let’s Get Over It.
It’s astonishing how relentlessly Western philosophy has strained to prove we are not squirrels. By Crispin Sartwell; Mr. Sartwell is a professor of philosophy.

If one were to read through the prefaces and first paragraphs of the canonical works of Western philosophy, one might assume the discipline’s primary question to be this: What makes us humans so much better than all the other animals? Really, it’s astonishing how relentless this theme is in the whole history of philosophy. The separation of people from, and the superiority of people to, members of other species is a good candidate for the originating idea of Western thought. And a good candidate for the worst.

[Patrice Ayme: As I explained, more is different; that’s a well known idea. One snowflake doesn’t make an avalanche, and cannot behave as one; many snowflakes make an avalanche, a completely different agent; one neuron does not make a civilization, dozens of billions of trillions of them, entangled, over the fullness of time, do. The transition from quantum to classical mechanics is the best example; that analogy is a hard data point great philosophers did not have before: Quantum Physics, in full, dates from 1924…

The so-called “philosophy professor” Sartwell pursues: The Great Philosopher will, before addressing himself to the deep ethical and metaphysical questions, pause for the conventional, ground-clearing declaration: “I am definitely not a squirrel.” This is evidently something that needs continual emphasizing.

Rationality and self-control, as philosophers underline again and again, give humans a value that squirrels lack (let’s just stick with this species for the time being), a moral status unique to us. We are conscious, and squirrels, allegedly, are not; we are rational, and squirrels are not; we are free, and squirrels are not.

We can congratulate ourselves on the threat averted. But if we truly believed we were so much better than squirrels, why have we spent thousands of years driving home the point?

[It is of course not just “Great Philosophers who make that point. People eat squirrels casually; when they eat Mr. Sartwell and his ilk, they thank the gods, at least so I have been told…]

Sartwell: One difficult thing to face about our animality is that it entails our deaths; being an animal is associated throughout philosophy with dying purposelessly, and so with living meaninglessly. It is rationality that gives us dignity, that makes a claim to moral respect that no mere animal can deserve. “The moral law reveals to me a life independent of animality,” writes Immanuel Kant in “Critique of Practical Reason.” In this assertion, at least, the Western intellectual tradition has been remarkably consistent.

[Here Sartwell mixes up things. Mortality is one thing, morality, another. We may all die tomorrow, it does not mean our morality dies with us. That rationality gives us some of our dignity is one thing; love, or even hatred, gives us dignity too. That advanced animals are rational cannot be denied: reason is what the brain produces. That reason endows an eagle with dignity cannot be denied either. If an eagle behaved like a rabbit, it would have less dignity… Now Sartwell speaks of Kant, professor to slave traders, a philosopher extolling the slave trade, and who is to reason what the slave trader is to commerce… Kant was deeply immoral, and his law most noticeable, is slave trading. kant is to the western intellectual tradition was lung cancer is to breathing…]

Sartwell: “The connection of such ideas to the way we treat animals — for example, in our food chain — is too obvious to need repeating. And the devaluation of animals and disconnection of us from them reflect a deeper devaluation of the material universe in general. In this scheme of things, we owe nature nothing; it is to yield us everything. This is the ideology of species annihilation and environmental destruction, and also of technological development.

PA: Humans became humans because they ate meat. Otherwise we would have big bellies like chimps, gorialls and all too many Americans have. Meat gave superb nutrition, allowing to shorten the gut. Gorillas and chimps know this, and try to kill preys as much as they can. But they are not superb killers as the evolving members of the genus Homo became. Pure veganism is NOT healthy. This being said I look forward lab meat… But then why should there be cows around? Is not a world without cows poorer? Supposed I was on a lonely planet, and god would lend me Sartwell for 20 years as company, until She made Sartwell disappear in a cloud of smoke. Should there be Sartwell, or no Sartwell? Is it moral to have Sartwell? Did he suffer?

A paradox is that the animalists tell us to stop eating animals to be like animals. But animals eat animals. Even cows do. So if we would be animals like animals, we would eat animals like the animals do.

Sartwell: Further trouble is caused when the distinctions between humans and animals are then used to draw distinctions among human beings. Some humans, according to this line of thinking, are self-conscious, rational and free, and some are driven by beastly desires. Some of us transcend our environment: Reason alone moves us to action. But some of us are pushed around by physical circumstances, by our bodies. Some of us, in short, are animals — and some of us are better than that. This, it turns out, is a useful justification for colonialism, slavery and racism.

PA: The USA is the world’s top exterminationist country. How was that done? By having Hollier-Than-Thou Puritans, such as professor Sartwell, treating native Americans as if they were animals. Sartwell is still at it, indeed, a century later, in the guise of the opposite, just as the Puritans were. What he is doing is attacking reason… And this is exactly why he did not publish my comment (which was the part above before my name).

Then Sartwell accuses Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, Hobbes, Descartes, and Freud of opposing “nature” and “reason”. But of course reason comes from nature, as we do, in us and the rest of animals. I have myself attacked Aristotle as a plutocratic philosopher, and he was a plutocrat himself (the person who Aristotle put in charge of his estate was no less than his friend Antipater, the plutocrat who defeated Athens and turned her in an official plutocracy where only the wealthiest could vote…).

Sartwell: “Socrates divides the human soul into two parts. The soul of the thirsty person, he says, “wishes for nothing else than to drink.” But we can restrain ourselves. “That which inhibits such actions,” he concludes, “arises from the calculations of reason.” When we restrain or control ourselves, Plato argues, a rational being restrains an animal.

In this view, each of us is both a beast and a person — and the point of human life is to constrain our desires with rationality and purify ourselves of animality. These sorts of systematic self-divisions come to be refigured in Cartesian dualism, which separates the mind from the body, or in Sigmund Freud’s distinction between id and ego, or in the neurological contrast between the functions of the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex.

PA: So Sartwell even accuses neurology to distinguish higher thought production and panic centers such as the amygdala… The ratio prefrontal/amygdala being presumably unfair to squirrel, and thus favorable to my culinary instincts orbiting roasted squirrels…

Sartwell finishes in a trainwreck:”I’d like to publicly identify this dualistic view as a disaster, but I don’t know how to refute it, exactly, except to say that I don’t feel myself to be a logic program running on an animal body; I’d like to consider myself a lot more integrated than that. And I’d like to repudiate every political and environmental conclusion ever drawn by our supposed transcendence of the order of nature. I don’t see how we could cease to be mammals and remain ourselves.”

This of course mixes everything up, although some of the points are correct… Of course we are not classical logic programs, we are quantum, so we have consciousness and free will. “Mind-Body Dualism” probably originates in the duality between Quantum and Classical. The “Quantum” is wholly about the integrated whole, accomplished through entanglement… We are out of nature, nature herself becoming transcendental, and of course we don’t necessarily have to have boobs to be, or stay human… Humanity has long transcended much of humanity and will transcends some more very soon… Including aging, which has a pervese effect on all of human culture…

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P/S 2: I value squirrels: I had a pet squirrel in Africa, for many years. I also had a parrot, Mimi. I got more attached to the parrot, though. She was very argumentative… when she didn’t want to go back to her cage, for the night, she would fight. As her wings were not clipped, she would fly around like a dragon from Game of Thrones, threatening all sorts of mayhem, just for show… Unfortunately, after years of fun and games, she died from avian flu of some sort, creating great sorrow.

Feb. 23, 2021

REMORSE: When WILL To TRUTH Bites Back

February 20, 2020

Abstract: Many human emotions make sense when analyzed in the context of humanity’s purpose… which is to establish truth. Humans are truth machines.

Where does this strong emotion, remorse come from? From the Will to Truth, and, more specifically the will to moral truth. Remorse entices humans to obsess So remorse is a good thing, a teaching attitude. Individuals and societies should practice it more. 

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Emotions Such As Remorse, Which Ground Morality, Are Grounded In The Last Billion Years:

Morality, considered in its most fundamental way, is revealed to be a neurological, a neurogenetical (in the sense of genesis) aptitude to manage optimally the ways which enable the survival of the species… This neuroethics is more or less automatically inherited (in ways science has not fully elucidated yet… but research as deployed here should help). Automatic systems such as walking: when one has two legs, one ends up walking on them, as long as one is in “human” circumstances (that is not stuffed in a small cage; having other walking humans around helps).   

Thus, all and any trait of fundamental moral etiology is grounded in the old ways of our ancestors, some living hundreds of millions of years. A lot of our neurological biochemistry works so well, it has not changed since our fishy ancestors.
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WHAT IS REMORSE?

The feeling of remorse consists more specifically in deep regret or guilt for a moral wrong committed. Morality (from “mores”, the old ways in Latin) is what insures group survival[1]. For example, the Nazis violated the old ways, the mores, so at least 8.5 million Germans died (that was about 10% of all Germans) [2]. 

So remorse addresses wrongs against the ways which insure group survival. Remorse is the motivation, the spur for much truth seeking of a social nature

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An Example: Afghan Remorse:

The USA has been officially at war in Afghanistan for 18 years, the longest US war, ever. In truth, the order of attack was given on July 3, 1979, by “Democratic” president Jimmy Carter. The cynical excuse to justify the attack was to harass the Soviets, allied to the Republic of Afghanistan with Muslim Fundamentalists (the true reason, laying below, was even more sinister…. It was to insure no Franco-Russian sphere of co-prosperity would grow in Central Asia).

But that immoral war, initially launched, by Carter, for the indefensible reasons, in the most abject way (advise Muslim Fundamentalists to attack schools for girls)…  is not the subject of this essay. Instead the subject of remorse is.

From the New York Times: “My Friend Lives Inside the War on Terror. Listen to Him.”

“A moment of moral reckoning came when Specialist Murphy had to conduct a body cavity search of a college professor who could barely walk without a cane, during his prison intake for some unknown crime.

“And here I was in my United States Army uniform and here was this very sensitive looking grandfather-type guy, and just the … I don’t know. It kind of was one of those moments where I was just taken aback and I just was affected.”

All the while there were nightly mortar attacks. Rockets, too. There were ambushes at the gate and explosives on the roads. 

But MORAL INJURY — the damage to the soul caused by participating in something unjust — has a wide blast radius for anyone with a conscience. The ambiguity of military operations since 9/11 are fertile ground for moral injury. Average Americans may feel guilt or shame for the conduct of the war on terrorism — the pardoning of war criminals or the indefinite jailing, without trial, of men at Guantánamo or the civilian casualties caused by drone strikes — but it can be devastating for those who are a part of it.

To keep from being desensitized, he told me, he resolved to learn all his prisoners’ names and listen to all the questions they had for him during the twice-daily head counts.”

Moral injury? A good concept, because it reflects reality. Human beings are made prone to moral injury, so they can be hurt, and, hence, learn from it. 

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SEARCH FOR TRUTH REQUIRES REHASHING THE PAST:

Human beings with a normally functioning mental machinery tend to relive past events and to regret their actions. Some sneer that it’s useless to relive the past. But of course, if such were the case, all literature would be of no interest and be gone. Besides, we would never examine our lives, thus, according to Socrates, would not have lives worth living. 

Less amusingly, and more fundamentally, if we didn’t revisit the past, we would learn nothing as learning consists into backtracking over what one thought one knew, finding all the inputs which preceded the errors, and proceed to the probable truth by systematic elimination of failing logic or bad data. Those who can’t revisit the past, can’t learn. When one can’t learn, one may suspect it has to do with inability to revisit the past.  

Some call learning by trial, error, and rehashing what went wrong, the “scientific method”, insinuating “science” is new. We the smarties have been doing science for 500 million years, it’s our home. Humans, who are truth machines, do much more of science than our beastly ancestors. Thus we thrive from much more equity seeking and remorse… among other apparently weird, very human behaviors.

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WW 2 Hirohito riding proud with fellow criminal army idiots

An Example of Insufficient Remorse: Japan

Japan declared war to all of South East Asia in a period of half a century, concluded by the two atomic explosion, and the immediate threat of a third atomic strike. The Japanese invasions killed up to 50 million people, most of them civilians. By contrast, Japan suffered around 2.5 million dead… most of them Japanese troops which died of starvation. US bombings of Japan, conventional or not, killed less than 700,000… Thus, however horrifying the death toll was for Japan, it’s not commensurate to the death toll Japan inflicted to the the rest of the world… And in particular Korea, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia (to put the aggressed countries in chronological order).

Germany, starting in 1945, recognized its crimes against humanity, through remorse which brought genuine atonement (see below; atonement took decades: top Nazis like von Manstein stayed influential for decades, preventing recognition of the German resistance against Hitler).

As he was preparing his 1952 speech at a ceremony to commemorate Japan’s return to independence with the end of the U.S. occupation, Hirohito insisted that he “must include the word remorse”. Hirohito was in excellent position to express “remorse” as he was nominally in charge. Hirohito felt that, instead of surrender, he wished he had been able to end the war earlier. He also privately expressed horror at the atrocities committed by the Japanese military, according to the documents. But he also said that the military was so powerful that he couldn’t influence it.

Hirohito wish to express remorse was relayed to then-Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, who advised against it. However, since then, the present Japanese emperor, grandson of Hirohito, has expressed “deep remorse”. However these things take time to percolate down throughout society. The switch of Japan from nuclear to massive coal, presently underway with the complicity of Australia, shows that Japanese remorse doesn’t go far enough yet.

More of the same Hirohito riding high. The problem with such plutocrats is that they ride on hubris, and with hubris they blind the peasants. Clearly the imperial position, symbol of hubris, per se, should be cancelled in Japan (in China too: they justify each other…

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EQUITY BRINGS TRUTH:

Experiments have shown monkeys attach an overwhelming importance to truth: submitted to unfair situations, they can cut the Gordian Knot by attacking the experimenter. Why is equity so important to primates? Because being just insures the survival of the group, by making sure they all get taken care enough. Thus one would expect all social animals with intelligent societies to have a developed sense of equity. There is some evidence of this with, say, lions, wolves, hyenas.

Now equity has the equal sign therein: before having some equity, one needs to have some truth (to find out what’s equal; hence the power of equations!) Without truth, no equity. Conversely, much truth is socially, culturally derived (monkeys and apes don’t discover all by themselves foods and pharmaceuticals in the forest: they learn it from their parents, elders…). So equity and truth are entangled.

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Atonement is Jewish, Remorse, French:

Remorse is often conceptually entangled with “atonement”, particularly in the USA, of course… Atonement is any change of attitude to create unity, to make many “at one” (at-one-ment).    In other words, “atonement” is a more primitive form of psychology than true remorse. To survive, the monkeys need to be “at one” (Latin adunare “unite,” from ad “to, at” (see ad-) + unum “one.”). Atonement is tribal, something monkeys and other advanced social animals (say wolves) have plenty of practice, to constitute the group which will allow them to live. 

Unity is most major in the USA, otherwise they would have none (since Americans are immigrants who came from all over the world, the US traditions use every possible tricks to create unity). Translating “Day of Atonement” gives Yom Kippur in Hebrew, the most sacred celebration of the Jews.

In a country such as France, an old instinct says that survival comes from mental diversity, not “atonement”.  Indeed, France got its unity from diversity! (Now Britain and the USA, descendant states from France are also ruled by that notion… historically to a lesser extent, but they caught up…)

Hence is France atonement is practiced only very reluctantly, to the point that the notion, this side of Vichy, is not even conceptualized…

In a country such as France, one would expect only a fascist government to set-up a day of atonement, repentance, etc. Right, this sort of thing happened in the Middle Ages… Times of great theological fascism and plutocracy, indeed. And that’s precisely why the late Middle Ages have bad press nowadays. Also then, in the Middle Ages, the Pope would go once a year to the Synagogue in Rome and try to persuade the Jews to convert to Catholicism: a fight of universalism, as Catholicism means just that. Catholicism proved more universal than Yom Kippur: there are barely more Jews now than under Rome, whereas the Christo-Islamists have multiplied like rodents (there are more than three billions)… Christo-Islamism expanded, precisely because it celebrated universalism, that it, to some extent, diversity, rather than Jewish atonement, unity as necessary, to plaster over the fragility

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True remorse is more specifically human, it rises above the herd to question the lonely conscience. Nostalgia and a capacity to sit away from oneself, let others be, and, more generally, listening to life speaking for itself, are not far behind. 

Want the truth? Learning to bite back at your own soul should be part of your arsenal!

Patrice Ayme

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[1] Medieval Latin remorsum” a biting back or in return,” noun use of neuter past participle of Latin remordere “to vex, torment disturb,” literally “to bite back, bite again”

Medieval Latin phrase remorsus conscientiæ (“remorse of the conscience,” 

 

One could also say, some Medievalists, obsessed as they were with words, have got to think about it, that re-morse is uncannily close to re-mores (refurbishing one’s mores…)

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[2] These are minimal numbers. I use spanking new statistics

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_casualties_in_World_War_II

Notice that includes 5.5 million dead young men, the soldiers, presumably the best stock of the German “race”…

 

We Eat Meat Therefore We Think, Thus We Are

September 30, 2019

Man self created above ape, thanks to the trick of eating meat (and making war to predators) in a much more effective fashion than chimpanzees could. That was no mean feat: in some cultures, chimpanzees are obsessed with meat, and can eat more than a pound of it a day, every day. They chose to cling to the trees. Our ancestors, instead, went where chimp didn’t try to dare go before; the savanna. Now we have Moon, Mars, Europa, Enceladus to go to.

So evolutionary speaking, the creation of the human species adapted to the ecological niche of the carnivorous, savanna ambling killer ape we created for ourselves. Yes, it was red in blood, claw, and tiny weapons. So important are weapons and meat eating to creating thinking, this is so true that Homo Floresiensis, who derived directly from Homo Erectus (and not the Homo Antecessor then Archaic Homo Sapiens route) was found with plenty of tiny but extremely lethal weapons.

I meat therefore I think: not even tragic, and certainly true.

A way of life creates a way of metabolizing food. Rats, when they exercise more, synthetize  vitamin C more. Not so humans, who don’t synthesize vit C: they are supposed to pick it up inside fruits, because our ancestors ate fruits from tropical trees, for dozens of millions of years.

Now massive meat eating has characterized the human ancestors and driven their evolution, for more than 5 million years. So it’s very unlikely that human physiology has not adapted to that fact: our deep human physiology is carnivorous. Hence not eating meat is healthy… simply because it is, literally, inhuman. 

For million of years, no human population had a vegan diet, for the good and simple reason that it kills (from lack of vit. B12, L Carnitine, etc.). Not even gorillas, chimps or orangutans, or even bonobos have it, either. All love meat, and need it.

We need to get re-acquainted with reality. Our reality. Our conquest and control of the planet, now our true and good spaceship Earth, arose from our creator, evolution. We have been master of our destiny. We now need to control what drives evolution, survival.

“God” is another word for sorcery… without the magic.

The magic was in the meat, and the culinary arts.

Patrice Ayme

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P/S: The preceding is related to an article in the New York Times:

Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice.
The evidence is too weak to justify telling individuals to eat less beef and pork, according to new research. The findings “erode public trust,” critics said.

By 

Sept. 30, 2019

Public health officials for years have urged Americans to limit consumption of red meat and processed meats because of concerns that these foods are linked to heart disease, cancer and other ills.

But on Monday, in a remarkable turnabout, an international collaboration of researchers produced a series of analyses concluding that the advice, a bedrock of almost all dietary guidelines, is not backed by good scientific evidence.

If there are health benefits from eating less beef and pork, they are small, the researchers concluded. Indeed, the advantages are so faint that they can be discerned only when looking at large populations, the scientists said, and are not sufficient to tell individuals to change their meat-eating habits.

Philosophy Suggests That Advanced Homo Is From Eurasia

April 27, 2019

The spark of a correct guess is often drowned into a sea of wrong guesses. I am going to give here an example of the philosophical method, the method of the artful guesses, used in paleontology, on human origins. The official story goes this way: man originated in Africa, nothing to see, let the professionals do their work. it’s probably wrong.

But a philosopher will say this to a specialist: how do you know that man evolved in Africa? Usual answer: because that’s where the fossils are from.  My counter-objection: conservation bias. And a philosopher would add: why did man evolve so fast? Usual answer: natural selection (as if there was another… even human selection is natural, Homo being part, a meta part, but still a part of nature!) My counter-objection: how to we know there was no accelerator of evolution?

At this point our friend the official paleontologist of the old school will become suspicious: accelerator? And the philosopher will point at technology, the companion and extension of Homo. To live in the most hospitable regions of East Africa, once one has found how to limit losses due to ferocious animals, one doesn’t need technology absolutely: one can just frolic in the buff.

Not the case in Europe, which, for most of the last 2.7 million years was too cold to live without clothing, fire, shelter, etc. And europe was probably Homo occupied for at least two million years (date at which varied Homo Ergaster fossils were found in the Caucasus, a place quite cold in winter in Dmanisi, Georgia. Hominid fossils as well as stone tools were found throughout the 1990s. The fossils looked similar to those of Homo erectus. But in 2000, an unusual jaw was found; its size and shape didn’t quite match H. erectus or any other known hominid that lived about 1.8 million years ago. So the team named Homo georgicus. Since then, more bones belonging to H. georgicus have been unearthed.

Homo Georgicus Female Looking At You Boy, 2 millions years across, and Saber Tooth Tigers Don’t Faze MeMore recently, a completely new Homo species was found in the Philippines, and some Australian researchers have started to claim the human occupation is at least 120,000 years old. Obviously, the hypothesis long-favored in China that human origins are from all over, is gaining ground.

And a philosopher will say: how come that was not obvious all along? Just look at a map, and think!

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Out Of Africa? Not So Sure, Even If Anglo-Saxon Saint Darwin Proposed It:

Once an English gentleman passed by East Africa, found it quite old, and decreed that man came out of East Africa. n his 1871 book The Descent of Man, Charles Darwin suggested that the hominin group originated in Africa – an idea most anthropologists believe today, because beliefs are easier to remember. But Darwin also wrote that the group may have arisen in Europe because, at that time, fossils of large apes had already been uncovered there.

 

Now, indeed, the climate in East Africa; typical dry, high altitude, is prospitious for preserving fossils. So naturally very old hominin fossils were found there. It is a case of all the drunks finding all the keys below all the lamps.

 

Hominins are a group of primates that includes modern humans, more or less extinct humans like Neanderthals and Denisovans, our immediate ancestors, and more distant species such as the mysterious Homo Antecessor, Homo Erectus, Homo Habilis, and earlier species on extinct branches, including australopiths like the famous Lucy. It is harder to find their fossils in Europe, because the climate and soils there were harder for fossil conservation.

 

So what happens? Rare fossils are found in temperate areas, and many of them… don’t fit the “Out of Africa” story. For example one, just one, fossil found in Italy looks ancestral to some forms found in Africa. Fossils of a 7.2-million-year-old ape called Graecopithecus that once lived at Nikiti in Greece seems to have small canines, plus hominin-like “fused” roots to one of its premolars. In 2017, a team cautiously concluded that Graecopithecus might be a very early hominin.

Under this scenario, the 8 to 9-million-year-old Nikiti ape could represent a group of “proto-hominins” that gave rise to hominins in Europe, represented by Graecopithecus at 7.2 million years old. Hominins then would have migrated into Africa around 7 million years ago.

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Conservation Bias Beware:

Conservation of things can introduce a “conservation bias”. An example: the Egyptian desert climate preserves old paint very well. However, Egyptians were not the only ones using paint in the past. The “Picts” of Scotland who confronted the Romans were called that way, the “Painted” (Picti) because they were covered with colors. Due to damp Scotland, those colors didn’t get preserved (although they beat the Romans)… Nor was the Picts’ writing. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t write… they wrote.

In general fossil are not conserved well in a wet, biologically active climate.

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Impenetrable Africa:

Subtropical areas are one thing:  they typically have a wet season, are endowed with savannah park, and are easy to penetrate. Full tropical areas, though, are much less welcoming of human travel. A further problem is that most of the savannah park is crisscrossed by forest galleries, forests built around water ways. A simple forest gallery in Africa is more than a wall. It’s a chain of obstacles with obscurity, exuberant vegetation, tse tse flies, dangerous animals, snakes, spiders, crocs, ambushes… A forest gallery, with its profusion of trees and lianas, not to say leopards and giant carnivorous rats, can make hundreds of meters, and sometimes kilometers of nearly impassable jungle.

Forest galleries partition a lot of the tropics into small pockets which don’t communicate with each other.Hence the profusions of extremely varied languages in Africa. (In my quasi-native Senegal, six languages ruled, some tonal, others not; they are mixed, with pockets all over!)

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Gigantic Eurasia, Garden of the Gods, Easy Travel:

But then look at a map: the regions of East Africa susceptible of maximum accelerated human evolution (temperate, high altitude reasonably wet) are a small fraction, no more than 5% of what Eurasia offered… Once enough technology to resist the cold had been invented. Then wet, temperate Eurasia, presented an enormous area in which human groups could evolve, trade, compete, exchange ideas. Moreover, as I said, to just subsist in Eurasia one was technologically spurred more than elsewhere… namely in the tropical areas.

Most of the world temperate area is located in Eurasia, and particularly in Europe. Very little is found in Africa.

Eurasia, instead is easy to travel across… if one is a Mongol, some would object. Indeed, there is a giant steppe from Hungary to Korea, and the Huns and Mongols used it, a lot. But they were not the first to do so. The Indo-Europeans did this, much earlier. From West of Mongolia, in the Altai, they could go west to Europe, south to India, and east to China. And they did. Not coincidentally, the first Denisovan was found at Denis’ cave, in the Altai.

It is known that many advances of Chinese civilization were launched by European types originating from the Altai, 5,000 years ago. I suggest the same mechanism of dissemination of people and ideas was at work already two million years ago. A hint is that Chinese scientists claim to have discovered human usage of fire, in China, 1.3 million years ago.

***

Conclusion: If one visited from another star system, one would find likely that humanity emerged in the largest continent, Eurasia. All the more as it was more challenging technologically, and the easiest to trade people, goods and ideas. Call that the anti-Tasmanian Effect. The Tasmanian effect is that an isolated society which has it all too easy, will devolve (Tasmania is temperate and got isolated after the last glaciation):

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2010/08/19/tasmanian-effect/

The anti-Tasmanian effect is that a maximally exposed mental maelstrom of a society will be most creative. But that carries over, with roughly the same mathematics to phenotypes: a maximally exposed phenotype maelstrom of an hominin population will be phenotypically most varied, enabling the evolution of most successful types, and thus becoming the main engine of evolutionary progress..  

Thus Neanderthals invented the burning of fossil fuels, 80,000 years ago in Europe (an interest of living in an extremely old continent rather than much younger continents or islands full of volcanoes). Europe was the best place to have a big debate on what were the best technologies, for two million years. Now, of course, citizens of nearly all countries can run air conditioning, talk and even see at a distance. But this is now. The most natural place for Homo species to evolve more was Eurasia. This is what philosophy says…

Science will follow and figure out the details, to be certain.

Darwin RIP…

Patrice Ayme

 

God As Evolution Abstracted

March 25, 2019

GOD, CREATION OF THE CROWN OF EVOLUTION

If God is all-powerful, God can’t be a prisoner of human logic, God is beyond human logic (Descartes, creator of analytic geometry, and Pascal, a creator of calculating machines understood this). Thus God can lift an unliftable stone. (Saint Thomas had a petty vision of God, considering God couldn’t lift an unliftable stone, as if God were subject to human logic… Something Saint Thomas actually decided, as if he could impose on God His own powers…)

The problem with evil is exactly the same as with God lifting the unliftable stone: God and evil co-exist, it’s nothing humans can understand: that exact argument is held by Allah Himself, God Itself, in the Qur’an. The very co-existence of a good God and Evil is a proof of the existence of God, as it shows something is beyond human logic, thus all-mighty.

Man, the genus Homo, torments other beings, because if Man can find pleasure in tormenting, Man will be enticed to exterminate other conscious beings, as needed, including oneself. Indeed the latter is fundamental not just to ecological balance, but to the survival of… the genus Homo. Thus the infliction of pain, just as the reception of pain, have reasons beyond the individual, the group, or even the species. It is the genius of the genus.

Representant of the Genus Homo Rules Over the World As the one and only God that Matters. The son of God is son of Man, indeed.

So what wisdom did super mathematician and physicist Pascal suddenly found in the God of Abraham (after a severe illness attacked his brain)? What did Pascal find in that apparently cruel, illogical, somewhat demented, sometimes smart and good, Creator? Well, the inner logic of our own ethology: we are all children of a creative process we are made to abandon ourselves to, because we have no choice: creation itself, biological evolution… our smart, all-powerful, evil and most generous Creator… a (probably) subquantum process we don’t understand, but which certainly exists, and has all the characteristics of the proverbial “God”.

In a way, then, inventing God was a preliminary to discovering evolution. We found God, Evolution, and it created us, by evolving us with all the smarts Evolution is capable of. So here we are, most thankful, and now consciously in charge…

Patrice Ayme
***

***

Notes:

a) In the most prosaic way, it was simply how late Roman emperors justified their God-like tyranny, as I have explained in many essays. The Christian God invented under the Flavian emperors was anti-Judaic, beside being pro-Caesar and pro-Roman. The Catholic God perfected and invented by Emperor Constantine depicted a God made in Constantine’s image. How convenient!

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2018/03/25/emperor-constantine-christian-terrorist-325-ce-fall-of-rome-part-x/

***

b) The short essay above was a comment to the New York Times (published!), on an essay “A God Problem
Perfect. All-powerful. All-knowing. The idea of the deity most Westerners accept is actually not coherent.” By philosophy professor Peter Atterton. With all due respect, the essay didn’t break any new ground on the subject (my comment did).

***

c) If God knows everything, and is all-powerful, deciding upon everything, why should we bother to gather knowledge? Thus the imposition of God (enacted by Constantine, see the essay linked above) was an imposition of a mood conducive to deliberate ignorance. And then what? Still another mood bathing We The People conducive to dictatorship, emulating

Democracy is first about knowledge. Those who block the transmission of knowledge block the inception of democracy. This has plenty of consequences such as addressing Pluto ownership of media or We The People not voting laws.

***

d) Nineteenth century German pessimist yet sleep-around philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer drew attention to what he called the “diabolical” in his work “On Human Nature”:

For man is the only animal which causes pain to others without any further purpose than just to cause it. Other animals never do it except to satisfy their hunger, or in the rage of combat …. No animal ever torments another for the mere purpose of tormenting, but man does it, and it is this that constitutes the diabolical feature in his character which is so much worse than the merely animal.

But then, if one claims man is bad, god is good, as God knows what it is like to want to inflict pain on others, the conclusion is, again, that God enjoys evil.

e) When Pascal died his servant found sewn into his jacket the sentence: “God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob — not of the philosophers and scholars.” That was before the discovery of evolution in full. In those more obscure times, scholars and philosophers had no idea of what biological evolution was capable of, indeed those intellectuals couldn’t know that the mass murdering God of Abraham was exactly our Creator… with the help of the occasional asteroid or super volcano.

f) I tried to explain that the concept of God is extremely coherent if one understands that it is an abstraction of our true creator, biological evolution. In that light, all the apparent incoherence, the badness, and the goodness, the stupidity, brutality and the benevolent intelligence all make sense. Now, of course that return to tyrannical nature was very useful to emperor Constantine, who imposed Christianism…

OURSELVES, CREATORS OF CREATION, kingdom of mind!

January 1, 2018

NOTHING MOST SHATTERINGLY NEW SINCE THERE ARE MEN, AND THEY CREATE NATURE, INCLUDING THEIR OWN!

Pure reason incorporates pure emotion. This is what most philosophical critters have missed so far. So when they talk haughtily about reason, they spurn emotions, just as if they were runners, on paper, but couldn’t possibly imagine what legs are for.

A professional philosopher claims that “ethics can’t be based on human nature, because biology tells us, there is no such a thing as human nature”. He deduces from this that everyone is an existentialist… In the sense of Sartre’s silly pronouncement that we are as we decide to be (something he proved by his own life, not to be true, as Jean-Paul as predictable as a cockroach). Not so far from things I wrote for years. However, the devil is in the detail, and I am the devil, as Nietzsche didn’t dare say (he just took himself for Jesus). Actually come to think of it, not really details.

To pretend that ethics can’t be based on nature, because evolutionary biology shows that such a thing as human nature can’t be precisely determined is as smart as saying that Quantum Mechanics couldn’t be based on momentum, because the latter can’t be precisely defined. (Both Relativity and the Quantum are based, in part, on momentum.)

Actually it’s not because something is uncertain that it can’t be determined well enough for precise computations. Quantum Mechanics is complete and well-defined a theory, in spite of the position-momentum uncertainty relationship: (uncertainty position) X (uncertainty momentum) > h. Biology is great, physics is greater. Lack of precision at some point of the logic doesn’t mean anything goes. This is case where the scientifically trained mind reveals itself vastly superior to those who croak with the centuries.

They appeared 1.9 to 1.4 million years ago. Tool use belongs to the Acheulean industry. Distinguished from Homo Erectus by its thinner skull bones. Reduced sexual dimorphism, a smaller face but a larger (700 and 850 cc) brain and was up to a gigantic 1.9m in height. Made hand axes and cleavers. Homo Georgicus (below) found in Dmanisi, Georgia in 1999 and 2001 seems to be intermediate between Homo Habilis and H. Erectus and is 1.8 million years old. It’s the oldest known hominoid in Europe and were found in association of implements and animal bones. Considering the cold climate in winter, he had to have had clothing. The species name originates from the Greek ergaster meaning Workman . This name was chosen due to the discovery of various tools such as hand-axes and cleavers near the remains of H. ergaster. Its use of advanced (rather than simple) tools was unique to this species; H. ergaster tool use belongs to the Acheulean industry. H. ergaster first began using these tools 1.6 million years ago. Charred animal bones in fossil deposits and traces of camps suggest that the species made creative use of fire. By then, tech was launched, big time!

When Sartre said “existence precedes essence” he was getting drunk, drunk on his own words. No, we can’t be just what we decide, and even if we could, most of us don’t decide what we want to decide, as the life of the highly predictable fame driven automaton called Sartre bears witness. Sartre and De Beauvoir were Nazis when it was a profitable to be so, resistant when it got safer that way, then Stalinist, anti-”colonialist”, when, that, too became the highest fashion, before meekly trying to look hip by being a “Maoist”.   

Hume distinguished ‘is’ from ‘ought’, claiming one couldn’t get from one to the other. Hume lived three centuries ago. What does he know about facts and values? What does he know about deduction/ Did he know heat was motion? Did he know nerve impulse was electricity? Could he have guessed that a value could be a fact anchored in physics?

Moore, more than a century ago, was baffled about what reality really mean. Moore wrote before Quantum Mechanics. He could never have guessed how entangled, quantum entangled, our world is.

If reason incorporates emotion, deducing morality from pure reason also means deducing it from pure emotion. Logic is not just ‘logic’. Logic is the set of all possible logics, in particular not just linear logics (as found in treatise on mathematical logic). It also incorporates topologically induced logics (as from neurohormones; in other words, emotions).

The world-wide web enables to recreate fireside conversations our ancestors had, a million years ago. It’s not really revolutionary, it’s just worldwide.

Human nature involves maximal mental creativity. In other words, maximal software innovation, from a hardware, the brain, which is greatly influence programmed. Sartre’s opinion that he was self-created, as he were Jesus/God is just arrogant and dumb. Sartre was trying to hide, with an outrageous theory, obviously wrong, to deflect attention, that he and Simone de Beauvoir, were outrageous collaborators with the Nazi invaders, something which was obviously true (for whoever knows the facts, and has the  values).

hat did Sartre know about existence? Nothing. He was the pampered child of a certain self-absorbed upper layer of the Paris coffee shop culture, famous in his aquarium, when he was not busy seducing Nazi officers with his theater. Existence is not the province of words. It is now the province of hard-core physics, and so it was in Paris, since 1923, when Prince de Broglie rolled out his matter wave theory. To think the matter wave theory has nothing to do with existence and thus values, would be cretinism.

Following human nature is following whatever goes. Just as science, or philosophies themselves. Technology is not just a human transition. Technology is the human transition. Our ancestors (Homo Ergaster) were found in the Caucasus 2 million years ago. They have got to have used technology, from weapons to clothing (the proverbial animal skins). Our ancestors (Homo Erectus, China) used fire at least already 1.3 million year ago. Human technology changed the environment, so our ancestors created not just a theory of evolution, but an evolutionary machine to evolve humanity further from.  

Biological mutation have thus been under the direction of humanity for millions of years. The next complication being of course that Quantum Physics is so smart it’s nonlocal. Hence evolution is driven by intelligence squared, human intelligence multiplied by Quantum Intelligence.

Lamarck was made fun of, excoriated, and threatened by slave master tyrant Napoleon, for suggesting that intelligence drove evolution. The true reason of the rage of the church and plutocrats was that Lamarck had established evolution by studying fossils (some under the microscope). If humanity evolved, and that had been scientifically demonstrated, shouldn’t society evolve too?

Lamarck was right, we know this better everyday. Darwin learned Lamarckism, as a student in Scotland (“evolution”t was outlawed in English universities). Darwin turned evolution into a version more compatible with plutocracy, the nebulously defined “selection of the fittest”. Hitler and the “intellectuals” who inspired those who controlled that German politician, mentally deduced that “selection of the fittest” meant extermination of those who were not the “fittest”. Hitler didn’t realize that ignorant, self-important morons like him, impregnated with their own gravitas, were not the fittest, but instead the lowest of the low. It is now surfacing that, indeed Darwin, by decerebrating Lamarck’s evolution, missed its most important point. Even Tom Wolfe has understood this (see his 2016 published “Kingdom of Speech”).

Humanity is not just the kingdom of speech, as Sartre and his followers, would have it. Humanity is the kingdom of ideas, concepts, pictures, metaphors and emotions rising above previously given nature. Humanity is the kingdom of mind.

The kingdom of mind has its own rules and ethics, never seen before. For example, far from being an aggression, critique is a gift. Criticizing helps thinking (and self-criticism, thus mental betterment).

Selection of the fittest has meant, for at least two million years, selection of the fittest ideas, and selection of those, and the moods, capable of fostering them. Genetics and epigenetics followed. Human will was involved in all this, over 100,000 generations.

The human principle: I think, therefore I, and my descendants, became better.

Selection of the fittest thinking. Selection of the fittest moods.

Our descendants deliberately created much of what we became, and for the rest, they created us by eliminating what, or whom, was not the fittest, and by setting up an environment conducive to that.

Yes, a terrible message of hope.

We evolve, thus we hope to create ourselves in a better form.

And ever superior technology will help us to become better, because, should we not rise to the occasion, we will disappear.

Patrice Ayme’

Ctenophora Rewriting 750 Million Years Of Neural Evolution

August 2, 2017

Ctenophora were long considered just a kind of jellyfish. Turns out that was a gross mistake. Indeed a Russian immigrant to the USA, Leonid Moroz, found that these animals were unrelated to jellyfish. In fact, ctenophora are so profoundly different from any other animal on Earth, that it has been discovered they are much older, and unrelated, to sponges (previously sponges were thought to be by far the oldest animals; now this is known to be wrong).

In 1995, Moroz tested the nerve cells of ctenophora for the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and nitric oxide, chemical messengers considered the universal instruments of the neural language of all and any animals. He didn’t find any of them.

Ctenophora were already known for having a serious nervous system, complete with neurons; but these first experiments by Moroz showed that ctenophora nerves are built from molecular building blocks – different from any other animal – using ‘a different chemical language’! says Moroz: he calls these animals ‘aliens of the sea’.

If vertebrates had not appeared, 200 million years after ctenophora, probably confining the latter into an ecological niche, civilization may have evolved from ctenophora.

An obscure force seems to compel the apparition of complex nervous systems to evolve. It is universal – not just on Earth, but also on inhabited exoplanets. And I will show roughly what it is, and where it comes from in a companion essay (to which this one is introductory).

Jellyfishes use muscles to flap their bodies and swim. Whereas ctenophora use thousands of cilia to swim. They can be very small, but the largest are 1.5 meter long (5 feet). Jellyfishes sting, ctenophora capture prey using two sticky tentacles that secrete glue. Ctenophora ambush their prey.  

Studies of ctenophora, starting 130 years ago, showed neuron masses, and, more recently, what looked like synapses. 

Ctenophore. It looks as if the ancestors of vertebrates MUSCLED out (serious pun intended!) the ctenophora. With sheer muscle power the cilia smarts ctenophora were thrown into a niche!

Moroz finally was able to make a “transcriptome” of the DNA of ctenophora in 2007.   5,000 or 6,000 gene sequences were actively turned on in the animal’s nerve cells. His team showed that Pleurobrachia lacked the genes and enzymes required to manufacture neurotransmitters seen in other animals. These missing neurotransmitters included the ones that Moroz found to be absent back in 1995 – serotonin, dopamine and nitric oxide – but also acetylcholine, octopamine, noradrenaline, etc. Ctenophora also lacked genes for receptors that to respond to conventional neurotransmitters.

As Moroz team put it in Nature:

“The origins of neural systems remain unresolved. In contrast to other basal metazoans, ctenophores (comb jellies) have both complex nervous and mesoderm-derived muscular systems. These holoplanktonic predators also have sophisticated ciliated locomotion, behaviour and distinct development. Here we present the draft genome of ten… ctenophore transcriptomes, and show that they are remarkably distinct from other animal genomes in their content of neurogenic, immune and developmental genes. Our integrative analyses place Ctenophora as the earliest lineage within Metazoa. This hypothesis is supported by comparative analysis of multiple gene families, including the apparent absence of HOX genes, canonical microRNA machinery, and reduced immune complement in ctenophores. Although two distinct nervous systems are well recognized in ctenophores, many bilaterian neuron-specific genes and genes of ‘classical’ neurotransmitter pathways either are absent or, if present, are not expressed in neurons. Our metabolomic and physiological data are consistent with the hypothesis that ctenophore neural systems, and possibly muscle specification, evolved independently from those in other animals.”

[Nature, June 2014. The ctenophore genome and the evolutionary origins of neural systems]

Further studies have confirmed that ctenophora have evolved earlier, and completely independently of other animals.

Ctenophora lack entire classes of genes that had been thought to be universal to all animals. These included so-called micro-RNA genes, which help to form specialised cell types in organs, and HOX genes, which divide bodies into separate parts, be it the segmented body of a worm or lobster, or the segmented spine and finger bones of a vertebrate.  Such genes are present in simple sponges and placozoa.

Ctenophora are the oldest type of animal known! (Moroz tried to publish a paper in 2009 which implicitly led to that conclusion; it was rejected. He then did more refined studies which led to the 2014 Nature paper.)

Moroz now counts up to 12 independent evolutionary origins of the nervous system. Including at least one in cnidaria (the group that includes jellyfish and anemones), three in echinoderms (the group that includes sea stars, sea lilies, urchins and sand dollars), one in arthropods (the group that includes insects, spiders and crustaceans), one in molluscs (the group that includes clams, snails, squid and octopuses), one in vertebrates – and now, at least one in ctenophora.

“There is more than one way to make a neuron, more than one way to make a brain,” says Moroz. In each of these evolutionary branches, different genes and proteins ensembles got elected through random gene mutations, to take part in building a nervous system. The details are completely different, yet, the big picture is the same!

And that’s no accident, as I will argue, there is an underlying Quantum force pushing towards intelligence… Thus Lamarck was right.

Moroz rejected much of what he was taught. Because his ‘initial hypothesis was exactly what was in the textbooks’, moving to the correct way of thinking about ctenophora took him 20 years.

Science is truth, but truth is not obvious. And searching for it is even more demanding.

Patrice Ayme’

TRUTH, SCIENCE: CONSTRUCT, Only Then Try To Falsify

December 24, 2016

The notion of truth is central to the human condition. “Belief”, “Faith” claim to solve it. But there is a better way: dynamics.

BUILD, THEN VERIFY: HOW SCIENCE & TRUTH PROGRESS. TRUTH IS AN ECOLOGY.

Popper’s Error: Science Is Not Just About Falsification. Science Is Construction First, Falsification Later:

Abstract: ‘Falsification’ ruled 20th-century science. However, falsification was always second to construction. First construct, only then falsify. Why? As simple as it gets: One cannot falsify something that one has not constructed.

So what is truth? For a hint: look at biological evolution: in a way evolution is a truth, any species solves a number of problems it is confronted to. (It could be the Ebola virus: the virus solves the problem of its own survival.) I will show truths are also denizens of an evolutionary process. (Leaving the Bible’s Logos in the dust…)i

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Detailed Examples Show That Falsification Is Always Second To Construction: the heliocentric theory jumps to mind.

Heliocentrism (Earth rotates around the Sun) was first proposed by the astronomer Aristarchus (320 BCE). At least so said Archimedes. The arguments were lost. However, Aristotelian physics was in the way. PPP Carefully Looking At The Phases Of Venus Falsified The Ptolemaic Model of the Solar System

Buridan (~ 1345 CE) demolished Aristotelian physics (no, islamophiles, Buridan was indeed first). Armed with his correct inertial theory, Buridan proposed that Earth turned around the sun. But he could not prove it. Copernicus said more of the same two centuries later: yet it could not be proven.

The philosophical argument had been known for 18 centuries: the Sun was the bigger thing, so the smaller thing, Earth, should rotate around the bigger thing. (Maybe some Ancient Greeks thought about another argument, relative to speed: if the Sun turned around, in just a day, its speed had got to be enormous; enormous speeds were unfriendly; if Earth rotated around, it needed to rotate on itself: would the clouds fly away? Aristotle’s erroneous physics said so, but Buridan explained  that Aristotle’s arrow experiment was false, by introducing rotary inertia.

Kepler came out with his laws, a stupendous achievement. Still one could not prove heliocentrism definitively. It had become the simpler description, though, by a long shot. 

Falsification Of The Egocentric Ptolemaic System Was Only Provided By The Goddess Venus

Falsification Of The Egocentric Ptolemaic System Was Only Provided By The Goddess Venus; By The Way, I Protest Against The Adjective “Copernican”. Aristarchus, and Even More, Buridan, Were The Main Architects of Building The Truth About The Heliocentric System. Buridan threw Down Aristotelian Physics, Something Even Archimedes Did Not Do (that we know of!)

[In the Ptolemaic System, Venus Was Always Between Earth And Sol, Thus, Venus Always Appeared As A Crescent. Seeing Venus fully lighted by Sol showed Ptolemaic astronomers were full of it. Now, OK, they had to wait for the progress of European optics in the middle Middle Ages… Reading glasses and all that…]

And then Galileo found that the little things, the four satellites of Jupiter, were rotating around the big thing (Jupiter). Another indice.

At this point, there were several independent lines of arguments each pointing at heliocentrism as the most economical, most likely explanation (size, speed, lesser overall rotational inertia (rotational “impetus”, to speak as Buridan did), Kepler’s Laws, Jupiter’s satellites).

It was a “beast in the forest approach”: it sounded like a lion, it smelled like a lion, it had the color of a lion, it looked as if it had the ears of a lion. So what of Popper’s “falsification” approach in this? Suppose that it did not have the color of a lion. Does that prove it’s not a lion? No. It could be bright red, because it’s covered with blood, and it’s still a lion. Or all black, because it’s in the shade, yet, still a lion.

By 1613, though, Galileo’s telescope had enough power to resolve the phases of Venus (and dare to publish the result). Only then was the heliocentric theory definitively proven, and the Ptolemaic system ruled out. If the way the phases behaved had not come out right, heliocentrism would have been wrong. PPP Venus provided with the Popper Falsification. However, even before that, all astronomers had come to the conclusion that it was certain that the Earth turned around the Sun.

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Of The Bad Influence Of Popper & The Primacy Of Falsification:

Falsification is not fun and cuts down the impulse of imagination. Putting falsification from cognition first kills imagination. Imagination is more important than cognition. Imagination is the definition of the human condition.

To realize that only the phases of Venus were an incontrovertible proof, one had to have derived the heliocentric theory far enough to come to that conclusion. By the time it became clear that the Venus phases were the incontrovertible proof could be, 99% of the theory of heliocentrism was established. 

It was a question of mental chicken and egg: neither came first, the theory had to evolve. Actually, the phases of Venus can be resolved by exceptional observers with fantastic eyes, and special atmospheric conditions (the human eye can resolve a minute of arc, Venus apparent size is around two-third of that).

If one had been guided by only finding a definitive proof of heliocentrism, one would have invented no science. For example Buridan and his students invented graphs. They also demonstrated early calculus theorems, but without any of the sophisticated formalism, equation, analytic geometry, which those theorems would push to discover…

By considering that only the last step of an inquiry makes that inquiry scientific, Popper and his falsification obsession make science impossible. (Down with Popper; make no mistake, I like Popper, but then I also “like” Ivanka Trump’s mien in the coach cabin of a Jetblue sardine can, when she kept calm in the middle seat, while being “harassed” by two PC college professor idiots… They were thrown out of the plane, came to regret their actions, and then deleted their Tweeter accounts where they wrote about the deedd they planned. Both the martyrized Ivanka and one of the cruel college professors of barbarity were with small children, including two infants…)

As Buridan pointed out, one could not tell the difference, experimentally , between the heliocentrism he proposed and Scripture (so one may as well believe scripture, he added insolently). But that impossibility to falsify did not prevent him to think about it, and to think about it as a science.

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Evolution theory is even more constructivist: 

The Greek philosopher Anaximander of Miletus, before the Persian fascist annihilated Miletus, proposed that people descended from fishes. Later, Aristotle, baffled by fossils, ordered his students to go out, observe and establish a registry of living forms.

By then evolution theory by mixed artificial and natural means was well-known in Greece, as related methods produced superlative cattle sold around the Mediterranean. Nobody can know how much was explicitly in writing about evolution (out of 700 Greco-Roman classics we know of, only 150 survived… through the Frankish controlled monasteries).

Evolutionary ideas were revived in the Eighteenth Century, until Lamarck proposed the theory of evolution in 1800 CE. Lamarck became quickly an object of hatred from the dictator Napoleon and the Christian Church. A bedrock of his conclusions were microscopic studies of fossils of mollusks (decades behind the microscope destroyed his eyesight). Lamarck was a research professor, not a falsification professor: he invented ideas, and even words: he used neologisms such as biology, mollusk, invertebrate, etc.

Lamarck also proposed a non-selective mechanism to explain evolution (as I said above, the Greeks were thoroughly familiar with natural and artificial selection). That obviously could not be disproven, and the mechanism was completely unfathomable. It is only now that epigenetics has been demonstrated to exist, and some mechanisms explaining it have been made explicit.

Methinks there is much more to come (because DNA is a Quantum machine in a Quantum environment, and all interactions are non-local…

***

Those Who Don’t Want To Build, Don’t Want to Know:

We build theories, first. Then we test them, always. First build.

Those who don’t want to build, don’t want to falsify.

***

Finding Truth By GOING BEYOND The BIBLICAL GOD:

To assuage and pacify the Neoplatonist leadership of the Roman empire, the evangel of John proclaims in its first few sentences that the “logos” was God, and God was the “logos”. In other words, logic, the discourse, ruled the universe.

Now the “logos” itself is its own truth: any logic defines a propositional truth from its axioms: well-formed propositions are “true” in a sense. HOWEVER, propositional truth is not ALL the truth in a logical system. That observation is the key to the problem of truth.   

Moreover, there is the problem of meta-truth. Meta-truth evolves out of truth (Godel famously proved that meta-truth existed). Logicians have been struggling with both non-propositional truth and metatruth (Godel’s proofs were proofs of existence, and did not provide with an explicit mechanism to build metatruths; later Godel and Cohen rolled out axioms which were independent of others, and thus could be considered true or not).

The preceding shows that building a scientific theory is a built-up of truth: Popper’s work was naive, removed from reality.

A scientific theory’s formation is an evolution of truth: it defines truth as it goes. Science is the best state of formal knowledge we have: thus truth is an evolution

Still, although truth evolves, that does not mean there is no absolute formal truth. There is: planes fly, don’t they? For a plane to fly one million formal truths need indeed to be true, at the same time, or the plane would crash.

Thus one can see that truth does not evolve like a species: metatruth evolves like an ecology does, generating on its way perfect species, local truths. An ecology evolves perfect species, such as sharks and oysters, which barreled, same as they always were, through massive extinction waves in the last few hundreds of millions of years. Evolution also produced species whose main business is to evolve, such as hominins (ourselves and all those cousins of us we used for dinner, in the past).

So, in the evolution of logic and metalogic, perfect truths are produced, so perfect they become part of the logos themselves (truths such as realizing that love is the engine of all things human!).

God is truth, and we make it up, as we debate reality with our imagination.

Patrice Ayme’

P/S: The essay is better appreciated if one is familiar with 20th century philosophy of science (and it penetrated the exercise of science itself, especially physics). Karl Popper claimed that, if a theory is falsifiable, then it is scientific. However, if I say, tomorrow the sky is blue, that’s falsifiable, but not necessarily scientific. The Popperian criterion excludes from the domain of science not unfalsifiable statements but only whole theories that contain no falsifiable statements. That’s silly, because Popper wanted to ‘prove’ that Marxism was not scientific… Yet clearly the work of Marx contains falsifiable statements. Moreover, Pauperism leaves one with the Duhemian problem of what constitutes a ‘whole theory’ as well as the problem of what makes a proposition ‘meaningful’.

My approach above pretty much throws the whole thing through the window. Science has to do with truth, and metatruth, which have architectures of truth, just as a building or a plane have them.

 

QUANTUM LIFE FORCE

April 15, 2016

Biological systems use Quantum Mechanics continually, at the smallest scale. That’s what I think, but I think this, because it’s obvious: molecular biology is all about transporting protons and electrons. Those “elementary particles” are not little balls. They are fully Quantum objects, here, there and everywhere. Quantum Physics describe their behavior. I used to find the Quantum weird, because I was taught that it was weird. But no more: it’s Classical Mechanics which I find weird.

For example, Classical Mechanics has edges: objects terminate with a border. But what is the border made of? Quantum Physics says there are no borders, just fuzzy zones of waning influences.

Quantum Entanglement & Coherence Does Not Just Hold DNA Together. It Enables DNA To Communicate With Its Environment, Both Ways.

Quantum Entanglement & Coherence Does Not Just Hold DNA Together. It Enables DNA To Communicate With Its Environment, Both Ways.

This is from a biological paper from Rutgers in 2014, “Improvement of DNA and RNA sugar pucker profiles from semiempirical quantum methods”

That the Quantum is fundamental for biology is proven for chlorophyll. Basically Quantum Non-Locality inside the chlorophyll molecule enables to find the lowest energy outcome for electrons excited by light in a way which is (classically) magical.

From Nature:

http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110615/full/474272a.html:

“On the face of it, quantum effects and living organisms seem to occupy utterly different realms. The former are usually observed only on the nanometre scale, surrounded by hard vacuum, ultra-low temperatures and a tightly controlled laboratory environment. The latter inhabit a macroscopic world that is warm, messy and anything but controlled. A quantum phenomenon such as ‘coherence’, in which the wave patterns of every part of a system stay in step, wouldn’t last a microsecond in the tumultuous realm of the cell.

Or so everyone thought. But discoveries in recent years suggest that nature knows a few tricks that physicists don’t: coherent quantum processes may well be ubiquitous in the natural world. Known or suspected examples range from the ability of birds to navigate using Earth’s magnetic field to the inner workings of photosynthesis — the process by which plants and bacteria turn sunlight, carbon dioxide and water into organic matter, and arguably the most important biochemical reaction on Earth.

Biology has a knack for using what works, says Seth Lloyd, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. And if that means “quantum hanky-panky”, he says, “then quantum hanky-panky it is”. Some researchers have even begun to talk of an emerging discipline called quantum biology… laboratory physicists interested in practical technology are paying close attention. “We hope to be able to learn from the quantum proficiency of these biological systems,” says Lloyd. A better understanding of how quantum effects are maintained in living organisms could help researchers to achieve the elusive goal of quantum computation, he says. “Or perhaps we can make better energy-storage devices or better organic solar cells.”

Massimo Pigliucci, a biology PhD paid as a chaired philosopher, and esteemed enough as a philosopher of science to be invited as a speaker to exclusive conferences for top physicists desperately looking for ideas, somewhere, somehow, anywhere, sort of concurred with me:

Massimo: “There clearly is a logic to evolution, albeit not a Newtonian one.”

Indeed. As I said so many times before. And we can see this ever more precisely. Newton anticipated several things, but not the Quantum. The Quantum is at the core of physics (= nature), and thus biology. It is just a matter of time, probably only a few years, before the formal scientific proofs are rolled out that Quantum processes guide evolution itself (several teams are at work).

Not to say that “natural selection” does not play an important role. But the Quantum provides with much more intelligent design. Intelligent design is what the Quantum does, teleologically, even across light years (Einstein Podolski Rosen Thought Experiment, now a real experiment across more than ten kilometers).

The Quantum can influence, at a distance and globally. The Quantum sounds very much like one of these gods of lore our primitive ancestors believed in.

At the core of DNA are hydrogen bonds which are sensitive to the environment of said DNA. My guess (philosophical moment) is that the Quantum will provide that life force, or complexity driving principle, that Lamarck hoped for, and Darwin was taught when he was a student at Edinburgh around 1821 CE.

Synred objected: “Intelligent design is what the Quantum does, teleologically, even across light years (EPR)?”Frankly, that sounds silly to me. Time will tell.

I lay my traps, and mammoths fall into them. Nothing changed much that way, in 50,000 years. I replied this to Synred:

Changing the chemical environment around the double helix affects the hydrogen “bonds”. The word “bond” is misleading: a hydrogen “bond” is actually delocalized and interacts with what is outside of the DNA (this, interacting outside, beyond classical limits, is what the Quantum does). The (Quantum) tunnel effect had already been demonstrated with some enzymes.

It may sound silly to you, as it did to Einstein, 80 years ago, but it has been demonstrated, ad nauseam. Surely if a Quantum influence can cross light years, it can cross a fraction of a nanometer.

The whole mystery of Quantum Physics, the core of the debate, ever since the 1920s, has been teleology. The Quantum acts teleologically.

Teleologia is a word coined by the German philosopher Christian von Wolff in 1740. Greek teleos “entire, perfect, complete,” genitive of telos “end, goal, result, at a distance” (see tele-), + -logia (logic).

The Public Relation failure of philosophy is partly due to the fact that too few philosophers know real recent science (Goethe and Helmholtz used to, and contributed to the advancement of science).

Thus all too many  Twentieth Century philosophers created their own jargon, not anchored in the study of reality (also known as science). Instead of using scientific semantics, and the notions attached to it. The divorce between philosophy and science is only apparent. Top scientists such as  Poincaré and Gödel were also top philosophers, but most philosophers are blissfully unawares of this.

Once in Princeton University, a (then famous) philosopher came, and gave a talk. His main theme was that logic did not progress since the Greeks. Gödel was in the front row. The speaker was unaware of the Gödel incompleteness theorems.

No wonder Gödel became crazy (he starved himself, being at least in part heartbroken from the death of his wife; but the lack of appreciation of the sort exposed above played a role).

So here we are, getting full circle on the theory of evolution. Around 1800 CE, Lamarck demonstrated, with the careful study of mollusks, that biology (a word he coined) evolved. On top of the well-known artificial and natural selections, Lamarck posited two potential forces: a sort of Elan Vital (which Bergson revitalized later), and, or, a force towards greater complexity.

The young Lyell and Darwin were taught Lamarck’s evolution in Scotland, as English universities were in the grip of the Christian Church. Which, naturally enough, hated Lamarck and his evolving life, millions of years old.

That there is a force towards greater complexity is common sense: four billion years ago, life was immensely simple. Now some of the simplest animals around, such as aplysia, the swimming sea mollusk, famed for its memory and 600 neurons, is immensely complex, much more so than any art ever crafted by human beings.

Quantum Physics operate at a distance, it operates by finding (sometimes), at a distance, the lowest energy solution. It computes, mimicking what looks like the most primitive form intelligence could take.

Being teleological, the Quantum is fully capable, given enough time, of helping chance & necessity evolve a little bit of intelligent design. (Nobel Laureate Jacques Monod wrote, in his famous book, that evolution came from chance and necessity. But, central to necessity is the Quantum.)

And of course evolution was bound to stumble on it, and embrace it, all the more as it is the mother nature who gave birth to her.

Patrice Ayme’  

For Our Creator, Evolution

October 3, 2015

Mammals we are,

Milk we need.

Or we won’t even be.

Thinkers we are,

Love we need.

Or we won’t even think.

Love tells us,

What to feel.

Love:

Milk for the soul.

We, bodies and souls

From a tangled web blossom.

Not just the quantum web,

Holding the universe together,

But even the web,

Of the highest values,

Holding minds together.

Values we learned to become

While other minds,

Gave us,

What we are.

No Love, No Chipmunks. No Heart. No Mind. And No Cuteness.

No Love, No Chipmunks. No Heart. No Mind. And No Cuteness.

 

Patrice Ayme’


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