I’ve been reflecting on the evolution debate lately, and my frustration with the mainstream, either/or bickering carried on between the Neo-Darwinist’s and their Creationist opponents has reared its head again. How it is that people think these questions can be so clearly defined will baffle me forever.
What is Enlightenment dedicated Issue 35 to all things evolutionary, which is available in its entirety at their website. The articles "The Real Evolutionary Debate" and "A Brief History of Evolutionary Spirituality" are very thought provoking, and there’s several other resources that are worth a look. The following excerpt from the latter article regarding Friedrich Schelling’s insights intrigued me, personally:
"Expanding on a century’s worth of evolutionary thinking and the idealist philosophy of J.G. Fichte (who’d been a student of Immanuel Kant), Schelling proposed an alternative to the encroaching materialism so dreaded by his Romantic friends: an evolutionary idealism. As the opposite of materialism, the philosophy of idealism held that consciousness, not matter, was the ultimate basis of reality. And once combined with a scientific understanding of evolution, Schelling realized, idealism would represent a force with which all serious thinkers of the Enlightenment would have to contend.
"Envisioning an epic process of cosmic evolution in which an unmanifest realm of pure consciousness, or absolute spirit, is actively manifesting itself as the world of time and space through a series of increasingly complex and conscious forms — from matter to life, to mind and beyond — Schelling wrote:
With apologies to Kuato... Open your mind. Open your mind! Open your mind!
- What a 7-year-old describes as 'funny lightning in the sky' leads to a 14-minute video of a Stephenville UFO -- filmed January 19th. A local tv station aired a little of the video in this video report.
- 'Lost city' at the bottom of the ocean contains chemical traces that suggest it could have been the cradle of life on Earth.
- Land-roaming croc may be missing link. Now that is one fugly varmint.
- Discovery of hunting tools turns the clock back to 8,000 BC for ancient English city of Bath.
- Ruins of 7,000-year-old city found in Egypt's Faiyum oasis. Tombs yield ornate painted coffins and a female mummy still adorned with a gilded mask.
- The amazing 14th-century map of Britain. The Gough Map: The Earliest Road Map of Great Britain is available at Amazon US & UK.
- Language evolves in quick bursts, mirroring species evolution. More from Abnormal Interests.
- They were made in Norway, lost en route to Ireland, washed up in Scotland, and are now on display in England. So, which country can justly lay claim to the Lewis Chessmen? Most fiction seems banal in comparison to this history.
- Wilhelmina Jashemski and the Roman gardens of Pompeii.
- Researchers reveal hidden complexities of why we kiss.
- Cultivated from stem cells, transplanted jawbone was grown inside recipient's abdomen.
- Hunting for your child's DNA doppelganger.
- Scratching an itch temporarily shuts off areas in the brain.
- Research suggests 85% of us can develop the ability to remote view.
- The Eureka! Myth: Innovative epiphanies actually take years of hard work. Scott Berkun's book, The Myths of Innovation, is available at Amazon US & UK. Or check out Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention at Amazon US & UK.
- Hair analysis can now reveal where-all you've been.
- Cosmic Log: How animals gauge the weather.
- Mutant killer seaweed of doom.
- The science fiction event horizon.
- Study says many studies suck: Mark Morford takes on inane science.
- The black box economy. And, why the middle class is no longer coping.
- An insider explains how the sub-prime mess happened. More black boxes.
- Why won't bankers say sorry?
- Do all companies have to be evil? Michael Shermer on Enron, Google and the evolutionary psychology of corporate environments.
- The Tectonic Interpretation of the 1908 Tunguska Event.
Quote of the Day:
I'll admit that I wasn't excited about running the initial story of the mysterious sightings when it came to us last week. I was even less excited the next day when I opened the paper and saw the word “UFO” in the headline. (That's what I get for leaving the office early.)
At first glance, I screamed. Then I said a couple of bad words. I'm not a fan of tabloids and I was worried that we looked like one.
Since the story broke, and spread across the world, I've been contacted by four editors in the country congratulating me for having the “guts” and “good sense” to go with the story.
“You are listening to what the citizens are telling you, and newspapers don't do much of that any more,” one wrote.
Sara Vanden Berge, Managing Editor of the Stephenville Empire-Tribune, in this January 18 editorial.
Michael Prescott has another interesting post on his blog (one of my favourite stopovers) - mentalist Banachek (Steve Shaw) emailed Michael with a few corrections and personal thoughts on the infamous Project Alpha, which Michael has previously criticised based on a paper by Michael Thalbourne. Banachek disputes some of Thalbourne's memories of Project Alpha. What is great to see, however, is the professional and courteous manner in which he presents his side of the story - hopefully not just a one-off. Nice to see 'discussion' on these topics, rather than rhetoric.
A few things to keep you busy over the weekend...
- Greg Bishop has a fascinating post on "Swarming Micro-Bots as Aliens" on UFO Mystic.
- The latest podcast from the Psychedelic Salon has McKenna, Sheldrake and Abraham discussing "Psychedelics and the Computer Revolution".
- The Societe Perillos excavates "The Crypt of Rennes-le-Château".
- Also: Ben Hammott documents some previous "Excavation at Rennes-le-Château".
- Michael Prescott considers the 'transmission theory' of consciousness in light of recent medical news.
- George Hansen calls out "Paul Stevens and the European Journal of Parapsychology".
- Michael Tymn offers "What the Advanced Spirits told Allan Kardec" on his afterlife-related blog.
- Coral Hull has an essay titled "The Consciousness of the Haunted House: A Meeting of Minds".
- The latest forum article at Graham Hancock's website is "Yima and his Bull: Gemini and Taurus in the Lascaux Caves", by William Glyn-Jones.
- Anthony North considers the biblical account of the 'Creation' at Beyond the Blog.
- The latest essay on Filip Coppens website is titled "Maize: Food From the Gods?"
- At UFO Digest, Brad Steiger writes on "Ancient Secret Societies, UFOs, and the New World Order".
- Lesley offers her thoughts on the New Mexico Green Fireball phenomenon at her 'Land of Enchantment' blog.
- Daniel Brenton tells you what he'd do "If I Had a Time Machine..."
I mentioned last week that National Geographic was beginning a video feature titled "Treasure Wars". You can now view all of the videos in the series at the NG site, which cover topics from Nazi plunders to secret societies guarding Afghanistan's ancient treasures, and lost riches of Machu Picchu. Good stuff.
SFGate.com has a good article looking at the recent conference on 'the afterlife' hosted by the Forever Foundation in San Francisco. Presenters included Loyd Auerbach, Dean Radin, Bruce Greyson, Julie Beischel and Gary Schwartz:
These academics take their paranormal work seriously; they also risk ridicule on campus and struggle to find sources of funding to investigate what happens after we die. One of the issues they face is whether an afterlife is provable by scientific method. Some, like Julie Beischel, who co-founded Arizona's Windbridge Institute for Applied Research in Human Potential, think it is.
"This is how science works," Beischel said. "There's a question and science investigates it. You can't draw a line and say, no, that's outside of science. Science doesn't have any boundaries in what it can investigate."
Nice to see sensible, open media coverage of the event.
Little bit late today. What can I say, I try to have a life every now and then...
- America's Space Age turns 50.
- Navy tests electromagnetic pulse rail gun (with video). Such cool tech gadgetry, put to such shitty usage.
- New light on dark energy.
- Props from The Da Vinci Code movie auctioned off to raise money for Lincoln Cathedral.
- UN Peacekeepers vandalise prehistoric Saharan artworks.
- Medicine in Ancient Egypt. "Nurse, bring me an adze, stat!"
- Archaeologist strikes Nasca 'gold'.
- Forget needles...this farmer looks for a castle in his haystack.
- Blue eyed people descend from one person 6000 to 10,000 years ago. Papa...?
- New computerised plagiarism scan finds thousands of copycat scientific articles. Actually, I copied that sentence from the Sci Am article.
- To understand consciousness, we need to ask the right questions. Maybe starting with "who are you people?"
- Nick Bostrom argues that drug research should be about more than just treating disease.
- What happens when someone writes a book about hallucinogens for kids? Something like this.
Quote of the Day:
About the million dollar prize, I would be worried if I were you because of the fact that we have perinormal possibilities.
Richard Dawkins, to James Randi
For those die-hard Indy fans out there, here's this new pic of our favorite archeologist (Lara who?) wielding some serious fire power; I only hope he gets the chance to use it this time, not like in Raiders when he cowed from destroying the Ark of the Covenant.
Follow the links and you'll find an interview with Producer Frank Marshall. Harrison Ford and Shia LaBeouf (who plays the part of Indy's son Mutt... what's with George Lucas and dogs anyway??) are also appearing in February's cover of Vanity Fair magazine, and there's also a behind-the-scenes video of the photo-shoot.
-So, Doctor Jones, what was the topic of your Doctorate thesis anyway?
-Use of ordnance as a tool in archeological digs
I've always wondered about the James Randi "Million Dollar" prize for his paranormal challenge - rumours have flown that there is no million dollars, while others say it's there in cash waiting. Welp, in his latest newsletter Randi has given evidence for the prize, via a PDF image taken from the prize account's financial statement. Unfortunately, I don't really have the accounting knowledge to understand some of the terminology: I understand the $4K in cash, and can take a guess at the $52K in cash equivalents. But can anyone fill me in on what the $1 million in "Investment Grade Fixed Income" means? It certainly seems that this is 'actual' money of some sort, considering the $4K in interest earned during December. But I'd appreciate clarification.
By the way: stand by for more information about the actual challenge part...I've found out some interesting things and will be posting an article soon about it all.
Our good friend Robert Schoch has a new book released today, although this time around it's nothing to do with the Sphinx, pyramid cultures, or even archaeology. Instead, the new book is an anthology which looks at The Parapsychology Revolution (available now from Amazon US, or preorder from Amazon UK):
Grounded in both scientific acumen and constructive inquiry, this anthology shines a rare, clarifying light on the controversial realms of psychical and paranormal research, surveying reports, essays, and arguments from more than a century of investigation into matters such as clairvoyance, telepathy, and past-life regression.
In the past one hundred and twenty-five years-despite a relative paucity of funding and the troubling persistence of fraud-serious inquiry into the paranormal, particularly as it relates to clairvoyance and psychical perception, has successfully entered the scientific age.
Studies in the modern laboratory, employing rigorous methodology and peer-reviewed oversight, have conclusively detected statistical anomalies that suggest the presence of some not yet understood faculty of the human mind. In The Parapsychology Revolution, Robert M. Schoch, Ph.D.-a scholar widely known for his geological theories that question the conventional dating of the Great Sphinx-and researcher Logan Yonavjak introduce and anthologize core writings that underscore the range and continuing challenges of psychical research.
The book's extensive introduction and the editors' commentary on individual essays and sections highlight milestones, feuds, and key players that mark the nascent history of this fascinating and important field of research. Finally, The Parapsychology Revolution addresses and clarifies the all-important question: Is there legitimate evidence for a world beyond the ordinary?
I'll be taking a look at the book next week and reporting back, and will probably talk to Robert as well, exclusively to TDG.