Tag Archives | Evolution

Jonathan Sacks on the Evolutionary Value of Religion

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks makes a case for the evolutionary value of of religion in an editorial for the New York Times:

Looked at another way, though, the figures tell a different story. Since the 18th century, many Western intellectuals have predicted religion’s imminent demise. Yet after a series of withering attacks, most recently by the new atheists, including Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens, still in Britain three in four people, and in America four in five, declare allegiance to a religious faith. That, in an age of science, is what is truly surprising.

The irony is that many of the new atheists are followers of Charles Darwin. We are what we are, they say, because it has allowed us to survive and pass on our genes to the next generation. Our biological and cultural makeup constitutes our “adaptive fitness.” Yet religion is the greatest survivor of them all.

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Mind Steps, Cultural Evolution and Accelerating Change.

Picture: Nasa (PD)

“An analysis of the history of technology shows that technological change is exponential, contrary to the common-sense ‘intuitive linear’ view. So we won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century — it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate). The ‘returns,’ such as chip speed and cost-effectiveness, also increase exponentially. There’s even exponential growth in the rate of exponential growth. Within a few decades, machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence, leading to The Singularity — technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history. The implications include the merger of biological and nonbiological intelligence, immortal software-based humans, and ultra-high levels of intelligence that expand outward in the universe at the speed of light.”

Ray Kurzweil
-The Law of Accelerating Returns.

The Beginning:
Gerald S Hawkins was a pioneer thinker in his field. In 1983 he wrote a book called “Mindsteps to the Cosmos” in which he explained the notion that “Mindsteps”, dramatic and irreversible changes to the paradigms of mankind, have followed our societies’ evolution from barbarism to civilised culture.… Read the rest

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The Global Awakening

Picture: Shyamal (CC)

Currently a huge change in human consciousness is undeniably underway. In terms of the number of people effected its scale is unprecedented. Its most obvious cause is the internet, or more accurately the “communications revolution” which also includes mobile phones and other technologies. Some think it is connected to ancient prophecies relating to “the great year,” an astrological concept describing the passage of time recorded by a phenomena called the procession of the equinox [*1]. Most people from that background refer to this change as “The Awakening”.

However, even without recourse to mysticism, it is obvious people are dramatically changing the way in which they think. Humans are shaped by their technologies and, just as the invention of fire helped evolve our digestive systems [*2], new methods of communication are altering the way your brain processes information. According to a recent study it is possible parts of your mind have already been subcontracted out to the online world [*3].… Read the rest

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Jonathan Zap on the Singularity Archetype and Human Evolution


This episode of the Occult Sentinel Podcast with Joe Moore features Jonathan Zap giving a presentation at an event hosted by the Boulder “Spore” of the Evolver Network:

Jonathan Zap is an author, photographer, teacher, paranormal researcher and philosopher who has written extensively on psychology and contemporary mythology. Jonathan has done numerous radio and television interviews including four three-hour shows on Coast to Coast AM. Reality Sandwich, the popular online magazine, has published numerous of his articles. His book is titled Crossing the Event Horizon: Human Metamorphosis and the Singularity Archetype.

Jonathan Zap gives a talk titled “The Singularity Archetype and Human Evolution.” The talk is broad ranging and touches possible futures, SciFi, 2001: A Space Odyssey  Carl Jung, 2012, Near Death Experience, Rupture Plane Events, Out of Body Experiences, traveling through event horizons, Singularity, and much more.

Audio MP3

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Elon Musk’s Mission To Mars

Picture: Steve Jurvetson (CC)

Commentary from Media Underground

How exactly is it that SpaceX can do everything so cheaply? Well, it would seem from this recent interview with Elon Musk that there are a couple of reasons in particular. The first being that there’s a tendency for big aerospace companies to outsource everything to subcontractors who then, bizarrely, outsource work to other subcontractors who subsequently – in what seems to be little more than an utter bureaucratic shambles by this point – outsource to other subcontractors and so on and so forth… ad nauseum. As one commenter aptly points out at the foot of this Wired article: “One reason for all that expensively administered subcontracting is that it pleases exactly those committees [who control NASA's funding]. The large projects they favor can subcontract in many different districts, whose congressmen then have a good reason to vote for NASA’s budget. This means the committee members need not trade away any more of their political capital to get the projects that support contractors in their districts.”

In short, SpaceX don’t engage in this subcontracting farce but do it all themselves from the bottom up.… Read the rest

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Ayn Rand vs. the Natural Evolution of Human Altruism

Picture: Pauline Eccles (CC)

The natural history of mankind’s development seems to differ greatly with the psychopathic philosophy of Ayn Rand, a ‘virtue of selfishness’ in which her heroes, such as John Galt, strive for their individual supremacy and autonomy over a collective view of public good. The fact that anthropological evidence refutes her premises would hardly have deterred Rand, who referred to the “primordial savages” of the world, “unable to conceive of individual rights.” As if the rights of individuals are mutually exclusive from such goals as sharing, or showing compassion, working in tandem or exercising a collective group intelligence (with a social awareness) to meet goals.

Indeed, Ayn Rand framed her moral arguments as if the individualists were the persecuted minority, using drastic examples like Stalinist Russia to make her invective criticisms of much more centrist or moderate positions, while ignoring the rich history of robber barons, feudal states and serfdoms.… Read the rest

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A Science In Search Of A Subject

"Water's Early Journey in a Solar System" (Artist Rendition)

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Ever wondered if we are not alone in the universe?

As this truly nerdgasmic crash-course by Robert A. Freitas Jr speculates, the scope for alien life could be positively astronomical.  Via xenology.info:

Xenology is the study of all aspects of life, intelligence, and civilization indigenous to environments other than Earth. Over the last three decades xenology has advanced rapidly on many fronts. Biochemists have studied the origin of life on this planet, knowing that if they can duplicate the major early steps of “abiogenesis” in the laboratory then the evolution of alien life is a very likely – maybe inevitable – event. NASA biologists have spent much time developing sophisticated life detection instruments such as the miniature biochemical automated test laboratories carried to Mars by Viking in 1976. There is growing interest in SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, in which radio scientists look for powerful transmissions or leakage radiation from advanced extraterrestrial supercivilizations.

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Tech Writer David Pogue Transforms Into Neanderthal

Watch writer David Pogue transform into a Neanderthal through the magic of modern prosthetic makeup. Pogue's transformation comes courtesy of PBS television program Nova ScienceNow, hosted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. On this Wednesday's episode, "What Makes Us Human", Pogue will walk the streets of New York City in his Neanderthal get-up and see how people react. Would you notice anything unusual about Pogue?
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Creationists Versus Dr. Pepper

It might not quite be The Innocence of Muslims, but the Dr. Pepper advertisement shown at right has creationists all hot and bothered. Via TIME:

If you’re in the mood to draw ire from people with excruciatingly rigid beliefs, the Internet is generally a good place to start. While you’re at it, might as well pick a particularly polarizing topic. Why not evolution?

Now, that probably wasn’t exactly how the conversation went down over at the marketing offices of Dr. Pepper, but a recent ad for the soft drink posted on Facebook — with the slogan “Evolution of Flavor” — sparked a healthy dose of controversy nonetheless. Based on the iconic evolution diagram “March of Progress,” the ad features an ape who, after drinking Dr. Pepper, turns into a man. The ad went up Thursday, and by Friday had garnered more than 26,000 “Likes” and over 4,000 comments.

This is, of course, still the Internet — so plenty of comments in question are loaded with snark from people who mainly appear to be provoking for the sake of provocation.

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