Tag Archives | History of Knowledge

Intellectual Incest

Via Skeptical Analysis:

Natural selection tends to avoid incest. Incest — more properly, inbreeding — allows recessive genetic traits to accumulate, often to the detriment of affected individuals. If a child gets a bad gene (doesn’t make a needed protein) from one parent, it’s best if the other parent doesn’t also contribute the bad gene.

Popular literature suggests wild populations, such as wolves, seek mates from outside their own packs. Also, primitive peoples may raid neighboring clans for wives, and friendly exchanges of eligible women between ruling European families provided genetic diversity while maintaining royal status.

Cultural and intellectual incest is a problem of a slightly different nature. Lack of cultural diversity can deprive a nation of the benefits of innovation and can also result in the development and retention of perverse cultural traits. Open societies are the fix. Honor killings within some European societies have lost fashion as a result of the cultural dilution that resulted from advances in communications and exchange of populations in the twentieth century.

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Did All Dinosaurs Have Feathers?

Photo: Dinoguy2 (CC)

Cast of the fossil dromaeosaur specimen NGMC 91 (nicknamed "Dave", cf. Sinornithosaurus). Photo: Dinoguy2 (CC)

I remember reading long ago an article about how man’s own psychological and sociological biases can shape how they view scientific phenomenon. (Sadly, as this was in the pre-Internet days, I can’t locate it anywhere on the Web, so forgive me if the details are vague or off a bit.) Perhaps the best example: when the biological process of impregnation is usually presented, the model is a valiant army of noble sperm battling waves of defenders to the egg as it lays helpless from the attack without the surrounding protections.

This image evokes the idealized fantasies of the Age of Chivalry, turning the act of conception into a battle between knights and warriors over a chaste and passive queen.  (Talk about a Holy Grail.)  It also squares with the gender roles that dominate society, that of the male aggressor and the female as his prey.… Read the rest

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The Hegemony of the Economic

Sao Paulo Stock Exchange

Photo: Rafael Matsunaga (CCO

James W. Jones writing in Psychology Today, from September of last year:

I recently returned from Europe. I was at a European wide Forum that brought together people from a variety of fields: politics, economics, social science, technology as well as the arts and philosophy. They were there to discuss a variety of issues confronting Europe (and the world) today. Most focused on politics and economics.

In addition, of course, I spent a lot of time on airplanes and in airports reading the newspapers and magazines one finds there. These discussions, plus the newspapers and magazines I read there and on the plane, suggested to me that the vast majority of people in the West are convinced that the all the problems of the world are really economic. That economic “progress” is the only solution to the world’s problems and that anything that hinders the “progress” of the economy is to be immediately rejected without further consideration.

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Uncover ‘Hidden Wisdom’ With Tim Wallace-Murphy

NewtonWilliamBlakeBelow is the first five chapters of Tim Wallace-Murphy’s new book Hidden Wisdom: The Secrets of the Western Esoteric Tradition available on Scribd. Here’s a quick bit about the book:

From Egyptian mythology to Jewish mysticism, Rome and Greece to the Druids and the Gnostics, Tim Wallace-Murphy exposes a fascinating lineage of hidden mysteries and secret societies, continuing through the Templars, Rosicrucians and Freemasons to our modern visionaries. This hidden stream of spirituality and that of sacred knowledge are inseparably entwined to form the single most important continuous strand in the entire Western esoteric tradition.

This tradition exerted a seminal influence on the thinking of the builders of the great cathedrals, leading teachers in ecclesiastical schools, on philosophers, playwrights and poets such as Shakespeare, Goethe, Blake and W. B. Yeats, on artists and renaissance giants such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. It is also the root from which sprang alchemy and modern science.… Read the rest

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Uncover ‘Hidden Wisdom’ This Week with Author and Freemason Tim Wallace-Murphy

NewtonWilliamBlakeIf you will be in the New York-metro area this week, please come and join us for a talk and book signing for Tim Wallace-Murphy’s new book Hidden Wisdom: The Secrets of the Western Esoteric Tradition. Please RSVP on Facebook (see links below) or if not there, then by comment on this article:

Thursday, May 6, 2010: East West Living Bookstore and Cafe

Saturday, May 8, 2010: New York Theosophical Society

Monday, May 10, 2010: Livingston Masonic Library

Whether you can make it or not, here’s the first five chapters of Hidden Wisdom available on Scribd:

From Egyptian mythology to Jewish mysticism, Rome and Greece to the Druids and the Gnostics, Tim Wallace-Murphy exposes in Hidden Wisdom a fascinating lineage of hidden mysteries and secret societies, continuing through the Templars, Rosicrucians, and Freemasons to our modern visionaries. This hidden stream of spirituality and that of sacred knowledge are inseparably entwined to form the single most important continuous strand in the entire Western esoteric tradition.

More info at www.hidden-wisdom.com.

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85 Years Ago Today, Edward Hubble Announces the Universe is Bigger Than Anyone Can Imagine

Amazing to consider what we didn’t know less than a hundred years ago. Via PBS:

On December 30, 1924, Hubble announced the discovery of a Cepheid, or variable star, in the Andromeda Nebulae. Since the work of Henrietta Leavitt had made it possible to calculate the distance to Cepheids, he calculated that this Cepheid was much further away than anyone had thought and that therefore the nebulae was not a gaseous cloud inside our galaxy, like so many nebulae, but in fact, a galaxy of stars just like the Milky Way. Only much further away. Until now, people believed that the only thing existing ouside the Milky Way were the Magellanic Clouds. The Universe was much bigger than had been previously presumed.

If you’re curious to see what the famous telescope named after him has been up to lately, check out: Hubble Sets an Eye on the Dawn of Time.

Here’s a video of Hubble’s work found on YouTube:

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