Natural Selection and Natural Born Killers

Nov
27
2009
by
Lynne McTaggart
/
66
Comments

Last week, my daughter had a field trip to the new Darwin Center at the Natural History Museum in London, the place where you can see real scientists at work and ‘true’ science in the making.
For me, the unveiling of this new building, and all the bicentenary hoopla about Darwin – the commemorative stamps, the re-releases of his books, the special museum piece in his honor, the television specials all featuring the kindly, long-bearded gentleman-genius – have sparked in me some rather grave second thoughts about the man and his enduring legacy.
Although all of science has a profound effect on our own definitions of our universe, the discovery that may have had the greatest and most enduring impact on our philosophical view of the world was the theory of natural selection.
Scarcity model
When putting together his ideas for what eventually was published as On the Origin of Species, Darwin was profoundly influenced by the concerns put forward by Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus about population explosion and limited natural resource, and ultimately concluded that since there wasn’t enough to go around, life must evolve through struggle.
Subsequent interpretation of Darwin’s work did most to generate a vision of man’s solitary nature, with the suggestion that in life only the toughest and most singleminded survive.
Darwin’s thoughts about randomness got a further boost in 1953, when James Watson and Charles Crick unravelled deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the genetic coding within the nucleus of every cell. Thereafter, scientists came to believe that within the coiled double helix lay every individual’s lifelong blueprint.
Each of our cells, equipped with a full pack of genes, would live out its pre-programmed future, while we were held hostage, powerless to do anything other than to observe the drama unfolding.
As with every other kind of matter, the individual could also, in a sense, be reduced to a mathematical equation.
Consequently, for two hundred years our world view has been shaped by a scientific and philosophical story describing isolated beings competing for survival. Our paradigm for living, as largely extrapolated from Darwin’s theories, has been built upon the premise that competition is the most essential aspect of existence.
No true morality
The modern-day followers of Darwin, the so-called ‘Neo-Darwinists’, have taken this one stage further, with the more extreme view that our genes, even our ideas and morals, are engaged in competition with other gene pools and thoughts for domination and longevity.
Morality itself was an evolutionary happenstance, completely at the whim of what works best in keeping the species alive.
Shooting your classmates is not objectively wrong, but the idea has evolved to ‘appear’ wrong so that we all don’t turn on each other with a semi-automatic.
Recently I came across an extraordinary new book, entitled The Political Gene: How Darwin’s Ideas Changed Politics, by Dennis Sewall, which takes issue with the beneficial effect of Darwinism.
As Sewell notes, one person is not celebrating the Darwin double anniversary this year. That is Darrell Scott, a resident of Columbine, Colorado.
Natural selection at Columbine
Scott’s 16-year-old daughter Rachel was killed by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebolt when they sauntered through Columbine High School on April 20, 1999 (Adolf Hitler’s birthday), armed with two 20-pound propane bombs, an Intratec TEC-DC9 blowback-operated semi-automatic ‘handgun’, a Hi-point 995 Carbine semiautomatic pistol, a Savage 67-H pump-action shotgun, and a Stevens 311D double-barrel sawed off shotgun, plus assorted bombs and Molotov cocktails, opening fire on much of the student population, killing 13 of their classmates and injuring 24 others before turning the guns on themselves.
Last April, at the gathering of the 10th anniversary of Columbine massacre, Scott senior noted that on the day of the massacre, Harris was wearing a t-shirt with the words ‘Natural Selection’ emblazoned on it.
‘They made remarks on video about helping out the process of natural selection by eliminating the weak,’ noted Scott. ‘They also professed that they had evolved to a higher level than their classmates. I was amazed at the frequent reference to evolution, and that the press completely ignored that aspect of the tapes.’
Attorneys for six of the families whose children were killed at Columbine also found, among Harris’ journals and videotapes made at the time, that Harris was a great devotee of Darwinist principles and saw his actions purely as a natural extension of evolution and survival of the fittest.
My killer camp
Before it was closed down, ‘Natural Selection Army’ was a popular social networking chatroom considered a training ground for the disaffected like Harris and Klebolt. One of its frequent guests was Pekka-Eric Auvinen, an 18-year-old Finnish student, and self- described ‘social Darwinist’ (his You-Tube street name was ‘Natural Selector89’).
In 2007, Auvinen went on to shoot and kill his head teacher, while she was kneeling in front of him, and seven other students at his senior school in Tuusula, Finland, again before turning the gun on himself.
His rationale? ‘Stupid, weak-minded people are reproducing . . . faster than the intelligent, strongminded’, he wrote.
Many of the survivors noted that Auvinen was discriminatory about whom he chose to kill and whom he’d set free, deliberately attempting to root out those he deemed ‘unfit’.
The Harris and Auvinen cases appear the rantings of the lunatic sociopath until you ponder the fact that every aspect of our society reflects the essentially competitive nature of the universe and life as equivalent to a game of chess.
Every modern recipe in our lives has been drawn from this notion of being as individual and solitary struggle, with every-man-for-himself competition an inherent part of the business of living.
We have built our entire Western economic model on the notion that competition in a free-market economy is essential to drive excellence and prosperity.
In our relationships, we extol our inherent right to individual happiness and expression above all else, as our divorce statistics testify. We educate our young by encouraging them to compete and excel over their peers.
The currency of most modern two-cars-in-every-garage neighborhoods, as I have found, is comparison and one-ups-manship.
Darwin actually predicted (and appeared to favor) the idea that at some point in the future Europeans and Americans would exterminate those deemed to be ‘savages’ and that the higher races would prevail. Violent competition in nature, in his view, inevitably produces winners and losers. The winners have a right to winner take all, because the race as a whole will benefit from it.
As our Darwinian economic model and much of our social contract lays in ruins, we have to question, as Sewell puts it, “the more sinister aspects of the world-view that has come to be called ‘Darwinism”.
While we live our lives in competition, every last one of us has a piece of Eric Harris inside of him.

Lynne McTaggart

Lynne McTaggart is an award-winning journalist and the author of seven books, including the worldwide international bestsellers The Power of Eight, The Field, The Intention Experiment and The Bond, all considered seminal books of the New Science and now translated into some 30 languages.

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66 comments on “Natural Selection and Natural Born Killers”

  1. I recently read an article in Health and Spirituality that scientists are finding that teamwork is the real determiner of natural selection. Have you heard anything on this?

  2. It seems to be a constant battle between good and evil. Hitler has his ideas on the master race, sterilizing the less desirable Germans as well as of course instigating the Holocaust.
    Even today, of the number of children who are aborted, the majority are girls. And then there is the greed of Wall street causing world wide chaos.
    I guess it shows we all have it in us, the ability to do evil, or good. What is the "something" we call morality and where does it come from? Now that is a good question.

  3. My mail never seems to get to you but I'll try again. I am so very thrilled to read your blog, this competition thing has been my "theme" in life, however, therefore, I don't do to well in business! Ha! Oh well, I still think it's a worlds downfall to believe and create whole societies with it, which has gone on way before Darwin. He is just the widest read one I suppose. So very sad. Our intentions need to aim toward oneness in everything!

  4. There is no evil, and there is no good. We deem it so.
    It is high time the human race started facing and accepting responsibility for it's actions and became a wiser and more compassionate race.
    There are more people now, than ever before, accepting their part in the drama - like this intention game we are playing here.
    So unite and win in stead of divide and conquer.

  5. Excellent and thought-provoking essay. In my experience, I have found that cooperation and teamwork almost always lead to better results than competitive individualism. Scarcity is usually easiest solved through cooperation rather than dog-eat-dog competition.

  6. Bravo Lynne! Well said! Yes, the work of Darwin "evolved" into a manifesto that supports "might make right" and provides the justification to kill in order to survive. There doesn't seem to be much room in Darwin's worldview for compassion, revolution, or miracles! Thank you for your insight!

  7. Excellent blog, thanks Lynne.
    Darwin just proved by his writings that he was not a very evolved being; obviously lived by the intellect and not by true knowledge/wisdom/intuition.

  8. Competition and the free market are not the problem. There can be these things, which create jobs for those who wish to work hard and succeed, if the value of each individual is also a high priority. In the USA, the government's attempts to "distribute the wealth," "make all outcomes equal," and make everyone go to the lowest common denominator, are destroying the free market as well as attempting to make everyone dependent upon government. This is the opposite extreme of what Darwinism thought has caused. Neither is acceptable. As God has been systematically removed from every place possible, morality and individual responsibility have gone by the wayside.

  9. I find Lynne's blog and members' comments very heartening; in fact anwering a question I have been asking of late. My husband and I recently launched a web directory with a philosophy of truth, honesty and fairness to consumers. A major corporation immediately took steps to shut us down (by fair means or foul) admitting to us (off the record) that they could do it simply because they had the money (billions) and we hadn't. Lynne's commentary on the Darwinian basis for competition (i.e. anything goes) explains a great deal. We choose intention with integrity, and in speaking to "ordinary" people, are inspired to find that they believe in this too.

  10. Very interesting observaations. More thought is needed on Perpetrator/Victim energy that feeds the consciousness of even misguided believers of superiority through violence. They are called by what? I had heard that the Columbine parents who remained too quiet about this worked for the CIA or Lockheed defense dept. Who are their unseen victims? Food for systemic thought... loved you at Bert Hellinger's training in Pichl, Austria last year.....Hugs GARY

  11. As Tore Dahlin wrote, excellent and thought-provoking essay. Even though I myself have "never" thought, that competition is the core of our being or living, still you gave us , as Scott did, a shocking example how things can be worked out totally wrong (as by these young students) when we really internalize "Darwinism". To me, both my heart and my senses/head says that competition CAN,T be "the truth", as seen in Nature, there is plenty for everyone! (That is a mystery, though 🙂

  12. The cooperative aspect of nature is too often overlooked. For example the penguins taking turns on the perimeter of the circle, so that the whole group can survive in the Antarctic winter.

  13. Lynne
    As always, you make valid points that are insightful and succinct. Thank you for being a bright light in a very dark time in humanity's existence. You inspire me greatly and you have affected great change within my soul. For that, I will be eternally grateful.
    As a youth, and an athlete, I was raised to believe that to succeed, one needed to best others. It never felt right. If the mindset of 'winning' is embraced only losers result. No-one wins. Not truly. It is always at the expense of someone else - how can that remotely be considered winning?
    An example, universities compete for grants, wasting resources, not sharing information - all to 'win', whether it be prestige or funding. Imagine if these supposed information giants opened up their eyes (and files) what could be discovered. Guaranteed, we would find bits of information spread around that if unified could most likely cure cancer, Alziemers and the like, if we only learned to share.
    Maybe a mandatory return to kindergarten is the answer... but, that would require the biggest leap man could make and that's the ability to actually look in a mirror and see what's there. Truly there.
    Maybe this is the start. You've gone mainstream now (yay!), thanks in part to Dan Brown's Lost Symbol. Your gathering of information is now reaching people it never would have before and due to that fact, I feel hope.
    Thanks again Lynne. Know you've changed my life. Profoundly.

  14. Can we truly blame the scientist for failure to come up with a complete and flawless theory from it's inception? Should we hold Darwin responsible for the way others interpret and use his scientific work to validate their unevolved agenda.
    And yes to Jane, modern theory points to symbiotic relationships as a key factor which uses "natural selection" to choose which evolutionary innovation enhances the whole. Nature chooses and we all benefit.
    If we can separate 'survival of the fittest' and it's terrible social and political consequences from Darwin's 'natural selection' we may see the science is good. It evens builds partnership and community as we realize we must add something to the good of all if nature is to 'select' us as it's partner.

  15. Lynne Hi,
    Some very astute observations in this article, and for me, some new information. I was not previously aware of ‘The natural selection army’. Their views, as described, are most certainly a page right out of the Nazi philosophy book! The motives of the shooters, while twisted and immoral, clearly give a sense of what to them appeared as logic, rather than being a random event.
    Interesting that the media chose to ignore this aspect. Not for the first time. The basis of the infamous Manson murders was the rejection of Manson’s rock band by Doris Day’s son (a record producer) who had previously owned the house where Sharon Tate and her friends were staying. Manson went there several times looking for DD’s son and after the murders, DD hired bodyguards to protect him. This was never reported.
    It is recorded that Darwin was extremely concerned about the effect his ‘theory’ (it was presented as a ‘theory’) would have on the general population. It is clear from nature that life is engaged in competition. It appears cruel that animals slay and eat each other. Of course we now know that even a potato has a degree of consciousness. It seems to be that the only way that any progress can be made is where there is some sort of tension. Even in a non-organic context such as electricity there must be electrical tension before current can flow. My observations lead me to believe that far from being cruel, animals are in the main, an exceedingly moral group, just doing what they have to in order to survive. When I compare that with the lack of morality of the corporate policy of factory farming, I have to wonder whether an intellect, rather than pure instinct, has made an improvement as far as some of the human race is concerned. With regard to the animals though, we can of course only observe what occurs physically. Some aboriginal tribes believed that eating the bravest of their enemies would cause them to gain some of that bravery. For all we know, it could be the case, that when a higher level predator such a lion eats a poor antelope, that perhaps the consciousness of the antelope animal group is increased as a result? Whatever does happen, happens because it is the only course in which all parties can progress, I am sure. The gap of knowing between Humanity and the Creator of life has to be infinitely greater than that between humans and animals!
    The competition, which Lynne describes, between people, has likely never been greater than at the present time. This progress into separation must surely follow the development of the intellect, for it is that which gives man the impression that he/she is a totally, separate being. The truth of course does not come merely from the intellect. The mind in the heart is where all truth and knowledge reside. In most of humanity, this acts against the illusion of separation, so that we have sensitivity and compassion. In a few cases, this is not well developed, and results in the kind of thinking that ended in the tragedy of the death camps of WW2, and similar events still occurring until this day.
    Tension and difficulty are most surely part journey, but it is the ability to think and work for the common good, and the recognition that what hurts one eventually hurts all, which nearly all of Humanity lives by, most of the time, which prevents this world becoming a living hell.
    James

  16. Entire cultures, disciplines, and works are horribly distorted to form an apologia for greed (which as we know is the highest expression of human endeavor!) Darwin's own works are apparently not so hyper-Darwinist as we are led to believe. Adam Smith's economics are actually of essentially local interconnected communities of farmers, artisans, and small manufacturers, not deadly global competition between the monstrous legal fictions called corporations. Modern biology has conclusively demonstrated that the very basis of life is symbiosis and sharing of resources. Modern psychology shows that we are hard-wired to be profoundly cooperative and compassionate absent the disfigurements of the cultures of greed and isolation. Our species would not have survived or advanced without cooperation and compassion. Our worldview and public lives are impoverished and twisted so that we can really know for ourselves how right and proper it is to ceaselessly feed the insatiable hungers for acquisition and power of those in charge.
    Greed is a form of mental illness. Much of our economic and business world is run by the insane; "cowboys" is one American name for them. As for the survival value of greed and its fruits, history actually shows how short-lived cultures based in greed are. It is the mothers carrying their babies to the fields that have endured the tests of millennia. Mothers, don't let your sons grow up to be cowboys!

  17. As I have contiinued my outside research into the impact of coitus on gene expression, I have learned there are 20 - 30,000 genes, about which science only knows the function of 7 - 8,000. They still argue over the number, as they argue about everything else. That's their job. however they seem to agree there are no uniquely human genes. We share our genes with all other l9fe forms. Ours appear to work differently. Science uses this as an arguement for proof of evolution. An alternative arguement would be, this is what gives us dominion over all other creatures.
    The key to this power rests in the energy of love: any or all of its many forms. I will be discussing this in a free teleseminar on female sexuality on Wed. Dec 2 at 4PM EST, to be simulcast on http://www.hotmix106.com.
    Art

  18. I haven't been a fan of Darwin for a few years already, as I think he got much wrong. Dr. Bruce Lipton gives an enlightening discourse about Darwin in his book, "The Biology of Belief," for anyone who's interested. (I'm sure you're already familiar with this, Lynn) Bruce cites several examples of cooperative relationships between species in nature, for just one argument against the inherent flaws in Darwin's theories. Even as a young girl in school, my inner, knowing sense was uncomfortable with Darwin's ideas, though I could not express the reasons for this at the time.
    Ironically, I think Darwin himself is a good candidate for the now-famous "Darwin Awards."

  19. If you have not seen it, I recommend the most recent book of Carl Johan Calleman called "The Purposeful Universe." Like you he is critical of Darwin's central thesis of natural selection. He argues that purpose was built into the universe from the begiining based on the notion of a Tree of Life linked to the Mayan Calendar.

  20. I'm very pleased to see an "intention" specialist speak critically about social trends instead of making exclusively lovely "gee" statements about the Universe, and I'm pleased to see someone other than a born-again-Christian criticize Darwinism. The value of Lynne McTaggart's writing continues to rise in my estimation.
    For some thoughts on how these so-called "natural born killers" may have become predisposed toward such asocial world-views, read Sue Gerhardt's excellent book "Why Love Matters" on how affesction shapes a baby's brain.

  21. Interesting, yes ... and ... but ... What I'm saying is, it's not so black and white. Win-lose, good-evil, science-religion; in science as in spirituality, more is unknown than known. Humility is the antidote to the destructive impulse human beings channel through both these avenues. No less, economics, politics, all things. Hubris, one of the bigger dangers.
    We don't know all the factors involved in "natural selection," for one. Being fit to survive can take plenty of evidence from the meeker camps as well as the predatory arguments. Prey species are not necessarily "victims" and certainly not "unfit"; for the most part, they survive in numbers far beyond the predators'. Yes, competition exists, but not by itself; there is as much, if not more cooperation within and among species. "We're all in this together."
    For another, religions and rulers have used the mantel of superiority to massacre competitors, dependents, and innocent bystanders since history has been recorded; God has a much longer period than Darwin's 200 years as the muse for aggressors. Making it clear that whether the power-hungry are using religious, political, economic, or scientific ideology as a basis to harm others with their selfishness, we must stand in opposition to such interpretations of the texts.

  22. I agree with Ejving. "There is no evil; there is no good; there is only energy... everything else is what we make it or deem it."
    Evolution is as necessary to life as breathing. Without it nothing changes and we call that stagnation. Stagnation leads to rot and collapse. Mankind is still evolving... the evidence of which is this web site's message. The power of intention is an illusion only when seen as a phenomena outside of and effecting elements beyond oneself.
    In the reality of Quantum mechanics, everything is connected (entangled... read THE FIELD again). Hence, the only thing separating mankind from the rest of the Universe is his limited, victor/loser mentality.
    Mankind is moving (evolving) from a physical, environment changing, competitive being into a Pneumatic, environment building, cooperative being.
    Darwin is correct to a point. The fittest do survive most of the time. However, the concept of survival is evolving into something that Darwin never dreamed about.
    The Ancients knew this intuitively but lacked the science to prove it. Now science is demonstrating that the greatest thinkers of the Ages were correct.
    The biggest obstacle to human advancement is our tendency to cling to old, shopworn, meaningless concepts and superstitions that have been indoctrinated into us for millenia.
    "Leave your nets" does not mean to stop fishing. It means to let loose everything that you have snared from the world and start anew.
    Start by not viewing yourself as being in the Universe and subject to it's whims; rather, start by viewing yourself AS the Universe expressing itself AS you and master of all domains known and unknown.
    Ego and false emotional pride will do all it can to stop you. Guilt, shame and self righteousness will deny any thought of TRUE Universal Oneness. This is Ego's survival of the fittest at work.
    You have a choice: listen to Ego and remain separate and fragmented or "Deny Thyself" and accept the fact that your are part of the Universe as a wave is part of the sea.
    Lynn's books, especially THE FIELD proves it. Don't just believe it... Live it!

  23. Thanks again, Lynne. Thought-provoking and well researched as always. How do you find the time for all you produce?
    Darwin's theory really does not explain evolution. It offers no explanation why or how lizards grew wings, or zebras grew stripes. Their predecessors had neither the intelligence nor the physical ability to effect the changes. There is something missing with the intelligence and the power to effect these developments. May I suggest that it may be called INTENTION? And that is just what you (with others) have been promulgating for some time now
    Gordon

  24. I've read several writers who assert that Darwinism proves that the Universe is purposeless. Unfortunately for them, that's not a scientific statement, it's a religious statement and not provable by materialistic science. One can make as good a case (maybe better) that the Universe demonstrates a drive to greater function and intelligence that transcends the simple need for survival and in that sense shows a real sense of purpose.
    Darwin's problem was that in Spiral Dynamics terms he was Orange in his science and Blue in his social beliefs. The elite group was white men, especially English white men, and others were second class at best. We look at him from a Green or above perspective and wonder at his racism, but he was doing the best he could in his society.
    Until we more widely publicize the meme of purpose in evolution, Darwinism will continue to be commandeered for antisocial ends.

  25. Current thinking in paleontology emphasizes the idea that members of our species and its forebears had to cooperate in order to survive. I believe Lynne has brought that up before as well.
    There's no sense slamming Darwin's lack of sophistication in his field. He was feeling his way along, formulating his ideas as he went. He did the best he could with the facts he was able to observe. The fact that his concepts have been used inappropriately by politicians and high-school psychos is not his fault.

  26. Life is a competition when we look at it while remaining blind to our inner serenity which every child born on this planet has in himself /herself. The fact is competition is nothing but a dumb and failed effort by us to express the "uniqueness" of us; truth is is if we look at the 'outside' from our serenity inside then every thing that exists is a celebration of our uniqueness , while if we look and act without a touch of inner serenity ever y thing in the universe is competing with our own existence. The challenge of science today is how to bring the bridge between inner serenity of the observer, the scientist, and our objective view of the world that we conduct our scientific investigation into. The challenge of science is to prove that the 'objective' world is a creation of 'subjective' within us probably by only two simple things in us :focus [or attention] and intention and when we 'establish a truth' in science , we only extend our inner serenity to the bigger world outside us or even to the objective world within us. But the first step in this journey will be for a scientist to feel the inner serenity and express it in his/her own way so that his/her own discipline of science will find the basic language pattern that future scientists can build upon. By the look of it that will be a long journey -but who knows - their have been lots and lots of surprises in recent history of world events -that gives us hope that such a journey might have a much shorter route.

  27. Natural Selection? Recently, I learned how the Americans built the United States through the selection process of people who were allowed into the US.
    Here is only a short synopsis of how immigration occurred in America.
    First, Northern Europeans brought in black slaves to help build the foundation of cities and then later given land for their services until a labor shortage occurred and laws enacted that prevented blacks from being free and killing of millions Native American Indians were allowed.
    Criminals who wanted to come to the US to work were allowed into the US.
    After 100 years, criminals were no longer allowed into the US. Only people who were unskilled and skilled workers that could work in the industry businesses, start up farms, plantations, and build shipyards were allowed in. Mostly Northern Europeans, a few Chinese, and other Asian folks were allowed in at this time.
    After a few decades, Chinese were no longer allowed into the US. Only those, mostly white people, who had some kind of skill, could come to the US. This is when people from all over Europe were coming to America. Those who were established Americans did not like these new foreigners (even though they were white) from Russia, Poland, Ireland, etc., and put them in segregated neighborhoods with people of like culture.
    Blacks were free from being slaves around this time.
    Then another labor shortage occurred, blacks were given jobs in manufacturing. Over 20 million immigrants came to the US from all over the world, until the US enacted a new Immigration Law 1924 allowing only hundred thousand people a year into the US until 1964.
    Those people who could bring in skills to improve the US were allowed in, and this type of selection is still happening today.
    This type of selection can be seen all through history. One village over took another weaker village to build up its village. Roman army did not let the barbarians into its cities. Romans kept them stupid by not allowing them to be educated. Then the barbarians over took the Roman army. How many times has this happen to the Europeans? Roman army, forced through torture, people to give up their belief in the afterlife and/or God and to accept Christianity as their only religion.
    Then you have Chinese dynasties over taking another dynasty to become the strongest of all dynasties. Throughout history, you will see natural selection through force by humans who use fear base thinking.
    Humans still use barbaric thinking, but not as much. It takes a long time to wash out such barbaric thinking from human DNA. Or, if humans were smart animals, they would gather together to meditate on peaceful feelings and send those feelings out into the world to create a balance pure human effortlessly.
    This may sound a little barbaric, but when you want a pure bred dog, you have to breed the impurities out of it first, and this takes a while to accomplish. Same thing the Spaniards did to the Indians in Mexico in the 1500-1700s. They made them bred with Spaniards to wash the Indian out of their blood.
    This same natural selection is being used all over the world today. Humans know better not to think that another human is less than, but fear base thinking is hard to overcome. People want to know who is going to do it first. Who is going to be the first to see other humans as God, and not less than God?
    The only solution to this natural selection process with its barbaric overtones is a continuing large collective gathering of people meditating together on peace and then sending this peace out into the world. This has proven to change the thinking of terror minded humans to be more compassionate effortlessly.

  28. The argument surrounding the mass shootings is flawed. The assumption being made is that the killer made a independent sound-minded decision.
    That is not true.
    The Finnish National Police published a picture of the computer workstation used by Auvinen. He had placed it in his bedroom beside a closet door mirror. When he used he computer he could subliminally detect his own movement in peripheral vision. Why is that important?
    Forty years ago designers, engineers, and human factor scientists were hired to modernize the business office. When they introduced the first models some of those using them began to have mental breaks. The problem was traced to the 'vision startle reflex.' The cubicle was designed to deal with that problem by 1968.
    Today, in the field of Design, Subliminal Distraction exposure is believed to cause only a harmless temporary episode of confusion. VisionAndPsychosis.Net gathers historical data to show it is a dangerous stressor.
    Today the computer allows that problem to be established in homes, dorms, student apartments and small business offices. In the United States postal offices do not have Cubicle Level Protection so that mail sorters can have this mental break. At least two have done so. They were mass shooters.
    Auvinen's exposure can be documented. Columbine shooter's information was sealed by the court. We know they were heavy computer users but not how they designed the workstations where they used them. Both were having symptoms of Subliminal Distraction exposure but there is no information about how they might have caused that exposure.
    Arguments about the reasoning and motives of these shooters is poorly conceived if it does not include the psychotic-like thinking the shooters would have experienced.
    Their mental capacity was not normal. This problem, the subliminal appreciation of threat, colors thought and reason with fear and paranoia. It does not create new information it colors thought already available to the subject. They reach a psychotic level of belief.
    There are thousands who rant and rave political discourse. Subliminal Distraction exposure explains why only a few act out their delusions with murder.

  29. Ed in Wash, YES!
    There was a movie, the name escapes me right now, which gave a God's eye view of humanity. That view is what we are headed toward. The actions of one being or groups of beings cannot be taken out of context. While it may appear the world and humanity is going to Hell in a handbasket there is a spreading underground enlightenment going on. The world is sort like a drunk having to "Bottom out" before finally getting the message and surrendering his "Wonderful sophisticated and educated ego".
    Evolution is God doing his/her thing and evolution itself is evolving.
    Marilyn

  30. I was just reading this last night and thought it an appropriate commentary on the possible future we can create with our intentions. Thank you Lynn so much for everything you do!
    "Money! Money in Oz!" cried the Tin Woodman. "What a queer idea! Did you suppose we are so vulgar as to use money here?"
    "Why not?" asked the shaggy man.
    "If we used money to buy things with, instead of love and kindness and the desire to please one another, then we should be no better than the rest of the world," declared the Tin Woodman. "Fortunately money is not known in the Land of Oz at all. We have no rich, and no poor; for what one wishes the others all try to give him, in order to make him happy, and no one in all Oz cares to have more than he can use." Excerpt from "The Road To Oz" by L. Frank Baum

  31. As with many other great thinkers /innovators and visionaries throughout history the works and ideas get reduced to whatever the "true believer" wants them to mean. The many sects of any religion are a perfect example. Remember even though it is practiced as absolute fact for most of the worlds population it is still really called " The Theory of Evolution"
    And Charles Darwin was a product of his time and culture just like we all are, some manage to rise above there early training to see things in new lights and some ( like Ms. Mc Taggert ) show the world what has been around for many years but is just now leaking? into the general ( western )culture that leads to another direction in our thoughts and philosphical practices .
    For me the whole creation V evolution argument was settled by prof. Lazlo when he said we are designed to evolve.
    Another aspect to consider with Darwin's theory is that it was applied to ONLY physicial survival , that the members of a species that changed it's outward apperance and physicial abilities to escape predation and or changes in habitat or disease would be the part of a given species that would reproduce . Mans organ of survival is his mind which should be open to change as new facts are revealed or reevaluated. The sad fact is however that most people let alone scientists will not change their thinking no matter what proofs appear before them. Only when a large number of people manage to say " this changes all my assumptoins about that" will we have risen to a point where we might just take what is presented and not mutate it into something to fit our preconcieved notions.
    Finding whats real is very hard but convincing the masses of that reality is even more difficult.

  32. The idea that there is no good and evil needs to be looked at within a proper context.
    Perhaps there is no ultimate anything in this dimension but if you have bothered to incarnate here, unless you have fully reached an enlightened state you will be subject to the limitations of what being human entails and feels like emotionally and physically.
    Within that experience is pain. Until you experience severe pain wether emotional or physical, you do not understand the scope of what it is to be human.
    I do not wish this experience on anyone. But I ask people to consider the opinion of those who have died during the worst possible torture, those that were forced to witness those deaths and even those that have perpetrated them to be our guides on the notions of good and evil.
    Again, I do not wish upon anyone who declares there is no good or evil a taste of what they declare in a detached way does not exist except as a form of our own projection of values.
    I beg you to not use this rationale to limit your compassion for those who are suffering terribly on our planet. Ask them if evil exists, they are closer to the truth than those who have things like a roof on their head, food and educational opportunities.
    Surely we evolve. Whatever created our material existence,created the evolutionary process. Which in a sense is the collective "We"
    There is a large difference between spritual growth and species evolution.
    One process is a process of letting go and spiritually becoming who we are, the other is process of adaptation.
    Very different processes.
    Darwin may have applied his faculty of reason to correctly describe the evolutionary process.
    That maybe so, but the bigger question is
    Was he reasonable as a person in his day in how he acted towards people like Lynn in those days who were studying PK phenomenon.
    Perhap's Lynn's soul remembers Charles Darwin's behavior. ( not too different than James Randi )
    There may be no good or evil, but whatever you do on this earth, it seems it will bounce back to you and you will experience it in your life at some point.
    I would error in doing "good", as I find the reflections of those intentions much more enjoyable for myself and beneficial for the planet.

  33. Any theory can be distorted to fit a personal point of view or the prevailing world view of a society. Darwin's own personal opinions were influenced by his personal life experience, but he did attempt to present the results of his research with as much objectivity as possible, which is why to this day his work stands up to scrutiny.
    The unfortunate thing is that the theory has been labeled as Darwinism as opposed to just being the Theory of Evolution (ever heard of Einsteinism).
    For that reason I disagree with the blog as written above, for though one should condemn those that distort a theory to advance their own ends or to justify their own obscene actions; it should not be necessary to cast aspersion on a theory and a man that had nothing to do with that. Disagree with it yes, but do not use labels which loose sight of the intent of the original work.
    Attack those that cartoon a concept for what they are, people with few morals and no heart; but do so without resorting to attacking a work or a man that had nothing to do with the distortion or the reason for the distortion.
    This Darwin fellow had the same frailties all of us have, but he did change the way we thought of life and started a dialogue which continues to this day. For that I applaud him.
    Cheers!

  34. I find it interesting the Darwin's famous work "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection" has a very telling subtitle.... .."or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life". I think it says it all.
    Science has become a religion in our culture with its dogma preached to the masses. For many years I took what the "powers that be" have said as truth without asking the important and necessary questions. I now take responsibility and question everything in light of a new awareness of my own essence and how what I do is connected with promoting or challenging what is put before me.
    Thank you , Lynn, for your work in the world.
    Lynda

  35. we all need to remember that Darwin himself struggled with the process he was unravelling due to his "religious" upbringing. His father wanted him to follow in his footsteps and go into the church. He had a job to do (which he agreed to do before he was born) and did a marvelous one. He was a product of the era he was born into and the decision to follow his destiny was a difficult one - he was a very sensitive man with a love of the natural world. Spirituality is always in the eye of the beholder!!!

  36. Competition is inevitable in human and other animal societies. Also, our shadow side guarantees that we will not always play by the rules. Fortunately we have found that setting up regulatory institutions allows us to retain the energy and creativity of the competitive marketplace, - but only if we use those regulatory agencies as rigorously as the law provides. I do suspect that if we were all educated from birth in the New Paradigm, our collectivist instincts would demand a more peaceful and coherent society. The destructive shadow self might not build up in us so virulently. In this light, the hard core old materialists look to be a real detriment to our hopes for a kinder, more peaceful human community. They preach the ancient tooth-and-claw doctrine of competitive natural selection.

  37. I have owned and operated a large number of small businesses quite successfully. The reason for my success was that I discovered that cooperation is far superior to competition. Cooperation is the key to abundance.

  38. My understanding of the concept of "survival of the fittest" is that Darwin meant by it "being best suited for a given enviroment in order to survive in that enviroment". It has nothing to do with being "weak or strong" and cannot be used to justify killing one`s classmates or anyone else for that matter.
    The fact that people do so is a reflection of bigotry and alas, ignorance at large in our societies.
    Neither is the idea of "competitiveness", per se, wrong or evil or whatever. Darwinists clearly recgnise that both "cooperation" and "competition " can play a role in "fitting organisms best to their enviroments". Its all about "adaptation".

  39. There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
    Shakespeare
    As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.
    Proverbs 23:7
    Both quotes imply that consciousness dictates our personal and social outcomes, a consciousness predicated on choice.
    Darwin glimpsed the fabric of the Divine blueprint, but he underestimated the power of the will and choice (intention) in modifying the genetic structure of that blueprint.
    As a result, intention has been essentially ignored, accidentally affording humans the mistake of considering themselves enlightened. My observations indicate we are still barbarians.
    Bless you, Lynne McTaggart, for empowering consciousness.

  40. Thanks, Lynne, for opening up a topic that precipitates so much discussion. My belief is that we are all children of God, and my personal God is the Energy that runs the Universe. I don't think we can understand God through intellect. I agree with those who have said that Darwin's ideas have taken on many new meanings over the years.
    When I think about "natural selection," I think nature does it, to some extent, automatically. The problem begins when humans try to decide who is "fit," and who is not. Who are we to judge?
    I find a great difference between those who are knowledgeable and those who KNOW through insight and instinct. We seem to have been raised to be successful, but who defines what success is. I just finished reading Malcolm Gladwell's "The Outliers." In it, he points out many things that go into success that are fairly random.
    Maybe we humans need both cooperation and competition. One problem I see with competition is that it often requires funds to be able to compete. I live in the USA where it seems many good (and qualified) folks don't get to be involved in politics because they lack funding. Life should be more than money and power.

  41. Great blog Lynne - thank you.
    Interestingly Darwin did not dare publish and only got spurred into publishing his book out of a competitive spirit since another scientist had published a book on the same subject.
    I have watched a lot of wildlife recently and the emphasis is turning from the 'kill' to adaptation since it is a whole lot more interesting. It is a marvel how animals adapt with apparently supreme intelligence.
    Their intention too seems to be powerful.

  42. We need to distinguish between what Darwin actually said and the varieties of "Darwinism" that arose in his wake. There is a tendency to lump together evolution (a fact which was known as early as Aristotle), natural selection (which was hinted at by al-Jahiz in the ninth century but first systematically propounded by Darwin), "survival of the fittest" (a tautology propounded by Social Darwinists) and eugenics (which is the precise opposite of natural selection) and so forth.

  43. I don't know where you are coming from, but I come from a State where the majority of people do not believe in evolution and have never believed that Darwin had any contribution to make. I think the distortions of what Darwin actually wrote are better known that what he said.

  44. Lynne this blog struck such a cord within me. I do not have any appetite for competition. I do not enjoy competitive sports (many of which i think is barbaric). I would often think why does there have to be this disease of the "est" best, brightest, etc. Does there have to be the drive for competition to bring out the "best" in everyone? Why can't everyone be valued for what they are, as they are, why do we have to rate?
    I have always felt that in order to evolve, we need to change the economic model of wall street. To base our economies on the merits of greed and fear is absolutely ridiculous. There has to be a more sane option.
    We have taken "the right to pursue happiness" at the expense of many, including other species of life and the environment. It is time to rethink much of what has been taught and get back in touch with our heart.
    The only lack in our lives is what we choose to believe and create that reality, which is really an illusion.
    Wonderful and insightful blog.

  45. Lay off the cowboys! I know plenty of wonderful folks who are cowboys, people who respect nature and animals, who are kind, compassionate, and generous and not at all barbaric or greedy. George Bush gave cowboys a bad name and he never got close to a cow unless it was slaughtered and on a plate or barbeque grill. George Bush was even scared of horses! Don't group cowboys with evil idiots like George Bush. By the way, Bush isn't even from Texas, he's from New Haven, Connecticut--the Dixie Chicks had the part about us Texans being ashamed of Bush right, though.

  46. In comment #33 I referred to a movie. It is:
    Koyaanisquatsi: Life Out of Balance
    Everyone interested in this subject would enjoy it and perhaps gain perspective.

  47. Lynn, as always, I love your blogs.
    When I became a mother in 1980 and started raising children it was mind-blowing watching kids behavior towards each other.
    My son was constantly bullied physically at the hands of other boys. He would not raise a hand to defend himself. I ran to the pediatrician begging for his help and he said that my son was a natural pacifist and there are only about 25% born who are pacifist.
    So, we tried to get him to fight back but he just could not do it. Therefore, as soon as some kid realized this, the bullying began and I ended their friendship. Therefore, girls became his friends growing up.
    Well, pacifist do have the last laugh. When he got into high school and grew to 6', looked like Kanau Reeves and put in his 10,000 hrs. of being with girls almost exclusively, guess who became the most popular boy on campus? He did!
    Everyone wanted to be his friend. Every girl, no matter what age wanted to date him. He got nominated and elected to every office, he won every award and starred in every theater production and he deserved every good thing that came down the pike because he never hurt anyone ever in his young life!
    Today at almost 30, he is the same sweet guy and still all good things come his way. He captured the heart of the smartet girl on his college campus and he has all the respect in the world from legions of people who love him.
    All because he never sought to harm or beat anyone at anything. Or beat the crap out of anyone like all of childhood friends did. Some of those boys are now "lost boys" and have awful lives.
    It does pay to be kind to others.
    We as a society must get a grip on this competition thing. We will end up swallowing our own tail if we don't. Watching Wall Street and how they took the dignity away from so many millions of people by bankrupting them and yet making themselves richer than rich is just the beginning unless we demand better!
    The bullies on the playground are the same as the bullies on Wall Street.

  48. I would have to agree with much of what you wrote. While I like some science, evolution is not complete when you go beyond some things over time can turn into others. Besides our animal or instinctive side for survival, we have something the animals do not, a consciousness. We can decode and think about what we do or are about to do. I have been seeing this same competition in large organizations. And they are also starting to be more evident on their true thoughts about their customers or followers. We are no longer in a state of animal, or primitive man where our conning-ness depends on our survival, yet that is part or a side we all can choose. Humans are multi-level, they can operate through the heart, mind, or through basic instinct mode. I also see two sides to the individual versus the socialite. While a little competition can get some more motivated to do something beyond the norm, it also can lead to what we see today. On the other hand, being too much into social systems leads to passivity, or basically giving up ones rights top be part of the collective like a robot. What ever happened to balance?

  49. The Body as physical form is an incredible misperception of your true nature. Your true nature is concealed somewhere within that illusion, not outside it, so the body is still the only point of access to it. Be aware of your inner space. Eckhart Tolle Peace and Love

  50. What pure and utter nonsense! Darwin discovered a scientific truth and you have the ignorance to downplay it? If I could para paraphrase Carl Sagan: knowing the true nature of a sunset doesn't destroy it's beauty or romanticism. The same is so with evolution: knowing why we're here or why we are doesn't diminish our beauty or uniqueness. Darwin didn't make these people killers but he helped explain why they are killers.

  51. I think all scientific "thruths" and discoveries are still bound by the culture in which they came from. I don't know that it would be fair for those of us who live within a paradigm of the abundance of the universe to condemn a Victorian era man for the prevailing consciousness of his time.
    For me the most profound aspect of the Theory of Evolution is the notion that life forms evolve. That to me is the greater truth. I've been doing a lot of metaphysical studying over the years and my personal conclusion is that over the history of human beings, from australopithicus, to Neaderthals to homo sapien sapiens and even today within the species of current homo sapien sapiens, it is consciousness that has alsways evolved and is still evloving. No matter what outer garb we may have worn as fur or skin, the consciousness of humanity is evolving. If it took a Victorian man to place this notion in the consciousness of our species, even if some of the principles are as out-dated as the garments and society of the Victorian era, I'm okay with it.

  52. Hey Lynne and Everyone
    Great blog. For my money, I feel Michelle has made a significant point about the context of Darwinism. My observations on the matter is that he was / is a proponent of the socialist oligarchy that originated in the educational institutions of the time. He was the sum of of his programming and whether he was working to an agenda or not is beside the point, his work or observations are simply what they are. Nothing more nothing less, take it or leave it. So long as we are all aware of the bigger picture, what does it matter? We are all part of the great change, and by comparison Darwinism is or will become a relic that will be confined to the great museum of conciousness.

  53. The message ends with encouragement to us that
    we should subscribe to an RSS feed if we feel that
    we "enjoyed" the posting.
    Hopefully very few of us will have enjoyed it - as
    it presents a depressing (even if realistic)
    viewpoint on the state of humanity.
    Our challenge is to transform that paradigm
    into one which empowers us by linking to the
    "power" of the universe rather than to puny
    competition with fellow human beings.
    The "Intention Experiment" is one way of
    demonstrating the potentials of such linking.
    In the process we may even uncover who we
    really are!
    Alan Rayner
    Europe EX39 2BA

  54. Dear Lynne,
    A shockingly high percentage of sociopaths (a disoder that prevents an individual from being able to have empathy for others) go undiognosed in modern society. Wether this psychological defect is caused by nature or nurture is still being debated. Most of them are productive folks and would never commit attrocities. By choosing to remain in social and work enviornments that are highly structured, (such as civil service) - they can avoid personal moral and ethical decisions to some degree. (This is of course why we so often hear accounts of beureaucratic agencies set up to help people - ending up hurting rather than helping or simple being ineffective.)
    So why do these self-justifying monsters expect and recieve better treatment than they deserve when they are caught? Because we care and can empathise with their internal turmoil.
    It's my hope that nurture ends up playing a large role in this and effective treatments can be found. So we are not stuck simply trying to spot these sick souls before thy strike.
    I think that if society returns to the truth that we have an origin beyond process and are responsible to that Great Center of Being, that knows us and our potentials - we may blunt all the historical /theoretical excuses used by those who are thinking about creating horror outside of themselves. Keep up the great work!
    Jordan B., USA

  55. Ivan,
    Darwin, himself, was not a Social Darwinist and if we're being historically accurate then it's important to point out that these ideas existed long before Darwin. See Herbert Spencer's "Progress: Its Law and Cause" (1857), for example, which was published two years before "On the Origin of Species" (1859).
    It's also important to note "An Essay on the Principle of Population" (1798) by Thomas Malthus. It's not overtly Social Darwinism but it's founded on similar ideas. So let's stop pretending that evolution has corrupted society.

  56. Taking Harris and Auvinen for the Darwinism is as taking Medioeval witchstakes for Christianity or Hitler's ideas for Germans' ideas.
    That's seems to me too oversimplified

  57. Lynne,
    Cheers for the thought provoking, yet bizarre post. I’m not a Darwinist, but you can’t really hold Darwin accountable for promoting a generic concept of there being a ‘lower human species’, as this was a very common assumption amongst the society he found himself in, in his day.
    I have found numerous references to ‘savages’ and ‘stupid aboriginals’ from both anthropologists as well as botanists who were studying non-white societies in their native environments, so this attitude was quite prevalent at the time.
    In Australian history, there are numerous references to the local aboriginals thought of as being ‘unteachable’, yet they existed for over 40,000 years prior to the Euro-invasion.
    I don’t quite understand how you make the jump from Darwin promoting the struggle of the fittest to psychotic students committing murder?
    One is based on the observation of the natural world, while the other is a product of societal pressures.
    How is the latter a outcome of the former?
    Write On!

  58. Lynne, thanks for an obviously thought-provoking post. Your comments and those of others have given me much to think about.
    >To me, the bottom line is if you're coming from the survival-only physical world, Darwin holds up. However, it is my understanding that his THEORY referenced only physical evolution, not the evolution of consciousness.
    >There is a BIG difference between survival - growing what you need to eat and provide shelter, and choosing to victimize others by stealing from them; between society adapting to new skills like building a fire or using a wheel and killing others for supremacy.
    >If a being has choice between "right/wrong" and the competency to discern it, Darwin is just a fall guy for your bad behavior.
    If Darwin was indeed raised in a religious family, I would imagine him to be horrified at how his name is being used as the justification for someone's greed, etc.
    >If you subscribe to "there is no right or wrong" - such as The Course in Miracles (Marianne Williamson provides excellent dialogue on this) then Darwin is still being maligned by those who lack personal growth/spirituality, who are living in fear (lack of), anger, or shame, etc., and who perpetrate the negative/life negating actions expressed in greed, theft, murder, the quest for power, maligning others, etc.
    >As referenced in "The Living Matrix" making "War" on cancer or other negative energy only creates more negative energy; better to hold a 30-day prayer vigil a la Miracles/Williamson for that nasty teacher, bullying classmate/boss, or the credit card company that just raised your rate to 24% I do believe that this is where the science of The Intention Experiment meshes well with spirituality (such as A Course in Miracles).
    >How wonderful to find a community of people interested in seeking the Truth.
    Blessings to All!

  59. Lynda (comment #40), you state that you "now take responsibility and question everything" and that "what I do is connected with promoting or challenging what is put before me".  I'm happy to hear it, because it is only once we take responsibility for ourselves that we have a chance to free ourselves of prejudice.
     
    Let me therefore invite you to explore whether your inference that Darwin was racist is justified when you say that Darwin's subtitle of On the Origin of Species -- "or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life" -- *says it all*.
     
    As you have decided to take responsibility for yourself and to question everything, please search the Origin for evidence of Darwin's supposed racism.  Do begin at the beginning.  You will find that as early as page 15 of the first edition of the Origin, Darwin uses not only the word "race", but also the word "aboriginal":
     
    "Nevertheless, as our varieties certainly do occasionally revert in some of their characters to ancestral forms, it seems to me not improbable, that if we could succeed in naturalising, or were to cultivate, during many generations, the several races, for instance, of the cabbage, in very poor soil (in which case, however, some effect would have to be attributed to the direct action of the poor soil), that they would to a large extent, or even wholly, revert to the wild aboriginal stock."
     
    (Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or, The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, London: John Murray, 1859; p. 15.)
     
    Darwin used the term "races" to refer to what we'd call (in nonhuman animals) breeds and (in plants) varieties.  And the word "aboriginal" refers to what scientists now call the "wild type", meaning the original, such as wild roses before cultivation or wild cattle before domestication.  These were common terms in Victorian times, as were many other terms.  Those other terms, however, don't ruffle feathers by their very existence and cause people to make moral judgements about their users.  Whether or not readers wish to take umbrage and call Darwin a "cabbagist" is up to them, but sensible people will see the use of these words for what they are: of no greater importance than placing a space before punctuation marks such as commas and semicolons, which too was de rigeur in Victorian times.
     
    Those who have actually read the Origin will have found that Darwin notes the differences between individuals within any given species, such as pigeons or cabbages, and the differences between species, such as those between species of cattle or between species of corn, and explains how they have come about.
     
    And yet it's an extraordinarily curious fact that many people feel that their very sense of identity is somehow threatened by Darwin's observations of the natural world and so they expend enormous amounts of energy trying to debunk them. What on Earth are these terrifying observations?
    Darwin observed that:
     
    1.  No two individuals are born identical (apart from the rare cases of genetic twins).  This means that each individual of every species is unique.  Is this not so?  Is every dog identical to every other dog, every leopard identical to every other leopard, every aardvark identical to every other aardvark?  If we fail to see the difference between one dog, leopard, or aardvark and the next dog, leopard, or aardvark, then that failure is ours -- the dogs, leopards, and aardvarks aren't any more identical to each other than are you and I. Anyone who spends time with them will soon be able to distinguish one from the other.
     
    2.  More individuals are born than can be supported by available resources. And yet.... 
     
    3.  In general, populations are relatively stable.  For example, in spite of some fluctuation, a population of zebras is much the same from year to year no matter how many babies are born.  Giant clams give birth to about 100 million offspring at a time, and yet the seas are not overrun by giant clams, because, in fact, only one or two of those baby clams will live to maturity.  Please feel free to examine population statistics to see whether this is correct.
     
    What can we make of these observations?
     
    1.  Not every being that is born lives long enough to reproduce or even to make it to adulthood.  Witness the rapid eating of giant clam eggs by fish, and the high death rate of zebra babies in the first 12 months after birth.
     
    2.  Any individual who has some kind of advantage -- IN A GIVEN ENVIRONMENT -- has an edge on individuals who do not have that advantage.  For example, if you are a lizard with mottled green skin and you live in trees with green leaves then you are less likely to be seen by a predator than another lizard of your species whose skin is also mottled green but who has a red spot on his back.  But what if you are a lizard with mottled green skin and a few red spots who lives in a tree with green AND red leaves?  You may just have an advantage over the mottled green lizard with no red spots who is now an obvious green blob.  Advantage is always conditional on the prevailing environment.  So any advantage, no matter how minor, is to the good for the individual in possession of it.
     
    3.  Individuals with advantages over their peers have a statistically better chance of making it to adulthood and having babies.  Of course, the really obvious examples of this are seen when bulls of any kind (elephants, walruses, seals, etc) fight for access to breeding females.  The winning males are the ones who mate, and the losing males are the ones who don't.  Obviously -- and incontrovertibly -- the genes of the winning males are going to have a higher representation in the gene pool of the next generation than those of the losing males, who may end up with no genetic representation at all unless they can sneak a copulation with some female on the periphery of the winning male's territory.  Females are as competitive as males when it comes to choosing mates, but their competitive behaviour isn't as commonly portrayed on TV shows as those of males, probably because males are at much greater risk of injury and death in their often spectacular encounters.
    So it's not in the least difficult to see that over time there will be a shift in the gene pool, with some individuals' genes having a greater representation in the next generation than others'.  Whatever genetic traits (advantageous or otherwise) those successful individuals possess will, of course, also have greater representation in the following generations, leading, over time, to a general shift in the genetic profile of the population.
    So we might observe claws getting longer and thicker for better penetration of thick hides, or brightly coloured feathers giving way to duller-coloured feathers less obvious to predators. We use our knowledge of these genetic shifts all the time when we cultivate plants or breed domestic animals. Take dogs, who are a wonderful example of the extraordinary variety that is possible simply by crossing certain individuals with others. Or racehorses. There isn't a racehorse breeder in the world who doesn't know the value of good genes or a rich racehorse owner who isn't willing to spend lots of money to secure them!
    And that's all Darwin was saying.  There's really no need to panic.
     
    It's beyond me why people get so steamed up about it, and yet have nothing whatsoever to say about gravity or electricity or insulin injections or car engines.  What's the difference?
    Everything that Darwin said can be challenged in exactly the same way as any other scientific finding can be challenged.  That's the strength of science.  It sets itself up to be shown to be wrong.  No-one, no matter how great an authority, is above the evidence.  Interestingly, no scientist's ideas have been subjected to more rigorous testing than Darwin's, which stand stronger with every challenge.
     
    What we know about these things, we know through the rigours of applying the scientific method -- a system of DISPROOF, not of proof as so many erroneously think.  It is this very system that Darwin used, as did Alexander Fleming, Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton, Nicola Tesla, Nicolas Copernicus, and Galileo Galilei.  Why aren't there blogs devoted to debunking them or trying to find flaws in their personal lives?  Why should they be exempt from the fury of us all?
     
    It's truly bizarre that the work of this particular scientist has such an emotional effect on so many.  I have spoken with many people who have an almost pathological hatred or fear of Darwin and yet, when asked whether they have actually read the Origin or any of Darwin's work themselves, admit that they have not.  Personally, I don't see what could inspire this fury in Darwin's lengthy descriptions of pigeon breeding, climbing plants, breeds of dogs, and so on, let alone his works on barnacles, slime mold, earthworms, and orchids.
     
    I ask that those who find themselves whipped up into a fury over what Darwin supposedly said calm themselves sufficiently to read what he actually did say.  They just may find it disappointingly bland and perhaps even infuriatingly lacking in any challenge to their view of their place in the world, their reason for being, life after death, the existence or otherwise of a god or other cosmic beings, or their belief in how life originated.
     
    It's a curious fact that many of Darwin's harshest critics have never actually read his works through, relying instead on what they've been told.  Why would anyone who genuinely wishes to develop an informed view not go to the very accessible source in order to do so?  It isn't as if reading any of Darwin's works is difficult; they're hardly the Principia Mathematica!  You wouldn't rely on the supposed authority of someone telling you to put your signature to a legal document without reading its contents for yourself. So, given that Darwin has inspired so intense a response, why would you rely on the supposedly authoritative opinions or interpretations of his work by others?
    The most effective balm for the mind enraged by Darwin, I find, is Darwin himself. Regular doses of his works calm the emotions, ease away frenetic prejudice, illuminate false assumptions, and restore common sense.

Why wait any longer when you’ve already been waiting your entire life?

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