THE SYNDROME OF “BLIND WATCHMAKER”
Marek Glogoczowski (1999)
Few decades ago the German philosopher Martin Heidegger observed that Wissenshaft denkt nicht – the (staff of) science does not think. To this pertinent remark it is worth adding a more recent opinion of the English sociologist Michael Thompson who claims that in Life Sciences we witness a systematic channeling of enquiry in order to impel knowledge ever further from the truth. An even more radical critique of contemporary science was formulated by the well-known American linguist Noam Chomsky. He observes that present social and scientific theories are mere tools of pillage and enslavement – both of Nature and Society – by liberalo-criminal “elites” who are motivated in their behaviour to a large extend by social teachings of the Old Testament.
The author of the present dissertation follows the path traced by these researchers who are critically disposed to the present reality. He demonstrates up to which point the Holy Scriptures – which especially in Anglosaxon countries are still taken as the source of wisdom and ethics – have influenced the development of modern concepts of biology. A precise, methodological analysis shows that subsequent, historical stages of the evolution of the Darwinian – and than neo-Darwinian and ultra-Darwinian – thought are “adaptive mutations” of an antique MEME (Memory Eradicating and Mind Emptying) virus. This spontaneously self-replicating “cultural virus”, which postulates an ex nihilo origin of the world and life, was introduced into the Old Testament already during the Babylonian (about 5 B.C.) period of Bible completion. At present, this inherited from the deep Antiquity MEME virus is at the origin of a specific cognitive illness of our life sciences, which illness schould be named the Blind Watchmaker Syndrome (BWS).
In order to liberate our minds from the cognitive cataract provoked by the (post)modern invasion of class meme (creatio ex nihilo) cultural viruses, the author proposes a cleaning up of minds by the standard method of logical reasoning supported by conclusions drawn from elementary physics. To put his argumentation in a more convincing form, a part of the present dissertation is conceived as a dialogue which recalls in its structure the Platonian Phaedros. Its heroes, the Radical – at least at the beginning – Darwinian (in abbreviation R.D.) and New Socratic (N.S.) discuss in it details of the book Blind Watchmaker written by the well-known British science(fiction) writer Richard Dawkins. Thanks to the use of such antique tools as Aristotelian logics and the Socratic sense of humour, the author is able to uncover, from under the evergrowing mass of Biblico-Darwinian mind pollution, the essential laws of biology – and thus also laws of physiology and psychology – formulated by Aristote, Lamarck and Jean Piaget. In short, the author, using the Socratic art of maieutics – which means midwifery – aims TO RECOVER THE SIGHT OF OUR “WATCHMAKERS” who are completely blinded by the collective product of their research.
Foreword: Hypothesis non fingo - a Mind-less model of Science (The cultural heritage of antique “Schools of Non-Seeing”; Doxa (appearance) and sophia (wisdom) in Nature; Religion and Science; Cultural – or counter-cultural – “paper viruses” ¬ to be translated) Why the reneval of the form of the philosophical dialogue? An outline of the Biblical sources of Darwinism
Dialogue I (p. 7)
Radical Darwinian (R.D.) doubts the professional competence of New Socratic (N.S.)
Dialogue II (p. 21)
New Socratic finds gross errors in Richard Dawkins argumentation
Dialogue III (p. 24)
New Socratic and Radical Darwinian investigate the mysterious origin of genetic mutations
Dialogue IV (p. 27)
Our natural philosophers search for genetic effects of genes use and disuse
Dialogue V (p. 30)
Both our heroes question why Richard Dawkins cannot distinguish a donkey from a horse
Dialogue VI (p. 34)
New Socratic explains how new behaviours and structures are constructed and inherited
Dialogue VII (p. 37)
New Socratic gives a more precise definition of life and demonstrates its utility for the natural philosophy
Dialogue VIII (p. 41)
New Socratic demonstrates how organisms can manipulate their genetic information
Dialogue IX (p. 45)
The Mature After-Darwinian (M.A.D.) wonders at the accuracy of Piagetian scheme of mental maturation
Dialogue X (p. 48)
The forgotten Jacob’s experiments give interesting insights concerning the origin of cancers
Dialogue XI (p. 50)
Mature After-Darwinian points to religious roots of the cognitive crisis in life sciences
Dialogue XII (p. 53)
Both discutants agree that Greed and Technophilia enhance the present corruption of Science
Dialogue XIII (p. 56)
New Socratic points to the role of the Dark Eros in the cognitive perversion of ultra Darwinian concepts
Opinion of Xenphont about Socrates, contained in his Memories:
He wasn’t searching for an answer how did appear this being which philosophers call the world, neither for the necessary rules which govern astronomical events; he even insisted that it is craziness to occupy oneself with such problems. He investigated whether those thinkers studied in sufficient depth sciences of man in order to be eligible to investigate the Cosmos.
Since the awakening of man’s imagination in early prehistoric times sages and schamans remaining at the head of tribal organisations used to construct various (usually useful for their private interests) myths concerning the origin of Universe as well the Origin (Genesis) of the Human Species. To such mythological creativity belongs the Summerian myth of Creation of the World by the god Marduk. This Semitic myth, thanks to Bible, survived in our Judeo-Christian culture, especially among creationists movement centred at the heartland of the “Biblical belt” of United States.
To the same class of mythology creation belongs Platonian myth of the Origin, developed in his dialogue Timaios. According to it, the world has been created, in the perfect – for its beauty – shape of a sphere, by a Mindful and Good (and thus free of any jealousy) Divine Constructor, which tended to organise the Universe in agreement with eternal ideas of Beauty, Truth and Goodness.
The production of “useful myths” of the Origin of Universe, as well of the Genesis of Man, by philosophers and scientists (not to say modern schamans) is still going on. A prominent American palaeontologist, Stephen Jay Gould described in this way the very recent trends of modern Anglo-Saxon evolutionary mythology:
A movement of strict constuctionism, a self styled form of Darwinian fundamentalism, has risen to some prominence in variety of fields, from the English biological heartland of John Maynard Smith to the uncompromising ideology (albeit in graceful prose) of his compatriot Richard Dawkins, to the equally narrow and more ponderous writings of the American philosopher Daniel Dennat … Moreover, a larger group of strict constructionists are now emerged in an almost mordantly self-conscious effort to “revolutionalise” the study of human behaviour along a Darwinian straight and narrow “Evolutionary psychology” … My colleague Niels Eldredge for example, speaks of this co-ordinated movement as Ultra-Darwinism in his recent book Reinventing Darwinism. Amid the variety of their subject matter, the ultra-Darwinians share a conviction that natural selection regulates everything of any importance in evolution, and that adaptation emerges as a universal result and ultimate test of selection’s ubiquity.
From authors indicated above, in Poland’s libraries we may find only books of Richard Dawkins translated into Polish. Independently of the enormous (and co-ordinated, as it remarked Niels Eldredge) influence of Anglo-Saxon culture, in Europe’s Mainland we observe at present a regain of interest with the Antique philosophy. It is visible in the spontaneous – and thus non co-ordinated – development of various “philosophical cafés”. It is thus of public interest to investigate, using methods of classical philosophy, the cognitive validity of present evolutionary theories. As suggests it the title of Daniel Dennet’s book mentioned by S.J. Gould, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea may bring very acid fruits to all our civilisation… .
Hypothesis non fingo – or the Mind-less model of science
Exact sciences, as well as those, which are called Geistwissenshaften, or sciences of the human spiritual culture, always develop in a form of subsequent mental associations. The discovery of Pythagoras consisted of an association of simple mathematical formula with the length of sides in a rectangular triangle. The so-called gematry, which has been developed especially by Jewish cabalists, is an art of more or less creative associations of series of numbers with specific words. (For example, the known number 666 has been associated with the image of beast, or the evil; it was also associated with “the merchant’s gain”, and even with the notion of “totally commercialised religion”.) The discovery of Galileo, concerning the time/distance relation in a free fall, was a simple association of the distance travelled by an object in a unit of time, with the square of time of falling.
A deeper justification, of the law of uniform acceleration in a free fall, was given by Isaac Newton, who formed his famous formula F(acting Force) = m(mass) x a(acceleration), called the 2-nd Law of Newton. Commenting this discovery, the contemporary specialist of cabala, prof. Wiercinski from Warsaw insisted, that the knowledge of cabala practices played an important role in the development of modern sciences. The problem is that cabalists were not used to question why certain of their associations appear to be cognitively valid. The same spirit permeated Newton’s natural philosophy. His famous statement Hypothesis non fingo – I am not making hypothesises – has became the principle of work for whole generations of future technicians and statisticians. As observed it French mathematician Renė Thom, those statisticians, who follow the Newton’s approach to research, are not motivated whether empirical formulae they develop have a deeper justification in the internal structure of the matter they study. In engineering sciences researchers and technicians are satisfied when their calculations are valid within a reasonable limit of error.
Very simple associations of behaviour of living organisms with mathematical formula, which not at all considered the internal structure of phenomena studied, became popular already in 17-th century. The most prominent individuality of this (para)scientific movement was at that time English clergyman – and at the same time economist – Thomas Malthus. In his book The Essay on Population he came to a logical conclusion that it should appear the famous “struggle for bread” among people of British Islands: at that time the statistical data indicated an exponential growth of population of England, while the progression of food production was only linear.
The “Malthus Law” established at this statistical basis, had no confirmation at all, in existing at that time in England alimentary situation: internal scarcity of cereals was efficiently compensated by food importation from abroad. Nevertheless, the liberal atmosphere of internal “struggle for existence” has made this “apparent law” seem plausible, and eagerly accepted – as an essential law of nature – by the opinion forming social groups. Thanks to these mathematical formulas, the Nature became a superior justification of most vicious behaviours (such as the monopoly of the slave market, or a “royal” permission for the opium trade) of appearing at that time, enterprising merchant class.
The creation of “scientific laws” reflecting – and at that same time reinforcing – commercial (or bourgeois, as we used to call it in the past) imaginations of the Nature has become with time more and more popular. Finally the situation appeared, that those circles of scientists, which specialise in life sciences, abandoned completely all investigations concerning roots of those sciences. We have no investigations at all which would confirm whether fundaments of our prestigious life sciences are solid or they are only emanations of doxa – it means of completely superficial (and thus, in Plato’s opinion, criminogenous) illusions about the world. The outspoken disdain for broad associations – to which activity scientific community is morally obligated – has been very well observed by German philosopher Martin Heidegger. His opinion die Wissenshaft denkts nicht – (men of) science are not thinking – should be propagated also to-day, as a short but essential commentary to contemporary, popular-scientific books like The Hazard and the Necessity of J. Monod, or Blind Watchmaker of R. Dawkins.
Why the renewal of the philosophical form of an Antique dialogue?
In the present dissertation we propose a closer re-examination, from the point of view of elementary laws of physics, of the basic concepts of ultra-Darwinism. Those concepts are exposed in the book Blind Watchmaker written by Richard Dawkins, a well known author in all European countries. We will do it in the same way as did it Socrates, in the dialogue Phaedrus, with the text of sophist Lisias, which was popular at that time in Athens, and whose texts impressed Phaedrus, the young friend of Socrates. From this reason the main text of the present dissertation is formed as a dialogue in which the “Radical Darwinian” (R.D. in abbreviation) demonstrates arguments in favour of Darwinism to a “New Socratic” (R.S. in abbr.). He is hoping that his young and naive partner of discussion, after purging his soul from erroneous concepts (which have arisen – as observed it S.J. Gould – from a too narrow outlook of the nature) will arrive himself to more matured truths. The author of the present work is not hiding, that by the use of this ancient dialectical method, he intends to push forward the thesis of French naturalist J.B. Lamarck formulated already two hundred years ago. This, intensely disliked by our commercial scientific establishment thesis states that all predisposed for it organisms, are constructing themselves organs, and adaptive behaviours, which automatically neutralise the activity of the Omnipotent Natural Selection so much glorified by Darwinians.
A larger (and more detailed) outline of logical proofs demonstrated here one may find in a book written by the author of this dissertation in 1993 in Polish language: Atrapy (Dummies) and Paradoxes of Modern Biology. This fully scientific book confirms the general thesis contained in an elder book of French naturalist Paul Wintrebert titled Living Beings, Creators of their own Evolution. To ease the discussion – even only imaginary – with ultraDarwinians, whose “heartland” (as called it S.J. Gould) finds itself in countries using English, the present text has been written simultaneously in Polish and in English, which last language has become modern lingua franca of international, scientific business.
BIBLICAL SOURCES OF DARWINISM
To obtain the wider acceptation of any scientific idea, its receivers should have their individual associative apparatus appropriately tuned-up for its reception. In the Anglo-Saxon culture men are (were) grown since childhood with the lecture of the Bible, and thus the reality they perceive is in a large extend modeled by “directing truths” of the Holy Scripture. This fact, well known in the developmental psychology and neurology, is sufficient to explain both the genesis and the commercial success of contemporary Darwinian concepts of evolution.
1. The logical conclusion of the God’s order multiply and fill the earth – which has been inserted into the first page of the book of Genesis – is the previsible overgrowth of the number of living items over their possibility of feeding. Such a “divine order” must lead to the struggle for existence imagined by an Anglican clergyman Thomas Malthus. (The Old Testamental archetype of such struggle for means of existence and proliferation is provided by the attitude of the patriarch Jacob towards Esau, and in general, by the attitude of Jews towards other nations.) This inter-specific struggle for life has become the essence of the theory of evolution elaborated by an another theology graduate, Charles Darwin.
2. The neoDarwinian theory of August Weisman, added to original Darwinism at the beginning of 20-th century, postulates the existence of qualitatively different biological substances: soma and germen. It also has its antique precedent in the naturalist thought of Hebrew theologian Saul (Paul) from Tars. In his New Testamental 1-st Letter to Corinthians St. Paul observes What you are sowing is not the body (or soma) which will arise, but the naked grain (germen)… The God gives to every seed the body he intends, for each seed an appropriate for it body (15, 36-38). The seed (germen) of the concept of such division we may already find at the first page of Genesis, 1, 11-12. For molecular biologists of to day the object of cult are genes, and in a similar way, for antique Hebrew their own semen had sacral meaning. (To mention the story of Onan or rites of purgation – Priests, 15,14.)
3. According to concepts attached to neoDarwinism in the middle of 20-th century, new variants appear thanks to random mutations of genes hidden in germinal cells. Such an idea of hazardous creation of novel forms of life converges with an idea frequently repeated in the Bible, that God acts (creates and selects its privileged people and/or victims) through the fully stochastic process. (See the “Jehovah oracle” urim-tummim or “light and perfection” of hazardous choices, Exodus, 28, 30.)
4. In no point of its teaching the Hebrew Torah admits the idea that the collective, critical cognitive effort (similar to the one which is known from Plato’s Dialogues) may lead to a better understanding of the world, and thus to a better life in it. The interdiction of questioning of “revealed” dogmas leads to the functional atrophy of whole range of brain reflexes of human populations grown in the artificial world created by the frequent lecture of the Holy Scripture. Such (past and present) societies have a tendency not-to-see particularly those absurdities, which in their logical structure resemble the fake orientational truths, inoculated into the Bible in a form of cultural “mind viruses”.
5. The archetype of the neoDarwinian idea that from harmful heritable infirmities called mutations, appear novel, better adapted to the environment variants, we may find in thoeologico-naturalist thought of St. Paul, in the same Letter to Corinthians we quoted above: is sown in disgrace (the seed of evidently infirmous theory) – is grown-up in glory (the body of a new, world-encompassing infirmous religion or science). We have here an analogy to cognitive inventions of cabala: there is no better good than the one, which arises from an evil.
The whole neo (and ultra) Darwinian theory we may thus reduce to the natural selection (see pt 1) of bodies grown from hazardously created variants of seeds (pt 3). It means that the totality of contemporary concepts of evolution we may deduce logically from few simplified sentences incorporated into both the Old and New Testament. Those concepts are cognitively “empty”, but nevertheless they are impressing laics in a similar way as the ordinary Jews were impressed by the empty interior of Jerusalem’s Temple. And we are invited to hate all those who demonstrate the cognitive emptiness of Darwinian sciences, in the very same way as Pompeius was hatred by Jewish priesthood for his act of tearing-down the cover hiding emptiness of the famous Hebrew Temple of Misologos.
Radical Darwinian doubts in the professional competence of New Socratic
New Socatic: Welcome to Cracow, the city of Kings, called “New Athens” by Stanislas Wyspiañski, one of our famous dramaturgists who lived at the turn of century.
Radical Darwinian: In fact, the architecture of Cracow recalls me our outpassed European history. I’ve noticed that even my remote compatriot McDonald didn’t managed to introduce his characteristic scent of post-modernity into Cracow’s Main Market Square. What do you propose to do together?
N.S. To discuss matters which interest both of us. It means essential cognitive problems of our prestigious life sciences.
R.D. I’ve heard that since your studies at Berkeley, a quarter of a century ago, you have reservations concerning the actual development of science, and biology in particular. My friend, an architect at Edinburgh, whom you know since these revolutionary times at Woodstock – and at Berkeley campus – told me that you have written, at that heroic time, a book in English titled The Not-Too-Divine Comedy with an undertitle The Meta-Ph.D. Thesis. Unfortunately I had no time to look through it, I am a hard working man, constantly fighting for my professional survival with no time to read scientific comedies. Didn’t you read, in the book The Selfish Gene written by our famous author Richard Dawkins, the imaginative story of the copulatory behaviour of a female donkey, which uses all her intelligence to avoid an intercourse with a horse? This animal, thanks to the effect of the Natural Selection, has acquired the habit of avoiding the danger of charging – and this for several months – her belly with a progeny which will be sterile. I am afraid that the discussion with you will be equally sterile, with no perspectives for the future.
N.S. But in Cracow we love sterile discussions. Moreover, up to now nobody here took this famous – at least in your Anglo-Saxon world – struggle for life seriously. Please relax a little, and sit down with me in one of our Cracow’s charming cafes. Let us loose some time to discuss the Natural Philosophy. Did you hear about “Philosophical cafes” spreading around the Europe?
R.D. Of course, but as I imagine it people at such places are not serious, they may talk indefinitely what is most important, being-in-the-world or being-in-itself. All this seems too clumsy for my mind, I do not find much use of such sterile deliberations.
N.S. In fact me neither, I’ve participated a q uarter of a century ago, at the U.C. Berkeley, in a course deciphering the meaning of sentences contained in the book Sein und Zeit of Martin Heidegger. I felt the same way. But free discussions at the coffee table might be very useful, also in the hard-core scientific research.
R.D. Really so? Can such free discussions, without a heavy equipment necessary for experimentation, and without a deep, computerised analysis of data, produce any “cognitive bomb” – I say it in quotation marks – in our technology and money minded society?
N.S. I’ve read memories of Stanislas Ulam**. He recalls there how his free discussions at a cafe’s table, both with mathematicians and philosophers at Lwow – in German Lemberg – before 2-nd World War, helped him to develop more matured mathematical ideas.
R.D. And what was the use of these ideas?
N.S. Thanks to Ulam’s calculations, at Los Alamos in Nevada, at the end of 2-nd World War, Enrico Fermi and his colleagues were able to construct the first nuclear bomb.
R.D. This was in fact a real bomb, which has shaken the roots of our culture. What kind of bomb are you producing now, in this charming environment of your New Athens?
N.S. You ask questions like an agent of secret services, sniffing for inventions you may incorporate into your triumphant McWorld’s culture.
R.D. You got to the point. There are hardly free discussions in our business-minded free civilisation. And the public in our countries is constantly manipulated, by specialised in such subterranean activities, secret departments of our Corporate State. I’ve read about such odious manipulations – even at international scale – in a book Puppetmasters written by Philip Villan in 1991 and published at London.
N.S. And me, I’ve seen a videocassette Manufacturing Consent, prepared by Noam Chomsky with the help of Canadian government. Its message, concerning the Collective Mind Control, is close to your remarks.
R.D. So, what kind of a bomb have you tried to produce at Cracow?
N.S. Few years ago a friend of mine, at present professor of philosophy at Gdansk, have proposed me, precisely at cafe “Senacka” in front of the Philosophy Department, to elaborate together a general theory of consciousness…
R.D. Would such a theory be manufactured, it would be a real bomb!
N.S. But at that time I’ve refused, I didn´t felt competent enough.
R.D. And to-day you are catching me, exactly in the way this old ragamuffin Socrates did it at the market – it means agora – of Athens, and you are trying to discuss with me the Darwinian philosophy, of which I am a radical supporter? Do you feel competent this time? I’ve heard, from titled Cracow’s biologists that you are in fact, a pertinent and flashy writer, but you are not competent in biology.
N.S. Of course, I do not know everything in biology, but it is easy to prove that no living being can ever know everything about living beings. At the same time I do not pretend – as did it this old hypocrite Socrates – that I know that I know nothing.
R.D. So what do you know, which might impress me?
N.S. I would like to discuss with you the ultra Darwinian philosophy – or psychology – as they call it at present. Is it the field you feel safe? Aren’t you?
R.D. In fact, I was impressed by the argumentation developed by Richard Dawkins in his book Blind Watchmaker. By a chance I have a copy of it with me. But how do you imagine you will be able to question the validity of his statements? Biologists say that you are incompetent in their field.
N.S. But biologists are much less competent than I in a solid state physics in which specialisation I’ve graduated at Cracow’s Jagiellonian University. And the concept of randomness of mutations, which concept underlies all these popular, ultra Darwinian views, belongs to the realm of the molecular physics, phase shifts, thermodynamics of chemical disequilibriums and so on. In this matter I am a fully competent person.
R.D. Oh, I’m impressed by all these complicated terms. I’ve heard that authors of proofs of randomness of mutations were physicists, too. I have a certain background in the elementary physics and chemistry, and I will be happy to hear from you about fissures you found in the argumentation of my masters – whom in fact, I never saw in person, and whose arguments sometimes overpass my mind. May I propose to go to one of these numerous pubs I’ve seen in your New Athens?
N.S. All right. At present it is the autumn, and the weather do not invites us to search for the shadow of a maple tree – as did it Socrates two and half thousand years ago, while discussing the biology of Love with Phaedrus.
R.D. The autumn is the time of gathering of fruits, and pythagoreans – as far as I remember it from my exclusive college – associated autumn with the human age between forty and sixty years old. Both you and Dawkins are of this age. It thus will be interesting to me to play the role of an actor presenting Dawkins natural philosophy. As a connaisseur of Cracow, which pub do you suggest?
N.S. The one at the corner of the Small Market, we may find there even the English Ale beer, I hope.
R.D. So let’s go.
New Socratic finds gross errors in Richard Dawkins argumentation
Radical Darwinian: Do you know that Charles Darwin not so frequently visited public places like this?
New Socratic: Moreover, beginning from the age of 30 years old he was suffering a mysterious illness which epidemiologists of to-day associate with CFS – the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The relatively short diligence travel from Dover, where he lived, to London was a difficult enterprise for him. Apparently the father of the theory of the survival of the fittest was physically not fit to withstand, for more than an hour, a conversation with his rare guests who visited him in his secluded country house.
R.D. Yes, this is true. Our Darwinians maintain that only due to this mysterious illness he was able to develop – and to maintain – his theory. And that his rare presence in public places amplified only the scientific prestige of his ideas.
N.S. I know that appropriate appearances played a significant role in the development of British natural philosophy. Living in this, characteristic for the 19 century, Victorian atmosphere of fake values, Charles Darwin wasn’t even sure of his own evolutionary concepts.
R.D. In fact, at the end of his life, under the fire of critics, he was a man ready-to-abandon-his-previous-views. He even wrote to one of his friends that in his earlier works he put too much stress at the evolutionary role of natural selection.
N.S. In any case, I am astonished by the curious way of reasoning, which is apparently popular among your Darwinians. The old Socrates claimed that only thanks to a purposeful, face to face dialogue, we are able to develop more mature ideas. I’ve read about it in Phaedrus. Ancient Greeks called maieutics – which means midwifery – the art of development of more mature views in students brains. Socrates was a real master in this, biology related, profession.
R.D. I presume that you, as a new Socratic, will try to develop more mature ideas in my mind, which is so heavily imprinted with English culture.
N.S. It is a pleasure to speak face-to-face with you. According to the French philosopher Christian Makarian** the absence of a free personal communication is a real illness of our times. But let us perform our midwifery work before the beer starts to turn in our heads. Can you resume the essence of Richard Dawkins arguments in Blind Watchmaker?
R.D. Of course! He repeats his essential argument many times. I will find you one of his statements. I have his book with me. At pages 312-313 he writes for example: Mutation is random with respect to adaptive advantage, although it is non-random in all sorts of other respects (for ex. X-rays, etc.). It is selection and only selection, that directs evolution in directions that are non random with respect to advantage. … Only natural selection, I have repeatedly argued, even comes close to offering a plausible explanation for the human eye and comparable organs of extreme perfection and complexity. Assume that 1000 steps of evolution are needed to evolve the eye from nothing. ..The 1000 steps of evolution represent 1000 successive choice points, at each of which most of the alternatives led to death. …The wayside is littered with the dead bodies of the failures who took wrong turning at each one of the 1000 successive choice points. …That was … natural selection’s explanation of the eye in 1000 steps.
N.S. It is indeed a very poetic and impressive description of the role of the natural selection in the development of the human eye. Especially I am impressed by Dawkins vision of these sideways littered with dead bodies of animals too shortsighted or too presbyte to survive. Do you know, how long ago vertebrate animals have developed functional eyes?
R.D. I have no idea. Dinosaurs already had functional eyes, I have seen it at the movie Jurassic Park of Steve Spielberg.
N.S. And I’ve seen photographs of fossilised fishes dating 300 million years ago. I suppose that these fishes had functional eyes too, otherwise they would not survive until their adult age when they accidentally died and fossilised. All these evidence suggest that in the case of eye evolution in vertebrates natural selection has been practically silent since several hundreds of millions of years.
R.D. Do you suggest that in the case of anthropoids, which preceded vertebrates at the evolutionary scale, the natural selection of their mosaic-like, multiple eyes was an event even more remote?
N.S. Of course! Moreover, it is well confirmed – at least in the case of mammals to which taxonomic class we belong – that ultimate steps in the eye development – say at least 100 from the Dawkins proposed 1000 – are constructed not due to any selection but simply, to young animals efforts to see. If a kitten’s eye will be blinked for the first 3 months after the birth, this cat in his adult life will have the sight in this eye seriously diminished. The same holds in monkeys and surely in humans.
R.D. Do you suggest that Dawkins, while stating – I will quote him literally – It is selection and only selection ,…even comes close to offering a plausible explanation to the human eye, is simply lying?
N.S. He surely commits an error by claiming that the natural selection is responsible for the last 100, out of suggested 1000 steps, which are necessary to construct a functional eye. All ophthalmologists know that to develop good vision in adult humans, children must perform – and usually they do it spontaneously – quite strenuous cognitive efforts. Would they be grown in darkness, they would not see clearly later.
R.D. So, you maintain that Richard Dawkins in Blind Watchmaker is selling us his own ignorance in the matter of developmental ophthalmology.
N.S. Precisely so, and in his previous famous book The Selfish Gene he has sold us his professional ignorance in the matter of genes replication.
R.D. I haven’t noticed it. For me it is obvious that genes have an intrisinque tendency – to use the famous Aristotelian term – to replicate their own structure.
N.S. The chemically spontaneous formation of the complementary strand of DNA happens only when the DNA structure is denaturated, which means, in the case when the chemically stable structure of the double helix is unwinded, and its strands are separated. Once this unnatural situation is chemically saturated, no further replication of DNA is possible.
R.D. Why than Dawkins calls genes replicators, which means molecules tending to replicate ad infini their structure?
N.S. Dawkins has a truly Aristotelian – as you said it – spiritual tendency towards obscuring the essence of life phenomena. To replicate a chemically stable gene – or a whole chromosome – the special enzyme, called replicase, is needed, to open the double helix. This enzyme is provided in vivo by a cellular metabolism, and in vitro – which means in a sterile laboratory – it might be provided by a genetic engineer, which replicates in this way genetic fragments selected by him.
R.D. Your observation that natural, double stranded genes cannot be self-replicators seems plausible to me. Why then notion of selfish gene had so much success among scientific community?
N.S. In fact so called selfish DNA exists within certain cellular structures, and many viruses seem to be such a selfish by-product of the evolution. But organisms do have defences against viral invasions, they do produce specific proteins, called nuclear restriction enzymes, which are able to cut down a foreign DNA into pieces and thus to destroy its subversive, auto-replicative message. The discovery of these restriction enzymes was done in early seventies, and in 1978 Werner Arber from Geneva got a Nobel Prize for this discovery. Unfortunately, the meaning of his work hasn’t been publicised enough, and our society had not enough intellectual vigour to make culturally inoffensive the fake message, published in 1971, by Jacques Monod in his famous book Le hasard et la necessité.
R.D. What was this Monod’s fake message?
N.S. The same one which replicates fifteen years later Richard Dawkins in Blind Watchmaker. Monod has used all his scientific authority to assure his readers that adaptive mutations happen at random and that no protein is able to alter the DNA structure in a coherent way. In seventies Monod’s ideas had tremendous, really comparable to a viral invasion, impact on brains of the scientific community, not only in France but also in your country.
R.D. Richard Dawkins calls cultural brain viruses memes.
N.S. I heard about it. It may be an abbreviation for the Mind Emptying and Memory Eradicating virus.
R.D. You are so vicious, you will never be accepted by our Club of Established Scientists.
N.S. No doubt about it. But these words describe in a precise way the totality of the cultural message contained in the neoDarwinian theory. Do you know what kind of a book has written Monod’s colleague, Francois Jacob few years before the publication of Blind Watchmaker?
N.S. The book has a title Jeu des possibles – The play of possibilities - and our Nobel Prize Winner has sketched in it the idea of the development of the whole living universe by a bricollage, it means by a mindless assembly of accidentally found rubbish.
R.D. I do not know whether Dawkins borrowed this idea from Jacob, but in Blind Watchmaker he insists that in the Universe there is not a being which Antique philosophers associated with a Mind.
N.S. Your favoured author insists that the Blind Watchmaker was able to construct a seeing eye. Generalising a bit his statement, we may safely say that a Mindless Creator has created, naturally by a means of natural selection, mindful brains of our distinguished scientists. This recalls me of an opinion I’ve read once in France. One of humble medical doctors of this country, has commented in this way the message of famous Monod’s book; The French intellectual works strenuously with his mind – only to invent the mindlessness.
R.D. As an Englishman I do agree that many of my compatriots follow the French route of positive thinking.
N.S. Not to say about prominent Poles, all of us are proud to be Europeans.
R.D. In my country I’ve met many malcontents who claim that New Europe means Collective Imbecility.
N.S. Like in old Athens, at the time of Plato, where Socrates complained about the collective stupidity of his compatriots. By the way, do you know the Socrates definition of stupidity?
R.D. Do not escape sideways, you have promised me to prove the antithesis of Dawkins concept of eye creation from nothing.
N.S. In fact I did it. But this time our discussion will be serious. So instead of a next beer let’s take a coffee. We need to have our we-don’t-know-how-constructed brains fully active.
New Socratic and Radical Darwinian investigate the mysterious origin of genetic mutations
New Socratic: I think, after reflection, that I will be able not only to justify the antithesis of Dawkins argument, but also, as did Socrates in Phaedrus, I will be able to construct a New Synthesis of both views.
Radical Darwinian: Do not exaggerate, I will be glad if you show me only that the first sentence of Dawkins theory, which brilliantly describes the process of eye development from nothing – mutation is random with respect to adaptive advantage – is not true. A few verses before, Dawkins assures us categorically although we can imagine it, nobody has ever come closer to suggesting any means by which this bias could come about.
N.S. Visibly Dawkins didn’t read my lengthy article “Open letter to Biologists” published in Fundamenta Scientiae, and printed in Great Britain in 1981 by Pergamon Press.
R.D. You know, we are living in a world literally inundated by scientific literature.
N.S. And manipulated, as you have remarked at the beginning, by those invisible “puppet-masters” pulling strings which control the behaviour of eye muscles – and of memory engrams – of our scientific community. But let us return to old Socrates. In Phaedrus – which provides a model for our discussion – Socrates begins with a statement that we need precise definitions in order to be sure that we are speaking about the same thing. We will follow this old Greek route of argumentation. What does the term “genetic mutation” mean to you?
R.D. Mutation by a definition is a change of genetic material which is DNA .
N.S. In general I agree, but let’s be more precise. It is not every change, but a change which is inheritable in subsequent rounds of gene replication.
R.D. I do not see the differentia specifica with my definition.
N.S. If you irradiate DNA, or you partly destroy its structure by thermal or mechanical shock, or by chemicals, it is not the immediate gene damage we call mutation. Mutations are eventually inherited alterations of genes due to an imperfect repair of the induced damage.
R.D. It means that mutations are acquired genetic characters. Those characters, by definition, are inheritable.
N.S. Perfectly so, and we have a whole panoply of these acquired genetic characters: not only point mutations – which means exchange of single DNA bases – but also duplications and amplifications of DNA segments, new associations and recombinations of DNA structures, deletions and additions of whole chromosomes and so on. The array of possible mutations is shown best by the picture done by Weinberg in Scientific American of May 1983. What is more interesting, is that all these genetic changes, visible in Weinberg’s table, are selectively advantageous for cells affected by them – they are simply the origin of various forms of cancers.
R.D. Indeed, as Dawkins suggests, cancers are provoked by random errors of gene replication – or errors induced by various mutagens.
N.S. You say, cancers are illnesses of chance? There are a large number of cancers, which are environmentally conditioned, without the help of mutagens. It is sufficient to recall certain brain cancers, confirmed to be the result of continuous psychic stress.
R.D. But there are proofs that mutations giving selective advantage in reproduction happen at random.
N.S. You said before that you heard about these proofs.
R.D. In textbooks of biology they quote the experimental work of Seymour Luria and Max Delbruck which has been done more than a half century ago.
N.S. I read this proof carefully in 1979 while I was a stipendiary at the Laboratoire d’Évolution des Etres Vivantes which belongs to the University of Paris VII. To prove that mutations assuring the resistance of bacteria to a “selecting” virus, happen at random, authors have done several weeks of experimentation and wrote a 50 page long paper** covered with complicated statistical formulae – as you noticed already, those future Nobel Prize Winners were well trained physicists.
R.D. Was this proof also a fallacy?
N.S. I’ve discussed it in detail in my book Fallacies and Paradoxes of Modern Biology, published unfortunately only in Polish. These future Nobel Prize Winners have simply omitted, in their lengthy statistical considerations, lag periods before the appearance of focuses with selectively advantageous mutations. Thanks to this carefree – or rather astute – omission, they got a statistical impression that advantageous mutations arise at random, without any influence of a selecting medium.
R.D. Can you furnish me more details about the method they used?
N.S. I discussed this proof several times with competent physicists. Listening, during a seminar, to arguments which I’ve enumerated in my book, a professor of methodology of physics from the University of Carlsruhe in Germany, stated with authority that Luria-Delbruck’s proof was a Dummheit. Do you know what Dummheit means in English?
N.S. Stupidity. According to the definition given by Socrates in Phaedrus a stupid man is one who has a wrong opinion about the state of affairs.
R.D. Will you please show me details of this mysterious proof? Do you think that I am so stupid that I am not able to judge physicists arguments, moreover, arguments which are aged more than a half century? Do you think that modern man always must be at the mercy of an impersonal Authority, which decides what is Dummheit?
N.S. Ok. Take this paper with you and read it later. The title of it is “La maladie du hasard” which means “The Illness of Chance” in English. It demonstrates, for a complete layman, how one can make a chance event out of a completely deterministic phenomenon. You have surely learned French in your exclusive school, I presume?
R.D. In fact I did, and the article you gave me is short enough to be read. What more do you want to show me?
N.S More than a year after my initial lecture of L-D’s paper dating from 1943, I’ve discovered, at the very end of the “Discussion” of their work, this remarkable statement: However, it is also conceivable that the loss (of bacteria sensitivity to viral infection) occurs upon contact with the virus, since it is detected only after such contact (hypothesis b1).
R.D. It means that they honestly admitted that they proved nothing. What was this hypothesis b1?
N.S. I can quote their paper in detail from memory: b1. Hypothesis of acquired immunity of hereditarily predisposed individuals. The original variants originated by mutations occurring independently of the presence of virus. When the virus is added, the variants will interact with it, but they will survive the interaction, just as there may be families, which are hereditarily predisposed to survive an otherwise fatal virus infection. Since we know that the offspring of the original variants do not absorb the virus, we must further assume that the infection caused this additional hereditary change.
R.D. It is evident to me that certain predisposed – or accidentally, less exposed – bacteria may survive the initial wave of virus invasion, and that after a period of illness, they may recover and become fully resistant, behaving exactly in the way our own bodies behave. And it is evident to me that the existence of lag period, that you were talking about before, is the proof that accidentally predisposed – or less exposed – bacteria survive the period of virus-induced illness. How long was this period of bacteria illness?
N.S. In Luria’s-Delbruck’s experimentation 12 to 18 hours, in other experiments with the construction of bacteria resistance to various agents, we have frequently to wait for weeks. I was told about it by professor Kunicki-Goldfinger, a well known microbiologist from Warsaw; we may find the confirmation of it in a lengthy article by Patricia Clark, published in Bacteria**, already in 1978.
R.D. It means that the principle of randomness of adaptive mutations has never been proven. That this is a neoDarwinian lie!
N.S. Worse, as I demonstrate in detail in my book Fallacies and Paradoxes, neoDarwinian concepts of biology are the product of functional myopia of the “mandarins” of science. And this myopia is apparently advantageous in modern society. Your compatriot Michael Thompson, in the book Rubbish Theory, published by Oxford University Press in 1977, called this socio-scientific phenomenon the conspiracy of blindness.
R.D. So you are an adherent of the outdated theory of world-wide conspiracy!
N.S. In fact, my close observation of the cognitive behaviour of many of our scientific “mandarins”, has brought me to a very particular scientific conviction. I believe that over our laboratories, which investigate in ever more minute detail adaptive behaviours of “living watches” – that means, living organisms – floats the Spirit of the Blind Watchmaker.
R.D. A funny and at the same time impressive association. Slowly, under the power of your arguments, I am becoming, as Darwin did later, a Ready-to-abandon-my-previous-views-Darwinian. How do you explain the non-random appearance of advantageous mutations in predisposed individuals, which are submitted to blind forces of natural selection?
N.S. It is a trivial thing. I’ve tried to interest prominent Polish evolutionists in it, even the head of the Polish Academy of Science. With the exception of physicists and of course of psychologists – my arguments did not stir much enthusiasm.
Ready-to-abandon-his-previous-views Darwinian: Isn’t the Spirit of the Blind Watchmaker floating over Poland, too? Isn’t it?
New Socratic: In Poland we are also Europeans, mutating at present with tremendous speed into an “open”, intensely Americanised, society. So let’s take a Coca-Cola and force our analytical minds to investigate watch-like details of the cellular metabolism.
Our natural philosophers search for genetic effects of genes use and disuse
Ready-to-Abandon-his-previous-views Darwinian: So you promised me to demonstrate how non random, adaptive mutations occur.
New Socratic: Let’s begin once more with precise definitions. What do you mean by adaptation?
R.A.D. A disposition to live at ease in a particular environment. For example a blacksmith, due to constant work with a heavy hammer, develops strong arms, which makes work easier for him.
N.S. And a watchmaker, by constant work with minute details of watches, becomes myopic. I read about this professional adaptation already in one of Darwin’s books**. We may add to these standard adaptations of high mountain climbers, who develop bigger than average lungs as an adaptation to high altitudes. I know this kind of adaptation from my personal experience.[MK1]
R.A.D. Our neoDarwinians claim – to quote sir Peter Medawar** – that these acquired adaptations are not inheritable. The son of a blacksmith is not born with arms stronger than other children.
N.S. Really? Children whose parents acquired myopia because of their life style, in general become myopic even earlier than their parents. And I’ve heard that children born from parents living at Peruvian Altiplano, few thousand meters above sea level, are born with lungs statistically more voluminous than children born from Peruvian parents constantly living at sea level. But never mind. How does Dawkins explain such common adaptation, as the thickening of these areas of human skin, which are exposed to wear and abrasion? We have plenty of examples of such functional adaptations, beginning with hands of men who do much handwork, and ending with the rough skin on the feet of our old, barefoot philosopher Socrates.
R.A.D. In fact, I was interested in Dawkins explanation of this phenomenon, and I’ve found his opinion. I will quote him literally: Darwinian, of course, has a ready answer. Skin that is subject to wear and tear gets thicker, because natural selection in the ancestral past has favoured those individuals whose skin happen to respond to wear and tear in this advantageous way.
N.S. It means that already very early in the history of our planet, roughly a billion years ago, these “living watches” at that time in the form of singular cells, have acquired an in-built mechanism, causing thickening of the epidermic layer submitted to a frequent abrasion. It is thus evident that since the very beginning of life on earth, living beings were something more than these Cartesian “living machines”. If they behaved as ordinary watches, whose parts degenerate due to their use, they would not survive for long. Do you know any details of the mechanism which forces the skin to recover from injuries?
R.A.D. There must surely exist such a mechanism. As far as I know from my school, proteins are synthesised with the use of RNA as a template, and in turn, this RNA is synthesised in the nucleus with the use of appropriate DNA segments as templates.
N.S. Yes, this is the standard chain of bio-synthesis. We may read about in any book of biology. It holds also in the case of synthesis of proteins called keratins, which form the epidermic tissue. This means that frequent skin abrasion induces reinforced use of genetic structures, both RNA and DNA, which code for damaged skin structures.
R.A.D. As far as I follow your reasoning, you seem to suggest that the use of selected genetic structures leads to the selective reinforcement of these structures, in the same way as the wear and tear of skin causes, after a regeneration, a thickening of skin areas selected by wear. But how is it possible to thicken and to reinforce the genetic structure? Genes are practically linear, with a constant diameter of their strands.
N.S. May I ask you a question? What do you know about the metabolism – that is, the exchange of matter – of the cellular genetic code?
R.A.D. In fact such dynamic phenomenon exists, Dawkins says There is a constant flux, a turnover of letters in the message. About 5000 DNA letters degenerate per day in every human cell, and are immediately replaced by repair mechanisms.
N.S. It is also well known that the DNA structure degenerates much faster in areas, where it is denatured and subjected to wear and tear linked with gene copying. Parts of chromosomes, twisted in the form of a double helix and wrapped around special proteins called histons, are like hard discs in computers, practically beyond the reach of gene damaging agents. It means that the turnover of DNA must be selectively accelerated in those areas which participate in protein synthesis.
R.A.D. I agree, it seems to be evident, although it is the first time I’ve heard of such internal selection. But how do you imagine the thickening of genetic structures selected by their use?
N.S. Let’s go slowly. DNA repair – as it is widely known – consists not of the exchange of single DNA letters, as Dawkins suggests, but of the replacement of whole segments of DNA around a damaged molecule. These necessary cuttings are done by restriction enzymes that we were talking about before, and a new copy is synthesised with the use of the second strand of DNA as a template. This second strand remains inactive in RNA synthesis. When this newly synthesised DNA segment is chemically still needed for the RNA synthesis, it could be taken away from the chromosome before the enzyme called ligase binds it back to the repaired strand. In this situation the next round of repair replication occurs, and it will be repeated until no more copies of DNA are needed for the RNA – and then for the protein – reproduction.
R.A.D. You are speaking like a watchmaker trying to explain to a layman, which cogwheel pushes which in a watch. All that I retained from your professional discourse is your suggestion that the enzymatic apparatus of the cellular nucleus is able to make additional copies of precisely those genes, which are selected by their use. Moreover it is done in the same way as the hypertrophy – it means thickening – of epidermis cells. Those cells are producing additional keratin layers, induced to this activity by skin wear and tear.
N.S. You got the idea. These additional metabolic – as they are called – gene copies are behind the increase of the volume of synthesis of keratin in epidermis which is used. This is exactly this “majorant reequilibration” of epigenetic structures which are perturbed by a “selecting” – I say “selecting” using quotation marks – agent. The expression la reequilibration majorante was introduced by Jean Piaget; in English we use the term overrecovery, which is a more precise description of the internal mechanism of Lamarck’s First Law of Biology.
R.A.D. Was such “thickening of frequently expressed genes” confirmed by microscope investigations?
N.S. Of course, this phenomenon has been observed under a microscope for at least three or four decades. I haven’t found any literature concerning the mechanism of the overgrowth of epidermis, but I have data concerning the hypertrophy of muscular tissue.
R.A.D. No matter, Dawkins in his book states that an overgrowth of epidermis is essentially the same phenomenon as the hypertrophy of muscles. What are your proofs that muscle hypertrophy is caused by an overgrowth of genetic templates used to reproduce muscle protein?
N.S. In my book I reproduce the picture from the work of Goldspink,** dating from 1964. One can see in it that nuclei of mice muscle cells, which have been exercised, are much thicker – which means they contain much more DNA – than the atrophic, non exercised cells of the same muscle. We also observe these massive, selective chromosome amplifications in salivary glands of Drosophila larvae** and in silk synthesising worms** of silk moths. Selective gene amplifications are common also in many cancers, which are caused by the non-degradation, in due time, of these selectively amplified genetic structures. You may see those hypertrophied genetic structures in Weinberg’s tables. Look at them. These “new” structures are usually built as a response to frequent cellular damage induced by so called “cancer promoting” agents. You may see there selective “thickenings” – or amplifications, as geneticists say – of genetic code characterising certain cancers.
R.A.D. It is indeed very curious that biologists of to-day are not thinking as a normal, mentally healthy engineer usually does, that the exploitation of genetic structures will lead, through resulting damage, to an overrecovery and reinforcement of these structures. Especially when they may observe such changes under an ordinary microscope.
N.S. I think that you touched here a more profound biological phenomenon related to Darwinian psychology. I’ve observed that most biologists of to-day do not imagine genes as fully physical particles, which are subject to wear – and thus to an obligatory loss of their “message” – during their activity. It seems that our geneticists have forgotten, and that since their school years, the existence of the Newtonian Third Law of Physics, which states that each action causes an equal reaction. I haven’t seen a theoretical paper in molecular biology, which would take into consideration the necessary degeneration of genetic structures due to their participation in metabolic processes. I’ve tried myself to interest more open-minded biology journals in this, purely physical aspect of genetics, but my arguments were refused publication**.
R.A.D. Indeed, while studying Dawkins books I had an unclear feeling that he attributes to genes really metaphysical properties. Now I see it clearly. I can understand that many of our geneticists are so called “true believers”, impervious to any criticism of the dogma they believe in.
N.S. A being, which does not obey the III-rd Law of Newton may act, but at the same time it isn’t acted upon. According to the definition given by Aristotle, such a being is a “Motionless Mover”, an impersonal God.
R.A.D. I understand. And geneticists try to act as priests of this Molecular God. It is thus evident that they would like to put into silence researchers who publicly call this Genetic God a fake. I understand where this spirit of the Blind Watchmaker, which dominates our laboratories comes from. It is simply a creation of geneticists, whose “scientific solidarity” is parasiting on the absence of a keen perception, and on a functional analfabetism in elementary physics, of our “learned” public. This public is well educated only in appearance. But I have a question. Dawkins says that the principle - of the overgrowth of structures used – is too crude a tool to fashion the exquisitely delicate adaptations that we see in animals and plants. He argues this way Think of all these intrinsically co-operating working parts of an eye: the lens with clear transparency, its colour correction and its correction for spherical distortion, the muscles that can instantly focus the lens on any target from a few inches to infinity. In fact, I cannot imagine how these adaptations occur. Moreover, how can you explain the way by which all these acquisitions of somatic tissues are transported to germinal cells. NeoDarwinians assure us repeatedly that such physical phenomena do not exist.
N.S. Oh, you want to get me into details, which I’ve described at large in my “Open Letter to Biologists”, and in my book as well. This is a longer story. Let’s leave this smoky place and take some fresh air before we enter into these details.
Our heroes question why Dawkins cannot distinguish a donkey from a horse
New Socratic: Ugh, we got away from that smoky place. Poles smoke enormously, evidently for the benefit of American Tobacco Companies, which grabbed recently the major chunk of Polish tobacco industry.
Ready-to-Abandon-his-previous-views Darwinian: Do you know that our business minded, Anglo-Saxon elite, even in times preceding the last century’s Opium Wars in China, consisted of professional pushers of all kinds of drugs and gadgetry wherever possible? At present, the world-wide programme of creation of mass public dependencies – and even of infirmities – is at the origin of power and wealth of dons of the American Corporate State.
N.S. So, let’s escape for a while from the grasp of the Invisible Hand of the dons of the world-wide beer industry. Let’s walk for a while along Cracow’s green plantations, which substituted for fortified walls of the old city. At which point did we interrupt our interesting discussion?
R.A.D. I asked you how more complex adaptations – such as quick eye accommodations – occur, and how it is possible that they may be inherited.
N.S. To acquire the capacity for quick eye accommodation, one has to exercise it since early childhood, it is only the propensity for a particular type of sight – for myopia or for longsightedness for example – which may be inherited. Naturally in agreement with Mendel’s laws of heredity.
R.A.D. I understand. But before you enter into details, can you explain to me, where the error is in Richard Dawkins argument against the inheritance of acquired eye characters? Despite my admiration for the quality of his prose, I couldn’t understand this passage of his book. I would like to read it in full.
N.S. Let’s then sit down on a park bench. I am listening.
R.A.D. If the genes were a blueprint, it would be easy to imagine any characteristics that a body acquired during its lifetime, being faithfully transcribed back into the genetic code, and hence passed into the next generation. The blacksmith’s son really could inherit the consequences of his father’s exercise. It is because the genes are not a blueprint but a recipe that this is not possible. We can no more imagine acquired characteristics being inherited than we can imagine the following. A cake has one slice cut out of it. A description of the alternation is now fed back into recipe, and the recipe changes in such a way that the next cake baked according to the altered recipe comes out of the oven with one slice already neatly missing.
N.S. What’s this? In Polish we say, what is the relation of a spice cake to a windmill? What is the relation between overgrowth of blacksmith’s muscles, or of thickening of skin on his hands, with the slicing of a cake? But let us be more serious about this product of Dawkins scientific imagination. By a slicing out, of a piece of a cake, we induce damage to the previously baked – or in other terms, synthesised – cake structure. Such induced slicing-of might be compared to an externally imposed skin abrasion, or to an internally induced wear of muscle tissue during the strenuous effort. In both instances we feel pain caused by this body damage. And in both instances a healthy organism recovers, by a chemically spontaneous auto-repair, from these induced damages. Let us now return to Dawkins metaphor of genes as a recipe for a cake. A business-minded baker, who sees that his cake is eagerly consumed, multiplies – one and half, two, or many times – all ingredients contained in a recipe of a cake, which was positively selected by his customers. In this simple way he is able to satisfy his public need for this particular cake. At the same time he puts on back shelves of his bakery – or even forgets completely – recipes for those cakes, which have no success among his clients. This is an outline of behaviour of a normal, business-minded baker. The baker imagined by Dawkins, who feeds back into a recipe the loss of integrity of a cake due to its partial consumption, would be an idiot, who would not survive for a long time in business. The same holds in case of a cellular “bakery”: these genetic recipes, which products are eagerly consumed, are easily accessible in the cellular “library” of recipes for body constituents. They probably will be duplicated – as so called ribosomal DNA** – for an easier lecture in the future. At the same time, genetic recipes whose products are obsolete, are spontaneously pushed into remote regions of the cellular “bakery”. In those places they are accessible with difficulty, and even lost – like useless gene segments called introns – during subsequent, adaptive rearrangements of the cellular genome.
R.A.D. This comparison of the cellular metabolism with a bakery looks attractively, indeed. But are we allowed to compare, a fully mechanised behaviour of a minute cell, to the mindful behaviour of a business-minded baker?
N.S. It is rather the other way round, our biologists should be alerted to the fact that the behaviour of a normal, business minded baker is automated the same way as the behaviour of a mind-less, living cell. All processes of bio-synthesis – beginning with the replication of DNA, which we discussed already – are spontaneously interrupted once the process of gene copying, as well as the transcription of these genes into proteins, is achieved. It means that an early consumption of products of bio-synthesis automatically induces the next round of their synthesis.
R.A.D. A baker imitates the behaviour of a blind, mindless cell? Isn’t that a blasphemy?
N.S. A baker is a long-term, final product of the fully automated “baking” procedure, which was initiated within the single germinal cell, called zygote. And individual cells are not completely blind. It is known that cells “see” – thanks to their sensory micro-organs – only their closest environment, very much in the same way as our, business-minded “open” society, sees only the end of its own nose. More farsighted and mindful human actions are possible only when cells of our brains – and connected with them, our sensory organs – reach appropriate dimension, density and complexity.
R.A.D. I know. It is the old Marxist thesis that quantitative increases impose qualitative modifications. This idea is hated by hard-core Darwinians grouped around our international, London based, scientific review Nature. Where business-minded Dawkins get the idea to associate the inheritance of acquired characters, such as muscle overgrowth, with a diminishment of a cake due to its slicing? Why does nobody dare to argue in public that his argumentation is ridiculous?
N.S. Let us go slowly. Dawkins mistake is due to the lack of precision in the definition of the term “acquired characters”. To illustrate dangers, which may follow an imprecise description, I will tell you an antique, humorous anecdote told by Socrates in dialogue Phaedrus. In this story Socrates imagines himself as a man of good intentions but of small experience, willing to help young Phaedrus to prepare himself for an oncoming war. He thus proposes to him to buy a horse. But neither of our friends know precisely what kind of an animal a horse is. Socrates knows only that in Phaedrus opinion, a horse is a domestic animal with longest ears. The goodwilling Socrates, not knowing exactly what kind of an animal the horse is, but honestly intending to help his friend, with all his oratory skill tries to convince Phaedrus, to buy a domestic animal which has longest ears, and to go for a war on a back of a donkey mistaken for a horse.
R.A.D. It means that not knowing about important difference in combat value between donkey and a horse, Socrates involuntarily has made a bad joke to his young friend. Do you suggest that Dawkins, not knowing with precision what the term “acquired characters” means, and knowing only that the general public associate these characters with non regenerated amputations, used all his skills as a talented writer to convince his readers that muscle robustness, acquired by a strenuous muscular exercise, is a phenomenon basically the same as the loss of cake integrity caused by its partial consumption? I begin to see where this grotesque Spirit of Blind Watchmaker stems from. In the opinion of our neoDarwinians, it is not important how the things look in their essence. For them, what is important, is only the opinion of the common man. According to such a view, common sense is the judge, and this judgement by common sense indicates that we are able to convince the general public only by suggestive appearances, and never by more hidden truths, which remain beyond the vision of common men.
N.S. You are more perceptive than I thought at the beginning. Your last observation sounded like a replica of the voice of Phaedrus** in Plato’s dialogue. In fact it is the problem of the so called “common sense perception of the world”, which is the origin of the large public acceptance of neoDarwinian suggestions that the donkey has the same utility as a horse. The fertile history, of the attachment of a body’s injuries to the Lamarck’s coined term “acquired characters”, is as old as Darwin’s theory of Evolution.
R.A.D. it. Can you give me details of this scientific Dummheit?
N.S. I’ve done it, in an article written in French, already 18 years ago**. Despite the fact that I quote there only opinions of our distinguished scholars on this subject, nobody dared to publish this simple text. Philip Nora, the editor-in-chief of French monthly Le Debat, wrote me sincerely that he hopes that the time will arrive, when we will be able to speak in public what we think about our scientists.
R.A.D. And it is already eighteen years, and our media still do not dare to speak openly about the baloney contained in dominant theories of biology. I will read this paper of yours later. Can you tell me now, in short, what it is about?
N.S. I resumed in it the essence of the history of modern biology. The really extraordinary history of the incorporation of the body’s injuries to the term “acquired characters” runs back to Charles Darwin. This prominent naturalist, as many of his fellows, wasn’t sure whether injuries may be inherited. These Darwin’s hesitations have inspired, exactly a hundred years ago, a prominent German man of science, named August Weisman, to do a scientific experiment consisting of the slicing-out of about thousand of mice tails in five subsequent generations. He did this cruel experiment in order to demonstrate – as he explained in a book Essays on Heredity – that the propensity for larger muscles is not inheritable in families of active athletes.
R.A.D. But was this slicing-out of mice tails necessary? It is really astonishing that already at the turn of the century, no person important in biological sciences ridiculed Weisman’s argumentation – not to say about his mindless experimentation. It was sufficient to recall that Jews, since at least two hundred generations, are slicing-out foreskins in each generation of their male progeny, with no hereditary effect.
N.S. You know, at the turn of the century racist theories were extremely popular in many countries of Europe and America. Weisman’s theory of heredity, which postulated that racial inclinations cannot be changed by a breeding at all, gave scientific prestige to the argumentation of racists of all kinds. Before the II-nd World War, those researchers who unfortunately demonstrated – even if only in the case of salamanders – that certain adaptive, racial characters, like skin colour, may change in adaptive and inheritable way, were socially demolished. This social destruction, of biologic concepts which were not welcomed, was already at this epoch co-ordinated by neoDarwinians, especially those linked with the review Nature, whose attitude you know. A world known writer Arthur Koestler has even wrote a book** illustrating the sad case of a talented Austrian biologist, Paul Kammerer, who was brought to suicide.
R.A.D. But now the wave of racism is over. At least at our progressive Universities. Why than our scientific establishment still displays such strenuous efforts in order to not see – to use this Socrates metaphor – the functional difference between a donkey and a horse?
N.S. To day, as you have remarked it at the beginning of our fresh air discussion, we are living in a world which is fully commercialised. Simply, sales of all kinds of gadgetry would be down if the people were constantly warned that too much life facilities will make them weak, chronically ill, and moreover, dumb. Would the lamarckian paradigm prevail in our society, our dons of drug, media and automobile industry would quickly lose their privileged positions.
R.A.D. Finally, I begin to understand the mind-less, cellular “bakery”-like, business of constant recopying and repeating, in order to obtain commercial success, of evidently senseless arguments which had popular success in previous generations. Dawkins, as you have disclosed it to me, tends to sell us a cake – or rather a bunch of baloney – which since a century is eagerly consumed by an externally apparently intelligent, but internally dumb, bourgeois public. But is it really possible to manipulate our society up to the point that the most obvious truths disappear into obscurity?
N.S. The known European fighter for the economic rights of the Third World, Susan George described recently, in monthly Le Monde diplomatique**, how by a co-ordinated play of scientific awards, and of the payed – but hidden – publicity in influential journals, it is possible to push into modern, liberal society the ultraliberal, economic ideas. And an application in practice of these ideas automatically enriches the ultra rich and imposes economic slavery on all others.
R.A.D. This is the argument of an outdated Marxist. Maybe it it possible to publish it in France, but not in journals of high diffusion in England and, as I suppose, not in to-day’s Poland, which is visibly intoxicated by new economic liberties. Do really we are condemned to live for the eternity – as this Phaedrus whose opinion I’ve inconsciously repeated, observed – in a world in which it is not important how the things really are, and the only thing which counts are appearances which convince the crowd? Is it only you who observe that we are sinking in a darkness illuminated by millions of ecrans showing only fake Internet messages and viciously manipulated TV news?
N.S. I will quote for you, from memory, an opinion about the progress of life sciences, published twenty years ago at Oxford, by one of your compatriots, Michael Thompson** The deed must appear all the more shocking to those who believe in the progress of knowledge; in the idea of scientists and scholars leaving no stone unturned in their unswerving determination to draw ever closer to the truth. For them, the path of life sciences must present a sinister betrayal: a systematic channeling of enquiry in order to impel knowledge ever further from the truth; to prevent people from ever seeing how things really are – “la trahison des clercks” – it means, “treason of scientific priesthood”.
R.A.D. It is chilling to sit in a park during the late autumn. Moreover, it is already dark. I propose that we go to one of yours Cracow’s charming cafés and conclude our interesting discussion there.
New Socratic explains how new behaviours and structures are constructed and memorisedReady-to-Abandon-his-previous-views Darwinian: It is a pretty café, this “Michalik’s Cave”, you brought meto. I see here many satirist’s paintings and no advertisements.
New Socratic: It is one of those rare places where one can sense the spirit of Cracow’s fin de siecle atmosphere. But do not despair. Perhaps you have already noticed that next to this decadent place we have a vigorous McDonald’s restaurant, with its characteristic smell of advanced hyper-modernity.
R.A.D. McDonald proves that Poland has joined the cultural standards of our free society.
N.S. And the translation of the Blind Watchmaker indicates that we have also joined the club of mentally most advanced countries. But let us continue our counter-cultural, midwifery task. You want to know how new genetic structures, underlying new adaptive behaviours, come about.
R.A.D. Yes, Richard Dawkins, faithfully following opinions of our McDonaldized university elite, says…
N.S. That all this biological constructivism is the product of blind chance mutations selected by equally blind, selective forces of life conditions. As Stephen J. Gould ironically abbreviated it, mutation proposes, selection disposes**. You agree with me that all this poetry is scientific bull… manure.
R.A.D. You speak elegant English. But how to get out of this post-modernist – or rather, as you said, hyper-modernist – …manure?
N.S. Do you know how new ideas are constructed?
R.A.D. It is well known to all psychologists, they arise by an association of previous ideas. Dawkins for example, creatively associated the message contained in genes with a recipe for baking a cake called the body.
N.S. And if we associate the recipe for baking Indian chapati – a kind of a flat bread – with a recipe for how to use yeast…
R.A.D. We will obtain a novel recipe for baking our common bread.
N.S. My trivial idea is that the cellular “bakery” works in the same way as a creative baker who combines succesful recipes. By an association of genetic recipes selected by their use, cells in various tissues construct new, more functional proteins, sugars and fats. The best example, of this cellular, creative recombination of recipes, is the process of construction of complex proteins called immunoglobulins, which are used in chemical defence against all kinds of foreign micro-bodies called antigens. At the beginning, upon a contact with an unknown antigen, specialised lymph cells, called lymphocytes, secrete so called immature immunoglobulin called in abbreviation Ig. This immature Ig has only limited affinity to an unknown antigen, but those parts of Ig, which are attracted by the antigen, are automatically reproduced in abundance, selecting in this way its own genetic recipes for amplification. Once selected by their use, immature recipes – or templates – for Ig associate, and we obtain, in a chemically spontaneous way, a mature genetic recipe for a mature immunoglobulin, which is fully complementary to any foreign body. In my book I’ve described this trivial example of endogenous genetic engineering in more detail. I used there, as a kind of a recipe – or rather a matrix – for my ideas, details of maturation of mitochondrial RNA in yeast, which were discovered sixteen years ago by Piotr Slonimski** from Paris. At present, we probably dispose of more accurate data concerning the construction of mature Ig. I think that it will confirm my theory of creative lymphocyte learning.
R.A.D. You are a genius. Is this mechanism of construction of new, functional proteins really so simple? How do you explain the perfection of sight, which Dawkins claims to be impossible to describe in Lamarckian terms of the hypertropy – or overgrowth – of structures which are used?
N.S. During childhood we have a long period of maturation of reactions of our eyes. Those regions of photosensitive cells in the retina, which are not stimulated by light during this period are condemned to spontaneously commit a suicide, or they move to work in more illuminated eye regions. In this way, a cat which has lived, during first three critical months of his life, with blinkers with only vertical slits, will see, during the rest of his life, only vertical **. The same holds in case of chickens, forced since birth to look for grains always very close in front of them. At adult age these hens develop functional atrophy of their eye muscles, and are so myopic that cannot find a grain farther than 5 centimetres from their beak.
R.A.D. I do not know, whether the conditioning of cats, to see only vertical structures, may be inherited. But it is a truth that the tendency for myopia is strongly inherited in humans. How do you explain the hereditary transmission of this acquired character? I begin to believe that our scientists, who claim that such phenomena do not exist, behave like cats grown with vertical blinkers, unable to imagine, in their adult age, the existence of transversal structures.
N.S. In fact, most of the so-called civilisation related diseases – not only myopia, diabetes, varicose veins and schizophrenia, but also the propensity for certain cancers – are strongly inherited and they develop even earlier in subsequent generations. The present incapacity, of our scientific establishment, to see that these social infirmities, induced by present civilisation, are to a large extent inheritable, is one more collective cognitive disease, which spreads like myopia in developed countries.
R.A.D. In United States over 50 percent of the population is myopic and about 35 percent is morbidly obese. How are these acquired characters are transferred from parents to offspring?
N.S. The first concept of the mechanism of this transfer goes back to Charles Darwin. He postulated the existence of minute particles, called by him gemmules**,which carry to the germinal cells, modifications of particular organs acquired by their use or disuse. A century later, these still mysterious, heredity modifying particles, were called krupinki by Trofim Lysenko**. These particles were finally discovered, roughly half a century ago, by Barbara McClintock who got in 1983 Nobel Prize for the discovery of these heredity changing particles, called by her transposons. This is not the end of this strange scientific story. In 1970 Howard Temin got the Nobel Prize for his ten year old discovery of retroviruses, transcribing the RNA message back to DNA structures. These viruses, one of which is the well known Herpes virus, are similar in their structure and activity to transposons**.They are released abundantly in situations which are stressful for an organism, and they are able to pick, and to carry with them, these RNA recipes which are used at the moment. Retroviruses are also able to incorporate these genetic recipes selected by their use, back to chromosomes, amplifying in this way their number in the cellular genome. Retroviruses and viruses, with certain statistical luck, incorporate also, the locally amplified – or recombined during tissue maturation – segments of RNA and DNA into the germinal cell line. They are able to transfer these genetic acquisitions even to other organisms, by a mechanism of viral infection similar to the rabies.
R.A.D. Wow! Not knowing about these facts our ultra Darwinians are really professionals of ignorance! Do they really dominate our Universities so omnipotently?
N.S. The theory of the retroviral transfer of acquired adaptations was already published twenty years ago by J.B. Steele. Together with Reg Gorczynski, Steele has even performed an experiment which demonstrated the transmission of acquired immunitary tolerance to subsequent generations of mice**.
R.A.D. And what happened?
N.S. Steele was fired from his job at Toronto’s Hospital.
R.A.D. That is the proof that in our liberal civilisation one must constantly fight for one’s professional survival. Non adapted individuals must disappear, or be pushed into the margin. I suppose that you also, you have been fired from your job for your Lamarckian convictions?
N.S. In fact, in 1981 I was refused a scholarship in Paris, so I was unable to elaborate in more detail the genetic basis for the Piagetian theory of majorant reequilibration – or adaptive hypertropy – of man’s cognitive structures.
R.A.D. But despite your suicidal drive towards Lamarckism, you still survive, or I am speaking with a ghost, and not with a man in a full body.
N.S. As in many cases of individuals and species endangered by the blind forces of natural selection, I’ve migrated to more quiet region of our planet, where survival is easier.
R.A.D. But our world-wide civilisation of hard-headed scientists, struggling mercilessly for their professional survival, is catching you up, even in your New Athens.
N.S. Old Athenians knew that all Athenians are mortal. Therefore they could not imagine how someone might survive Natural Selection for more than a dozen decades.
R.A.D. But Athenians were really unimaginative people. They couldn’t imagine that prominent people of the past, like the Bible patriarchs, lived for hundreds of years, they couldn’t imagine either the creation of the world ex nihilo, as our Judaeo-Christians imagine it.
N.S. In fact Greeks, with their logic had difficulties imagining the existence of nothing. They did not even have a sign for a zero in their mathematical system.
The New Socratic gives a more precise definition of life and demonstrates its utility for natural philosophy
N.S. Do you know what life is, in its physical, molecular essence?
R.A.D. I’ve read a booklet What is Life? written during World War II by a well-known physicist, Edwin Schrödinger. He defines life as a process of a constant replication of an identical, ordered structure… Oh, I see a vicious smile on your face. You surely imagine that Schrödinger behaved like this ignorant Socrates from Socrates story. Not knowing precisely what life is, but knowing that his fellows imagine the life as a process of constant multiplication of living objects, Schrödinger in his booklet tried to convince them that the life is similar to the growth of a crystal, where an ordered crystalline structure imposes, on subsequent layers of this crystal, the pre-existing crystalline order. Isn’t that your opinion about this booklet? I presume that you have read it, too. Despite your vicious smile I think that this analogy is convincing. All processes of bio-synthesis are processes of unidimensional, organic crystallisation, with a faithful copying of possible initial alterations of the genetic message. Do you really imagine – as I may judge from the expression of your face – that by a public proposal of such a transparent definition of life, Schrödinger confused a donkey with a horse, and thus involuntarily made a bad joke to all of us?
N.S. Replication of order from order, in the case of an evaporation of a salt lake, causes the growth of crystals of salt. The external shape of these crystals is a kind of an amplification of the shape of impurities at the bottom of the lake, where the process of crystallisation begins. Do you really think that crystals of salt, which are surely the product of copying order from order, are examples of life?
R.A.D. No, but viruses have crystalline structure and biologists say that they are living.
N.S. Viruses do not have their own metabolism, their structure is copied by living cells, which act in a way similar to scribes of the Antiquity, which incessantly copied the Bible or works of Plato. And nobody says, that an ordered book titled Phaedrus is living.
R.A.D. So, what is your, New Socratic, definition of life?
N.S. I’ve told you already. A living body – no matter whether it is an elephant or a tiny bacterium – is a meta-machine, which has the capacity of an automatic reconstruction of all its constituents. Once an organism loses this capacity, it is condemned to death. We cannot even dream that we will be able to construct such “living watches”, it would be like an attempt to jump over one’s own shadow: in order to reconstruct all parts of such a “machine”, this machine must contain in itself molecular templates – or “recipes” as calls it Dawkins – which are necessary for a reconstruction of all its parts, including these “recipes”. And no system can define himself completely within its own system. In short, a living being must be a meta-machine, an entity surpassing with its holistic properties an ordinary watch, but in all its details working like an ordinary watch, or – using the Dawkins analogy – working like a common bakery.
R.A.D. Wonderful. Then how do you explain the fact that this meta-watch – as you called it – has a tendency for constant replication of its own structure? This characteristic of the living is already given in the first page of the Bible. Just after a creation of living organisms, the biblical God orders his creatures: be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.
N.S. I think that this biblical definition of the goal of living, as a striving for a constant multiplication, has unconsciously influenced many of post-Aristotelian, natural philosophers of last few centuries. I would like to discuss later the significance of this teleonomical, biblical message for our culture.
R.A.D. Do you suggest that the tendency for constant multiplication of living beings stems directly from this, one sentence long, definition of life you have proposed? I can’t believe it!
N.S. So look closely at nutrition-multiplication cycle of growth of all micro-organisms. To make my speech more suggestive, I will use as an example the growth cycle of a well known bacterium Escheria coli.
R.A.D. I am listening.
N.S. In case of prolonged starvation, when there are no particles of nutrition within its reach, bacteria E. coli remain immobilised in a state of so-called anabiosis, resembling an inanimate object. What willl happen, according to our definition, if enzymes, which are exposed at its surface, find an affinity to particles in their vicinity, say to a nutrient broth?
R.A.D. Automatically they start digestion of those particles and, as these enzymes are also consumed in this process, they necessarily induce their own re-equilibratory synthesis.
N.S. The digested sugars, proteins and fats have an affinity to more internal micro-organs of bacterium. Don’t they?
R.A.D. That means that in agreement with your theory, a binding of these microorgans by digested food particles activates automatically the re-equilibratory synthesis of all internal micro-organs whose structure was altered by the food uptaken.
N.S. Some sugars and fats are spontaneously burned within the cell, thus the heat released must upset many, previously stable, structures of a bacterium.
R.A.D. That means that the food ingestion automatically re-activates the whole chain of metabolism which was interrupted during anabiosis. And this metabolism has as a goal the reconstruction of all cellular elements which have been altered, burned or otherwise consumed – as a professional baker would say. Up to now, all this is trivial. An ingestion of food particles animates the microorganism’s metabolism, and increases the level of its vigour. But what is the relation of these nutrition induced, re-equilibratory processes to the process of bacteria multiplication?
N.S. Wait a little. Once a bacterium ingests nutritive particles it necessarily swells, putting a disruptive strain on its epidermis layer.
R.A.D. In case of this, nutrition induced perturbation – as I follow your reasoning – we should observe re-equilibratory synthesis, and an adaptive overgrowth – it means extension – of bacterial epidermis which is submitted to the internal pressure. What’s next?
N.S. And what must happen, according to basic concepts of molecular biology you told me before, in order to re-synthesise all these internal and external micro-organs of a bacterium?
R.A.D. Practically all the double helix coiled bacterial DNA must be opened, and… As you argued in one of our previous dialogues, during such, nutrition induced opening of the DNA double helix, might occur or a selective duplication** of a segment of genes particularly demanded during the synthesis, or even… we may expect an enzymatically controlled duplication of a whole chain of DNA contained in a bacterium. I begin to see what happens, we are at the stage of bacteria growth which corresponds to anaphase in cells possessing a nucleus. But how can a purely re-equilibatory process of DNA synthesis impose the cell division?
N.S. We are at the stage when a bacterium posseses two independent sets of sister DNA “recipes” – as Dawkins calls them…
R.A.D. And, according to Dawkins ideas, each sister DNA recipe willl tend to regenerate the whole bacterium in agreement with a plan it has in its memory. I begin to understand. A completely automatized – mindless, as we say – bacterium’s genome effort to re-construct a perfect organism, automatically imposes on a bacterium with a doubled genome a tendency to divide into two bacteria. Bravo, you have convinced me. Now I see how a precise definition may be helpful in understanding of the doings of nature.
N.S. Moreover, in this short dialogue I’ve taught you nothing: the definition of life processes was given earlier. All my job at present was this Socratic mid-wifery help to reveal in your mind – a process which Greeks called anamnese – a more mature idea about the life you had hidden in your soul. This idea was already present in Antique culture. The most prominent biologist of all history, Aristotle maintained that the multiplication of living organisms is a function of their nutrition. He associated these activities with the lowest kind of soul, a so-called vegetal soul.
R.A.D. It might be worthwhile to re-discover Aristotle in our post-modernist times. In fact, I also anamnese – as you say - that in my exclusive school I’ve learned that a unicellular, but visible to the naked eye micro-organism called daphnia multiplies by parthenogenesis once it has been well nourished. Anyway, it is a curious logical conclusion which stems from our definition of life process. It turns out that only those micro-organisms, which accidentally happen to be in the vicinity of nutritive particles are selected for multiplication.
N.S. Moreover, this particular observation of the behaviour of micro-organisms is also valid for complex beings. In the case of the nutrition/multiplication activity of Aristotelian “vegetal soul”, we may safely repeat after Jacques Monod that what is valid for a bacterium is valid for an elephant**. Even in humans living in harsh conditions – let’s take, as an extreme example, the case of Himalayan climbers – we observe a significant diminishment of proliferation oriented behaviours: female mountain climbers frequently have their monthly ovulation inhibited during long expeditions, and thus they have no normal menstruation.
R.A.D. In this case Darwinian natural selection acts merely as environmentally induced, automatic re-equilibration of the rate of birth of various species and sub-species. In this case there is no need for a deadly, inter-specific competition in the struggle for life.
N.S. Effectively, since more than two centuries ago, that is since the famous book of Thomas Malthus Essays on the Principle of Population, learned people in Anglo-Saxon countries are thinking that the struggle for life is the product of the growing scarcity of food, caused by the exponential growth of population, with a simultaneous, linear only, growth of food production. Thomas Malthus, who by basic education was an Anglican clergyman, simply disregarded the fact that in harsh conditions living beings automatically diminish their fecundity. And Charles Darwin – like this ignorant Socrates from Socrates story – not knowing clearly, where the drive of living creatures for reproduction comes from, and knowing only that his fellows are impressed by Malthus arguments, has sold them a theory which only amplified Malthus’s cognitive error.
R.A.D. Your suggestion is that the whole Darwinian comprehension of biology is a lure, which was induced by an imprecise definition of the goal of life.
N.S. Darwinism belongs to doxa, as the Greeks said, to popular, common sense opinion about the world, while sophia, the deeper rooted wisdom suggest that Darwinism is a dangerous collective illusion, produced – to say it in terms of black humour – by the Almighty Spirit of the Blind Watchmaker.
R.A.D. I think, I am able to pinpoint, from where this Spirit luring the people has aroused. The Schrödinger’s definition of life – as a striving for a constant multiplication of identical beings – was given already on the first page of the Bible, and the information contained in this ancient Scripture was taken as the true Word from God by many of my educated countrymen. Not only Malthus was an Anglican clergyman, but also Darwin studied theology as the preparation for his future discovery of the Mechanism of Evolution. No wonder than then the essential message of the Bible had an impact on his scientific imagination.
N.S. The abandonment of the Aristotelian understanding of biology happened only 3-4 centuries ago, simultaneously with the rise of Protestantism and the Galilean – and then Newtonian – “mathematically soul-less” interpretation of physics. At the same time we have observed the rise of public interest in the Holy Bible, which has been facilitated by the invention of printing machine and the translation of this book into national languages. Perhaps it is time to begin to see the Holy Scripture as the emanation of doxa, the ensemble of illusions about the world produced by ancient Bible scribes.
R.A.D. You will be lapidated by our creationists, witnesses of Jehovah, not to mention your Polish worshippers of the virginity of Mary. But being serious, I recall that in Gospels Jesus says At the beginning things were not like this, and no doubt he refers in this statement to the cognitive work of Scribes of his times. This is an interesting hypothesis, worthy of being anamnesisied – as you like to say it. Perhaps in the beginning Jews also had more mature concepts of life – and also more mature concepts of their own, “chosen” breed of people. Meanwhile I’ve become hungry like this daphnia which wants to multiply. I think I will take a slice of those sophisticated Italian cakes you serve in cafés of Continental Europe.
N.S. And we will observe, whether the waitress will immediately re-fill, the café‘s display of cakes, with an exact copy of a slice you have eaten.
R.A.D. I think that it will be necessary to wait for the next round of the pastry synthesis.
New Socratic demonstrate how organisms can manipulate with their genetic information
Ready to-Abandon-his-previous-views Darwinian: Your concept of living – as a meta-machine capable of recovering from small,or even large, injuries – is indeed impressive and well founded. Why has nobody proposed such a simple definition of life earlier?
New Socratic: I am not the first one who began to think in terms of re-equilibration of living structures altered by an external – or even internal – perturbation. The theory of “majorant reequilibration” was already developed by Jean Piaget, several decades ago. I’ve only generalised Piagetian terminology to the behaviour of all biological structures.
R.A.D. What is this terminology, virtually unknown to our neoDarwinian theoreticians of life sciences?
N.S. Extremely simple. At the input of our “meta-computer” we have various mechanical, electromagnetic or chemical signals, which Piaget called perturbations and, as the result of transmission of these signals throughout whole “machinery”, we obtain a reequilibration which is reinforcing – or majorating – all the parts of living being which have been perturbed. I confess that I haven’t studied Piagetian developmental psychology in detail. To mature my concept it was sufficient to see, about twenty years ago, a film about Jean Piaget realised by a Swiss film maker Alain Tanner. But I have to add immediately one important point. Prior to my contacts with the Piagetian School of Genetic Epistemology in Geneva, I’ve had a good experience as a mountain climber. And I’ve seen, on my own hands and feet, how small frostbites – or even nails lost – regenerate, while all other, heavily used organs – bones, muscles, fingers and so on – with time grew in strength and accuracy of movement. In cybernetic terms it means majorant re-equilibration of those structures.
R.A.D. And contrary to your experiences – which are useless from the point of view of your personal survival – the majority of our biologists are laboratory-cage dwellers. With no doubt they might have difficulties in imagining the regeneration of nails lost by frostbite.
N.S. I also have experience of sitting in laboratories during my studies of physics and shortly after. And I know from this experience that such active sitting leads to a diminishment of not only muscular structure, but also to a loss of cognitive, cerebral capacities.
R.A.D. I feel that this is your personal point of view, which you have tried to impose on me since the very beginning of our discussion. I have to remind you of entering into a domain which is taboo in our society… But we are in Cracow not in Oxford. Can you give me a more precise illustration of this bio-scientific phenomenon?
N.S. Let’s take as an example an opinion of your Dawkins about eye development. Did you say that he denied the necessity of sight exercise in the development of good vision?
R.A.D. He makes a following statement… wait a moment, I will find you the right passage. I have it: Think of all the intricately cooperating working parts: the lens with its clear transparency, the colour correction and its correction for spherical distorsion, the muscles that can instantly focus the lens on any target from a few inches to infinity,… and so on… Hold all this fine-chiselled complexity in your mind and ask yourself whether it could have been put together by the principle of use and disuse. The answer, it seems to me, is an obvious ‘no’. What do you think about this piece of scientific reasoning?
N.S. I suppose that Dawkins has personal problems with sight and with association of ideas. As I understand, he openly denies the necessity of occular experience for the fine chiselling of the complexity of eye adaptation.
R.A.D. He writes Will it became a better lens because a light has passed through it? Of course not. Why on earth should it?
N.S. I’ve told you already that the science of ophtalmology confirms, that the exercise of sight in very young age is absolutely necessary for appropriate maturation – which means a fine chiselling of complexity – of our organs of vision. I suggest that this fine association of eye reactions is obtained by a feed-back mechanism of Piagetian majorant re-equilibration. In this, the oncoming light plays the role of a perturbation. Moreover, appropriate exercise of an eye may heal, even at adult age, many of occular deficiencies linked with the loss of elasticity of eye accomodation. I heard about this method on the radio, during an interview with a known Russian ophtalmologist. Whom you will believe: a prominent English theoretician of sight development by means of natural selection, or a Russian specialist in sight improvement by eye exercise?
R.A.D. Many clients from the Western Europe visit Russian clinics of sight improvement.
N.S. And many scientists, both from Western and Eastern Europe seem to be happy to worsen their in-sight by a lecture of the Blind Watchmaker. As far as I know the history of this acquired “blindeness of the soul”, its first symptoms appeared already in the in-sight of vanguards of modern philosophy and science, such as Descartes in France and Newton in your country.
R.A.D. The case of Descartes I understand, he was the one to infect the modern science with the concept of the Plant and Animal Kingdoms as a kingdoms of inanimated machines, each one comparable to a super-watch. We can see this soul-less, Cartesian concept of Nature in the title of Dawkins book. But why Newton?
As Newton is considered, I liked to solve his equations of motion during my studies. However already fifteen years ago, thanks to an article written by Rene Thom**, I was sensibilized to the mind-narrowing Newtonian idea Hypothesis non fingo –I am not making hypotheses. Contrary to this statement, I believe that a good hypothesis, concerning the internal mechanism of adaptation of living “machines”, may elucidate many aspects of life of plants, animals and even humans, which are virtually invisible in Cartesian paradigm. The worst thing, which may happen in science, is the neglection of the art of making and proving of a variety of hypotheses. This art was well developed in scholastic times, and its progressive abandonment has substantially weakened our faculty of imagination, and thus weakened our organ of prediction of future events.
R.A.D. Do you pretend that our psychic functions develop in the same way as our senses and organs of motion? That their use, exercise and training leads - by a re-equilibratory feed-back – to their perfection, to this fine-chiselling of complexity admired by Dawkins?
N.S. This is the essence of Piaget’s theory of mental development. Each thought is mediated by an electromagnetic discharge in our brain. And like the light impulse, which is absolutely necessary for the maturation of eye reactions, electromagnetic discharges, which are linked with thinking, increase in size and interconnect previously separated neuronal centers. The more we think in a non-taboo way, the more broadminded understanding of nature we obtain. The trivial fact of posing an unconventional hypothesis may have a tremendous influence on our cognition, for it may entirely re-organise our vision of things.
R.A.D. As I understand, you are ready to announce a meta-Cartesian – and, as I know you, at the same time meta-Darwinian – hypothesis. What’s this?
N.S. My hypothesis is as follows: We know that various viruses and retroviruses are abundantly released by an organism submitted to a stress. Let’s hypothesise that an excitement of an organism, which finds itself close to a prey causes not only an automatic release of digestive enzymes – like saliva in dogs and humans – but also a release of various viruses. Let’s imagine now that those ribosomal RNA – or even DNA – which are abundantly expressed in salivary glands during food ingestion, are spontaneously attached to viruses released due to excitement linked with eating. Such attachments happen spontaneously in nature and this phenomenon is exploited by our genetic engineers. Let’s also hypothesise that these recombinant viruses are injected – in an ordinary way for a virus – into the consumed prey structures. What would happen in this hypothetical – and “unthinkable” for our neoDarwinians – case of virus transmission, into the prey object, of RNA – or even DNA – segments “selected by their use”?
R.A.D. In the case that the prey is inanimate, nothing should happen. Viruses do not multiplicate in inanimate bodies.
N.S. Very good. And when the prey object is animated?
R.A.D. Than we shall expect a normal reaction to a virus. If the prey organism disposes of those restriction enzymes you described before, the viral invasion will soon be over. In case this reaction is not strong enough, the foreign RNA – or DNA – may be taken up by the cellular metabolism and mechanically start to synthesise “foreign” enzymes digesting the prey organism from inside. It will be like a general inflammation of host organism which, due to the incorporation of foreign genes, will start to produce in abundance products easily assimilable by predatory organism. But all this is your hypothesis. I never heard about such, such… genetic engineering happening in nature.
N.S. Throughout all the decade of eighties I was making some money preparing a yearly survey of major discoveries in biology. The result of my compilations was then published in yearly digest of important scientific events made by one of big Polish editing houses**. Searching in literature for major discoveries of 1989 I founded that a small, thread-like parasite called Choreocolax, in fact shoots such simile-viruses into red algae to which it attaches. The foreign RNA injected by this parasite subverts entirely the algae metabolism and these infected red algae turn – for a certain time – into bio-machines producing food for this parasite.
R.A.D. But this is only a minor exemption, nobody knows this Choreocolax parasite.
N.S. Mrs. Barbara McClintock, who discovered transposable elements of the genetic code, in her Nobel Prize address published in 1984 by Science**, suggested that the same mechanism may cause galls on oak leaves, which galls are produced by certain wasps in order to breed their larvae in them.
R.A.D. In this case you are in the countryside known to the layman. I’ve seen frequently these galls on leaves of our oak trees. But a simple, Darwinian explanation of this phenomenon comes to my mind: some variety of wasps have accidentally discovered that viruses, contained in their salivary glands subvert, after injection into oak leaves, the metabolism of those leaves, providing in this way both food and shelter for these wasps progeny. And wasps which discovered this survived, while others…
N.S. Also survived, synthesising themselves, in a classical way, the shelter and the honey necessary for breeding their larvae. May I remark to you that to be present in salivary glands, these recombinant simili-viruses must be selectively amplified by wasp’s organism.
R.A.D. Why not hypothesise an accidental amplification of accidentally recombinant viruses hidden in genome’s of this particular wasp’s gender?
N.S. Such an amplification, of a selected genetic fragment, should repeat itself in each subsequent generation. Moreover, it should happen during the same period of wasp’s life cycle. Barbara McClintock, which is one of rare honest geneticists – but unfortunately, negatively selected for more than three decades – observed in her Nobel Prize lecture that during the metamorphosis of insect’s larvae into mature insects there must occur a significant re-programming of insect’s genome. This means that the common metamorphosis of insects is a kind of a hyper-mutation. Moreover, the existence of such hyper-mutations was confirmed at various stages of the ontogenesis of insects. For example in salivary glands of larvae of some known flies and moths, like Drosophila and silk moth, amplifications up to several hundred thousand copies of chromosomes used in saliva and silk synthesis have been observed. I can show you photographs of these gigantic chromosomes**.
R.A.D. Really? Chromosomes which are epigenetically – it means during life – amplified several hundred thousand times! And our geneticists are still silent about such enormous mutations, visible under an ordinary microscope? I start to think that our neoDarwinians are simply criminals of science. And their science is only fit to be worshipped by cretins. I feel like abandoning all of my previous Darwinian creed.
N.S. Keep cool, you Mature After – it means Post – Darwinian. I will call you in abbreviation MAD. Where is your famous English phlegm? Do not disclose before the time the goal and the method of our Liberal Society. Last Christmas I saw on the Polish television the film “Guliver’s Travels” produced recently in your country. It turns out that already for Jonathan Swift, two centuries ago, pre-Darwinian philosophers and politicians were touched by a kind of a collective madness.
Mature After-Darwinian (MAD): These shrewd politicians and philosophers spread the power of the British Empire all around the world.
N.S. And destroyed, at the same time, not only the then flourishing Indian culture, but also England’s own landscape, darkened and tortured by a crazy industrial development.
M.A.D. My country, right or wrong,.
A Mature After-Darwinian (MAD) wonders at the accuracy of Piagetian scheme of mental maturation
New Socratic: So, after dropping your Darwinian mental armature you should feel like a caterpillar metamorphosed into a butterfly. Isn’t it?
Mature After-Darwinian: No, I feel rather like a man who was hold by his fellows for years in darkness, permitted only to see shadows of reality. Now, thanks to your help, I feel liberated from this Platonian cavern dug, in last three hundred years, by our ideologues of the Free Society.
N.S. I invite you to investigate the structure of this cavern from the outside. One of my teachers, professor Pierre-Paul Grassé from Paris, liked to compare our society to an ever-growing termitory, built by those pigmentless and blind social insects. Grasse was not only a known Lamarckian evolutionist, but also a specialist in termites behavioural science. He told me once that these, apparently automate-like social insects, must have some intelligence: they sense the size of their colony and dig caverns proportional in dimension to their own population.
M.A.D. Thus they behave like our engineers who construct our overground and underground cities in proportion to the size of population!
N.S. Let’s leave aside the termite-like intelligence of our proud constructors. Once we get away from this neoDarwinian “cognitive cavern”, we should try to think in a way which overpass mental limitations of our prestigious schools of social engineering.
M.A.D. What do you propose to speak about? Remaining for a long time inside our human termitory I feel blinded by an ordinary sunlight.
N.S. At the beginning, I invite you to draw conclusions from the Piagetian scheme of man’s cognitive development.
M.A.D. Let’s anamnese this scheme. Any information – or a signal – which is registered by a cogniting subject is called perturbation. And this perturbation – in a feed-back reaction of this majorant reequilibration – reinforces subject’s capacities of treatment of subsequent, incoming signals.
N.S. Yes. Jean Piaget called this purely physiological phenomenon the genetic assimilation. Piaget had in his mind an idea that all cognitive processes occur by a reorganisation of bands of nucleic acids in neurones of brains of cogniting subjects. In his books he suggests a kind of internal selection of these bands. This vague Piagetian idea is very close to my concept of a “natural selection of nucleic acids by their use”. All these actions of selective cutting, pasting, duplicating and copying of segments of DNA in somatic cells are very similar to operations we make in our Personal Computers, recombining – in agreement with associations we do personally – strips of magnetic bands remaining in computer’s memory. But I have to add to this an important remark: according to Piaget’s theory. Man has to be in an appropriate age to be able to associate and recombinate signals he receives. Contrary to men of our age, the title Blind Watchmaker means nothing to a child five years old.
M.A.D. It means that – in an appropriate age – the more you charge a man with simple signals – as well with other information appropriate for his age and education – the more his neuronal, cognitive structure develops. Human memory bands must thus grow in the same way as muscles submitted to an appropriate effort. Isn’t it?
N.S. Evidently so. this was the very reason for a construction of sophisticated Confucian schooling system already in antique China. Also in Europe, the Platonian Academy – and thereafter Scholastic and Jesuite Colleges – demanded of their students to assimilate an enormous knowledge of the Antique literature, history and philosophy.
M.A.D. But at present we witness a co-ordinated effort – which is visible especially in United States – to lower demands of our schooling system. I think this is associated with the Free Market demand for docile consumers: more educated people are less prone to purchase all these expensive gadgetry.
N.S. In fact, Piaget has observed that children, which watch the television for many hours a day, have less opportunities to develop their psychomotrical behaviour. In their adult age they will be really handicapped by their infantile, non-autonomous comprehension of the world. All this “permissive education” is a real catastrophe, already two thousand years ago in Gospels of Jesus we may find an observation Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction. This ancient Jewish wisdom was recalled recently by Stephen Jay Gould ironizing about the behaviour of so-called “Darwinian Fundamentalists”**. To be a “true believer” in the neoDarwinian dogma one has to accept – as I’ve told you already – that a physical action is possible without an equal and opposite reaction. And such “scientific creed” might proliferate only in societies which are loosely educated, where for example, the understanding of Newton’s Third Law of Physics is not required in biology classes.
M.A.D. So, you agree with my emotional statement that neoDarwinians are criminals of science? Not observing rules of elementary physics they lead our minds to the destruction – exactly in the sense taught by this Jewish prophet Jesus.
N.S. The worst thing about the Darwinian creed is its understanding of nature. I will quote you the essential statement from a recent article “Darwinisme et ses ennemis” written by a French ultra-Darwinian Henri Astier** Pour Darwin, le combat se joue entre les membres de la meme éspece. Ceux-ci, au demeurant, luttent moins pour la survie que pour la reproduction, récompense supreme dans une nature en évolution. Nos concurents sont nos congeneres. Do you understand this statement in English? Our competitors are our brothers and genders, we fight less for our survival than for our reproduction which is a supreme award in the evolving nature. I will make one more hypothesis. Imagine that in this pretty café “Jama Michalikowa” we are not participants of a free discussion, but we are mutually fighting for this stupid survival or even, for this even more stupid – at least from the point of vue of higher mental functions – reproductory success. Do you think that during such hypothetical combat we can learn something new? Being by nature your enemy, I will rather feed you with the fake information, which will corrupt not only your mind and senses, but also all your bodily faculties.
M.A.D. It is obvious, we have to be very suspicious about everything Darwinians tell us. From the definition of Darwinism given by this French intellectual you quoted, Darwinians are enemies of all their fellows. Why not call them Enemies of the Mankind? In this light, the present, America imposed, drive to destroy the classical schooling system, really has its criminal aspect: without men who are able to think in an autonomous way, nobody will be competent enough to distinguish the fake natural philosophers from the true ones.
N.S. There is one more frightening association concerning the Darwinian creed, summarised so nicely by this Henri Astier I’ve quoted before. Normally, cells in highly organised tissues collaborate closely, exchanging mutually not only food but also the incoming information. A cell which physiologically “thinks” that her sister cells are competitors in the fight for food and reproduction, behaves like a voracious and egoistic cancer cell.
M.A.D. The Darwinian theory, as an expression of social cognitive cancer? An interesting hypothesis.
N.S. This hypothesis has pleased, already a dozen years ago, professor Zagury from the Immunology Department of the University Paris VII. I can demonstrate to you in a convincing way, how cancer-like behaviours may be experimentally revealed in very early embryos of mammals.
M.A.D. I am already tired by all these novelties you feed into my poor, freshly liberated from Darwinian blinders, brain. I propose to make a break.
N.S. As you like, me too, I feel the physiological necessity to go to the toilet. I feel the effect of the beer we drunk before.
M.A.D. Please erase this last information from the written record of our discussion. In our society we do not divulge in public our private physiological problems and desires.
N.S. But biology is biology. I will be back in a moment. Meanwhile look at these magnificent photographs of the development of mouse’s embryo, taken by the Nobel Prize Winner Francois Jacob already twenty years ago.
The forgotten Jacob’s experiments give interesting insights concerning the origin of cancers.
New Socratic: So, what do you think about those Jacob’s photographs, which demonstrate the reversibility of the differentiation of mouse’s embryo?
Mature After Darwinian: Those photographs indicate that the addition to the embryo environment of an antibody to an early embryonic, “glueing” antigen , called by Francis Jacob F9, causes that embryo cells do not sense the presence of their twin neighbours. And without signals from neighbours they have not “an idea” to form a compact morula. They continue thus their earlier, inner program of blind multiplication of not differentiated embryos.
N.S. The similar thing happens in case we separate blastula cells mechanically, during the standard cloning procedure. In this way we obtain numerous homozygotic twins.
M.A.D. As I understand, an appropriate signal – or perturbation in Piagetian terms – from other cells is necessary for a “revelation” – I will use this Socratic expression – of more complex embryonic behaviours and structures.
N.S. Yes. During the embryonic development the Piagetian auto-construction by a majorant re-equilibration occurs very quickly: the collective embryonic genome, which is the depository of previous genetic acquisitions, undergoes a whole set of quick rearrangements. They occur in nuclei of all tissues, including the germinal line, which germinal cells “somehow” mutate to a haploid – which means, containing only one set of chromosomes – state of development.
M.A.D. Are you trying to convince me that during the growth of an individual, genomes of all its tissues recapitulate the pattern of subsequent mutations of ancestors of a given individual? As far as remember my biology classes you are a supporter of the Biogenetic Law formulated by Ernst Haeckel a century ago.
N.S. You remember very well your biology lessons. The ontogenesis is an accelerated recapitulation of phylogenesis. And this phylogenesis consisted of various epigenetic “ventures” – and adventures – of previous generations.
M.A.D. Please, give me a precise definition of the difference between these forms of bio-genesis.
N.S. The phylogenesis is the developmental history of life of a whole phyla – which means the whole branch of geneticaly related individuals. The ontogenesis is the relatively short history of the development of an individual organism guided by signals created by this organism itself, while the epigenesis is the development of an individual guided by signals coming from outside. After the birth the growth of an organism is guided by both, internal and external signals.
M.A.D. And how are these external signals converted into internal ones, in order to make the ontogenesis a recapitulation of life adventures – and, as you suggested it, also of ventures – of previous generations?
N.S. Jean Piaget called this phenomenon a “genetic assimilation” of the environment. I will give you a simple example. After hearing at the radio many times a song – or advertisement – which “catches you up”, you start to repeat spontaneously this advertisement or a song. And due to the fact that in a long term, only genetic structures are stable, this memorisation must happen on bands of nucleic acids. The same holds in case of addiction to common drugs. Art the beginning, somebody in the vicinity has to introduce us to smoke or to drink alcoholic beverages. After some exercise, predisposed people begin themselves to search for a cigarette or a beer, which was the our case.
M.A.D. As far as I understand, children recapitulating the behaviour of their parents are prone to develop the dependency even earlier than their progenitors.
N.S. the same holds in case of sportsmen, naturalists and city dwellers. Lamarck has called these acquired genetic predispositions the Second Law of Biology.
M.A.D. We are in the realm which remains entirely beyond the cognitive reach of our ultra Darwinians.
N.S. Look at those common mutations, occurring in maturating mammalian ovaries and testicles, turning diploid germ cells into haploid ovula and spermatozoa. According to heroes of modern biology – such as Dawkins, Dennet, Monod or Jacob – those trivial, adaptive mutations happen at random. Do you understand what does it means? They claim that our spermatozoa appear at random and not as a result of an excitement of our organism with the image of an attractive female. I will tell you frankly. We have to see the Darwinism as the Science for Mentally Impotent People. Thanks to a close investigation of those Jacob’s photographs, which I’ve shown you, we may even find the epigenetic origin of this cognitive deficiency.
M.A.D. Do you mean that we can safely extrapolate observations concerning the imbecile mouse embryo development onto the general pattern of the development of sophisticated human tissues, such as CNS, the Central Nervous System?
N.S. All growing, animal cells obey the principle of a majorant reequilibration. Neurones, whose are stimulated by other neurones develop their dendrites and axons in the direction of centres of their stimulation. This fact is well known to neurologists, but unfortunately not to neoDarwinians, to mention only a popular book The Neuronal Man written by a Jean-Pierre Changeux **.
M.A.D. I’ve read this book well advertised in England a dozen of years ago. As far as remember, Changeux argues there that To learn is to eliminate neurones.
N.S. And logically, the most learned person has the smallest amount of neurones. In fact, the Darwinism, and even more all these “neo”, “ultra” and other radical Darwinian theories are products of low cerebralisation of certain, economically most voracious societies.
M.A.D. Thank you for your appreciation of my mind. Not so long ago it also was filled with all this, radical Darwinian crap. But why the author of The Neuronal Man has associated the process of learning with the degeneration of a neuronal structure? There is no smoke without a fire.
N.S. You know, the Darwinism is the scientific ideology, which has brought to an apparent life success already several generations of scientists. And with no doubt the social success of these “fighters for a scientific survival” is linked with an elimination, in their brains, of all Lamarckian associations which are evidently disadvantageous for the obligatory – at present – economical development. And of course, an elimination of “useles” associations is followed by an elimination of “useless” neurones in our heads. Simply, “men of a success” of to-day, are those which have learned to blind themselves to inconvenient features of the contemporary life. A truly ambitious individual has really to learn how to conform to demands of our Free Society. As wrote JH.P. Changeux in French, Apprendre c’est eliminer. By the way, professor Changeux was personally responsible for an elimination of my humble – but nuisible for neoDarwinian science – person from the French scientific community.
M.A.D. Do you pretend that neurones, like men which are not stimulated, degenerate?
N.S. Useless neurones behave like men out of job. Or they quickly degenerate and finally die out of unemployment, or they migrate to centres where they might fulfil functions they are specialised in. Contrary to mature neurones, which are genetically inhibited in their proliferation, undifferentiated mammal embryonic cells, when they are not stimulated by their neighbours, continue to proliferate in their primitive form. Francis Jacob, Their development may eventually turn into a form of an embryonic cancer called teratocarcinoma. This is an observation of Francis Jacob.
M.A.D. As I’ve understaood, you claim that the Darwinism is a kind of a cognitive cancer provoked by a not sufficient stimulation of our scientific establishment by individuals like you. In fact, our national hero Charles Darwin in his adult age had diminished capacities to withstand personal discussions. And our British society in general is rather cool in personal contacts. But do you really pretend that Darwinism is a kind of a social cancer?
N.S. No doubt about it. But before I enter into details, I would like to enumerate the environmental, not directly mutagenic, agents which may push various tissues into a pro-cancerous – or even cancerous – state of development. For example, in Jacob’s experiment we were talking about, to inhibit or even to reverse the normal differentiation was sufficient to saturate the nutritive liquid with an over abundance of antibodies to an early embryonic antigen. In other experiments with the growth of embryonic cells in vitro – it means in small glass containers – an artificial immobilisation for a long time, of a well nourished tissue, is sufficient for the reveal of focuses of quickly growing, so called “transformed”, tumoral cell lines. In experiments in vivo – which means in relatively freely living animals – it is sufficient to separate cells of less differentiated tissues by an impermeable plastic film to provoke, after some time, the growth of local cancers. We have also experiments with so called “chimera” plants and animals, in which cancers and other illnesses occur as the result of the histoincompability of tissues from different – but related – species, forming the chimera plant or animal. And of course, the non maturation, as well as illnesses linked with ageing, of the immunitary system permits a “liberation” in a body of all types of pathological and selfish behaviours of young cells and whole tissues.
M.A.D. Except the last observation, you have pointed at origins of cancers I’ve never heard before.
N.S. No wonder about this. The present, obligatory in scientific milieu, Cartesian paradigm imagine living bodies in form of inanimate machines, which are of course unable to perform any “new creativity”. With the exception of the “creativity” in a form of a break-down of its sophisticated parts. Moreover, the criminal – as you have called it – neoDarwinian dogma, which claims that adaptive mutations happen only at random, exclude any rational investigations concerning this pathological “new creativity” of tissues of higher animals grown in comfortable conditions. This not only during experiments in vitro, but also in vivo, inside our own, still more abundantly nourished, organisms.
M.A.D. Do you suggest that the recent, tremendous improvements in living standards and life facilities, are at the origin of the present epidemy of cancers in developed countries?
N.S. Remaining all the life in easy conditions we do not produce enough signals – or perturbations – which are necessary for a full maturation of most of our organs. These organs contain thus relatively very many feebly differentiated cells which, in advantageous conditions, may spontaneously undergo a tumoral transformation. And the sterile, pre-chewed, and greasy food our children are eagerly eating in McDonalds, will surely not help them to develop the highly performant, personal immunitary system. All this enhances cancers – as well as other diseases – in later age. The same holds in case of whole human society, which is still more effortlessly “prisoned” in sterile cages, more and more resembling to those glass containers for the in vitro growth of animal, cancerously transformed, tissues.
M.A.D. This is yours, still dubious for me, theory which states that the pattern of adaptive behaviour of fully grown individuals is essentially the same as the pattern of adaptive reactions of their own, not yet differentiated embryonal cells. But let’s apply this theory in practice. Which man’s products are isolating the most men from their neighbours?
N.S. The first thing which separates man from man – or woman – is clothing, the second housing, and thereafter properties and wealth they posses. Remember how much the biblical Jacob has separated himself from his twin brother Esai by the property he has accumulated and the religion he obeyed.
M.A.D. It means that living in closed communities and societies, with the property shared and frequent face to face exchanges of ideas is the best way to develop more differentiated social structures? Let’s look for examples from the history… In fact, the devastating the Mother Earth “new creativity” of human species beginned once again with the individualisation of the wealth in Euroope at the end of Dark Ages. But the veneration of private property and personal wealth is not dating from the Renaissance, which is distant from us only few centuries. As far as I understand the history it is directly linked with our Judeo-Christian compehension of the world.
N.S. We are entering into a field, which still is taboo in rural Poland. And perhaps also in the “Bible Belt” of United States. To get more courage I propose to drink small vodka.
M.A.D. I prefer a Scotch.
N.S. Thanks to God, we are not Scottish. A whisky in Cracow costs twice – or even three times more – than the same drink in Edinborough.
M.A.D. So, let’s stay with vodka. The relation cost/amount of alcohol is much better.
N.S. Waiter please! Two Absolut vodkas. This is the best Swede produced in Poland.
Mature After-Darwinian points at religious roots of the cognitive crisis in life scienc
New Socratic: Skäl, I am ready to hear your version of the origin of the Darwinian theory of the origin of species.
Mature After Darwinian: This problem we have already touched in one of our previous dialogues. Both Thomas Malthus and Charles Darwin were Protestant theologians as their basic scientific training is considered.
N.S. Do you suggest that due to their clerical training they unconsciously, genetically assimilated – to use the Piagetian terminology – essential informations contained in the Holy Bible? They surely studied this remarkable book many times. And thenafter, saturated with Biblical wisdom, those prominent British thinkers – like children who spontaneously repeat advertisements to which they were accustomed – without much reflection impregnated their scientific theories with thoughts hidden in this Testimony of antique Hebrew beliefs? Are you able to pinpoint biblical traces in thoughts of our Darwinians?
M.A.D. It is sufficient to observe how many times our ultra-modern Richard Dawkins refers in his books to biblical analogies. He compares for example the queen of red ants, known for their voracity – which “queen” is for him the Depository of Genetic Endowment of the whole red ants column – to the Arch of Covenant carried by the column of biblical Jews during their conquest of the Holy Land.
N.S. Biblical Jews as the model for the red ants behaviour. Interesting socio-biological association. And molecules of the genetic code as the Holy Scripture of the God called Nature. Even more imaginative. What’s next?
M.A.D. The next association is self evident. I’ve already tried to attract your attention to it. At the firs page of the Holy Bible the God commands man and other animals to multiply and be fruitful…
N.S. As we have argued earlier, multiplication is a simple function of nutrition. Under this poetic and apparently impressive commandment to multiply and to fill the earth we have a very prosaic invitation to behave like a voracious beast, which multiplies automatically once it has enough eaten.
M.A.D. In your ultra-Catholic Poland, the most praised means of multiplication is of course “Mary’a-like” asexual parthenogenesis, like these daphnia we were talking earlier.
N.S. And in your industrious, Protestant England the most advertised way to multiply is of course cloning, which is also a kind of parthenogenesis…
M.A.D. All right, every Christian country has his own, ingenious approach to the holy problem of multiplication. I want to attract your attention at the subsequent, very important feature of the biblical message. Already in the First Commandment of the Decalogue we find such a statement I the Lord am a jealous God.
N.S. There was no place for jealousy in the procession of Greek gods described by Socrates in Phaedrus. Platon insists on this point also in the dialogue Timaios: a perfect god by a definition cannot be jealous.
M.A.D. And this is the point. People imitate Gods they worship. Anyone who reads carefully the Bible may observe up to which point Mosaic Patriarchs and Prophets are motivated by the Holy Jealousy: Jacob out of this jealousy has stolen the heritage which the tribal custom attributed to Esau, historians of religion maintain that also Moses has robbed Egyptian priesthood from their primacy in a development of a monotheist religion.
N.S. What does it have to do with the history of modern science?
M.A.D. Our historians of science accuse Charles Darwin of robbing evolutionary ideas of his grandfather Erasm Darwin and of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. As observed it C.D. Darlington Charles Darwin accused Lamarck and his own grandfather to be very badly dressed, and, at the same time, he was robbing them of their suit.
N.S. The jealousy is a Capital Sin for Christians, and gluttony, voraciousness inscribed into the commandment of the first page of the Old Testament is also such a sin. What’s next?
M.A.D. The God of the Bible is the God of Arrogance and Wrath. It is sufficient to read the “Revelation” of St. John to observe that this Wrath is also present in New Testament: this particular book is a prediction of a mass extinction of man’s subspecies which were not “useful” for God. I’ve found the same sentiment of wrath and anger in the famous book “Essay on the Principle of Population” written two hundred years ago by Thomas Malthus and illuminating many Darwinians thenafter the one which is born to the world which is already owned by others…is unnecessary for our world. The Nature orders him to disappear and do not neglects to fulfil its duty.
N.S. A beautiful example of a truly Christian compassion for the poor, desherited and disabled. But, as we have argued before, one is born only in case his parents had enough life space and food necessary for a procreation. In the Aristotelian optics – which I am trying to anamnese to my students – the Malthus postulated “Nature’s wrath and arrogance” is a lure, a typical “paper tiger”.
M.A.D. As I anamnese, from the point of view of this pagan Aristotle, the whole concept of “Natural Selection” is completely mindless. I do think that this liberalo-Christian idea of “superfluous men” originated from the lecture of the Holy Bible. For example, for ancients Scribes and Prophets which have compilated this magnificent piece of ill understanding of the world, the Jacob’s twin brother Esau, as well as his descendants called Edomites, are completely superfluous in the world owned by descendants of rich Jacob.
N.S. As far as I know the Biblical history, the beloved by the God Jacob was a really industrious, but cognitively and physically crippled creature, entirely directed in his behaviour by the greed and lust.
M.A.D. As I understand your suggestion, the Old Testament is the Book of Veneration of all Seven Capital Sins – gluttony, jealousy, wrath, arrogance, greed and so on. Isn’t it?
N.S. I do only anamnese ideas of antique Christian mystics – called Gnostics – for whom the biblical “Lord” was the Prince of Darkness. But to the point. For ancient Greeks – and thenafter for orthodox Christians – these Cardinal Sins were not the worst. For them the true Sin was the Ignorance, from which all other human sins were born. And the Bible, despite that so called “fundamentalists” claim the contrary, is The Holy Book of Ignorances. For me – and not only for me – it is only a rude, antique handbook of vicious means, traps, lies and impostures, by which the cognitively crippled, but greedy and voracious like a Monstrual Beast, Mosaist priesthood have established themself at the head – and heart – of his “chosen people”.
M.A.D. The Bible as the scripture of totally corrupt creatures animated only by their jealousy and greed? You know, I am against the hypocrisy of our Judeochristian religion, but to call the book, which is the world’s best-seller since centuries, the Scripture of Mind-less?
N.S. Do you know what the term urim-tummim means in Hebrew?
N.S. The light and perfection of Yahweh choice. Jewish priests had hidden, in their ritual pectoral, special urim-tummim rods for pulling the fate called “Yahweh choice”. Instead of an ordinary, demanding serious investigations trials, they used a method similar to a Russian roulette to designate an author of an otherwise easily discoverable theft or other crime.
M.A.D. Really so? Our neoDarwinians are also too lazy to investigate in detail how mutations occur. It is sufficient for them to believe that they appear in a way similar to the choice of a right bullet in a Russian roulette. It is one more confirmation of my suspicion that this urim-tummim as you called it – ultra-Darwinian theory of Evolution was entirely copied from the Book of Light and Perfection called Bible. Whatever you will say, this urim-tummim Bible remains the most popular book on the Earth!
N.S. Already more than two thousand years ago Platon has observed that by a definition, what is popular is criminal. We find a similar opinion in Gospels written five hundred years later What pleases (oridinary) men is the rubbish for the (true) God.
M.A.D. You are completely mad. But what about the Decalogue? Our culture is so fond of i.. The commandment You shall not kill nor steal is evident for me.
N.S. Those Commandments were only dead letters carved in a stone. As observed it Socrates during the discussion with Phaedrus, an invention of written signs caused automatically that educated people forgot signs which earlier have been carved in their souls. Once this biblical Moses got from his LORD the stone tablet with the commandment You shall not kill carved on, he lost completely his mind. It is only thenafter he conducted a savage genocide among members of his own tribe.
M.A.D. An exteriorisation of a moral statement in the scripture at the origin of the loss of internal moral scruples? In fact Jesus called the Jerusalem’s Temple, with the famous Ten Commandments carved at its entrance, a “Brigands Cavern”. Perhaps this phenomenon is in agreement with Piaget’s theory of man’s cognitive development. The fact is that the more libraries we have, the less history people understand.
N.S. And with the Internet, which is The Mind of technologically advanced humanity – as call The Web its enthusiasts – we risk to turn into a fully mind-less society.
M.A.D. Perhaps our ultra-Darwinian philosophers are the best example of this post-modern mindlessness. But for me the question is as follow. An invention of scripture was not done exclusively by Jews. Before them were Phoenicians, Chinese and many others. Why do than only those bloody Jews managed to widespread their culture so largely?
N.S. This is only a temporary phenomenon. At the time of Jesus, Greek culture was radiating all over, including the Israel. Even in the Bible we have so-called Greek Books whose content is far from mindlessness of the orthodox Palestinian canon of the Holy Scripture. The success of the orthodox Bible in present times is in its appellation to the darkest, beast-like desires of man’s soul. A known Jewish writer named Lev Shestov published in 1938 a book Athens and Jerusalem in which he compared the orthodox biblical culture with “rotten” culture of Greek Socratics. In this memorable book – which was a vanguard of the present, post-modernist philosophy – Shestov exalted to readers the idea of MISOLOGOS which permeates the Old Testament.
M.A.D. Misologos for Christians is the synonym of Devil.
N.S. By a definition this term means “the enemy of Logos”, while Logos – also by a definition – is the son of a Truth. As you can see the idea of a Misologos, the son of MIND-LESS GOD hating the Truth, may not be the blasphemy. Contrary, it is a true blessing for all our “European”, financially potent elite.
M.A.D. This financial elite, already since Antiquity, uses to make business out of the stupidity of their customers. But do we have any chance to escape from the grasp of priests-businessmen acting in the name of this fake “Almighty”?
N.S. Wait a moment. I will take an another drink and I will be ready for the final synthesis.
Both discutants agree that the Greed and Technophilia enhance the present corruption of Science
New Socratic: It has come the moment to conclude our Socratic discussion. The last – but with no doubt the least – thing which we were able to clarify, is the Biblical heritage inscribed into basic concepts of modern, Darwinian theory of “Genesis”. Moreover, following the definition given by our “negative philosopher” Lew Shestow, we are able to give the name MISOLOGOS to the God of the Old Testament. As you have suggested it, this antique “divinity” is the LORD of hypocrysy, tcheft and crime.
Mature After-Darwinian: May I observe that you repeated unconsciously the opinion of Jesus concerning the theocratic elite of his own nation: You are of your father the devil… He was a murder from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him.
N.S. The followers of Misologos, for the reasons I still ignore, have been able to penetrate the Christian world, especially after the split between the Orthodox and Western Christianity, which schism eliminated much of the Greek sensibility from the Western Hemisphere. Thanks to the work of Christian theologians such as Thomas Malthus and Charles Darwin, the spirit of Misologos was able to establish itself, in last few centuries, in Life Sciences. The Darwinian “law of the survival of the fittest” permitted to justify – “scientifically” this time – crimes, thefts and hypocrysy of the Victorian elite of your liberal society.
M.A.D. I can only add to it that this time you have unconsciously repeated the opinion of our contemporary British writer, living at present in France, John Berger, who claims that our liberalo-democratic society has been constructed by “small gangsters”**.
N.S. A good and concise description of the social realm we are forced to live in. I think that we shall try to see the problem of religious – and at present, scientific – “holy lies” in a larger perspective. Did you hear about the Plotynian hierarhy of beings?
M.A.D. I know the name of Plotin, the neoPlatonian, thats all.
N.S. Few years ago I’ve participated in Cracow at the conference of Leszek Kolakowski, who at present is the professor emeritus of philosophy at All Souls College at Oxford. He stated there, in the presence of ecclesiastic authorities of Cracow, that he, despite all his knowledge, do not understands how the Christian clergy – and this since nearly two thousand years - is able to identify the “unique god” of the Old Testament with the idea of Plotin’s “unique god” developed by this pagan Roman in late Antiquity.
M.A.D. The Hypocrysy is the Strength of the Church. What was this Plotin’s idea of the Universal Pagan God? I do not know too much about it.
N.S. Oh, he has developped a whole hierarchy of beings. At the top of this Holy Pyramide was the Immortal Absolute, corresponding to Platon’s Immortal Ideas, below was Logos, permitting to radiate the light of the Absolute over the Universe and, at the lower level, were Souls of the – animated, as I understand – World and Men. Finally, at the very bottom of this pagan hierarchy, was a human sub-species called Homo economicus, which was entirely preoccupied with the wealth and other illusions of material life of appearances.
M.A.D. A tough theory of the reality. The biblical Patiarch Jacob – which is evidently the forefather of all our homo economicus – will not be fond of this hierarchy. No wonder Jewish talmudists despised pagan philosophers.
N.S. Not only this. The Plotinian philosophy, which openly claims that the material world is a kind of a lure, automatically postulated to be the lure all these myths about the Creation of the world, including the creation of the Chosen People. For neoPlatonians of to-day the lure is most of the present scientific and social achievements, including the myth of the Origin of Universe by the means of Big Bang, and the myth of the better quality of life in heavily industrialised, wealthy countries.
M.A.D. I begin to see the utility of Plotin’s philosophy for our ecological movement. No wonder that followers of the Greedy Jacob are trying to wipe out from our collective memory achievements of Ancient philosophy. But, as far as I know the New Testamental “Apostles works”, this antiphilosophical attitude was present also among Christians already in Antiquity.
N.S. Whom do you have in mind?
M.A.D. This fake apostle St. Paul. It was he who saturated his hypocritical “Pastoral letters” with mindless “thoughts” like “we walk by faith not by sight”. He evidently was so dumb that he was unable to observe, that readers of his letters – in order to begin to belive in absurdities he has written – must have seen these curious letters.
N.S. St. Paul as the forefather of all those modern, thoughtless clercks and scientists who truly belive that it is possible to jump over one’s own shadow? An interesting hypothesis concerning the religious origin of the Syndrome of the Blind Watchmaker. I have one more explaination of the origin of all these cognitive diseases which have saturated our culture since the invention in deep Antiquity – and than, since the widespread in 16-th century – of the art of writing and reading.
M.A.D. I am eager to listen to your version of the Theory of Man’s Mental Impoverishment thanks to the invention of The Holy Scripture.
N.S. In fact, in my mind, after a careful lecture of Phaedrus, has been born an idea which may give an interesting synthesis of not only Lamarckian and Darwinian interpretations of Evolution, but also of Greek and Hebrew religious beliefs. This idea has come to my mind thanks to the pagan God of Love called Eros.
M.A.D. I haven’t seen a trace of this pagan god in Old Testament. With an exception, of course, of “Song of Songs”.
N.S. You will not find a trace of Eros in Malthus and neoDarwinian books either. The Darwin’s idea of sexual selection is built rather on the savage competition of males for an unique female than on the idea of the strive of social animals to stay together and to perfect their skills and senses.
M.A.D. Evolution as the product of the behaviour of social animals which liked to stay together? Can you give me an example of such non-Darwinian behaviour?
N.S. And what we are doing now? We are sitting together trying to perfect our opinions about the wold.
M.A.D. I will not generalise too much the example of our own behaviour. I would rather agree with this Fred Astier you quoted ealier. It is evident that the mankind progresses not due to the lazy discussions but thanks to the tough intraspecific struggle…
N.S. And what about the broad interpretation of Jacob’s experiments which we discussed before? Using an appropriate “isolating antigen”, this prominent manipulator of the cellular behaviour was able to change the closely collaborating embryonal cells in the morula state of development, into a loose “society” of egoistically proliferating, zygote-type unicellular embryos. Look once again at his photographs: at the top you have a “collaborative” aggregation of cells, below the same mammalian tissue displays evidently “individualistic” behaviour. I’ve told you that it is legitimate to use the result of Jacob’s experiment as a model for the behaviour of an “adult” society of mamalians – it is than possible to change, by a similar manipulation, a compact, “closed” and highly hierarchised human society into its “open” form of loosely connected individuals, competing ferocely among themselfs for food and “life space”. Do you remember this cancer-like concept of “social transformation’?
M.A.D. As far as I remember, you have ennumerated than these “embryonalising antigens”, which inhibit the close collaboration between cells. And – with an ease which is still suspicious to me – you have extrapolated from the behaviour of mamal embryos to the behaviour of adult mammals, including humans.
N.S. Very good. I was arguing that such inventions as the cloth, the armor, the individual property, and even the invention of the myth of an egoistic nuclear family, have contributed to the change – in last few centuries – of the “medivial”, closed society into the modern “open” one, which is entirely preoccupied with the competetive acquisitions of wealth and power.
M.A.D. I feel that you are right in this respect. Our “open” society is a kind of a voracious planetary cancer. But in this case all these precious inventions, new tissues, cars, television, internet, are only means leading to the destruction of our Planet. In a feed-back, those inventions contribute to the destruction of the Humanity as well.
N.S. Lamarckian paradigm implies that an overuse of any technical prosthesis leads to a degeneration of an organ which has been substituted.
M.A.D. The Internet is called the Mind of our technocratic civilisation. I’ve read this many times…
N.S. I think that this is the essential message diffused by The Web. But this only the doxa, the appearance. In a more hidden reality we witness a real decerebralisation of Interernet-minded scientists and writers.
M.A.D. The learning progresses by an elimination of neurones – this is the creed of your French hero J.P. Changeux. Isn’t it? I think that already in the Antiquity we may find examples of such an adaptive decerebralisation.
N.S. Whom you have in mind?
M.A.D. I’ve told you it five minutes earlier. Saint Paul was so deeply impressed by the Mind hidden in scrolls of the Old Testament, that he was completely unaware that without the personal faculcy of sight, a reader of this antique scripture cannot even begin to belive in a God which advertises himself as I AM THAT I AM.
N.S. At the time of saint Paul most of people were illiterate. They were only able to see that “learned in Scripture” – it means Phariseens – were treating THE BOOK as a prestigious item. And the message of media is the media**. Do not forget that already before the Christ, Platon has observed that simpleminded, child-like people attribute to physical objects metaphysical properties. For ancient Jews any writing in Hebrew was already “holy”. In our developped countries the notion of holiness has been expanded to the economic progress, to the banking system, the internet, new models of cars and so on.
M.A.D. And how do you propose to get out from this blind alley of TECHNOPHILIA? I’ve read that in the States your americanized, mad compatriot Ted Kaczynsky tried to catch up the attention of the people at this progressing social illness. Unfortunately he ended up as an ordinary terrorist.
N.S. The Piaget’s theory postulates that without a “perturbation” no maturation of cognitive organs is possible. Will our principal money grabbers and technophiles – like George Soros and Bill Gates – not ease their grip over the Planet, there will be still more Kaczynsky’s or “Greenpeace” terrorists in the oncoming future. I will be happy to limit myself to the problem of the origin of long-term blindeness of our prominent “watchmakers”.
M.A.D. Do you really think that the discovery of the Origin of the Spirit of Human Blindeness will open people’s eyes onto the real mysery of the present civilisation? You are a very naive optymist. But I will be glad to hear your story. Your idea of a primeval “closed” collaborative communities, which in recent times has been evidently manipulated – by this Jacob’s method you have shown me – into loosely bound together, economically voracious “open society” has pleased me indeed. I am listening although we have overpassed our time shedule and our litterary plan. Instead of twelve dialogues – coresponding to the number of twelve original Israeli tribes – we are forced to complete a thirteenth dia-logos.
N.S. No matter. Arthur Koestler has written at the end of his life a book titled “The Thirteenth Tribe” where he tried to justify a thesis that semitic Jews are issued from the tribe of Khazars, converted into Judaism only in the 7-th century after Christ.
M.A.D. Hope that your argumentation will be more solidly established than that of this Jewish anti… anti… anti-Darwinian, Arthur Koestler.
New Socratic points at the role of the Dark Eros in the development of the cognitive perversion of ultra Darwinian concepts.
New Socratic:Do you remember what I told you a moment ago? That for ancient Greek philosophers the evil behaviour of men was born exclusively from their ignorance? There was no bad people by their nature. The evil, the sin, was the ignorance.
M.A.D. I do remember this detail but not in such a context. But don’t mind. It means that Billy Gates, George Soros, the World Bank’s officials and other prominent speculators are not bad by their nature? That the wrong they are doing to the Planet is the product of their ignorance? It makes sense to me, but how to bring some light into their stubborn and arrogant heads?
N.S. Surely not by the illumination which brings the Darwinian literature – to mention only this poor Dawkins whose fake knowledge we have discussed before. An evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth evil; and the good one brings forth good. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks…**. Let us return to the Platonian notion of Eros. In this Phaedrus, which I’ve taken for the model of our dialogue, Socrates proposes an allegory for the sexual attraction of an Old Amateur to the Young Beauty. I think it may be taken also as an allegory of the affection of Mosaic priesthood towards its Chosen People.
M.A.D. Do you intend to explain the history of Israel in Platonian terms? In fact, I’ve heared that the meaninig of “Song of songs” is preciesly, as you stated, the expression of love of Prophets of Israel towards their Chosen Nation.
N.S. Anyone is aloud to make his own associations. But to the point. I will read you the paragraph XIV of Phaedrus which book I carry with me in the same way as you carry your beloved Blind Watchmaker. In this paragraph Socrates argues that in all of us two types of inner being are present. One is the desire of pleasure, the second the acquired reason, which turns towards these things which are the best… The power of Reason is the self control, while the desire, which mindlessly pulls us towards pleasure, is “the arrogance”. And this arrogance has many names, depending of its variation and gender… One of these desires is called the gluttony, another one drunkenness… We know also the one which mindlessly dominates our reason, which is called the sexual drive…
M.A.D. Up to now Socrates enumerates Cardinal Sins which make men resemble to a beast.
N.S. Exactly. And than he describes the corrupting effects of the behaviour of a Corrupt Lower, who dreams to posses in full the object of his desire:
He will prepare the object of his love in such a way that it will be the most sympathetic to him. And, as for an ill man all is pleasant which does not resist, and is unpleasant everything which is stronger or equal in force,..so he will ever make, for this reason, his darling weaker and poorer. Weaker is an ignorant in comparison with a learned, a coward in comparison with a courageous… a dull head compared to a bright mind… Such a Lower must be jealous and must make difficult all useful relations… must try to hide before his darling the best source of wisdom which is philosophy, from which he must keep him away, being afraid that his darling will abandon him. He will make everything to be sure that his darling has knowledge about nothing, and must always rely on his Lower…
M.o.D. Gee! It sounds really like an enumeration of Mosaic priesthood attitude towards its own beloved people!
N.S. Listen than. He will search for the soft, not for hard, he will not taste in those bodies which were grown in the sun, he looks for the rotten shadow, he likes the body which does not know the toil and fight, does not remember the dried sweat, and likes only the soft, unvirile way of life.
M.A.D. Sorry to interrupt you, but this sounds like the Old Testamental story of the God’s love for the effeminised Jacob who – in contrary to his brother Ezau – liked to remain in the comfortable shadow of his family tent!
N.S. Such a Lower loves the object of his desires in the same way as wolves adorn a lamb…
M.A.D. Has this pagan Platon wrote the first draft of Gospels already four hundred years before the Christ? As I remember, Jesus warns many folds against “friends of the people” which are wolves dressed in lambskins.
N.S. After pronouncing this logos, which denounces corrupting effects of desires of a Corrupt Lower, Socrates demands pardon of the true, bright Eros and makes a completely contrary, laudatory speech praising the Creative Love.
M.A.D. What it is about?
N.S. Using as an example the behaviour of female fortune-tellers from Delphi, he argues that best things we owe to the holy madness. He describes the behaviour of the True Lover in such terms He forgets about his mother and brothers and his kins, he does not care for the abandoned property, does not pay an attention to the opinion and to the norms of decency… he wants only to serve his darling and sleep as close to him as possible…
M.A.D. This sounds exactly like the voice of Jesus four hundred years later Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for my name’s sake, will receive a hundred fold…. From these relics of ancient writings it is obvious that neither Plato neither Jesus knew about the Darwinian, intraspecific struggle for survival!
N.S. You are so well trained in ecclesiastic texts that I suspect that you have been once a student of theology. But listen to Socrates And so, companions of Zeus are searching in souls of their darlings something which recalls them Zeus. They look in their vicinity for young persons having philosophical and ruling elements in their nature. Once they find them, they love them and do everything to develop in them those elements in a full strength. And so on.
M.A.D. It means that the true philosophy is possible to develop only in situations when there is a close – or even very close – collaboration between people. This pagan Eros speaking throught the mouth of Socrates is really the god of Friendship and Conviviality, completely different from the Old Testamental YHWH, I AM THAT I AM the god of Jealousy and Hypocrisy.
N.S. When people collaborate closely, they exchange between themselves numerous signals which – by a reequilibratory feed-back – reinforce and diversify neuronal structure of their brains. It means that every individual brain has the knowledge about all the matter which is investigated by a collaborating group. A close collaboration enriches mentally – and physically – the whole community. Only in this way we may dream of the construction of the noosphere, the cerebralised body of the whole mankind.
M.A.D. I’ve heard in my young years about this noosphere imagined by Theillard de Chardin a half of the century ago. By the way. Your idea that a collaborating group enriches brain structures of all collaborating individuals corresponds to recent, very impressive discoveries in neurology. I’ve read that even small pieces – and perhaps even individual cells -of neuronal tissue of human neocortex contain the whole information acquired by the human brain. But does the neurology – as well as the common experience – mean that all this abundant Darwinian literature, which praises the intraspecific competition, enhances only, the contrary to the noosphere, process of the decerabralisation of the humanity?
N.S. A jealous - and thus corrupt – intellectual must hide from the sight of his beloved public the best source of wisdom which is philosophy. Look at the hypertrophy, in contemporary liberal societies, of all those mind-less, beast-like behaviours: this crazy consumers voracity, those gigantized sexual dependencies, the outspoken drive of the richest people to grab all the richness of the Planet and to push all other men into the everlasting misery, prostitution or slavery. Is this a mindful behaviour?
M.A.D. These beast-like attitudes are amplified by the present, post-modernist mood in scientific and philosophical thinking. In light of all this evidence, I have to agree with your earlier suggestion that we shall attribute writings of our ultra-Darwinians to the effect of this cultural meme virus. You were right deciphering meme as the Mind Emptying and Memory Erasing virus. I would like to call this virus by even a stronger name of 666 - the virus of Bestial Behaviour. I do agree that the book of Old Testament is a kind of “proto-virus” for the modern meme infection. But does it have any meaning? At present we are attacked by these “cultural viruses” from everywhere: from the TV screens, newspapers, modish books, and of course at pages of the internet web.
N.S. Neverthless, out of the need of medical diagnosis, I have to point at the role of Old Testamental indoctrination in the outbreak of the meme – and as you said, 666 - viral brain epidemy already in 16-th century. At that time the religious “rage” – similar in its appearances to the present day illness of “mad cows” – beginned with the translation of the Bible into national languages, which coincided with the development of printing techniques in Europe.
M.A.D. But do you really think that the simple abandonment of the Old Testamental heritage will heal our society? Isn’t it too late? In some cancers of an viral origin, the initiating virus disappears with time, but the cancerous tissue still grows.
N.S. I know this. However, without a neutralisation of those antique meme, and 666, cultural viruses, no social – and ecological – harmony is possible. Do you know what Arthur Koestler proposed to Jews in Israel during his last visit there in late 70-ties? In 20-ties, young Koestler participated in organisation of first kibbutzes there, he even wrote at that time a soc-realistic book “The Tower of Ezra”, glorifying the return of Jews to their mythical homeland. Fifty years later the same Koestler asked Israelis to abandon the Hebrew alphabet, and to learn European history instead of the history of their own nation**.
M.A.D. Why the initially pro-Zionist – and afterwards anti-Zionist – Arthur Koestler beginned to hate his own cultural heritage?
N.S. It wasn’t his heritage. He grew in Budapest and Vienna with practically no contacts with Mosaic orthodoxy. According to the explanation he gives in his Memories, he hated all these talmudic schools, which are schools of the corruption of the young, teaching them to call the white black and black white. Recently, a friend of mine at Cracow has translated cabalistic Zohar Tales** from Hebrew to Polish. Thanks to this translation I was able to verify what Koestler had in mind demanding Jews to forget the Hebrew culture and alphabet.
M.A.D. Do you think that cabbala has played a role in the development of the modern idea of a “Blind Watchmaker”? I agree that such mysterious, paradoxical association of words sounds very cabalistic.
N.S. The idea of “blind leaders” – who evidently are children of a Blind Creator – permeates the whole Mosaic culture. My Jewish friend from Paris told me once that among Jews exists a myth that all prophets of the Old Testament were blind. Also our Judeo-Polish writer, Bruno Schultz, in Sanatorium under Clepsydre has pictured the conductor of a symbolical “train to the future” as a blind man with a lantern. Add to it the message of these cabalistic Zohar Tales. Learned rabbins, dialoguing in this medieval jewel of post-modernist thinking, utterly despise the Aristotelian logic. Only thanks to my broad literary upbringing I was able to deduce what those rabbins had in their “learned” minds.
M.A.D. And what do they had?
N.S. Their main idea appears at the end of their dialogue: only from darkness may come the light… To celebrate the Holy – let’s him be blessed – the best is to do it in a deepest darkness, for the good can be only in the center of evil… For there is no better Good that the one which comes from Evil. Isn’t it a wonderful piece of medieval mental corruption?
M.A.D. With no doubt such an argumentation may impress a reader who is not trained in rules of the mathematical logic. But what is its relation to the present day, ultra-Darwinian concepts of evolution?
N.S. Only from blindness – or even, from nothing, in 1000 steps – may originate the sight; only thanks to random, deleterious mutations are born useful adaptations. Isn’t it the essential message of your Dawkins Blind Watchmaker?
M.A.D. As you discovered it earlier, I’ve studied a bit the theology. In Gospels we find a completely contrarious message no good tree bears bad fruits, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit**. According to Jesus, the Light comes out not from the darkness, but from an even bigger Light of his Father.
N.S. We do not need Gospels to find out such trivialities. In this century, our Polish satirist and philosopher S.I. Witkiewicz loudly commented from an evil cannot come out the good, but eventually an even greater evil. Do you want to know which purpose served all those, utterly criminal, cabalistic cognitive perversions?
M.A.D. Of course, the end of this fatal, 13-th Dialogue appears to me like a solution of a criminal puzzle by Sherlock Holmes.
N.S. The Zohar Tales contain dialogues, in which famous rabbins comment the biblical story of the “smart Jacob”, who cheated his father, the blind Isaac, in order to grab the family heritage. This heritage should normally be inherited by his elder twin brother Esau. In order to justify Jacob’s deceit, our learned rabbins have invented a law that from an evil act – it means, cheating one’s own father – comes out a good result – it means, the subsequent richness of Jacob’s family. It is a very infantile – not to say criminogenous – reasoning, but it works with so called “true believers”.
M.A.D. And, as I know you, you will argue that the same logic holds in case of Darwinians. From an evil act – the cheating by those scientists of their beloved public – has come a measurable good in a form of all this wealth and celebrity accumulated by the Darwinian “tribe”.
N.S. Not to say about the misery of Lamarckians deprived of their heritage in the development of modern biological sciences.
M.A.D. Let’s me remark one thing. There is a known saying By its fruit you will know the tree. This biblical, industrious and prolific Jacob in only few decades has turned the land, which he has stolen from his brother, into a sterile semi-desert, making thus out of his family slaves in Egypt. His indecent act has brought him only a temporary success.
N.S. The same holds in case of our industrious Darwinians. They are wasting at present all the cultural and material wealth grabbed from Lamarckians, turning our Earth into a mechanised desert. Any broadminded person will confirm it. Do you know to which god prayed Socrates together with Phaedrus at the end of their lengthy discussion under the maple tree?
N.S. To a Greek god which – as explained it the translator of Phaedrus to Polish, W. Witwicki – had an animal external appearance, hiding inside him a truly divine character.
M.A.D. So, this god ressembled by its external appearance to Jacob’s brother Esau, who was so sincerely hated by the Mosaic priesthood.
N.S. In Zohar Tales Esau is pictured as the symbol of evil; our rabbins are afraid that He will demolish the Temple and burn up the Torah.
M.A.D. Really so? I think I’ve got an idea. What is the wisdom our learned rabbins underlined at the end of those Zohar Tales? Only from the evil may come up the good - isn’t it? Why not try to put into action this damned, Esau’s “programme of a cultural revolution”? According to your Piaget’s theory, only such an evil “perturbation” may bring us closer to this cerebralised noosphere dreamt by Theilhard de Chardin. I think that in these medieval, cabalistic texts has been camouflaged an excellent anti-meme virus! It will surely clean-up all this criminal mental pollution accumulated in our, blind as its Creator – I mean saint Paul – Judeo-Christian civilisation!
N.S. Arthur Koestler would be fond of us. And many, many of our courageous and thoughtful ancestors – including Socrates – will take pride in our action. The time is pressing. We have to look for suitable internet junctions – and/or for printing devices – to infect them with this Esau’s anti-meme viral programme. To destroy the Temple of Holocausts – it means the “Temple 666″ of fulburn animal sacrifices – and to burn at the occasion tons of literature glorifying the Mosaic Pentateuch – will surely bring real good to all living beings.
 From the New York Review of Books, June 12, 1997.
 See article (unfortunately in Polish) of A. Wiercinski in monthly Nomos no 10, Krakow, 1995.
 Renė Thom „Epistemological crisis of science” (in French) in monthly Le Dėbat, Paris 1981.
 Paul Wintrebert Le vivant, créateur de son évolution, Masson, Paris, 1961.