Albert Linderman - writer, philosopher.
The standard narrative is that advances come through science building on itself - which sets the stage for but is not the SUBSTANCE of major advances.
Vine Deloria, Jr. - philosopher, lawyer, writer, Native American rights activist.
In the materialistic demand to somehow untangle ourselves from the world completely in order to understand it, we’re asked to borrow a popular theological narrative. First, researchers are meant to believe there’s a way to create an experiment and not intervene or interact with it, and that they’re meant to do everything they can to preserve this principle. Then, they should believe that thoughts, feelings, and impressions have nothing to do with the reality they’ve set up inside the experiment and that there are laws (controls, etc.) that they’ve also created that actually prohibit them from interfering with whatever takes place inside the experiment world. This is remarkably similar to the deist or TV-addicted version of God — an old man on a distant cloud with a billion billion TVs. He set the show in motion so he could watch, pretending things happen independent of him.
For those who demand total objectivity, proof is Heaven, or God. It’s a distant principle which should be always appealed to, never questioned, and of which nothing is greater.
I love when people give me a chance to talk about my other (non-porn) interests, especially esotericism, science, religion, and the occult. On the Ultraculture podcast, Jason Louv (author, editor, magician) made room for all of it. It’s a great talk and it’s free to download or stream.
Despite their immense difference in mass, an electron’s negative charge exactly cancels out the positive charge on the proton…
Science seems to gloss over an extraordinary fact - that ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ exist at all. What a mystery it is that like charges repel, and unlike attract…
Aristotle said that two mysterious forces run through the universe - attraction and repulsion…Attraction and repulsion have something to do with the intelligence, with the ‘soul’ of the universe itself - they are the manifestation at the level of matter/energy of the participatory nature of electrons and protons, perhaps no different in principle to the attractions and repulsions that we humans feel towards each other.
Lynn Margulis, biologist and geoscientist.
Margulis’s main concern was symbiosis - and she proved the symbiotic nature of all eukaryotic cells; in other words, that cells with nuclei are symbiotic mergers of different types of bacteria. So the common conception of “self” was too simplistic for her, and her more nuanced understanding permeated all her work.
Jochen Bockenmühl, from In Partnership with Nature
Bockenmühl is a zoologist, botanist, chemist, and geologist. His work focuses on evolution, and also how the perceiver of nature interacts with what is perceived. Not in a quantum physics way, but in a phenomenological way - how does nature interact with our thoughts and feelings and will? When we understand that, we gain a fuller picture of nature than the one that comes from believing nature is distinguishable from our thoughts and ideas - which is where all our concepts of nature come from, after all.
“I would venture to say we cannot prove anything by one experiment or even several experiments together, that nothing is more dangerous than the desire to prove some thesis directly through experiments…. Every piece of empirical evidence we find, every experiment in which this evidence is repeated, really represents just one part of what we know…. Every piece of empirical evidence, every experiment, must be viewed as isolated, yet the human faculty of thought forcibly strives to unite all external objects known to it….
We often find that the more limited the data, the more artful a gifted thinker will become. As though to assert his sovereignty he chooses a few agreeable favorites from the limited number of facts and skillfully marshals the rest so they never contradict him directly. Finally he is able to confuse, entangle, or push aside the opposing facts and reduce the whole to something more like the court of a despot than a freely constituted republic.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - writer and scientist, from ““The Experiment as Mediator Between Object and Subject”
- Dr. Norman Davidson, astronomer and anthroposophist.
Davidson isn’t dismissing astronomy in favor of astrology here. Rather, he is stating that our experience - that the Earth is flat, etc. - must be included in our concepts of the universe, not merely banished by information about how the planets and stars “really” are. The inner reality and outer information must be bridged or else both become incomplete and false.
If the organism is a whole and each section of it functions normally within that whole, then in the analytic experiment, which isolates the sections as it studies them, the properties and functions of any part must be modified by their isolation from the whole of the organism.
Thus, they cannot reveal the function of these parts in normal life.
There are innumerable facts which demonstrate how the functioning of a field is changed by its isolation. If we want to use the results of such experiments for understanding the activity of the organism in normal life (that is, as a whole), we must know in what way the condition of isolation modifies the functioning, and we must take these modifications into account.
We have every reason to occupy ourselves very carefully with this condition of isolation.”
Kurt Goldstein (1878 - 1965) from The Organism.
Goldstein was a neurologist and philosopher.
Above, Goldstein is trying to show that dissecting something - whether an animal or an idea, and isolating one aspect of it (examining the evolution of an animal by consider how a certain part of its body evolved, for example. or pulling the DNA out of a mouse to learn about mouse genetics) disrupts the very thing we seek to study and learn about - the whole organism or the whole phenomenon.
To pull a petal off a flower creates a dead petal. We can study it, but we must be cognizant that it is not a part of the dynamic whole of the flower anymore. So we must at the same time observe how the isolation changes the subject we’re studying at the same time as studying the subject itself.
Dawkins: “Take the standard story for ordinary animals…you’ve got a distribution of animals…you’ve got a promontory, or an island or something and so you end up with two (geographical) distributions. And then on either side you get different selection pressures, and so one (group) starts to evolve this way, and (the other) one starts to evolve that way, and what’s wrong with that? It’s highly plausible, it’s economical, it’s parsimonious. Why on Earth would you want to drag in symbiogenesis when it’s so unparsimonious and uneconomical?”
Margulis: (laughing) “Because it’s there!”
Lynn Margulis disarming Dawkins’s false theories about evolution with a laugh and a simple assertion of observable evidence. Science is the pursuit of truth, not the adherence to a theory, and Margulis’s theory that symbiogenesis is a more important factor in evolution than random genetic mutation + natural selection accumulates more evidence every year. Margulis died in 2011. Today, March 5th, is her birthday.