Design or Darwin
by Reed Carson
Helena Blavatsky, in 1888, was the first person to use the phrase "intelligent design" to convey her understanding of evolution.
She used the phrase to convey the idea that the evolution of the species was guided by an underlying purposeful intelligence in nature. This intelligence is different from the "God" of theistic religions. Orthodox science opposes the whole notion of any intelligence design and insists on chance without any guiding direction. This makes her view a distinct alternative to both religion and science.
However, it was not just a view - it was based on knowledge. This intelligence in nature can be sensed and known through the mind by advanced seers. A body of seers have checked, tested, and mutually verified their observations on this matter over very long periods of time before accepting them as valid. In this way their observations have become knowledge.
One important conclusion of the seers is that Darwinism does explain some facts of evolution.
However, those facts are only minor details. Science does observe and record examples of those minor details of evolution. This confirms the views of the seers.
The seers are also aware that the origin of the species - as opposed to the origin of subspecies - is determined by purposeful intelligence engaged in design. New science of the last few decades shows that this view is consistent with the facts of nature. Modern science also shows that the facts of nature very strongly contradict the predictions of Darwinism when it attempts to explain the origin of the species. So the science of the last few decades again supports the views of the seers on the origin of the species.
Blavatsky brought this knowledge of the seers to the West in 1875 and recorded it pre-eminently in her book, The Secret Doctrine, published in 1888. She called this body of knowledge "Theosophy".
The material below outlines these conclusions and assertions and gives more detail.
It is seldom remembered that, in the years following publication of "The Origin of Species", HPB [Helena Blavatsky] was the first person to aggressively argue the case for a transphysical element in evolution against the rising Darwinian consensus.
Yet, buried in the sprawling bulk of her two major works (Isis Unveiled, 1877, and The Secret Doctrine, 1888) there lies, in rudimentary form, the first philosophy of psychic and spiritual evolution to appear in the modern West. Her effort, unlike that of the Christian fundamentalists, was not to reject Darwin’s work, but to insist that it had, by its focus on the purely physical, wholly omitted the mental, creative, and visionary life of the human race, in short, it omitted consciousness, whose development followed a very different evolutionary path. Darwin simply did not go far enough; his was not a big enough theory to contain human nature in the round. As HPB put it: "Darwin’s starting point is placed in front of an open door. We are at liberty with him to either remain within, or cross the threshold, beyond which lies the limitless and the incomprehensible." ("Unfinished Animal", by Theodore Roszak, Harper & Row Publishers, ©1975. Ch. 6. pg. 118.)
The whole order of nature evinces a progressive march towards a higher life. There is design in the action of the seemingly blindest forces. The whole process of evolution with its endless adaptations is a proof of this. The immutable laws that weed out the weak and feeble species, to make room for the strong, and which ensure the "survival of the fittest," though so cruel in their immediate action — all are working toward the grand end. (Helena Blavatsky 1888 The Secret Doctrine Vol I p. 277).
Micro-evolution vs. Macro-evolution
In following the Darwinism/ID debate one will quickly hear from the Darwinist side that Darwinism has been well proven. From the other side one will hear there is no proof whatsoever that Darwinism explains the origin of the species. As contradictory as these statements seem, there is actually an explanation that reveals a truth to both.
The reconciliation comes from noting the difference between micro-evolution and macro-evolution. Micro-evolution studies how sub-species and variations arise. For example, the lengths of beaks of a certain bird have been show to change due to climatic changes. The percent of moths with certain colorations has seemingly changed in response to the changing needs of local camouflage. Micro-evolution has been shown to be correct in some instances. There are not as many such proofs as we might infer from the apologists for Darwinism and in some cases issues remain, but as a whole a reasonable person should certainly grant the principles of Darwinism have, in some cases, explained micro-evolution.
Macro-evolution refers to the origin of the species (not sub-species). This is what is at controversy.
The Darwinist making the above claims fails to mention something. He fails to mention that macro-evolution has not been proven. He may well shut his own eyes and believe that if micro-evolution has been proven then macro-evolution also has been proven. But it just isn't so.
For example: "Large evolutionary innovations are not well understood. None has ever been observed, and we have no idea whether any may be in progress. There is no good fossil record of any." (Wesson R. Beyond Natural Selection. Cambridge (USA): MIT Press, 1991)
Theosophy definitely grants to Darwinism the power to explain some micro-evolution. But after that concession, it describes Darwinism as only a "minor" law. If you read on and appreciate the scope of occultism's view, you will see that Darwinism is described correctly as indeed only a minor law.
Blavatsky's summary view of Darwinism:
The fact is, that only the partial truth of many of the secondary "laws" of Darwinism is beyond question" (SDii662)
Since Darwinism has been shown to be inadequate after a century and a half to explain macro-evolution, her assertions of 1888 have been vindicated.
Stasis in Fossil Record
There are three major problems with the fossil record.
1. The first is that the fossil record shows species originating abruptly. This contradicts the predictions of Darwin's hypothesis. His hypothesis calls for very many intermediate forms gradually grading from one species to another. But instead the record shows the opposite - species arise abruptly.
2. Secondly, the geologic record shows that species do not change significantly through time. For millions of years they remain constant - with only minor and random change. This also contradicts the predictions of the hypothesis of Darwin.
3. The "Cambrian explosion" represents a period in which most of the current phyla [broad groups of life forms] all appeared in a very short geological span of time. This also seriously contradicts the hypothesis of Darwin.
The problems with the fossil record are more extreme than it might seem. The evidence of the fossils is in stunning contradiction to Darwin's theory. Generally this contradiction is not well known and so I have attempted in this newsletter to bring out the details.
SPECIES DON'T SIGNICANTLY CHANGE
In pursuit of this subject, I acquired a copy of "The Structure of Evolutionary Theory" by Steven Jay Gould. It is a 1400 page tome that, while well written, would not appeal to the general reader. I wanted to reach a clearly knowledgeable source and Gould is a well known Darwinist who also admits to some of the problems in Darwin's view. Most of the quotes from Gould are from that book.
Gould has called "stasis" the "trade secret of paleontology." One section of the book attracted my interest. In chapter nine that section is headed "What every Paleontologist knows." I hoped that chapter would reveal and prove the "secret". And it did. Most of the quotes here from Gould are from that source. Now more people can learn the "trade secret of paleontology."
Some reasons according to Gould why there naturally occurs such a "secret."
The common knowledge of a profession often goes unrecorded in technical literature for two reasons: one need not preach commonplaces to the initiated; and one should not attempt to inform the uninitiated in publications they do not read. The long-term stasis, following a geologically abrupt origin, of most fossil morphospecies, has always been recognized by professional paleontologists ... p 749-750
But another reason, beyond tacitly shared knowledge, soon arose to drive stasis more actively into textual silence. Darwinian evolution became the great intellectual novelty of the later 19th century, and paleontology held the archives of life's history. Darwin proclaimed insensibly gradual transition as the canonical expectation for evolution's expression in the fossil record. He knew, of course, that the detailed histories of species rarely show such a pattern, so he explained the literal appearance of stasis and abrupt replacement as an artifact of a woefully imperfect fossil record. Thus, paleontologist could be good Darwinians and still acknowledge the primary fact of their profession - but only at the price of sheepishness or embarrassment. No one can take great comfort when the primary observation of their discipline becomes an artifact of limited evidence rather than an expression of nature's ways. Thus, once gradualism emerged as the expected pattern for documenting evolution - with an evident implication that the fossil record's dominant signal of stasis and abrupt replacement can only be a sign of evidentiary poverty - paleontologist became cowed or puzzled, and even less likely to showcase their primary datum. (p 750)
Gould gives a number of quotes to confirm the fact of stasis of species. He concludes with this:
In what I regard as the most fascinating and revealing comment of all, Gorge Gaylord Simpson, the greatest and most biologically astute paleontologist of the 20th century (and a strong opponent of punctuated equilibrium in his later years), [Gould's own theory] acknowledged the literal appearance of stasis and geologically abrupt origin as *the* outstanding general fact of the fossil record, and as a pattern that would "pose one of the most important theoretical problems in the whole history of life" if Darwin's argument for artifactual status failed. Simpson stated at the 1959 Chicago centennial celebration for the "Origin of Species" (in Tax, 1960, p149):
It is a feature of the known fossil record that most taxa appear abruptly. They are not, as a rule, led up to by a sequence of almost imperceptibly changing forerunners such as Darwin believed should be usual in evolution A great many sequences of two or a few temporally intergrading species are known, but even at this level most species appear without known intermediate ancestors, and really, perfectly complete sequence of numerous species are exceedingly rare ... These peculiarities of the record pose one of the most important theoretical problems in the whole history of life; is the sudden appearance ... a phenomenon of evolution or of the record only, due to sampling bias and other inadequacies?
Such a discordance between theoretical expectation and actual observation surely falls within the category of troubling "anomalies" that, in Kuhn's celebrated view of scientific change (1962), often spur a major reformulation. p 755
Translation: The data so strongly disconfirm the hypothesis that it may induce a paradigm shift.
Darwin claimed the reason for the discrepancy was an "imperfect" record. Gould claims this reason "works". But while seeming to excuse Darwin he admits the contrariness is "stunning."
The "argument from imperfection" ( with its preposition purposefully chosen by analogy to the "argument from design") works adequately as a device to save gradualism in the face of an empirical signal of quite stunning contrariness when read at face value." (p 758)
But if an "imperfect" record can excuse the sudden appearance of species, how does one explain the unchanging nature of a species once it appears? This unchanging nature is called "stasis." After hearing so much "explaining away" Gould makes the point that stasis is data. Since those on the spiritual path will have heard of mantras I thought you might enjoy Gould's emphatic explanation.
But how can imperfection possibly explain away stasis (the equilibrium of punctuated equilibrium)? Abrupt appearance may record an absences of information, but *stasis is data*. Eldredge and I became so frustrated by the failure of many colleagues to grasp this evident point - though a quarter century of subsequent debate has finally propelled our claim to general acceptance (while much else about punctuated equilibrium remains controversial) - that we urged the incorporation of this little phrase as a mantra or motto. Say it ten times before breakfast every day for a week, and the argument will surely seep in by osmosis: "stasis is data: stasis is data ..."
The fossil record may, after all, be 99 percent imperfect, but if you can, nonetheless, sample a species at a large number of horizons well spread over several million years, and if these samples record no net change, with beginning and end points substantially the same, and with only mild and errant fluctuation among the numerous collections in between, then a conclusion of stasis rests on the *presence* of data, not on absence!
Another admission from Gould (I respect his honesty):
So if stasis could not be explained away as missing information, how could gradualism face this most prominent signal from the fossil record? The most negative of all strategies - a quite unconscious conspiracy of silence - dictated the canonical response of paleontologists to their observations of stasis.
Paleontologists therefore came to view stasis as just another failure to document evolution. Stasis existed in overwhelming abundance, as every paleontologist always knew. But this primary signal of the fossil record, defined as an absence of data for evolution, only highlighted our frustration - and certainly did not represent anything worth publishing. Paleontology therefore fell into a literally absurd vicious circle. No one ventured to document or quantify - indeed, hardly anyone even bothered to mention or publish at all - the most common pattern in the fossil record: the stasis of most morphospecies throughout their geological duration.
The trade secret comes out:
All paleontologists recognized the phenomenon, but few scientists write papers about failure to document a desired result. As a consequence, most nonpaleontologists never learned about the predominance of stasis, and simply assumed that gradualism must prevail, as illustrated by the exceedingly few cases that became textbook "classics": the coiling of *Gryphae*, the increasing body size of horses, etc. (Interestingly, nearly all these "classics" have since been disproved, thus providing another testimony for the temporary triumph of hope and expectation over evidence - see Gould, 1972.) Thus, when punctuated equilibrium finally granted theoretical space and importance to stasis, and this fundamental phenomenon finally emerged from the closet, nonpaleontologists were often astounded and incredulous. (p 761)
Gould is probably not thinking exactly what I am thinking when he writes these words:
I find this situation particularly frustrating as paleontology's primary example of an insidious phenomenon in science that simply has not been recognized for the serious and distorting results perpetrated under its aegis.
(In his defense, actually Gould refers to problems that result for science in general when this kind of selection against publishing occurs in any field of study. But in this case, the results for humanity are very serious indeed.)
The problem with the so-called "Cambrian explosion" is that many basic different body plans of animals appeared relatively instantaneously - in geologic time - about 600 million years ago. This is exactly the opposite of Darwinism's prediction of gradual development of life forms.
I quote here from "Darwin on Trial", a very well written book by Philip Johnson published in 1991 that has significantly raised people's awareness of the problems of Darwinism.
The single greatest problem which the fossil record poses for Darwinism is the "Cambrian explosion" of around 600 million years ago. Nearly all the animal phyla appear in the rocks of this period, without a trace of the evolutionary ancestors that Darwinists require. As Richard Dawkins [a staunch advocate of Darwinism] puts it, "It is as though they were just planted there, without any evolutionary history." In Darwin's time there was no evidence for the existence of pre-Cambrian life, and he conceded in "The Origin of Species" that "The case at present must remain inexplicable, and may be truly urged as a valid argument against the views here entertained." If his theory was true, Darwin wrote, the pre-Cambrian would must have "swarmed with living creatures."
In recent years evidence of bacteria and algae has been found in some of the earth's oldest rocks, and it is generally accepted today that these single-celled forms of life may have first appeared as long ago as four billion years. ... And then dozens of independent groups of multicellular animals appeared without any visible process of evolutionary development. Darwinist theory requires that there have been very lengthy sets of intermediate forms between unicellular organisms and animals like insects, worms, and clams. The evidence that these existed is missing, however, and with no good excuse.
The problem posed by the Cambrian explosion has become known to many contemporary readers due to the success of Gould's book "Wonderful Life". ...
The general picture of animal history is thus a burst of general body plans followed by extinction. No new phyla evolved thereafter. Many species exist today which are absent from the rocks of the remote past, but these all fit within general taxonomic categories present at the outset. The picture is one of evolution of a sort, but only within the confines of basic categories which themselves show no previous evolutionary history. Gould described the reclassification of the Burgess fossils as the "death knell of the artifact theory." [the theory proposed by Darwin that it is only an accident of the record that the evidence is so bad.] ...
An orthodox Darwinist would answer that a direct leap from unicellular organisms to 25 to 50 complex animal phyla without a long succession of transitional intermediates is not the sort of thing for which a plausible genetic mechanism exists, to put it mildly. Gould is describing something he calls "evolution," but the picture is so different from what Darwin and his successors had in mind that perhaps a different term ought to be found. The Darwinian model of evolution is what Gould calls the "cone of increasing diversity." This means that the story of multicellular animal life should begin with a small number of species evolving from simple forms. The dozens of different basic body plans manifest in the Cambrian fossils would then be the product of a long and gradual process of evolution from less differentiated beginnings. Nor should the cone have stopped expanding abruptly after the Cambrian explosion. If the disconfirming facts were not already known, any Darwinist would be confident that the hundreds of millions of years of post-Cambrian evolution would have produced many new phyla. [But none were produced.]
Instead we see the basic body plans all appearing first, many of these becoming extinct, and further diversification proceeding strictly with the boundaries of the original phyla. These original Cambrian groups have no visible evolutionary history, and the "artifact theory" which should supply such a history has to be discarded. Maybe a few evolutionary intermediates existed for some of the groups, although none have been conclusively identified, but otherwise just about all we have between complex mulicellular animals and single cells is some words like "fast-transition." We can call this thoroughly un-Darwinian scenario "evolution," but we are just attaching a label to a mystery.
Sudden appearance and stasis of species in the fossil record is the opposite of what Darwinian theory would predict. (pp 54-56)
Gould's book "Wonderful Life", mentioned above, studies the Cambrian period from the "Burgess Shale in Canada that gives the best fossil record of the Cambrian period up to that time. In doing just a little research on the Cambrian period on the internet, I came across this information on a yet better and more recent fossil record of that period, the Chengjiang site. This site is "much older than the Burgess Shale and the preservation of the specimens is much much finer."
The following interview is between "Real Issue", a Christian outlet, and Dr. Paul Chien, now a Christian due to his findings and who has changed his career in biology to further study this issue. Dr. Paul Chien was born in China and graduated from university in Hong Kong where he earned degrees in chemistry and botany. He completed his doctorate at the University of California, Irvine, and his post-doc at Cal Tech in marine biology. Presently he is the chairman of the biology department at the University of San Francisco.
Chien recently accepted a unique invitation to travel to China to study the fossils at the Chengjiang site. What Chien found and what he has since learned about the Cambrian fauna, has changed the focus of his career. Today, Chien concentrates on further exploring and promoting the mysteries of the Cambrian explosion of life. Subsequently, Chien possesses the largest collection of Chinese Cambrian fossils in North America.
Real Issue: As you became more interested in this and discovered more about it, did you find it really was an "explosion of life"?
Chien: Yes. A simple way of putting it is that currently we have about 38 phyla of different groups of animals, but the total number of phyla discovered during that period of time (including those in China, Canada, and elsewhere) adds up to over 50 phyla. That means [there are] more phyla in the very, very beginning, where we found the first fossils [of animal life], than exist now.
Stephen J. Gould, [a Harvard University evolutionary biologist], has referred to this as the reverse cone of diversity. The theory of evolution implies that things get more and more complex and get more and more diverse from one single origin. But the whole thing turns out to be reversed. We have more diverse groups in the very beginning, and in fact more and more of them die off over time, and we have less and less now.
RI: What information is the public hearing or not hearing about the Cambrian explosion?
Chien: The general impression people get is that we began with micro-organisms, then came lowly animals that don't amount to much, and then came the birds, mammals and man. Scientists were looking at a very small branch of the whole animal kingdom, and they saw more complexity and advanced features in that group. But it turns out that this concept does not apply to the entire spectrum of animals or to the appearance or creation of different groups. Take all the different body plans of roundworms, flatworms, coral, jellyfish and whatever all those appeared at the very first instant.
Most textbooks will show a live tree of evolution with the groups evolving through a long period of time. If you take that tree and chop off 99 percent of [the earlier portion of] it, [what is left] is closer to reality; it's the true beginning of every group of animals, all represented at the very beginning.
Notice Chien's conclusion "all represented at the very beginning." It is also interesting that Gould calls this a "reverse cone of diversity". The complete opposite of what Darwin proposed.
I remember as a young man discovering the results of the Miller-Urey experiments of the 1950's. As you may recall, they claimed that the rudiments of life had been formed automatically by nature in the bottom of a test tube by merely shooting electrical sparks into a closed beaker of gases that were thought to simulate the early atmosphere of the earth. Imagine that! The origin of life explained! At least as a start. Probably it would not be much longer and science would fill in the rest of the details. Or at least so it seemed at that time.
Nor was I the only person persuaded. Carl Sagan crowed for many:
"The Miller-Urey experiment is now recognized as the single most significant step in convincing many scientists that life is likely to be abundant in the cosmos. (Quoted in Origins: A Skeptic's Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth. R. Shapiro)
Of course many others felt the same.
"The Miller-Urey experiment assures us of what we had suspected for a long time: that one can bridge the gap between the inanimate and the animate and that the appearance of life is essentially an automatic biochemical development that comes along naturally when physical conditions are right." (Astronomer Harlow Shapley, to a television audience, as quoted in Evolution after Darwin, S. Tax, ed, 1960.)
Today this experiment is presented prominently in our schools and our culture. It is no doubt still persuading many every day.
Yet we are not hearing what the scientists themselves are saying who are involved in this line of "origin of life" research. Today those scientists recognize that the Miller-Urey experiment is fatally flawed. Other experiments have also been tried. They also have failed to provide the desired answers. It is said that today's researchers in the field are in a "paradigm crisis". They do not even have a reasonable model around which they can form some kind of consensus.
So, because of the critically important philosophical implications, because of the centrality of this particular experiment (and the decades of more elaborate experiments that were inspired by it), and because of the utter illusion of its success - I will try to go into detail.
I am getting most of this material from the book "Of Pandas and People". That book has often been praised highly by intelligent design supporters and for good reason. It is very well checked, double checked, confirmed for accuracy and tested in the classroom. It is very persuasive and I recommend it highly. It requires careful attention to read but it is still quite accessible if you take it slowly. (Available at: http://www.seekerbooks.com/prod/9780914513407/index.htm.)
Because the book is so controversial in the view of its opponents I would like to quote for you its opening page:
Of Pandas and People went through an evolution of its own. The book's Project Chairman and Academic Editor, Dr. Charles B. Thaxton supervised the review and revision process through many drafts. Over an extended period of time, the manuscript, either in part or in its entirety, was sent to scores of reviewers with very diverse perspectives. In addition, the book was used during its development for two years in a public school district in field test form, and feedback was taken into account in further revision. Although the manuscript was nearly always under review by someone, there was a general cadence to these reviews, which came in three basic rounds. First came a round by scientists engaged in teaching and research, then a second round by scientists. Many hundreds of valuable criticisms and suggestions were offered, from readers holding evolutionary views as well as others in general agreement with the authors. Upon publication of the first edition, additional valuable comments became available from a wider scientifically informed readership. Our genuine thanks to the following ..."
There follows a list of 42 individuals with very impressive academic credentials.
I think anyone giving this book a serious reading will come away thoroughly disillusioned with Darwinism. But now on to the details.
In the 20th century our knowledge of the chemistry of life became much much more advanced than in Darwin's day. In 1924 the Russian biochemist A. I. Oparin proposed a way in which chemicals might possibly - unaided by outside intelligence - form the first rudiments of life.
Next a nobel prize winner in chemistry enters the picture. Professor Harold Urey (who won the prize in 1934) had a laboratory at the University of Chicago and was interested in these origin of life questions. In 1952 his undergraduate student, Stanley Miller, began the now famous experiments that attempted to experimentally verify the proposals of Oparin.
In describing the detailed 7 assumptions I will be following Of Pandas and People pages 41-58.
1. Assumption: "There was little or no oxygen in the earth's early atmosphere."
Miller filled his closed test tube apparatus with the gases methane, ammonia, hydrogen and water vapor - and no oxygen. This may seem only a detail but it is of major importance. Today the earth's atmosphere has 21% oxygen. If the early atmosphere had only 1% oxygen the process that occurred in Miller's test tubes would not have occurred in nature.
Think of rust. Oxygen combines with minerals to turn them into something else. Oxygen stops these processes of Miller. While there has been considerable debate on the oxygen content of the earth in those early days, the consensus, including authoritative opinions, now holds that the early atmosphere contained so much oxygen that Miller's early assumptions are invalid. (However, you don't get told this if you are being "taught" by our schools today. You get misled instead.)
A minor point. Miller ran 50,000 volts of spark into his test tubes. Any oxygen present would have caused an explosion. Happily for his laboratory, Miller had carefully extracted all the oxygen from his test tubes before the simulated lightening was turned on.
2. Assumption: "The simple organic compounds formed in the soup were somehow preserved, so that the energy that caused them to form did not also destroy them."
It is necessary to put energy into the system to make the life compounds form. In the real world that energy might have been supplied by lightning bolts, ultraviolet light from the sun, cosmic rays, heat (perhaps from volcanoes) and even radioactivity. But here is the problem. That same energy that makes the compounds form also makes them disassemble.
Miller solved this problem. He removed the compounds from the bottom of the apparatus after they formed. But in the real world ... for situations requiring much time for the proper probabilities ...? Was he introducing "intelligence" - an act of God - into the experiment?
"We can see that Miller's experimental design was faulty, The trap [to collect and remove the good stuff] used in his apparatus did not realistically correspond with any reasonable protective mechanism presumed to have existed on the early earth."
3. Assumption: "Enough biological compounds were reserved for combination with the "right" molecules (rather than being tied up by reacting with useless molecules) to form the large molecules useful to life."
Explanation: It would be useful to save up the "good stuff" so it could be combined as needed later. But that doesn't happen. The good combines with the bad and the ugly and is not available in usable form when needed for later stages.
4. Assumption: "Uniform Orientation. Only "left-handed" or L-amino acids combine to produce the proteins of life, and only the "right-handed" or D-sugars reacted to produce polysaccarides, or nucleotides."
This issue is clearer when you appreciate the 3-dimensional appearance of the molecule. The amino acids formed in Miller's experiment were 50% of the right kind (left handed) and 50% of the wrong kind (right handed). This is not what is needed for life. No one knows why but life demands exclusive handed-ness for various compounds. That is not what Miller's experiments produced.
5. Assumption: "Simultaneous Origins. The genetic machinery that tells the cell how to produce protein and the protein required to build that genetic machinery both originated gradually and were present and functioning in the first reproducing protocells."
Background: Amino acids join together to form proteins. DNA is made of protein. But there is a very tight circle here. DNA is used to construct new proteins. (Through RNA, DNA contains the necessary information on how to make the very complicated proteins. But DNA is made of proteins! Which came first the chicken or the egg, that is, which came first, the DNA or the protein. This is a very striking problem. It is worse the more it is studied. For details see Of Pandas and People.
6. Specified Complexity. "The highly organized arrangement of thousands of parts in the chemical machinery needed to accomplish specialized functions originated gradually in coacervates or other protocells."
The problem here is that one can mathematically calculate the degree of improbability of these molecules being in the right place at the right time. As a result you find statements like "This number is so enormous that there has not been enough time during the conventionally accepted age of the universe (15 billion years) to try every combination in an attempt to find the specific combination of one protein!" When one notes that much more than only one protein is needed then this assumption of Oparin is astronomically improbable.
7. Assumption: "Photosynthesis. A chemical system called photosynthesis, the process of capturing, storing, and using the energy of sunlight to make food, gradually developed within coacervates."
You see, these lucky early objects that will reproduce - need food. There was no food chain then. There was not photosynthesis where the food chain begins. Relative to photosynthesis: "There is no experimental evidence to support the view that such a complex process developed by presently known natural means. In fact, the step-by-step formation of such a complex energy-processing system is highly improbable, even over billions of years."
Indeed these are many scientific details that go beyond our everyday experience. If you read Of Pandas and People it will help greatly. Read it slowly and thoughtfully.
For a summary of the origin of life experiments I turn to Klaus Dose, a prominent evolutionist who wrote as follows in 1988:
"More than 30 years of experimentation on the origin of life in the fields of chemical and molecular evolution have led to a better perception of the immensity of the problem of the origin of life on Earth rather than to its solution. At present all discussions on principal theories and experiments in the field either end in stalemate or in a confession of ignorance." Klaus Dose, "The Origin of Life: More Questions Than Answers," Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, Vol. 13, No. 4, 1988, p. 348.
Perhaps even more telling is the response of Cricks, the co-discoverer of DNA. He understood well the problems involved. His solution to these perplexing problems - life arrived on earth as bacteria from elsewhere in the universe. It shows his level of desperation to resolve the problems that seemed so insolvable. But of course, the question is not how did life arrive on earth but how did life arrive anywhere.
After all this science we might enjoy a little poetry - actually, in this case, a little scripture:
My own conclusion: This doesn't make sense. The origin of life experiments utterly fail in the laboratory to answer questions on the formation of life. Darwinism has been tested in the laboratory and failed. What is taught to our children is nonsense. To merely let our children see a glimmer of the scientific issues is almost instantly characterized as religious fanaticism. Lawsuits are instigated and the constitution of the US invoked - all to block this information. And why? Because - detailed as these scientific facts are - they have enormous implications. Those implications argue against the materialistic view of life. They favor a spiritual, respectful view of nature, of ourselves, potentially of our purpose, and our place in the universe.
Darwin partly right
The following is from Darwin On Trial by Philip E. Johnson p25-7
Douglas Fukuyama has done the best job of marshalling the supporting evidence, and here are the examples he gives of observations that confirm the creative effectiveness of natural selection:
1. Bacteria naturally develop resistance to antibiotics, and insect pests become resistant to insecticides, because of the differential survival of mutant forms possessing the advantage of resistance.
2. In 1898 a severe storm in Massachusetts left hundreds of dead and dying birds in its wake.
Someone brought 136 exhausted sparrows to a scientist named Bumpus, I imagine so they could be cared for, but Bumpus was made of sterner stuff and killed the survivors to measure their skeletons. He found that among male sparrows the larger birds had survived more frequently than the smaller ones, even though the size diffferential was relatively slight.
3. A drought in the Galapagos Islands in 1977 caused a shortage of the small seeds on which finches feed. As a consequence these birds had to eat larger seeds, which they usually ignore. After one generation there had been so much mortality among the smaller finches, who could not easily eat the larger seeds, that the average size of the birds (and especially their beaks) went up appreciably. Futuyma comments: "Very possibly the birds will evolve back to their previous state if the environment goes back to normal, [In fact this is exactly what happened. The article "Oscillating Selection on Darwin's Finches" by Gibbs and Grant (Nature, vol. 32, p. 511, 1987) reports that small adults survived much better than large one following the we year 1982-83, completely reversing the trend of 1977-82] but we can see in this example what would happen if the birds were forced to live in a consistently dry environment: they would evolve a permanent adaptation to whatever kinds of seeds are consistently available. This is natural selection in action, and it is not a matter of chance."
4. The allele (genetic state) responsible for sickle-cell anemia in African populations is also associated with a trait that confers resistance to malaria. Individuals who are totally free of the sickle-cell allele suffer high mortality from malaria, and individuals who inherit the sickle-cell allele from both parents tend to die early from anemia. Chances for survival are greatest when the individual inherits the sickle-cell allele from one parent but not the other, and so the trait is not bred out of the population. Futuyma comments that the example shows not only that natural selection is effective, but also that it is "an uncaring mechanical process."
5. Mice population have been observed to cease reproducing and become extinct when they are temporarily "flooded" by the spread of a gene which causes sterility in the males.
6. Finally, Futuyma summarizes Kettlewell's famous observations of "industrial melanism" in the peppered moth. When trees were darkened by industrial smoke, dark-colored (melanic) moths became abundant because predators had difficulty seeing them against the trees. When the trees became lighter due to reduced air pollution, the lighter-colored moths had the advantage. Kettlewell's observations showed in detail how the prevailing color of moths changed along with the prevailing color of the trees. Subsequent commentators have observed that the example shows stability as well as cyclical change within a boundary, because the ability of the species to survive in a changing environment is enhanced if it maintains at all times a supply of both light and dark moths. If the light variety had disappeared altogether during the years of dark trees, the species would have been threatened with extinction when the trees lightened.
There are a few other examples in Futuyma's chapter, but I believe they are meant as illustrations to show how Darwinism accounts for certain anomalies like self-sacrificing behavior and the peacock's fan rather than as additional examples of observations confirming the effect of natural selection in producing change. If we take these six examples as the best available observational evidence of natural selection, we can draw two conclusions:
1. There is no reason to doubt that peculiar circumstances can sometimes favor drug-resistant bacteria, or large birds as opposed to small ones, or dark-colored moths as opposed to light-colored ones. In such circumstances the population of drug-susceptible bacteria, small birds, and light-colored moths may become reduced for some period of time, or as long as the circumstances prevail.
2. None of the "proofs" provides any persuasive reason for believing that natural selection can produce new species, new organs, or other major changes, or even minor changes that are permanent. The sickle-cell anemia case, for example, merely shows that in special circumstances an apparently disadvantageous trait may not be eliminated from the population. That larger birds have an advantage over smaller birds in high winds or droughts has no tendency whatever to prove that similar factors caused birds to come into existence in the first place. Very likely smaller birds have the advantage in other circumstances, which explains why birds are not continually becoming larger.
Source of Theosophy
The truths of the Secret Doctrine are not the result of one person's opinion. Rather they have been preserved and extended according to a "scientific method" employed over long long centuries by adepts "testing, checking, and verifying" the results of fellow adepts. HPB explains:
The Secret Doctrine is the accumulated Wisdom of the Ages ... such is the mysterious power of Occult symbolism, that the facts which have actually occupied countless generations of initiated seers and prophets to marshal, to set down and explain in the bewildering series of evolutionary progress, are all recorded on a few pages of geometrical signs and glyphs. The flashing gaze of those seers has penetrated into the very kernel of matter, and recorded the soul of things there ... It is useless to say that the system in question is no fancy of one or several isolated individuals. That it is the uninterrupted record covering thousands of generations of Seers whose respective experiences were made to test and to verify the traditions passed orally by one early race to another, of the teachings of higher and exalted beings, who watched over the childhood of Humanity. That for long ages, the "Wise Men" of the Fifth Race, of the stock saved and rescued from the last cataclysm and shifting of continents, had passed their lives in learning, not teaching. How did they do so? It is answered: by checking, testing, and verifying in every department of nature the traditions of old by the independent visions of great adepts; i.e., men who have developed and perfected their physical, mental, psychic, and spiritual organisations to the utmost possible degree. No vision of one adept was accepted till it was checked and confirmed by the visions - so obtained as to stand as independent evidence - of other adepts, and by centuries of experience. -Secret Doctrine by Blavatsky, Vol I, page 273.
William Q. Judge, the very close student and colleague of Blavatsky, summarized the source of Theosophy:
Theosophy is not a new invention but the essential underlying truth of all philosophies; it is a body of doctrine in philosophy, science, and ethics, principally derived from the Eastern archaic sacred Theories, which were worked out by a brotherhood of devotees and initiates who used every method of scientific investigation known to us, as well as their own highly developed practises of observation, experiment, concentration, and meditation to reach the truth. They traced all phenomena by every possible means from their significance to their source, and by comparison of their independent searches and observations recorded their conclusions and accepted such results only as could stand the test of applicability and verification from every point and in every conceivable direction.
This slowly accumulating body of facts furnished the basis for these great universal doctrines, and the psychic development of these devotees and students gave them great power over nature and insight into the mystic side of the universe and man. These doctrines were handed down from generation to generation since time immemorial, and were guarded by the most sacredly pledged disciples, who had devoted their whole lives to the development of their psychic and spiritual faculties. The reason why these doctrines had been so strenuously guarded from the profane and unripe is because the possession of their knowledge gives great power for use or abuse. It embraces the science of the finer forces in nature, their relation and correspondences in themselves, and the knowledge of their uses and application for the benefit or destruction of humanity.
Although this transcendental knowledge was accessible at all times to those who were ripe and who felt the craving for it strong enough to make the unremitting sacrifice, it would be acquired only by those whose supreme intensity of excitement and enthusiasm made it possible in those times to incur the self-denial and renunciation of worldly concerns necessary to initiation. Nor is it any different now, and never will be, except that portions of the doctrine are given out from time to time, such as may be safely trusted to an advancing age, because to penetrate into the mystery of nature requires a state of the greatest purity and perfection, and this final perfection is not a gift to be expected from without, but is to be worked for by those who desire it. (From Theosophy and The Theosophical Society, an article by W. Q. Judge)
Blavatsky was taught by two of the Masters who were part of this body of initiated seers referred to above. So she once answered a question as follows:
What I do believe in is (1), the unbroken oral teachings revealed by living divine men during the infancy of mankind to the elect among men; (2), that it has reached us unaltered; and (3) that the MASTERS are thoroughly versed in the science based on such uninterrupted teaching. (From What Shall We Do For Our Fellow-Men? by H.P. Blavatsky)
Aim of Secret Doctrine
In the preface to The Secret Doctrine by Helena Blavatsky, she states the aims of her book. Oddly enough, the attempt to explain the view of the ancient wisdom upon the Darwinist/ID issue happens to invoke each of her aims. I will intersperse my comments with hers as we sometimes do in email.
The aim of this work may be thus stated: to show that Nature is not "a fortuitous concurrence of atoms,
How appropriate. What we are about is to explore the answer to the momentous question, are the life forms about us the result of "a fortuitous concurrence of atoms". (Was the materialism of Darwinism prominently in her sights as she wrote her magnum opus?) She continues:
and to assign to man his rightful place in the scheme of the Universe; ...
Certainly it should be our personal objective to determine this and the issue of Darwinism leads in this direction.
to rescue from degradation the archaic truths which are the basis of all religions; and to uncover, to some extent, the fundamental unity from which they all spring;
Surprisingly, this question follows naturally in the exposition.
finally, to show that the occult side of Nature has never been approached by the Science of modern civilization.
And that is a strong conclusion to this section of the web site. She adds:
If this is in any degree accomplished, the writer is content. It is written in the service of humanity, and by humanity and the future generations it must be judged. Its author recognises no inferior court of appeal. (preface SD)
In part we are that future generation and in part we are that court of appeal. So lets see how the case looks today.
Western culture is immersed in the concept of the monotheistic religions of Christianity and Judaism. The casual reader may not be aware of different alternatives. So a major issue to be presented is how the "archaic truths which are the basis of all religions" offer a third alternative to these theistic religions.
The idea of a God outside the cosmos who creates it - with omniscience and omnipotence - is not the grandest metaphysical conception. The question may be expressed, what is the highest cosmic ultimate in a given metaphysics. In standard Christianity it is God. In the archaic traditions is a nameless reality that is beyond all description and all expressions of words. Imagine the most abstract abstraction we can imagine. It is beyond that.
In a key passage it is "described" as
An Omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless, and Immutable PRINCIPLE on which all speculation is impossible, since it transcends the power of thought. (SDi14)
In English it is called the Absolute.
In my experience, people find her continuation helpful:
and could only be dwarfed by any human expression or similitude.
So if we describe it we dwarf it. It is said that the most advanced seers sense it.
The phrase "Neti, neti" means not "not that, not that". It refers to a teaching device in which the student is told to reach for some grand abstraction. Once the student has imagined that abstraction the student is told "not that, not that."
There is a vast difference between this cosmic metaphysical ultimate and a "God". The God of the Bible, in contrast, displays jealousy, rage and sorrow.
I mention this under "archaic truths" because it is such. We see it very clearly under Hinduism. We see it in the Hebrew Kabalah as Ainsoph (literally translated as "nothing.") It can be found in Buddhism though that engenders a discussion beyond our scope at the moment. It is believed in today by 100,000,000 Chinese (or more?) Interestingly a similar idea appears in the German Christian concept of "Gottheit". And this idea is routinely found in the mystic traditions of the world.
On the basis of this Absolute alone, Theosophy - the ancient wisdom as represented by Blavatsky - is a third alternative that contrasts to the Gods of theistic religions.
Intelligence in nature
Before discussing "intelligence" as in "intelligent design" it is appropriate to discuss consciousness because as the terms are used in our language, consciousness suggests something more general than intelligence to the metaphysical philosopher.
Materialist science asserts that consciousness is an "epiphenonomen" occurring inside our craniums. It is the result of neurons "firing". It is merely an effect of this very fancy, elaborate assemblage of hydrocarbons.
Of course more open-minded science is beginning to permit this subject of study. It is good that a phenomenon so obvious and so real to each of us as individuals may now, in some quarters, be studied.
In physics consciousness is now required to do what the physicists call "collapse the wave function". In simpler terms, in order to make sense of the equations of physics, a concept of "consciousness" is now required. I say that Consciousness is the unwelcome guest at the dinner table of physics.
Some argue that consciousness - quite outside our skulls - is necessary to resolve the paradoxes of quantum physics.
In softer sciences consciousness is being analyzed directly.
Now in presenting the ancient wisdom as a third alternative in the Darwinism/ID debate, it is relevant to introduce the role of consciousness in Theosophy. Before quoting Blavatsky's dense language in the original I should introduce a few words first.
Theosophy, as most readers will know, is the ancient wisdom as presented by Blavatsky as taught to her by her teachers in Tibet - flesh and blood human beings.
Theosophy has the Absolute, called Parabrahm in Hinduism, as the one reality. We can't even say it exists "for all time" because time is a subsidiary concept. The absolute is beyond time. But periodically a universe emerges from the Absolute. It does so in stages.
At an early stage is a duality of spirit and matter. From this in turn the universe manifests itself. But that spirit is also described as consciousness.
What this means to the debate at hand is that the Theosophical view places consciousness very fundamental to the nature of the universe itself. From this position "intelligence", a more worldly property, is seen as a natural underlying property of the universe. To see this intelligence as guiding and helping evolution is only a very natural concept.
What this means is that to understand the intelligence of "intelligent design", Theosophy asserts that consciousness, and intelligence are totally fundamental to the nature of the world around us. Intelligence is not something restricted to the inside of our skulls. Nor is intelligence something outside the cosmos that created that cosmos out of nothing. Instead consciousness is a fundamental aspect of nature.
Next is her rather condensed description. It is also notable because it says that the individual consciousness in each of us is derived from that consciousness that inaugurated the universe. - her words below "precosmic Ideation" is the source of "all individual consciousness".
And a key point for the purpose of this discussion, she then explains that this consciousness provides: "the guiding intelligence in the vast scheme of cosmic Evolution." Her words:
Parabrahm (the One Reality, the Absolute) is the field of Absolute Consciousness, i.e., that Essence which is out of all relation to conditioned existence, and of which conscious existence is a conditioned symbol. But once that we pass in thought from this (to us) Absolute Negation, duality supervenes in the contrast of Spirit (or consciousness) and Matter, Subject and Object. Spirit (or Consciousness) and Matter are, however, to be regarded, not as independent realities, but as the two facets or aspects of the Absolute (Parabrahm), which constitute the basis of conditioned Being whether subjective or objective. Considering this metaphysical triad as the Root from which proceeds all manifestation, the great Breath assumes the character of precosmic Ideation. It is the fons et origo [source and origin] of force and of all individual consciousness, and supplies the guiding intelligence in the vast scheme of cosmic Evolution. On the other hand, precosmic root-substance (Mulaprakriti) is that aspect of the Absolute which underlies all the objective planes of Nature. Just as pre-Cosmic Ideation is the root of all individual consciousness, so pre-Cosmic Substance is the substratum of matter in the various grades of its differentiation.
It will not be clear to the casual reader so let me try to explain. This "pre-Cosmic Ideation" evolves into what are called the Dhyan-Chohans. These represent the "intelligent" laws of nature. This intelligence in turn is the cause directing the underlying physiological variation of the species. In her words:
But even here the Darwinian Theory, even with the "expansions" recently attempted, is inadequate to meet the facts of the case. The underlying physiological variation in species - one to which all other laws are subordinate and secondary - is a sub-conscious intelligence pervading matter, ultimately traceable to a REFLECTION of the Divine and Dhyan-Chohanic wisdom. (SDii648)
One of her stated purposes for writing the Secret Doctrine as quoted above was "to assign to man his rightful place in the scheme of the Universe; ..." So we see that objective has begun to be met in our pursuit of this debate. In the course of discussing the ID debate we encounter the idea that the consciousness within us derives from the consciousness that underlies the universe. In this light, the ancient wisdom gives humanity a distinct "place in the scheme of the Universe".
Hierarchies of Intelligence
We now have several relevant differences between the version of cosmology according to the ancient wisdom and that of the "God did it" varieties.
One difference is a more abstract cosmic ultimate. Vastly different. A second difference is that the Absolute, and even consciousness, are not separate from the universe. "They" (It?) do not create something separate from themselves. God creates something separate from "Himself" but the absolute does not.
Furthermore, we are fundamentally not distinct from the consciousness that underlies the universe. With the God-did-it version we are separate creations from the creator. Under that version we have a quite different place in the universe.
But yet another difference comes under the heading of "hierarchies". In a theistic religion, at least as normally perceived, God does it all. The ancient wisdom says differently. The ancient wisdom has a hierarchy of intelligences involved. We also should note they are involved in varying degrees. Her words:
This hierarchy of spiritual Beings, through which the Universal Mind comes into action, is like an army - a "Host," truly - by means of which the fighting power of a nation manifests itself, and which is composed of army corps, divisions, brigades, regiments, and so forth, each with its separate individuality or life, and its limited freedom of action and limited responsibilities; each contained in a larger individuality, to which its own interests are subservient, and each containing lesser individualities in itself. (SDi38)
In the next passage Blavatsky refers to a "septenary hierarchy". This is the Dhyan Chohans referred to above as an early stage in the evolution of consciousness into a material world.
Stanza IV. shows the differentiation of the "Germ" of the Universe into the septenary hierarchy of conscious Divine Powers, who are the active manifestations of the One Supreme Energy. They are the framers, shapers, and ultimately the creators of all the manifested Universe, in the only sense in which the name "Creator" is intelligible; they inform and guide it; they are the intelligent Beings who adjust and control evolution, embodying in themselves those manifestations of the ONE LAW, which we know as "The Laws of Nature." Generically, they are known as the Dhyan Chohans, though each of the various groups has its own designation in the Secret Doctrine. This stage of evolution is spoken of in Hindu mythology as the "Creation" of the Gods. (SDi21-22)
In the next passage she makes an analogy between the earliest consciousness and the actual working out of the universe - an analogy between the Architect that never touches one stone of the building and the actual masons.
... we hope to have proven so far the following facts: ... (2) It admits a Logos or a collective "Creator" of the Universe; a Demi-urgos in the sense implied when one speaks of an "Architect" as the "Creator" of an edifice, whereas that Architect has never touched one stone of it, but, while furnishing the plan, left all the manual labour to the masons; in our case the plan was furnished by the Ideation of the Universe, and the constructive labour was left to the Hosts of intelligent Powers and Forces. But that Demiurgos is no personal deity,-i.e., an imperfect extra-cosmic god,-but only the aggregate of the Dhyan-Chohans and the other forces.
Notice in this next quote that Blavatsky is referencing sentient Beings that have not yet reached the stage of man as well as sentient beings that have passed the stage of man.
The whole Kosmos is guided, controlled, and animated by almost endless series of Hierarchies of sentient Beings, each having a mission to perform . . . They vary infinitely in their respective degrees of consciousness and intelligence; and to call them all pure Spirits without any of the earthly alloy "which time is wont to prey upon" is only to indulge in poetical fancy. For each of these Beings either was, or prepares to become, a man, if not in the present, then in a past or a coming cycle (Manvantara). They are perfected, when not incipient, men... (SDi274-5)
Imperfections in Design
Occasionally these days a Darwinist will condemn the "Designer" for having produced an imperfect piece of handiwork - and thereby cast aspersions on the Designer's existence.
Sometimes the Darwinist will include remarks on the vicissitudes of life here on earth. Usually this is because the Darwinist is unaware of the metaphysics of occultism. Reincarnation, karma and the long term spiritual evolution of humanity make rational sense out of those vicissitudes.
That leaves an interesting question concerning the imperfections in the design of these physical life forms. Perhaps the same issue was floated in 1888 when Blavatsky published "The Secret Doctrine" because she mentions this several times.
For, it is those terrestrial spirits of Nature, who form the aggregated Nature; which, if it fails occasionally in its design, is neither to be considered blind, nor to be taxed with the failure; since, belonging to a differentiated sum of qualities and attributes, it is in virtue of that alone conditioned and imperfect. (SDii732-3)
Here she specifically disclaims omnipotence and omniscience for those designers.
But there are certainly "designers," though these are neither omnipotent nor omniscient in the absolute sense of the term. They are simply Builders, or Masons, working under the impulse given them by the ever-to-be-unknown, (on our plane) Master Mason - the ONE LIFE and Law. Belonging to this sphere, they have no hand in, or possibility of working on any other, during the present Manvantara, at any rate. That they work in cycles and on a strictly geometrical and mathematical scale of progression, is what the extinct animal species amply demonstrate; that they act by design in the details of minor lives (of side animal issues, etc.) is what natural history has sufficient evidence for.
Again she references the imperfection of the designers making them not fit subjects for worship.
This results in a perpetual series of physical manifestations and moral effects on Earth, during manvantaric periods, the whole being subservient to Karma. As that process is not always perfect; and since, however many proofs it may exhibit of a guiding intelligence behind the veil, it still shows gaps and flaws, and even results very often in evident failures - therefore, neither the collective Host (Demiurgos), nor any of the working powers individually, are proper subjects for divine honours or worship.
In this way the ancient wisdom contrasts again with standard theistic religion. The imperfections are philosophically an annoyance in the argument if God, the Designer, is omnipotent and omniscient. However those imperfections are only natural in the understanding of the sages.
The evidence of imperfection again points to ancient wisdom over standard religion and answers the criticisms of the Darwinists.
Design in Astral Plane
The ancient wisdom asserts that the original life forms are created in the astral plane. This should seem less radical and impossible than it did at the time of the writing of the Secret Doctrine. Today we can look at Kirlian photography that produces actual photographs of some portion of the astral plane. We can note the healing work of such professionals as Barbara Hand that deals extensively with this aspect of the world.
Blavatsky explains that "ancestral types" are developed on this astral plane and provide the starting point for physical evolution.
Those purely secondary causes of differentiation, grouped under the head of sexual selection, natural selection, climate, isolation, etc., etc., mislead the Western Evolutionist and offer no real explanation whatever of the "whence" of the "ancestral types" which served as the starting point for physical development. The truth is that the differentiating "causes" known to modern science only come into operation after the physicalization of the primeval animal root-types out of the astral. Darwinism only meets Evolution at its midway point-that is to say when astral evolution has given place to the play of the ordinary physical forces with which our present senses acquaint us. (SDii648)
One other passage of hers has always struck me as sounding particularly like a description of design work on the astral plane. (Also note her reference to the "designers" in the next quote.)
In the creation of new species, departing sometimes very widely from the Parent stock, as in the great variety of the genus Felis-like the lynx, the tiger, the cat, etc.-it is the "designers" who direct the new evolution by adding to, or depriving the species of certain appendages, either needed or becoming useless in the new environments. Thus, when we say that Nature provides for every animal and plant, whether large or small, we speak correctly. (SDii732)
In almost all discussion, the term "evolution" refers to the development of the physical forms that we all know. But not in the ancient wisdom. That body of knowledge knows of a triple stream of evolution.
First the physical forms are evolving.
Second our spiritual natures are evolving. Our spiritual forms progress from life to reincarnated life and use the simultaneously evolving physical forms.
Thirdly, intelligence evolves. Theosophy asserts that intelligence cannot be developed by Darwinian means and its development must be "aided".
These three lines of evolution develop a trinity that is closely related to the true and full nature of the constitution of a complete human being - spiritual aspects included. But here the material proceeds quite beyond the scope of this newsletter.
Briefly, here are some of Blavatsky's words.
It now becomes plain that there exists in Nature a triple evolutionary scheme, for the formation of the three periodical Updates; or rather three separate schemes of evolution, which in our system are inextricably interwoven and interblended at every point. These are the Monadic (or spiritual), the intellectual, and the physical evolutions. ... Each of these three systems has its own laws ... "Nature," the physical evolutionary Power, could never evolve intelligence unaided-she can only create "senseless forms," (SDi182).
This is knowledge of the occult (hidden) side of nature. It is quite beyond the issues as posed in the current Darwinist/ID/religion debate.
Should we worship the Designer? Again, the ancient wisdom differs from standard religion. The ancient wisdom does not suggest houses of worship which one visits to worship. However, appreciation of nature, perhaps in some ways like the well-known views of Einstein, is natural.
I am repeating an earlier quote so it can be continued in the context of the issue of worship.
This results in a perpetual series of physical manifestations and moral effects on Earth, during manvantaric periods, the whole being subservient to Karma. As that process is not always perfect; and since, however many proofs it may exhibit of a guiding intelligence behind the veil, it still shows gaps and flaws, and even results very often in evident failures - therefore, neither the collective Host (Demiurgos), nor any of the working powers individually, are proper subjects for divine honours or worship. All are entitled to the grateful reverence of Humanity, however, and man ought to be ever striving to help the divine evolution of Ideas, by becoming to the best of his ability a co-worker with nature in the cyclic task. The ever unknowable and incognizable Karana alone, the Causeless Cause of all causes, should have its shrine and altar on the holy and ever untrodden ground of our heart-invisible, intangible, unmentioned, save through "the still small voice" of our spiritual consciousness.
Her final words in this quote have been separated out in hopes they receive more notice:
Those who worship before it, ought to do so in the silence and the sanctified solitude of their Souls; making their spirit the sole mediator between them and the Universal Spirit, their good actions the only priests, and their sinful intentions the only visible and objective sacrificial victims to the Presence.
Darwin's Failure Confirms Theosophy
In my personal opinion the failure of Darwinism to explain macroevolution is one of the strongest confirmations of the truth of Theosophy - and perhaps the single best confirmation.
While the information presented in this and previous newsletters may seem sufficient to justify that claim, there is yet more reason to support it that requires a brief digression into the epistemological nature of "proof".
Judging the truth of Theosophy occurs in numerous ways for different people. Those ways include intuitive reaction, philosophical reasonableness, internal consistency, integrative capacity, explanatory power, and observation and study of life. Hopefully over time and lives we progress to more direct knowing of the metaphysics. In more external cases some predictions and assertions of Blavatsky can be reasonably tested with objective data. Long time students of Theosophy encounter a seemingly endless series of such confirmations during their years of study.
Obviously her statements on Darwinism can be tested - more effectively as the decades roll on. Specifically I am suggesting testing her claim that Darwinism is true but only a "minor" law, and that Darwinism does not account for the origin of the species.
Since her assertion was quite opposite to the accepted scientific wisdom of her time, its vindication confers all the more strength to her claims.
Her primary book making this assertion was the "Secret Doctrine" published in 1888. Darwin had published his "Origin of the Species" in 1859. By her day Darwinism had taken the scientific world by storm. By her time, any opposition to Darwinism labeled one as ignorant and worse. So when she made her assertion in the face of all the celebration and acclaim for Darwinism, it carries all the more significance when she is finally shown to have been correct.
In a sense, the ideas of Karl Popper are similar. He promoted the value of "falsifiability" of a theory. In more detail he said the theory to be tested should make "risky predictions." Since Theosophy is not presented as a theory but rather as an assertion - determined by eons of testing and checking by seers - we should look for a risky "assertion." And Blavatsky's assertions on Darwinism fully qualify as risky in the sense used by Popper.
Her assertions were not only risky in a theoretical sense but holding her view could destroy a person's career - then and now.
Louis Agassiz is the model of what happened to scientists who tried to resist the rising tide of evolution. Agassiz's tragedy is described in Gould's essay "Agassiz in the Galapagos," in "Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes." As Gould tells it, the Swiss-born Harvard professor was "without doubt, the greatest and most influential naturalist of nineteenth-century America," a great scientist and a social lion who was an intimate of just about everyone who mattered. "But Agassiz's summer of fame and fortune turned into a winter of doubt and befuddlement," because his idealist philosophical bias prevented him from embracing Darwin's theory. All his students became evolutionists and he had long been a sad and isolated figure when he died in 1873." (Darwin on Trial p. 182)
(His "philosophical bias" must have been that he preferred truth and knew the geologic record too well to accept Darwinism.)
While increasing numbers of scientists are beginning to express their doubts about Darwinism, in general the road is still rocky and risky for many. The August '05 issue of Whistleblower, devoted to intelligent design, tells the following story.
The career of a prominent researcher at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington is in jeopardy after he published a peer-reviewed article by a leading proponent of intelligent design ...
Richard Sternberg says that although he continues to work in the museum's Department of Zoology, he has been kicked out of his office and shunned by colleagues, prompting him to file a complain with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. ...
"I'm spending my time trying to figure out how to salvage a scientific career," Sternberg told David Klinghoffer, a columnist for the Jewish Forward, who reported the story in the Wall Street Journal. ...
[The article he published], "The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories," cites mainstream biologists and paleontologists from schools such as the University of Chicago, Yale, Cambridge and Oxford who are critical of certain aspects of Darwinism.
We might not have thought that the Smithsonian Museum would have been this close-minded and fanatical.
To give just one more example from current days - many will have heard of the fuss in the local Kansas school board. The desire is not to introduce study of the bible. It is not to introduce creationism. It is not even to introduce the theory of intelligent design. All that is desired is to introduce into the public classroom the facts concerning problems with Darwinism. And that makes headlines in Europe and the advocates of presenting this information are pilloried in the press.
So this issue fully qualifies under Popper's rule of a "risky" assertion. Therefore this vindication of Blavatsky's view has first its inherent merits. But in addition, it becomes a greatly stronger vindication because it was so bold, so contrary, and so "risky".
Blavatsky, of course, was simply presenting the ancient wisdom - verified in its turn by eons of seers. What we are witnessing is a very major vindication of the ancient wisdom.
Checklist of Some Principles of TheosophyANCIENT WISDOM knew - and continues to know - deep and vast knowledge about ourselves, our purpose in life, nature, the universe, the highest god-like principles, and man's long pre-history on this earth. Theosophy is the portion of that ancient knowledge brought to us by H. P. Blavatsky toward the end of the 19th century, as taught to her by her Teachers in Tibet.
Some of its principles are:
Blavatsky was the first person
The phrase "intelligent design" can be found in an 1847 issue of Scientific American but it is unrelated to the current meaning of the term.