Posts Tagged ‘Charles Darwin’

It would have been a proper gesture as well as belated recognition of the role of Aristotle by awarding him the Nobel Prize for Science.

Charles Darwin had this to say of Aristotle:“Linnaeus and Cuvier have been my two gods, though in very different ways, but they were mere school-boys to old Aristotle.”

Like Herodotus who was acknowledged as the Father of History without much of controversy Aristotle ought to have been given long ago the mantle as the Father of Science.

Herodotus lived at a time much of history of nations that loomed large for scholars was accepted as myths where gods played a crucial role. Hellenic thought accepted them as necessary. In China Will of heaven was held up by the emperor whose right to rule was a mandate from above. If a dynasty came unravelled the significance was clear: it had forfeited the right by the Will of the Heavenly Emperor. In Greek ethos no less similar conclusion was accepted as correct.

How is it then that Aristotle the tutor of Alexander the Great failed to gain due recognition from scholars who had received so much from his inquisitive mind?

One may cite so many areas where Aristotle got it wrong. Think of the following ideas proposed by him.

* too much sex causes sunken eyes because semen drains matter from the human brain.

*the right-hand side of the body is more honorable and therefore hotter than the left. (In India this idea has its variant. It is the left hand one uses to wipe the butt after going to the toilet.)

*He also believed that the human heart processes and integrates sensations from the external world.

*The brain, beyond storing the matter that becomes semen, was just a cooling device for when the heart’s fires blazed too hot.

Mingled with all the bizarre zoology, however, are many impressively accurate and detailed descriptions. His accounts of the hyena’s genitals, the parental behavior of male catfish, and the limited sensory capacities of sea sponges are just a few of the many things about which he was essentially correct.

A fascinating new book by the evolutionary biologist and science writer Armand Marie Leroi claims that Aristotle fully deserves Darwin’s high praise. In The Lagoon: How Aristotle Invented Science, Leroi argues that Aristotle developed many of the empirical and analytical methods that still define scientific inquiry.

He was more than an encyclopedist. He collected such comprehensive data in order to analyze and interpret it. His theories and interpretations are often astonishingly insightful. One 20th-century Nobel laureate suggested that Aristotle deserved to receive the prize posthumously for his realization that the information that dictates and replicates an organism’s structure is stored in its semen. In some sense he was anticipating the discovery of DNA. His theory of inheritance can also account for recessive traits that skip generations, the contributions of both parents to the features of a child, and unexpected variations in traits that do not derive from either

Many of his observations are readily recognizable to a reader of Darwin. He notes that an elephant’s size confers protection from predators and that fish with high rates of infant mortality produce a larger number of offspring to compensate for the likelihood that most of the progeny will perish. He showed a nuanced understanding of how the forms and features of animals are adapted to their environments. Darwin even mentions Aristotle as a forerunner who anticipates the theory of natural selection in the preface to the third edition of On the Origin of Species.

Aristotle perceived some of the universal associations between longevity, period of gestation, adult body size, and degree of embryonic development that biologists still study today. He noticed the correlations among these features, but he was sensitive to the distinction between correlation and causation and sought to eliminate confounding variables. Then he integrated his findings into broader theories with deep explanatory power.

(ack: the Daily Beast)


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Missing Link-God

How did our universe come into being? Material aspect of it has been balanced on ideas proposed by man so to speak. So many disciplines each setting out a piece to form a giant jigsaw puzzle. All these pieces must make one coherent whole.
In another analogy man like Archimedes could be looking for the lever to lift the How and Why of man and his universe. Is it Higgs boson particle? The Higgs mechanism proposes that there is a field permeating the Universe – the Higgs field – that allows particles to obtain their mass. Interactions with the field – with the Higgs bosons that come from it are purported to give particles mass. But is it God?
Without mass particles are like straws in wind and mass makes our earth run on a predictable orbit and have a gravitational field and so on.
Life on the earth gives the earth an identifiable form since man’s ideas have laid bare the warp and woof of our known universe to great extent. It is ethnocentric since man is naming things. It gives certain semblance of truth. We speak here of truth in its broadest sense.
Consider this : with so many life forms species after species Science could study fossils and give it a time tag and arrange their evoltutionary path. From available evidences when we speak of evolution as the basis that life originated gradually. It is what anyone with an opn mind can accept as most likely nearer to truth. Charles Darwin made it his life work and despite of many vicissitudes that life often crowns persons that preserve after truth, -he suffered from Chagga’s disease as a result of his sea voyages to South America. Yet he did an yeoman service to the world at large. He was a pioneer and his work since then has attracted many scientists all across the world and their work a testimony to man’s need to know truth. They have dedicated their lives in order to throw further light into secrets of Nature in evolutionary biology.
The idea of Natural selection is one among many facets grounded on truth. Science has no interest to explore what reason cannot grasp. Thus we know How we have come this far. How is only one part of the puzzle of our existence. Why we are here?
Such a conundrum is not teased out of rational mind as some grist to the mental mill. (Science cannot work on faith alone in vacuum.) Those who sought to unravel the How are seekers of truth. What made some dedicate their lives not for silver or gold mind you, but something that give meaning to their lives. St. Francis of Assissi, the son of a rich merchant of Pisa could have served the poor without disavowing his wealth or connections. But he made himself poor to serve the poor. In his eye he settled for a life of utmost simplicity as Baruch Spinoza did. One did as service to God while the latter did for no other reason than serving truth. God, Truth are all terms that stand far beyond human understanding. Spinoza did not care to publish his works in his lifetime since fame or riches were not his goal. He had to give his physical life, a frail life at that, some semblance of truth as well as he knew. Most of those who have impacted the world have nearly counted everything besides truth as impediment in their search. How is part of truth as Why is equally an integral part.
It is in this context we need to look at the search for Higgs boson as a milestone in our understanding of ourselves and the universe.
There is a Standard Model by which we have nearly explained how the Universe works – all of the particles that make up atoms and molecules and all the matter we see, along with more exotic particles. However, there is a glaring hole in the theory: it does not explain how it is that all those particles have mass. The Higgs mechanism was proposed in 1964 by six physicists, including the Edinburgh-based theoretician Peter Higgs, as an explanation to fill this hole. It is the only predicted elementary particle that has not yet been observed in particle physics experiments. Theories that do not need the Higgs boson also exist and would be considered if the existence of the Higgs Boson were ruled out. They are described as Higgsless models.
The crux of my post is that man has levered his universe on his rational mind. It has uncovered How which only requires the elusive Higgs boson that is what supplies mass. Positive Intelligence or God that supplies Why may go a long to speed up our knowledge.
Even though How and Why are found and consequently set into human language we need to realize we are transposing Truth Absolute in human terms.

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Thomas Carlyle saw red when he saw Swinburne. (Swine-born as Punch would characterize him). He refused to receive the poet on the grounds, he was ‘sitting in a sewer and adding to it.’ The poet thin and unsteady with a face all curves with a weak chin and topped with a carrot mop wildly spread out called to mind, one who was addicted to drink if not laudanum. He had a secret vice, of flagellation. Perhaps corporal punishment administrated to him in his school days stuck with him in later life. He got back on Carlyle by this comment: ‘That very sorry pair of phenomena,Thomas Cloacina and his Goody.’
On Charles Lamb Carlyle said thus: ‘Charles Lamb I sincerely believe to be in some considerable degree insane . A more pitiful,rickety,grasping,staggering stammering Tomfool I do not know. ‘. He didn’t spare Coleridge whose work he dismissed as thus:’ A weak,diffusive,weltering,ineffectual man…Never did I see such apparatus got ready for thinking,and so little thought. He mounts scaffolding,pulleys and tackle,gathers all the tools in th neighborhood with labor, with noise,demonstration,precept,abuse, and sets-three bricks.
On Charles Darwin:
I have no patience whatever with these gorilla damnifications of humanity.

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2 Peter 1:20 no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. 21For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Here we have the real authorship of The Bible. Men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. One fifth of the Scriptures it seems deals with some kind of prophesy. The Bible is more than prophesy: it is a book where God, Spirit and Man are conjoined. The Trinity in short and these three aspects of God are in agreement.

Each aspect of God is involved: Will of God is Imagination of God implied. Holy Spirit sets it in operation. The Will of God is fulfilled through the agency of Man. Spirit of man catches its intent through visions, dreams, symbols or through angels.

Take the creation account in Genesis. In the first chapter of Genesis the verse begins ‘In the beginning God created heaven and the earth’. A terse statement. Another statement a little later on : ‘male and female he created them’. In the will of God they are as one even before woman is created in the process given with more details. This detailing is from the standpoint of the Holy Spirit. In the chapter 2 ( chapter divisions came later) we get to read how  it was done. For instance God caused a deep sleep over Adam, the bone from his rib is used for His purpose, then closed with flesh etc., The details are of immense value for a Christian. The simple fact the epistles and gospels keep referring to these makes the agency of Holy Spirit as vital.  For example Adam exclaims

Gen 2:23 “This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;

Later in the New testament Eph. 5 we find how the verse 23 resonates giving us a hint of Christ’s mission on earth. The Word was made flesh and lived among men. This also echoes when John the divine speaks of the New Jerusalem. We see that we are built where we live with God Rev.21 1-3

The Nature of the Church of Christ has its reference on the verse quoted. Adam’s revelation holds true for our relationship with Christ. Eph 5:23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 1Cor 11.3 God is the head of Christ.

Holy Spirit reveals and illuminates our place in the Will of God. Only Bible can do this.

First Adam was created and the woman later. It points to the preeminence of Christ over us. Holy Spirit reveals time and time again some essential truths. One of these is:we are made righteous through Christ before God.

Obedience of man in its execution makes him an integral part. Thus whatever Adam named His creatures(birds of the air and beasts of the earth) were so. Man is instrument of God’s Will as much as of God the Holy Spirit.

One important point a reader has to keep in mind is that the Book carries different perspectives in consonance with the agencies involved here.So in order to get the most out of it we have to put ourselves in the right spirit. With humility and faith that we need to hear the Will of God we ought to approach our reading. Not only hear the word also make it part of us is required. This way a reader creates himself as an instrument.

There is a literary form called slipstream. When we consider the Word of God we need to see it is nothing new.  Slipstream* of Holy Spirit creates its own form. A reader who does not take trouble to understand from which standpoint it is written is likely to get confused. If he accepts it from the perspective of Holy Spirit it touches a familiar chord as ‘deep calls unto the deep.’ If he takes the reading from a literal point of view he may view it as hard and contrary to common sense.In his own generation many dismissed his teachings as hard.

Is God being contrary? No He is not.

Our lack of understanding of Godhead speaks for our ignorance of His Will. The Bible is our guide. God the Father, God the Spirit and God the Son make the reading of Word bears His Will as expressed through each agency.

When as a school boy I learned light was a wave and later as a particle. I accepted these as a matter of course. Science can well explain quantum mechanics as explaining the macro universe and it is in a way that is at variance with macro cosmos. The singularity in explaining Origin of universe is allowed. If so cannot the Bible keep singularity of His Will? For man it is foolishness even though such ‘singularities’ bear annotations from Holy Spirit or from Man. The Word of God must be accepted as working with several perspectives of God, Holy Spirit and from Man. For example as mentioned earlier the Creation account is one sentence. Then its working out by Holy Spirit. The Scriptures also carry ample evidences of man, whose office is usually that of a prophet. Prophesies of man, for example Ezekiel as he is carried in his spirit enables him to record the vision of dry bones. These visions are of course limited in scope but intended for a nation or for man. Daniel’s interpretation of the writing on the wall is one such. Ezekiel’s vision of an army of dry bones was for the house of Israel.

The most fantastic and also wondrous is that imagination of of God (His Will) has a parallel in the manner Holy Spirit makes it come to pass. In the book Luke the father of John the Baptist is given a sign since he didn’t believe. He remained mute till what the angel foretold became true. It is often through human agency the Will of God is driven home.

The Three perspectives of God,Holy Spirit and Man are in agreement. This may be reason why Simon Peter is told whatever binds on earth will be bound in heaven as well. In such a case do we take the scope of the book ias limited on this side of heaven?


Imagination of man may be intuitive or analytical. Thus Charles Darwin writes the natural selection and his theory of evolution is only a different perspective of creative account of God. As a rational man I tried to account for a balanced view of God’s Word and man’s word. The more I delved it it more in awe I stand of God’s Creative Power. Where I am left with no clear answers from the passages in His Word I know these will be illumined and made clear in His Time. Jesus said in emphatic terms the heavens and the earth shall pass away but His words shall never. So what we understand is like through glass darkly.

I would be foolish to think the word of God is only for a certain period when our only vocabulary is as limited as common sense. And our instruments as rudimentary as our mind. We are following screwdriver technology in a world of some say 10 dimensions. Earlier we took our world for three and with Einstein we have time as the fourth dimension. Such gradual unfolding of our understanding does not rule out multi dimensional states our being. At best we leave the complexity of the Will of God to our own limitations. The Emmaus experience of hereafter will make us see much more into the bottomless depths of the Scriptures.

note*slipstream definition from answers.com:

The turbulent flow of air driven backward by the propeller or propellers of an aircraft. Also called race. Example: To drive or cycle in the slipstream of a vehicle ahead.


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