My Quest for the Truth about Humanity, Part 1

evolution1

How did we human beings get here? Are we monkeys with good thumbs? Am I a soul inside a body? If so, then how am I controlling this body — how am I having thoughts? Where is the instruction manual for this thing? Have we always been such assholes? Does my cat have a soul too? What the hell are we supposed to be doing in this life? Should we be working in cubicles to make a lot of money for a couple of people? What happens afterward?

I hope I’m not the only one here who’s asked myself some of these questions.

I’ve gone on a quest for answers. I’m reading new books, old books, the Internet. Some nights I stay up until 5 AM Googling the human database. (What a miracle it is, all this information at our fingertips! You just have to have the magic words, and you’re off on a treasure hunt for truth!)
Are scientists the new priests?

What is the role of academia today? We have this term “the ivory tower” to imply that scientists and scholars are toiling away, and none of the fruits of their labors filter down to the barbaric masses. In fact, no new discoveries seem to even make it into the textbooks for children. So what’s the point of all this research?

I have always been fascinated by the idea of consciousness.

What is the relationship between the mind and the body? The Macintosh dictionary defines this as: “the fact of awareness by the mind of itself and the world: consciousness emerges from the operations of the brain”. How interesting that in the example they use, they reveal our Western assumption: that the brain, a lump of stuff inside our skull, causes us to be conscious, to think, to act.

I designed an interdisciplinary major in college to study this consciousness thing. I combined neuroscience, philosophy, biology and psychology, and that’s when I realized: Western science has no idea how thoughts happen, or how we are aware and conscious.

Western science is a new thing, only a few hundred years old. But they act like they have all the answers. They have it all figured out. There are no mysteries. To even suggest that there are mysteries is a heresy. But wait, I thought, they don’t even know how we work, what happens when I decide to walk across the room. And take medical science, for example. Their entire method for testing drugs is based on proving that the drug works better than the placebo effect – which is when your mind heals your body because it thinks you’ve taken a drug. But the scientists don’t even know how the placebo effect works. Do they really have all the answers?

After college, I was all excited about my Neuroscience career. I got my dream job as a research assistant at a large university doing split-brain studies. After 2 years, I was done with it, utterly devastated. My career was over. I had learned that publishing was more important to most researchers than discovering the truth. These scientists often removed “outliers”, meaning that, they fit the data to conform to their theory. Weren’t scientists supposed to be altering the theory to fit the data? (I left and became a computer programmer).

I think many people like me enter into science wide-eyed, wishing to discover truths of the universe, only to end up spending their lives testing the eye-blink response in the grasshopper, or, as rogue Egyptologist John Anthony West likes to say, cataloging King Tut’s underwear. Their theories are limited partly because biologists don’t talk to physicists or psychologists or geologists and in the end they lose sight of the forest for the trees. They come up with all these tidy little theories that don’t describe the real world. For example, many theories of quantum physics only work in “isolated systems”. All these physics equations talk about systems that are isolated from everything in the universe. However, isolated systems do not exist!

I want to thank all these scientists that spend their lives dutifully gathering boring data: they are doing a service. However, I’ll take their data and do my thinking for myself!

When the data does finally overwhelm the scientific orthodoxy to the point they can’t ignore it and have to admit they were wrong … it takes a looong time to change the textbooks. There seems to be a gap between the modern version of burning a heretic at the stake (refusing to publish his articles and shunning him professionally) and admitting the heretic was right. For example, meteorologist Alfred Wegener proposed in 1912 that the continents had shifted position on the planet. Science was so opposed to the theory that a whole symposium was organized just to discredit him. The theory became so taboo that no one could mention it until the 60s when continental drift finally became the new orthodoxy and, after his death, they awarded him honors.

I think science should play by its own rules: it should throw out theories that don’t fit the data, instead of the other way around.

The problem is that anyone who undergoes training in a “discipline” becomes indoctrinated into the orthodoxy and then has a lot to lose. They must stick to the party line, or be ostracized by the scientific community and lose everything: their career, all the time and money they spent on their education. Hence, Egyptologists prefer to dutifully catalog King Tut’s underwear than to address the real questions about how and why the pyramids were built, because their theories may threaten the egos and theories of the scientists who came before them.

So, by the time I started researching the origins of civilization, it didn’t come as a big surprise that everything they tell you in school about human origins is wrong. Tune in to the ‘Why Are We Here’ in next issue for ‘The Great Cover Up’.

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