Cambrian Explosion–Evidence For God?

The creationists think they found evidence for God in the Cambrian Explosion. Because distinct species “suddenly” appear adapted to their environmental niche, creationists argue that surely an “outside” hand organized this life.

The Cambrian Explosion is defined from Wikipedia:
The Cambrian explosion or Cambrian radiation was the relatively rapid (over a period of many millions of years) appearance, around 530 million years ago, of most major phyla, as demonstrated in the fossil record,[1][2] accompanied by major diversification of other organisms, including animals, phytoplankton, and calcimicrobes.[3] Before about 580 million years ago, most organisms were simple, composed of individual cells occasionally organized into colonies. Over the following 70 or 80 million years the rate of evolution accelerated by an order of magnitude (as defined in terms of the extinction and origination rate of species[4]) and the diversity of life began to resemble today’s.[5]

This sudden origin of life resembling today’s over a rapid period has been used by creationists as “evidence” of God. In fact, there is no such evidence, and studies in science are proving more to be so.

In fact, new evidence strongly suggests that this quick formation of species actually come from needs of our immune system, resulting in sexual reproduction as a means of “screening” random genetic mutations.

The idea of sex as resulting from needs of the immune system is called the “Red Queen’s Hypothesis” as stated in this Wikipedia entry:

One of the most widely accepted theories to explain the persistence of sex is that it is maintained to assist sexual individuals in resisting parasites, also known as the Red Queen’s Hypothesis.[5][10][11]

“When an environment changes, previously neutral or deleterious alleles can become favorable. If the environment changed sufficiently rapidly (i.e. between generations), these changes in the environment can make sex advantageous for the individual. Such rapid changes in environment are caused by the co-evolution between hosts and parasites.”

“Hosts” and “parasites” are explained simply enough. For example, my body, “me”, becomes a host for a “parasite” such as a virus or bacteria, which, over time, actually becomes part of “me.” Continued in Wikipedia, below:
“Imagine, for example that there is one gene in parasites with two alleles p and P conferring two types of parasitic ability, and one gene in hosts with two alleles h and H, conferring two types of parasite resistance, such that parasites with allele p can attach themselves to hosts with the allele h, and P to H. Such a situation will lead to cyclic changes in allele frequency – as p increases in frequency, h will be disfavored.”

Selection of one system over another, simply by matching pairs of alleles in a genetic system. A majority of one type will gradually select over another type, creating “patterns” that lead to developed species over time. Back to Wikipedia:

“In reality, there will be several genes involved in the relationship between hosts and parasites. In an asexual population of hosts, offspring will only have the different parasitic resistance if a mutation arises. In a sexual population of hosts, however, offspring will have a new combination of parasitic resistance alleles.”

A combination of genes as in sexual reproduction grants more diversity, but this very diversity actually allows for more protection in our immune system. A mutation of a “parasite’ such as a virus or bacteria is limited in the damage it can do, because sexual reproduction causes variations within the gene pool of a species. A mutated virus may enter our bodies, but the genetic differences created by sexual reproduction limits the damage done to us as a species.
Quit simply, over time, this constant battle and interchange among host and parasites, creates a selection process, in which a “survival strategy” emerges that limits the effects of random genetic mutations of viral or bacterial infection. Back to Wikipedia:
“In other words, like Lewis Carroll’s Red Queen, sexual hosts are continually adapting in order to stay ahead of their parasites.

Evidence for this explanation for the evolution of sex is provided by comparison of the rate of molecular evolution of genes for kinases and immunoglobulins in the immune system with genes coding other proteins. The genes coding for immune system proteins evolve considerably faster.[12][13]

…. It was found that clones that were plentiful at the beginning of the study became more susceptible to parasites over time. As parasite infections increased, the once plentiful clones dwindled dramatically in number. Some clonal types disappeared entirely. Meanwhile, sexual snail populations remained much more stable over time.[14][15]

In 2011, researchers used the microscopic roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans as a host and the pathogenic bacteria Serratia marcescens to generate a host-parasite coevolutionary system in a controlled environment, allowing them to conduct more than 70 evolution experiments testing the Red Queen Hypothesis. They genetically manipulated the mating system of C. elegans, causing populations to mate either sexually, by self-fertilization, or a mixture of both within the same population. Then they exposed those populations to the S. marcescens parasite. It was found that the self-fertilizing populations of C. elegans were rapidly driven extinct by the co-evolving parasites while sex allowed populations to keep pace with their parasites, a result consistent with the Red Queen Hypothesis.[16][17]

Critics of the Red Queen hypothesis question whether the constantly-changing environment of hosts and parasites is sufficiently common to explain the evolution of sex.”

In other words, sexual reproduction caused a genetic diversity from generation to generation, but acted to stabilize the species over time, both limiting random change and protecting against excessive damage from random mutation.
In fact, the very exchange of viral information over time caused each organism to select certain genetic information over other information, with constant competition cancelling out factors that didn’t contribute to survival.

Exchanging DNA at a more rapid pace, gradually developed “strategies” that combined to create an overall survival strategy that sought to screen out destructive viral and bacterial agents. Over time, this process of reproduction became sexual reproduction, because genetic information could be passed on and controlled within a species by the male “informing” the egg of the female. The pattern remained generally the same, except now sperm acted as the informing agent, entering the egg, whereas before, a virus entered the cells of less organized bodies, and began replicating itself in order to survive. These replicating processes, over time, became a coordinated “survival strategy’ that worked within a species, with competition among sperm acting in similar fashion to a virus competing to enter a cell.

As you see in the quote from Wikipedia above, cloned systems gradually became extinct, while sexually producing systems maintained stability in their generations. In fact, it is that stability that gradually allowed for sexual selection over cloning.
It is this process in which the male, battling or competing for reproductive rights, is able to “inform” the female with the best genetic “information” as a result of that competition. Competition, instead of providing for evolution, actually guarded against evolutionary change, or at least guarded against randomized evolutionary change.
While we may look for a “mind” or “higher power’ as a regulator in this regard, the simple fact is that all the various DNA strands combining in a multi-celled organism would each select for information consistent with its own goals of survival. The process of life, and its complexity, does not require the maintenance and regulation of “God.”

Sexual reproduction emerged simply as a need for providing a defense against random genetic invasion. Scientists today know that the “germ” cells, those cells that are reproduced through transmission of sexual genetic traits, are not directly affected by viral infection. Germ cells are those cells that pass on information to your children. These, of course, are composed of egg and sperm cells. Another form of cells, however, are known as somatic cells, and the information in somatic cells are never passed on to germ cells. Mutations that occur in the somatic cell cannot be passed on to the germ cells.

This suggests that the germ cells, directly associated with genetic inheritance through sex, “screen” unnecessary changes from the environment.

Females, as the “receiver” of genetic information from men, naturally develop “screening” mechanisms that allow for specific selection of values and cultural traits that tend to forge security among cultures. Socially, this screening process among females has tended to control social arrangements.

From this evolves a selection of related traits in which we progress from religion as a means of securing our collective selves against death, to governments that secure us collectively against threats on earth, and to greater protection of ourselves as members of the group.

Just as rapid exchange of viruses and bacteria was gradually isolated into an immune system over time, so did the social process of animals become locked into protective strategies based on sexual reproduction, such as mating rituals among different species, even species that show very little difference visually to the human eye, which will develop very specific “signals” by which a species selects a proper mate. This allowed each species to adapt strictly to its environment, and to develop resistant genes to external change.

Humans, of course, began to alter this strict behavior when they began traveling extensively and encountering diseases which resulted from viruses and bacteria in foreign climates. In time, rites of passage began to develop, after the models of ritual mating behavior, generally that included fire, as it was discovered fire destroyed the ‘demons” that made the people sick. Food that was cooked with fire destroyed microbes that were harmful, which allowed for a less responsive immune system over time, and ritual behaviors developed that protected groups of humans over time.

What becomes more and more apparent over time, is that all of these basic drives result from the immune system. Sexual reproduction, geared to ritual mating protections, rites of passage, and even religion, over time, served to “immunize” us to the final confrontation of our own death. In many cases, this form of “immunizing” actually was a kind of “numbing” from those aspects of life that were too shocking to face constantly. Religion gradually allowed us to think that the trials and tribulations of this life are nothing compared to what is waiting for us “on the other side.”

Over time, and with exposure to many different religions, it became increasingly complicated to select one that allowed us to ritualize our behaviors and avoid the stress and “overchoice” that culture and technology gradually imposed. Men who weren’t easily convinced by religion needed government, and government began to replace the need of security, the “numbing” immunity that religion could no longer provide.

Marshall McLuhan, the “media guru”, pointed out that the communications medium, whatever it may be, alphabetic text, printing press, radio, TV , etc, is a form of “numbing” of those parts of us that are directly affected by the medium, similar to local anesthesia. The more easily we communicate common feelings and assumptions among ourselves, the more we are “numbed” to the differences that exist among us. Shared “meanings” communicated within our groups, reduced stress within the group by reducing the choices that would have been imposed on us as individuals.

Processes by which early groups formed alliances was also a form of “numbing” by combining social/sexual relations within the tribe, further restricting the genetic interference that would alter collective security. from mating rituals among animals, we developed rites of passage for puberty aged children.

From this, we gradually found ways of “numbing’ our self identity into false-family relations, such as “children of God”, “brotherhood of man”, terms which suggested genetic relations, but were merely conceptions representing such extensions of self. As such, we began looking for more abstract ways of combining collective “immunity” to the point, as Slater writes, that we discovered the “machine-like response”, organizing ourselves in such a way when faced with threat that sacrifice of individuals for the “greater good” allowed us to defeat those cultures less prepared in such mechanical fashion.

In this instance, natural selection became biased toward mechanical processes of organization that led to empires with god-kings and processes of organization that denied individual freedom of choice.

It may be that our deepest dilemmas today are between the immunity of the individual “self” and the collective “self” acting to preserve the “greatest good”. I believe that has always been the underlying argument in civilizations, tracing our decision-making processes to extensions of our immune system. This would also fit with Bruce Lipton’s “Biology of Belief”, and the emergent discoveries in epigenetics.

Government “immunizes’ us against the threat of growing old and having no means of survival, and this can also turn into a war-like “civilizing” influence over other nations, as we see in the US today, with invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya.

The more that individuals are empowered by communications media, however, the greater the threat of revolt against the evolutionary trends toward centralization. Each person becomes a “whole” rather than a mere “cell” in the body, or “cog in the machine”. This empowerment of individuals actually “re-sensitizes” us to events on a more personal level.

As such, we look for ways to “immunize’ our self against the swallowing up of collectivist ideologies. “Terrorism” is merely the war of evolving communications technology. Each individual begins to exercise power that s/he could only dream of at one time, and could only act collectively to achieve. We are more and more empowered to act as individuals, and this will be the central focus of emergent systems.

This empowerment of the individual against both church and state, however, forces us to develop new relations that transcend geographical isolation, and even local communities. Internet transactions allow us to participate “piecemeal” in many different groups, even as many different persons. The individual of the past becomes a complex set of relationships, and can even pretend to be of the opposite sex, pose as a much younger or older person, and is less and less restricted to the necessary identity imposed by both church and state.

From the biological system that gradually centralized us as living bodies over time, telecommunications now permits us to ‘de-centralize” our very personalities in ways that we never before imagined, and whether you are atheist or religious, “God” will undergo many new definitions.

23 Replies to “Cambrian Explosion–Evidence For God?”

  1. That is one big subject to fold one’s mind around. I get the drift but don’t yet claim to understand it all. The more we understand scientifically, the less impressive religious myth becomes. That process has been going on for a very long time, but superstition is still foremost.

  2. Back in 1980, I was sitting in college when my Biology instructor said that there seemed to be no purpose for viruses in evolution. They seemed to have a purely “evil” purpose, since all they appeared to do is make people sick or kill them.

    It occurred to me at that point, from somewhere in the recesses of something I had read, that viruses actually serve to “inform” an organism. I proposed to my instructor a “f’r instance”. Suppose, I said, an organism or a species needs to adapt rapidly to change in its environment, but has no genetic information to make that change? Since a virus is little more than DNA cased n protein, it “injects” itself into the cell, where it goes to the nucleus and opnes up the cell’s DNA. It then matches its own DNA to that of the cell, and makes a “blueprint”, known as RNA, which is then spread throughout the organism.

    This would be a most effective way of “informing” whole species of the necessity of genetic adaptation and alteration of its reproductive process, without waiting for “random mutation”.

    Little did I know I had stum bled on what would become an entirely new science called epigenetics, based on that very idea, that we are, it seems, descendend from viruses!

    Philip Slater wrote a book called “EarthWalk” in 1974, which I had read the same year I left the WCG, He had used the “information” analogy in the development of cultures, and this idea, in 1980 transposed itself in my mind to viruses. Slater recently wrote a book called “The Chrysalis Effect” which I haven’t read yet, but I was showing him what I had learned in relation to his “EarthWalk” idea in regard to cultures and religions. He told me he wished I had given him those ideas before he wrote “Chrysalis”. http://philipslater.wordpress.com

  3. Ralph, that presentation is a brilliant analogy which many may not be able to appreciate, but it is extremely vital to understand.

    Armstrongism is itself represented in the “pure” form with little variation and without the injection of new “life”. An analogy a bit more available to a broader majority is the “hive” or “nest”. In the bee hive and in the ant / termite nest, everything is well adapted to the hive or nest. Each part operates in a specific way without variation. This is an evolutionary advantage of efficiency until the day that one of the members of the colony brings something deadly. The whole collective can die off in hours. If the queen dies, the colony is dead — it just may take awhile.

    As humanity matures, it appears that various types of democracy accompany the progress. The old despotism of Empire seems to be the most efficient and successful method of societal succession, but empires fail (as do static democracies and republics). It is sort of like inbreeding: There is a long slow but inevitable decline. The “neural” societal methods allowing for greater diversity look to be the long term success factor.

    But here we are, in this cycle where a small cadre of power hungry politicians want to have control of society “for the good of the people”. It’s rubbish, of course: It’s for the good of the rich and influential — the people don’t matter.

    But as despotism increases and control becomes absolute, the people become less and less of a resource because of a lack of freedom and diversity.

    By analogy in a microcosm, when Herbert Armstrong as “queen of the nest” died, there wasn’t enough diversity and freedom to support the society he had built upon his own version of despotism. Everything broke down. He was the only one to hold it together, and having introduced Tkach as a fatal virus didn’t help much, since there was no immunity against psychopaths.

    One could say the same thing about today’s United States Government. Diversity of thought and method are being eradicated and the disease which has already been eating away at US looks to be fatal. The people have bought into the Borg Collective hive notion and been given techno toys to keep them satisfied, but, knowing a teacher from a middle school as I do, I can assure you that the coming generations are being prepared for enslavement in lock step of mediocrity by removing the incentive to think for themselves and look only to entertaining themselves selfishly as society declines.

    Ralph, your brilliant presentation has all sorts of applications.

  4. Ralph,

    Simply genius! The evolution of mankind is always towards the collective. The “need” for survival trumps all.

    When many of us left the old wcg, we could look back and see what we refused to see earlier in our lives. It was the fear of death, the need to be part of something “bigger than us” on the collective level. By becoming part of the “collective” we felt empowered. The called and chosen of the world. Gods children!

    However, the thought of leaving terrified us. When we finally fled the collective system of religion, what we found in reality was empowerment. No longer did we have to accept the genetic programming of the collective/cult.

    As sovereign individuals do, they gravitate towards a “new” collective for the same reasons that they joined the “religious” collective. Many of us former cog’ers have done this when we have made government into the newest golden calf.

    The solution is *individualism that can prevent us from falling into another trap of the collective system. Hence, we as individuals are “empowered by the communications media” that fights against the collective systems of enslavement.

    It seems that is what the Painful Truth and others have been doing for fifteen years!

    *Consider the U.S. Constitution. It allows very limited powers to the government. The USA was intended to be a collective like all nations, and the individual was to be empowered. Personal decisions, family affairs, tribal associations, all were left to the individual and not the government by decree of law or regulation. Not so today.

  5. Thanks, Douglas,

    “Armstrongism is itself represented in the “pure” form with little variation and without the injection of new “life”. An analogy a bit more available to a broader majority is the “hive” or “nest”. In the bee hive and in the ant / termite nest, everything is well adapted to the hive or nest. Each part operates in a specific way without variation. This is an evolutionary advantage of efficiency until the day that one of the members of the colony brings something deadly. The whole collective can die off in hours. If the queen dies, the colony is dead — it just may take awhile.”

    Yes. Well stated. The more genetic “kinship” among the bees or ants, the greater the threat of the virus to the system. The more diversity promoted by different input, the greater the resistance to viral changes in regard to the whole group. Our intelligence actually benefits from our freedom of sexual reproduction(potentially).

    There is an evolutionary parallel to this in Howard Bloom’s book “Global Brain”, which I recommend:

    “Among the Yanomamo, the biggest clashes are between family members–and between the groups they head. How could evolution favor feuds which current theory says should never be? Creative bickering has been honed by natural selection because, in pitting father against son and brother against brother, it opens up new avenues to genes, clans, cliques, and species. It slices through genetic bonds to generate diversity”.

    A kind of dual level of social and genetic evolution. Just as the diversity of sexual reproduction guards against the totally destructive effects of a virus, social diversity is generated by the warring tendency of families to disagree with each other. I would also point out a biblical parallel to this: Matthew 10:34-38.
    PT editor, another good point:

    “As sovereign individuals do, they gravitate towards a “new” collective for the same reasons that they joined the “religious” collective. Many of us former cog’ers have done this when we have made government into the newest golden calf.

    The solution is *individualism that can prevent us from falling into another trap of the collective system. Hence, we as individuals are “empowered by the communications media” that fights against the collective systems of enslavement.”

    It’s another subject, but Dawkins points out that genes have a “genetic replicative algorithm” that tends to drive them towards perfect self replication from generation to generation. If so, then there would be a need of the genes to control as much of their environment as possible, which further means social systems of humans would tend to follow the same pattern, building defenses against invasion by controlling their social and cultural environments as much as possible. IOW, it is a natural human tendency to seek a collective framework of beliefs.

  6. “it is a natural human tendency to seek a collective framework of beliefs.”

    Which leads down the road to division in the end. The story of the tower of Babylon is one example. The people in the fable are divided because their language was skewed. What to do? Go their own way. Project ended!

    In the end game, it seems we as humans are always dividing and moving to new collectives. One way or another, in the sense of history, humans embrace tribalism. This leads to the next thought. War. The survival of one collective is paramount to survival of the individuals within that framework. Hence the example of the ants and bees.

    In the Churches of God, survival is a spiritual/physical ritual. Keeping days, weeks, new moons, etc. When expelled or self exiling from the tribe, the wilderness of the world becomes the basis of survival. For those disfellowshipped this experience becomes not only survival, but the basis of renewal.

    Escaping from the tribe of Armstrongism is not only liberating, its the basis of a healthy mental outlook. Not only for the members involved, but the entire extension of the family unit.

    It is this basis that would allow for the family to reset the genetic replicative algorithm from the religious collective to the tribal collective of the family unit. Otherwise, leave the cult and start over, seek psychological help, rejoin a world that has more love and support than all the armstrong type of groups could muster up in a century! Embrace the truth, not the lies of the other collective!

  7. PT Editor,. you make a good point, and prompted me to think of another essay, perhaps titled “Richard Dawkins and the Tower of Babel”. As you write, below:

    “Which leads down the road to division in the end. The story of the tower of Babylon is one example. The people in the fable are divided because their language was skewed. What to do? Go their own way. Project ended!”

    Not that I believe there was actually such a tower, or that there was an Adam and Eve, Noah, etc, ut there is a principle stated in the “Tower” story that fits quite well with Dawkins’ ideas regarding the genetic replicative algorithm. If such an algorithm need to control its environment to ensure perfect replication from generation to generation, and if “memes” de veloped culturally to help ensure this collective framework of reproductive security, it stands to reason that a primitive group of humans with the ability to conceptualize and commun icate in language, would begin organizing according to their own “internal circuitry”, as Philip Slater calls it.

    Slater, in fact, points out that the main problem of human civilizations comes from responding more from their cultural “internal circuitry” than in responding to the external environment. Again, this would match the story of the Tower of Babel. The twist, however, is that God does NOT seek to organize them according to some basic truth, which surely he could have done at that point(if there was a God). Instead, the story tells us he confused their language so they actually could NOT organize according to their own conceptions. That suggests that if we look for “God” in any truthful context, we would NOT look for “Him” within any collective organizations of men.

  8. Ralph, I hope you will have patience with me, since this post will be speculative. I want to clarify my own thoughts and have a sounding board. It would be nice if any corrective measures taken be with consideration, since I have been quite confused lately.

    That said, I have had some disturbing experiences of late. I have made every effort to avoid participation in Armstrongism, even peripherally, but due to my unique situation, cannot avoid them completely. As a result, I hear and see things which seem important.

    As relates to this discussion of genetic diversity (of a particular sort) and related analogies, yesterday, I took note of what Art Braidic said to his congregation: That members of his church should embrace the coming fall of the United States and the Great Tribulation — not to resist it. This dystopian view was somewhat magnified in my mind, since I had him over to lunch in The Fishing Cabin I had rented to stay in Red Lodge, Montana during the Feast of Tabernacles 2010. He told me at that time that he did not expect his little church in Kalispel, the Eternal Church of God, to last more than two more years. People had left and things were going down hill. The messages were like a funeral dirge, except for two of them: The world is a horrible place, things are going down hill, etc. It was a depressive borderline personality dream world. Art has also decried the “horrible” things which are being said about the Churches of God by us… well, more likely, just by me. Horrible. True, but horrible.

    It would appear to me that the hive / nest colonies are sick and, worse, like so many sick colonies, begin to implode. Myself, I see this as a referential example of significance, wherein, the sick colonies of the ACoGs are sensing the sickness and are taking inappropriate actions to preserve what’s left of the colony. Maybe I’m wrong. You are welcome to tell me the flaw in the logic. Anyway, I note with interest, the CoGWA ripping itself away this past year from Co Gaia with no particularly good reason given beyond “governance” issues, to which I say, Bah, humbug!

    To me, this particular blog entry is very interesting because in my view, the CoGs seem to be acting like so many communal insects on a downward cycle. On one hand, they seem to be splitting off to preserve the hive / nest. On the other hand, all they are doing is hastening the demise of the entire collective because there is no “new blood”. It’s the same sick incestuous blood lines which have resulted in the weakening of the species.

    In my mind, part of the problem is the lack of agreement over trivial things which are representative of more important issues which are not being addressed. Being independent and having freedom is one thing, but there still needs to be an interchange with others, else, with no comparisons and no corrective course changes, total dissidents are usually and generally going to head off the reservation with silly, stupid, crazy, unworkable ideas. Without sufficient contact with outside resources, a downward spiral develops which leads to complete destruction at an ever accelerating rate.

    What I’m talking about above is a microcosm — a very small insignificant microcosm.

    Now I want to turn our attention to the macrocosm — at least to the macrcosm of the United States.

    It too is a very sick colony — one which has an abstracted civil war going. Proponents are mostly evenly divided, it appears. On one side, the conservatives and on the other liberal socialists. Ralph, I seem to remember you mentioning that there were hundreds of different types of socialism, some of which were successful. I don’t really believe that the current push to socialism will be one which can be successful, even if it is achieved. Too much rhetoric and too little thought has been put into the proposals, and, besides, it isn’t exactly pure and its proponents are serving very selfish agendas. With those who are pushing the agenda expecting never to be subjects within the socialistic regime — i.e. having to give up their wealth to give to everyone else so everybody can live at the same level of poverty — no one should expect it to be successful. It violates the core of human nature: If I achieve something, I simply don’t want that taken away from me to give to someone who has not only achieved nothing, will never achieve anything and, darn it all, doesn’t want to put effort into achievement. The spoiled childred of Boomers want an entitlement from the cradle to the grave without having to work for it, and have nothing but interesting fun all their lives — shocked when they can’t have their way. I have my doubts that’s good for the species.

    I note with interest the collapse of the USSR. I suppose under Stalin, the socialism could have continued working, albeit with the murder of millions more in an oppressive regime with more and more people sent to Gulags, but he died — and just like Herbert Armstrong’s collective when he died — began deteriorating before the shovel was turned.

    The Chinese have been slowly moving out of their poverty through carefully controlled socialism and it has sort of mostly worked until the introduction of Capitalism from the ultimate in consumerism, the United States. Good heavens, Apple has everything made in China (where factory workers commit suicide on the grounds), but make their fortune selling the Chinese goods in the U.S. Hands, please: Who think that’s going to work in the long term? Especially, since unemployment is growing, poverty is growing and jobs are going to the Chinese that the Americans used to have. Perhaps I am very wrong, but this seems like a hive canibalizing itself.

    Again, maybe I’m totally off base. I’d like to know the mitigating circumstances.

    Back to the ACoGs.

    I see them canibalizing each other and themselves. It’s a failed experiment and a genetic dead end. Of greater concern is what happens to them as they go through the throws of death? Will we finally see a Jim Jones scenario. Many think this is unlikely. I used to.

    These days, I’m not so sure, even as the pall of depression and desperation set in.

  9. Douglas, Recently I collaborated with a guy from Mexico on many of these same issues, He’s writing a book about community replacing the “mechanical” structures that have dominated for the past 400 years or so. I wrote some history on the origins of common law which were included in the book, which is apparently going to be published by the Mexican government(even though it goes against the philosophy of government). He now wants to collaborate on a wider expanse that explores many of the questions you pose.

    One of the things about the CoGs focusing on “God’s law” is one very improtant statement that comes from their own bible: you can’t keep it. No matter how hard you try, or how diligently you apply yourself, the very act of defining it will lead you inexorably to more and more definitions of what it means.This is consistent with ideas of math called Godel’s theorem.

    In matters of science as we have discovered over the past 150 years or so, the attempt to organize into one system of understanding, forces us to block out alternative ways of acting and reacting to our environment. The more order you create in one area, the more “chaos” will result in related areas, because you must borrow energy from one area to create more “order” in your related area.

    This is a problem in regard to all living systems. Since the genes seek to replicate themselves by controlling their environment, and since cultures, as extensions of genes seek to further control environments by collectivization, the result will tend to be accelerated entropy. This indicatres that human tendencies automatically tend toward entropy, which is why things fall apart, break down, get old, wear out, etc.

    In religion, we instinctively assume that it is “God’s will” to “convert” others to the “true” way, when in fact, it is impossible to do so.

    “God’s problem”, in regard to religion, is not in getting people to organize, since history shows they can do that easily. Look at Babylon, Egypt, Persia, Greece, Rome, and even christianity and islam. Humans automatically seek to organize, and the greater their success, the greater the collapse. Look at the dark ages following the collapse of Rome, followed by the rise of Constantine’s christianity, then Islam, and now even the US has ignored the lessons of history, trying to centralize , organize, and “entitle” everyone, ripe once again for collapse.

    I’ll write this in all caps because I believe it’s very important: GOD’S LAW WAS NEVER DESIGNED TO CREATE TIGHTER ORGANIZATIONS OF TRUTH. IT WAS DESIGNED TO DO EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE. IOW, the continual splintering and speciation you see today in the CoGs is exactly what is supposed to happen when people try to “represent God”.

    Look at Babylon. They absorbed Israel. Babylon fell apart, Israel had men who rose to positions of power. Persia allowed Israel to return home. Instead a few wealthy Jews financed a few less wealthy Jews so they could return to Israel. While Persia grew to a great power and then followed the course of entropy, Israel absorbed many of the religious ideas of both Babylon and Persia, created their own Talmud, and became “bankers to the world”.

    In short, Israel did exactly what it was supposed to do: disrupt, de-centralize, and “inform” empires with a tendency toward individualization. By Jesus’ time, the message became more personalized, as in Matthew 10:34-38, Matthew 24:23, Romans 8:7, 9:16-22, all concepts showing that “God’s will” had never been greater organization, but actually forcing people apart, even from their own families. Reason? Liberty, centralization, and entropy do not work well together.

    There is agreat deal of exploration to do on that subject, but what is happening today is happening because people have not yet learned the lessons of individual freedom.

  10. Of course, entropy.

    Herbert Armstrong reduced entropy locally for the WCG by taking the energy from outside sources. (Some successful closed systems can be very nearly self-sustaining with a minimum of reducing entropy by infusing additional energy on a limited basis.)

    Now the ACoGs have no real outside exposure and cannot reduce entropy locally, so now, energy becomes less and less available and they are reduced to burning ashes.

  11. “Herbert Armstrong reduced entropy locally for the WCG by taking the energy from outside sources”.

    Technically, he increased entropy, since entropy is the measurement of breakdown occurring in the use of energy. For example, if you burn a log, the energy is useful, but it will never be returned to the form of that log again, plus, a small quantity of energy is lost in the process, and may possibly never be useable again. As a physicist wrote, the universe may be composed of “information” and “ignorance”. Information is that which we can use for further organization in the universe, and “ignorance” equals entropy, the loss of energy into a random appearing form of which we are ignorant, having no knowledge of a way in which we may re-use it.

    As we consume energy as “information”, the amount of “ignorance” increases, energy which may never be used again, until the universe collapses into heat death. In fact, the formula used by Claude Shannon to define information, is identical to the formula developed in the 19th century to define entropy! One is simply the “negative” of the other!

    HWA, however, actually entered a culture that was ALREADY undergoing entropy, as old community and family structures were breaking down as a result of World Wars 1 and 2. People were looking for “meaning” in a society that seemed to offer nothing except technological growth, or as one General stated, we are a nation of technological giants and moral infants. What actually occured, right under ur noses, was an “engineered” morality to accomiodate the engineered technology we see today. Men such as Hearst, of the newspaper chain, used his power to create mass movements, and supported such evangelists as Billy Graham in collectivist “crusades” to simply get people to “accept Christ”, whatever that meant. From the engineered mas movement of populist government came the parallel engineered mass religion, but with thayt came the increasing destruction of other systems, resulting in the war-like imperialism we have today.

    1. I should have been more clear: Yes, Herbert Armstrong increased entropy. Please note that I said that he reduced it locally, by which I meant that he increased entropy all around him, but decreased it for himself and collected gold, silver, crystal, energy of adoration. He indeed increased entropy for everyone else by “borrowing” from everyone else he possible could.

      Now Herbert Armstrong is dead — the ultimate entropy.

      1. Yes, again a good point. HWA reduced entropy for many who joined the church as well, by reducing the uncertainities they faced. However, they had to pay dearly for that reduction. You bring out a point worth much thought. By increasing their financial uncertainty, they traded for the day when they would be “kings on the earth”.

  12. “Now the ACoGs have no real outside exposure and cannot reduce entropy locally, so now, energy becomes less and less available and they are reduced to burning ashes.”

    Yes, in a way. By focusing on the “correct” way to observe “God’s laws”, they necessarily create more divisions, which adds to the variation of interpretations, but it also isolates them from ‘the world”.

    That, however, is exactly the predictable point. If God’s law cannot be properly kept, and if our natural minds are enmity against that law, then the logical result will always be a continual splintering and speciation of new definitions, which allow us the opportunity to choose what we will believe over time. It is a kind of “antibody” against the natural need to organize and centralize.

    here is the parallel between cultural evolution and the evolution of a species. In any species, each individual will repsond in adaptation to its environment, but there comes a point at which it can no longer process all the environmental information. At that point, a virus will enter the individual, which has two basic functions:
    1.the body of the individual goes through a “purging” process in the form of vomiting, diaharrhea, coughing, sneezing, etc
    2.After purification, the body will identify the virus, “tag” it, and render it useless for future damage to that body

    The benefit is:
    1.The body has cleansed itself
    2.The body has increased its “intelligence’ since it now has a greater ‘database” of defenses with which to guard against its environment. It will be more adaptive.

    Cultuiral evolution is much the same, except cultures tend to react to “internal circuitry” more than the environment, and the culture will tend to develop cancer-like practices as it extends itself and takes control over greater parts of its environment in order to avoid change.

    That, basically, is why western religions, not well adapted to their environment, are highly “evangelical”, seekng proselytizes to offset the diminishing returns of their religion.

    This same expansive behavior may become war-like over time, since, as Slater points out, a machine-like response in the face of danger had no value until men began making war on each other. So, war, the machine, and proselytizing became mutually supportive forces in western religions. That was the mutually evolutionary process of culture as we know it today in the West.

    Because Israel was given a law theyt could not keep, once they became direclty incorporated into such a cancer-like culture, they acted in similar fashion to a virus, casuing new patterns of more individual thinking, disrupting the general cultuiral norms, and acting like a virus by “cutting and pasting” cultural “DNA” among the various empires. Israel was little more than a “cultral virus” to civilizations, acting to “inform” to “purge”, and to alter the reproductive process of civilizations, just as a virus links with the reproductive machin ery of a cell and alters the reproductive process of an organism. What emerges is evidence of a single process working from cells to civilizations, operating back and forth in a “feedback” process.

  13. Here is a link a friend sent that blew my mind, completely verifying my statements on genes and evolution, above:

    http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-09-invasion-genomic-parasites-triggered-modern.html

    “Genetic parasites invaded the mammalian genome more than 100 million years ago and dramatically changed the way mammals reproduce — transforming the uterus in the ancestors of humans and other mammals from the production of eggs to a nurturing home for developing young, a new Yale University study has found.”

  14. A good part of this is well defined by natural selection.

    Natural selection seems to be a process by which organisms organically compare themselves to their environment and make adaptations.

    Those organisms which do not keep evaluating their environment and adapt die off.

    I am reminded of the Analog article on this topic awhile back attacking the Creationist idea that evolution can’t be true because organisms die off before they adapt: We’ve heard GTA use this argument — bats needed sonar to survive, but they couldn’t develop it because they wouldn’t survive long enough to adapt. Analog cut through all this by pointing out that if you were speaking about 1 or 2 bats, that might be true, but if you were looking at 60 million bats, evolving over time, they could adapt through natural selection. The natural selection gives evolutionary advantage, as demonstrated by the moths in Britain adapting to a dirty environment by selecting out dark colors to blend in with their environment. The original white ones wouldn’t last long, but since there were so many of them, the darker ones were selected out.

    One of the most damaging circumstances for the ACoGs is that there is no mechanism for them to adapt to changing circumstances. For one thing, they don’t compare themselves to other groups to be able to determine the differences between successful strategies and unsuccessful ones. They are rigid and inflexible, attempting to survive in a changing environment, perfectly adapted to a venue which no longer exists. The fact that they have such a small “genetic” population that survival simply isn’t an option. Armstrongists simply can’t adapt and “survival of the fittest” suggests that they will be naturally selected out of existence.

  15. “One of the most damaging circumstances for the ACoGs is that there is no mechanism for them to adapt to changing circumstances. For one thing, they don’t compare themselves to other groups to be able to determine the differences between successful strategies and unsuccessful ones. They are rigid and inflexible, attempting to survive in a changing environment, perfectly adapted to a venue which no longer exists. The fact that they have such a small “genetic” population that survival simply isn’t an option. Armstrongists simply can’t adapt and “survival of the fittest” suggests that they will be naturally selected out of existence.”

    You make a valuable point, which, I think, connects with Philip Slater’s essay on “the trap of purity” in the link I gave above. Slater pointed out that there is no adaptive value in “purity”, as the CoGs are trying to do. You will notice the history of israel and the Jews in this regard:
    They maintained the “purity” of the Torah, but developed new strategies, Mishna, Gemorrah, and Talmud, which consistend of the various laws of commerce, trade, and civil law, adapted from other civilizations.

    This allowed them to venerate the Torah, but also gave them a set of rules by which they could use human reason for adaptation when necesary. Christians do much the same, though “unconsciously”. They venerate the Bible, but then develop rules, dogma, doctrines, that allow for the distinct separation of human interpretation. By focusing only on the “purity” of the bible, the CoGs create different “mechanical” interpretations, but further isolate themselves from “evolution”. However, by such strict diversity, they act as the “viral informaants” of other systems, just as the Jews did in their evolution from a theocratic state to a de-centralized system of law and commerce.

  16. I agree that ACoGs have acted as “viral informants” of other systems: A number of religions have been challenged by the Armstrongist views and like DNA genetic adaptation, they have changed a number of things which tend to make them stronger and “immunize” them against the viral attack of the Armstrongists.

    This approach also tends to be self-correcting. For religion, this will never be much more than a “minor” self-correction, but it does seem to immunize them from the challenges presented at a point of time, not unlike the fall injection for flu immunization. (And now is a good time to get your flu shots. If you have not done so and can afford it, it is extremely wise to get shingles immunization shots — like I did recently — because shingles is really nasty stuff and it never goes away once you contract it.)

    You might also say that we have participated in the grand DNA genetics viral infection experiment by having been exposed to Armstrongism. It is my belief that, for the most part, it is like getting immunized against this particular aberration (although some are reinfected and succomb to it later in life). This forum helps keep the booster fresh.

  17. “I agree that ACoGs have acted as “viral informants” of other systems: A number of religions have been challenged by the Armstrongist views and like DNA genetic adaptation, they have changed a number of things which tend to make them stronger and “immunize” them against the viral attack of the Armstrongists.”

    Yes. The “religious DNA” is also spread through related religions, like JWs, SDAs, Dawn publishers, and thiose who carried a strain of the same general info. While each represents a “species” of similar “DNA”, they also provide a high rate of “turnover’ among the members. Last i saw, the JWs had the highest turnover rate, which was equal to an “infection rate” if we compared it to viral DNA.

    A number of religions have adpoted similar “Christmas genes” as that held by the old WCG, along with the “pagan holidays”. I talked to a couple of Mormons recently, and they have adpted some positions similar on these ideas. The Mormons are an interesting variation of the process. They send out teen-age “elders” and if they find somebody who’s really up on the subject, they might get a real elder to visit, and if the prospect looks good, s/he will be quickly invited into the church. This is more like a “Borg” absorption, or the larger “amoeba” of the church incorporating a wider array of informational “DNA”. The WCG approach of strict visitation and control served to further isolate the groups, and made them subject to the top elite, which nullifed much of the group’s adaptivity.

    [quote]”You might also say that we have participated in the grand DNA genetics viral infection experiment by having been exposed to Armstrongism. It is my belief that, for the most part, it is like getting immunized against this particular aberration (although some are reinfected and succomb to it later in life). This forum helps keep the booster fresh.”[/quote]

    The bible serves to limit entropy, much as a study of Shakespeare limits the entropy of the English language. People try to re-route behaviors to accomodate the “faith once delivered to the saints”, but there is always a necessary adaptivity.

  18. “The Chinese have been slowly moving out of their poverty through carefully controlled socialism and it has sort of mostly worked until the introduction of Capitalism from the ultimate in consumerism, the United States. Good heavens, Apple has everything made in China (where factory workers commit suicide on the grounds), but make their fortune selling the Chinese goods in the U.S. Hands, please: Who think that’s going to work in the long term? Especially, since unemployment is growing, poverty is growing and jobs are going to the Chinese that the Americans used to have. Perhaps I am very wrong, but this seems like a hive cannibalizing itself.”

    It IS a form of the hive cannibalizing itself. Recently, there has been value discovered in “hive theory”, in which a group can calculate advantages better than individuals. I may have given this example before, but scientists studied the behavior of bees, by placing a dish of sugar water near the hive. Shortly, the bees began taking this sugar for their honey-making process. After a while, the scientists moved the dish a bit further away. There was a short confusion but eventually the bees began the same process. Then the scientists moved the dish the same distance as the first time, followed by short confusion, then a resumption of the old practice.

    What surprised the scientists was, that over time, the bees began anticipating the movement, calculating the distance in advance and waiting for the scientists to place the dish in a new spot! As a hive, they had shown superior abilities of calculation and behavior.

    However, this is only in regard to finite system of calculation, in which there is a correct answer to be tallied. A teacher applied this idea in a classroom, by placing a large jar of jelly beans in front of the class, and asked them to estimate how many were in the jar. To his dismay, while individual guesses were often wildly inaccurate, an average of the numbers revealed an amazing correspondence to the actual number of jelly beans in the jar.

    On average, therefore, statistically speaking, and in regard to “fixed” amounts, we can estimate what is needed in regard to a “pie” that is to be equally divided. Unfortunately, this cannot take into account the creativity and wealth created when individuals are allowed to freely produce. There is no way for any government to anticipate what wealth will be created by free and creative minds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Solve : *
29 − 6 =


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.