|LATER MAIL||`A's only||"Q's &'s||Stanford4||bent hook?|
|caution||trajectory||Stanford 2||bait ?||cammo?|
March 1999 - to inquirer at @dotone.com
Hello, thanks for that, I did hear a recent interview with Dawkins and like Darwin, he now seems to distance himself from implementors of a selfish gene `policy'.
To answer others I've just put up a page of notes on Buckle.
Buckle seems to have brought down the wrath of the establishments of the world upon his head. After initial furor the educational centres seem to have hidden him from sight. [He was an autodidact with no loyalties except to truth.]
Only discovered him accidentally on return to U.K. and spent a while absorbing volume 1, ( my first copy was of a 3 volume edition) before looking at the rest and finding out that he was the first and last truthful scientific analyzer of the working of civilization. [A grand claim, but - other historians impress me only with their partiality.]
Applying Buckle's method, along with as wide a base of objective data as is available to date, including the work of Prof. Margulis and the presentations of Elaine Morgan's contributors, among many others, gave rise to a new evolutionary theory, the Altruist Survivor, which I feel may have been grasped by others in the past but seems to need refurbishing every couple of thousand years.
Like to condense material but cannot begin to condense Buckle - as you will see if you read him.
to an angry reader at @westmerchant.co.uk)
Dear Mr. *** Understandable, that `Perceptions' site is disorganized at the moment.
To clarify - will have to create more headings but as a start there is a page buckle.html linked [to/from] A.S, as response to other inquiries.
Should have learned from those notes, for Buckle was also accused of attacking various English institutions, dogmas etc. when what he was trying to do was elicit and display basic truths at the root of all human institutions. In the Altruist Survivor - found it possible to extend the process to cover organized life as a whole.
As a Welshman reared in an English environment (albeit working mainly in the East, America, Africa and Europe), only discovered Buckle on return to the U.K.; he, like a more intensive Parkinson, seems to have been suppressed, misrepresented or forgotten after initial furore
Like Buckle - have to use English institutions as examples, but in that context `England' is the world - any world.
to reader at @idirect.com
thanks, yes that trajectory [the human one] is interesting, especially for the long term.
The matter of Buckle is mysterious. Perhaps because he was an independent scholar - with no patron or institution behind him he definitely could see more - he seemed to antagonize the complete international establishment, which was nervous of truth then as it is now.
And, in Britain at least, the establishment seems to have done its best to bury him and his work which was and is trail breaking even today.
Do not have much detail but it is on buckle.html.
Another reader found only an anti-governmental quote[d] from Buckle, he did say things like "Governments are not capable of doing any intrinsic good, the best they can do is to cancel or abolish an evil that previous Governments have inflicted".
If you find anything more I would appreciate it.
to reader at @iname.com>
Hello, thanks for the questions - been trying to answer a wide range by posting representative samples of answers (like a sort of FAQ board); try to answer yours at length (hope you don't mind) it might round out the series - at answers3 page
1 The Neanderthal thing. It has to be said - it is controversial, the specialists take sides on this like politicians. You've probably seen the `Neandertal Enigma', (I think he spells it that way). That's a good review of all the main arguments with lots of references for follow-up (and my copy is on loan so I can't give author - it's on the Web).
[later note: "Neanderthal Enigma" by James Shreeve - William Morris & Co 1995]
There is evidence (on Web) that Neanderthal lived sexually secluded - the males ate better (bigger joints and prime meat), while females and young scavenged - held territory closely (bones say it didn't range) - could `out tough' poor little CroMag by a factor of 3 or 4 times in strength.
On all those points CroMag seems to be diametrically opposed to Neanderthal. And he made `art' - or pinups.
2 The `things are always getting worse' mirage. Some pages that might seem seem to support that can be found by rooting around in UK police files ("prepared for publication" be warned) and others at :-
(for non Brits - the Home Office runs UK internal lawnorder. The name is maybe a leftover from Empire days? - they took care of things `back Home'.) But before you confirm pessimism - count the dead bodies, they are the only accurate measure of how good or bad things were.
And then have a look at violence.html#frame which tries to cover main points.
Three main phenomena can be summed up as
a) External reports - History, crime stats (actually only `reports') -
"Back then, when things were REALLY tough, no-one did much talking about it"
BUT `When things get softer we have have more time (and freedom) and more inclination to report, complain etc.'
b) External reports again - Comparative reports - "In a WildWest town only a wimp complains about the occasional gunfight".
but "In a genteel retirement village someone saying "damn" will be the talk of town".
c) Internal reports - mind and body protectiveness - "As we age we get a) more aware, b) more sensitive and fragile"
Inevitably the mind and body say "Things are getting worse, kids are getting tougher, less respectful" etc. etc. which you can read in diaries back through the Romans, Greeks, etc.
(it's probably in overseers' or slaves' NewsTablets dumped under the Pyramids).
A good reference here is "The History of Myddle" - (there are many presentations - social scientists have swarmed around it for years) - you want the actual diary. It was banned from publication for generations because the vicar of Myddle had actually written down ALL the sordid details of ALL the families in his large parish around three hundred years ago).
From the book (interesting in itself) the scientists say that murder was between 20 times and 200 times more common at that time (per capita).
`The History of Myddle' by the vicar Richard Gough - first published in 1834 (I suspect that was a censored version) but Penguin Books published a modern edition in 1981 [edited by David Hey ISBN 0 14 00 5841 9].
`The Great Wave' by David Hackett Fischer - Oxford University Press 1996 will give a sense of where we are, and why we always "seem" to be on a blip - (don't forget some of the stats suffer from the three phenomena noted above).
BUT economically there are blips. Every five or six generations (in short term) those with the power to grab hard will do just that. [Afterwards] sense and conscience seems to prevail for a while. But we gradually forget the hard message for a few generations - then greed mounts up to a new blip of destructive selfishness. [By "we" I include [mean] those with the power to dictate their own income levels - always an elite of some kind].
We're too close to see exactly where our blip [started]. I'm tempted to choose 1994, but it may have been earlier [mid Cold-War]. But Fischer provides copious and informative references graphs and tables etc. so you can pick your own.
3 your two questions re `Perceptions' message -
1st) is it soundly based?
And the answer must be above - If (long-term) people are getting more violent and greedy then violence and greed are survival traits, if not then the opposite must be true.
2nd) is it too simple, too emotional or even simplistic?
It depends on the reader. Web readers do tend to be more highly educated, even specialist, and I admit `Perceptions' detail could be seen by a cold "specialist" as being aimed at the heart as well as the mind.
Isn't that the message?
And shouldn't it be broadcast so that most people can receive it?
References on content - method - that readers have asked for are on buckle.html .
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 16:40:52 -0500 From: "Jonathan Wright " <jonathan_wright@****.com>
Overall I wanted to congratulate you on an excellent and informative article; in all of the important areas I agree with you completely. I would, however, like to quibble over some minor things.
The first being that it is not really necessary to discard the phrase "survival of the fittest" -- the phrase still applies, only you have given us a better understanding of what the "fittest" really is, which is not necessarily the strongest or biggest -- "fittest" is, generally speaking, the most adaptable.
On your side, however, I can see a cultural benefit of discarding the phrase, in that it would be easier and more effective to discard the phrase than correct such a common misunderstanding.
Second, having found your site through a link you posted on an Objectivism message board, I have to presume that your remarks against selfishness are directed towards the Objectivists, and I have to point out that the kind of selfishness you have described is not really what is meant by selfishness in the purest Objectivist sense.
As you've pointed out, the altruist in your scenario is ultimately helping themselves, and is therefore acting selfishly by pure Objectivist definition.
Thus what you refer to as altruism is ultimately not what an Objectivist calls altruism (a moral "requirement to sacrifice" oneself for the good of the collective), but rather what they call benevolence, which many will argue can and should be a primary selfish virtue.
Again though, even among Objectivists this is commonly misunderstood, and I for one think it might be better to throw away the word selfish for a less confusing term.
Anyways, once again, excellent article,
best of luck,
Hello Jonathan, thanks for the review. You are surely right on both those points.
Reading diarists of the day the words "fit" and "fittest" were normally used, in Darwin's time, in the way you said, as "suited" or "best suited" for any purpose.
And again yes, in a purely Objectivist sense you are right. An anchor point may be that the Altruist Survivor doesn't necessarily know s/he is behaving in any particular way; over the centuries the majority of her/his actions are impulsive and unconscious actions (and apparently a majority of our own actions are, even now).
You probably think that I may not have the mental rigor to be a purely pure Objectivist.
Date: Fri, 26 Mar 1999 19:42:24 -0500 From: " Doug McKee " <dmckee@***.com>
Hello, thanks for the questions - I've been trying to answer a wide range by posting representative samples of answers
"To answer yours at length (hope you don't mind) might round out the series"
No problem at all!
"1 The Neanderthal thing. It has to be said -it is controversial, the specialists take sides on this like politicians. You've probably seen the "Neandertal Enigma", (I think he spells it that way). That's a good review of all the main arguments with lots of references for follow-up (and my copy is on loan so I can't give author - it's on the Web). - There is evidence (again on the Web) that Neanderthal lived sexually secluded - the males ate better (bigger joints and prime meat), while females and young scavenged - held territory closely (bones say it didn't range) - could "out tough" poor little CroMag by a factor of 3 or 4 times in strength.
On all those points CroMag seems to be diametrically opposed to Neanderthal. And he made "art" - or pinups."
Very interesting; I've added that book to my list of books to read; thanks for the reference!
"2 The "things are always getting worse" mirage. Some pages that might<<lots of good stuff clipped"
I completely agree -- I also am a believer that the human race is becoming
more peaceful and "moral." Look at the progress made in just the past 150
years in women's rights and the abolition of slavery and apartheid (sp?)!
I also firmly believe that animal rights is the next frontier. If you
haven't read Peter Singer's _Animal Liberation_, I highly recommend it.
Given that human's are getting better, is there evidence that the species
that are alive today are less big/nasty/mean than the species that were
around 250,000 years ago?
" 3 This brings us to your two questions re "perceptions" message - 1st) is it soundly based?
And the answer must be found above - If (long-term) people are getting more violent and greedy then violence and greed are survival traits, if not then the opposite MUST be true."
Interesting, but even if the trend is true for humans, it has to be proven
"2nd) is it too simple, too emotional or even simplistic? It depends on the reader. Web readers do tend to be more highly educated, even specialist, and I admit `Perceptions' DETAIL could be seen by a cold "specialist" as being aimed at the heart as well as the mind.
Isn't that the MESSAGE? And shouldn't it be broadcast so that most people can receive it?"
Good point, although I think it's possible to get across the basic stuff and
still have details to make the "cold specialists" happy -- in fact, I think
Guns Germs and Steel is a good example of that!
I'm glad you're revamping your site -- it's very heavy on interesting ideas, but pretty light on polish. I'm not saying you should fill it with fancy graphics at all, but I think the organization could be tightened up a bit -- but I'm sure you already know that!
I always enjoy a good conversation!
Hello - your message is on ["perceptions mail"] so won't quote it. Here is Answer
Thanks Doug, for the most comprehensive critique so far, am short on time and expertise here.
Re POINT 1 :-
Thanks for Point 1, (animal liberation) - the page you can find on `Perceptions' cover labeled "Alien Comms~ " might be seen to be tending that way and, (though am short of time again), that seal experience (yes "Bill is/was me), certainly had an effect that makes me think that way.
Do you feel that the argument might be clarified by developing "communication"?
Also there seems (to me anyway) to be a correlation between intelligence and humor - of various kinds - in developed animals (including humans):
a she fox [ a busy housewife who I think had to go shopping in the afternoon for food for the kids back at home ] - who I had been photographing intermittently for some weeks - finally got a bit aggrieved with my dogging her and one day - when she spotted me coming back to a point where she knew I would cross her trail - she hid up on top of an old broken bridge overlooking MY path, waiting to look down on ME, and when I got there, by moving just a little, she made sure that I knew I was being watched by HER.
I swear I had the impression she was pleased with herself and highly amused by the situation.
[NOTE - I knew she already knew, by body language that we have lots of (anecdotal anyway) evidence of, that I didn't carry a gun.]
After she saw me look up at her she sort of smiled, or grinned and then faded back into the bush (undergrowth - trees and bushes).
photos of that fox
I'll try to get that book by Pete Singer ("Animal Liberation"), because I think I agree with your implied thesis regarding animals.
Re POINT 2:- (does "A.S." theory apply to animals)
You have a good point there - there seems however to be a question of thresholds that might be pertinent to this.
While life was developing in one world-wide stage of evolution (primitive bacteria) there may have been, early on, a premium on co-operation [see Margulis};
then as organized but primitive forms competed there seems to have been a long stage when
size - and armor - were advantageous; [note: SEX may have been invented around this time (male that is, since the basic being is female and us non-cooperative males could well be abandoned whenever it might be advantageous to the race], most recently(geologically speaking), social abilities & organization seem to have most influence - see ants, bees and tigers again. [Mind you, all this depends on your definition of evolutionary success].
Point 3 :- (detail for "cold specialists"); Yes - more work to be done here on lots of footnotes for those who want them.
Point 4 :- ("Guns Germs and Steel") - Yes, though haven't spoken with the Author yet; might be interesting to hear his thoughts on these
Point 5 :- (the crappy layout of old `Perceptions')- again Yes, but you know that anyway.
[ Later note - bought a (new) copy of "Guns, Germs and Steel" by Jared Diamond and read it more intensively - and agree with most of expressed opinions, and now - even more than before - think that Jared would have been a disciple of Buckle's (or vice versa). below]
Date: Sat, 15 May 1999 13:14:15 -0400 From: "Doug McKee" <dmckee@***.com>
<< Hello - your message is on www.perceptions.couk.com/answers.html so won't quote it. here is Answer - Thanks Doug, for the most comprehensive critique so far. <br>As you might see I am trying to act on some of your recommendations - though I am short on time and expertise here. >>
I apologize for taking so long to get back to you -- you know how it is when you don't want to answer until you've got the time to do a good job!
<<Re POINT 1 :- <br>Thanks for Point 1, (animal liberation) - the page you can find on `Perceptions' cover labeled "Alien Comm- " might be seen to be tending that way and, (though I am short of time again), that seal experience (yes "Bill is/was me), certainly had in effect that makes me think that way. Do you feel that the argument might be clarified by developing "communication"?>>
Interesting, and yes, I do think so.
<< Also there seems (to me anyway) to be a correlation between intelligence and humor - of various kinds - in developed animals (including humans): <p>a she fox [ a busy housewife who I think had to go shopping in the afternoon for food for the kids back at home ] - who I had been photographing intermittently for some weeks - finally got a bit aggrieved with my dogging her and one day - when she spotted me coming back to a point where she knew I would cross her trail - she hid up on top of an old broken bridge overlooking MY path, waiting to look down on ME, and when I got there, by moving just a little, she made sure that I knew I was being watched by HER. <p>I swear I had the impression she was pleased with herself and highly amused by the situation. [NOTE - I knew she already knew, by body language that we have lots of (anecdotal anyway) evidence of, that I didn't carry a gun.] After she saw me look up at her she sort of smiled, or grinned and then faded back into the bush (undergrowth - trees and bushes). I'll try to get that book by Pete Singer ("Animal Liberation"), because I think I agree with your implied thesis regarding animals.>>
That's a great story -- the scientist in me doesn't trust anything without quantifiable data, but the human in me likes it a lot! And I can't say enough good stuff about Singer's book.
Re POINT 2:- (does "A.S." theory apply to animals) <br>You have a good point there - there seems however to be a question of <b>thresholds </b>that might be pertinent to this. While life was developing in one world-wide stage of evolution (primitive bacteria) there may have been, early on, a premium on <b>co-operation </b>[see Margulis}; <br>then as <b>organized</b> but primitive forms competed there seems to have been a long stage when <b>size </b>- and <b>armor</b> - were advantageous; [note: SEX may have been invented around this time (male that is, since the basic being is female) and us non-cooperative males could well be abandoned whenever it might be advantageous to the race], <br>most recently (geologically speaking) <b> social abilities & organization</b> seem to have most influence - see ants, bees and tigers again. [Mind you, all this depends on your definition of evolutionary success]. >>
Although I haven't read it yet, I think Richard Dawkins _The Selfish Gene_talks a bit about this -- in fact I've just ordered the book from barnesandnoble.com!
But getting back to humans and whether they've really become more nonviolent -- you make a persuasive case that people have become directly_less violent over time, but what about _indirect_ violence? e.g., * people paying taxes to support large armies that can cause immense damage * people eating more meat than they ever have before and keeping millions of animals in the worst conditions of all time * people supporting governments that trample on human rights
I worry that while people are individually becoming less violent, the _society_ is producing the same (or more) violence, and we're just becoming more and more disconnected from it. We need to somehow become more connected to the consequences of our actions. This is going to be hard because the current system is quite efficient economically speaking.
Point 5 :- (the crappy layout of old `Perceptions') - again Yes, but you know that anyway. I am thinking that it might be best to throw open `Perceptions' for Web readers to take and reshape for their own sites, but keeping the "Original Perceptions" (and me) updated with all text changes, input and developments. I don't know if it is feasible? or too complicated?
I have a feeling few people would take you up on the offer, but it is an interesting idea -- an "open source" document!
To: Doug McKee <dmckee@***.com>
Hi- been putting this off for a few days because you gave me a lot to think about - here we go; split it up into two responses.
Q1) Indirect violence - armies - escalation of potential damage to humans / animals/ ecosphere.
A1) I have to agree with the initial thrust of the argument, and you are not alone there.
Bill Beaty of "Bill Beaty's Weird Science" - www.eskimo.com/~billb/weird.html
and other sites, sent me a paragraph or two he later developed. But I can't find that so I'll quote his first bit- (and anyway like to see the word "excellent" again).
<<<> Excellent! Predator / Altruist is a pet topic of mine too. I've added your link from my >Closed-minded Science page (list of websites discussing heretical science concepts.) I >already had some stuff about this from Margulis' work, also on my list of "Abhorrent >Ideas in Science."
>Me, I see that "good" and "evil" infest the world in a very genuine, absolute way, but the >spectrum is not really good / evil, it is more like selfless altruist on one end, and >self-aggrandizing predatory types on the other.
> But in the community formed by a single living cell, where is the competition, and where >are the the predator/prey organisms? In a team of mountainclimbers, competitiveness >can lead to quick death for all. If we believe that modern life is like a game of chess, yet >it's REALLY like a team who climbs a mountain, then if one too many "chessmen" is >knocked off the board, then suddenly they will drag all the other "pieces" over the edge >of the cliff, and not just the pieces of one color only.
> ((((((((((((((((((((( ( ( ( ( (O) ) ) ) ) )))))))))))))))))))))
And you are both clearly right - in the short term.
But in the long-term I am persuaded that as we become more educated/aware we are tending to return to the same decisions that earlier humans made unconsciously - rejecting cruel and unnatural treatment of animals, preferring a clean environment, formalizing aggression to stop short of slaughter, being willing to share if aware of others' needs.
Of course the "we" are the ordinary people. And yes, it is the ruthless predator types who tend to be in charge of the armies.
So - in spite of my optimistic talk it could boil down to a race between the evolution of the Altruistic Survivor on the one hand, and the development of "doomsday weaponry / technology" on the other hand.
Or in your words - a race between the majority seeking re-connection with reality, and the predatory minority seeking to dis-connect us, perhaps permanently.
[Only a few generations ago my own Hanoverian rulers allowed a country (or at least a great many Irish people) to starve to death. The "great British public" (most of us were kept functionally illiterate at that time) did not really know of it (The Irish Famine).]
Q2) Economics (of meat eating, oppression, "doomsday technology")
A2) I get the feeling that some trends are emerging but that we are too close to the scene to pick them out. Here in Britain (red)meat-eating is coming to be unfashionable in many areas of society. Vegetarianism is fast-growing. That must have an economic effect.
Likewise we Brits are getting to be distrustful of "men in suits" who want to use us as guinea pigs in pollution experiments or as cannon fodder in wars of domination.
This distrust may increase with education and should also have an economic effect.
But you are right again, power is becoming concentrated and weaponry and (human)gene technology will escalate the damage that the power wielders can inflict.
However history says that power abuse ultimately rebounds on the wielder. So far.
Sorry, it's back to the 'race against time' scenario.
These are going to be 'interesting times' - as the Chinese curse has it.
Finally, when you've analyzed "The Selfish Gene" perhaps you would let me know if you think the logic is completely waterproof, for various reasons I've not had the time / opportunity to read it thoroughly.
I heard him speaking recently ( see answers3.html#himself) and am not sure if he is changing position or holding to his original arguments.
[And, if you have an interest in physics/cosmology/relativity, one reason been busy is at:- UEFindex.html]
Tue, 20 Jul 1999 18:17:01 -0700 From: "Doug McKee" <dmckee@***.com>
Doug McKee wrote:
As usual, I receive a relatively quick substantive response, and I send back my quick thoughts after weeks (or in this case months!) of sitting on your mail! In case you're interested, I'm taking classes this summer at Stanford, and am drowning in math and statistics! I'm learning a ton, but it could well kill me yet! And while my copy of the Selfish Gene is uncracked, I _have_ learned some about plate tectonics in my oceanography class. I'm wondering what you do when you're not espousing radical scientific ideas?
But back to our discussion: I like Bill's continuum of altruism / self interest much more than the standard good/evil that people tend to use. As for which dominates in the short term vs. the long term, I think it would be interesting to look at more hard data. I suspect however that what actually happens is successful systems operate right at the boundary with each taking turns dominating. There are lots of qualities like this -- The last issue of Atlantic Monthly has an article by Lester Thurow (www.theatlantic.com/issues/99jun/9906thurow.htm)
where he talks about how successful cultures / societies / states balance promotion of entrepreneurship vs. preservation of order. And I just finished a book (before my classes started) called _Complexity_ by M. Waldrop, and it talks about how all different healthy systems are balanced right on the edge of order and chaos.
[Only a few generations ago my own Hanoverian rulers allowed a country (or at least a great many Irish people) to starve to death. The "great British public" (most of us were kept functionally illiterate at that time) did not really know of it - The Irish Famine.]
Functionally illiterate? Is that really true? Did the press cover the famine? Did the government pressure them not cover it? I will always be shocked when any society lets horrible things happen right under its nose. And off the top of my head, I can think of no society whose hands are clean!
Q2)Economics (of meat eating, oppression, "doomsday technology") A2) I get the feeling that some trends are emerging but that we are too close to the scene to pick them out. Here in Britain (red)meat-eating is coming to be unfashionable in many areas of society. Vegetarianism is fast-growing. That must have an economic effect.
I sure hope you're right! Of course, I'll bet the Chinese getting richer will make for a large net increase in world meat-eating, at least for the short term! Economic forces are very hard to fight.
But you are right again, power is becoming concentrated and weaponry and (human) gene technology will escalate the damage that the power wielders can inflict. However history says that power abuse ultimately rebounds on the wielder. So far.
Sorry, it's back to the 'race against time' scenario.
These are going to be 'interesting times' as the Chinese curse has it.
I think a lot of people get overwhelmed by these big trends and just give in thinking they couldn't possibly have any effect, but the truth is that lots of individual efforts _do_ add up!
Wed, 04 Aug 1999 14:11:23 +0100 hello again
Sorry for the delay. An unexpected wodge of information came in from a compatriot of yours.
A crash course on jargon to read (some of) it has cost me time and some frustration. And more has arrived since.
[Will] try some ordered answers - For a while I was a (very unregimented) soldier, and the description of the military life as "hysterical" - mad rushes interspaced with waiting - still applies to much of the work I do for myself.
When I do contract work for other people (surveys and information stuff usually) I have a more ordered routine, but it seems to me that the ordered routine doesn't necessarily achieve any more, but that is probably a self-justifying bias.
You're obviously a braver man than me - actually entering mathematical studies without kicking and screaming.
[have to admit tho', statistics are needed much more now, and should wish for more fluency in the calculus; but a dip into a really well written and humorous book by David Berlinski, "A Tour of the Calculus" - _The Philosophy of Mathematics_ which I recently have, relaxes my own uptightness a little.]
Are you doing the math for the sake of the oceanography? That - the oceanography - seems a vast and diverse subject, and all the analytical tools would certainly be needed.
Oh, by the way, I sometimes josh a mathematical friend by arguing that there are no numbers in nature or the Cosmos, only ratios - is that good for argument/discussion in your part of the world?
[The reasoning - half serious - is that there are no cut-offs between types of things in Nature, only a gradual shading from, say sheeplike to goatlike to llama-like to camel-like _things_; whereas speculative mathematics demands on the cut-offs, in a big way.]
Your emailing compatriot is David Noever - based at MSFC. He is leading the NASA team effort to investigate some effects - noted in the past - that just might be happening to Foucault pendulums (pendula?), especially during SOME eclipses (my stress there).
Interestingly it looks like the upcoming eclipse might* enable a clue or a pointer as to which of several competing theoretical approaches (mine is one of them) is most feasible.
(*might - I can't get data on the Sun's equatorial plane currently, and NASA don't seem to be able to help so the data may not exist)
But it all depends on twitchings of Foucault's pendulums, or - my favored option - a minute but sustained "anomaly" in a gyroscope's output, locally, at the time of the exact Sun - Moon - Earth lineup.
[I think gyroscopes are more efficient, ie. more sensitive; also gyroscopes detect further rates of change - of rates of change maybe in this case. But NASA might only have given authority to investigate the already noted effects - which were in pendulums.]
MSFC is already handling the pendulum observations, I'm hoping David and maybe some others will also arrange for some gyroscope observations.
The eclipse line-up might not be conclusive - in a negative way, for I long ago established (to my own satisfaction if no-one else's ) the overriding importance of the line-up of the Sun's equatorial plane if a strong effect is to be observed [probably].
In case you're wondering about this obsessive interest in 'twitches" of pendulums or gyros, they're only important inasmuch as Newton, Einstein AND the quantum physics all agree that they CAN'T happen. But I and now apparently NASA think they could.
Back to the discussion - that approach of Bill's is very appealing, and probably truthful at this time. However I am still a bit obsessed by the possible importance of _thresholds_ - in geological time say, in size and density of organic collaborations say, and in complexity, of organisms and social groups say, in determining what unconscious evolutionary strategies will be "successful" in any era.
Yes I've heard "Complexity" mentioned more than once or twice, and quite recently. A man named McShea (zoology) at Duke University is doing something on the subject but will look out for M. Waldrop also.
But, as you say, a lot hinges on definitions of "success", and "long" or "short-term success" especially.
On this aspect I attach a news report (that I've titled [was superants.doc]) which may be mistaken. What if the two colonies are not becoming extinct but are forerunners of a trend in social evolution in ants? An interesting calculation shows the colony has about 10,000 times the human number of brain cells.
[[LATER - 2002 - check a subsequent outcome]]
That "functional illiteracy" argument - a hard look at the history (for me through Buckle's eyes: see Volume I ) shows it to be true in more ways than one. In Britain at least, and I suspect worldwide, establishments continually try to do two things to keep the population in ignorance (and in functional illiteracy).
1 - Suppress the information
2 - Use a (secret or specialized) different language to that of the populace. That can be literally a language - Greek, Norman-French and Latin were and sometimes still are used in Britain to keep Law and Legislation secret - or at least inexplicable [to / by] the people.
Even now the meanings of nouns, verbs and definite phrases will be found to differ sharply, when used by a bureaucracy, from their meanings in regular use. [An Italian friend once said that visits to his lawyer were always frustrating - 'he speaks a sort of Italian that I can't understand'.]
Examining specifics: The famine itself was apparently reported only after the fact and sparingly [even today data are hard to obtain] in the popular press which seems to have had the attitude that 'it was their own fault'.
The eight million population of Ireland was halved in a generation, by the famine and by other English (ruling class) economic policies.
Around the latter part of the eighteenth Cent. and maybe into beginning of nineteenth Cent. Britain it was illegal for an 'educated person' to lend a book to an 'uneducated person' - with the assessment being made on economic and ethnic (yes [those deemed] _ethnic_: Anglo-saxons, Welsh, Scottish, Irish were apriori 'subject peoples') class grounds I suspect.
Also in Britain at that time, if one wished to give a talk - on any subject - to a group of people, the local magistrate would have to be informed two weeks in advance.
What do you want to bet that the magistrate's boys would ensure that the talk did not take place?
Both facts indicate a level of oppressive paranoia (not only in the ruler and government of the day but in the whole "establishment") that we can hardly begin to comprehend today.
And that paranoia lasted, in full strength, for longer than one might think. Darwin and Buckle were attacked, even threatened, by minor members of that same establishment - priests, vicars, scientists, lawyers, politicians etc. - with a virulence that can only be explained, to me, by fear.
But the conformist intellectual elite, even in the time of Mad King George, either closed their eyes to this oppression because it was not happening to them - or had to pretend - in print and in speech - that all was well.
If you've read "1984" the term for that paranoid way of life is "doublethink" & "doublespeak".
[thinking here of moral and generally honest people like Samuel Johnson. He 'sold out' consciously though, to get his honorary doctorates and a pension, with the arguments he put to defend England's claims re:
1 - the American Revolution [War of Independence]
2 - the English claim (from Spain then, not Argentina) on the Falkland Islands.
On each of those subjects his normal logic breaks to bullying jingoism at crucial points - where the logic fails.]
And if you look at Lamb's Letters (later - up to early / mid 19thC) you find that he and other 'educated' libertarians put thoughts as poetry or high flown prose to fool those who intercepted and checked the mail of "dangerously literate" folk. And even then, if he thought he had said something extraflammable but was too proud to rewrite, he would have to scrawl a large "God Save the King" at the bottom to confuse the "functionally illiterate" secret policemen and informers.
[ In August 1797 Detective G Walsh was responsible for following (and eavesdropping on) some of Lamb's literary friends - Coleridge and Dorothy and William Wordsworth.]
A little later (late 19th /early 20th C) we see a libertarian London editor jailed by an unholy alliance of judicial / parliamentary /aristocratic schemers - see
however the common or popular Press almost never seriously examined the British establishment.
Even today the presumption of the British internal media [see beebvbeeb.html & media.html ] is that the public should not comprehend an argument on public policy unless it has been "simplified" to jingoism or dogma. And on certain subjects - taxation is paramount - they restrict themselves to a misleading fraction of the available data.
[ A sub editor of a respected British broadsheet - serious national newspaper - asked me for a "good" letter on taxation during a recent hectic pre-election period, as he was having trouble finding informed comment in the mailbag.
When I said that I would also cover the special tax privileges given to those in the media (to ensure their silence? - I speculate) he objected, saying he would not be able to print that part.]
Your Press seems to have begun and continued a record of honest review - from all points of view, except maybe in the 1950's, which I think was the McCarthyite oppression period but that seems to have been a temporary blip engendered by a Hitler type - (an uncommonly manipulative individual).
Normally, like Scandinavia, America has a presumption that the average citizen should be able to comprehend all arguments concerning public policy.
And now lets sum up using your own summation "the truth is that lots of individual efforts _do_ add up!."
It seems that we have arrived by different paths at the same conclusion - that human evolution is the result of (unconscious - altruistic?) actions by individuals.
Or am I cheating there?
Subject: EVOLUTION Date: Fri, 26 Nov 1999 23:10:21 EST From: Robert P Harris
To editor perceptions.couk.com
VERY.VERY INTERESTING THEORIES.ENJOYED YOUR WRITING VERY MUCH AND HAVE NO ARGUMENT FOR IT.
ROBERT P. HARRIS,
Thanks for that.
The "Altruist Survivor" was written in (theoretical) isolation, because it is difficult to get dispassionate criticism - or even discussion - of such a loaded topic. Most take an emotional or 'political' stance on it.
However if you or any of your colleagues and friends can find flaws in the logic (such as it is) I would appreciate your letting me know.
Subject: Challenge the Philosophy Date: Sun, 28 Nov 1999 08:25:17 From: Inexpressible <inexpres@***.ca>
Can you overcome the "Challenge the Philosophy" proposition, and claim, at website, inexpressible.com? I don't think it is possible.
Re: Challenge the Philosophy Date: Sun, 28 Nov 1999 13:33:40 +000 To: Inexpressible <inexpres@***.ca>
Thanks again for your message although it was a surprise to receive an unsolicited challenge out of the blue.
If you have read the "Altruist Survivor" you might guess that I would disagree with at least part of the "claim", and if I felt like entering the competition I would probably send something like this:-
> The CLAIM presumes that humans are to be either constantly self-aware and selfish - or vice-versa. That is not true.
> Love-song writers (and car salesmen) know that all, even the self-aware, fall in love (and select particular autos) almost entirely by subconscious urge. Even so the possessor of that urge can identify it.
> Because we love or hate with the subconscious all - even the self-aware - can and probably will in the future decide that altruism is a good survival choice, as I have previously demonstrated in the "Altruist Survivor" at perceptions.couk.com.
[93 words (or 100 if URL and hyphens are broken)]
However, as a self-aware person - who has made a conscious decision to stop driving autos but still falls in love - I feel it would be more altruistic to let someone else (probably a reader of the "Altruist Survivor") put their own interpretation forward to win the competition.
Subject: Re: Challenge the Philosophy Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 04:16:30 From: Inexpressible <inexpres@***.ca>
Thanks for your comments and posting your answer.
In my opinion, I think you may be making a common mistake by thinking, knowingly or unknowingly, that we what we perceive is what is. Your "subconscious urge" may be a fabrication in your mind. I would argue based on the proposition in question that it is.
>> The CLAIM presumes that humans are to be either constantly self-aware and selfish - or vice-versa. That is not true.
In my opinion, the proposition that we can' know who we are and be who we are at the same time, claims that what we know itself is empty of who we are. The claim presumes that humans, as they are in their conscious existence, are weak in relation to instinctual nature.
Hello again Anne
Let's square away a couple of loose ends:-
1) I haven't posted an answer for your Inexpressible contest. I did however give an example of an answer that I could have proposed. If you wish you can leave that on your page but I am not in the contest.
2) You may not have noticed but you used the solipsist hypothesis as an 'argument' against a phenomenon
'Solipsism' is only a hypothetical concept - it cannot be used as an 'argument.'
[solipsist - speculating that all external phenomena might actually be 'fabrications of the mind.']
Why not? Because this is what happens if you try:-
"A" (me) puts forward a verifiable phenomenon as an 'argument'
"B" (you) counters with the 'solipsist' gambit - saying that the phenomenon MIGHT exist only in the mind of "B" (or "A").
"A" then logically states that ALL phenomena might equally exist only in the mind of "B" (or "A").
"B" is therefore self-disbarred from further disputation, for "B" is EITHER alone in the Universe disputing with herself - OR does not exist, being only a fabrication in the mind of "A."
That happens when you mix "might-be's" in with "verifiables."
But there's a better clarification from Buckle and I think it's the best available, even after all this time. See buckle1.html but be prepared for a real culture shock - we have to step back in time 150 years or so.
1) solipsism ["maybe I'm dreaming this"] (and all political "ism's"?)
2) "black holes" & any other 'singularities'. See nblckhls.html
3) a politician, lawyer or bureaucrat choosing a life of poverty and altruism
4) pigs that fly
1) predictable and measurable - like gravitational, electromagnetic and inertial events, or even long-term evolutionary outcomes. See UEFindex and "Altruist Survivor" (Cults?)
2) conscious and subconscious urges - if predictable & observable - by P.E.T. scan or some such
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 08:27:31 From: Inexpressible <inexpres@***.ca>
Dear [editor perceptions]
Thanks for your comments.
Rest assured I would not enter your answer into the competition without your permission. Also, I am not running the competition. I am only involved in its promotion. If one of your site readers can overcome the proposition in question that would be great.
>'Solipsism' is only a hypothetical concept - it cannot be used as an 'argument.' [solipsist - speculating that all external phenomena might actually be 'fabrications of the mind.']
>Why not? Because this is what happens if you try:- >"A" (me) puts forward a verifiable phenomenon as an 'argument' "B" (you) counters with the 'solipsist' gambit - saying that the phenomenon MIGHT exist only in the mind of "B" (or "A"). "A" then logically states that ALL phenomena might equally exist only in the mind of "B" (or "A"). "B" is therefore self-disbarred from further disputation, for "B" is EITHER alone in the Universe disputing with herself - OR does not exist, being only a fabrication in the mind of "A."
>That happens when you mix "might-be's" in with "verifiables."
I disagree with your reasoning. If I took a position that all phenomena is fabrication, you could attack this position, instead of accepting it and "feeling" disbarred from further disputation."
I look forward to reading Buckle. Thanks for the tip.
Relax Anne - I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings and it's not personal - my prickliness has roots.
In most countries I see how people are cheated and bullied by theological witch-doctors and political gangsters whose instrument is the corrupt misuse of science and logic - and guns of course (see mead.html).
Perhaps that makes me sensitive - as brave Buckle was - to hasty perhaps false conclusions being forced on readers by word- and mind-twisting. And besides I'm a slow thinker.
You might like Buckle if you read him. Once those long multi-punctuated sentences are used-to there is a fine rhythm and clarity to his logic. Part of his main thesis - as well as heroic opposition to corrupt hypocritical rulers of then and now - has been brought to life again recently by Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs and Steel."
I think Buckle may be an inspiration for generations to come - today the same bullying greedy tyrants resent being reminded of his work and forecasts - so I would like to put more of his stuff on the Web. See buckle.html and buckle1.html
Take it easy - have fun
[Let's try this again: We cannot be asked to accept a hypothesis - 'a flying pig' as an argument against any verifiable phenomenon. Otherwise this happens:-
"A" quotes a verifiable "- that Gravity must be a faster-than-light effect otherwise the Earth-Sun link would not work and we would have flown off into Space." (See speed_of_gravity)
"B" cheats and says "- the mathematics that demand 'near instantaneous' gravitational linking are only fabrications in your mind."
["B" is putting forward a mere 'hypothesis - unsupported by facts' as a pretended counter to a 'theory - supported by verifiable facts']
"A" rejoins "In that case all the Universe is just as likely to be only a fabrication in my mind, and I am a giant intelligent silicon crystal floating alone in Space - Bow down and worship Your Creator."
Without any evidence of probability all hypotheses are equal - which is why we use an absurd hypothesis "- and pigs might fly!" to rebuke fanciful hypothetical talk.]
Subject: Tip--competition Date: Wed, 01 Dec 1999 15:01:57 From: Inexpressible <inexpres@***.ca>
There's a "Challenge the Philosophy" competition happening at inexpressible.com. It involves a profound proposition, which shows theeffects of technology on humankind. No one as of yet has overcome the
proposition. Your readers may be interested in the proposition and the
Getting the word out
Sun, 05 Dec 1999 11:41:02 +0000
OK Anne - I respect your professional persistence.
Yes I'll put that open for any reader - bearing in mind the prime definitions of 'proposition':-
1 - "the act of setting forth or presenting to view or perception"
2 - "the action of offering for acceptance"
It seems to me that a proposition is not open for argument - merely acceptance / refusal / or counter-proposition.
So if any reader comes up with a counter-proposition it would seem that you are stalemated _unless_ the reader brings forth verifiable facts to support her/his view.
The situation then would be that you are left with your proposition - which might be only a _hypothesis_ - while the reader has a fully-fledged _theory_ that is, a hypothesis further supported by facts.
In which case the reader wins - right?
[Reader - it's all yours.
If you want it - check out the last four messages from Inexpressible <inexpres@***.ca> regarding inexpressible.com
Those - like us - who want to refresh their thought occasionally might try buckle1.html for a nice clear exposition. Well - probably as clear as we're going to get on that subject.]
Subject:Re: Tip--competition Date: Mon, 06 Dec 1999 03:29:35 From: Inexpressible <inexpres@***.ca>
Dear [editor perceptions]
You wrote, A.>It seems to me that a proposition is not open for argument - merely acceptance / refusal / or counter-proposition.
Refusal may involve arguments against the proposition's assumptions, premises, or conclusions.
B>So if any reader comes up with a counter-proposition it would seem that you are stalemated _unless_ the reader brings forth verifiable facts to support her/his view.
The situation then would be that you are left with your proposition - which might be only a _hypothesis_ - while the reader has a fully-fledged _theory_ that is, a hypothesis further supported by facts.
In which case the reader wins - right?
This is one of way of overcoming the proposition I did not consider.
Sure, if someone can come up with a proposition that contradicts the proposition in the question, and PROVES his or her own proposition, or theory, then the proposition in question would be overcome, without actually overcoming it itself.
In other words, the reader would win. However, proving a proposition or theory may be a lot more difficult that it may seem.
Mon, 27 Dec 1999 18:37:16 +0000
From: [editor perceptions.couk.com] To: j.s.jones@***.ac.uk
(Hopefully constructive) criticism of your recent pronouncement - "Evolution has ceased" [13 December 1999 BBC R4] - is posted at www.perceptions.couk.com/genes2.html and genes2-jones.txt
`Perceptions' _always_ extends the right of reply - [for _UK Press_ see www.perceptions.couk.com/review.html] and your views are welcome. They will (hopefully) be posted at `Perceptions' Mail.
Subject: Your site has been included on OpenHere Date: Wed, 08 Mar 2000 01:56:45 -0500 From: Sara@openhere.com To: editor perceptions.couk.com
Your site was recently submitted to OpenHere.com.
We have reviewed your site and decided to include it as follows:
Link: http://www.perceptions.couk.com/manip.html Title: Your Battles Description: An account - with wav files taken of domestic BBC censorship and political manipulation . . . .
OpenHere Category: http://www.openhere.com/news1/alternative-media/personal-commentary sites/
As you are listed as a contact person on the home page of this site, I am dropping you a quick note to let you know about your inclusion on OpenHere.
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If you have a question, or need help in any way, please just send me a note.
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Date: Wed, 08 Mar 2000 09:49:54 +0000
From: Editor - \"Perceptions\" <editor perceptions.couk.com>
Thanks for your message. I hope other pages from "perceptions.couk.com" journal will be submitted (and reviewed) by your organization.
Perhaps you would like to look at the "Front Page" of the journal, it's at www.perceptions.couk.com/
There are presently four main types of content
1) "Altruist Survivor" - Social science:- development of co-operation in human and animal society, implications for the future etc.[Many pages, cross referenced]
2) "Blinded by Science" - Detailed check of many unanswered science problems and mysteries - Leading on to "UEF index" - A possible 'grand unified theory' which reclassifies 'gravity', 'electromagnetic forces', 'nuclear forces' etc. [Many pages, cross referenced]
Separately - "Westward Ho!" - a speculative look at prehistoric and historic migrations of languages and people - is there a physical (scientific) reason for a cultural phenomenon? [One page - several references]
3) "Alien communications" - a personal examination of some highly intelligent animals - are they able to communicate with us? [Few pages - 4 or 5 with some cross references]
Thanks again for your message
Subject: Caution note added to `Perceptions' page Date: Sun, 01 Oct 2000 11:49:20 +0100 From: Editor - Perceptions <editor perceptions.couk.com>
To: Feedback <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Sara@openhere.com, "Mike Ciaccio www.Chronogram.com" <mchach@***.net>, William Beaty <billb@***.com>
1) A caution note has been added to a `Perceptions' page and linked "Women-Warning" signs posted on others.
2) `Perceptions' does _not_ give medical advice but accumulating physics evidence has forced us to post a caution for women, who may have been misled (by the BBC amongst others).
3) We believe further evidence exists but has been 'overlooked' or even played down.
4) Some of you are on record as having links to `Perceptions'. You may wish to review your links policy as a result of this addition. The 'caution' note is at
keep the faith
to reader @dotonecom
"autodidact with no loyalties except to truth" (linked back here) I know virtually nothing of Buckle except that English reference books stress that he did not attend an English university. This seems an example of commentators allowing their own educational loyalties (see buckle.html) to influence their judgment , for they do not try to understand his work, its meaning, or its worth (although there are rumbles from the past).
If he was truly "self-taught," - almost unbelievable - he did a terrific job
"implementors of a selfish gene policy" (linked back here)
Seemingly as Darwin later in his life recanted crude "survival of the fittest" by saying that he thought the human race was improving morally (which would be impossible if only one's ability to acquire and consume food or goods counted as evolutionary "fitness"), so Dawkins in his most recently heard interview [Feb 1999] answered that he did not think it a good idea to live one's live selfishly. (Paraphrase - due to lack of eidetic memory)
[LATER NOTE 1 November 1999: Marek Kohn apparently now publishing "As We Know It - coming to terms with an evolved mind" which in the words of the blurb - book not available yet - provides a "picture of a society in which trust and co-operation were crucial"
"other historians impress only by their partiality" (linked back here)
"Have you ever wondered why history seems to be mostly about [rich] neurotic, white, middle-aged men?" - Craig Harrison `Days of Starlight' Auckland, N.Z. ISBN 0-340-422033
Any `academic' has sympathies & loyalties, and indeed loves. Family upbringing / school / university / class / gender & ~orientation / patron / employer / nation / skin color & more. So we should not be surprised by bias & partiality in most supposedly objective studies. [ see WAR]
Later reference.:- Indeed the 'elite/ruling class' are more sexist /racist /class prejudiced than the general population. But in England this fact is always denied.
So - during 1999 - the BBC's Melvyn Bragg, doyen of the UK intelligentsia, was put in denial and shock when visiting literary 'lion' Jared Diamond (US author of "Guns, Germs and Steel") implied that he - Bragg - belonged to the most racist class in England. ref 01
But on hearing Bragg's horrified denial the other studio guest - a British historian - gave his own findings of heavier racism and class prejudice in the English elite, professionally confirming Jared Diamond's statement.
[ Evidence :- PROPmail & RELIES & UNHOLY & "A.S.5" & PARANOID & BBCMALICE & Racist HomeOffice ]
And there are those who cynically attempt to use our 'sympathies'. How many times do you hear the phrases "our great nation" - or - "our traditional rights" . . "our glorious heritage" and many more being used to gloss over some unjust course of action?
[In a recent peroration by a highly-placed official we got the phrase "this great country of ours" and so, being warned, examined his remarks. He was attempting to deny - or to justify - the existence of murderous racism and corruption within a city police force of which he was the chief.
See the publication of the "Stephen Lawrence Murder" report - London 24 February 1999, and subsequent speeches by politicians and in particular, a broadcast speech by Sir Paul Condon - chief of the police force concerned. See also violence.html]
[ Note for Melvyn: We evolve away from sexism, racism and violence. As we can see, elites are noticeably more racist & brutal. Therefore we're probably evolving away from elitism (fear) itself ]
"Buckle's method" (linked back here)
The basic "scientific" or questioning method advocated by Bacon and by Descartes. The method for discovery that any genuine scientist uses today:-
"The chief occupation of this Assembly - and, in my opinion, the most useful - should be to work on natural history [science] following the plans of Verulam" [Bacon] - [ Christian Huygens, Letter to Colbert, Oeuvres Complétes, La Haye, 1888-1950, vi, pp.95-96 ]
Quoting Bacon first:-
1 "To lay aside received opinions" - (Descartes - "To accept nothing as true which I did not clearly recognize to be so")
2 "to refrain the mind for a time from the highest generalizations" - (Descartes - "carefully to avoid precipitations and prejudice in judgments") - [which was code for `religion' in their day, the political or science dogma of our own times ]
3 "to muster instances before the understanding" - (Descartes - "to divide up each of the difficulties which I examined into as many parts as possible")
4 "to arrange them in tables" - (Descartes - "to carry on my reflections in due order, commencing with objects which were the most simple in order to rise by degrees to knowledge of the most complex")
5 "to review the instances of each" - (Descartes - "to make enumerations so complete and review so general that I should be certain of having omitted nothing"
-- [Here's the cut-down modern version of the method] --
The method of Bacon / Descartes is rigorous. Taken to extreme it means that a rock-hard conclusion can only be arrived at if in possession of every datum in the Universe - but that is science, and that is why all our conclusions, no matter how strongly expressed, are only `tentative' or at best `firm'.
to reader @westmerchantco.uk
"organized life as a whole" (linked back here) [this is going to be a bit messy but it might be revised later - 03 Mar '99]
Life, like matter itself, reacts in certain ways within thresholds.
[ Ie suggest a threshold of development of all homo sapiens was reached when brute strength and selfishness peaked in Neanderthal. Another species - Cro-magnon - then began social development. That same threshold seemed to permit the emergence of Pan paniscus ]
Within thresholds :- atomic particles react vigorously, but only to vigorous stimuli - the simplest molecular particles repel each other and remain gaseous (forget "kinetic stuff"), until compressed to a threshold - then become liquids and adhere - then becoming compressed solids in turn - then to form more complex molecules, which can become self directing.
So life in (1) its simplest form absorbs energy from its surroundings, in one way or another, becoming - (2) more complex, multiplying and forming associations with other form types to more efficiently react with the environment, becoming - (3) discrete beings formed of many individual forms and various types of forms, becoming - (4) organized beings, which react in accordance with discernible "laws" -
- as Buckle would say, meaning that the type and complexity of organisation adopted (in evolving) determines the direction and the priorities - the route map - of reactions of particular organized beings to various stimuli - hence the lack of individualism among civic insects, ants, honey bees etc. in contrast to the 'personality' [complex individual reactions] shown by bumble bee, octopus, seal, dolphin, human etc.
It is form 4 - animate life, including insects plants etc. - with which we think we concern ourselves in these pages. We think Buckle would also have extended his work to cover Biology and Ecology more intensively, but there were not enough data. Buckle, if asked, would have probably said that he was only able to consider in detail a single, yet higher (more complex) form of life i.e. - (5) organized being which while necessarily reacting in accordance with discernible "laws" are capable of becoming aware of those "laws" and of recognizing, judging and attempting to amend their own reactions to stimuli. That is to say - the human race.
[Maybe not all humans - some of our questioners seem fiercely partisan in one direction or another, to the point of not recognizing their own reactions]
Many things Buckle was accused of "attacking" are actually responsible for most human miseries (although we readers of Elaine Morgan might hope that these are "temporary") and, following the theme above, could be specified as follows:-
when, for a period, one species dominates a planet, and that species - while reacting individually to the "laws" implicit in its evolution - temporarily invents other imperatives i.e. power, ownership, money, legislation, bureaucracy, nationality, race, perhaps even gender (if gender can be said to have been invented), these artificial imperatives will conflict at many points with the inherent "laws" of the species and with similar - or identical - inherent laws of other species. Such conflicts cause great miseries, but, as noted, hopefully these miseries will be "temporary" - in terms of geological, evolutionary or astronomical time spans.
(to that same UK @address, so he might know this reference)
"like a more intensive Parkinson" (linked back here) - Professor Cyril Northcote Parkinson MA, PhD, FRHistS; was, amongst other things - a history teacher, then teacher at the Royal Naval College, then from 1940 an Army Officer, then after the war - lecturer, History Prof.at University of Malaya - Singapore, Visiting Prof, at Harvard, Illinois and California, Prof. Emeritus and Hon. President at Troy State University - Alabama ; Member - French Academie de Marine - US Naval Institute, and others.
He wrote many non-fiction and fiction books during his life but the particular ones in mind are: "Parkinson's Law" , "The Pursuit of Progress", "The Law and the Profits", "In-laws and Outlaws", "A Law unto themselves", "The Law of Delay" and possibly "Big Business", "Gunpowder, Treason and Plot" (line/s from an English nursery rhyme commemorating Guy Fawkes - a sort of hero), and "Britannia Rules", perhaps even others
The series was published from 1958 onwards - the only publisher's name we have is "J. Murray" or "J. Murrey"
Because these dryly humorous commentaries were sharp, accurate, and honest they were devastating to an incompetent and corrupt British bureaucracy - at which they were mostly aimed. Accordingly the establishment arranged for the British media to report his books as "lightweight", "a real laugh" etc. which seems to have achieved the objective of putting off most, if not all serious readers or researchers. Some of us remember him (from very early childhood of course).