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EVOLUTION AND THE BIG SHIFT

              OCTOBER 1, 2010

In This Issue
EVOLUTION AND THE BIG SHIFT
GUELPH CHANT CLUB
A DAY OF SACRED SOUND AND MOVEMENT

GREETINGS DEAR FRIENDS

As the beauty of the fall colors emerges and the outdoor activity of the summer winds down, this time of year tends to bring a more contemplative mood. The article in this newsletter can provide some food for thought. It seems to me that Darwinism has been getting a surge of attention recently, with specials on the TV, etc. These concepts have shaped our beliefs and thus our actions, and yet they are, in my opinion, still very controversial and inconclusive.

I'm also very excited about a workshop I'll be a part of in Owen Sound on October 16 - see details below.

In future newsletters I'll be continuing with articles related to the Big Shift - looking at other theories of evolution, etc. If you'd like to access past newsletters containing the earlier articles on the Big Shift, as well as articles on the Physics of Mysticism,  Magic, the Power of Mantra and other topics, please visit the 'newsletter' page of my website:

 whyislife.com

Peace and love, Dennis.
 

EVOLUTION AND THE BIG SHIFT

Part 1 - Darwinism

The past several newsletters have been dealing with the ongoing topic of the Big Shift - the idea that the planet and its residents are about to undergo an enormous change. Many feel that this change represents a major step in human evolution. It seems appropriate to spend the next few newsletters talking about the concept of evolution, in Darwinian terms as well as other emerging theories.

Back in his day Darwin, one of my science heroes, underwent an enormous struggle in an effort to get the public to be willing to look at his research and his contention that life, including human life, evolves due to a process called natural selection. The dominant paradigm of the day was that we were created by 'God' and the idea that we were descended from apes was abhorrent and blasphemous. But things were changing and Darwin's ideas gradually became widely accepted. Today they have become a mainstay of scientific thought - some would say they have become a paradigm unto themselves. To question Darwinism nowadays often leads to derision and suppression. Strong pro-Darwinian voices like Richard Dawkins seem to get more attention than do the voices of prominent scientists like Stephen J. Gould and David Schindel, who have made serious challenges to Darwin's theories.

Before we take a look at some of these dissenting views, let's concisely review the modern theory of natural selection, which has grown from Darwin's ideas. It basically states that random mutations would occur in a species and, occasionally, this would result in a more efficient version of that life-form, one that was better equipped to feed itself, to procreate or to in some way survive and thrive. This new and improved version would then out-compete its immediate ancestors. The less efficient version would become extinct as the new form became dominant. In this way life has evolved slowly and gradually, over 3 billion years. This is true of all life, from the simplest microorganisms to the sophisticated life forms, including man, that exist today. Implicit in the title of Darwin's book, 'The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection', is the contention that the existence of all species can be attributed to this process, this mechanism of nature. The simple logic of this theory was very attractive and it fit neatly within the emerging 'mechanistic view' that the universe is a giant 'machine' operating according to pre-existing physical 'laws'.

Within the modern academic establishment there are eminent scientists who seriously question aspects of Darwinian theory and the evidence that is used to support it. One of the key bodies of evidence is the fossil record, which according to some prominent scientists, fails to support the concept of natural selection. Stephen J. Gould, professor of zoology and geology at Harvard pointed out in 1977 that the fossil record offers no support for the notion of gradual change. It shows that, in Gould's words, "In any local area, a species does not arise gradually... it appears all at once and fully formed." 2

David Schindel, professor of geology at Yale pointed out in 1982 that there are no fossils of the 'transitions' on record. For example, no one has ever found the fossil remains of a giraffe with a medium sized neck. This is true even though paleontologists and geologists have exerted a great deal of effort to find such fossils, which would do much to validate the theory. The fossils uncovered and documented by science form a large and impressive record, with fossils having been found for 97% of all existing orders of land vertebrates. Rather than supporting the idea of gradual change due to the process of natural selection, the fossil record suggests something quite different.

What is apparent in the fossil record is that distinct animal species seem to come into existence rather abruptly, with no trace of the 'transitional' body forms that would imply a gradual evolution. The fossils show only minor changes occurring gradually within an established species. In the animal kingdom, 37 phyla all came into being relatively suddenly, about 530 million years ago during a period that has come to be called the 'Cambrian Explosion'. The fossil record suggests that about twelve groups of mammals first appeared at about the same time around 55 million years ago, on several different continents. Distinguished academicians like Gould, Schindel, and professors Niles Eldredge, Steven Stanley and Jeffrey Levinton are saying that the fossil record does more to disprove than to support the claims of Darwinian theory.

The idea that random mutations can lead to an improvement in the species has also been called into question, along with many other tenets of Darwinism. There are many challenges in the field of human evolution by noted scholars such as Noam Chomsky and Roger Penrose, who claim that it is highly unlikely that natural selection could have produced the complex voice-box required for human speech and the highly complex human brain.

There is much about the Darwinian theories of evolution that are still very much up in the air. They are theories, works in progress, and certainly ongoing research will shed more and more light on the matter. We need to ask ourselves, does Darwinism deserve to be the only game in town? Does it deserve to be the pillar of scientific orthodoxy that it has become? The concept of natural selection is certainly valid and does not deserve to be discarded, yet it seems inadequate to completely explain the process of evolution, especially as it pertains to humans. Scientists such as Chomsky, Gould, Schindel and others, cannot account for the amount of change in human evolution in the past 6 million years, claiming that it should have taken 25 million years. The enormous amount of change that has occurred in the past 200,000 years, including a large increase of brain size, the development of complex language and culture, etc., defies explanation within the current paradigms. Certainly it is obvious that there is a process of evolution at work, but is 'natural selection' its only mechanism, its sole driving force? Are there other factors at work?

There is a growing body of scientists, academics, philosophers and theologians who are challenging the prevailing scientific 'mechanistic view' which claims that the universe is a giant machine ruled by irrefutable physical laws and that life originated by accident. Some of them are promoting the theory of an 'Intelligent Designer' as a factor in the evolutionary process. Although they are often dismissed as 'creationists in disguise', the ID group is clearly not related to the dogmatic creationists of old. They do not try to define the intelligent designer or to call it 'God'. They merely point out that natural selection alone cannot account for the emerging evidence; that the new religion of Darwinism is not providing the answers to the mysteries of evolution; that even if the universe does operate like a huge machine, there must be some type of 'intelligence' that designed it. There must be other 'forces' that are driving evolution.

For a more thorough discussion of this topic you can access an excerpt from my book by clicking here: BOOK EXCERPT

Next month we'll look at some other theories of evolution.

 
GUELPH CHANT CLUB
Looking forward to chanting with my friends.
 
DATE                                             CITY                              VENUE               _____________________________________________________________
WED., OCTOBER 6, 2010             Guelph,                              Unitarian Church
7:45 to 9:30 pm                       Ontaro                   

The Unitarian Church is on the corner of
Harris and York Streets in Guelph.

For more detailed directions, check out guelph-unitarians.com

SUGGESTED DONATION - $15

 A Day of Sacred Sound & Movement
Nia Dancing, Drumming, Chanting,
Live Music & Crystal Bowl Meditation

with
WENDY ROMAN and DENNIS GAUMOND
 
 
"Hi EveryBody,
I am excited to announce that A Day of Music and Movement will be offered again this fall in the Owen Sound area. This is an afternoon and evening event held on Saturday October 16. My special guest for this day is Dennis Gaumond, soundwork facilitator and musician from Guelph. Dennis and I have worked together on a number of events and we feel that Nia, live music, drumming and chanting are natural complements to each other. We had so much fun at this event last year! Thanks to those who have been asking for more, I am thrilled to be able to offer it again.  
 
This year we will be hosting the event at the beautiful Woodford Community Centre which is just 10 minutes east of Owen Sound on Hwy 26. For out of town guests there is a lovely Bed and Breakfast within walking distance of the hall - hollycottage.ca . We are able to offer you different options for attending. You can come just for the afternoon, or just for the evening, but we hope you will want to join us for both and stay for dinner too. If you register for both sessions not only will you save money, you will also receive the vegetarian dinner at no extra charge! Please be aware that space for this event is limited. The earlier you can register the better. "
Love, Wendy
 
Saturday October 16, 2010.
Woodford Community Centre,
10 minutes east of Owen Sound on HWY 26.

CLICK HERE FOR MAP
 
A day to explore the healing potential of sound and movement.
Join Wendy & Dennis as they guide you through rhythms of the body and vibrations of sound.
Awaken your senses with this day designed  to nourish body, mind and soul.
 
Afternoon Session 1:30 to 5:00
Nia dance, drumming & chanting workshops
Some drums will be supplied but please bring your own drum if you have one.
afternoon session $45
 
Evening Session 6:30 to 8:30
Nia dancing with live music & crystal bowl sound meditation
evening session $30
 
** Pre-register for both sessions $65, including vegetarian dinner **
save $10 and enjoy a complimentary meal!
 
Register TODAY!
Contact Wendy Roman
Black Belt Nia Instructor
wendy@rhythmwood.ca 
519-793-4687
Check out Wendy's website: rhythmwood.ca

Love Your Body! Love Your Life!
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