What is it about organized religion that irks me so? It’s like being on the Titanic as they headed for the iceberg. “Hey, you dopes, we’re headed for disaster. What the heck are you saying prayers for? Turn this oversized ego trip. You can still avoid hitting it.”
For centuries the Church has done the most sick, most demonic and most cruel work, via the Inquisition, to suppress Species Consciousness. The popes seemed to know that if people learned how we got here, their life of pomp, power and luxury would be over. Great men gave their lives to advance SC and they were exterminated like rats.
There is very little written on species consciousness (SC), so I hereby claim to be its originator and founder. I maintain that unless the world’s powerful leaders change their way of thinking, humanity will continue to ride the Titanic toward inevitable doom.
By my definition, species consciousness is the near certain knowledge that biologically humanity is just another animal. I use the word “near” because we might be computer images in a Matrix-like game of chicken. We may be the dream of some faraway ET who has the power of psychokinesis. Either of these remote improbabilities is far more likely than the Book of Genesis or the Quran.
We have intellect which makes us the dominant species, but we grew out of the stuff of the Earth like all plants and animals. Humans are in the order Primates, and suborder Anthropoidea including the great apes and New and Old World monkeys. We have no special divine purpose and are insignificant to the rest of the universe. Unlike in Star Wars, the annihilation of our planet wouldn’t cause a comic blink.
Sadly, species consciousness has only been around since 1859, the year of Origin of Species. We are aware of our unique place in nature for 150 years—close to nothing in geologic time; as a species we are a baby looking in a mirror for the first time, trying to figure it out. The mirror is the key to self awareness (see Mirror Reversal) and our mirror is our phylogeny.
The first conclusion deduced from SC is the Biblical account of creation is utter nonsense. The Bible, Quran and Torah are in conspicuous conflict with the findings of science: the first woman was not created from her hubby’s rib; there is no firmament; the Earth is five billion years old, not six thousand. Racism, slavery, and sexism—condoned and promulgated by the writers of sacred scripture—are not the ways of a rational humanity. A gurgling baby can see this, yet adults still go to church or face Mecca to pray five times a day.
The Holy Scriptures cannot possibly be inspired by the Holy Ghost nor any ghost. In fact, we can accept the conclusions of the renowned Ukrainian-American geneticist of the 1920s Evolutionary Synthesis, Theodosius Dobzhansky: any book about religion or philosophy written before 1859 is essentially worthless. It’s like a geologist who believes the world is flat writing geology textbooks. His essay, “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution,” presents incontrovertible evidence why evolution is a fact. The Evolutionary Synthesis confirmed Darwinism at the molecular level with the new science of genetics.
SC means not only knowing our position on the phylogenetic tree, but also the living conditions and temperament of our immediate and remote ancestors. This is where and when human nature evolved. We can learn not only from primitive tribes what life was like in prehistoric times, we can also learn from the personality and life style of early hominids and hominoids (the great apes). We can learn more about human nature from paleoanthropology and primatology than from the Old and New Testaments with the Quran thrown in for good luck.
Among many late Miocene hominoid species now extinct, Dryopithecus and Ouranopithecus are especially relevant to humanity because they survived. They are the director ancestors of modern-day gibbons and orangs. They were among the numerous canopy dwellers and lived successfully for millions of year during the Miocene Epoch, beginning 19.5 million years ago. They were non-aggressive frugivores, fruit and berry eaters. It is here, I believe, that human nature was formed. A gibbon was once heard singing a love song to his mate. Why does music have a near sexual appeal to us? Why does music stimulate the same area of the parietal lobe?
Ramapithicus, (Sivapithecus) an orang-type hominoid, was the first to leave the trees and adapt to the land. With the recent discovery of the close relative Ardipithecus ramidus, close in brain size at around 350 cc, it is estimated that human ancestors descended from the trees slightly more than 4.4 mya. Our humanoid ancestor had successfully survived the entire span of the Middle and Late Miocene, about 15 million years.
Life was tough for the fledgling Ardipithecus. The land was no place for an arboreal ape, as walking of two legs diminished ability to climb. It was only in predator-free pockets of West African rain forest that A. ramidus was able to survive. Over the next three and a half million years, the species passed through ape-man descendants (the Australopithecines) that learned how to use tools and live without predation.
Eventually the genus Homo evolved and ruled the African landscape until they were strong enough to march out of Africa into the interior of Europe and Asia. The culture was tribal and cooperative instincts were necessary to survive. Homo erectus then speciated into Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens. What is important and relevant to SC is the Neanderthals are now extinct and there is, according to University of Cambridge Professor Paul Mellars, "no evidence has been found of cultural interaction” and “evidence from mitochondrial DNA studies have been interpreted as evidence Neanderthals were not a subspecies of H. sapiens.” 1
The current state of sequence analysis of the Neanderthal genome suggest there was no recent genetic exchange between Neanderthals and humans, previous results which showed some similarities have now been conclusively shown as contamination and improper phylogenetic assumptions. Consequently, Homo neanderthalensis at present appears to be the correct nomenclature.
In other words, the neanderthals are extinct, probably because they were annihilated by their competitors Homo sapiens.
Carl Sagan in his Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors compares historical humanity to an orphan left at the doorstep of nature with no inkling of its true parents or how it got there. I agree, we are orphans but now we learn that our parents were murderers, ever worse fratricides. Like Jack in the Lord of the Flies, we carry deplorable evolutionary baggage, the R-Complex or reptilian factor.
If corporate, political and religious leaders would accept species conscious it would lead to the following: (see next post)
1• Mellars, Paul (1996). The Neanderthal Legacy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.