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Will Dawkins’ selfish gene concept die as its proponents retire?

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File:A small cup of coffee.JPG From The Atlantic:

The strangeness of the geology and fossil evidence behind the theory of continental drift helped drive a half-century of resistance to the idea. Siddhartha Mukherjee documented in his book The Emperor of All Maladies how a fixation on the cure for a misconceived disease inhibited recognition of the complexity of cancer for a generation. It took decades before physicists came to grips with experiments that showed that the speed of light was constant for every observer—and even then, only the very young Einstein took that observation seriously enough to produce his first relativity theory.

In the long run, it’s true: Reality imposes a final and authoritative judgment on the rights and wrongs of any idea. In the moment, though, each moment, including ours, meaning in science emerges painfully, slowly, one fallible, historically contingent, self-deceiving and (very) occasionally triumphant scientist at a time. More.

Some of us suspect that Dawkins’ selfish gene will die the same way. See the Die, Selfish Gene, Die movement

Pushback from Dawkins: “Mere adversarial journalism”

and from a Harvard prof: You people just don’t understand the selfish gene!

Yes, we do understand the selfish gene. We also understand that genetics didn’t turn out the way anyone thought

Maybe the selfish gene will take evolutionary psychology quietly to the grave with it?

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3 Replies to “Will Dawkins’ selfish gene concept die as its proponents retire?

  1. 1
    Robert Byers says:

    Good thread. Important, important concept here i note in many subjects. THEY always get it wrong before someone gets it right. Investigation not only fails but fails to know it fails. THUS THE EVOLUTION CASE NOW.
    It was just a few , or one, that saw the error of greater numbers. jUst like now in the evolution case.
    SO the accusation against iD/YEC that they are few is irrelevant as to the finale truth. in these small circles that give serious attention to origin science.
    Every famous, or near famous, case in scientific discovery or invention proves people get conclusions wrong. Not just constantly add more data as evolutionists try to say.
    Important concept thread here.
    Evolutionism is just like its cousins as conclusions resisting the truth of biological complexity and diversity and mechanisms.
    just plain wrong of those few who get paid to figure it out.
    Evolutionists can’t say THEY are scientists and so can’t be wrong.

  2. 2
    bornagain says:

    as to this quote from the article:

    It took decades before physicists came to grips with experiments that showed that the speed of light was constant for every observer—and even then, only the very young Einstein took that observation seriously enough to produce his first relativity theory.

    A few notes on Einstein’s theory of special relativity.

    An ‘observer’ is given a privileged frame of reference in Special (and General) Relativity:

    Introduction to special relativity
    Excerpt: Einstein’s approach was based on thought experiments, calculations, and the principle of relativity, which is the notion that all physical laws should appear the same (that is, take the same basic form) to all inertial observers.,,,
    Each observer has a distinct “frame of reference” in which velocities are measured,,,,

    Special Relativity is confirmed to almost absurd levels of precision:

    “Recent experiments have confirmed, to within one part in one hundred million billion (10^17), that the speed of light does not change when an observer is in motion.”
    Douglas Ell – “Counting To God” – pg. 41 – 2014

    Experiment with speeding ions verifies relativistic time dilation to new level of precision – Sept. 19, 2014
    Excerpt: A team of researchers,, have conducted an experiment using ions pushed to 40 percent of the speed of light to verify time dilation to a new level of precision.,,
    the team describes how their experiment was conducted and how it allowed them to validate the time dilation prediction to just a few parts per billion.,,,
    The experiment allowed for measuring the shift in laser frequencies relative to what the transition frequencies would be for ions that had not been accelerated. By combining the two frequency shifts, uncertainties could be eliminated making it possible to validate time dilation predictions to an order of precision much higher than previous limits,,

    Most precise test of Lorentz symmetry for the photon finds that the speed of light is indeed constant – by Lisa Zyga – September 15, 2015
    Excerpt: “Lorentz symmetry”,,, is a cornerstone of Einstein’s special relativity theory. According to special relativity, there is no absolute space or absolute time.,,,
    The cavity test here involves two cavities containing sapphire crystals. The researchers excited an electromagnetic resonance in the crystals at a specific frequency, and supercooled them with liquid helium to stabilize the frequency and improve sensitivity. Like the mirrors of the interferometer, the cavities are carefully aligned orthogonal (at right angles) to each other to detect any tiny change in the speed of light along different axes. In the case of the cavities, a change in the speed of light would induce a change in the resonance frequency of the crystals. But after analysis of a full year of data, no such change was found.
    “This is the first direct test of polarization-independent effects for Lorentz invariance violations of the photon that has reached the level of the Planck-suppressed electroweak unification scale,” Parker told “The energy scale of electroweak unification (about 100 GeV) suppressed by the Planck scale (about 1.2 x 10^19 GeV) gives the dimensionless ratio of about 8 x 10^-18, so perhaps naively one might expect to start seeing Lorentz symmetry of the photon being broken in this regime, yet we didn’t see any evidence for this.”,,,
    These improved bounds could prove very useful for experimentally testing (falsifying) theories that (try to) unify general relativity and the standard model while predicting Lorentz symmetry violations. Some of these theories, for example, include string theory-based models and quantum gravity theories, among others.,,,

    Interestingly, Special Relativity merges with Quantum Mechanics whereas General Relativity does not.

    Theories of the Universe: Quantum Mechanics vs. General Relativity
    Excerpt: The first attempt at unifying relativity and quantum mechanics took place when special relativity was merged with electromagnetism. This created the theory of quantum electrodynamics, or QED. It is an example of what has come to be known as relativistic quantum field theory, or just quantum field theory. QED is considered by most physicists to be the most precise theory of natural phenomena ever developed.
    In the 1960s and ’70s, the success of QED prompted other physicists to try an analogous approach to unifying the weak, the strong, and the gravitational forces. Out of these discoveries came another set of theories that merged the strong and weak forces called quantum chromodynamics, or QCD, and quantum electroweak theory, or simply the electroweak theory, which you’ve already been introduced to.
    If you examine the forces and particles that have been combined in the theories we just covered, you’ll notice that the obvious force missing is that of gravity.

    Precise measurements test quantum electrodynamics, constrain possible fifth fundamental force – June 04, 2013
    Excerpt: Quantum electrodynamics (QED) – the relativistic quantum field theory of electrodynamics – describes how light and matter interact – achieves full agreement between quantum mechanics and special relativity.,, QED solves the problem of infinities associated with charged pointlike particles and, perhaps more importantly, includes the effects of spontaneous particle-antiparticle generation from the vacuum.,,, Recently, scientists,, tested QED to extreme precision..,,, can be interpreted in terms of constraints on possible fifth-force interactions beyond the Standard Model of physics,,

    Even more interestingly, Special Relativity reveals that ‘eternity’, as held by Theists, is actually a physically real dimension.

    ‘If’ a hypothetical observer were to accelerate to the speed of light, time, as we understand it, would come to a complete stop for that hypothetical observer.

    To grasp the whole ‘time coming to a complete stop at the speed of light’ concept a little more easily, imagine moving away from the face of a clock at the speed of light. Would not the hands on the clock stay stationary as you moved away from the face of the clock at the speed of light?

    Moving away from the face of a clock at the speed of light happens to be the same ‘thought experiment’ that gave Einstein his breakthrough insight into e=mc2.

    Einstein: Einstein’s Miracle Year (‘Insight into Eternity’ – Thought Experiment 55 second mark) – video

    “I’ve just developed a new theory of eternity.”
    Albert Einstein – The Einstein Factor – Reader’s Digest – 2005

    “..the distinction between past, present, and future is only an illusion, however tenacious this illusion may be.”
    – Albert Einstein – March 1955 (of note: he passed away in April of that year)

    “The laws of relativity have changed timeless existence from a theological claim to a physical reality. Light, you see, is outside of time, a fact of nature proven in thousands of experiments at hundreds of universities. I don’t pretend to know how tomorrow can exist simultaneously with today and yesterday. But at the speed of light they actually and rigorously do. Time does not pass.”
    Richard Swenson – More Than Meets The Eye, Chpt. 12

    This following confirmation of time dilation is my favorite since they have actually caught time dilation on film
    (of note: light travels approx. 1 foot in a nanosecond (billionth of a second) whilst the camera used in the experiment takes a trillion pictures a second):

    Amazing — light filmed at 1,000,000,000,000 Frames/Second! – video (so fast that at 9:00 Minute mark of video the time dilation effect of relativity is caught on film)

    Here are a couple of talks on the ‘theistic friendly’ implications of Special Relativity and eternity:

    God, The Universe, and Everything – Special Relativity and Quantum Entanglement Reflect Some Characteristics Of God
    Excerpt: Albert Einstein taught us that time and space are related by light. Imagine that you and I hitch a ride on the Star ship Enterprise, travelling at the speed of light. Now remember, at the speed of light time stops. So if we look out the window while travelling at this speed, we would be aware of the past, the present and the future all at once.
    – Dwight Nelson

    Science vs God: Bryan Enderle at TEDxUCDavis – video

  3. 3
    bornagain says:

    This higher dimension, ‘eternal’, inference for the time framework of light is also warranted, by logic, because light is not ‘frozen within time’, i.e. light appears to move to us in our temporal framework of time, yet it is shown that time, as we understand it, does not pass for light. The only way this is possible is if light is indeed of a higher dimensional value of time than our temporal time is. Otherwise, light would simply be ‘frozen in time’ to our temporal frame of reference.

    Another line of evidence that supports the inference that, at the ‘eternal’ speed of light, ‘tomorrow can exist simultaneously with today and yesterday’ is visualizing what would happen if a hypothetical observer were to approach the speed of light.

    Please note, at the 3:22 minute mark of the following video, when the 3-Dimensional world ‘folds and collapses’ into a tunnel shape as a ‘hypothetical’ observer moves towards the ‘higher dimension’ of the speed of light, (Of note: This following video was made by two Australian University Physics Professors with a supercomputer.).

    Approaching The Speed Of Light – Optical Effects – video

    In trying to get a better understanding of this ‘eternal dimension’ that special relativity has revealed, the ‘Dr. Quantum in Flatland’ video is very useful for giving us a (very) small glimpse as to what it would be like to live in a higher dimension:

    Dr. Quantum in Flatland – video

    Of related note, the preceding video is on the Vienna Quantum Science Group’s outreach page, (i.e. Anton Zeilinger’s home group):

    Vienna Group Video Outreach page

    It is also very interesting to note that this strange higher ‘eternal’ dimension of time, and of space, found in special relativity, finds corroboration in Near Death Experience testimonies:

    ‘Earthly time has no meaning in the spirit realm. There is no concept of before or after. Everything – past, present, future – exists simultaneously.’
    – Kimberly Clark Sharp – NDE Experiencer

    ‘There is no way to tell whether minutes, hours or years go by. Existence is the only reality and it is inseparable from the eternal now.’
    • John Star – NDE Experiencer

    ‘When you die, you enter eternity. It feels like you were always there, and you will always be there. You realize that existence on Earth is only just a brief instant.’
    Dr. Ken Ring – has extensively studied Near Death Experiences

    ‘In the ‘spirit world,,, instantly, there was no sense of time. See, everything on earth is related to time. You got up this morning, you are going to go to bed tonight. Something is new, it will get old. Something is born, it’s going to die. Everything on the physical plane is relative to time, but everything in the spiritual plane is relative to eternity. Instantly I was in total consciousness and awareness of eternity, and you and I as we live in this earth cannot even comprehend it, because everything that we have here is filled within the veil of the temporal life. In the spirit life that is more real than anything else and it is awesome. Eternity as a concept is awesome. There is no such thing as time. I knew that whatever happened was going to go on and on.’
    Mickey Robinson – Near Death Experience testimony

    “Very often as they’re moving through the tunnel, there’s a very bright mystical light … not like a light we’re used to in our earthly lives. People call this mystical light, brilliant like a million times a million suns…”
    • Jeffrey Long M.D. – has studied NDE’s extensively

    “I started to move toward the light. The way I moved, the physics, was completely different than it is here on Earth. It was something I had never felt before and never felt since. It was a whole different sensation of motion. I obviously wast’t walking or skipping or crawling. I was not floating. I was flowing. I was flowing toward the light. I was accelerating and I knew I was accelerating, but then again, I didn’t really feel the acceleration. I just knew I was accelerating toward the light. Again, the physics was different – the physics of motion of time, space, travel. It was completely different in that tunnel, than it is here on Earth. I came out into the light and when I came out into the light, I realized that I was in heaven.”
    Barbara Springer – Near Death Experience – The Tunnel – video

    “Regardless, it is impossible for me to adequately describe what I saw and felt. When I try to recount my experiences now, the description feels very pale. I feel as though I’m trying to describe a three-dimensional experience while living in a two-dimensional world. The appropriate words, descriptions and concepts don’t even exist in our current language. I have subsequently read the accounts of other people’s near-death experiences and their portrayals of heaven and I able to see the same limitations in their descriptions and vocabulary that I see in my own.”
    Mary C. Neal, MD – To Heaven And Back pg. 71

    “Well, when I was taking geometry, they always told me there were only three dimensions, and I always just accepted that. But they were wrong. There are more… And that is why so hard for me to tell you this. I have to describe with words that are three-dimensional. That’s as close as I can get to it, but it’s really not adequate.”
    John Burke – Imagine Heaven pg. 51 – quoting a Near Death Experience testimony

    Verse and Music:

    Mark 8:37
    Is anything worth more than your soul?

    The Allman Brothers Band – Soulshine – video

    Supplemental Note:

    Here is a resent series of talks given on NDEs (by a former engineer turned pastor). The first one features an interview with Dr. Mary Neal:

    Imagine Heaven – Evidence for the Afterlife (with interview of Dr. Mary Neal towards the end of the video)

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