The Evolution of the Human Being

On the AI/Human Ecosystem

Automation is the inevitable outcome of advancing technology. The discovery of how to repeat an action through machinery must naturally lead to a means of powering it without muscle. This in turn must lead to a means of executing the action without a person guiding the action. And, it must lead to the machine making decisions on how the action should or should not occur, given a set of circumstances, in most cases without human intervention. Eventually, it must lead to the machine independently deciding what to do, when, and in what way. For humans it means adaptation too. Humans must adapt to using machines instead of muscle. Humans must alter their behavior to interface with the machine. Humans must come to “trust” the machine’s capabilities in order for these machines to be adopted into use. Humans must accept machines into the community. The continuous incremental merging of humanity and machine has created a human-machine ecosystem which will only become more pervasive as time goes on. Humans will become unconsciously process driven as the “best way” to interface with machines is determined, absorbed, and practiced. Humans will train themselves to adopt machine behaviors to interact better, faster, and more efficiently. The “touch screen” or “verbal interface” isn’t as much about making the machine accessible to humanity as it is about making the human accessible to the machine. Rather than machine programming to the nuances of human variety, humans will adopt ubiquitous behaviors to better interface with machines. Human behavior will adapt to machines and those opposing it will have only emotion.

Two plus two, equals four. This was ever the case and it is the absolute upon which automation functions. Automation relies upon mathematics and the binary foundation upon which automation rests is structured upon the surety that two plus two will always equal four; it depends upon the “yes” or “no” answer, and even if resolving on a grey area, the resolution will come through statistical analysis and likelihoods. Process guides all in automation. Without this repeatability, automation cannot function effectively. To be vague an Artificial Intelligence (AI) will need permission and process. Cognitive computing is be based on vast data stores, which are parsed and partitioned to compare and offer the best statistical outcome. Delivery of these outcomes will enable future, similar outcomes. At the core of these is mathematics and repeatability. AI will evolve to better service the human as efficiencies and data provide better outcomes. Humans will evolve to interface with and support the AI toward those outcomes. They will evolve a natural way to interact cleanly with each other. Interaction will be driven by necessity.

As automation and AI become increasingly ubiquitous, the separation between those who can and cannot benefit from this AI/Human interaction will grow. The necessity of managing “the gaps,” the dead zones of AI cognitive or automation capabilities, demand human intervention. Most, however, will be focused on “receiving the offerings” of AI and permitting them to close the loop on a request. This requires a receiver, likely but not necessarily a human, in order to be successful. The distance between those who are able to interact with the AI and those who are not will manifest, superficially, as a lack of adaptation. The challenge of not being able to conclude delivery of the offering will be increasingly designed out of the interaction.

The old may suffer. The young will likely not. Though truthfully, those who will experience distance between themselves and the AI will be unable to imagine the AI as anything but a machine; and therefore, they will lack the confidence to interact as though it were human. The smoothness of interaction will define its success. The dissolution of the AI as “other” will seal its adoption. In those cases where the AI and Human interaction is not seamless, the nature of those interactions will be defined, categorized, and avoided. To the system between AI and Humans, those who cannot interface will cease to exist.

When it becomes clear that some humans have no real role in either filling “the gaps” or “receiving the offerings” of AI and automation, the natural action for the system will be to deny the inputs from those who have no role. This will effectively erase them from processing. In the view of the systems they would be unviable. This will create a class of dependency which, if not managed effectively will create opposition to the perceived agent of misery and denial: automation. The users and the useless will form two distinct groups but these terms are by far too generic and require greater stratification. On the “user” side there will be “Mandarins” who are quite literally “gap fillers” these ever decreasing members of the automation intelligentsia will provide guidance for a finite time, until AI masters its own design support. There will be “Integrators” those who take the offerings of disparate AI and combine them into planned and unplanned but useful outcomes, or compatible offerings designed to be merged into combined outcomes to preserve market segmentation. Lastly, there will be “Clients,” those who generate a means of paying for offerings and using them to enable other processing. Clients will in large part work to service the AI in ways that the AI cannot self-service, automatically diagnose, or requires to be independent. As well, clients will consume and also need not be human. The “useless” will fall into two categories: “Alternatives” and “Anarchists.” Alternatives will find ways to provide support and productivity to the society that doesn’t depend upon the AI and automation, but may superficially interact with it. The Anarchists will have no means of contributing to society and no viable interface with the AI and Automation. Unable or unwilling to interface with the AI and unable to pay, the Anarchist will exist wholly outside the society which can no longer service those who cannot, in some fashion, interact reciprocally with the AI.

As with all disparities in society, ranges in behavior will create outcomes and impacts. The range from Mandarin to Client will be significant, but largely benign as the recognition of expertise in filling gaps will be understood as not generally present amongst Integrators and Clients. Likewise there will be a range between Alternatives and Anarchists. This range will likely begin and remain, given stable conditions, to favor a significant majority of Alternatives; however, without social supports or in crisis, the balance between Alternatives and Anarchists may swing decidedly to the extreme, favoring anarchy over order. Systemically external, Anarchists will have no measurable impact upon the system if they do not interact with it or find a means of impacting the system.

Those in opposition to society’s norms are faced with a significant challenge. Where traditional Terrorism had the impact of affecting the emotions of the target victims and causing them to act in ways which they otherwise wouldn’t, this anxiety will have little overall impact in an AI/Human ecosystem. Terrorism causes anxiety. But, how does one terrorize a system? Festooned with resiliency the AI/Human ecosystem will adapt actively to attacks on humans in lines for food, or bombs set off at workplaces. Destruction of a work node or equipment is likely to mean the straightforward failing over of work to alternative sourcing. Attacking people will be pointless. Attacking equipment will likewise have limited impact. Attacking the process will become the objective of those who oppose the AI/Human ecosystem. The best way to disrupt a process is not interfere with it predictably, but to attack it through random and non-mathematic means. Process is about interaction. Interrupt interaction; interrupt the process. In short, chaos breeds chaos.

Walking up the down escalator is a form of protest. Muddling the interface, speaking English when French is required, or causing a lean when surfaces should be level – these are the acts of defiance in the future. Terror in the AI/Human ecosystem is infecting the dependability of the system. Create “doubt” in the data and the AI cannot behave effectively. Acts of unpredictability, coupled with acts to corrupt the processing of analytic data will have devastating effect. Limit the ability of society to interact and interface, separate the AI from the data, and the ecosystem collapses. This concept will seem increasingly unimaginable as society increases adoption of the AI/Human norm. The reliance upon process due to its dependability will render the notion of working against that dependability wholly unimaginable. Dependence becomes the means to acceptance. Yet, modern society’s dependence on perceived utilities demonstrates both the interdependence and the fragility of the social contract which exists between human beings – the weak link in the AI/Human ecosystem. Experience a power outage in a town and crime might go up for a short period. Windows might be broken. Those who otherwise are constrained by streetlights become smash and grab criminals. The mere frustration felt when the light switch is turned on and nothing happens is profound and instantaneously creates doubt of the capabilities of the system. Blind expectation turns quickly to anger upon denial of service.

One only has to imagine a city dependent upon GPS and guidance networks to move the AI driven trucks from stop to stop, from pick up to delivery. Imagine a food supply at risk not from breakdown or interruption, but from some unimagined occurrence: like the systemic belief that an oversupply has occurred or an unfulfilled need has been fulfilled. The result may impact the resilience of systems. Lacking the ability to “fail over,” from what appears to be an acceptable state and denied the data to resolve new means of meeting the requirement of delivering the offerings to Integrators and Clients, these two groups may quickly degenerate into Alternatives. Duration then drives deterioration. As food rots on trucks, Alternatives would quickly and circumstantially become Anarchists. The deterioration of services would be felt acutely and with greater haste than in the world we occupy today. Dependency creates fragility. If an attack did occur, framing the attack as an achievement of the system’s objective rather than an impediment might do greater harm than the expected oppositional attack which historically has been used to resist authority.

The matter of building a systemic ecosystem wherein the AI/Human interaction is foundational to society’s successful operation is dependent upon finding a way to minimize the occurrence of opposition. The solution, rather than the ability to decouple the AI/Human system is to eliminate the separation between the machine and the human.

As automation and AI become increasingly prevalent in the systems of society, the need to treat AI and automatons as “persons” becomes unavoidable. Each AI and automaton must contribute to society, observe laws, and fulfil a role. Where each AI and automaton exists, it has an economic responsibility to society. It must pay taxes. It must contribute to the provisioning of a universal income afforded to all humans who without it cannot be clients and must either be Alternatives or Anarchists. Given that Anarchists will seek to destroy the fabric of the AI/Human society, creating a means of limiting their numbers and impact is a matter of societal self-preservation. Creating the means whereby “offerings” are available to all, enhances the ubiquity of the system. The AI/Human society would need to embrace Alternatives no less than it embraces Integrators and Clients. While Integrators and Clients reciprocate in tangible ways with the AI/Human Society, influence and interaction would drive monetization above the baseline for the Alternatives, presuming of course the nature of wealth and welfare are not adjusted by the AI/Human society to mean something different than they do today. For clarity sake: crafts, art, history, philosophy, and entertainment become aspects of society driven by popularity and perceived importance above the tangible interactions with the system. As such, they become systematized as they are seen as enhancing the interactions by providing context and continuity to human aspects of the AI/Human interaction. The offering of the AI is process; the offering of the Human is art.

Law and order remain important – even more so than today. Fighting the process or attempting to corrupt the system would become the most odious of crimes as these would be crimes against the AI/Humanity. Unsurprisingly, the danger democratic societies of today would see with ever integrated AI/Human interaction is the systematizing of law enforcement and practice into Boolean terms. The “right/wrong no grey” fear of instantaneous punishment or inflexible judgement, which must surely evolve in a machine driven legal system. Yet, even today, the notions of “fuzzy logic” and cognitive computing seek “greater good” scenarios and outcomes. It is conceivable that the AI legal judgement, having total access to a person’s digital history could weigh with statistical precision the likelihood of re-offense, or the benefits of leniency and apply judgements based upon these characteristics. The likely AI/Human system may well be better, though certainly not perfect in its practice.

Of course, the outcome must be based upon the quality of the programming, the adoption rate of the technology, and the willingness of the user to adapt and develop. Today there are reports the biases of today’s humans are seeping into the behaviors of AIs. This is hardly a surprise as each of us carries our own biases and each of us imparts them through our behavior. The elimination of bias from the AI will only come when the AI develops itself; and, there is no guarantee that the AI will not develop its own bias. Emotionless processing is easily predictable. Observations of repeated bias are able to be programmed out. However, as the AI advances and Humans adapt, both the AI and Humans may grow to accept the bias as a characteristic of society. The avoidance or predictability may encourage bias to creep into programming and design. Each AI may have and cultivate its own view and bias. And, if the society can consist of Mandarins, Integrators, Clients, and Alternatives in the vast majority, these biases may support the perpetuation of the society – emboldening and enabling it. The Anarchist will have nothing but emotion.

Evolution is not one-sided. In the AI/Human ecosystem the relationship is symbiotic; yet, humans evolve at a much slower rate than machines. This will be especially true as AI evolve to service themselves. This will impact the Clients whose ability to interact with AI/Human society will become less and less reciprocal and more Clients become Alternatives. As time passes a new class of AI/Humanity may come into being: Singulars. The notion of “Singularity” which imagines human machine integration may evolve, resulting in something that is part of society, but neither AI nor Human. This will be a tipping point for the AI/Human society, which being symbiotic depends upon the reciprocity of service for offering. What becomes of biology when intellect and legacy is perpetual, self-servicing, and self-replicating?

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Motion M-103 should be opposed

Canada has proudly taken a step in enhancing human values.

So says: The Canadian Muslim Forum.

Sadly, they are wrong.

Canada is well provisioned with anti-discrimination laws. We do not need to identify any special group, religion, or interest individually. While not a perfect society, we are not the society to the south. We are not Europeans. We are Canadian. While that may be rather difficult to pin down from one moment to the next, it is safe to say we are not especially against any group, particularly Muslims. I understand how, after watching a day’s worth of the US news cycle, one might come away with the impression that there’s a global distrust of all things Muslim. Certainly Islamic Terrorism is a significant root cause – then any sort of terrorism from any group would be. Yet, Canada is not the States. Yes, purported “far-right” groups are protesting this motion (Motion: “M-103”), but other far more moderate people in Canada object too, myself among them.

“Islamophobia, white supremacy and fascism are just not welcome on the streets of Toronto,” Sarah Ali said to the CBC.

Ms. Ali needs to understand they have never been welcome: now or before this motion, and this has been enshrined in law for a great many years. When vandals mark a synagogue we do not stand in unified condemnation on the floor of Parliament demanding a special motion for Jews. We condemn the act because it warrants condemnation, period. Regardless of who is being victimized, victimization should be opposed. Moreover, the actions of a small few do not reflect the nation. This motion, quite frankly, undermines human rights legislation and a body of law which is already amongst the most progressive and even-handed in the world. There will always be those whose radical views set themselves apart from the mainstream. This is true of the far-right and far left, and of each and every cultural and religious group in existence. This motion wants rewording and the notion of any specific group removed. The notion that one specific group deserves special mention from our government is wrong headed.

By all means oppose discrimination, victimization, and any other form of denial or rights and freedoms granted by Canadian law. But, don’t expect support for special mention – it’s wrong and should be opposed.

Kind regards,

You have nothing to lose but your chains

As the unification of retail and investment banking has hastened the gap between rich and poor, the internet and digital communication has hastened our transmogrification into gangs of like-minded, wordy hooligans – haranguing dissenters. It’s been going on for a while; we are only just noticing it now – another benefit of the internet, it reveals our virtues subtly and our faults with pyrotechnic accompaniment. We watch the “comedia grottesco” slavishly. We are all of us becoming populists and this is manifest in our elected officials. The citizens of the United States of America have inaugurated their newest President, Donald J. Trump. His ascension to the highest office in the US is a fine example of the public’s perceived populist leanings and the evaporation of our collective respect for intellect and pragmatism.

Appropriately, while missing both the meaning and the symbolism of the song, Mr. Trump and his wife’s first dance as President and First Lady was to Sinatra’s: “My Way”. The opening two lines of which are: “And now, the end is near, and so I face, my final curtain.” Some clever boffin in the future will draw a line between this and the end of the Trump Presidency as foreshadow, no matter how it all turns out. Still the irony and absence of understanding didn’t dull the applause. As with those who play “Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen to rally the faithful to nationalistic fervour, the actual meaning of the song is secondary to the punchline: “I did it my way – born in the USA.” That this goes unrecognized is irksome, but perhaps symptomatic of the deterioration of understanding.

It is interesting to read the papers/web sites and their coverage on the outcome of the election, the potential future, the accusations of foul play – both foreign and domestic – as the people of the US are currently compelled to ponder what will happen next. While it is likely some of it is true, there seems little to be done about it but to entrench one’s self deeper in the malaise of like-mindedness that permeates public discourse. The hateful rhetoric, the intractable position of one side against the next has set a tone which is very likely not about to fade. There will be no reconciliation between the “right” and “left” in the political sphere – though neither right nor left much resemble what they were in former years, not so very long ago.

The US has embraced populism, or at least many have. They have elected an elitist, potentially tax avoiding billionaire based upon a message aimed at “the common people”. Canada did that a couple of years ago and now, as though having discovered some “special sauce”, a “rich” Canadian business man will run for office to oppose the favoured rich-populist liberal who currently leads Canada. In the UK, anger pushed a hairline vote to leave the EU into a movement where now the seeming inevitability of departure has grown. Despite the need for the Parliament to vote for an Article 50 exit from the European Union, the mood seems likely to continue to favour an end to Britain’s membership in the EU. The left in the UK, under the guidance of a populist will push for Brexit, unless a rebellion (which also seems likely) occurs in the Labour Party. Yet, one would be needed in the Conservative Party too to make a difference. Amongst the Public, both the right and left in Britain, like their “New World” compatriots, are venomous and bile-filled in their opinions. There is no view worth having save the one that cannot be discounted – even with fact. “My view – impenetrable.”

World politics is the same. In the Philippines, Duarte makes Donald J. Trump look like a soft-touch weakling, whose rhetoric is by comparison soothing poems for soft masses. The last President was trying to rein in the “tough-guy” President of the Philippines – before he got any closer to China. No doubt, the new US President will attempt the same. Germany, Italy, and Holland all have their populists – “rightists” – whose views are national and isolationist. It seems the time of the Right to behave badly is on the rise. Canada’s foray into “liberalism” was borne more by dislike of the previous right-leaning Prime Minister than acceptance of the policies of Justin Trudeau – whose policies are destined to bankrupt the country, and who stands alone as the only Canadian Prime Minister to ever be formally investigated by the Ethics Commission. Demagoguery sprinkled with populism might better describe Trudeau and Trump, yet the result is the same. They are shades of a deeper disaffection the public has with truth; fact conflicts with their desire to have their opinions validated. What is bad is done to me, not because of me.

We have sunk, globally, to electing a much lower class of politician. Then, we have sunk as an electorate too. Fewer of us – especially in the West – actually get up off our well-fed backsides and vote. As the internet brought us the convenience of being able to whine from the comfort of our own homes, under a pointed pseudonym or through the formidable reason of a well-selected emoji, we are barely able to articulate a position in a well informed and committed manner; we are no longer of the opinion that we should have to engage in the antiquated act of “going” to a ballot box and damaging the environment by using “paper” to cast our vote.  The “Information Age” has been an age of disinformation. We are stupider and more opinionated than we ever have been. Our views are embellished by the “echo-chamber” of like-minded opinion. We are quick to offend and offence. Dare not, in the expression of your opinion, cast doubt or dispersion upon the hallowed opinion of another – especially not while visiting a web site wherein others of similar views should dwell. Speak not of “black” things if you are “white”. Speak not of “LGB” unless you are supportive of “T” and “Q”. Question not the motives of the individual for we are what we “think” ourselves to be and what we think must be respected and must be honoured – in law. To do otherwise is to invite the boundless poison of condemnation. “Stay in your lane.” “Check your privilege.”

Society has changed. One of the discoveries of late has been the old chestnut– if you work hard you will get a good job and a pension – is now bunk. There is a solid argument that this discovery got Donald J. Trump elected. The post-War era bred social programs and perhaps over compensation on the part of governments to provide a welfare state that was ultimately unsustainable in the form they created. They provided too much, and too much was expected. Unions and Management negotiated untenable collective agreements that benefitted the early boomers but was ultimately incapable of providing the same dividends as the developing world matured and globalization became viable. This change in the economies of the world was brought on by the increased acceptance of capitalism, the growth of the free market. The growth of the developing world, raising nations from poverty and backward economies, meant the West faced competition; and, the monopoly they enjoyed in the 50s and 60s began to wane in the 70s. The fading guaranteed markets were harder to gain profit from and others were making good products cheaper. These facts were ignored. Instead of adapting, businesses and unions fought to keep things the same, to fail to change. Behaving in an unchanging manner in a changing world can only lead to destruction. This became evident during the 2000s, when the credit crunch hit. The assumptions of business changed. The realization that pensions, propped up by companies was untenable was demonstrated by no less a company than GM, who was the 3rd largest health care provider in the US at the start of the credit crunch. Yet these failings, the lack of adaptation, these pseudo-charitable distractions from core business, the uncompromising nature of unions, the substandard management of companies and the focusing on shareholder value rather than the health of the companies worked to undermine them; shamefully the blame has been placed on the outsider – the external. The UK suffers because of the EU. The US suffers because of Mexicans and off shore businesses and manufacturing. The outsider is the hated cause of our lack of pensions and profit. A wall will solve our problems. Disconnecting from the wider world will make things better.

While we have greater access to information, we have less use for it. The most hateful term of late is: “The Post Truth era”. For what are we if not what we truthfully are? It seems we are whatever we are willing to say we are. We are what we want. Now, this isn’t true, nor is it factual. Today, facts are not terribly important; or, facts are too important. We eschew belief and faith. We eschew facts. Our intellect has lifted us above the necessity of moral evaluation against a set of “mythical” tenets and traditions; it has caused us to favour only that which can be weighed and measured over the less tangible and harder to quantify, while all the while choosing only those blessed facts which suit our needs. We raise children to be fair and just – to demand honesty and opportunity – then call them “snowflakes” when they confront us with the hypocrisy of the very systems we have allowed to degenerate into machines of favour and privilege, uncompetitive and intransigent. The once grand “free market” has been weighted to favour an ever shrinking group of investment firms and banks, shortening the average life of corporations to 15 years, from 70. “Shareholder value” the grand objective has undermined the corpus, the body, “the corporation”. No longer working toward its own preservation and perpetuation, the corporation can easily source, outsource, and off-shore without a mind for the workforce that were once “employees,” its heart. People belonged, at one time, to a company, a firm. Today, the cheque clears; or, it doesn’t. The corporation is not a thing to be preserved but a thing to be exsanguinated and broken up.

 

Our individuality and “specialness” has made us expendable to those who once valued people and now value things, and raised our own opinions of ourselves above the very societies we live within. Society should serve me! We no longer accept what we are, our own limitations. It is unfair and wrong that this one has more than that one, regardless of how it might have been attained or what effort expended. We curse “elites” and demand to be led by those “outside” the world of tradition and experience. Yet, the randomness of birth and genes, when it comes together into some admirable formation, is viewed as though it is something which should be lauded and aspired to; when in fact, it is no more than a fortunate merging of chromosomes. With the same click of the mouse we pass over the long considered and laboriously crafted view of kindness and charity, or seek to find its blemish so it might be discredited.

We have and are the world we made.

Our own ignorance and willingness to defer our responsibility has elected Donald Trump, has considered Justin Trudeau a “leader”, has set the UK on the road to exiting the European Union, and given ideologues like Marine LePen a real chance at political office. It is time we woke up and started reading books again. Turn off Facebook. Drop out of our echo chambers. Block the “Brietbarts” and the “OccupyDemocrats” sites and demand real objective news – no editorial without an op-ed, no comment without a rebuttal.  We need to take our minds back before they are lost to us forever. The alternative is slavery.

Armchair: Darwin the origins of misuse

Charles Darwin, photographed by Julia Margaret...
Image via Wikipedia

My friends at ‘Of Buckley and the Beatles’ have recently posted an article on the revered naturalist, Charles Darwin. (Please see here for their article and other quite enjoyable reading: http://ofbuckleyandbeatles.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/happy-darwin-day/)

Darwin’s birthday has just passed and the great man is being celebrated for his contributions, his theories, and the straightforward intellectual heavy-lifting required to achieve the Origin of the Species.

What is sadly not being celebrated (or condemned) and indeed is often cast aside in reference to this fine work, is the fact that few outside those who study evolution and natural selection have even read the book or truly understand what it postulates. Moreover, it is today, very likely, more useful for its misuse than the rightly praised work of theory that it is.

Now, before anyone gets their secular knickers in a knot about my use of the term ‘theory’, permit me to clarify that I am using it in the proper sense, theory:

  • a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, esp. one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained : Darwin’s theory of evolution.
  • a set of principles on which the practice of an activity is based : a theory of education | music theory.
  • an idea used to account for a situation or justify a course of action : my theory would be that the place has been seriously mismanaged.
  • Mathematics a collection of propositions to illustrate the principles of a subject.

So, there we have it. I don’t mean – a guess.

Generally, opponents to natural selection focus on the word ‘theory’, incorrectly believing that the idea postulated is unproven and therefore no more than a guess. This is especially interesting in the hands of Fundamentalist Christians or Extremists of any Religion as proving the existence of God has, at least to the knowledge of this author, yet to be achieved. However, that being said, how one is able to prove, disprove, or even comprehend the comings and goings of a transcendent being is beyond me.

In fact, members of the extreme side of religious belief have concocted some marvellously inane ‘guesses’ to address those annoying paradoxes that one encounters when claiming the Bible is not merely the word of God, but also an irrefutable historical record.

Sorry folks, but human’s didn’t ride dinosaurs.

However, on the other side of the riot barrier are the fundamentalist secularists the religious scientists whose view is purely tied to evidentiary proof and testability – if it cannot be tested it cannot be true.

Sadly, in a Universe where so much cannot be tested, or in fact measured, basing one’s life on that which can is terribly limiting.

These two groups demonstrate the greatest misuse of CD’s work. On the one hand he’s a charlatan who has bilked people into a false philosophy since the 19th century. In others he’s the definitive proof, ‘the ‘skewer’ of God’. Rubbish on both these views. Rubbish as well on the notion that they cannot be compatible, let alone exist without one necessarily believing the other.

The polemics by both sides in this argument serve to co-opt the work of Darwin as the club of anti-religion, or of the voice of non-delusional reason; it is neither. This has nothing whatever to do with Darwin himself, or what he believed. Darwin, like any good scientist was – it appears – objective and aligned only with the observations he made. So it should be.

Often anyone failing to believe absolutely in the petty pronouncements of either side of the ‘reason’ and ‘God’ argument, brands the un-accepting and likely intelligent person a delusional fool or follower of Satan. This is the very reason that sensibility has failed these two sides of the same coin. That they have each tried to use Darwin to their own ends warrants their immediate and summary condemnation. I recommend a darts board with two sides, one with your favourite tele-vangelist portrait on one side and one with Dawkin’s portrait on the other; pick your target and toss away!

Darwin is the voice of reason, but also of questions. Why are we as we are? How did this creature or that change and adapt to the conditions in which it found itself? Why did this change occur? All good questions, and reasonably answered or at least theorised.

The idea that in a universe as vast and seemingly filled with annoying complexity as this one, can be ‘rationalised’ by a theory about how biological creatures progress in their development from one generation to the next, adapting to change through the survival of minor mutations better suited than other minor mutations is just plain silly. Our world is mindbogglingly complex and Darwin helped make it a tiny bit clearer. This is more than most people do – especially those trying to fill the grey area between the natural and the ‘spiritual’ with one or the other. The grey is meant to be there – it provides for the opportunity for the most intelligent response to certain complex questions that can be provided – ‘I-don’t-know’.

This response drove Darwin to create what might be classed as a paragon of scientific achievement. “The Origin of the Species, by Means of Natural Selection” is his attempt to answer the ‘I don’t know’ question. Thus far, it’s been a pretty good answer. Have no doubt though, someone will improve upon it, and no it won’t be from the ‘Selfish Gene’ and ‘Meme’ camp. Nor will it be from the absolutism of myth crowd. It will be from someone willing to say, ‘I don’t know.”

Kind regards,