Was Einstein dependent on Darwin?

If Darwin did not discover and publish Origins of Species would Einstein still have came onto his Theory of Relativity?

That is an interesting question with two possible answers. On one hand, Darwin was not alone; nor was his idea singularly unique. Gavin DeBeers wrote “Biology before the Beagle (1964)” to demonstrate that Darwin did not pluck his theory of evolution through natural selection from the recesses of his unique mind or thin air. Darwin was a detailed natural philosopher – nearly obsessive compulsive – who categorized animals and plants. Wallace’s discovery encouraged Darwin to publish so that Darwin would still receive credit, which rather implies that Wallace was onto the same research trail. Not to mention that Lamarck published Philosophie zoologique in 1809, developing a “theory of ‘transformism’ or evolution, which he was the first to do, invoking descent of species during long periods of time from other species, so that the Animal Kingdom could be represented by a genealogy of branching lines, the last branch being that of man.”[1] Lamarckism did not flourish like Darwinism did though, perhaps much can be said for Huxley’s support. William Paley wrote “Natural Theology (1802)” to illustrate life according to the workings of a clock – dependent on a watchmaker. But Darwin found causation for adapted species due to Paley’s description of the select workings of the clock pieces and the altered methods in which species was able to adapt to different surrounds. Paley called to attention the human eye, and he claimed it was created specifically by the Creator to grant vision. The same eye, though, he noted, adapted differently for fish that lived in the water; it was still an eye, but the eye was changed.[2] Scientists, other than Darwin, worked on evolutionary concepts.

On the other hand, if we were to consider that evolutionary theory had not happened, that the concept of biology had not been founded, and religion still held the final authority…then no; I do not think Albert Einstein would have been able to come up with the Theory of Relativity because I do not think the collective consciousness (or ability to develop advanced concepts) would have began to form. In a very reduced example, I think I understood this course because I took Evolution of Life and Intelligence, which is basically the “Darwin course.” When I began, I was terrified because I am not a scientist. I read many articles. I watched videos and listened to lectures. The more I submersed myself in the concepts, the more I was able to understand. I think the large lessons learned, namely through the Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution, was to question, to think, to experiment and see what all humans can do – because we are changing, and the more we learn, the more we evolve.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Beer, Gavin De. “Biology before the Beagle (1964).” Darwin: A Norton Critical Edition, Texts, Commentary. 3rd ed. Ed. Philip Appleman. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2001. pp. 41-44.

Paley, William. “Natural Theology (1802).” Darwin: A Norton Critical Edition, Texts, Commentary. 3rd ed. Ed. Philip Appleman. New York:  W.W. Norton & Company, 2001. pp. 41-44.

Picture c/o:  http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/0a/0f/1a/e3/cosmocaixa-barcelona.jpg

[1] Gavin DeBeers, “Biology before the Beagle,” p. 34.

[2] William Paley, “Natural Theology (1802),” p. 43.

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Darwinism: the Most Revolutionary Movement in Science

Which scientific revolution incurred the most change?

While revolutions in thought were present in chemistry, cosmology, geology, and physics, the most altering discoveries were in biology via Charles Darwin’s considerations for evolution through natural selection and adaptation of species. The fundamentals of evolutionary thought seized society with an urgency to unite scientific theory with everything, applying direct causation via biological matter to reality. Darwin’s dangerous ideas disrupted the religious hold on society by preferring scientific method and empirical evidence to scholastic considerations of the Golden era. Bowler and Morus said, “The original Darwinian revolution turned out to be only a transition to an evolutionary interpretation of an already-existing worldview based on faith in the idea of progress as the product of divine providence or of nature’s laws.”[1] Darwinism, and later biology, oriented the human being as an organism victim to alteration by its environment to encourage continuation of species. However, it would not be until the twentieth-century that society adapted the notion of the effects of a nurturing environment as able to improve the nature of humans. Victorians believed: “Environmental effects are powerless to alter the characteristics inherited by the child from its parents,”[2] but genetic discoveries would reveal the human ability to adapt based on external factors incorporated through experience.

 

Yes, cosmology demonstrated a scientific revolution. Astronomers of the 1930s agreed about the shape of the universe, but instead of considering the system as static they saw it as dynamic or a universe that was producing energy; Bowler and Morus said, “No longer was the galaxy that human beings inhabit to be considered as the center of the universe.”[3] The Milky Way was one of a number of other galaxies; much like humans were not unique creations but evolved animal species, the universe resided in one galaxy of many of galaxies. Bowler and Morus said, “From that perspective, the transformation might certainly be regarded as truly revolutionary in the same sense that the Copernican revolution was.”[4] Early twentieth-century held a revolution in the understanding of space and time. Relativistic physics replaced Newtonian theory, Bowler and Morus said, “…replaced with the standpoint that time and space were relative to the position and velocity of the observer.”[5]

 

In “The Elegant Universe” PBS Nova discussed Quantum Theory, a possibility that multiple realities existed in different dimensions of time. Based on statistical data, Quantum theory dealt with extremely small matter, atomic elements of protons and the nucleus, that Einstein’s theory of gravity did not effect or relate.[6] Modern scientists, since the 1970s, developed String Theory to unite “heavy” science with small science. Working with the stuff of Einstein’s dreams, as inspired by his notebooks and personal record, Alan Lightman wrote Einstein’s Dreams to illustrate the creative spirit of the famous scientist. Einstein questioned everything, and while he did not agree with quantum theories, Lightman showed that Einstein thought more than one possibility could exist. 14 April 1905: “Suppose time is a circle, bending back on itself. The world repeats itself, precisely, endlessly.”[7] And later, on 14 May 1905: “There is a place where time stands still. Raindrops hang motionless in air. Pendulums of clocks float mid-swing. … Pedestrians are frozen on the dusty streets, their legs cocked as if held by strings.”[8] Einstein allowed room for the possibility of alternate time and space, but he rejected quantum theory. Is his rejection due to gravity not be unified? What would Einstein have thought of String theory?

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bowler, Peter J. and Iwan Rhys Morus. Making Modern Scienc: A Historical Survey. Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, 2005.

“The Elegant Universe.” PBS Nova, 10 Aug 2014. YouTube.com. Online video. 25 Jan 2016.

Picture c/o:  http://c8.alamy.com/comp/AJA5JD/the-survival-of-the-fittest-application-of-darwinism-in-the-21st-century-AJA5JD.jpg

[1] Bowler and Morus, Making Modern Science, p. 161.

[2] Bowler and Morus, Making Modern Science, p. 158.

[3] Bowler and Morus, Making Modern Science, p. 286.

[4] Bowler and Morus, Making Modern Science, p. 286.

[5] Bowler and Morus, Making Modern Science, p. 287.

[6] PBS, “The Elegant Universe.”

[7] Alan Lightman, Einstein’s Dreams, p. 8.

[8] Alan Lightman, Einstein’s Dreams, p. 8.

Science Speaks but Society Cherry-Picks Ideals

One question I still have for modern science is – have they been able to discover why the female brain is smaller than the male? Granted, I utilize deduction a good bit so my non-scientific conclusion to the brain size issue is that: men are bigger and stronger (biologically) than the female gender…therefore their brains by necessity would be slightly larger. I have always thought that organs were in proportion to their bodies.

I cannot remember which thread we were in, but I believe we discussed context – and taking things in or out of context. I see this as a huge hurdle for the historian. i.e.: Social Darwinism was the social reaction to Darwin’s theory – but they only took what they wanted, or could use, to further support their schematic. In “The Descent of Man (1871),” Darwin addressed the different physicalities of non-Europeans and Europeans, he said:

But since he attained to the rank of manhood, he has diverged into distinct races, or as they may be more fitly called, sub-species… Nevertheless, all the races agree in so many unimportant details of structure and in so many mental peculiarities that these can be accounted for only by inheritance from a common progenitor; and a progenitor thus characterized would probably deserve to rank as man.[1]

Not only does Darwin credit the different races of human being as all being human, but he also extends the right of manhood to the ancient progenitor. This says that all races are human, and the species that we came from also as being human – for modern science, that could classify the Lucy specimen as more human than primate. Society shifted the concepts around to fit their liking and industrialism benefited more from deeming certain humans as unfit – because they could be paid less or nothing, taken advantage of like livestock, and worked to death without society batting an eye. If society allowed all races natural human rights, then their workforce would take a direct hit. Society read that same passage, but they focused in on the word “sub-species” to indicate that sub was below or not as good as.

I watched “Schindler’s List” last night to set the mood for my eugenics piece and to remind me how brutal and inhumane it is to look around and decide that a certain mass of people no longer have the right to take up space. This is why eugenics has such an ugly dating card – but the blame should fall on the human office, or the “what we do with our information,” and not the information itself. If eugenics were only “limited breeding” based on health factors it rather makes sense. i.e.: If I knew that I had a “bad” gene that could be passed down and would hinder or destroy my child’s life, then I would take necessary precautions to either not have children or ask science to alter the “bad” gene – I would not throw caution to the wind and leave it up to chance. I will even go farther, to address the overpopulation fear – there are too many people living on the earth, and with the growth rate of 1 birth every 8 seconds, and only 1 death every 10 seconds, the earth is in a world of trouble – at this moment the world population is 7,297,467,699+.[2] This is where it is an individual problem – why does one family need more than a normal amount of people? This is not 1862, and Farmer Elijah does not need thirteen young pups to man his field, nor do people have rational fears that their young children will not survive to ten years old. The individual responsibility is to keep one’s family at a reasonable size so that one can give each child a good life.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Darwin, Charles. “The Descent of Man (1871).” Darwin:  A Norton Critical Edition, Texts, Commentary. 3rd ed. Ed. Phillip Appleman. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2001. pp. 175-254.

United States Census Bureau. “U.S. and World Population Clock.” 2016. Web. 8 Jan 2016. http://www.census.gov/popclock/

Picture c/o:  https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/47/22/82/4722825fcf7a9dbd67089499cb6ee153.jpg

[1] Darwin, “The Descent of Man (1871),” p. 245.

[2] Census, “World Population Clock,” 8 Jan 2016, 9:04 a.m.

Social Implications on Darwin’s Dangerous Idea

Darwin’s discoveries were debated because he was not able to offer substantial evidence – one of the reasons he waited twenty years to publish Origin of Species. The social aspects of the response to Darwin’s theory showed society taking natural selection’s abilities into the communal sphere of reality, encouraging capitalism. Bowler and Morus said, “Others stress the parallel between natural selection and the competitive ideology of Victorian capitalism and see Darwin as someone who projected the social values of his own class onto nature itself.”[1] So much for objectivity in masculine science, <smh> smells like corruption through propaganda – after all, Darwin did say that the female skull and brain were smaller than males, and therefore less intelligent and less capable of developing intelligence; he devoted a section to The Descent of Man (1871) entitled “Difference in the Mental Powers of the Two Sexes,” and he summarized in one line: “Thus man has ultimately become superior to woman.”[2] Women were noted as less selfish than men as means to take care of their offspring and subject themselves to male domination – backing up the “cult of domesticity” and place of woman – while man delighted and benefited from competition, thriving on selfish ambition and intellectual powers above lower, and sexually centered, woman.[3] Intellectual powers for males included: observation, reason, invention, or imagination,[4] because they benefited the hunt and were attached to the outside world was woman was chained to the household, her life revolving around producing and rearing children. Evelleen Richards highlighted the negative social issues at play via education limitations that showed few women were allowed or accepted into university – and if they were, it was even less seldom in masculine fields such as science or mathematics.[5] Richards quoted J.N. Burstyn from “Education and Sex: The Medical Case against Higher Education for Women in England, 1870-1900,” and said, “It seemed only a matter of time before middle-class women not only gained the franchise, but would be able to take out degrees and compete professionally with men …”[6] Men did not want to compete with woman possibly for fear of being less intelligent than her, nor did he want to allow room for his servant-wife to grow consciousness and a spine.

Some men, however, took advantage of wealthy women who pined for purpose and a voice: Francesco Algarotti, a Venetian merchant, took to travel and writing to grant him a luxurious salon-life he was accustomed to as protégé of Marchioness Elisabetta Ratta for his poetry and support.[7] He received much contempt from literature and science because, as an author and artist, he was not qualified or respected as a scientist. Algarotti, funded by his ladies, wrote appropriately to address female issues and aptitude. He addressed the ladies because their emotional nature responded to the attention – other male scientists shrugged women off as incapable of being scientists, taking support through Darwin who saw the place of woman as purely sexual and not able to reason like men.[8] Women were attributed as more emotional than men and therefore unable to achieve pure objectivity. As we have discussed in previous weeks, the human ability to remain objective is an impossible feat as each individual is reflective of their own values of societal or religious connotation – elements to cloud reason or form it, dependent on how one thinks. So why then is this imaginary “objectivity” not extended to female scientists if it is extended to males? Well, another aspect of rejected feminist thought might be of use; Bowler and Morus noted the contradictory starting point between gender: “Men typically regard themselves as apart from nature and therefore as needing to be able to control it, while women typically regard themselves as part of nature and therefore as being in harmony with it.”[9] Male scientists want to control nature and women – unfortunately, this whole scam is still going down. Male science may be keeping female scientific-thought out of science for the specific purpose of maintaining control of society and re-instilling the world-view of the earth as a machine because it is more profitable to humankind in terms of progress. If the major consent in society recognized the earth as a living entity then the average “good-natured” person would not want to harm, rape, or destroy anything alive. Women by nature are more empathetic than men, on average, and more emotional – but they are also subject to suppression, and the feminine cause can be attached to many of humanity’s list of victims such as the abolition movement in America that displayed women championing the cause of the oppressed African-American before she had the right to vote herself. It only seems natural then, to saddle the feminine with Mother-Earth to relate to victimization at the hands of the masculine force.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bowler, Peter J. and Iwan Rhys Morus. Making Modern Science: A Historical Survey. Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, 2005.

Darwin, Charles. “The Descent of Man (1871).” Darwin: A Norton Critical Edition, Texts, Commentary. 3rd ed. Ed. Phillip Appleman. New York:  W.W. Norton & Company, 2001. pp. 175-254.

Mazzotti, Massimo. “Newton for Ladies: Gentility, Gender and Radical Culture.” British Journal for the History of Science, 37.133: p. 119-46 ProQuest. Web. 31 Dec 2015.

Richards, Evelleen. “Darwin and the Descent of Woman (1983).” Darwin:  A Norton Critical Edition, Texts, Commentary. 3rd ed. Ed. Phillip Appleman. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2001. pp. 435-444.

Picture c/o:  http://usercontent2.hubimg.com/6464667_f260.jpg

[1] Bowler and Morus, Making Modern Science, p. 143.

[2] Darwin, “The Descent of Man (1871),” p. 234-235.

[3] Darwin, “The Descent of Man (1871),” p. 234-235.

[4] Darwin, “The Descent of Man (1871),” p. 235.

[5] Richards, “Darwin and the Descent of Woman (1983),” p. 441.

[6] Richards, “Darwin and the Descent of Woman (1983),” p. 441.

[7] Mazzotti, “Newton for Ladies: Gentility, Gender and Radical Culture,” p. 124.

[8] Bowler and Morus, Making Modern Science, p. 503.

[9] Bowler and Morus, Making Modern Science, p. 505.

Historical Consideration for Science and Religion

Science and religion offer different methods for the human being to interpret one’s place in the universe. Prior to the Enlightenment, religion was the ultimate authority of information as to where humans came from and what their purpose in life entailed. Science utilized empirical evidence to assert truth while religion required the belief of those who practiced their faith. Both offices ask for society to believe in the policy and procedure ascribed by the officials, however, science offers observable proof to back up their claims. Religion is not empty handed, and the believers incorporate compassionate consideration for the existence of a higher power – displayed not in empirical terms but relying on sentiment, feeling, and a natural connection to their deity. Science and religion are not equal contenders. I see a place for both offices in modern society, I do not see them sitting at the same tables – they are different, and at times, opposing methods used to address the human position.

Science and religion have different theories regarding the origins of existence as well as the place and purpose of homo sapiens. William Paley offered a theory to unite science and religion. His book Natural Theology: or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, Collected from the Appearances of Nature (1802), was required reading at Christ’s College of Cambridge University.[1] The text included the famous metaphor of the watch and the watchmaker, presenting a case for God as the watchmaker to create and tend his watch (life). BMW noted Darwin as developing his theory of natural selection from inspiration presented by Paley; he said, “…Darwin took from his reading of Paley a belief in adaptation – that organisms are somehow fit for the environments in which they live, that their structure reflects the functions they perform throughout their lives.”[2] Religion, when forced to answer difficult questions, had to accept that bad things happened even though God was granted the ability to “fix” any error in the organic world. BMW said, “Paley struggled to reconcile the apparent cruelty and indifference of nature with his belief in a good God, and finally concluded that the joys of life simply outweighed its sorrows.”[3] After all, philosophically, if one does not experience pain and sadness then one will not recognize joy and happiness.

In “Monkey Girl: Evolution, Education, Religion, and the Battle for America’s Soul,” Edward Humes spoke for the Dole Institute on the conflicts of evolutionism and creationist theory. The video showed me that people are completely able to believe different realities based on their subjective perspective regarding how they want to interpret their own existence. In Dover, PA, the teacher and administrators did not want evolution taught in science class. Humes said, “During the presentation on intelligent design, the administers of the district instructed the students not to ask questions.”[4] The fundamental purpose of education is to acquire information by answering questions. Robbing the students of simply questioning authority could result in those students not trusting authority. However, I suppose the belief must fill in all the cracks – the concept is to trust in one’s religion, therefore, those with authority should be in league with the ultimate power. I agree with Humes that teaching evolution is conflictive with religious belief. I think that the offices of religion and science do not belong together, and should not compete with one another anymore than I think home-economics and history should have a duel. They do not coincide or work with each other – one is objective empirical theory and the other is sentimental expression/connection with an outside force. Both, however, are human expressions. If religion wants a school of thought to support it, I think it would be more beneficial to turn to literature and the arts and wisely leave science alone.

The real issue I see is found in education – the information that is presented to the youth. Science offers evolution, and biology rather relies on it to justify medicine, surgery, and technological advances – withholding this information from young minds seems criminal to me, and also when they find out later in life, they may look back spitefully at both science and religion, or really, authority in general. Not providing any answer is still going to present a negative outcome because it makes it look like authority itself does not know what is really going on, therefore, why would anyone believe what authority said sometimes if it was not always aware. Before the Enlightenment, religion was not questioned but accepted as true. Look what happened when the scientific method stormed the stage – society still feels the shudder.

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

BMW. “William Paley (1743-1805).” ucmp.berkeley.edu. 21 Aug 1996. Web. 12 Jan 2016.

Humes, Edward. “Monkey Girl: Evolution, Education, Religion, and theBattle for America’s Soul.” YouTube, 11 May 2012. Web. 11 Jan2016.

Picture c/o:  https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/32/Religion_in_SF.png

[1] BMW, “William Paley.”

[2] BMW, “William Paley.”

[3] BMW, “William Paley.”

[4] Humes, “Monkey Girl,” 20:35-20:40.

Public Opinion of Science

Objectivity requires evidence, experiment, and results. The facts must be preserved at all costs. Scientists aiming to be objective, however, are still starting out from a subjective value system. Bowler and Morus said, “The critics argue that the very foundations of scientific ‘knowledge’ are contaminated by values.”[1]If values overshadow fact, or the scientist’s ability to see the fact for what it is, then objectivity cannot be achieved – the matter has been infected with subjective consideration. Bowler and Morus refer to science as looking at the world through tinted glasses that are guided by the hand that pays for research.[2]During experiments, scientists may perform unpleasant tests in efforts to assert results – a strain is placed on ethical considerations, but science wants to push further to discover truth. The average person cannot understand science, or the processes that the scientist undergoes to achieve results and a mistrustful relationship is result.

In example, Bowler and Morus note that William Whewell, a creationist who relied on divine intervention to explain the mysteries of the world, forbid Darwin’s Origin of Species at Trinity in Cambridge because divine miracle was replaced with natural evolution.[3]Whewell chose his religious belief over the empirical truth of science, and he refused to see biological evidence of a natural human being. Due to his religious value, Whewell was not able to shift his understanding to allow for natural evolution of species. Whewell preferred to see himself as specifically created by God, and he illustrated the great conflict between science and religion – a war Bowler and Morus note as an inevitable win for science.[4] The public reaction to this conflict was surely intense, as the battle still rages today. Although, depending on one’s views, there is not really too much of a “battle” – whichever side one choses is definitive.

Richard Dawkins debated the origin of life with a creationist in 2014. Displaying amazing patience, Dawkins admitted that humanity has a natural tendency to believe – but the motivation does not lie in satisfying an invisible deity. The ability to have belief is a human motivator to encourage order and society.[5] For people to be able to live peacefully among one another, order and authority is used to drive mutual goals.

Bibliography

“Dawkins vs Creationist. Full Debate.” Noam Chomsky. Youtube.com, 15 Jan 2014. Web. Online video. 14 Dec 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qnOIhLZTpg

Bowler, Peter J. and Iwan Rhys Morus. Making Modern Science: A Historical Survey. Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, 2005.

Picture c/o:  http://www.sil.si.edu/digitalcollections/hst/scientific-identity/thumbnails/TNSIL14-W003-05.jpg

[1] Bowler and Morus, Making Modern Science, p. 3.

[2] Bowler and Morus, Making Modern Science, p. 3.

[3] Bowler and Morus, Making Modern Science, p. 5.

[4] Bowler and Morus, Making Modern Science, p. 5.

[5] Noam Chomsky, Richard Dawkins vs. Creationist, 2014.

Essay: Self-Directed Evolution: Transhumanism Eliminates the Struggle of Life

 Self-Directed Evolution:

Transhumanism Eliminates the Struggle of Life

by A.D. Shaffer

{Graduate Studies; originally written for Humanities 551 Spring 2015}

Humanism considers the nature and the experiences of the human being to be the central point to existence. Biology demonstrates the abilities of humankind as evolutionary genetic modifications and alterations to species throughout organic life over exceptionally long periods of time. Transhumanism recognizes the patterns of evolution – the perfecting of species as adaptable to its changing environment – and seizes evolution’s altruistic characteristics so as to expedite the process of preserving and bettering life. No longer will time reign supreme for the possibility of physical immortality. Disease and deformities could be a worry of the past. I intend to show that through the discoveries of science, humanity will be able to alter genetic makeup and bridge another gap between humankind and the unknown as well as developing a new philosophy for understanding these changes. This paper will first address the advancing human consciousness and then consider the progress possible for transhumanism.

Heightened human awareness ushers in advanced consciousness and integral philosophy with growing concerns for many world issues and problems. The advancement of the human consciousness is best understood through a spiral of growth instead of visualizing linear concepts. According to Steve McIntosh the co-founder of The Institute for Cultural Evolution, the levels of consciousness are: archaic, tribal, warrior, traditional, modernist, postmodern, integral, and postintegral. Each corresponding stage is in reaction to the predominant issue of discord from the stage before it: “This dialectical relationship among the stages can be seen in the way that each stage arises in an antithetical reaction to the problems created by the stage that precedes it. And as the stages unfold within the spiral as a whole, we can see how the themes of earlier stages are recapitulated in later stages but with greater degrees of complexity and sophistication” (McIntosh 35). The spiral is perceived in half, right to left – the right expresses the self while the left sacrifices the self. Humanity must learn to balance the betterment of the individual and the universal betterment for all life.

Integral philosophy deals with internal evolution or an evolution of thinking: “Just as the emergence of modernism produced cultural evolution through its new understanding and mastery of the external universe, we will soon begin to see how the emergence of the integral worldview will result in similarly dramatic cultural evolution through its new understanding and mastery of the internal universe” (McIntosh 17-18). Modernism realized the objective and subjective nature of humankind and allowed for scientific progress. Postmodernism saw the coldness of science, and fought against social Darwinism, demanding that all life is equal. The first integral philosopher was Georg W.F. Hegel: “By revealing how history unfolds in a dialectical process wherein conflict makes possible the transformation to a higher state, Hegel laid the foundation for the evolutionary understanding of the universe that has since become central to all scientific and philosophical thought” (McIntosh 160). Integral concerns, which are still in the process of emerging, will include a worldview with universal considerations and empathetic nature to the individual as part of a whole.

Nico & Vinz composed the song Am I Wrong? for what is commonly known as the collective or Anonymous – a group of people who share the same concerns in regards to the continuation of life. Their lyrics suggest a new method for progress, but the concept is only an idea and society attempts to conform their thoughts: “I ain’t tryna do what everybody else doing / Just cause everybody doing what they all do / If one thing I know, I’ll fall but I’ll grow /I’m walking down this road of mine, this road that I call home” (Nico & Vinz). Falling down indicates failure, but the meaning is positive because a lesson is learned. The sprawling political activist group Anonymous has championed this song, and it speaks to every person who has questioned the direction of authority. The song recommends to allow for the individual without reducing the whole of humanity: “Walk to walk and don’t look back, always do what you decide / Don’t let them control your life, that’s just how I feel / Fight for yours and don’t let go, don’t let them compare you, no / Don’t worry, you’re not alone, that’s just how we feel” (Nico & Vinz). The ‘I’ was changed to ‘We’ because Nico & Vinz know that they are not alone in feeling this desire to make the movement real – to issue in integral consciousness.

The Internet greatly assists the human consciousness by connecting the world with technology. Prior to the 1990s, information was gathered the old fashioned way – writing letters or word of mouth. People from dislocated areas were not connected with the Western world, but now technology is reaching out to bring the world online. Integral consciousness starts inside the human being, it is an inkling that something will fix the problems of the world once enough minds are aware that change is required to move forward. Society has not reached a full realization of the importance of preserving all the life in the world, but the institution is on the way. At the moment, a large portion of the Western world is lodged in postmodernism in which it faces: “an intense struggle with traditionalism to define the morality and attract the allegiance of the modernist majority” (McIntosh 61). Postmodernism fails to acknowledge the necessity of the spiral in that the lessons of consciousness lead to the ultimate goal of integral thought. Postmodern thought wants humanity to swallow down lessons that they are not quite ready for – namely the issues of Islam, a nation firmly rooted in traditionalist consciousness and highly tinged with warrior mentality.

Integral consciousness understands the importance of nations of people progressing properly toward enlightenment and beyond. The stages of the spiral are prerequisite before progress can be gained. Nations cannot be forced into a new understanding. McIntosh notes that humanity must experience the spiral:

The rise of postmodern consciousness has now had a significant impact on the politics of the Western democracies. In fact, each new stage of consciousness that has emerged in the sequence of historical development has been endowed with an advantage over the stage that preceded it by virtue of the increased depth and complexity of its values. Warrior consciousness defeats tribal consciousness because of its ruthless ferocity and energetic determination. Traditional consciousness is usually able to defeat warrior consciousness because of its superior organization and group discipline. Modernist consciousness overcomes traditional consciousness as a result of its technological and industrial superiority. And postmodern consciousness finds its advantage over modernism in its unique ability to bring about change through nonviolent political action and moral strength (57).

Everything alive is required to change so as to continue onward. Geological elements set the standard, and organic life is forced to respond to fluctuating nature. Consciousness or the ability to recognize and be aware of those changes is in itself an element of evolution. For human beings evolution has occurred inside the intellect. Adaptability is a gift of natural selection, it is a way for species to adjust their internal makeup or external abilities to better evolve with the habitat. In his piece “Zoological Philosophy (1809),” Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine De Monet Lamarck discussed the ability to change one’s habits so as to fit with the ever-changing world, and in doing so he addressed the phasing out of one organ to issue a more appropriate and successful attempt at continued life: “Hence we may infer that when some change in the environment leads to a change of habit in some race of animals, the organs that are less used die away little by little, while those which are more used develop better, and acquire a vigor and size proportional to their use” (45). Much like evolution’s encouragement to species to adjust to the physical world, consciousness also adjusts to understand that world must change to allow for progress. Environment issues the playing field in which species must adapt to survive. However, modern human beings are able to control the environment in which they live – the ancients would view modern peoples as gods.

The way something is in existence is partially dependent on how the human mind perceives that something to be, and how humanity handles life is becoming less of a struggle with a greater consciousness. As the human race becomes more empathetic society will better accommodate acceptance. Ethical concerns arise over basic scientific issues with genetic enhancement such as side effects or animal abuse, but ultimately the fear of altering human nature is abundant. However, human nature is a changing thing that is also affected by evolution. Also, changing is the way in which consciousness perceives reality. Human nature is more advanced in modern times than it was in the ancient world – this is due to the adaptive abilities of humanity. In Radical Evolution, Jaron Lanier notices two areas of human progress: technological and moral. The moral incline of evolution can be understood when considering the past actions of humanity: “… those who deny the existence of a moral incline are not in touch with the enthusiasm humans once brought to raping, pillaging and burning” (Garreau 210). During the time of the Romans – known as the Golden Age – gladiators battled wild beasts and enslaved men till the death for entertainment, today these acts of savagery would be unheard of. Fear of losing human nature is impossible; although human nature is apt to change, the advances of science will not extinguish the nature of man but usher it further.

McIntosh notes the concern for human nature, but he describes human nature as selfish, war hungry, and a have or have-nots society – why would society fear the loss of these negatives characteristics? The fact that human nature evolves along with the physical self is a boon for integral thinking, and the evolution of the nature of man will permit transhumanistic implantation as acceptable. Currently, artificial enhancement is already present in modern America as seen every time a person puts on a pair of glasses or chews with false teeth. Humanity has been partially artificial for over a hundred years, easily. Scientific capabilities are an extension of man, or an expression of the human experience and therefore natural. Artificial intelligence is manmade but the process for humankind to utilize machines is definitely natural. Intelligence is humanity’s modifier of evolution; through the human ability to perceive and contemplate, people can imagine what-if scenarios as means to solve problems by envisioning the possible outcome so that human beings have surpassed natural evolution (Garreau 72). Evolution offers many gifts, the human responsibility is to experiment with one’s contemplative intelligence in order to discover or create new avenues to perfection.

Perfection needs clarified to mean the most suited to success as per evolutionary means toward advanced organic life. Perfection took on a new meaning in Aldous Huxley’s futuristic piece A Brave New World in which humanity was reduced to Alphas or Epsilons, world controllers or sewage workers (13). The Epsilons do not require intelligence like the Alphas do, and the Hatchery is working on genetic formulas to speed up the physical growth of the Epsilons so that they could begin labor at ten years old. The Alphas are removed from humanity. In order to avoid the upset of emotions, Alphas regularly take pills – somas – to remove experience, Lenina says, “A gramme is always better than a damn” (90). The people prefer virtual simulations to human interactions and no longer copulate as reproduction is handled at the Hatchery through incubation. Bernard refuses the culture and the soma, preferring the New Mexico holiday to be a reality instead of forced perfection and separation from the emotions.

Emotions are an evolutionary advancement that allows for species to connect with others to form society. Humanity is a known social creature, and the recipe is in the genes. Matt Ridley discusses ‘the selfish gene’ theory to determine the social interests of humankind; he said, “{Human beings} come into the world equipped with predispositions to learn how to cooperate, to discriminate the trustworthy from the treacherous, to commit themselves to be trustworthy, to earn good reputations, to exchange goods and information, and to divide labor” (522). The goal of trustworthiness is a social concern; humans want to be able to trust members of society. Human beings thrive in numbers and are not meant to live solitary lives. The evolution of emotions can be seen in the civil rights movements – people did not always care for the less fortunate as they do in postmodern times.

Morality is the ability to discern right from wrong as applicable to the society one wants to live in. Frans De Waal acknowledged morality in animals and recognized an advanced moral code in human beings. Evolution created morality: “Evolution has produced the requisites for morality: a tendency to develop social norms and enforce them, the capacities of empathy and sympathy, mutual aid and a sense of fairness, the mechanisms of conflict resolution, and so on” (Waal 513). Morality is a priori and a biological process accredited to genetic code. Morals belong to the human being and not to any spiritual or government office. Waal continues to prove that morality is a neurological process and not dependent on the heart: “Once thought of as purely spiritual matters, honesty, guilt, and the weighing of ethical dilemmas are traceable to specific areas of the brain. … The human brain is a product of evolution” (517). Ethics are inherent in human nature, yet religion has laid claim to morality. As humanity continues to ride the spiral of consciousness, the religious concerns of traditionalism will fade away to make room for transhumanistic endeavors.

Enhanced humans will create an advanced norm that a natural human will never attain. Joel Garreau discusses the future possibilities of transhumanism through genetic enhancement in his text Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies – and What It Means to Be Human. He describes three scenarios: Heaven, Hell, and Prevail. The scenarios are dependent on Moore’s Law and the upcoming Singularity. Technological advances such as gaming devices, cellular phones, laptops and the Internet are truly important aspects of modern human life. While in Silicon Valley, Garreau noted, “I have spoken to people who say they consider regular human relationships superfluous and outdated, that they get everything they need from the computer. They say that and mean it; they’re not kidding around” (63). Human dependency on machines is an everyday norm for modern America. In the average American home, even families that still sit down to dinner together typically resort to communication via text message over actually speaking to each other face to face. The Curve as well as human dependency on machines escalate each year, pushing towards the inevitable moment when the machines are able to control themselves and humans are no longer necessary…the Singularity: “This greater-than-human intelligence in turn proceeds to replicate and improve itself at such a rate as to exceed comprehension” (Garreau 82). Once the Singularity occurs, humanity will hold no authority. However, Garreau does not believe that will come to a head, he prefers the Prevail scenario as a balanced transhuman effort.

Before delving into the Heaven and Hell Scenarios one must understand the Singularity. Ray Kurzweil describes the upcoming Singularity as an exponential theory that the doubling of matter and technological advances will lead humanity to a point where nothing works anymore, to a singular point that humanity cannot come back from. In his TEDtalk “A University for the Upcoming Singularity,” Kurzweil notes that linear thinking will not solve this issue as Moore’s Law will run out in 2020, but exponential growth will work in the fourth dimension continuing progress. Moore’s Law decrees that reproduction will act in a doubling effect and spiral out of control. The Singularity holds that humans will not be needed, and the robotic force will exist without the fleshy human bodies taking up so much space. In efforts to slow down the process towards the Singularity becoming a current reality, Garreau presented the Heaven and Hell Scenarios.

The Heaven Scenario involves optimistic endeavors to adjust and enhance the human being using nanotechnology and genetics. In this scenario, the enhanced humans hold emotional value and pity for the natural humans, and gracefully skip into progress with their friendly robots in tow. Genetics currently comes in two kinds: somatic gene therapy and germ-line engineering. The former affects the genes that have gone bad in one person, but the latter is able to alter the genes that would be passed down through reproduction (Garreau 116). Ethical concerns worry for the future children who may not want gene alteration, and the added chromosomes may not sit well with the human composition. Ray Kurzweil sees greater love in the future and supports the Heaven Scenario. This greater love is a higher consciousness: humanity has a hold on survival and can now focus attention on participating, preserving, and enjoying life. Kurzweil refers to The Curve, or exponential growth, as a force of nature: “Like evolution, it is simply a pattern of life to be recognized, the outcome of billions of small actions. {Kurzweil} calls it ‘The Law of Accelerating Returns’” (Garreau 94). The deciding factor rests on the morality inside human nature to reach for the good.

As expected, the Hell Scenario is the pessimistic opposite of the Heaven Scenario. Here humanity is grotesquely mutilated by genetics gone awry and subjected to slavery by the dominant machines: “Probably more important is the ‘yuck-factor’ – the visceral rejection of technologies that are seen as anti-human. Headlines about human cloning produced one of the more vivid Hell Scenarios” (Garreau 171). Respected scientist Bill Joy is a member of this theory. In his TEDtalk, Joy notes his concern for the possibility of abusing nanotechnology. Joy is exceptionally concerned for self-reproducing nanobots or the ability of robotic machines to make more machines via the robotic will and not that of human will. Despite the depression Joy found himself in with studies of human extinction and the Singularity, he does see positives in three areas. Educational tools – such as computers and laptops – will lessen in cost while rising in speed and ability, environment issues find hope with nanomaterials which not only conduct but can also produce electricity, and human innovation in methods of defense through medicine to reduce a pandemic are all probable and possible (Joy). These possibilities can be reached, but Joy does not believe unlimited power with genetic alteration will benefit society. Regulations and rules are needed to govern genetics much like any other advancement. Joy calls for containment of information and demands some type of insurance for catastrophic risks.

Ancient minds reached for the gods, alchemists searched for the philosopher’s stone, and religion issued pilgrimages for the cup of Christ: the goal immortality. Scientists seized the torch and created reality for the imaginative mind through acknowledging the human genome in the twentieth century, and nanotechnology takes off from human abilities to act as an extension of species. The human ability to imagine allows for the acceptance of change to be a more comfortable reality. Fiction, as demonstrated with the twentieth century, pushed the boundaries of the human imagination: “Novels stretched our conceptions of human-created Heaven, kick-starting our thinking about what was possible, forcing us to change our perception of what was serious” (Garreau 109). Fiction familiarizes the imagined reality to become a probability. Science looked at fiction and saw a glimmer of reality to expand on through biological means – the alteration of genetic code.

Fixing what is broken is the initial concern of genetic alteration – cure the sick, repair structures, and implement immunities. In his piece “CRISPR – Technology and Controversy,” Dr. Shouguang Jin discusses the abilities of CRISPR to repair damaged DNA: “In theory, then, hereditary features that people consider advantageous, such as higher intelligence, better body appearance and longevity, can be introduced into an individual’s genome through CRISPR mediated reproductive cell modifications as well.” Regulations to alter the genome do not yet exist, but something is halting research. The transhumanistic desire to improve humanity is held back by ethical concerns. Why would society turn away from repairing one’s DNA? Overpopulation factors stiffen the reserve to resist progress.

Overpopulation is a major concern for the world as it is a current serious threat to the continuation of humanity. Modern scientists estimate that humanity may face extinction due to overpopulation because the world is not able to sustain more than nine billion people (Boundless). The World Population Clock keeps track of the number of people existing and states on average a new life is born every eight seconds while one life ends every thirteen seconds (Census). Overpopulation is a rational fear. Due to the technological and genetic advances of humankind, the threat of natural selection cursor to extinction appears to be a problem of the past – however, the causation for the longevity in continued lifespan could, in fact, be humanity’s downfall. Not only has the reproduction rate escaladed over the past two hundred years but the individual life expectancy rate has also doubled. Overpopulation is a natural issue as well as an ethical concern. As of June 12th of 2014 at 11:35 a.m., the total number of people alive on the earth was 7,249,376,950 billion (Census). Thomas Robert Malthus wrote “An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798)” in which he insisted that “… the power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man” (39). Malthus means that the earth is not naturally able to produce enough food for the number of individuals alive to be properly nourished.

Hank from the SciShow discussed “The Science of Overpopulation” in an online video. While he supports that the Industrial Revolution cured Malthus’ ills, Hank feels that humanity did take the threat seriously; Malthus’ piece encouraged a lessened reproduction rate, with the rate dropping from 1.3 million to 1.1 million (SciShow). Genetic abilities to resist death will create a greater issue of continued reproduction with no lessening in numbers. Marvin Minsky suggests immortality is possible in his video “Health and the Human Mind.” Minsky jokes about nanotechnology reducing the size of human beings so less space is taken up, or a single child sharing forty-six parents in a time-share method to reduce population. In Minsky’s future, people would have the ability to be immortal, but they would be stored on hard drives, coming out only every few thousands years to live a thousand years and then being placed back in storage so as to permit others time to live (Minsky). Nature can only sustain a certain amount of people, but humanity has surpassed the abilities of evolution to genetically modify food, plant and animal alike.

Pamela Ronald argues that modern genetics are the most effective method in agriculture in her TEDtalk “The Case for Engineering our Food.” After a decade of experimentation and research, Ronald isolated a gene in rice to allow the rice to survive flooding. If alteration can be accepted by society, this improved rice would not perish during the heavy flood months, thus avoiding famine for the people who rely on rice as a main sustenance. Genetically improved seeds will grow larger and healthier plants, and genetic improvements also encourage eco-friendly actions (Ronald). Malthus’ concerns for the earth producing enough food for humanity to survive are thus adverted by scientific advancement through genetic modification. Many Americans are uncomfortable with genetically modified food, and a large influx of holistic and natural food products are present in the country.

Production of food is not the main concern in regards to starvation because the world is able to manufacture through industry and double through genetic modification. Pete Alcorn opposes the predictions of Malthus because he did not allot for the evolutionary characteristics of humankind. Malthus was not counting on the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century in which humankind now holds the ability to produce enough food (Alcorn). The proper distribution of food and resources could save world hunger if obesity were to subside. Ellen Gustafson, a philanthropist who co-founded FEED and created “The 30-Project”, notes that there are one billion people starving and one billion people obese. While obesity is a result of overeating and neglecting exercise, what types of food one consumes also has a large role. Corn, grain, and wheat make up the majority of the American diet – filler food with lackluster nutrients. The obese nations have plenty of products to eat, but they eat the incorrect types of food. Processed foods lead to diabetic health risks as well as obesity. As the processed food is imported to other nations the health risk percentage rise in a global effect: “Internationally, WHO projects that by 2015, approximately 2.3 billion adults will be overweight and more than 700 million will be obese” (Gustafson). Gustafson proposes a thirty-year plan to cultivate a revised successful food plan to be made available for the entire world population to benefit.

Feeding the whole world would allow for the poorest members of humanity to move up the ramp of civilization, but the process of progress can only be realized once basic needs of survival are met. Dr. Hans Rosling acknowledges the area of humanity in which large population is due to poverty status, and he illustrates the influence of educated thought and preconceived notions to extinguish the myth of overpopulation extinction in his video “The Overpopulation Myth”. The world population graph shows that with education families reduce the number of children per household to ensure a better quality of life. By educating the women of these countries about birth control and basic sexual processes, the women understand that their body belongs to them. The women of Bangladesh are learning a fundamental concept of the personal rights of the individual, and are becoming aware to the value of smaller family size. Though progress seems to move slowly, within fifty years family size has been reduced from eight children per couple to two children in Bangladesh, and Dr. Rosling accredits democracy for directing some of the changes. In a previous TEDtalk, “Global Population Growth, Box by Box,” Dr. Rosling demonstrated the problem with overpopulation as an economic concern. The poorest people want to be able to eat everyday while the richest people want to fly away for vacation throughout the year. If the richest cultures would assist the poorest cultures – through education and limited mutual aid – the poor could move up slowly, to advance to wanting a bicycle and eventually an automobile instead of just dreaming of owning a pair of shoes (Rosling “Global Growth”). The poorest peoples cannot be expected to assume the richest society; much like the spiral of consciousness, realities must be assumed slowly so as to ensure the value of human experience is implemented.

Until the population increase better improves, the concept of extending the human life span seems like a slippery slope. As means to prevent death and suffering, science and medicine battle to eliminate the struggle for life by thwarting evolution. Humanity has surpassed natural selection and is steaming ahead towards progress as a transhumanistic force. In her piece “We are All Cyborgs Now,” Amber Case notes that humanity cannot turn its nose up to genetic modification because human society is already dependent on unnatural enhancements. Computers and cellphones are external brains, according to Case, who points out that the majority of Americans depend upon their machines. From asking Siri how to spell a word to late night steamy text messages, human beings enjoy their cellphones – especially their smart phones so as to connect online. Unsure if machines are connecting humankind or conquering humanity disguised as assistants, Case finds interest in the ethical debate regarding the incorporation of robotic intelligence into daily life because she notes that robots have been in our lives for over twenty years. Computers are not the first machines that have been integrated into the modern home. Televisions are common in nearly every room of the American household.

Nick Bostrom is also concerned with artificial intelligence becoming “smart” like a human being. In his TEDtalk “What Happens When Our Computers Get Smarter Than We Are?” Bostrom wonders which values will be preserved: those of the machine or those of humankind. Robotic intelligence can process information faster than humans and can store unlimited amounts of data. Garreau mentioned “smart water” surrounding a super-bowl dome to act as a security device against terrorism (70). The “smart water” is able to detect the prescience of not only people but also something as small as a nanobot. In 2015 nearly every American has a “smart phone” which includes a basic robotic assistant. The fear for human nature is that the robotic creations will surpass their creator – and naturally assume a devious nature intent on enslaving the creator race. I disagree as I cannot understand my iPhone as malicious – that is a trait reserved for humanity. The issue with fear inside human nature is that intelligent human beings question everything and sort out what-if scenarios to ensure the best possible method is practiced. In doing so, humanity forgets that other beings do not function along the same path of inquisition because they have not received the same lessons of evolution. Robotic creatures are not wired the same way that human beings have evolved.

Human beings accept artificial intelligence in the form of replacement limbs or organs for afflicted individuals. In current times, an elderly person who underwent hip replacement surgery is viewed as a successful senior and not as a cyborg. Society accepts medical advancement as well as cosmetic surgery and enhancements. Currently, the cosmetic craze involves collagen filled lips and Brazilian Butt-Lifts. Aesthetic beauty is a force of culture, and transhumanism will permit the individual to look however they want – even if that includes growing fluorescent wings that display messages of one’s emotions like Lanier suggested by mutating the glowing octopi (Garreau). Once integral philosophy is better understood humanity will be able to make exceptions for the genetically enhanced. Uri Dowbenko wrote “Transhumanism: The Anti-Human ‘Singularity’ Agenda” for wakingtimes.com. The website addresses the modern fears of transhumanism and shows concern for the human being in spiritual matters. The desire for an illusion of an all-powerful god will lessen as humanity becomes able to create and cure life, resulting in an advanced spirituality as replacement for religion – an evolution of spirit. Dowbenko fears the transhumanist will create a new god or become a god oneself. Until Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species, science and religion could be seen as working together, but the biological means as replacement for creation separated the elements of thought. The documentary “TechnoCalyps” defines transhumanism as the advancement of humanity via artificial means; it began as a vision of religion but became a scientific path to fine-tune the human body for immortal qualities (Theys). Whether repairing the ill or preserving the well, transhumanism aims to lengthen the human lifespan, and in doing so will override natural evolution.

INLOGY Documentaries produced the piece “Bionics, Transhumanism and the End of Evolution” to show the possible factors implicated with genetic alteration. Bionic humans as well as transhumans are processes projected only for the elite few while the rest of humanity will act as the working class. This negative view of humanity displays the inherent fear of the unknown. The worst of humanity will behave as badly as they can with no regard to ethical awareness. Monster Quest aired the episode “Joseph Stalin’s Humanzee Experiments” to show the ugly side of genetics. In efforts to create a more savage army, in 1932, Stalin had chimpanzees impregnated with human embryos. The video interviews locals who insist that Zena was a result of the Humanzee experiments, and they note her to have produced a son named Quib who’s tooth later analyzed included human and chimp DNA (Monster Quest). Crossbreeding species is a terrifying and unethical consideration, but the advantages to Stalin’s army would have been notable. Ethics request caution because knowledge is a powerful tool – if that power is placed in the wrong hands then unimaginable horrors are possible.

The 1930s issued negative vibes for any form of eugenics or genetic alteration. The actions of Adolf Hitler’s unethical experimentation on the Jewish people fueled ethical concern. Edmund Ramsden’s article “Confronting the Stigma of Eugenics: Genetics, Demography and the Problems of Population” discusses the bad taste eugenics left in society’s mouth. By the 1960s the ideals of eugenics shown a stigma transformation resulted from “its ability to allow geneticists and demographers to conceive of eugenic improvement in ways that seemed consistent with the ideals of individuality, diversity and liberty” (Ramsden 853). Harnessing the values of democracy made eugenics less evil, however, the nature-nurture issues that were realized in the 1970s still keep eugenics in an undesirable closet – morality and ethical concern keep the door locked.

Humanity is not comfortable with experiments being practiced on animals or human embryos. In the SciShow episode “The Science Behind ‘Genetically Modified Humans,’” Hank discusses germ-line engineering. Science is able to alter the DNA of children to be immune to diseases through the use of the RNA and CRISPR technology by replacing mutated genes with preferable genes. Altering the human genome, however, is not ethically sound as the GME is noted as tricky and outcomes are not guaranteed (SciShow “Genetically Modified”). Ethics cannot tolerate human embryos to be subjected to experiments. Scientifically, working inside the embryo holds keys to the origin of species. In Darwin’s piece “The Descent of Man” the likenesses of embryotic form between human and dog is strikingly similar; Darwin said, “It may, however, be added, that the human embryo likewise resembles certain low forms when adult in various points of structure. … Even at a later embryonic period, some striking resemblances between man and the lower animals may be observed” (“The Descent of Man” 182). Over one hundred and fifty years has passed since Darwin related humankind to the animal kingdom, it is high time ethics understood the necessity for experimentation. For progress to continue, ethics must allow for experimentation either on human embryos or other embryos that closely resemble humankind. Paul Root Wolpe calls for regulations to be set for genetic practices in his video “It’s Time to Question Bio-engineering.” A compromise must be met so that science may progress with an ethical edge.

Transhumanism bothers not only ethics but also the ideals realized in the enlightenment. In “Introduction: Toward a Critique of Posthuman Futures,” Bart Simon said, “The revolutionary Enlightenment narratives that challenged an oppressive feudal order and re-envisioned ‘man’ as rational, autonomous, unique, and free have been in turn challenged and deconstructed” (4). Humanism demonstrates the abilities of humankind as purely natural human traits not dependent on outside sources. Posthumanism to Simon is seen as anti-humanism, reaching outside of humanity’s natural abilities to incorporate artificial intelligence as a lessening to the human structure. However, the intelligence created was crafted by humankind, and the idea was realized by humankind – artificial intelligence is an extension of the natural and not a means to replace the original. The success or failure in morality will be dependent on the inherent goodness of progress – goodness as a further perfection – as humanity continues to mimic the path of evolution. R.U. Sirius and Jay Cornell man a website called “Criticisms of Transhumanism” to discuss the book Transcendence: The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and The Singularity. In attempts to shatter the objections to transhumanism, the fears are broken down into four groups: feasibility, direct danger, indirect danger, and morality (Sirius and Cornell). Significant numbers of people distrust the abilities of science and do not support transhumanistic efforts. However, if society would allow for integral philosophy, the transition would not be as upsetting.

The fear of scientific progress is unnerving for a large portion of human beings. Michael Specter urges society to embrace the discoveries and abilities of science in his TEDtalk “The Danger of Science Denial.” Science is credited for the advancement of medicine, but society screams for blame to be placed on science for the disturbing rise in autism. Specter notes that “frankenfood” bans discredit GMO enhanced food products, and vaccines are taking the heat for autism. However, he reminds society that vaccines keep disease away from humanity. Prior to medicine and vaccines the mortality rate was a great deal lower than current standards of life expectancy (Specter). Even two hundred years ago, if one lived to be fifty they were considered elderly. In contrast to modern society, a person is considered elderly when they no longer can care for themselves. The discoveries of science must be embraced to ensure further advancement.

The rising consciousness of integral concerns will calm humanity’s reserves for transhumanistic endeavors. Time is required for understanding, and humanity should look to the example set by evolution to allow for gradual acceptance. Human beings use of machines goes back to the wheel – the natural edge of humanity is innovation. Society must embrace the innovative intellect and not cowardly turn away from progress. The future of the human race is difficult to imagine, but with the direction of science, and caution of ethics, the race of humankind will create their own future, forging ahead by means that modern minds cannot fathom.

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Essay: Schematics of Belief against Factual Theory

Creation vs. Evolution:

Schematics of Belief against Factual Theory

by A.D. Shaffer

{Graduate Studies; originally written for Humanities 551 Spring 2015}

Biology and spirituality are two separate identifiers of the human species. The physical biology of homo sapiens sapiens is immutable by humankind while spirituality varies dependent on culture, geographic location, and individual understanding; the former being the fiber of life, and the latter being a personal choice, albeit influenced by culture. I argue that concerns of religion, especially in matters of the origins of species, are in no matter qualified to outweigh the theories and discoveries of science. Science and religion are not equal opponents – belief should not be able stand up to fact when put to the test; however, as per human understanding, much credence is placed on one’s spiritual concerns. The betterment of the individual is achieved through “right living,” but the factors of morality are not exclusive to religious interpretation. Morals are a boon of natural selection and are evident in genetic code whereas religion is an interpretation of the history of life.

Morality and ethics are modified characteristics of modern humankind in which evolutionary fingers urge homo sapiens sapiens toward the betterment of species through social concerns. Human emotion is seen as a gift and a curse of nature in which the former allows for happiness, love, and fulfillment; and the latter holds implications of regretted obligation and duty to humankind. Individual ethics are influenced by one’s culture and experience. Society formed to feed the nature of humankind to interact and benefit from a communal setting. Philosophers from the Sophists to Victorians acknowledged culture as a taming mechanism for human nature in direct relation to the selfishness inherent in humankind (Ridley 518). Humankind as a selfish creature is not a new consideration; Thomas Hobbes addressed the need for order in Leviathan, in which he depicted the warring nature of humans. Hobbes saw humans as power hungry, he said, “So that in the first place, I put for a general inclination of all mankind, a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death” (343). To limit the power of humans, “artificial man” or government, is implemented in which the matters of right and wrong may be deliberated.

Much like religion, government is not the sole supporter of a balanced life. Nature considers the struggle of life and offers natural means to continue existence. Peter Kropotkin discussed the importance of support, both within and without species separation, in his piece Mutual Aid, and he argued for the importance of cooperation, as chaos was not realistic as the phrase “survival of the fittest” implied, but: “…life in societies is no exception in the animal world; it is the rule, the law of Nature, and it reaches its fullest development with the higher vertebrates” (402). Humans inherited sophisticated societal instincts that are present in other animals, just not as advanced as the human component. Cultures are the expression of these instincts, with reoccurring themes of emotion: “Instincts, in a species like the human one, are not immutable genetic programmes; they are predispositions to learn. … Society was not invented by reasoning men. It evolved as part of our nature. It is as much a product of our genes as our bodies are” (Ridley 519). Culture, the fabric that makes up society, is responsible for individual interpretation and implementation of ethical concerns.

Components of culture include, among others, family, language, and belief. Influence on the individual comes from the contact and authority issued from one’s culture. However, the a priori need to belong to society is found in genetics: “Seeing morality for what it is, a legacy of evolution rather than a reflection of eternal, divinely inspired verities, is part of this understanding” (Ruse and Wilson 511). Human beings arrive in life with an ingrained morality in which it is then manipulated and cultivated by the parents as well as the community. Religion is a strong regulator of the concerns and direction of culture. Organized religion issues the laws of their deity in addition to the laws of nature. But what happens when these laws differ? For Western thought, the predominant religion is Christianity. The struggle for the modern Christian mind is to accept or refuse the law of nature: evolution. Modern attempts are made to placate myth for truth, and believers will go to any means necessary to ensure they reserve a place for their comfort blanket – religion – in the darkness of nature.

Resistance to accepted scientific thought is convoluted matter. In example, biology declares the mortality of man, or that anything that is alive will not live forever but will suffer physical death. Christianity holds that believers will live forever in heaven – the catch is they refer to one’s soul and not one’s eternal physical life. The modern theme of religious thought is a focus on life after death; therefore, an individual is encouraged to live a good life so one’s afterlife is pleasant. The authority championed by religious thought is morality, yet ethics is noted by biology as being an evolutionary modifier – morals exist within humankind regardless of one’s belief in a higher power. Morality indirectly determines the individual’s ability to participate or conform to society so as to allow humankind to interact and benefit from one another: “Evolution has produced the requisites for morality: a tendency to develop social norms and enforce them, the capacities of empathy and sympathy, mutual aid and a sense of fairness, the mechanisms of conflict resolution, and so on” (Waal 513). The wants and needs of humankind, including the lure of society, is a genetic formula. Ethics are a result of genetics in which “ethics as we understand it is an illusion fobbed off on us by our genes to get us to cooperate…ethics is a shared illusion of the human race. If it were not so, it would not work. The moral ones among us would be outbred by the immoral” (Ruse and Wilson 510). Ethical concern is a natural means to reduce the inherent selfishness of humankind.

Through an ethical lens, religion could be understood to guide the biological yearning for order in which science could support the efforts through evolutionary abilities. Science and religion could see the benefit of each other if the elements were given the proper space to breathe instead of one begetting the other one. Science is the action of physical intelligent thought while religion is the consideration of the spiritual. Both science and religion support ethics, though the former demands for natural as opposed to metaphysical order, regardless of origin: “We need something to spur us against our usual selfish dispositions. Nature, therefore, has made us (via the rules) believe in a disinterested moral code, according to which we ought to help our fellows” (Ruse and Wilson 508). Science and religion are vastly different entities, yet modern thought entertains the notion of allowing them the same considerations in regards to the beginning of life. While upsetting to creationists’ stomachs and humors, it could be that religion is in fact a production of evolution to allow for hope inside of humanity.

However, science produces too many realistic concerns that contradict the beliefs of the spiritual. Two sides emerge for the question of origins – Creationism and Evolution; however, Scott notes, “Most members of the public define the creation/evolution controversy dichotomously with creationists on one side and evolutionists on the other, but in truth there is a continuum of positions rather than a dichotomy” (Scott 267). The latter is limited to fact, theory, and scientific reasoning. The former is open to human interpretation and varied opinions of numerous groups, to include: Deism, Flat Earthism, Geocentrism, Young Earth Creationism, Gap, Day-Age, Progressive, Intelligent Design, Theistic Evolution, and Materialistic Evolution (Scott 267). These groups, ranging in radicalism, assume the bits of science in which support their beliefs while discarding those that do not indicate the presence of a creator. The deists are alone in their understanding as they acknowledge a laissez-faire Creator who created life then sat back to watch what would transpire. Fault may be drawn at this point as the multitude of creation theories cannot agree amidst themselves, let alone when faced with the truth of science.

The age of the planet is proven by science to be over four billion years old. In creationist theory, the earth is said to follow the designs of Genesis, literally depicting the existence as six thousand years. Religion clouds reality in great measures of time in which creationists insist the length of a day was different for God. Utilizing the power of persuasion, Christian interpreters twist the metaphors in the Bible so that a single day could happen outside the abilities of time. The Orthodox Jewish opinion of Rabbi Simon Schwab “hypothesized that time was compressed during the Six Days of creation; the Earth rotated much faster and all other processes were similarly speeded up, so that God’s ‘Cosmic Days’ of creation lasted billions of years according to our human frame of reference” (McIver 550). Religion relies primarily on interpretation, and the length of the day justification is a metaphoric manipulation of religion on science to make truth fit belief.

The Catholic bible states that God created the planet, solar system, and all organic life in six days and rested on the seventh; in the first creation story, man and woman are created on the fifth day, at the same time: “God created man in his image; / in the divine image he created him; / male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). However, in the second story of creation, God is noted for creating man first and allowing him to name all the animals; only later does He create woman because man is lonely without a partner (Genesis 2). Why include two stories of creation: for obedience. The second creation myth depicts woman as coming from man, ultimately making her subservient: “This one, at last, is bone of my bones / and flesh of my flesh; / This one shall be called ‘woman,’ / for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken” (Genesis 2:23). Whereas the first creation myth shows man and woman holding equal creation matters, the second myth places woman after the animals. Adam can be seen as being created for the pleasure of God, and Eve respectively created for Adam’s pleasure. Inside nature Adam witnessed the male and female species joining as one being. Even in dogmatic law, man is seen looking to the natural world for direction.

If religion is only means of manipulation to control the masses, then why is it in human nature to long for a creator? In a debate against a creationist, Richard Dawkins addressed the human ability and desire to believe in God through psychological and evolutionary means; the former being the comfort afforded humanity from the belief in an higher power, and the latter being natural selection shaping the brain of our ancestors to hold a predisposition to believe in higher authority so as to instinctually understand obedience (Sinobiological.com). Religion is means to tame the natural mind, affording society influence through the direction given of religious leaders. In exchange for individual belief and free will, religion relies on the compassion of humanity to reach for the good in life. But compassion is not a direct gift of deity either and is also tied to the evolutionary traits of species, finding origin in the animal kingdom. Robert Wright notes the origins of human compassion are found in kin-selection and reciprocal altruism, in which the allowances for mutual aid benefited animal life (Wright). Compassion, though heavily relied on by religion, is an evolutionary modifier of natural selection just like morality, ethics, and obedience. While these characteristics of humanity are utilized by authorities such as government and religion, the credit for these factors are found through science in which these longings are known as purely biological in nature.

Science enjoys simple truth over flowery interpretation. The beauty and grace of evolution is that while it appears to be so complex that many require the need for a creator, it is a simple process of species selecting the best means to progress. The insistence for an intelligent designer is requisite in creationist theory, but Dawkins illustrates the absurdity of the assumption. Dawkins said, “You can’t use the intelligent designer to explain anything because you have to explain where the intelligent designer came in the first place. The whole beauty of evolution is that it explains how you start with simplicity and work up to complexity, to the illusion of design” (Sinobiological.com). Evolution works because it is a natural process in which life struggles for survival to the best of its natural ability. The elegance of evolution is impressive and needs not rely on a hominid prescience for construction. Humankind is so egocentric that the creationist mind affords for all life to be in direct relation to the human experience.

The implementation of scientific thought follows a different formula than that of superstition and religion. Science has a way of disenchanting life by exposing data of proof. Science explores ‘mysteries’ to find reason and logic instead of accepting magical or supernatural components whereas theology is steeped in mysticism: “In the contemporary evangelical world and beyond, salvation ideas are found in the idea that God designed the molecular natural world and has ultimate power over individual genetic body space” (Jenkins 1694). Jenkins addresses the rewriting of biology to fit cultural restraints to fit a particular religion: “…a repertoire employs gene as cultural icon (symbolic engagement), embeds this symbol in cultural debates of scientific naturalism and genetic essentialism (disputatious engagement), and well executes scientific performance (performative engagement), the resulting organizational legitimation has the potential to resonate deeply throughout a subculture, to enchant and reinforce the mystical in contemporary experiences of the world” (1695). Media is seen as a tool to implicate culture, a powerful medium to sway the thoughts of the audience.

Culture holds on to mysticism by implying the need for superstition. In Review of Johnson (1992), Eugenie C. Scott clarifies the differences of naturalism and evolution, placing science with a non-theistic (as opposed to anti-theistic) view in which he addresses the issues with supernatural origin: “The problem with supernatural explanations is that, correct or incorrect, they cannot be rejected, and science proceeds by rejecting explanations rather than ‘proving’ them true” (590). The allure of the supernatural of creationist thought is found inside of fear – the Christian mind is afraid for evolution to be correct: “…if evolution by natural selection (Darwinism) really happened, then it is not possible for life to have purpose and for the universe and Earth to have been designed by an omnipotent, personal God. He feels that life would have no meaning, and moral and ethical systems would have no foundation” (Scott Review of Johnson 586). Evolution is prepared to address these concerns. Morals and ethics are traits apparent in human DNA to instill order and obedience, and the meaning of life is seen as progression towards perfection of species via natural selection. Evolutionary matters address the oneness of life, including the complexities of humankind but not limited to the human experience. Evolution allows for growth of all organic life and silently demonstrates the story of our origins.

Works Cited

Hobbes, Thomas. “Leviathan.” Main Currents of Western Thought: Readings in Western

European Intellectual History from the Middle Ages to the Present. 4th ed. Ed. Franklin

LeVan Baumer. New Haven, Massachusetts: Yale University Press, 1978. pp. 342-48.

Holy Bible: The New American Bible. Trans. United States Catholic Conference. Wichita,

Kansas: Devore & Sons, Inc., 1987.

Jenkins, Kathleen E. “Genetics and Faith: Religious Enchantment through Creative

Engagement with Molecular Biology.” Social Forces, 85.4 (2007), pp. 1693-1712. Web.

Accessed 4 Apr 2015.

Kropotkin, Peter. “Mutual Aid (1902).” Darwin a Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Philip Appleman.

New York: W W Norton & Company, 2001. pp. 398-403.

McIver, Thomas. “Orthodox Jewish Creationists (2000).” Darwin a Norton Critical Edition. Ed.

Philip Appleman. New York: W W Norton & Company, 2001. pp. 549-51.

Ridley, Matt. “The Origins of Virtue (1997).” Darwin a Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Philip

Appleman. New York: W W Norton & Company, 2001. pp. 517-24.

Ruse, Michael and Edward O. Wilson. “The Evolution of Ethics (1985).” Darwin a Norton

Critical Edition. Ed. Philip Appleman. New York: W W Norton & Company, 2001. pp.

507-11.

Scott, Eugenie C. “Antievolution and Creationism in the United States.” Annual Review

of Anthropology, 26 (1997), pp. 263-89. Web. Accessed 04 Apr 2015.

… “Review of Johnson (1992).” Darwin a Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Philip

Appleman. New York: W W Norton & Company, 2001. pp. 586-92.

Unknown. “Richard Dawkins vs. Creationist (Full Debate).” Online video clip.

Sinobiological.com, Unk. date. Web. Accessed 13 Apr 2015.

http://www.phamtoi.com/richard-dawkins-vs-creationist-full-         debate/NnFuT0loTFpUcGc.html.

Waal, Frans de. “Good Natured: The Origin of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals

(1996).” Darwin a Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Philip Appleman. New York: W W

Norton & Company, 2001. pp. 511-17.

Wright, Robert. “The Evolution of Compassion.” Online video. TEDtalk, Oct 2008. Web.

Accessed 13 Apr 2015.

Picture c/o:  http://i.ytimg.com/vi/f9fQchjJWFY/hqdefault.jpg

Essay: Darwinian Literary Analysis of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus (1818 Text)

Darwinian Literary Analysis of Mary Shelley’s

Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus (1818 Text)

by A.D. Shaffer

{Graduate Studies; originally written for Humanities 551 Spring 2015}

The ability to write a terrifying ghost story was realized by Mary Shelley through her imaginative dreams during a visit with Lord Byron in which the three accepted a challenge to create a chilling tale. After aptly listening to her husband Percy and Lord Byron discuss the fundamentals of the meaning of life and whence it came, paired with Erasmus Darwin’s theories on reanimation, Shelley envisioned a monster of terrible origins: a man created by man. I intend to expose the rudimentary workings of the author’s own mind and experience as fodder for her ghost story, insomuch that her biological tendencies afforded her the ability to create such a foe. Dependent on personal experience, humankind is able to mimic nature – but only so far as the individual mind is able to imagine due to the factors of evolution.

The human brain is limited by one’s own imagination, or lack thereof. Shelley uses her character, Captain Walton, as Victor’s audience as means to encourage her own readers to allow for unusual happenings; Victor said, “I believe that the strange incidents connected with it will afford a view of nature, which may enlarge your faculties and understanding. You will hear of powers and occurrences, such as you have been accustomed to believe impossible: but I do not doubt that my tale conveys in its series internal evidence of the truth of the events of which it is composed” (Shelley 17). Due to her parentage, both being writers, Shelley knew that she needed to bridge a gap between reality and reanimation. Captain Walton, an explorer on expedition to the unknown Artic, represents the inquisitive mind of humankind; that he immediately believes and loves Frankenstein is motivation for the reader to accept the story presented. It is through Walton in which the audience hears of the workings of Frankenstein.

As human beings of the nineteenth century could not create something from nothing but only rearrange what was already there, Shelley shows her main character Victor Frankenstein taking pieces of variant dead corpses and repurposing them into the Creature. The author uses her inherent skill of literature to envision an amplified species of humankind – a man who was larger, more durable, and easily acceptable to change – specific characteristics in which a higher evolution is suggested. Favoring factors of natural selection include a focus on the species’ ability to adapt to its environment. Charles Darwin notes the importance of adaptive abilities as they determine a selected species, he said, “Over all these causes of Change I am convinced that the accumulative action of Selection, whether applied methodically and more quickly, or unconsciously and more slowly, but more efficiently, is by far the predominant Power” (105). By granting the Creature thicker skin to better survive the conditions of nature, Shelley presents a suspension of disbelief for the reader who is to presume the Creature is more than natural man.

Literary Darwinism allows for the human brain to expound on the natural experience through evolutionary means. Victor notes on the wavelike reactions to change: “One sudden and desolating change had taken place; but a thousand little circumstances might have by degrees worked other alterations, which, although they were done more tranquilly, might not be the less decisive” (Shelley 54). His description mirrors the action of natural selection – small variations eventually forming new species through adaptations, or responses, to one’s environment. D.T. Max summarizes the abilities of literature as dependent on the evolving nature of humankind: “They say that it’s impossible to fully appreciate and understand a literary text unless you keep in mind that humans behave in certain universal ways and do so because those behaviors are hard-wired into us”. Literary Darwinism explains to the audience why Victor Frankenstein, a character of the eighteenth century, could not accept the monstrosity that he created as minds from that time period could not fathom an unnatural person: “For this I had deprived myself of rest and health. I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart” (Shelley 39). Victor is mortified with his own actions because he belongs to a time period in which humankind is not mentally prepared to accept the workings of science in the form of reanimation. The audience of the nineteenth century is vastly different than a modern audience because evolution has affected the modern brain’s ability to comprehend artificial manipulation.

The modern audience who reads Shelley’s piece will wonder why Victor deserted his creation, not why he created a monster. The reason behind this could be that the idea of reanimated flesh is not a new concept. The modern audience was subjected to the abilities of science via cloning of the 1990s, and the roots for cell division are found as early as 1892 by Hans Driesch. Dealing with embryos, Driesch discovered that each blastomere of the sea urchin created a new reproduced cell and that the cell, undiminished, was able to reproduce during cell division (McKinnell and Di Berardino 876). The point addressed is not focused on sheep, but more so to the public’s acceptance of cell division being a factual truth and common knowledge. With scientific acceptance the audience is able to understand cloning as a realistic possibility instead of a fantasy.

The advancement of the human brain relies on universal growth per species, and we look to culture to define the limitations. However, culture itself is a result of genetic growth: “At the core of Literary Darwinism is the idea that we inherit many of the predispositions we deem to be cultural through our genes” (Max). The meat of the matter is that Shelley was only able to create Frankenstein because her mind was predisposed to allow for scientific influence by means of her husband and father. Furthermore, due to her inherited genes from her parents, Shelley was able to construct a story of scientific nature using popular vocabulary of the time. Through her genetic disposition, Shelley knew to avoid areas of science that brought discomfort to the public, namely the grizzly work of dissecting human bodies, and she tactfully kept the physical construction of the Creature to a minimal while Victor “…pursued nature to her hiding places” (Shelley 36). The tone of the piece follows the designs of naturalism, and Shelley skillfully allows Victor to be the center of his own existence. The piece is more about how the instance has affected Victor’s own life than that of the life of his creation.

The modern reader empathizes with the loneliness of the Creature, who is so bereft of direction that he is never given a name. Despite his miserable conditions, the Creature is seen as more than human as he teaches himself how to read, write, and speak by way of mimicking the cottagers. Language and communication between the cottagers is fascinating to the Creature, he said, “I perceived that the words they spoke sometimes produced pleasure or pain, smiles or sadness, in the minds and countenances of the hearers. This was indeed a godlike science, and I ardently desired to become acquainted with it” (Shelley 88). He is self-taught and learns at an accelerated rate in which should produce pride in Victor for creating such an eloquent being. However, Victor feels only repulsion towards the Creature, insisting that he is a daemon from the start. While the physical looks of the Creature are considered deformed, he notes other valuable abilities that are better than regular humans: “I was not even of the same nature as man. I was more agile than they, and could subsist upon coarser diet; I bore the extremes of heat and cold with less injury to my frame; my stature far exceeded theirs” (Shelley 96). Like a variation of species, the Creature’s genetic makeup is suggested to be of advanced development.

The humanity of the Creature is expressed through his own self-hatred upon reading the contents of Victor’s journal in which he recognizes his ugliness and issues a demand upon his creator. Comparing his life to the ordeals of Satan in Paradise Lost, the Creature said, “God in pity made man beautiful and alluring, after his own image; but my form is a filthy type of yours, more horrid from its very resemblance. Satan had his companions, fellow-devils, to admire and encourage him; but I am solitary and detested” (Shelley 105). He wants Victor to create a female companion so the Creature does not have to be alone any longer. Later, Victor relents to his monster’s request to end further injustices to his family; but he rips the second creation apart halfway through, thinking humanity better off without two fiends haunting the world. Victor’s fear is that the creatures will reproduce and form a variant of species, a more evolved version of humanity.

Living up to the expectations of his creator, the Creature murders the people in Victor’s life in which bring him happiness – William, Clerval, and Elizabeth. Life is void of joy for Victor who notes “Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change. The sun might shine, or the clouds might lour; but nothing could appear to me as it had done the day before” (Shelley 167). Death again is present for Victor’s father, and the falsely accused Justine. Victor assumes blame for the deceased as he created the monster that set the actions into effect. Victor renews his vigor with revenge, he said, “I was possessed by a maddening rage when I thought of him, and desired and ardently prayed that I might have him within my grasp to wreak a great and signal revenge on his cursed head” (Shelley 168). The harder Victor tries to uphold humanity, the farther he loses his own – he wanders the deserts and barbarous countries in search of the Creature.

Victor was a man of science, but during his final breakdown he turns to spirits of the dead and wandering ministers of vengeance to direct and aide his pursuit of his creation: “Let the cursed and hellish monster drink deep of agony; let him feel the despair that now torments me” (Shelley 172). He believes these spirits bless him with sleep and strength; at his utmost lonesome he turns to them for support, but it is more likely that it is the Creature who leaves sustenance not a good spirit: “Sometimes, when nature, overcome by hunger, sunk under the exhaustion, a respast was prepared for me in the desert, that restored and inspirited me. The fare was indeed coarse, such as the peasants of the country ate; but I may not doubt that it was set there by the spirits that I had invoked to aid me” (Shelley 173). Sleep comes in the form of sheer exhaustion, and his strength is fueled by obsession for revenge – Victor has been reduced from sophisticated aristocracy to uncivilized instinctual survival dependent on the elements of nature.

Captain Walton alone witnesses Victor’s death, but the Creature appears shortly after, lamenting his grief to Walton. The Creature justifies his murderous actions by describing his necessity against good: “Evil thenceforth became my good. Urged thus far, I had no choice but to adapt my nature to an element which I had willingly chosen. The completion of my demoniacal design became an insatiable passion” (Shelley 188). The Creature adapts so that he may survive, the environment that issued the change was humanity – by neglecting to recognize the innocent life created from coarse parts. He leaves Walton with intentions of suicide, as he sees no other consolation than death.

In conclusion, Shelley’s ability to conceive of the story of Frankenstein is found in her predisposed genetics as well as the acceptance of entertainment through literature is found in her audience’s mind. Through the lens of Literary Darwinism, the story of the Creature is a tale of searching for acceptance inside humanity – that the Creature fails is a sign for further improvement through evolution. Frankenstein implies a warning to address the abilities of science with caution and suggests the limitations of humankind as a mere component when compared to the complexities of nature.

Works Cited

Darwin, Charles. “The Origin of Species (1859).” Darwin a Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Philip

Appleman. New York: W W Norton & Company, 2001. pp. 95-174.

Max, D. T. “The Literary Darwinists.” New York Times, 6 Nov 2005. Web.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/06/magazine/06darwin.html?pagew

anted=all&_r=0. Accessed 28 Apr 2015.

McKinnell, Robert G. and Marie A. Di Berardino. “The Biology of Cloning: History and

Rationale.” BioScience, 49.11 (1999): 875-85. Web. Accessed May 5, 2015.

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus (1818 Text). Ed. Marilyn Butler. New

York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Picture c/o:  https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e6/Frontispiece_to_Frankenstein_1831.jpg

*** Check out my alternate ending to Frankenstein under “Natural Survival” to see the Creature survive***

Natural Survival: Letter 10

Letter 10

To Mrs. E_______, America

Salekard, Dec. 24th 20___.

How then is this possible? Please understand that Father Charles does not hail from our natural descent but was yet formed and constructed by the hands of a weak willed individual from Switzerland. A mad doctor too entrenched in conformity to acknowledge the miraculous workings created by his own hand! Not once but nearly twice, did this crazed doctor attempt to impart life unto his hodge-podge mass of flesh: the first was Father Charles, a success; the second was wrenched in twain before the spark of life could be implemented. Father Charles calls her memory Dear Annie, a sweet and pure soul who never was to grace the world.

Their reliance on mutual aide encouraged the cast-offs to band together, and they survive here – albeit poorly, without the succor of the modern world – by sheer determination alone. Their dwellings are in the bowels of the Ural Mountains, dependent solely on the provisions of Nature and loathe to quit her icy stare. It is with confidences alone in which Father Charles grants me passage as he is far too gentle to demand I remain, knowing all to well that I have the home and hearth of family awaiting my return. However, I’ve assured him that once I’ve spoken personally with you, and further prepared my belongings, that I will return as never before have I experienced the natural connection to not only the desolate cliffs but also to the select few who populate the bareness.

 Merry Christmas, dear sister! I shall see you in a few weeks,

Walt