Sunday, December 31, 2023

Diary Dec 31, 2023 - Reflections on this New Year's Eve.

Saying good-bye to 2023.  

Another year older and still working towards that elusive final draft of my Earth Centrist perspective.  I've been spending five years digesting the concept and the evidence behind it, I've written long articles and short bullet points, fielded some push and a lot of handwaving and slammed doors - there's only so many ways to refine something so fundamental and straightforward and that elusive final draft of my Earth Centrist perspective summary, is just around the corner, as they say.  

I have been taking the discussion online at CFI Forum (Center for Inquiry) a small discussion board and have been receiving interesting feedback and pushback.  I'm also participating in a college philosophy club.  Then, this past July I wrote up a dialogue with a short book, Buddha Science, by Daut.

It made for a nice contrast to dealing with Don Hoffman's ideas, in that I agree with much that Daut wrote, but I do come at it from a very different evolutionary biological bottom up perspective and I enjoyed this excuse to review and try to enunciate my Earth Centrist concept in a more constructive atmosphere.

Science has learned a great deal about Evolution, our animal biology, and also consciousness across the entire animal kingdom.  Philosophers and the general public would do good to lay to rest old brainteasers and to catch up on the significance of current scientific biological evolutionary breakthroughs.

This Earth Centrist writing project has been dedicated to people who appreciate nature and evolution and scientific understanding about how evolution weaves us together with all other living beings on this planet.  

Which includes a deep appreciation for how our body/brain produces consciousness, as in, the inside reflection of our body communicating with itself (see Dr.Solms) and realizing how that offers keys to better understanding our own endless flesh vs spirit conflicts.

I'm looking to connect with people for whom a notion such as "Appreciating the Human Mind ~ Physical Reality divide" makes sense and who are unfazed by recognizing themselves as evolved biological thinking creatures, products of Earth's processes. People, who glory in the Pageant of Evolution that created our body and love learning from serious scientific efforts.

These aren't irrelevant trifles, they are keys to a more straightforward understanding of those dogged questions: Who am I?  Why am I here?  Why doesn't my body do what I tell it to?

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

In Defense of Women

In defense of women, postcard (activism)

I'm hoping for a little help with postage.

I'm looking at this from 68 years old, having been blessed with all the stages of life starting as a son, brother, husband, father, step-father, uncle, grandfather, friend, with women being intimately interwoven into every phase of my life (and at every level) - I've lived life's personal dramas, loses and successes.  This is my distillation of this facet of my experience - A woman deserves the right to be the jury and judge of her own fate, which by nature includes her fetus.  

Respecting a woman's right to her own self-defense and sovereignty over her body seems to me the least repugnant of all options.  

I made an initial run of a 250 postcards and addressed them to women's rights organizations and key Washington Democrats.  I also starting a thread over at the CFI Forum in case anyone out there wants to join the discussion.  Now I printed another thousand and around 250 addressed and stamped, and it'll be a few weeks before being able to purchase another couple hundred dollars worth of postcard stamp at .53@.  That's why I've decided to see if anyone might be interested in helping with stamps.  Should it go well, I'd love to buy more postcards.  Can you help?


January 22, 2024

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

10/10 - Dialogue with "Buddha Science" - Conclusion (Steve Daut)




Chapter 9, Buddha Science, Conclusion


edited Dec 3, 2023


Chapter 9a, Conclusion, Say again?

¶a2  “… The best we have is concepts.  The “real” problem is that we get so enamored of our concepts that we begin to believe they are reality. …”

I say it differently: Getting lost within one’s mindscape.

¶a3  “… to refresh your memory, these Buddha Science observations are interconnection, karma, impermanence, and illusion.

As we have seen, the idea of interconnection is simply that everything is connected to everything else. …”

¶a5  “… Complexity studies involve the idea of emergence, whereby new properties emerge from the complex interaction of many simple processes. …”

This is why taking the time to learn about Evolution is so important, because its insights have direct relevance to your self and how you get along with your self, your body.  That is your internal dialogue, and dealing with your world?

¶a5  “… Biology tells us that we are collection of part from all over the universe, and that our bodies are the result of eons of evolutionary development.  Consciousness itself may be an emergent property resulting from the interconnection of the human (body-)brain, experience, and meant formation. …”

I’m uncomfortable with that wording.   

Our Earth’s constituent atoms, and minerals that do come from all over the universe, but then we have some mind boggling mineral evolution, then biology and life, that’s all homegrown, here on Earth. That’s big, and we don’t know of anything in the universe that can hold a candle to this planet Earth.  

When are we going to own that - and start feeling a little pride for being a self-aware (or not) inhabitant of this overwhelming Earth with its biosphere and hydrosphere and cryosphere of interwoven always evolving life?

¶a7  “Ecology shows us the complex interconnections of organisms with their environment. Not only is the organism dependent on the conditions of the environment, but the condition of the environment itself is inextricably connected to and dependent upon the organism that exist within it.  And these system are also dependent on their past, including all the evolutionary changes and interconnections that occurred to give them their current configurations of entices and functions. …”

Nicely said, worth repeating.

Monday, July 24, 2023

9/10 Dialogue with "Buddha Science" - Science of the Mind (Steve Daut)



Chapter 8, Buddha Science, Science of the mind


©James Mollison (

Chapter 8a, Science of the mind, 

To be or not to be an animal?

¶a1  “Ever since Darwin began the evolution revolution, we have struggled to apply or reject “survive of the fittest” to the progress of society . …”

¶a2  “The middle way of Buddhism escapes this dilemma by taking the approach that if we see and recognize our true (Buddha) nature we’ll understand that our animal nature does not give us a true picture of Reality.   

Think about those words, our “Buddha nature” and our "Animal nature.”  What do they actually say about what we are?  

Animal nature sounds like something bestowed upon us.  But the fact is, we are evolved biological sensing creatures.  Our bodies are animal nature through and through.  

Our bodies and brains are much like most other mammalian brains, but with a slight twist that made all the difference in the world.  Perhaps this is the source of our developed Buddha Nature.

Folds within folds.  Rather than simply being aware of our world, we gained the facility to remember, to file away, to recall with increasing efficiency.  We enhanced those facilities with effective learning, weaving together memories, calculating into the future and dreaming.  Each advance building upon previous achievements. 

Until our human/Buddha mind learned to tame, or at least strive to somewhat tame our animal nature.

¶  “We’ll see that our thoughts and ideas are merely conceptions, a result of causes and conditions. …”

8/10 Dialogue with "Buddha Science" - Science of Life (Steve Daut)


Chapter 7, Buddha Science, Science of Life

(edited July 29)



Chapter 7a, Science of Life, That’s life, I can’t deny it

¶a1  “Let’s begin with the most fundamental question: What is life, exactly?  Peter Ward, “Life as We Do Not Know It,”  … life is an emergent quality of a complex system, … 

¶a2  “Carl Sagan and trying to define life.  It’s been impossible.  Capacity to change, ¶4 division between living and non-living, …”

It’s a good question, but what do the answers actually offer us regular people in regard to our normal lives?

We live and experience.  We know what life is and what death looks like, and what non-living material looks like, and that sometimes the boundaries get momentarily blurry.  

Then the hair splitting can begin.  One could argue, biological life is never “dead” because, for instance, once a person dies, the microbial world takes over with an explosion of life forms that inhabit and consume the carcass, transforming it’s tissue back into constituent living biological elements, that are then reabsorbed into the next life form to come along.  There is also time.  It can turn living creatures into life-less rock fossils, only to be ground up again, then absorbed and utilized by another living creatures and so on.  

Still, for regular people why over complicate, or over dramatize?  Life has more interesting aspects for wondering about.

¶a6  “Life in either sense requires balance, a chain of causes and conditions that allow life to emerge and sustain itself. … James Lovelock, Gaia Theory, Earth as interconnected complex living organism…”

Sunday, July 23, 2023

7/10 Dialogue with "Buddha Science" - Physical Science (Steve Daut)



Chapter 6, Buddha Science, Physical Science

(edited July 29)


Over the decades I've lost my enthusiasm for traveling physicist-philosopher speakers, especially the type that soften up their audience with fables about matter being 99.999999999% "nothing" - then go on to claim "human consciousness" is beyond the reach of biologists and neuroscientists and that it requires entertaining cosmic sources, then spend endless hours discussing things that are frankly outside the realm of "science" and unprovable one way or another.

I prefer keeping to the basics that we can understand reasonably well, while recognizing entertaining speculation for the mythologizing that it is.



Chapter 6a, Physical Science, It’s all relative

¶a1   “… one of the early lessons instructors often teach in basic science courses is that trying to apply common sense to scientific study introduce bias into the results.

¶a3   “… now it’s time to tackle the other two recent and revolutionary discoveries of science, relativity theory and quantum mechanics, …” 

¶a27   “… All of this may contradict common sense, but the problem is not what the world does.  It is the concepts we form around it.  The universe is the way it is, whether we like it or not.  My basic scientific training was correct - let go of common sense.  The Buddha would approve.  

Common sense is only the boat that allows us to deal with the day-to-day world.  To gain a deeper understanding of the world, we must leave that boat at the shore.

That does sound very romantics, but let’s not forget we live on this shore: four dimensions and bodies that confine us - not in the netherworld of quantum reality and Schrödinger’s Cat.  

A land that only our imagination can visit.  Here's an example of what we choose to be present to, limiting us.  The details and discrepancies of the quantum world matter very much to the rarified world of experts with their bombs and nuclear accelerators and reactors and what not.  

But there's something resoundingly disingenuously artificial about transforming quantum weirdness - that's happen down at the limits of tiny, where matter and pure energy mingle, (having no bearing on our lives beyond creating the foundation for atoms and molecules and the laws of physics) - into a tool of psychological manipulation.  

Sure there's a quantum echo in the fabric of our lives, but it's not enough to justify tricking our modern minds into imagining matter is 99.999999999% nothing; or that Schrödinger’s cat creates some existential crisis for us and our senses,; or that "The End of Reality" is nigh, because some mathematicians' formulas turn to mush, and other such fancies.  

It's taking metaphor too far and blinds us, as the current state of global society and its affairs attests to.  


Chapter 6b, Physical Science, Buddha meet Shrödinger’s Cat in a Bar


¶b2   “At the broadest level, the world of quantum physics show us two very distinct levels of reality - that of the day-to-day observations where things seem definable and solid, and a reality of undefined potential, where individual things do not exist, and even the ideas of space and time are only illusions*.  Once again, this is a realm that we can only try to understand by forming concepts, (that simply allow a glimpse of this reality.)

“… This quantum Reality underlies and is included in everything we know, measure, understand and experience. …”

Right.  At the level of the absolute tiniest of tiny, right at the boundary of matter and free energy.  Shouldn’t we expect things to be very strange down there?

The exact size of objects in the Quantum Realm is unclear, but it's shown that reaching it requires characters to shrink smaller than a proton, which has a diameter around 1.7/10¹⁵ meters. That's around 10 million times smaller than the smallest virus.


¶b3   (Introducing Erwin Schrödinger and early days of physics., …  ¶4 Max Planck … ¶5 quantum physics, the mystery of light, ¶6 effect of heat on metal, discovering quantized electrons and photons, waves particles, ¶9 superposition, quantum computers, ¶11 Schrödinger’s Cat makes its dramatic obligatory entrance.

Schrödinger’s Cat consists of a few imaginary atomic particles, there’s never been a cat, and atomic covalence shells are anything but "empty space."

Scale matters!  

Quantum Weirdness makes for great mind-experiments and storytelling, but not so much for constructive clarification of our fundamental human questions and condition.  

If you’re not an expert, it’s all mind candy and putty for your preconceptions.

¶b12  “… a good description of the Buddhist view of two levels of Reality.  Non-dual a state of unlimited and formless potential, is collapsed by our concerns into the dual world that we experience. …“

¶b13  “… entanglement… that pairs of particles can act as a system . . .”

¶b17  “There is no mathematical reason that time needs to only move forward, but probability theory strongly points to a tendency . . .?  ¶19 Why does time always move forward?  After all the underlying laws of physics work the same forward or backward in time. …”

For me, this is an example of what it means to get lost within the mindscape. 

It’s a mathematical challenge, a mental game, nothing more.

From its inception this universe has done nothing but move forward and expand.  How could time do any differently then move forward, even if the speed isn’t constant?

Reversing course can only happen once the cosmic pulse totally expends itself and the universe starts imploding. If there's anything to implode.  Even then, to say that means time will then be running backwards is a guess, it’s not like the spin of atoms will suddenly reverse.  If anything atoms would sort of dissolve and time would end altogether, or?

¶b22  “… Higgs boson, … gravity waves, … ¶24 Buddha Science, no beginning no end, … Big Bang, … ¶24 Something from nothing, … ¶26 dark matter and energy, …¶27 David Bohm, …”

¶b28  “Even though the two fingers, science and Buddha Science, may be pointing toward a common view of what our universe is and the basic building blocks that underlie it, we need not go soaring into the universe or shrink down to subatomic size to find mystery.  One of the most profound mysteries awaits: that of life itself.  Trying to sort out the distinction between matter and energy and mass, time and space is one thing, but how do we understand life?  What is life, exactly?  How did it come about, and how did it become what it is today?  In the next chapter, we will begin pointing our finger toward the mystery we call life.

Don’t let my short shrift mislead.  This was an interesting chapter that did a good job of covering a lot of bases and it’s worth a focused read.  

Thing is, with me, I started earnestly learning about this history of physics & quantum philosophy and various lines of arguments during the seventies. 

Since then geology and biology and astronomy have kept regularly blowing us away and increasing our understanding in amazing ways.  But the philosophical physics end of it, feels like it’s been stuck dancing around the same old May Pole.

Instead of debates that are important to understanding ourselves and what we’re doing to our own life support systems, the brainiacs are debating the End of Time and Reality because some complex mathematical formulas break down, meaning they can’t figure out what’s inside the tiniest crevice of the tiniest particle, which isn’t even a particle, it’s a smug of energy spinning at crazy speeds.

All the while we haven’t developed the common sense to recognize and slow down our own self destructive tendencies, nor how to nurture each other, let alone this planet that sustains us, and that we depend on for everything.


I thank Steve Daut for writing out these concepts and allowing me to share them in this virtual discussion with his book.  I encourage you to read his complete book.

Buddha Science, ©2016, For a copy contact Steve Daut


A 55 million year unconformity, Canyon De Chelly

This is another Cc's Student's Workbook, of sorts, 
meaning a little repetition is to be expected, 
honing concepts and descriptions.
Offering food for thought.

Is there anybody out there?

citizenschallenge at gmail 



Saturday, July 22, 2023

6/10 Dialogue with "Buddha Science" - Chaos & Complexity (Steve Daut)


Chapter 5, Buddha Science, Chaos and Complexity

(edited July 29)


I continue my virtual dialogue with Steve Daut’s written words in “Buddha Science,” chapter 5.  As mentioned in the previous introduction I will skim over this chapter because it stands by itself.  Background matters and I encourage anyone who finds this interesting to invest in your own copy of Steve Daut’s book so you can read the rest of the Buddha Science story for yourself. 

In this series I’m all about trying to highlight where my Earth Centrist, bottom-up-evolutionary, outlook differs from this summary of some religious/philosophical current thinking.  I’m in agreement with the fundamentals he presents and don’t “take issue” with Daut’s book per se.  


Chapter 5a, Chaos and complexity, At the movies

¶a4   “… Scientists have found that chaos is virtually everywhere, connecting things in astonishing and unpredictable ways.”

¶a5   ““But chaos is only the beginning. …

These pages were interesting to read but since I don’t have anything worth adding to this discussion regarding chaos, I won’t try. 


Chapter 5b, Chaos and complexity, Movies, schmovies

"In fact, as the study of complexity has gained traction, chaos has come to be defined as a very special type of behavior that contributes to the complexity of systems.  The study of complexity seeks to understand the functioning of whole systems that have many component parts.  It seeks to discover and describe how these parts interact, and how the behavior of he system relates to its parts.  These efforts lead to a third subject, emergence."