Posts Tagged ‘english

07
Juil
08

My Views on Democracy: Criticisms and legislative proposals

Good day,

 

I am a young Canadian citizen who wants to share his concerns on some aspects of our political process.

I will tell you quickly about myself while explaining my motivations behind my decision to write this text. I was born in Mexico City, and my family arrived in Montreal when I was two months old and I have been living here ever since. Looking back at my growing up, I feel extremely privileged to have lived in this society. First, it welcomed both my parents in the country and it rewarded their hard work. Thanks to that, my brother and I always had food on the table when we were hungry. We were able to attend a very good school and had an excellent education. When I wanted to play with my friends, there was always a park nearby where we could go. We could even join a team and participate in tournaments. When I was sick, there was always a clinic or a hospital where I could get cured. When I needed glasses, I could buy some. Almost everything that I needed, the society made it so that I could get it.

 

…meanwhile, in the rest of the world

 

Every day, there are 11’000 babies who die in their first month of life.

Every day, there are 34’000 children who die of malnutrition or related causes.

Every day, 2’000 children younger than 15 years of age are infected with HIV/AIDS.

Now, more than 128 million children don’t attend school.

Why? Above all: why not here, in Canada?

I can only feel very grateful, humble and thankful for growing up in a society that assured me a safe childhood. I could’ve grown up in another country where I would have died within a month of being born.

There is a reason, there is a cause that made our society the way it is right now. Some might say the cause is God, and it wouldn’t be entirely false, but it would be a very limited answer because it would ignore our free will, and it would not resolve the incongruous discrimination towards so many nations and peoples on Earth. The real cause, in my view, is the politicians. They are the ones who have striven to make societies better and improve the standard of living of every citizen. Yet, they are also the ones who have agreed to wage wars, and accept discrimination. What role do we want to play in history as citizens and as politicians?

Some might say: “politicians are all corrupted”. What they really mean is: “we feel abandoned. We want a better society, but we feel powerless, and we’ve lost our hope, and because it hurts us so much to admit it, we have to blame it on someone else.”

Without politicians, we would have never come out of the Stone Age and we would have never been able to sustain more than a few million people on Earth. Yet, we are now more than 6 billion human beings! What does that tell us about our ability to collaborate and establish political structures in societies?

It is out of a sentiment of love, duty and responsibility towards myself, towards the society in which I live (and particularly towards the oppressed regions of the world), and towards all the people in history that fought for a better world, that I am writing this text.

Politicians personify the most realistic hope for change that we citizens have. Political progress and development cannot occur without politicians. They are, with the support of the population, those who can bring forth a meaningful and lasting change in our society and improve the well-being of everyone towards always a higher level of existence. It can be done, and it will be done, the question is: when? Why should we wait? If everyone really wants this type of change, why hasn’t it occurred yet? There must be forces preventing this from happening. This is the core of my presentation: what is preventing us from improving our society more quickly? How can we solve that problem?

 

I will start by showing how the very existence of political parties in a society is counter-productive and even destructive. I will suggest a means of eliminating them from our society. Then, I will present the instauration of a new and healthier legislature for electoral campaigns. Finally, I will advocate for the establishment of a licence to vote and a licence to present oneself as an electoral candidate.

How do we resolve contradictions and differences amongst ourselves?

 

A political party can be defined as a group of individuals sharing a common ideology and promoting the rule of that ideology over a society. Thus different parties mean different ideologies. What is an ideology? It is an interpretation of the nature of the universe, the world and of humanity. Certain groups of individuals share these common interpretations and decide to create a party so that they might collaborate to promote such an ideology. People can have different interpretations and arrive at totally different conclusions concerning human nature, Earth and the Universe. Our society tells us the following: “go to the people who share the same ideology as yours (form political parties), and disregard all the rest (fight against the other parties).” Is that the best way to resolve our political differences?

Let’s imagine I talk to a friend about a certain topic that we both strongly identify with and I realise that we have two totally opposite views on this subject. What should I do? How should I react? What would be the best way of dealing with that contradiction?

I could tell him: “Listen, I don’t think we should ever mention this issue anymore, ever.” Wouldn’t that be ducking away from the problem? Or, I could say to him: “Listen, I don’t want to know what you think, but you are wrong and I am right. So listen to me, I will explain to you why I am right.” That would be quite disrespectful and arrogant. Why should he listen to my ideas if I won’t listen to his? Or I could tell that person: “I’m sorry but because we have two contradictory interpretations of the same issue, I will not talk to you anymore and you will become my enemy.” Now all these answers are common things we hear in our daily lives: the only thing it does is cut the communication between people. Instead of building a healthy bridge for communicating ideas, we either ignore or neglect or despise the ideas of the other person. Why do we do such things?

I think the most accurate answer to that question is that we are insecure with our own thoughts. We lack the confidence in our mind and the clarity of our personal ideas so much so that we don’t want anyone challenging them. One reaction which doesn’t seem directly harmful but yet can be very intellectually destructive in the long run is simply running away from differences: every time you come across someone with different opinions, you simply run away, you never put yourself in question, and that can be pretty harmful mentally. The second reaction is despising totally the other without necessarily being violent but being simply extremely haughty: you still don’t want to be challenged, but you have a certain love for the other person, and a certain level of belief in your ideas, enough so that you are willing to share them with others, but you are too confident in yourself that you don’t want to understand the other’s opinion. Finally, the worse attitude would be to totally reject any form of communication between that person and you out of a profound sentiment of hate towards him, so much so that you would be willing to wage war on him (literally or superficially). None of these attitudes would resolve the problem at all evidently. What should we do then in front of contradictions and differences?

I think what most sensible adults do is to engage in an even more profound and strong communication line between the other, because both recognize the value and the power of that idea in both their sense of identity. Thus, when facing opposition, the good reaction for both sides is not to lessen the communication, not even keep it constant but rather, push it more deeply. It is in doing so that we resolve problems and differences among ourselves, whether it be in the household, at work, among friends or anywhere else. That is the guideline to solve problems of diverging opinions: increase the quality of the communication. If we don’t do that, we simply let these problems sediment in our minds, allowing them to affect our unconscious for a very long time. This is why we have so many wars, conflicts and violence right now. Martin Luther King said after the assassination of Malcolm X: “The assassination of Malcolm X was an unfortunate tragedy. And it reveals that there are still numerous people in our nation who have degenerated to the point of expressing dissent through murder. And we haven’t learned to disagree without being violently disagreeable.” So how does society resolve political differences?

 

 

The election game or how to avoid communication

 

The society suggests, as a means to work out ideological contradictions, the game of elections. The society, unable (or unwilling) to promote communication between these ideologies, and rejecting the idea of truth as a whole, promotes a violent battle between these parties in the form of elections. And whoever wins these elections will rule over that society for four years, until the next election.

What message is the society sending to its population? Something like that: “well, as a society, we’re not so sure about the existence of truth at all, so we offer you the following: those who want to take part in the political life of the society please form groups according to your respective ideologies. Each group will be identified as a political party. Now, in order to determine which party will rule over our society, you will participate in elections. You will go towards the other citizens and you will try to convince them to vote for your party. You will be allowed to receive private funding for your campaigns. You will be authorized to buy advertisement time on television, you will be able to organise conferences and put posters in the streets, if you have the money to pay for it. The one party who will have convinced the largest number of citizens (or districts) shall rule over the society. (The leader of the winning political party will become prime minister.)” What does that tell us about the level of maturity of our society? Doesn’t that look more like a summer camp game for 12 year-old kids rather than an official, legal process to determine our political leaders? Isn’t there a better way to elect our political leaders?

This way of choosing our ruling ideology is futile in that it does not resolve contradictions: it rather ignores them for a determinate period of time (four years), and deals with them in the same manner after that period, without ever coming to a truthful understanding of the problems. This way of organizing society is completely destroying our ability to communicate, collaborate and join forces to promote our general welfare. This approach to the problem is the same as the third option that I mentioned earlier: “I’m sorry but because we have two contradictory interpretations of the same issue, I will not talk to you anymore and you will become my enemy. And we will fight it out through elections.” Moreover: “we don’t want to know who’s right!! I don’t want to talk to you and find out where the truth lies! I don’t want to discuss these ideas seriously and collaborate with everyone to push the right and truthful policies! I don’t want to talk to you. I want to fight you. I want to bury you with your ideas.” What’s the difference with war? Weapons. Elections make it legal and totally normal to accuse, disparage, humiliate and hate anyone with a different ideology than ours in order to determine truth or legitimacy! And who is playing that game right now? The very people in charge of our society!

And this childish war of egos striving for power through menace is not only limited to elections: it is taking place during parliamentary sessions too. One simply has to watch this circus on television: in the center of the room, the leader of the government and the leader of the opposition accuse, disparage and humiliate each other in turns, while their respective followers giggle, jump up and down and scream like pre-pubescent baboons trying to impress one another. Once in a while, when the noise becomes unbearable, the president of the chamber asks politely for calm and silence. But it hardly happens immediately: the president, just like a kindergarten monitor, asks again and again for the MP’s to calm down. Why is this so hard to have some dignity for oneself and for others? It brings them too much pleasure to destroy the reputation of their so called “enemy”. They have such a low self-esteem that their only way of feeling alive is through defamation, so much so that they can’t control their tongues anymore. Their words become like viruses looking for an ear to contaminate.

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, Canadian soldiers are dying. At the same time, here in Canada, some unprivileged parents work tirelessly to feed, clothe and educate their children. Doctors are overwhelmed with patients, who have to wait for hours before being treated. Meanwhile school classes are getting bigger and bigger, the work-load of teachers is getting out of hand and the quality of education is declining. And what are the people elected to deal with those problems doing in parliament? They are humiliating each other out of pure egotistical cruelty and the hope of winning the next elections! Is this the kind of political organisation we want? And how hypocritical are we, when taking a stand in international conflicts, when we cannot even resolve our own problems?

What is causing this degrading situation? In great part, political parties are responsible for that. Why? It is they who are creating this vicious and inhuman competition-oriented environment always gearing towards elections instead of progress. We do not need political parties to have a healthy society. We do not need psychological wars and degradation. We do not need a party line! What we really need is a human conduct line. We need to forge a decent and strong Canadian identity, inside the universal human identity that we all share on this Earth.

 

 

Political parties function like organised crime

 

Parties have an internal functioning and rules similar to the ones of organised crime or cult-like organisations: “I’m the boss here; it’s my family and I who run the show. If you want to join, you have to prove that you are willing to do anything we ask of you to succeed. If we like you, we’ll finance your campaign. Remember one thing though: you don’t work for the general welfare of the citizens who elect you, you work for us, and you work for the well-being of the party! If you want to take initiative on your own without asking for our permission, we will punish you. We will ban you from our caucus; we will destroy your political career. That goes also for the sessions in the Parliament: you vote the way I want you to vote, I don’t care about what you think. If you want to stay in, you better do as I tell you. And one last thing: wherever you are, there is always someone above you, stronger and mightier whom you should fear, submit and obey to: for now, that person is me.” That’s the same way parties work: there is no room for individuality. Everything is made to repress that sentiment of self-worth, sovereignty and internal judgement of an individual so as to be able to manipulate him. Of course this depiction is not true everywhere, but it represents the worst aspect of political parties. I ask the following question: what do we need them for?

 

 

How should we eliminate the parties from our society?

 

The rest of the text will deal with the changes that a suppression of political parties will create in our society. These changes are what instinctively come to my mind and I do not have the pretension of anticipating every detail of such a radical modification. I wish that you will read the following paragraphs with an open-mind, bringing your own expertise and judgement on the content of my ideas, or lack of content, whatever the case may be. I will only give the grand scheme of the project and I hope that it will give you the incentive of collaborating with other politicians and legislators to realise such a project.

I will describe this project as a dream. I will do as best as I can to reconstruct it in my mind and share it with you, giving precedence to the essential elements forming the bigger picture of this project.

The removal of parties from our society will necessitate the transformation of two main parts of our organisation: the electoral system and the parliamentary sessions.

 

 

For a new functioning of electoral campaigns

 

Any citizen wanting to become candidate for a provincial or a federal election will run under the banner of his district, and not under the banner of his party. Every candidate will be, in a sense, an independent candidate, vowing strict allegiance to the people of his district, to the promotion of their well-being, and of the well-being of the nation and of the world at large. Any other form of allegiance which might hinder on the common good of the population will be illegal.

Each candidate will have to run a campaign to expose the citizens to his personality, his ideology, his dreams and his projects. A new law should be implemented to give equal media access to every candidate and define clearly the freedom of action that they would be allowed during the electoral campaign. A new television and radio station should be created, to which every citizen might have access to, free of charge, which would diffuse political news of the district. A newspaper should also be printed during the electoral campaign, covering every candidate in equal proportion. The candidates might be allowed a certain number of words in this newspaper to present their ideas to the citizens.

During the electoral period, no form of “critical” press coverage will be allowed, preventing any form of favouritism from the media. Apart from that, the press should function normally. The role of the press is to inform the population. How is that done effectively? The press can’t give its interpretation of an issue without giving the transcript of the original source. How can I judge someone by what other people are saying about him? It will be dishonest of me. If I want to judge someone, I have to meet him, I have to talk to him, I have to listen to him, and I have to read what that person writes: I cannot rely on the opinion of someone else. It is the same for candidates: a citizen cannot judge a candidate by what others are saying about him, whether it is the press or his family or his neighbours. The citizens must rely on their own judgement, and to assure that, the citizens must have access to the original ideas of the candidates. Any form of press choosing to cover any electoral campaign would have to conform to these rules.

The candidate will also be given access to conference rooms in every district so that he can give oral presentations of his platform, and the citizens can meet him in person, to listen to him and ask him questions.

Finally, a debate should be organised between the candidates, as is happening already right now with the difference being that it should be done in every district, so that the citizens might better measure their respective strength and qualities

The funding of every campaign should come from the different levels of government and a special budget for that purpose should be arranged

Every electoral platform would have to follow a rigid structure. First, the candidate will produce a clear and concise autobiography so that citizens might get a better idea of his personality. Also, he will give a brief description of the major members of his team. Secondly, he will write the details of his motivation for running in these elections, as well as divulging the main streams of his ideology and producing a critical current analysis of the functioning of the different levels of government. Thirdly, he will present practical political projects for his municipality, his province, his nation and for the world, depending on the level of government his elections are geared towards. Every electoral platform would have to conform to these rules, and should be easily accessible to any citizen of the country. A copy would have to be distributed to every citizen eligible to vote, in their respective districts. A clear law will have to be passed to forbid candidates to talk about other candidates in their writings and speeches, so as to prevent any form of defamation. How can a citizen vote for someone whose sense of identity lies in the deterioration of the identity of others?

After that stage is completed, the electoral process would occur as it occurs today: the candidate with the most votes wins the elections. At the municipal level, I don’t think any major changes would have to be installed. However, at the provincial and federal levels, we would have to determine a way of nominating the prime ministers.

 

 

A second level of elections

 

To nominate every prime minister, I suggest a second level of elections, amongst the newly elected members of parliament. A short rest period of two to three days would have to be given to the candidates so that they might regain their energy and come together in the same place so as to elect their new government. This event could take place in a hotel for example.

The list of the newly elected officials wanting to be candidates for the rank of prime minister would be officially revealed to every other MP. Again, a copy of their platform, this time exclusively national and international would be distributed to everyone and a decent amount of time would be given so that they might read them carefully. Then, any MP wanting to take part in that government would let the candidate know his willingness to join his team through a letter, and the candidate would later decide if he wants this MP to join his new team of ministers. Time periods would be reserved so that the candidates might get the time to meet the different people who want to take part in his future government. The press would not be granted access to these events so as to prevent any external, popular influence on the politicians.

When the candidates would have formed their new team that they will present to form the new government, a new micro-electoral campaign will occur. The campaign will take place in a conference room, giving equal time and access to every candidate. One after the other, they will present their platform and present to everyone the different ministers they choose. Every minister will then have to give a brief and concise presentation on the role he will play in that government. The media will have full access to these events, reporting them as freely as they want, while respecting the normal standards of morality and decency. It is very important to look after the well-being of every one of the officials by giving them access to water and beverages (prohibiting the consumption of alcohol), comfortable seats and allowing them decent rest periods. They might be sitting down listening to presentations for hours in a row, and it is important that their mind and body are in the best condition when they decide on the new national government that will rule over Canada.

At the end of this campaign, the second level of elections will occur, following the norms that we have now: the MP’s will vote for the Prime Minister and his government will be nominated. As soon as it will be done, all of the elected officials and the government will occupy their respective positions and begin their mandate.

 

 

For a licence of electoral candidates

 

One problem might arise in this new procedure: what happens if a large number of citizens want to become candidates? By allowing them the same time and access to media, the elections might take months to finish. What could be done to prevent such things and allow only the best candidates to run for office? I will suggest in the following paragraphs, a practical way to remedy that problem which will bare direct relevance with the last part of my paper.

How should we “filter”, in a sense, the candidates that will be given permit to run in the elections from the ones who will be refused? Before anything, I think it is important to determine a maximum of candidates allowed for elections in every level of government. I suggest the number five. In this way, the amount of resources, time and money will be approximately fixed and knowable in advance for any type of election. Now, how can we choose the best candidates to form our government? In order to answer that question, we must first investigate the following question: what determines the quality of a politician?

I suggest the following steps to select our elected officials. One primordial quality that we should require is that of physical health. We should require any candidate to have a decent health status, in or above average, so that that particular candidate, should he be elected, would not die suddenly during his term. How should we measure that quality? I think the best people to determine such parameters are health specialists such as doctors, physiotherapists, etc. Secondly, it is even more important that every candidate should be in the best mental health possible, well above average in that case. We have to prevent insane people and criminals from getting in office. Again, how should we measure that? Psychologists and psychiatrists are the best to determine the mental status of an individual. I suggest the following path of investigation, to which these professionals should take particular attention: what common traits of personality did dangerous leaders such as Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini or Pinochet have, that other great leaders such as Lincoln, Martin Luther King or Gandhi did not have? We want to prevent any personalities such as those of Hitler, etc. to take part in government, so we have to study their profile carefully to stop them before it is too late.

Once the health status of the candidate is determined, I think it is important to next examine his intellectual capabilities. We do not want only a healthy individual who is incapable of thinking. We must have strict and specific intellectual requirements towards every candidate. We need a candidate with a thorough knowledge of our constitution, and of our legislative, judiciary and executive branches of our government. I leave this kind of questionnaire to the lawyers and the legislators to determine the basic knowledge we will demand of our elected officials.

Furthermore, I think it is of utmost importance that the candidates have a thorough knowledge of history. We need an individual with a deep knowledge of our society’s history so that he may understand the present situation of our country as a product of past events and people and thus be able to situate himself in the stream of time and have the wisdom to build a new and continuous future. Also, if the candidate is running in a federal election, and even in a provincial election, I think it is important that he knows about mankind’s history on Earth for the same reasons mentioned above. Historians should find the essential events throughout history for that purpose.

Finally, I think a last questionnaire should be made to test the candidate’s general level of understanding on the subjects over which he will have an executive power. For example, I think that the Prime Minister of Canada must have a certain, decent knowledge on economy, education, transport, national defence, health, finance, agriculture, etc. We need an individual with a sufficiently broad understanding of theses subjects that will allow him to take sovereign leading decisions and collaborate with specialists without feeling totally ignorant. Again, I leave it up to specialists in each domain to determine the necessary criteria to accomplish such an endeavour.

 

 

For a license to vote

 

In these previous few paragraphs, I have described, generally what our demands towards politicians should be like. In order to assure that we have the best elements of our society when election-time comes, I think it is fair to have some sort of tests on the candidate’s physical and mental health as well as his intellectual capabilities. In this way, we open the doors of our government to the best of us. Nevertheless, with a high standard towards others, comes a high standard towards us as well. We should expect only the “best” citizens to become politicians, something which is entirely legitimate, and consequently it seems fair that we have the same quality of standard towards the citizens who will elect such a candidate. We should also have a license that will give permission to citizens who have passed a series of tests to vote.

To best illustrate what I want to say, I will share with you a relevant experience of mine. I had just turned 18 years old, and the provincial elections were under way. I was very excited because I was officially an adult and I was eligible to vote! I had this unique feeling of self-importance because I felt part of a greater whole that I could influence, because people wanted me to have my say in the political process: I was convinced I could make a difference. So the following question came to my mind: “who will I vote for?” It was the first time I had asked myself that question, and I didn’t really know how to answer it. But I knew one thing: I didn’t want to base my vote on my parents or on any other person. I wanted to make that decision myself.

One night, I was watching the television, and one of the candidates was talking to a reporter in an interview. I had seen him and heard him before, and I thought that he looked like a nice guy, and above all, that he was passionate about what he was doing because he never shied away from any question. He always had an answer to every question, and he seemed, to me, as a good candidate. So I said to myself: “all right, I’m going to vote for him.” In a matter of minutes I had made my choice, and I was convinced that I was right: he was the best of all the candidates; he was going to make a difference. So I went to vote, proud of myself, proud of doing my duty as a citizen and convinced that I was changing the world.

A couple of days later, I heard the results from the elections, and he had not won. I was not even disappointed! My thoughts on the matter were so short and small that they had disappeared from my mind quite rapidly. Anyhow, I went to work that morning, and I saw at the entrance of the building a pile of flyers talking about the candidate which I had voted for. So I took one flyer and quickly read, out of curiosity, what it was talking about. They were explaining how all the workers should vote against him because he was pushing for harmful policies. I was stunned! I didn’t know what to think. I was sure I had voted for the right person, yet his policies were apparently bad for my work! Then I thought: maybe they are wrong; maybe what they are saying is wrong. So I read the flyer more carefully, but soon realized that I couldn’t understand the details of the analysis. I then had to admit that I had lied to myself: I had absolutely no knowledge of the candidate’s platform! I had voted as if blindfolded. The only reason for voting for him was that he seemed nice and intelligent. I was angry at myself and told myself from that day on that I should never vote without having a clear understanding of the candidates’ platforms.

But in the following elections, while talking to some friends about the candidates, I realized that the majority of them didn’t really know any of the candidates’ platforms: they were still voting like I had voted the first time! I felt bad for them, and for me, and for every one of us. I asked myself: “what kind of leaders will we elect if we don’t even know their policies? What kind of society are we building? What kind of future do we have?” And this is where the first idea of a license to vote came from I think, it is a remedy to prevent the spread of “blind-votes”.

And I realized afterwards that some politicians relied on this ignorance, by not talking about the entire direction of their policies but rather focusing on single-issues to steal the votes from citizens. In order to protect our society, I think it is vital that we establish a license to vote, modeled on the license to candidature that I described earlier. The tests should nevertheless be less difficult and require a basic understanding of history and politics. A voting license for every level of government should be instituted, so that a citizen with a limited understanding of world history might nevertheless be allowed to vote in his municipality. In this way, every citizen willing to vote will have to pass a series of test bearing upon history and the political structure of society (with a special emphasis on the different powers that the future head of government will be allowed) in order to obtain the right to vote. We should send the following message to every citizen: “Know the political structure of your society and understand the power and the impact your vote might have upon the nation before you are given the right to vote.”

 

 

Implications and responsibilities

 

These are the several legislative proposals that I make in order to improve the quality of our society: eradicate the political parties, install two levels of elections to nominate the provincial and federal prime ministers, a license to present oneself as a candidate and a license to vote. All these things are interrelated and, together, will clean the political life of our country in a very effective way. Our current political organization is actually preventing, more and more, honest people from entering higher public office: it is, quite the opposite, right now, encouraging criminals and dangerous people to enter these positions of power, as we have been noticing through the different corruption scandals in the last years. We don’t want that trend to continue: we want healthy, honest and intelligent people to reach public office. We need radical measures for radical problems: we are destroying our society right now, and we need to turn that around, and since the problem is at the core of our political organization, we need to transform that structure. Only then, will we be able to promote continuously and exponentially our common good towards always higher levels of existence, testing the limit of our happiness, if there is any. When we will be in such a process, we will be able to have a meaningful international influence and promote, in turn, the general welfare of the whole world.

 

07
Juil
08

Clara and Socrates: The theory of evolution

“Why do you say ‘I believe in
the theory of evolution’ if it’s a fact? Do you also say ‘I believe that the
Earth is round’?”

“It’s not so much whether the theory of evolution is true or not, it’s
more that you don’t know
why you believe it.”

 

<!–[if !supportLists]–>1.           
<!–[endif]–>Clara sees Socrates as she is going back home after
school.

 

<!–[if !supportLists]–>2.           
<!–[endif]–>Hi Socrates!

<!–[if !supportLists]–>3.           
<!–[endif]–>Hi Clara! How are you doing?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>4.           
<!–[endif]–>Fine, thank you! How about you?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>5.           
<!–[endif]–>Great thanks. So did you learn anything new in school this
week?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>6.           
<!–[endif]–>Actually yes! I am not sure if I can call it learning
but the teacher definitely talked about a new theory in our biology class.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>7.           
<!–[endif]–>I think I know what it is…

<!–[if !supportLists]–>8.           
<!–[endif]–>Really? What do you think it is? And why do you have
that smirk on your face Socrates? What’s up?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>9.           
<!–[endif]–>Ha-ha! I just find it funny, it reminds me of a lot of
heated discussions that I had with people on this topic. If I am not mistaken,
you have just heard about the theory of evolution, is that right?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>10.       
<!–[endif]–>That’s exactly it!! How did you know?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>11.       
<!–[endif]–>From the way you said it, I know you’re smart girl and
you understand things pretty quickly. So if you didn’t understand it, I thought
maybe your biology teacher had just taught you something that you found hard to
understand, and there is nothing more far fetched than the theory of evolution,
as far as I am concerned.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>12.       
<!–[endif]–>So you don’t believe it, Socrates?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>13.       
<!–[endif]–>Ha-ha! You see, even you admit that it’s a matter of
belief, and there is no way to actually know whether it’s true or not. But I
won’t fall into that trap; I am going to show scientifically that the theory of
evolution is an absurdity and a propagated lie. The same kind of lie as the
“the Earth is flat” lie of the Middle-Ages. Think about that for a moment:
during the Middle-Ages there were people saying that the Earth was flat. Why
did they believe it? Why did they spread this lie? They were wrong, so what
made them think that they were right? So what I suggest we do is review what
your teacher has taught you, and see whether it’s true or not and in this way
you’ll understand why people sometimes say that things are true without having
any proofs. What do you say?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>14.       
<!–[endif]–>Great!! I have some things to clarify too; it’ll be a
good opportunity to do just that.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>15.       
<!–[endif]–>Perfect. So before starting I think we should define
what we mean by the theory of evolution. What did your teacher tell you?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>16.       
<!–[endif]–>Well, he said that the theory of evolution is made up
of natural selection and speciation. He said that natural selection is the way
nature filters genes through successive generations inside a species, depending
on the environment. And speciation is the process by which new species are
created. I think that’s what it was.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>17.       
<!–[endif]–>Ok. So if I understand you clearly, natural selection
means that inside a species, the individuals better adapted to their environment
will have a higher chance of survival than their counterparts with a weaker
adaptation to the same environment. Is this right so far?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>18.       
<!–[endif]–>Yes, so far I agree.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>19.       
<!–[endif]–>Ok. And then natural selection tells us that because
genes code for the different traits of an individual, the individuals with
genes who give them traits less favorable to their environment will die sooner
and thus they will not pass their genetic material to successive generations.
To illustrate this point more clearly, let’s imagine two populations Pa
and Pb of a same species S1 living in a common
environment E1. Let’s take a gene G1 as part of the DNA
of S1, coding for a major trait, essential for the survival of S1.
Let’s take two different versions of that gene, G1a and G1b.
Let Pa have exclusively the gene G1a and let Pb
have exclusively the gene G1b. Let’s say that the gene G1b
is better adapted to the environment E1 than the gene G1a
is. So every individual of Pa has a higher chance of death than any
other individual in Pb, on average, because they have a less adapted
version of the gene G1. Let’s imagine that G1a is so
badly adapted to E1 that it prevents greatly the individuals of Pa
to reproduce before dying. Meanwhile G1b is so well adapted to E1
that it enhances greatly the survival and reproduction of Pb. Now Pb
as a population will grow and take over the resources of the territory, while Pa
will shrink and eventually die out. So at a certain time, Pa will
not exist anymore, and only Pb will exist in E1. Now
since Pa has died out, the gene G1a has disappeared from
S1 and G1b is the only version of G1 left.
This is natural selection. What do you say, Clara?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>20.       
<!–[endif]–>I would say that what you said is correct, and it makes
sense to me too. I think it is directly linked to the birds that Darwin observed in the Galapagos
Islands where nature had separated them in different environments according
to the shape of their beaks and the type of food available. This part that we just
talked about, I didn’t have too much trouble in understanding it, it’s more the
part with speciation that I didn’t get.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>21.       
<!–[endif]–>All right. We have agreed on the mechanism of natural
selection. Let’s look into speciation now then. Let’s start our inquiry by
answering this first, elementary question: what is speciation telling us?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>22.       
<!–[endif]–>It tells us that the higher forms of life share common
ancestors and that they come from lower, less advanced forms of life that have
been transformed. In other words, a species can transform and evolve, through
time, into a new more complex species.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>23.       
<!–[endif]–>Interesting, and how does that happen?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>24.       
<!–[endif]–>Wow! I have no idea!! I am not sure, but I think the
teacher said something about mutations. You know what we should do Socrates?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>25.       
<!–[endif]–>What?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>26.       
<!–[endif]–>I saw my professor in his office right before coming
here, we should go there together and discuss this with him, what do you say?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>27.       
<!–[endif]–>That’s a brilliant idea!

 

<!–[if !supportLists]–>28.       
<!–[endif]–>Clara and Socrates walk to the biology teacher’s
office. The door is open. He is sitting down, cleaning up his desk.

 

<!–[if !supportLists]–>29.       
<!–[endif]–>Hello professor!

<!–[if !supportLists]–>30.       
<!–[endif]–>Oh, hi Clara, how are you?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>31.       
<!–[endif]–>Pretty good, thanks. I was just talking with my friend
Socrates about the theory of evolution, and we were wandering if you could help
us understand some aspect of it.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>32.       
<!–[endif]–>No problem, it would be a pleasure, please sit down.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>33.       
<!–[endif]–>Thank you professor, it’s a pleasure to meet you and I
am glad to see you showing such hospitality to us and such an open mind to our curiosity.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>34.       
<!–[endif]–>It’s my pleasure, Socrates. I’ve read some things about
you, but I can’t remember where. Anyway, please take a seat and make yourself
comfortable. How can I be of any help to you?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>35.       
<!–[endif]–>Well, professor, we understood clearly what natural
selection is, but we wanted to understand better how speciation worked.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>36.       
<!–[endif]–>Ok, what part of speciation exactly don’t you
understand?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>37.       
<!–[endif]–>Well, you see, before going further, I suggest we tell you
what we have understood so far so that you might have a better idea of what we
haven’t understand.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>38.       
<!–[endif]–>Go ahead.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>39.       
<!–[endif]–>Well, we understood speciation as the mechanism by
which new species are formed.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>40.       
<!–[endif]–>That’s exactly what it is.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>41.       
<!–[endif]–>All right. Now, it says that lower forms of life evolve
into new and higher forms of life, and in this way every life on the planet comes
from the same first spark of life that evolved over time.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>42.       
<!–[endif]–>Yes. It seems to me like you understand speciation very
well, Socrates. I don’t see where your confusion lies.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>43.       
<!–[endif]–>My problem is very simple actually professor. It is the
simplest question of all, and I hope that with all of your education, your
experience and your extensive knowledge you will be able to shed some light upon
it.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>44.       
<!–[endif]–>I will do my best, I promise.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>45.       
<!–[endif]–>Great. I told you it is a very simple question, and it
might sound very naïve or childish, but please, accept it as an honest
willingness to understand on my part. So there it is: how?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>46.       
<!–[endif]–>What?!? How?!? How what?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>47.       
<!–[endif]–>How does a species transform into a new species?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>48.       
<!–[endif]–>Oh! Ha-ha!! You scared me Socrates; I thought you were
going to ask me a very tough question to answer! This is very simple to
comprehend, Socrates, I am surprised that with your acuteness, you haven’t been
able to pierce through this problem already. But, let it be so, I will explain
it as best as I can to you and Clara. So the most common aspect of speciation
is called geographic or allopatric speciation. Basically it says that if you
have two populations of a same species that have evolved in different
environments for a certain number of generations, their genetic make up will
have varied so much, this is called genetic drift, that one group will not be
able to reproduce with another and thus they will have become two distinct
species.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>49.       
<!–[endif]–>Ok. Thank you professor because I think your short
description has been very precise, clear and simple to understand. However, I
think I see an important problem that I wish we will be able to solve together.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>50.       
<!–[endif]–>I’m listening…

<!–[if !supportLists]–>51.       
<!–[endif]–>All right. You said that because of the genetic drift,
the two populations, originally from the same species, will not be able to
reproduce. Now the question that I will ask is the following: when you say that
they will not be able to reproduce, do you mean that they will not attempt to reproduce, or that they cannot reproduce even if they tried?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>52.       
<!–[endif]–>No, they cannot reproduce between the two populations,
and they will not even try. Let me give one example to illustrate what I am
trying to explain. It is an experiment made by Diane Dodd. She took a number of
Drosophila, or fruit flies if you want, and separated them into two groups. She
isolated them and gave to one group starch-based food and the other
maltose-based food. She waited for more than eight generations and observed
several notorious morphological changes in both populations. Then she put the
two populations back together in the same environment, and realized that they
would not interbreed.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>53.       
<!–[endif]–>Ok. You are a very reasonable professor, and a
scientist with a great reputation, and I hope that we can agree on an essential
principle of scientific rigor. You stated clearly, and I have read about Dodd’s
experiment, that the two populations did not interbreed or even attempt to
interbreed. Is this enough to conclude that they are two different species?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>54.       
<!–[endif]–>Well, we should first agree on a definition of species:
we can say that a species is the group of individuals in which male individuals
are sexually compatible with female individuals and with whom they can produce
fertile offspring. So you can say that the two populations of fruit flies are
incompatible since they do not naturally interbreed.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>55.       
<!–[endif]–>Oh, I think you are making a big mistake in your
reasoning professor. Let me give you this example: take the case of us, human
beings. Let’s imagine that you, professor, only like a certain type of women for
whatever reason. Now, imagine that I present to you a different woman,
beautiful but of a different type than the one you are used to. You will not
have any form of sexual attraction to her, and will not want to get to know her.
Does that mean that you and her belong to two different species?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>56.       
<!–[endif]–>Of course not.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>57.       
<!–[endif]–>This is the same with fruit flies. The two populations
only had different traits. How can you say simply based on the fact that they
did not interbreed that consequently they can never interbreed? I think we need
to clarify the difference between sexual compatibility and the act of
interbreeding. The definition of species is totally independent of the act of
interbreeding. It states that two individuals of the opposite sex are from the
same species if they can interbreed. It only states that they need to be able
to interbreed, not that they actually do interbreed. Otherwise, you would have
to say that I only belong to the same species as the women with whom I had children,
which is obviously totally absurd. And native people of Canada would be from a different species than
native people of Kenya,
because they never interbreed with one another! This is not a comedy show, this
is a scientific investigation. The two populations of fruit flies did not
interbreed, which doesn’t mean that they cannot interbreed, and thus we cannot
conclude that they are two distinct species!

<!–[if !supportLists]–>58.       
<!–[endif]–>Ok, but we didn’t prove that they could interbreed
neither!

<!–[if !supportLists]–>59.       
<!–[endif]–>Exactly, so we cannot conclude anything, neither that
they are still the same species, or different species, until we make an
experiment where we would, for example, artificially inseminate a fly of the
first group with a fly of the second group. Or we could simply look at their
respective DNA. But until then we cannot conclude anything, and this can never
be a proof of speciation!

<!–[if !supportLists]–>60.       
<!–[endif]–>But, Socrates, look at all the studies that have been
made throughout the years, I can name you thousands of papers written on that
subject.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>61.       
<!–[endif]–>If they have the same scientific rigor as the fruit
flies experiment, I will not pollute my mind with it. I am sorry professor.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>62.       
<!–[endif]–>Socrates, you are the only person that I know who is
challenging the validity of that theory! Every biologist believes it! There is
too much evidence to deny it! Let me instruct you about the study made by Nancy
Knowlton: it is another classic example of how speciation works.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>63.       
<!–[endif]–>Before you go further professor: do you acknowledge the
fact that Dodd’s experiment with the fruit flies is totally inconclusive
concerning the creation of a new species?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>64.       
<!–[endif]–>I don’t know. It still seems plausible to me that
speciation occurs in that way, by geographical separation inside a species.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>65.       
<!–[endif]–>Ha-ha! You are not answering my question professor. I
am not asking you if you still believe in the theory of speciation!! I am
asking you, as a scientist, if you find that the Dodd’s experiment is enough to
conclude, in that particular case that the first population of fruit flies and
the second do not belong to the same species?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>66.       
<!–[endif]–>I don’t know if they belong to the same species, like
you said we would have to make a DNA test to be sure, but they surely did not
interbreed, so I think it is a pretty strong indication that they will not be
of the same species.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>67.       
<!–[endif]–>Again professor, you are escaping reality. I am not
asking you to evaluate the statistical possibility that they will be or not
from the same species. As a scientist, you cannot say that because something
did not happen there is a stronger chance that it can never happen under any
circumstances. I did not scream yet. Based on that fact, you cannot say that
there is a stronger chance that I cannot scream than that I can scream. It is
the same thing with the two populations of fruit flies: you cannot say that just
because individuals from the first population did not interbreed with the
individuals of the second population, they are two different species. We cannot
say neither that there is a higher chance that they belong or not to the same
species. We cannot conclude anything on their sexual compatibility! Otherwise,
this is not science, it’s an infantile reasoning. “I like this, so this is
true.” Based on what argument? “Oh, I just like it more. It seems more plausible to me, so I just say that it’s the way
things work.” Again professor, with scientific rigor, please, is the Dodd’s
experiment enough to conclude with assurance that the first population of fruit
flies does not belong to the same species as the second one?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>68.       
<!–[endif]–>Well…it seems to be the case that they do not belong
to the same species. And I mean, that’s what I was taught in school, and that’s
what a lot of the top biologists believe.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>69.       
<!–[endif]–>Professor!! Stop evading reality! I am not asking you
to give me the judgment that other biologists have on this experiment, I am
asking you to give me your own judgment, and use your own rational capability,
your own criteria for truth, in answering this very simple question.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>70.       
<!–[endif]–>Ok, Socrates. But I mean to me it seems more plausible
that they do not belong to the same species, especially when I take into
consideration all of the other research made through the years on that subject.
But if you ask objectively, well then I would say that you are right in saying
that we would need to make an additional experiment to be sure if in that
particular experiment, the two populations of flies are of different species or
not.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>71.       
<!–[endif]–>Thank you professor. I think it is very courageous of
you to say that and also very smart, because now you are really answering with
both your head and your heart and not only with your feelings and your desires
like earlier. Now, if we continue logically our search for truth, would you
agree with me in saying that in an effort to explain the functioning of
speciation, this experiment could not be used as a truthful experiment because
its conclusion is unreachable?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>72.       
<!–[endif]–>Well, yes I agree with you. If we cannot conclude that
they are rigorously two distinct species, we cannot use this example to explain
how speciation works because we don’t know whether it has occurred or not in
that case particularly. Nevertheless, Socrates, there are numerous other
examples that I can refer to promote the validity of that theory. For example,
look at the study made by Nancy Knowlton on shrimps living on either side of
the Isthmus of Panama. We know that this
isthmus closed about 3 million years ago, so that before that, the sea in which
the shrimps were living was the same and the shrimps belonged to the same
species. After that, however, the population of shrimps was separated
geographical on either side of the isthmus. Now, Knowlton took the two
populations of shrimps and put them together in the same water, and she realized
that the males and females from the two populations would fight each other off
instead of courting. So they never did interbreed! You see, just as with the
flies, the same thing happens with the shrimps, you are not going to say that
it is simply a coincidence, Socrates!

<!–[if !supportLists]–>73.       
<!–[endif]–>Ha-ha! Professor, you are making the same mistake
again, and another one for the first time. And to reassure you, I have heard of
that example also, because it is one of the most recurrent proofs that evolutionists
come up with. Just like with the flies, the shrimps did not interbreed. Does
that mean, again, that they cannot interbreed? If something does not happen,
does it mean that it cannot happen?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>74.       
<!–[endif]–>No, but you don’t understand, it’s the same example yes,
but you see that the same thing has happened with a different population. That
can’t be a coincidence, Socrates! You were talking about scientific rigor; you have
to admit that the chance that these two things are a coincidence is almost
impossible.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>75.       
<!–[endif]–>Ha-ha! Let’s be clear again on what we accept as true
and what we cannot judge. I am going to ask you the same question than before:
is this study enough to conclude, based on the fact that the two populations of
shrimps did not interbreed, that they are of two different species?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>76.       
<!–[endif]–>No, but Socrates…

<!–[if !supportLists]–>77.       
<!–[endif]–>No, professor, you have to answer this question. It is
essential to our investigation.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>78.       
<!–[endif]–>Ok, the answer is no, like before, because it is the
same situation as with the fruit flies. They did not interbreed, and we would
have to have another test to judge if they are or not the same species. But
what I am trying to tell you Socrates is that although we cannot conclude
rigorously on their species, the same thing happened as before with the fruit
flies: they did not interbreed. And this again has happened naturally! The
theory certainly has to be true if we can observe it more than once with
different populations!

<!–[if !supportLists]–>79.       
<!–[endif]–>Ok, just before continuing, I want to be sure on your
answer to the question. Do we agree that this study does not permit us, just as
with the previous experiment, to conclude with certainty on the species of the
two populations? Again, professor, that is all I am asking, please answer
without drifting to another subject.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>80.       
<!–[endif]–>Ok, Socrates, I don’t see why you are obsessed with
that. But, as you wish, I will answer that question: we cannot conclude with
certainty on the species of the two populations of shrimps.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>81.       
<!–[endif]–>All right, so we agree on that and you have
acknowledged it twice so far. Now, we have resolved the first mistake that you
have made when you said: “If two populations cannot interbreed, then they are
from different species.” The new mistake you are making is the following: “Two
populations of fruit flies separated geographically for several generations,
when put together again do not interbreed. The exact same thing happened with
two populations of shrimps. I cannot conclude anything on their species.
However, two experiments with the same setting showed clearly the same
conclusion, so the chance of their incapability to interbreed must be higher.”
Basically, in resume, what you are saying is the following: “Something did not
happen in a specific setting with someone. The same thing did not happen in the
same setting, with someone else. Then I can conclude that this thing cannot
happen!” Let me give you this example to illustrate my point better: you smile
to a woman in the street, and that woman does not smile back. You smile to a
different woman and she doesn’t smile back neither. You smile again at another
woman, somewhere else, and the same thing happens. Can you conclude that women
cannot smile back at you? Do you think because three women haven’t smiled back
at you, there is a higher chance that they cannot smile back at you than if
only one hadn’t smiled back?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>82.       
<!–[endif]–>In the case of a woman, the reasoning is clearly
absurd. And I guess I would have to smile at all the women that exist to know
if they indeed cannot smile back.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>83.       
<!–[endif]–>Then again, maybe they were all in a bad mood the same
day you tried. So you would have to try the following day!

<!–[if !supportLists]–>84.       
<!–[endif]–>It’s true, and the following day, etc. What’s your
point?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>85.       
<!–[endif]–>So how is this different from the study of the flies
and the shrimps? Both did not interbreed when the same thing happened to them,
can we conclude that they cannot interbreed, and that they belong to two
different species?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>86.       
<!–[endif]–>No, we can’t. But again, it seems more probable that
they can’t interbreed. And there are hundreds more examples where in the same
situation two populations separated for a long time have not interbred. And
when I say hundreds, there may even be thousands of examples of this
phenomenon. The more cases like this, the more you believe that they actually
cannot interbreed, don’t you think Socrates?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>87.       
<!–[endif]–>Professor, professor, I didn’t know you confused your
desires so much with reality. There are some things that as much as you wish
for them to be different, their truth and their existence are totally
independent of you. And this is one of these cases right now. No matter how
much you say: “I want nature to be this way, and not that way”, it will never
change simply because you want it to change. So you are saying that because
hundreds or even thousands of studies have shown that in the same situation,
two separated populations, when put back together do not interbreed, you are
leaning more towards the possibility that they cannot interbreed. The first
question that I have to ask you is the following: were any DNA tests or
artificial insemination done to verify if there were indeed two different
species in the studies that you have in mind?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>88.       
<!–[endif]–>You mean like in the case of the fruit flies, or the
shrimps?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>89.       
<!–[endif]–>Yes, exactly. In these two examples, no test was done.
So I’m asking you if in the other studies that you have in mind, any test was
done.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>90.       
<!–[endif]–>Well, not that I can remember.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>91.       
<!–[endif]–>All right. So from the hundreds or thousands of studies
that you have in mind, not one is more conclusive than the other in determining
the belonging of species of the two populations studied?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>92.       
<!–[endif]–>Well, if we say that just like with the fruit flies and
the shrimps, we cannot reach a definite conclusion because we didn’t do any
test, then yes you are right.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>93.       
<!–[endif]–>All right. Now, going back to the examples of you
smiling at some women. When you smiled at the first one and she didn’t smile
back, you didn’t reach any conclusion as to the capacity of women to smile back
at you. Now, after the second woman didn’t smile back, were you able to reach
any conclusion then?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>94.       
<!–[endif]–>I mean, no, of course not. It’s only two women.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>95.       
<!–[endif]–>All right, and after three, were you able to reach any
conclusion?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>96.       
<!–[endif]–>Well, no, I couldn’t.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>97.       
<!–[endif]–>And what about after four women who didn’t smile back
at you?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>98.       
<!–[endif]–>Even after four, it’s not enough, I don’t know if one
day one woman will smile back at me.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>99.       
<!–[endif]–>Ok. How many women would you have to smile at to know
that they cannot smile back at you?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>100.    <!–[endif]–>Ha-ha!
Socrates, what kind of question is that?! Like we said earlier, I would have to
try with every woman, forever to know whether they can or cannot smile back at
me.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>101.    <!–[endif]–>So
it’s an ever-ending process! You can never reach a conclusion!!

<!–[if !supportLists]–>102.    <!–[endif]–>I
guess you are right, since the experiment never ends, I can never have a
definite conclusion. I don’t see the point though.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>103.    <!–[endif]–>It
is the same thing with all the studies that claim to prove the validity of allopatric
speciation. You have one experiment where they did not interbreed, just like
the first woman did not smile back at you. Then you have a second different
experiment where two other populations did not interbreed, just like with the
second woman you smiled at. And you have hundreds or thousands of experiments
where they did not interbreed, just like you may have smiled at hundreds or
thousands of women, and they did not smile back. You cannot conclude that they
cannot interbreed just like you cannot conclude that women cannot smile back at
you!!!

<!–[if !supportLists]–>104.    <!–[endif]–>No,
it’s true, but the more experiments I have, the closer I get to reach the
conclusion that they cannot interbreed. It’s just like with women!

<!–[if !supportLists]–>105.    <!–[endif]–>So
you are saying that the more women don’t smile back at you, the closer you get
to the conclusion that they cannot smile back at you?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>106.    <!–[endif]–>Yes
and the same thing is true with the experiments of geographic speciation. The
more experiments show that the populations don’t interbreed, the closer we get
to the conclusion that they cannot interbreed.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>107.    <!–[endif]–>But
we agreed that the experiment never ends, yes?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>108.    <!–[endif]–>Yes,
we agreed on that because we would have to smile at every woman forever.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>109.    <!–[endif]–>So
we can never reach a conclusion?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>110.    <!–[endif]–>No,
because the experiments are infinite.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>111.    <!–[endif]–>All
right. So we never get closer to the conclusion, because the conclusion doesn’t
exist!

<!–[if !supportLists]–>112.    <!–[endif]–>Ha-ha,
actually what you are saying is true Socrates. I never thought about it that
way. So you are saying that we never get closer to the conclusion no matter how
many studies have been made or no matter how many women I have smiled at?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>113.    <!–[endif]–>Exactly,
don’t you agree?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>114.    <!–[endif]–>Actually,
yes. Ok, I think I understand, so no matter how many examples we have of
something not happening, we never get closer to the conclusion that it cannot happen.
We would only need one example of it happening to reach the opposite
conclusion.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>115.    <!–[endif]–>Exactly!
I knew you would understand that professor. So no matter how many experiments
show the same thing as with the fruit flies or the shrimps studies, we never
get closer to reaching the conclusion that this is how different species are
formed.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>116.    <!–[endif]–>If
we want to be consistent with ourselves, I would say that you are right.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>117.    <!–[endif]–>So
this is not a proof of how speciation happens. Allopatric speciation might be
true, but it has never been rigorously observed, only botched studies have been
made so far. So we cannot say that allopatric speciation is true. In fact until
it is rigorously proven to happen, which after all these years doesn’t seem to
be the case, we should consider it as un-assessable. But I am sure professor
that with all your experience, there are other theories – because that’s only
what they are, theories and not principles – that explain how speciation occurs.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>118.    <!–[endif]–>Of
course. There is another process called sympatric speciation. Have you heard of
it Socrates?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>119.    <!–[endif]–>Yes
I have, but I would like you to explain it again so that there is no confusion
between us and we understand the same thing.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>120.    <!–[endif]–>All
right. So sympatric speciation is the creation of new species by what is called
polyploidy. Polyploidy is simply the condition of cells containing more than one
set of homologous chromosomes. So because of different reasons, cells can go
from having two sets of homologous chromosomes, which is called diploid, to
three, four, five or more sets of homologous chromosomes during their division.
So you can see that because there is a change in the number of sets of
homologous chromosomes of the cells, there is also a change of species.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>121.    <!–[endif]–>I
agree, because they shouldn’t be able to reproduce. Can you tell me professor,
where this phenomenon has been observed?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>122.    <!–[endif]–>Oh
yes. There are many examples: in coffee plants, in wheat, watermelons, shrimps,
moths and killies.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>123.    <!–[endif]–>What
do all of these living things that you enumerated have in common: coffee plant,
wheat, watermelon, shrimps, moths and killies?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>124.    <!–[endif]–>I
don’t understand what you are asking Socrates…

<!–[if !supportLists]–>125.    <!–[endif]–>What
is their mode of reproduction?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>126.    <!–[endif]–>Ah…well
they reproduce asexually or self-fertilize. That’s one of the main reasons why
they can actually increase their number of sets of homologous chromosomes.
Biologists generally agree that half of flowering plants have originated this
way.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>127.    <!–[endif]–>Ok.
But what about other animals who do not reproduce asexually or self-fertilize?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>128.    <!–[endif]–>Actually,
I think that polyploidy has been observed in humans, but the individuals never
survived to birth.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>129.    <!–[endif]–>So
it is not conclusive in the case of humans, and just because of that we should
refute all of your theory. Because for sympatric speciation to be true, it
would have to be true for every form of life on Earth. Allopatric speciation is
a myth, and now you are suggesting that sympatric speciation is the way
speciation works but it doesn’t work for humans. But anyhow, I will continue to
show you how absurd your arguments are. Do you have an example where it has
been observed in a species that reproduces sexually and that cannot
self-fertilize?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>130.    <!–[endif]–>Not
that I can think of but I don’t see why it is important Socrates. Sympatric
speciation has been observed over and over with plants, with self-fertilizing
protozoa, shrimps, moths, and even with the killifish. Isn’t that enough?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>131.    <!–[endif]–>No
it’s not. Your claim is to say that speciation occurs in this way. If it is
true, then it has to occur for every form of life that exists to be a truthful
principle. But the only thing you are saying is that sympatric speciation works
for this plant, for that animal. My question is does it occur for every living
thing? We know that allopatric speciation is a lie. Now your new affirmation is
the following: speciation occurs through a change in the number of set of
homologous chromosomes inside cells. Ok, this might be true. But if it is true,
it would have to be the case for every living thing on Earth, otherwise sympatric
speciation would only be true until a certain point in the evolutionary line of
species, and speciation would have to work in a different manner after that
point. It could be true, but again, this is not what you are claiming. You are
claiming that it always happens. So there is obviously no proof that sympatric
speciation occurs for the other forms of life, and all the studies are totally
incomplete and inconclusive.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>132.    <!–[endif]–>…

<!–[if !supportLists]–>133.    <!–[endif]–>I
will ask you a new question professor, that will show you furthermore how
sympatric speciation is absurd: if you say that sympatric speciation increases
the number of sets of homologous chromosomes inside the cells of an individual,
then shouldn’t we as human beings have the highest number of chromosomes since
we are the most evolved and most complex form of life on this planet? But as
humans we are diploid animals and the peanut is tetraploid. How do you resolve
that problem? Not only that, but the difference between species doesn’t only
lie in their polyploidy, it also lies in the number of chromosomes they have,
and on their internal structure, their information so to speak. Sympatric
speciation doesn’t change the nature of the chromosome: it only creates cells
with more sets of homologous chromosomes. It doesn’t create new and different
chromosomes. But what we observe in nature between species is a difference in
their number of chromosomes, in their structure, their genes and their polyploidy.
Sympatric speciation only deals with polyploidy, so how do you explain the
other differences?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>134.    <!–[endif]–>Well…Socrates,
to tell you the truth, I don’t have sufficient knowledge in that area to answer,
I am sorry.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>135.    <!–[endif]–>But
do you still believe in sympatric speciation?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>136.    <!–[endif]–>Well,
yes. Why shouldn’t I?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>137.    <!–[endif]–>Oh,
professor, I overestimated your intelligence. You believe in something but you
cannot prove it! And I have just showed you how inconsistent and unsound the theory
of sympatric speciation is. You realized that you didn’t have enough proof to
back up your statement and you still believe it? Why?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>138.    <!–[endif]–>…

<!–[if !supportLists]–>139.    <!–[endif]–>We
agreed that the allopatric speciation experiments that were made were
inconclusive and you agreed with me in saying that we shouldn’t believe this
theory until it was rigorously proven to be true. That’s how science works: we
start with what we know to be true, not by what seems to be true, or what we
suspect to be true. Now, you said that you still believed that speciation
occurred, and you said it occurred by sympatric speciation. You acknowledged
the fact that it has only been observed in certain forms of life. I showed you
several contradictions in your reasoning: firstly, in order to justify the
validity of sympatric speciation, it would have to be true for every form of
life on Earth, something which has clearly not been proven. Then, I showed you
that polyploidy increases the number of sets of chromosomes in the cell but
doesn’t change the chromosomes themselves, yet species have different
chromosomes and different number of chromosomes. Sympatric speciation doesn’t
resolve that problem. And I asked you if you could resolve that contradiction
and you said that you didn’t have enough knowledge to answer that question.
Maybe a lack of knowledge is not the issue here, but rather a lack of honesty
and common sense: maybe there is no way to resolve that contradiction, and thus
sympatric speciation could be totally false! But you don’t want to envisage
that possibility: this is the way you have been reasoning since the beginning
of our meeting. You always started in saying that speciation is a fact. I have
showed you continuously the absurdity and falsehood of your arguments, but all
you have said is “well, yes your arguments are true, but there must be
something I don’t know which shows that speciation is true.” Why should it be
the case? You claim to be a scientist? Your behavior is close-minded and
stubborn. You shouldn’t be so much attached to this speciation theory; it is
not a matter of life or death! It’s like the day you learned Santa Claus did
not exist: it didn’t kill you. It certainly upset you. But then after having
wept for some time, you asked yourself the following question: “where do all my
gifts at Christmas come from?” And you found out that it was your parents who
gave you all these gifts! Didn’t that fill your heart with joy? “My parents
love me!” Even if speciation was true, you have shown that you don’t know why
it is true, so why should you believe it? The world is not going to end if you
simply say that you don’t know whether it’s true or not.

 

<!–[if !supportLists]–>140.    <!–[endif]–>At
this moment, another professor enters the office, looking strangely at
Socrates.

 

<!–[if !supportLists]–>141.    <!–[endif]–>What
is going on here?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>142.    <!–[endif]–>Oh
hi Dick, let me introduce you to Socrates, a friend of Clara, with whom I’m
discussing the theory of evolution.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>143.    <!–[endif]–>Hi
Socrates. Are you the one who’s been arguing for an hour about the theory of
evolution?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>144.    <!–[endif]–>Yes.
And you are?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>145.    <!–[endif]–>I’m
a part-time professor of biology here. My office is next door. I’ve heard much
of your arguments, and I must say that despite your exuberance you seem to have
a keen sense of analysis. However, I must tell you that during all this time you
have exposed beyond any shred of a doubt your lack of knowledge on the subject.
You lack a lot of information. Out of curiosity, what kind of diploma do you
hold?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>146.    <!–[endif]–>Ha-ha
there goes the baby-boomer syndrome!! I don’t see how important that is, but I
hold a diploma in quantum physics.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>147.    <!–[endif]–>(Clara:
You never told me that Socrates!)

<!–[if !supportLists]–>148.    <!–[endif]–>There
are more things that you don’t know in life than things you know, Clara!

<!–[if !supportLists]–>149.    <!–[endif]–>Really?
Interesting. Can I ask from what university?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>150.    <!–[endif]–>Certainly.
From Oxford
university. And can I ask the same question to you, professor?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>151.    <!–[endif]–>Of
course. I have a major in molecular biology from the University of Texas,
and a PhD from Harvard. After that I did my doctorate, still in Harvard, and my
thesis was on molecular biology and evolution.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>152.    <!–[endif]–>Anyhow,
why have you bothered to leave your office and join our discussion, doctor?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>153.    <!–[endif]–>You
flatter me too much Socrates, but I must tell you the truth: you do not give
honor to your fellowmen at Oxford
when you argue about the theory of evolution; you should stick with quantum
physics. It’s just a friendly advice, you know.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>154.    <!–[endif]–>Well
I’m glad you are concerned with my reputation and my mental health, so am I
with yours. Where was I wrong, please tell me doctor?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>155.    <!–[endif]–>There
are millions of places where we could start, but I will start with the easiest
and most essential part. Do you acknowledge the fact that genetic mutations
occur in populations?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>156.    <!–[endif]–>Ha-ha,
I can already guess where all of your argument will lead, but I will let you
the pleasure of being wrong. Yes, I agree that genetic mutations happen. We can
see that certain illnesses have their origin in mutations. I bet that the next
thing you will say is this: beneficial mutations will, through natural
selection, become part of the gene pool of a species. Am I right?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>157.    <!–[endif]–>Indeed.
So you agree that we can go from one species with a certain gene to a species
with another, better expression of that gene through several generations?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>158.    <!–[endif]–>Yes,
but I would hope that you agree that it is still the same species. Do you?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>159.    <!–[endif]–>Well,
you know, nowadays the notion of species is not really clear. We could say that
they are the same species or that they have changed…

<!–[if !supportLists]–>160.    <!–[endif]–>Don’t
be a sophist, please!!

<!–[if !supportLists]–>161.    <!–[endif]–>It
doesn’t matter actually if I acknowledge that they have changed as a species or
not. It depends on the mutation. And if this mutation is not enough to change
the species, then a succession of mutations will. Do you understand what you
have missed from all of your previous argument, Socrates? You have failed to
take into consideration the fact that mutations occur inside a species, and
that a certain number of mutations, throughout a sufficient amount of time will
change the population from one species to a different, new species. That’s what
speciation is.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>162.    <!–[endif]–>Ok.
Let’s follow your argument and reason scientifically. Let’s imagine a species S1.
Let G1 be the first generation of S1. Let’s say that a
first mutation M1 occurs and that the second generation G2
will bear that mutation. Basically what you are saying is that after a certain
number of mutations N, occurring randomly in any generation, the final
generation GX will be a new species S2. Is that what you
mean?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>163.    <!–[endif]–>Yes,
that’s exactly it. N mutations over a long period of time, it could be
thousands or millions of generations afterwards, but you could get a new
species in the end.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>164.    <!–[endif]–>Ok.
So the creation of a new species is not punctual but stretches over a long
period of time, right?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>165.    <!–[endif]–>Yes.
It takes a long time to happen. You cannot notice it as a human being because
our individual existence is too narrow.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>166.    <!–[endif]–>Ok.
Let me ask you the following question: let’s say the first generation G1
gives rise to the second generation G2 without any mutation occurring.
Are the individuals of G1 and G2 from the same species?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>167.    <!–[endif]–>What
do you mean?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>168.    <!–[endif]–>It’s
not a hard question, doctor. Can the individuals of G1 reproduce
with the individuals of the opposite sex of G2 and give birth to
fertile individuals?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>169.    <!–[endif]–>Well,
you are asking whether a male in G1 could reproduce with a female in
G2, considering the fact that there have been no mutations?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>170.    <!–[endif]–>Exactly.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>171.    <!–[endif]–>Well,
yes. I mean, I could have children with my mother; it wouldn’t be much
recommended, but it would work.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>172.    <!–[endif]–>Ok,
so G1 and G2 belong to the same species when no mutations
occur. Do you agree with me in saying that G1, G2, G3,
G10 and any other generation Gx will all be able to
reproduce with each other if no mutation occurs?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>173.    <!–[endif]–>Yes
I agree, again I could even have children with my grandmother and my
great-great-grandmother if they were still alive and fertile. We belong to the
same species. But this is not very relevant; we are talking about mutations in
the case of speciation, so we should take examples where mutation occurs!

<!–[if !supportLists]–>174.    <!–[endif]–>Ok,
so let’s take the case where G2 holds a mutated gene M1.
Do G2 and G1 belong to the same species? In other words,
can they interbreed and produce a fertile individual?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>175.    <!–[endif]–>Well,
like I said earlier it depends on the mutation, but usually it takes more than
one mutation, it’s a succession of mutations through time that causes the
change of species.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>176.    <!–[endif]–>So
usually one is not enough?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>177.    <!–[endif]–>No,
it’s not enough.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>178.    <!–[endif]–>Ok,
so G1 and G2 still belong to the same species.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>179.    <!–[endif]–>Well,
yes, in a way.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>180.    <!–[endif]–>What
do you mean ‘in a way’? Do they or don’t they belong to the same species if the
mutation is not enough for speciation to occur?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>181.    <!–[endif]–>Ok,
they are still the same species.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>182.    <!–[endif]–>What
if G5 had one additional mutation than G2, would G1 and G5
be the same species?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>183.    <!–[endif]–>Come
on! Two mutations will not be enough neither! I said it takes a lot of
mutations and a lot of time for speciation to occur! It takes hundreds,
thousands, or even millions of generations to change from one species to
another.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>184.    <!–[endif]–>Ok,
let’s assume it takes one million generations. So G1 and G1000000
are not the same species.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>185.    <!–[endif]–>I
agree.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>186.    <!–[endif]–>Is
G99999 the same species as G1000000?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>187.    <!–[endif]–>What
kind of question is that???

<!–[if !supportLists]–>188.    <!–[endif]–>It’s
a pretty easy question for a doctor. Is the generation just before the last one
the same species as the last generation?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>189.    <!–[endif]–>How
am I supposed to know that?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>190.    <!–[endif]–>You
are the one making the claim that this is how speciation works; you’re the one
who should know!

<!–[if !supportLists]–>191.    <!–[endif]–>But
you don’t get it! The change in species is gradual!

<!–[if !supportLists]–>192.    <!–[endif]–>What
does that mean? Does it mean that taking a random generation Gn and
comparing it with another generation Gn+x where a mutation has
occurred, they would not be the same species, nor totally different species,
but would have to be partially different? Gn+x would have gradually,
slowly started to become a different species?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>193.    <!–[endif]–>Yes,
that’s it, that’s what it is! That’s what happens.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>194.    <!–[endif]–>Ok
so Gn and Gn+x are kind of intermediate species in a
sense, in between the original species and half-way to the final species?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>195.    <!–[endif]–>Precisely.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>196.    <!–[endif]–>And
so the change is gradual from G1 to G1000000. Ok, now
what if we took two opposite sex individuals form Gn and Gn+x and
we tried to interbreed them, would we succeed or would we fail?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>197.    <!–[endif]–>…

<!–[if !supportLists]–>198.    <!–[endif]–>You
said that Gn and Gn+x are not the same yet you also said
that they are not different species. So what happens when you breed two individuals
who do not belong to the same species and do not belong to two different
species neither? Does it work sometimes and it doesn’t work other times?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>199.    <!–[endif]–>…

<!–[if !supportLists]–>200.    <!–[endif]–>Obviously
this is absurd. There is no such thing as intermediate species that neither
belong nor do not belong to the same species as their parent-generation. You
either belong to a species, or you don’t, there are no in-betweens! So I’ll ask
the question again, and I will forget the previous answer you have suggested. Do
Gn and Gn+x belong to the same species or not?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>201.    <!–[endif]–>…

<!–[if !supportLists]–>202.    <!–[endif]–>You
don’t know what to say, maybe it’s better that way, concerning what you have
said so far. You can only answer two things: yes or no. We shall examine them
and see whether they make sense or not. So the first thing you might say is
“yes, they belong to the same species”. Where does that take us? So Gn
and Gn+x are the same species. Let’s take Gn+x and Gn+x+y
now where two mutations have occurred. This is the same case as before
with Gn and Gn+x: they are not intermediate species
neither belonging nor not-belonging to the same species. And we have said that
Gn and Gn+x are the same species, so there is no reason
why it should be different with Gn+x and Gn+x+y. So if Gn
and Gn+x are the same species, then Gn+x and Gn+x+y are
the same species too. Following the same logic, Gn+x+y+z would be
the same species as Gn+x+y. And thus Gn+x+y+z is the same
species as Gn. We can do this eternally from Gn to Gn+a
where n+a=1000000. So Gn+a would be the same species as Gn.
And taking n=1 we get G1 is the same species as G1000000!
We still have the same species: no speciation has occurred!

<!–[if !supportLists]–>203.    <!–[endif]–>…

<!–[if !supportLists]–>204.    <!–[endif]–>Or
you might say “no, Gn and Gn+x don’t belong to the same
species”. If Gn and Gn+x don’t belong to the same
species, then speciation has occurred between Gn and Gn+x,
spontaneously! If you want the theory of speciation to survive, that’s what you
have to accept. It can only happen punctually. Now that we have unveiled your
myth of “speciation takes a lot of time to happen” I can ask you the following
question: how can a couple from one species give birth to an offspring of a
totally different species? Scientifically, genetically, how can this happen?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>205.    <!–[endif]–>Listen,
Socrates, I think it’s time for you to leave this office right now.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>206.    <!–[endif]–>Ok,
I get it: the time for me to leave comes when you realize that you were wrong!
Ha-ha at least I know that you acknowledge your mistake.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>207.    <!–[endif]–>No,
no, no…I think my colleague and I have heard enough of you today, and we want
you to leave now. Ok?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>208.    <!–[endif]–>I
understand that you want me to leave. I am not sure on why you want me to leave
though. I have my ideas. Firstly, I am certain that you acknowledge the fact
that you were wrong and that I was right. Now, this happens to me also, you
know. That is what we get by presenting ourselves as philosophers and scientists:
we deal with truths and we are bound to be wrong from time to time. But what
troubles me is your reaction. You seem to get angry right now and don’t give
yourself the chance of correcting your mistake and learning something new,
something true.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>209.    <!–[endif]–>Ok,
it’s enough; if you don’t leave right now I’m going to call the security.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>210.    <!–[endif]–>(Clara:
Come on, Socrates, let’s go.)

<!–[if !supportLists]–>211.    <!–[endif]–>We’ll
go, give me two more minutes Clara. So now you are using threat to make me
leave the office. You seam scared professor. But what can I do to you that you
should be afraid of? I don’t have a reputation of harming people! I would like
to comfort you because I see that you are really afraid of me but I am begging
you to believe me professor: I don’t want to do you any harm. I am trying to
help you. I think I’ll just send you flowers with a small postcard next time I pass
by your office. You know it’s not a big deal to be wrong about speciation!!
What is speciation in the world or in your life? It’s nothing, it’s a detail. There
are other things, better things that deserve your and my attention.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>212.    <!–[endif]–>That’s
it, I’m calling security.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>213.    <!–[endif]–>Come
on, who are you trying to fool? Take a step back and ask yourself the following
question: what does speciation mean in my life? If you find out that it doesn’t
mean much, and you keep on saying that you believe it despite having been shown
your arguments were wrong, this is playing dumb and childish, and I know that
you can behave better than that. On the other hand, if you find out that it
really means a lot in your life and you keep on believing it, teaching it and
defending it ferociously, then you really are acting like a devil, and you
should be treated as a criminal. And if you admit that you believed in
something without any truthful reasons, nothing is over, you still can take the
time to study whether this theory is true or false. If you discover rationally
that it is true, you will gain great pleasure and satisfaction out of it. And
if you discover that it is really false, then thousands of doors will open up
in front of you, thousands of different new paths to find the real cause behind
speciation! If you are a real scientist, someone really dedicated to truth,
that is what you will do.

 

<!–[if !supportLists]–>214.    <!–[endif]–>Socrates
and Clara leave the office together. Socrates accompanies Clara on her way back
home.

 

<!–[if !supportLists]–>215.    <!–[endif]–>Why
didn’t you tell me that you had a diploma for Oxford in quantum physics, Socrates?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>216.    <!–[endif]–>Ha-ha!
Because it’s not true!

<!–[if !supportLists]–>217.    <!–[endif]–>What?
Then why did you tell the professor who entered the office that you had one?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>218.    <!–[endif]–>Because
he’s one of these baby-boomers who think it’s a privilege to talk to them.
Basically I think they’re scared that someone with plain common sense might expose
their lies and the myths they are spreading. They claim to be scientists; they
are not even human beings yet! So that’s their way of saying they’re right: “I
have a diploma, therefore I have an authority on my subject over anyone who
doesn’t hold that same diploma.”

<!–[if !supportLists]–>219.    <!–[endif]–>But
that’s totally arrogant! Why are they like that, Socrates?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>220.    <!–[endif]–>I
would say that it’s a vengeance.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>221.    <!–[endif]–>Vengeance
over what?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>222.    <!–[endif]–>Basically,
the way the people with that attitude have obtained their diploma is through
memorization. Through the years, they haven’t learned anything else than to
pass a test. And I don’t blame them because that’s what most schools teach you
to do: you listen to a teacher, you memorize everything he or she said, then
you pass a test and you write everything that you remember. So you accept, if
you want a good grade, everything your teacher tells you. And the teacher
repeats what the ministry of education tells him to teach.

<!–[if !supportLists]–>223.    <!–[endif]–>And
who tells the ministry of education what to teach?

<!–[if !supportLists]–>224.    <!–[endif]–>Usually
the citizens who elect these politicians, when they actually vote and when they
are actually involved in the political life of their country. Now if you have a
good teacher, you might be able to push some questions further and figure out things
for yourself, but the way the exam system is structured, you must memorize what
you are told, and repeat it. So generally, school doesn’t care a bit what you
think, except until some PhD or doctorate programs. So you have to wait more
than 15 years before doing something creative in school, in science and
philosophy especially! So what happens is that some people have put as a goal
in their life to have a PhD in order to have a safe future. The really
motivated and strong individuals might get there with their creativity and
imagination still intact but a lot of them will reach this stage with their
individuality, subjectivity and intuition totally destroyed. So these latter
individuals will have endured suffering through all their academic years, but
they will get a masochistic pride out of it, because they have been compensated
financially and socially for it. So for them, unconsciously, they are rewarded
for repressing their imagination and individuality! That’s what these people
have learned in school, and that’s what they feel they need to do as
professors. Now if you don’t have a diploma, you haven’t gone through all the
suffering they’ve gone, so you can’t talk about the subject, because you haven’t
gone through the whole repression process that is the standard for being able
to say “I know something”. It’s like a cult: you rise through the ranks gradually
without knowing what to expect next and that’s how you gain wisdom and freedom:
through pain, suffering, corruption, lies. But once there, you will be
convinced that you deserve this sought after position. Imagine that this is how
you have obtained your diploma in biology and that someone comes to meet you,
without having suffered all these pains, and talks to you freely about the
theory of evolution, how would you react? Will you fill yourself of jealousy or
admiration?

 

 

 

“There is one
question I’d really love to ask:

Is there a place for
the hopeless sinner,

Who has hurt all Mankind

Just to save his own
belief?”

– Bob Marley, One
Love

07
Juil
08

Clara and Socrates: On Truth

1. Clara’s mind has slowly drifted out of the classroom, and she is starting to dream…
2. Socrates, are you there?
3. Yes. I am here. What’s going on Clara?
4. Oh, Socrates, I am so glad you are here, because I have come upon an interesting question, and after having read different opinions on the subject, I am still not satisfied with the answer. I was hoping that you could help me…
5. Certainly Clara. Well, to start with you would have to tell me what the question is, and I’ll tell you if I can help you.
6. Great! So, the question is: what is truth?
7. Haha!!
8. Why do you laugh Socrates?
9. I’m just happy to see that you haven’t stopped asking yourselves questions. It is a great question, that is so simply stated, yet that few men dare to answer. You are more courageous than a lot of adults I know, who would not dare think about this question, much less ask it. I will help you, and I hope that by the end of our conversation you will have seen the simplicity of the answer.
10. I hope too! So, Socrates, where do we start?
11. Let’s find out what it is not, and maybe from there we will be able to find what it is.
12. Ok.
13. So, is truth a person?
14. Haha, no of course not!
15. Is it a material object?
16. No, neither.
17. Does it exist?
18. …wow, to tell you the truth Socrates, I don’t know!!!!
19. Haha!! Well, it would be helpful if we knew whether it exists or not, it could save us a lot of time! So, we have two possible answers: either “truth exists” or “truth doesn’t exist”. Which is the correct answer do you think Clara?
20. Like I told you, I don’t know, but according to what I’ve read and the conversations I had, I would say that people tend to say that truth doesn’t exist. But it’s debatable, right?
21. Let’s make a little experiment: tell me that truth doesn’t exist please.
22. Ok…truth does not exist, Socrates!
23. Ok. Is it true?
24. …
25. What is it, Clara?
26. …I don’t know what to say!!! If I say yes, then I would have contradicted myself, but if I say no, I contradict myself too!!! I don’t know!
27. All right. Your reaction was excellent Clara, you got it right immediately: the statement “truth doesn’t exist” is self-contradictory and therefore it is impossible. But, when we say “truth exists”, we are not contradicting ourselves, therefore truth does exist. Do you follow?
28. Oh, yes! This is amazing, simply by showing a contradiction in a statement we are able to prove that it’s false!!!
29. Exactly. It is very important that we both agree that truth exists before going further, that is why I started with this question. Now, we have to know what we mean by “truth”.
30. Yes.
31. You already told me that it was not material and I totally agree with you. Now, let me ask you this question: where does “truth” exist?
32. What?
33. Where does it exist? You told me that truth existed, you should be able to tell me where!
34. Socrates, please, this is torture!!!! I don’t know!!
35. Well, do you agree that it must exist in some place, because if it existed “nowhere” it would not exist at all?
36. Well, yes, of course.
37. Would you agree with me if I said that truth was an idea?
38. What do you mean by an idea, Socrates?
39. To answer that question, let me simply repeat something Einstein said: if I give you a dollar, you will be one dollar richer and I’ll be one dollar poorer. But if I give you an idea, you will have a new idea, but I shall still have it, too.
40. What do you make of that, Clara?
41. I love that quote! So if I understand, an idea is something that can exist in several places at the same time. It can exist inside my mind, and inside your mind too.
42. Exactly. Now, we must find where this thing we call truth exists.
43. Ok.
44. Would you agree with me in saying that there is or has existed at least one man that “had” the idea of truth inside him? One man who understood what it was?
45. Well, yes I would so say, there must have been at least one man out of all the people that have existed on Earth.
46. Great, and we saw that since truth is an idea, it has the potential to exist in other minds too.
47. Yes.
48. Now, tell me Clara, this man who had understood what truth was, how did he come to know that? Was it innate to his mind, or was it acquired?
49. How should we know, we would have to ask him wouldn’t we?
50. Not necessarily.
51. Then how?
52. First we have to acknowledge the fact that we are all made of the same essence, which we call the mind. Then, we have to devise an experiment to prove if an idea is innate or is acquired.
53. Ok. What kind of experiment do you suggest?
54. Let’s look at both cases applied to the idea of truth. Let’s say that truth is not innate, and is actually learned. Let’s say that I knew what truth is and not you, or in other words, truth was inside me but not inside you. And let’s say I was to teach you what truth is.
55. Ok…
56. But, because you didn’t know what truth is, you would believe anything I told you! I could tell you anything I wanted, if truth was not innate to everyone of us, and you had no way of finding out whether I was lying to you or not!
57. You’re right…
58. But of course, this is not the case. You might be naïve and believe some things I told you, but let’s say I where to tell you that you liked green apples when in fact you only liked red ones, you would know that I was not telling the truth: you would not believe me, you would know that I was lying.
59. Very interesting, Socrates…so you’re actually saying that truth is inside me??
60. Well, yes. I don’t have to tell you where it is: it’s inside you!!! It’s innate to everyone of us! Otherwise, there would be absolutely no way of learning anything, or we would not have the ability to lie.
61. But still, that’s a little too easy to conclude… There might be other things innate to me, and still it doesn’t really tell me what truth is…
62. You’re right, but at least we’ve gone through that crucial part: truth is inside everyone of us, so there’s no need to look outside to find it, it’s just a case of remembering that it’s there. Obviously, like you have proved me Clara, it is possible to forget what truth is. Just as it is possible to forget what it is, it must also be possible to remember it. To find out, we would have to know when truth manifests its existence. What is necessary for this inward manifestation to occur? In other words, what do we need to be doing in order to experience the existence of truth inside us?
63. I don’t know… think maybe?
64. Haha!! Yes, that seems pretty obvious, but it’s true. We must think about something in order to experience truth. But how do we call the class of things that we are able to think about?
65. You mean ideas?
66. Yes, exactly. Therefore truth can only manifest itself when we reflect about an idea.
67. Yes! That’s when we ask ourselves, in our mind: “is it true?” Just like when you are talking to me and sharing your ideas with me, I think about what you say and I constantly ask myself whether what you say is true or not.
68. Exactly. Well concluded. And how does truth feel Clara?
69. Haha!!! It feels great, thank you!!!!
70. So truth is inside everyone of us, and it manifests itself when we ponder upon an idea. We could say then that truth is a qualitative perception of an idea, it is the highest understanding we can have of things. Now, I think your teacher is about to ask you a question, you better come back to earth and pretend that you’re listening to him!
71. Oh, yes, thanks Socrates. I’ll talk to you later, ok?
72. Yes, Clara, take care.
73. Bye Socrates!