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  • Tribute to the Man Who Gave Me Deep-Time Eyes: Paul S. Martin | Thank God For Evolution
    according to Paul s widely acknowledged overkill theory Thus we owe it to these lineages to give their kind a second chance In the 1970s it was Natural History Magazine that served as Paul s advocacy outlet He first advocated for the return of camels to the very continent in which they had in fact evolved In the 1990s he twice published in Wild Earth journal the arguments for what has since come to be called Pleistocene Rewilding I remember when Paul sent me his draft of an essay he titled Bring Back the Elephants I thought it was a crazy idea and I told him so But after a week that meme had infected my mind too so I sent Paul s draft to the editor of Wild Earth with a cover letter explaining why I felt the essay was important for conservation biologists to consider Paul s radical essay along with my expanded cover letter titled Rewilding for Evolution appeared in a 1999 issue of Wild Earth Note My personal correspondence with Paul on Bring Back the Elephants has been archived in the library of the next younger generation of conservation biologists Josh Donlan who was so inspired by Paul Martin too that he served as instigator and lead author of two now classic papers on Pleistocene Rewilding on which the grandfather of it all Paul Martin is also a coauthor Paul Martin and Evidential Mysticism The mainstream science on which deep time eyes depends does not diminish one s communion with the powers of this Earth and the particulars of this continent It enriches them exponentially Before meeting Paul I assumed my Euro American heritage was a life long handicap that would forever leave me wistful of Native American ways of experiencing the life and landscapes in the wild places I love His contributions on Overkill Theory which began in the 1960s along with his work on ecological anachronisms launched me on a path of becoming quite a Pleistocene mystic in my own right I was exhilarated to discover that Paul and I had grown into shamans of a sort possessing esoteric knowledge that brought us into communion with America s ecological heritage and importantly in ways that had been inaccessible to the first peoples here We had something truly new and powerful to offer others like ourselves who wished to become native to this land See two short online videos that show my work and which refer to Paul on the path of using deep time eyes to mystically commune with our surrounds Mammoths Overkill and a Deep Time Perspective on Pleistocene Extinctions and Ghosts of Evolution It was Paul s idea to stage a Mammoth Memorial Service at the Mammoth Site in South Dakota He considered this paleontological splendor to be one of the sacred sites of North America I report on our collaboration for that event in the final chapter of my Ghosts of Evolution book and in my online essay An Immense Journey

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/2077 (2016-04-30)
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  • Giving Heresy a Bad Name! | Thank God For Evolution
    heresy a bad name because most heretics tried to retain at least some connection to orthodox Christianity in order to persuade the church to move in their direction I truly feel for the author of this article and for Al Mohler and other fundamentalist Christians This is after all a very unsettling time for all of us but especially for those who find their inspiration and guidance in the past rather than the present I suspect that the Sadducees and Pharisees in Jesus day felt similarly toward Jesus and the Apostles especially Paul But time marches on Like it or not believe it or not evolution happens Everything in the universe including the universe itself is evolving changing transforming through time Galaxies and solar systems evolve Oceans continents and mountains evolve Plants animals and cultures evolve If our understandings of God guidance and good news don t evolve too we belittle not only the way the truth and the life given us we betray God As St Thomas Aquinas warned nearly a thousand years ago A mistake about Creation will necessarily result in a mistake about God What this means among other things is that if we re not continually updating what we understand when we use the word God we may have definitions and views of the divine that are so out of step with reality as to no longer be lifegiving And that s precisely what has happened In an ever evolving cosmos orthodoxy is a recipe for either extinction or irrelevence Ironically the early Church Fathers are directly responsible for the New Atheist phenomenon today as is the concept of canon or scripture Once you declare that a set of writings in the past will forever be the best map of reality and provide the most accurate

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/2067 (2016-04-30)
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  • Getting REAL About God, Guidance, & Good News | Thank God For Evolution
    You I promise you ll never think about holy scripture in the same way again You will also understand why outspoken atheist science blogger PZ Myers whose blog Pharyngula is read by 50 000 people a day says There s no surer way to make an atheist than to get them to actually read scripture In contrast an evolutionary God can be as vast as real and as all embracing as our creative Cosmos and no more inclined than the Universe to take sides in matters of war weather or geological turmoil Young people are right to reject a pitiful view of guidance Imagining that God s best most dependable and most inspiring guidance would have come through the dreams and intuitions of shepherds and fisherman a couple of thousand years ago is dissing the divine in the most horrific of ways Ours is a time of space telescopes electron microscopes supercomputers and the worldwide web It is also a time of smart bombs collapsing economies and exploding oil platforms This is not a time for parsing the lessons given to a few goatherds tentmakers and camel drivers Imagine a teenage girl with serious psychological social and addiction problems and then you discovered that her father who still lives with her hadn t spoken to her since she was a toddler You d blame the father for how screwed up the girl s life is right Of course we all would What kind of God would offer His best guidance back when people believed the world was flat and word processing meant recording your insights on animal skins and preserving them in clay pots Is it really any wonder that young people view this as a pitiful view of guidance Young people are right to reject good news that borders on sadistic I have never yet met a Christian Muslim or Jew who can look me in the eyes and honestly say that they believe an eternity with no challenges or difficulties yet with conscious awareness of the everlasting torment of others including some they knew and loved would be heavenly We all know that would be hell Good news cannot be the promise of fire insurance that comes with a balcony seat to witness the eternal torture of others The New Atheists I believe are forcing Christians to realize that A God is a personification not a person and supernatural is unnatural is uninspiring B Facts are God s native tongue and historical scientific and cross cultural evidence are the main ways God is speaking to humanity today C The only individual or collective good news that merits the label gospel today is good news for humanity as a whole and indeed for the larger body of life of which we are part and upon which we depend see here here and below MY TOP 25 MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED RESOURCES in addition to TGFE in no particular order Green Space Green Time The Way of Science Connie Barlow Religion

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/2065 (2016-04-30)
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  • Darwin Didn't Kill God, He REALized God | Thank God For Evolution
    that we evolved and so have our ways of thinking and speaking about reality Not only are we programmed for empathy and compassion toward those we identify as our in group we also attribute agency to non animate non conscious realities all the time Think of Tom Hanks and Wilson the soccer ball in the movie Cast Away It s what our brains do naturally instinctually People in every culture have relationalized or personified their world especially those forces and aspects of their world that were obviously more powerful than they were We know of no culture in the world that has not personified reality as a whole or certain significant aspects of reality God is a personification not a person If we miss this we miss everything Given the fact that most religious people do not realize this however the New Atheists can hardly be faulted for failing to appreciate it as well Evidence from a wide range of disciplines from cognitive neuroscience to anthropology to cross cultural study of the world s myths and religions all support the claim that God is a divine personification not a person More there is no counter evidence This fact alone makes sense of the hundreds of competing stories around the world with respect to what God supposedly said or did God is a mythic name for Reality in all it s sublime fullness Any so called God that is imagined as less than this it s impossible to be more than this is unworthy of our devotion and deserves to be mocked as the New Atheists do so brilliantly See here here here here here and here Contrary to the picture painted in the Bible and Qur an God is not a supernatural terrorist Do believe as I say or you will be tortured forever Whenever any story any culture or any scriptural passage claims God said this or God did that what follows is always necessarily an interpretation It s an interpretation of what some person or group of people thought or felt or sensed or wished reality was saying or doing and almost always as justification after the fact or to make a theological point Such subjectively meaningful claims are never objective measurable truth In other words had CNN or ABC News been there to record the moment of divine revelation there would have been nothing out of the ordinary nothing miraculous to report on the evening news nothing other than what was coming out of someone s mouth or pen or whatever folks wrote with back then If we fail to grasp this not only will we trivialize the divine but more tragically still we will surely miss what God reality is saying and doing today Ours is a time of space telescopes electron microscopes supercomputers and the worldwide web It is also a time of smart bombs collapsing economies and exploding oil platforms This is not a time for parsing the lessons given to a few goatherds

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/2060 (2016-04-30)
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  • Imprinting Is NOT Indoctrination | Thank God For Evolution
    News Recent Archives Blog Recent Archives Huffington Post Blog Get Involved Evangelize Posters Flyers Donate Testimonials Subscribe Study Guides Media Audio Video Flyers Posters Schedule Store The Great Story Search Imprinting Is NOT Indoctrination My wife Connie Barlow an acclaimed science writer just wrote and posted on our Great Story website what is to date the most provocative indeed prophetic essay of her life The title Imprinting Is Not Indoctrination An invitation to parents and religious educators to present a coherent cosmology to our children Composed as a critique of Dale McGowan s invited lecture at the annual gathering of Unitarian Universalists nationwide in June Connie calls for a reassessment of the way kids in religiously moderate and liberal families and institutions are taught religion Our postmodern celebration of diversity and advocacy of free choice actually means we deny our children a basic human requirement a coherent cosmology creation story worldview through which to enjoy and securely navigate the years of childhood wonder learning and innocence If you have children or grandchildren or simply care about educating young people religiously in light of humanity s most up to date and inspiring understandings of how things are and which things matter

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/2056 (2016-04-30)
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  • With Liberty and Connectivity For All - Robert Wright | Thank God For Evolution
    to the shivers problem Back when he was writing the superorganism metaphor was lovingly invoked by fascists totalitarians and other undesirables so he was attuned to its creepy vibes in particular the sense that to be a cell is to be enslaved by the powers that be He insisted there was no cause for worry so long as people drew on their spiritual resources There need be no fear of enslavement or atrophy in a world so richly charged with charity Or as he more aphoristically put it To say love is to say liberty Maybe we have something to say about the exact shape the superorganism takes and how comfortable an abode it is I can t honestly say I know what he meant by that But there s an interpretation of it that makes sense to me whether or not it s the kind of sense he had in mind Indeed as mushily optimistic as his equation of love and liberty sounds I think that recast in more modest form it s eminently defensible and crucially important Here s the way I d put it The less hatred there is the more freedom there will be There s no denying the threat to freedom that technology poses For example those cell phones that let us tap into the noosphere from any location are also eavesdropping devices and I don t just mean that your cell phone carrier and hence the government can listen in on your calls I mean that your cell phone carrier and the government can listen to your conversations when your cell phone is sitting in your pocket unused the phone can serve as a remotely activated microphone that turns your home or office into a sound stage unbeknownst to you Of course in America the government can t go around eavesdropping without a court order right Right except when a president who is fighting a war on terrorism secretly authorizes a warrantless wiretapping program as President Bush did in 2002 True that program was confined to phone conversations Americans have with foreigners and true it was eventually brought to light by a free press But whether such policies provoke mass outrage and get overturned depends on how scared of terrorism people are at the time The warrantless wiretapping story broke when Americans weren t as scared as say on Sept 12 2001 but were still kind of scared so the story caused a kerfuffle but not a brouhaha Imagine how little resistance even bigger encroachments on privacy might meet if implemented when people were truly terrified if say terrorists had just killed tens of thousands of Americans or were thought to have a nuclear bomb In general The more fearful we are the more liberty we ll willingly sacrifice in the name of security So how do we reduce the level of fear Well a more sober assessment of threats would help But actually reducing the threats or keeping them from growing would be

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/2051 (2016-04-30)
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  • "God" in 400 words or less - by Bruce Sanguin | Thank God For Evolution
    A Model for Change and a Map for Renewal 2008 He is the coauthor of a curriculum Experiencing Ecological Christianity 2008 I recently interviewed Bruce for my Evolutionary Faith podcast series It was excellent Check it out here He was asked by his denominational magazine The Observer to write up his understanding of God in 400 words or less What follows is his response In the song Lord of the Starfields Bruce Cockburn s prays to his God O Love that fires the sun keep me burning After 13 7 billion years the love that fired the universe into being is still firing through an evolutionary process infused by the radiance of the divine There was a time when I imagined myself over here looking out upon the universe outside of me Today this objective relationship to the cosmos is supplemented by a more mystical appreciation of a uni verse I am also the presence of the universe in human form the conscious face of evolution When I choose to live as a manifestation of this fire I feel most alive My big self is as large as a cosmos and still expanding This I call my soul The two fundamental characteristics of God are creativity and love These can be distinguished but not separated Each is folded into the other Divine creativity is expressed primarily in through and as the evolutionary history of the universe The evolving cosmos including life on our planet is the incarnation of God s deep creative desire for love to find its fullest expression The story of evolution then is itself a sacred text revealing God s heart and intention This implies a non coercive bias to the evolutionary trajectory of the cosmos toward an increase in love My core spiritual practice as a

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/2048 (2016-04-30)
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  • Buliding One Big Brain - Robert Wright | Thank God For Evolution
    way In fact the superorganism scenario is in a sense just the cosmic flip side of the diagnosis offered by Carr and other techno skeptics To begin with note that the new technologies though derided by some of these skeptics for eroding the simple social bonds of yesteryear are creating new social bonds We re not just being lured away from kin and next door neighbors by machines we re being lured away by other people people on Facebook people in our inbox people who write columns about giant superorganisms And as the author Steven Johnson recently noted these social connections though so distracting that it s hard to focus on any task for long nonetheless bring new efficiencies In a given hour of failing to focus you may 1 check your e mail and receive key input from a colleague as well as a lunch confirmation from a friend 2 check Facebook and be led by a friend to an article that bears on your political passions while also checking out the Web site of a group that harnesses that passion giving you a channel for activism 3 and yes waste some time reading or watching something frivolous But frivolity isn t a recent invention On balance technology is letting people link up with more and more people who share a vocational or avocational interest And it s at this level the social level that the new efficiencies reside The fact that we don t feel efficient that we feel as Carr puts it like chronic scatterbrains is in a sense the source of the new efficiencies the scattering of attention among lots of tasks is what allows us to add value to lots of social endeavors The incoherence of the individual mind lends coherence to group minds No wonder Carr finds technology oppressive Its needs trump ours We re just cells and the organism s the main thing If it s any consolation we re not the first humans to go cellular The telephone and for that matter the postal system before it let people increase the number of other brains they linked up with People spent less time with their few inherited affiliations kin and neighbors and more time with affiliations that reflected vocational or avocational choices Of course having more affiliations meant having more superficial affiliations and this led earlier social observers to conclusions that resonate with Carr s thesis In the 1950 sociology classic The Lonely Crowd David Riesman and two colleagues argued that the inner directed American guided by values shared with a small and stable group of kin and friends was giving way to an other directed American Other directed people had more social contacts and shallower contacts and they had more malleable values a flexibility that let them network with more kinds of people In other words Riesman like Carr noted a loss of coherence within the individual He saw a loss of normative coherence a weakening of our internal moral gyroscope

    Original URL path: http://www.thankgodforevolution.com/node/2040 (2016-04-30)
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