FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 35: Beyond Science

Science is important to me. Though I am a trained scientist and truly embrace the scientific method as a great way to go about answering questions, I think we treat science, the method, and scientISTS as if they were something special. We/They’re not. It is very important to me to help people understand what science IS and, more importantly, what it IS NOT.

The first point I try to make in this video, and whenever talking about science is that IT’S JUST A METHOD. What we call science is the set of instructions about how to go about asking questions (the scientific method), and draw inferential conclusions as a result. Ideally, but very rarely, these results are then transformed FROM scientific methodology, complicated statistics, and field specific jargon, to meaningful statements most people can understand. But this last step almost never happens, and when it does, it isn’t interpreted by scientists, but by laypersons.

Here’s the rub: The RESULTS of SCIENCE, produced following and according to the SCIENTIFIC METHOD, have to be filtered through a DISCOURSE comprised of US HUMANS. Science is nothing special except having some rules to follow in order to produce a desired result. Think about that statement. It’s not that much different from religion or governmental laws. These things are methods or systems of organizing or going about completing a task(s) in ways that make sense to a large number of people or constituents. In other words, these methods are vetted up front by groups of people, and their results are filtered through a discourse comprised of thoughts, interpretations, and opinions of those same people.

I will develop and explain this concept in much more detail beginning with Episode 50 and my efforts to develop concise products about this and related subjects. But here I introduce the idea that science is just a method used to answer questions, that we, as people interested in these questions, are not doing our job, and the scientist have become so separated from the public discourse that the method itself is incomplete, and becoming ineffective.

Original blog with podcast and video links here https://chrisburcher.com/2020/12/25/kew-episode-35-beyond-science/

KEW Episode 44: Unnatural Selection

I am currently working on a larger project that will connect my background in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology with personal growth, psychology, and finding more joy and fulfillment in our lives. In Episode 43 I introduce some evolutionary evidence that every individual human is born to discover their uniqueness (despite how ‘woo woo’ that sounds), and how NOT doing so goes against evolutionary theory.

I didn’t coin the term Unnatural Selection. People have used it, generally, to describe forces that affect evolution but are not necessarily a part of ‘regular life’. These forces become selection pressures when they influence the ability for a species to persist. For example, invasive species can be physically moved to new areas where they did not evolve and wreak havoc on the species living in that area. These selection pressures are some feature of the invasive organism that gives it an advantage and with which local species did not co-evolve. These forces often include predation, habitat use, aggression, or other forces that negatively impair local species.

The point of the term unnatural selection is that this novel selection force did not co evolve with the species it is affecting. Most of the time this disconnect is about time or space. In the invasive species example, the organisms didn’t occur in the same physical space (like a continent, island, or area) and so the issue is simply about relocation. Other times the unnatural condition is about time, and the obvious example is climate change. Many argue that human activities are a natural part of our evolution, but the key difference is the amount of time it has taken for these changes to occur. Sure, if human induced global changes occurred over millennia, the earth and its inhabitants may, indeed, have plenty of time to coevolve. But the sudden nature of temperature and CO2 changes over the past 100 years did not allow for such a response. Hence, the selection forces are unnatural.

That’s a long way to go to explain the basis for my argument, but well worth it I hope.

So the main argument I am making in this episode is that humans have imposed a few other unnatural selection forces upon ourselves. If you watched Episode 43, you will know that the main force I consider unnatural is that of conformity. Despite the evidence (which I find compelling, obviously, though you may not) that our DNA, by its very nature, demands that every human fully realize our uniqueness, yet human societies impose the opposite.

Societal norms, religions, laws, politics, and even the popular arts impose forces that encourage conformity. Because it is our nature to NOT conform, but to be UNIQUE, these forces are unnatural. Sure, norms and laws are important. Driving on one side of the road, wearing clothes, not punching people in the face. These are good things. Here I’m talking about mechanisms that discourage people from being different or to behave ‘like everyone else’. On the obvious end, ‘white people are better’ is an unnatural selection force. On the more obscure end, publishers requiring all books to be written according to a set of approved literary rules may result in really, really great books never being published.

The essence of unnatural selection is the intention to make everyone the same, and to make life difficult for those who insist on expressing their individuality. You probably won’t have to think very long to find examples of this in your own life. I have experience mdany examples in my life, and maybe that’s why it’s such a big deal to me.

Therefore, the ultimate travesty of unnatural selection is that the ideas, thoughts, and creativity humans need to survive the future may never come to light because they will be discouraged and effectively ‘weeded out’ of society. As the world becomes more crowded and less hospitable to humans, it becomes increasingly necessary to find unique ideas and approaches that will alter that path. Solving human problems, or any problem, REQUIRES unique viewpoints. As many as possible.

I hope you enjoy the episode. Your comments and thoughts are welcome and encouraged as I develop this idea further.

Full podcast audio here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/8198092-kew-episode-44-unnatural-selection.mp3?blob_id=37045344&download=true or via your favorite podcast app.

Full YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/hGtkOih1EC0

Preview KEW Episode 44: Unnatural Selection

In this episode I continue my larger project of explaining why humans are meant to realize their individual uniqueness. Here I explain what I call UN-natural selection, or the propensity for humans to deny their uniqueness and why this is something we most definitely should NOT be doing.

Natural selection is simply how organisms respond to their environments through time. For the first few billion years or so animals modified their behaviors to suit their environments. More recently, especially in the past 100 years, humans have increasingly modified our environments to suit our behavior. While this may be a natural shift (lotta room for discussion there), the RATE we have introduced this shift is astronomical in comparison to the previous few billion years.

Short preview video here: https://business.facebook.com/kpluseiswise/videos/126710689399751/

Full episode right here this friday.

Preview KEW Episode 41: State of the Podcast

I figured I’d take a little time to check in about where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going. A little over a year ago KEW was just an idea. I felt compelled to learn how to podcast and embrace the digital age. I was missing teaching and wanted to share my experience with an audience. I knew nothing about podcasting, websites, or YouTube. In fact, though I have been an avid podcast listener, I sort of shunned YouTube because it seemed to be so ubiquitous with the young and I’m pushing 50. But I decided instead to see what all the fuss was about.

I was pretty unclear about my audience and mission, but it is revealing itself over time. I think 40 Episodes is long enough to realize I am committed and will continue to put out content on a regular basis. I came to understand 50 minutes may be a bit long so I’ve shortened my episodes to 20. I have also added interviews to broaden my reach.

In fact, I now see that part of my original mission, to build a discourse and community, was a bit naive. I have learned that community already exists and doesn’t need to be built. As such, I am not making a concerted effort to network with the existing community of like-minded-thinkers and have added Linkedin and am considering Medium as networking outlets.

My content continues to follow my inspiration, and as I am now receiving healing and training from TWO mindset and somatic healers (call them coaches if you must), I have more material to work with than ever.

I have several Curiosity interviews edited and ready for release. I will likely release an interview episode about once a month or every three weeks, with regular episodes on other weeks.

I hope you are enjoying the content and I am very much open to criticism and feedback, as always feel free to email me at kpluseiswise@gmail.com any time!

Thanks for reading, listening, and being curious.

-Chris

Preview video here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=533622710944681