Archive for January, 2012

Overcoming Evolutionism and Naturalistic Intelligent Design

On the Arrival of Human Extension

Biologists these days, especially evolutionary and socio-biologists, often try to dictate to people about ethics, morality and religion. Do they not know any limits to their specialist natural science? It is no wonder that a movement of scientists, philosophers, theologians and PR figures have gathered around the idea of ‘intelligent design,’ as a possible escape route from biological exaggeration and scientism in the contemporary Academy. In terms of humility and reflexivity, evolutionary and socio-biologists seem to be running on an almost empty tank.

I’ve watched and sometimes publically participated in the ‘controversy over evolution’ that has been going on mainly in the United States over the past decade. This includes meeting and/or corresponding with most leaders of the Intelligent Design Movement, visiting the Discovery Institute as a curiosity, as well as reading, researching and debating views proposed by ‘new atheists’ on-line. I’ve published academic papers, attended and presented speeches at scholar conferences on evolution, creation and intelligent design. During that time I’ve been struck by a few basic observations.

Continue reading ‘Overcoming Evolutionism and Naturalistic Intelligent Design’


‘the Nature of’ – One of the Emptiest Phrases in the English Language

The purpose of this thread is to offer a communicative massage. The main questions are first, whether or not people think they need such a massage and second, whether they will allow them-self to be massaged communicatively by unknown ‘hands’ on the internet, i.e. by someone they don’t know and thus likely will find hard to immediately trust. Can I influence the way people speak and think simply by highlighting a feature of English language expression that often goes unnoticed or is taken for granted?

My opponent is the ideology of ‘naturalism.’ Why do I choose it as an opponent? Because I am a human-social scientist and don’t wish to accept the argument put forward by many naturalists that ‘social’ things are actually ‘natural’ simply by virtue of society being constructed out of our ‘human nature.’ I reject the ideology of naturalism for its encroachment on the sovereign territory of human-social sciences and their objects/subjects of study and argue that there is an alternative and more accurate way to discuss what naturalists actually mean in one particular phrase they commonly use.

The argument I would like to make here is so simple and straightforward that it will be easily accepted by some, while it will be immensely tough and thought as challenging to others, primarily those employed in natural-physical sciences. The main point is this: the phrase ‘the nature of’ is one of the emptiest in the English language.

Continue reading ‘‘the Nature of’ – One of the Emptiest Phrases in the English Language’

Introducing Human Extension

Welcome to Human Extension, 

the blog of dr. Gregory Sandstrom, Canadian sociologist  & philosopher, based in Vilnius, Lithuania

This site is designed to allow its host to publish thoughts and to engage in discussion with people from/at other blogs and websites, journalistic, academic or popular in orientation. Some of the threads will be opened for commentary, others will be closed to commentary, at the discretion of the host. The main theme of the blog is ‘Human Extension’ and related topics.

“When technology extends one of our senses, a new translation of culture occurs as swiftly as the new technology is interiorized.” – Marshall McLuhan (The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man, 1962)

Language as the technology of human extension, whose powers of division and separation we know so well, may have been the ‘Tower of Babel’ by which men sought to scale the highest heavens. Today computers hold out the promise of a means of instant translation of any code or language into any other code or language. The computer, in short, promises by technology a Pentecostal condition of universal understanding and unity. The next logical step would seem to be, not to translate, but to by-pass languages in favour of a general cosmic consciousness which might be very like the collective unconscious dreamt by Bergson. The condition of “weightlessness” that biologists say promises a physical immortality, may be paralleled by the condition of speechlessness that could confer a perpetuity of collective harmony and peace.” – Marshall McLuhan (Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, 1964)

“All media are extensions of some human faculty – psychic or physical.” – Marshall McLuhan (The Medium is the Massage, 1967)

“The entire evolutionary process shifted, at the moment of Sputnik, from biology to technology.” – Marshall McLuhan (Counterblast, 1969)

“[A]ll human artefacts are extensions of man, outerings or utterings of the human body or psyche, private or corporate.  That is to say, they are speech, and they are translations of us, the users, from one form into another form: metaphors.” – Marshall McLuhan (Laws of Media: The New Science, 1988)

Topics of interest include:

Development, change, progress, evolution, processes, origins, creation, intelligent design, innovation, invention, ideology, higher education, science, philosophy, religion, theology, economy, society, culture and language.

Featured Quotations:

“It is therefore misleading as well as confusing to speak in anticipation about THE SYSTEM of science, as if the form and content of such a system were determined once for all. The unification and systematization of science are permanent activities.” – O. Neurath

“The present danger does not really lie in the loss of universality on the part of the scientist, but rather in his [sic] pretense and claim of totality…What we have to deplore therefore is not so much the fact that scientists are specialising, but rather the fact that specialists are generalising.” – Viktor Frankl

Continue reading ‘Introducing Human Extension’

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