Thursday, February 4, 2010

Soupy Sales & Evolutionary Tales

Souper Salesman
Another soupy evolution tale is biting the dust if some scientists have their way.

Have you heard of the soupy birthers?

They forged the doctrine that humans emerged from a primordial soup years before even the birth of Soupy Sales.

The soupy doctrine has been around for eighty years, or as we say around here, eight decades.

How many nights did you stay up in college learning what now is said to have been just a college daze?

Now they tell us:
For 80 years it has been accepted that early life began in a 'primordial soup' of organic molecules before evolving out of the oceans millions of years later. Today the 'soup' theory has been over turned in a pioneering paper in BioEssays which claims it was the Earth's chemical energy, from hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor, which kick-started early life.

"Textbooks have it that life arose from organic soup and that the first cells grew by fermenting these organics to generate energy in the form of ATP. We provide a new perspective on why that old and familiar view won't work at all," said team leader Dr Nick lane from University College London.
(Primordial Soup Not Ummm Ummm Good). Listen, this blog has alluded to a conspiracy theory that textbook companies are trying to inflate their soupy sales, sorta like Sarah Palin does (she buys thousands upon thousands of her own books).

Anyway, it tends to look like intellectual life in many circles is getting more and more to be composed of memorization, then taking a test to see how much one has memorized.

All righty then, it really could be like the venerable Noam Chomsky says:
And one of the striking features of the modern period is the institutionalization of that process, so that we now have huge industries deceiving the public—and they're very conscious about it, the public relations industry. Interestingly, this developed in the freest countries—in Britain and the US—roughly around time of WWI, when it was recognized that enough freedom had been won that people could no longer be controlled by force. So modes of deception and manipulation had to be developed in order to keep them under control.

And by now these are huge industries. They not only dominate marketing of commodities, but they also control the political system. As anyone who watches a US election knows, it's marketing. It's the same techniques that are used to market toothpaste.

And, of course, there are power systems in place to facilitate this. Throughout history it's been mostly the property holders or the educated classes who've tended to support power systems. And that's a large part of what I think education is—it's a form of indoctrination. You have to reconstruct a picture of the world in order to be conducive to the interests and concerns of the educated classes, and this involves a lot of self-deceit.
(Discussion with Noam Chomsky and Robert Trivers, emphasis added). Our educational system, then, is sooooo Book of Eli.

New discoveries locally as well as "out there" continue unabated.


  1. I'm only a couple of years out of the "education" system myself (I was a late bloomer), and that's pretty much the take I came away with too: education=indoctrination=propoganda. Don't get me wrong, I understand the value in passing along cultural myths and all that (and most of culture is nothing but myth), as long as everyone remains conscious of the fact that it IS a myth, and thus can be challenged and even overthrown if need be. Unfortunately, that kind of thinking has ALWAYS been dangerous to the powers that be, therefore they're not gonna be real receptive to that kind of thinking.

    The only real difference in the modern age is the sophistication of marketing techniques and communication technologies, which have amplified the powers of deception exponentially. Of course blogs like this provide a valuable counterargument to the party line, but the trouble is, the government and its power brokers have a much bigger microphone, and they speak a much more coherent message, even allowing for all the faux (IMO) dissension in their ranks.

  2. disaffected,

    I saw "Book of Eli" yesterday and hope I didn't ruin it for anyone. Don't read "the wiki" link I provided in the last sentence until you see the movie if you are going to see it.

    The movie, IMO, was like the educational system in one other way, not as good as I had hoped.

    An old activist once told me, "You are ok as long as they have a way to slander you and they figure no one will take you seriously".

    If I ever disappear just remember that it was because they no longer felt they can slander me out of existence.