Wickers for a new paradig

The philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn adopted the word paradigm ((Thomas Kuhn (1972). La estructura de las revoluciones científicas. )) to refer to the set of knowledge and practices that define a normal science for a given time. To put it simply, the paradigm of a science delimits the limits within which knowledge is admitted within that science, and what is left out.

The paradigm of a science includes everything related to research in that science: the basic theoretical approaches, what should be investigated in that discipline, the type of legitimate methods and methodologies, how an experiment should be designed, how results should be interpreted, the development of scientific texts, etc. That is, a paradigm is often very strict when it comes to accepting scientific results.

But a paradigm is not the truth. Scientific paradigms are abandoned by others, or renewed, as science advances and its discoveries do not fit into the consensual paradigm of that moment. Thomas Kuhn also described this process of removing an obsolete paradigm and admitting a broader one. An example of this paradigm shift was when Newtonian physics had to admit the principles of relativity or quantum mechanics.

Perhaps we are watching the beginning of a new phase of those described by Thomas Kuhn in his model of scientific development, when he accumulates discoveries that do not fit well with the established paradigm, and normal science moves into the phase of science in crisis, the antechamber of a scientific revolution. And the truth is that there are these “rebellious” discoveries, difficult to fit in, that are giving rise to alternative proposals, such as the Manifesto for a Postmaterialistic Science (( Mario Beauregard et al. (2014). Manifesto for a Post-Materialist Science. Revista Explore, vol. 10(5): 272-274. También se puede consultar y firmar el Manifiesto por una Ciencia Postmaterialista en http://opensciences.org/about/manifesto-for-a-post-
materialist-science))

The news selected for this issue of the Hermes Institute Bulletin is among the findings that do not fit satisfactorily into the materialistic paradigm.

Human evolution: every time it fits less

All issues of the Bulletin end up including news of discoveries in human evolution do not end up fitting with the dominant paradigm, creating more unknowns than answers.

To begin with we have come across the description of a new species of human being, the so called Man of Callao’, baptized as Homo luzonensis for science. The discovery was published last April in the magazine “Nature” ((Florent Détroit, Armand Salvador Mijares, Julien Corny, Guillaume Daver, Clément Zanolli, Eusebio Dizon, Emil Robles, Rainer Grün & Philip J. Piper (2019). A new species of Homo from the Late Pleistocene of the Philippines. Nature volume 568, pages181–186. https://www.lemonde.fr/sciences/article/2019/04/10/l-homme-de-callao-une-nouvelle-espece-humaine-decouverte-aux-philippines_5448515_1650684.html https://elpais.com/elpais/2019/04/10/ciencia/1554913422_860525.html)), and brings more enigmas to the complicated puzzle of human evolution. The idea of a linear evolution in which species follow one another until they reach the current successful human being, is further removed. The few fossils found in the Callao cave of the island of Luzon, some teeth, a piece of femur and some phalanges, have been dated 67.000 years ago, and at that time they already coexisted until six different species of the genus Homo, including the new find.

Another unknown, it is known that Luzon has been surrounded by ocean for more than two million years, how could human beings cross the vast distance that separates them from the continent? , taking into account that the age on the island must be much greater, because elsewhere already were found lithic tools of 700.000 years ago.

In April, the magazine “Cell”((Guy S. Jacobs, Georgi Hudjashov, Lauri Saag, Pradiptajati Kusuma, Chelzie C. Darusallam, Daniel J. Lawson, Mayukh Mondal, Luca Pagani, François-Xavier Ricaut, Mark Stoneking, Mait Metspalu, Herawati Sudoyo, J. Stephen Lansing, Murray P. Cox (2019). Multiple Deeply Divergent Denisovan Ancestries in Papuans. Cells, Vol, 177(4): 1010-1021. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/04/enigmatic-human-relative-outlived-neanderthals)), published another article about a surprising finding. The DNA study of a large sample of Southeast Asian inhabitants suggests that in today’s human being there are not only Neanderthal genes and Denisovas, but at least three completely different lineages of the latter. This finding introduces new enigmas that complicate the interpretation of human evolution seen from the official paradigm.

A few months earlier, in January, another discovery complicated the romantic idea of a linear evolution. The magazine “Science Advances”((Song Xing, Paul Tafforeau, Mackie O’Hara, Mario Modesto-Mata, Laura Martín-Francés, María Martinón-Torres, Limin Zhang, Lynne A. Schepartz, José María Bermúdez de Castro and Debbie Guatelli-Steinberg. (2019). First systematic assessment of dental growth and development in an archaic hominin (genus, Homo) from East Asia. Science Advances 16, Vol. 5, no. 1. https://www.abc.es/ciencia/abci-misterioso-nino-xujiayao-crecia-lentamente-201901182149_noticia.html)) published an investigation on the remains of the ‘Boy of Xujiayao’, in China, with almost 250.000 years old, of a species yet to be determined. The analysis of this child who died at the age of six reveals a characteristic that until now was thought to be unique to the modern human being: the very slow growth and development of children and young people. This trait more evolved in such an ancient individual, again adds more unknowns than answers.

These are just three examples that have appeared in recent months, of research that complicates the interpretation of human evolution according to current criteria.

The epigenetics of the mind

Another scientific field in which discoveries are crowded out of the old materialistic paradigm is that of molecular biology and genetics, and specifically epigenetics, literally “on top of genetics” or how the environment conditions gene expression.

Discoveries are accumulating that illustrate how mental activity influences genetic decoding, activating or deactivating genes, and promoting a healthy state or otherwise, depending on the type of mental activity that occurs. These epigenetic modifications are reversible and can also be inherited in many cases.

In any case, they evoke the ancient idea that changes of consciousness precede material changes, although obviously the scientific demonstration should not be expected, with the methodology of the current paradigm, of principles that relate to the spiritual work.

Just over a year ago, a small book of very easy reading was published, containing many of the most recent research in this field of epigenetics. Its author, Perla Kaliman, is also a researcher on some of the discoveries described. The title of this book: The Science of Meditation ((Perla Kaliman (2017). La ciencia de la meditación. De la mente a los genes. Editorial Kairós, Barcelona. 142 pp.)). And just published in spanish the latest book by scientist and science divulger Joël de Rosnay, Epigenetics, science that will change your life5in which author proposes a series of tips for everyday life, based on the epigenetic effect on the expression of genes, which can positively affect the individual and society. Both titles highly recommended reading.