Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Through the Eyes of an Evolutionary Biologist, Paradise is for the Birds:
Cornel Lab of Ornithology’s Project Explores New Guinea’s Birds of Paradise

VIDEO: Birds-of-Paradise Project Introduction

“The bird of paradise alights only on the hand that does not grasp.”
~ John Berry

The above quotation by John Berry perhaps sums up the sad triumph of Cornel Lab of Ornithology’s Birds of Paradise Project.

To begin, we wish to take nothing away from the tremendous dedication and sacrifice of Evolutionary Biologist Ed Scholes and Wildlife Photojournalist Tim Laman, who spent the better part of a decade trekking into the dense unforgiving jungles of New Guinea to study and document the Birds of Paradise on a scale never before attempted.

Still, we cannot help but feel deep sympathy for these two intrepid explorers and their guides who, despite obviously having a fair amount of material and technical support from a major U.S. academic institution, seem somehow desperate in their attempts to grasp what they experienced, having only the framework of evolutionary biology to work with.

Consider the Shapeshifting behaviour of Birds of Paradise:

VIDEO: Shapeshifting

In the Introduction to the Birds of Paradise Project, the questions are repeatedly asked: “How? Why?” How did these adaptations and behaviours evolve? And why only in New Guinea and nowhere else in the world? The tone in Scholes’ voice is almost pained; desperate to try to understand a riddle which his lifetime-developed and indoctrinated paradigm is hard-pressed to answer. And yet, he has no choice but to force his theories into Darwin’s framework. Laboured, and somewhat comical, like trying to cram a dozen clowns into a VW Beetle—tragic, when you stop thinking about it and observe it for what it is.

Here’s a segment on Dance behaviours of Birds of Paradise:

VIDEO: Dance

The term used by evolutionary biologists is Speciation. It is a term that is believed to have been coined by biologist Orator F. Cook (Source: wikipedia.org: Speciation). We take it to be an updated expression of Darwin’s famous “Origin of Species,” although speciation itself refers to specific modalities of so-called “natural selection.”

Now, it is obvious that evolution is a real mechanic of nature within species. It is obvious that species change over time and that new species do, in fact, appear. However, to assume that evolution is the only way for new—and especially complex and particularly spectacular species and behaviours—to appear is close-minded and grossly limiting.   

Meet all 39 species of New Guniea’s Birds of Paradise for yourself and decide if all are just products of random evolutionary events:

VIDEO: 39 Species

The point we are making is that a deep appreciation of nature takes place not in the cold rationalizations of a logical intellect—which wants to reduce all of nature to a mechanical clockwork, and occurrences within nature to random chance—but in the expansive and warm comprehensions of the heart.

Where the intellect’s capabilities end, the intuition’s begin. There is a knowing that is possible without thinking, and it is in this place of none-thought that true Paradise can be perceived—directly, unobstructed by the incessant chattering, squabbling, contradicting thoughts of a conditioned ego- intellect.

The truth is neither this nor that; neither A nor B, nor even A+B. Theories are not reflections of reality, and even measurements are only a shadow of what is actually there. Reality is more subtle than all that. Too subtle, in fact, for the crude materialistic intellect. This is simply a statement of fact.

All struggles of materialist scientists bumping against the glass ceiling of their field—be it evolutionary biology, theoretical physics, quantum theory, and certainly human physiology and psychology—is an expression of this phenomenon: the universe is not definable in materialist scientific terms.  Nature is not cold and mechanical. It simply isn’t. If it were, how could it inspire the heart? The evolution we observe is the crudest shadow of real, authentic evolution…

To comprehend the real nature of things requires a completely different kind of evolution: it requires true human evolution…us to evolve into true human beings. That evolution is a revolution…a revolution of consciousness. Sadly for the Birds of Paradise of New Guinea, their true nature and supreme intelligentsia will go on completely unknown to modern science. And the brilliant circumstances of their true origin will elude this humanity for some time to come.

Anyone who spends any length of time with an open mind—an empty cup—in the company of an ecosystem, will have an opportunity to access the true, conscious and 100% non-mechanical origin of species; when one moves beyond the origin of species and into the origin of experience itself.

Perhaps we should let the Birds of Paradise speak for themselves:

Video: Sound: and the Birds-of-Paradise

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