Rajesh Singh, |
Human Species & Beyond
Trying to review Rajesh Singh's Human Species & Beyond is something like trying to debate a creationist: the arguments are so filled with assumptions, assertions and misrepresentations that I would have to write an encyclopedia to rebut them all.
Singh purports to demonstrate a new path for humanity: somehow, we are going to direct our own evolution to bring us past all the ills that beset us today. While researching this review, I ran across a commentary that concluded his arguments were worth pondering. My problem was that I couldn't find a coherent argument. I am reduced to just hitting the high points (or low points, to be more accurate).
He begins with the attitude that human society is "bad." One realizes, after a few pages, that he is talking about contemporary Western society, which betrays an extremely limited viewpoint out of keeping with his sweeping generalizations. While I am the last to maintain that we live in a perfect world, I at least recognize that humans are social animals: society is part of the deal, and to condemn "society" as something human beings must transcend misses, I think, a very important point about humanity.
We are then suddenly faced with the concept of the "noumen," which is certainly a valid traditional concept, but it has as many meanings as it has uses as a term. Singh asserts there is a realm of pure energy that bridges the spiritual realm (which he also assumes, nowhere demonstrating that such a thing exists) and the material realm. One can trace current theories in physics down to the idea of energy as perhaps the basis of everything else in the universe, but Singh doesn't seem to follow this very far. Equally suddenly, there exists an "intuitive intelligence" that, one supposes, is going to direct our future evolution. So far, this intelligence is really falling down on the job.
I'm not sure exactly where evolutionary theory enters this discussion: like everything else, it just appears, in a completely inappropriate context, being guided by, one supposes, this intuitive intelligence that has made such a botch of things so far. We are also asked to accept the idea that Darwinian evolution applies to inanimate objects and substances as much as it does to living populations. Sorry -- not going there. Nor, I can promise you, will any evolutionary biologist who passed his or her final exams.
This book is really junk science combined with junk philosophy. Add to the agony that the style is unbelievably convoluted, to the extent that one is left standing in the middle of a forest of neologisms and badly warped constructions wondering what it all means in plain English. (Interestingly enough, books I have read on evolutionary theory that deal with it in appropriate contexts are very clear, even elegant, in their diction.) Singh starts off with nonsense and just goes downhill from there.
This one is not worth the time or the effort, and certainly not worth the money.
by Robert M. Tilendis