Looking at Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein’s Book (2020) “A Hunter Gatherer’s Guide to the 21st Century” (Part 1 of 16)

0001 Twenty-two thousand years ago, during the maximum of the last ice age, people roamed (along with other large mammals) in a land that bridged modern-day Siberia and Alaska.  Glaciers on the eastern (or American) side prevented humans from advancing further.  Until they didn’t.

Humans found a way around the blockade.  By ten thousand years ago, humans occupy both American continents.

0002 The Siberian-Alaskan landmass displayed one type of ecology (some would call it a frozen wasteland).  Yet, Paleolithic people migrating into the Americas adapted to a large variety of ecologies (including the tropics).

0003 How could this be so?

The authors conclude that humans are adapted to niche switching.  Humans culturally adapt to novel ecological niches by operating as both generalists and specialists.  Humans are behaviorally flexible because they can oscillate between established traditions (which the authors call, “culture”) and problem-solving (which the authors call, “consciousness”). Consequently, humans can “switch” from one niche (such as ice-laden Beringia) to another niche (such as California’s San Joachim Valley).

0004 But, I wonder, “Are not traditions (‘cultures’) specialist oriented?  The specializations may not be wildly complicated, but meaningful enough.  For example, someone who does well at running with a lance might fit in to the specialty of hunting large game.  Someone who is good at identifying mushrooms may fit into the specialty of fungi forager.  So, everyone can be a generalist problem-solver, but also work as a specialist too.

“Plus, everyone, whether lance-bearer or mushroom-gatherer, must learn their craft, and must innovate in the face of new challenges.

“So, the human gift of ‘niche-switching’ indicates that humans can find ways to make a living in every ecology.  The recent territorial expansion of anatomically modern humans into the Americas serves as an outstanding example.”

0005 Okay, then what is a “niche”?

The authors are modern biologists.  When modern biologists hear the word, “niche”, they think “ecological or environmental conditions”.  But, there is another technical definition for the word, “niche”, that expands that narrow frame.

0006 What is a “niche”?

The Darwinian paradigm can be diagrammed by following A Primer on the Category-Based Nested Form (by Razie Mah, available at smashwords and other e-book venues).

Here is a picture.

Figure 01

The normal context of natural selection3 brings the actuality of adaptation2 into relation with the potential of ‘something’1, which biologists label “niche1.


Looking at Brian Kemple’s Book (2019) “The Intersection” (Part 1 of 4)

0001 According to Neoplatonic legend, the descent of the soul starts with a small immaterial gem resting on an undefinable pillow in the presence of transcendental beauty.  Then, a trap door opens and the little source of illuminationbegins to fall.  As it descends, it accrues matter.  Matter enters form.

One may say that the matter is evil and the soul, good, and conclude that the immortal soul becomes encased in corruptible matter.  But, the story is more complicated, because the term, “matter” slyly includes the capacity to become entangled with purely relational being.  Matter holds the capacity for meaning.  Matter substantiates form.  So Christians, following the complication, witness the baby as bearing a message.  The message?  Baptize me.

0002 The book before me is Brian Kemple’s The Intersection of Semiotics and Phenomenology: Peirce and Heidegger in Dialogue, published in 2019 by Walter de Gruyter Press (Boston/Berlin).  The masterwork is dedicated to the memory of John Deely (1942-2017 AD), who served as Kemple’s professor.

0003 The book presents a complex argument.  I, a simpleton, fixate on the titular word, “intersection”.

For me, the term has a technical definition, as formulated in the chapter on message in the e-book How To Define The Word “Religion” (by Razie Mah, available at smashwords and other e-book venues).  An intersection is a single actuality composed of two actualities, each with its own category-based nested form.

Say what?

See A Primer on the Category-based Nested Form.

0004 A photon is an example of an intersection of two actualities: a wave and a particle.  The normal context of a diffraction apparatus3 brings wave properties of light2 into relation with the potential of ‘observations of wavelengths’1.  The normal context of a metal plate3 brings particle properties of light2 into relation with potential ‘observations of the photo-electric effect’1.

0005 Here is a picture.

Figure 01

0006 Here is another way to look at the photon as intersection.

Figure 02

0007 In the following blogs, I will endeavor to visualize whether Kemple’s use of the term, “intersection”, coheres with this technical definition.

In order to do so, I will locate two category-based nested forms, one for both Peirce and one for Heidegger, and see whether the two actualities meld into one. 


Looking at Brian Kemple’s Book (2019) “The Intersection” (Part 4 of 4)

0020 The term, Bildendwelt, sounds like the concatenation of the words, “Bilden” and “dwelt”, as in the English statement, “I dwelt in that Bilden, before it came crashing down.”

In order to appreciate my humor, consider the October 1, 2022, blog at www.raziemah.com, titled, “Fantasia in G Minor: A speech written for Gunnar Beck MEP”.

Da Bilden is coming down!

Oh, I meant to say… the Bildendwelt makes no sense at all.

0021 So much for wordplay.

The compound-word, Bildendwelt stands, waiting to be refined in the furnace of postmodern use.

0022 The third division of Kemple’s book weaves together divisions one and two, titled World and Sign, into an intersection.  In the process, Kemple focuses on two elements in the following figure: Sein1V and sign1H.

Figure 08

0023 To me, Kemple’s focus is remarkable, because Being1V and triadic relations1H are crucial for bringing our lineage from Umwelt, to Lebenswelt, and further into Bildendwelt.  Indeed, I wonder whether these compound terms should be used to label the single actuality of Peirce’s experience2H and Dasein2V.

0024 But, let me not ignore one further possibility, the single actuality is us.

Here is a list of labels for the single actuality.

Figure 09

0025 Now, I can portray our descent.

Imagine us, as purely spiritual illuminations, perched on undefinable pillows, in the presence of transcendent beauty in an era when all time is now.  A trap door opens and we descend into Being and Time.  As we fall, we accrete two actualities, coinciding with Peirce’s experience following his realization that signs are real1H and with Heidegger’s vision of Dasein1V.  These actualities are full of contradictions.

As we descend through Being and Time, we accrue World and Sign.  We pass through our primordial Umwelt, the Lebenswelt that we evolve in, the first singularity, our current Lebenswelt and now, our Bildendwelt.  Descent with modification.  Then we are born, in the present, and each one of us bears a message.  Baptize me.

0026 What does baptism do?

Baptism cleanses us of Gestell, the grammars of our world, carrying temptation, misdirections and lures that entrap us, confound us, and, in the end, convince us that the truth can never be found.

How so?

Truth is just a spoken word.  We create our own “truth”.  Spoken words are merely projections of our Innerwelt upon that which is outside ourselves.  After temptation fixes our occasions of sin, after our own projections redirect the projections of others and weave a veil of reality, and after we begin to believe in our own self-divinizing speculative grammar, we construct artifacts that validate our spoken worlds.  We build our own prison.  Heidegger calls it, Gestell.

0027 When the waters of baptism pour over an infant, the baby often cries. The baby represents all of us.

The waters of baptism disturb.  Dasein2V!  We enter a world perfused with signs.  We are welcomed into a world where the material finds meaning in the immaterial.  The human niche is the potential of triadic relations.  How all encompassing will Peirce’s experience2H be?  We stand on the threshold of a new age of understanding.

Kemple offers the reader a portrait of John Deely’s vision, in a book that lives up to its title, in more ways than one.  Bravo!


Looking at Gad Saad’s Book (2020) “The Parasitic Mind” (Part 1 of 17)

0001 Professor Gad Saad is an expert in applying evolutionary psychology to contemporary consumer behavior.  He publishes a book, titled, The Parasitic Mind: How Infectious Ideas Are Killing Common Sense.  The cover of the book is adorned with a graphic.  A hand holds one end of a thread that goes on to become a line drawing of the human neocortex.  Is the thread going into the head?  Or, is the thread (of common sense) coming out of the head?

I suppose I have to read the book to find out.

0002 Saad gets into the push-pull operation in chapter four, titled, “Anti-Science, Anti-Reason and Illiberal Movements”.  He lists four contemporary academic beings… er… parasites: postmodernism, social constructivism, radical feminism and transgender activism.  Each movement… er… parasite is founded on a demonstrable falsehood.  Each desires to be free from reality.

For these comments, I use gender as an example.

0003 In order to diagram these statements, I consult A Primer on the Category-Based Nested Form and A Primer on Sensible and Social Construction.  These primers, by Razie Mah, are available at smashwords and other e-book venues.  They are not long.  They are very informative.

0004 A parasite feeds off a host.

The host goes with the content-level.  The parasite places content in an alternate situation.

0005 I begin with the host.  The host takes the actuality of men and women2a, which emerges from a biological distinction (which, in turn is an actuality in another nested form)1a in the normal context of an orthodox view3a.  The term, biological distinction1a, is short for the potential of sexual dimorphism, as expressed in humans1a.  Roughly, “ortho” means “right” and “dox” means “doctrine”.

Figure 01

0006 Obviously, this content-level is scientifically, reasonably and liberally situated by cognitive psychology and its companion discipline, evolutionary psychology.  Evolutionary psychologists explain the findings of cognitive psychologists in terms of natural selection and genetics: adaptations and phenotypes.

0007 The social constuctivist approach runs opposition to cognitive (and evolutionary) psychology.  The social constructivist claims to situate the orthodox view, with the possibility that biological distinctions are irrelevant.  Instead, only the human will is relevant.  Gender is a personal choice.  Gender is an act of the will.

The resulting situation-level nested form looks like this.

Figure 02

Looking at Gad Saad’s Book (2020) “The Parasitic Mind” (Part 16 of 17)

0110 Even weirder, what if the organizational objective2aC of the postmodern academy3aC, arising from the righteousness of radical individualism, marxist worldviews, and big government (il)liberalism1aC, is, as Dr. Saad claims, a self-deceiving parasitic syndrome?

What if the organizational objective2aC triggers susceptible individuals to identify as “oppressed”(2b)2aC because the privileges(2c)2aC of social justice(3c)2aC coincide with what one expects from participating in harmonious social circles?

0111 Wouldn’t that be freaky?

It is like drinking the Flavor-Aid.

0112 These comment bring the arguments in Dr. Gad Saad’s book into a strange revelation.

The reason why Dr. Saad is the target of animosity from colleagues in the postmodern multiversity unites with his chosen topic of expertise, evolutionary psychology.

Evolutionary psychology applies lessons about the Lebenswelt that we evolved in to our current Lebenswelt.

In doing so, it raises post-postmodern questions concerning the adaptive natures of human will(1a)2aC, systems(1b)2aC and protection(1c)2aC and their maladaptive expressions in our current Lebenswelt.

Plus, none of these topics can be discussed in the College of Social Construction.

0113 My thanks to Professor Saad for his excellent work.


Looking at Gad Saad’s Book (2020) “The Parasitic Mind” (Part 17 of 17)

0114 Our curent Lebenswelt is not the same as the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

Cheers for an expanded range of inquiry for evolutionary psychology.

The three masterworks of Razie Mah offer a treasure trove for those interested in human evolution: The Human Niche, An Archaeology of the Fall, and How To Define the Word “Religion”.

These are all available as electronic books.  Just search for the author’s name, Razie Mah, along with the title.

0115 A Course on the Human Niche is a series, available at smashwords and other e-book venues, containing the masterwork, a primer, and commentaries, including the following.

Comments on Clive Gamble, John Gowlett and Robin Dunbar’s Book (2014) Thinking Big

Comments on Steven Mithen’s Book (1996) The Prehistory of The Mind

Comments on Robert Berwick and Noam Chomsky’s Book (2016) Why Only Us?

Comments on Derek Bickerton’s Book (2014) More Than Nature Needs

Any literate adult can conduct a seminar class that reads and discusses these works.

0116 Another series, titled Buttressing the Human Niche, contains comments on articles and books on the topic of human evolution.

Here is a sample.

Comments on David McNeill’s Book (2012) How Language Began

Comments on David Reich’s Book (2018) Who We Are and How We Got Here

Comments on Christ Sinha’s Essay (2018) “Praxis, Symbols and Language”

Comments on Kim Sterelny’s Essay (2011) “From Hominins to Humans”

Comments on John Barrett and Krystalli Amilati’s Essay (2004) “Some Light on the Early Origins of Them All”

Comments on Stella Souvatzi, Adnan Baysal and Emma Baysal’s Essay (2019) “Is there Prehistory?”

These works may be purchased at smashwords and other e-book venues.  They explore topics and demonstrate the practice of association and implication.  They are ideal for throwing into an established study (or curriculum) on human evolution, in order to demonstrate the realness of triadic relations.  Triadic relations are real enough to constitute a niche.

 0117 Finally, the Razie Mah’s blog at www.raziemah.com looks at other publications.  Each “looking at” blog consists of one to twenty parts.  These may be used to spread the word, for enjoyment, discussion and erudition.

For example, the following appears in March 2021

Looking at Daniel Turbon’s Article (2020) “…Human Being in Evolution”

In May 2021

Looking at Chris Sinha’s Essay (2018) “Praxis, Symbol and Language”

0118 Currently, evolutionary psychology is narrowly practiced as an adjunct to cognitive psychology.  Evolutionary psychology attempts to explain findings, models and evidence from cognitive psychology in terms of natural selection in the environment of evolutionary adaptation.

Now comes the Course on the Human Niche, Buttressing of the Human Niche, and other productions by Razie Mah,proposing that the ultimate human niche is the potential of triadic relations.

Yes, humans also evolve into very many proximate niches.  But, all our proximate niches are bundled together by our ultimate niche.  Proximate niches are like the various wooden rods bound together in the ancient Roman artifact called “religio”.  This artifact serves as a metaphor for the human’s ultimate niche.  Our ultimate niche binds all adaptations into proximate niches together.

0119 Professor Gad Saad’s book takes the reader outside of a narrow and closed practice of evolutionary psychology.  However, since Saad does not know the hypothesis of the ultimate human niche, he cannot cross from complaining and demanding action to a wide-open practice of evolutionary psychology.  Thus, he cannot fully comprehend what he is encountering in postmodern academics and elsewhere.  He is moving towards a realization.  It is just around the corner.

A wide-open evolutionary psychology examines our current Lebenswelt through the lens of adaptations accrued in the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

That revolution in thought begins with Razie Mah’s masterwork, The Human Niche.


Looking at Razie Mah’s (2014) A Course on How To Define the Word “Religion” (Part 1 of 24)

0001 Many home and private schoolers face a difficulty.

They want to teach their children and students about God and nature.

At the same time, they want their children and students to pass standardized tests constructed by government agencies that declare themselves to be “not religious”.

Can a “not religious” sovereign establish a religion?

I like to call this apparent anomaly, “Big Government (il)Liberalism”.

Other names also apply.

0002 Indeed, parents and teachers suspect that the standards… or perhaps, the norms… of these godless educational… er, indoctrinating agencies do not allow a type of thinking that has been common to Christian civilization since its inception.  This type of thinking is both analytic and synthetic and is promulgated by the schoolmen (or “scholastics”) of the so-called “Middle Ages”.

As it turns out, scholastic debates concerning mind-independent and mind-dependent reality end up with a definition of sign-relation that incorporates modern science, while at the same time transcending it.

Of course, the mechanical philosophers of the 1600s don’t know this.  Modern scientists try to model observations and measurements of phenomena, using their highly specialized disciplinary languages.  These models break down into two elements: cause and effect.

But, material and physical cause and effect cannot describe the causality inherent in sign relations.

0003 Surely, there are three elements to all existence.

Charles Peirce (1839-1914 AD) reads Francisco Suarez (1548-1617), a Baroque Scholastic, and comes up with the idea that there are three categories.  Firstness has one element.  Secondness (which includes mechanical science) has two elements.  Thirdness has three.  These three categories describe the causality inherent in a sign relation.

These three categories are also the foundation for the category-based nested form.

0004 So, what does this mean to parents and teachers?

None of the government agencies, who declare themselves to be “scientific”, can define the sign as a triadic relation.

So, perhaps that is a good place to start.

0005 Semiotics encompasses the natural sciences, not the other way around.

Teaching your students the analytic and synthetic practices of the category-based nested form and semiotics will prepare them for technology, engineering and mathematics. Science typifies secondness.  And, secondness stands between thirdness and firstness.

Say what?

Take a look at the following figure.  Even without familiarity with Peirce’s categories, the diagram tells a story concerning the relevance of triadic relations1 in regards to inquiry3 and science2.  Understanding is not the same as scientific determination.

Figure 01

0006 What about the social sciences?

I wonder, can modern social scientists observe and measure social phenomena?

Can they model observations of religious behavior, when they describe themselves as “not religious”?

If everyone can be religious and if social scientists choose not to be religious in order to build models of their observations of those who are, then isn’t there some sort of contradiction?

Or, is that the nature of specialization?

Speaking of specialization, sociologists do not study psychology.  Psychologists do not study sociology.  Plus, sociology and psychology ignore biology.  All these disciplines are alchemically sealed within their own academic echo-chambers.  They cannot hear one another.

Say what?

0007 The category-based nested form is a triadic relation, that is both synthetic and analytic.  It is useful for reading texts.  It is a powerful tool for picturing the purely relational characteristics of psychology, sociology, cognition and evolution.

A Course on How to Define the Word “Religion” offers a unique path into topics covered by the so-called “social sciences”, without the blinders of BG(il)L.

Please consider this course when developing a curriculum for your children and your students.


Looking at Razie Mah’s Series (2015)  A Course on How To Define the Word “Religion”  (Part 24 of 24)

0161 In conclusion, many home and private schoolers face a difficulty.

They want to teach their children and students about God and nature.

At the same time, they want their children and students to pass standardized tests constructed by government agencies that promulgate a religion, even they they declare themselves to be “not religious”.

This course is one way to approach the difficulty.

This course offers a path, a text, along which you, the adult, and your children and your students may walk together.

0162 No other work in the field of education in 2022 compares.

Except of course, other courses by Razie Mah, such as A Course on The Archaeology of the Fall and A Course on the Human Niche.

Welcome to the fourth age of understanding.

0163 A Course on How To Define The Word “Religion” may be found at smashwords and other e-book vendors, using the search terms: Razie Mah, series,  course, how to define the word “religion”.

The course consists of ten primers, followed by the masterwork, How To Define The Word “Religion”.

Each primer and masterwork is punctuated, not by page numbers, but by points.  A one-hour class may cover between twenty and forty points.  That is a little slower than one per minute.  If you conduct a class, record the number of points covered per session and report to raziemah@reagan.com.

0164 These blogs provide a taste of the style and the content.  They complement, rather than substitute for the primers and the masterwork.

I hope that you enjoy these blogs and pass them onto others who may serve as guides in a world where education is the job of parents and those similarly motivated, rather than those who are certified by the state.

God bless.


Looking at Daryl Domning’s Book (2006) “Original Selfishness” (Part 1 of 16)

0001 Biologist Daryl P. Domning and theologian Monika K. Hellwig collaborate in a work, entitled, Original Selfishness: Original Sin and Evil in the Light of Evolution.  Domning professionally studies the evolution of sirenians, sea cows, while maintaining an interest in Catholic theology.  The sea cows, like the whales and the seals, are land mammals that adapted to an aquatic environment… or should I say?… niche.

0002 In terms of human imagination, sea cows associate to mermaids.  Mermaids are chimeric.  They are half woman and half fish.

0003 The titular word, “selfishness”, is chimeric as well.  It starts in Germany as an emphatic, added to a pronoun (A).  For example, I can say, “I myself” or  “you yourself” or “he himself” or “she herself” and so on.  Then, in Old English, the emphatic coalesces into a noun, “self” (B).  Then, the noun becomes an adjective with an added,”-ish” (C).  “Selfish” denotes an emphasis on self by self.  Then, the adjective converts back into a noun with an added “-ness” (D).  Selfishness (D) is the state of being selfish (C).

0004 So, there is an evolution to the word, “selfishness”, as well.

What games we play with words.

It makes me wonder whether the evolution of this spoken word has anything to do with evil in the light of evolution.

0005 If I change the mode of talk to hand-talk, I may say POINT TO MYSELF.  I may not say I POINT TO MYSELF, because the pronoun, I, is signified by pointing to myself.  I may gesture, POINT TO MYSELF twice, or with dramatic flair, but that is not equivalent to the spoken word, “self” (B) or “selfish” (C).  It may be equivalent to the emphatic, “I, myself” (A).

0006 If language evolves in the milieu of hand talk, then our distant ancestors do not hand talk the equivalent of the spoken words, “self”, “selfish” or “selfishness”.

Does this fact provide a clue to original sin in light of evolution? 

At least, it provides a clue to a divide in the course of human evolution.

The emphatic, I-myself (A), associates to hand talk and the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

The explicit abstractions of self (B), selfish (C) and selfishness (D) associate to speech-alone talk and our current Lebenswelt.

0007 Our current Lebenswelt is not the same as the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

In 2006 (and perhaps, anytime before Domning reads this), the author does not suspect that there may be a twist in human evolution.  In general, evolutionary biologists have no idea.  Like Domning, they are focused on genetics and natural history, not cultural turns.  The hypothesis of the first singularity first appears in 2012 with the masterwork, An Archaeology of the Fall, available at smashwords and other e-book vendors.


Looking at Daryl Domning’s Book (2006) “Original Selfishness” (Part 16 of 16)

0097 Original sin is the absence of original justice.

That is what Saint Thomas Aquinas claims.

The association between original justice, the state of Adam before the Fall, and the Lebenswelt that we evolved in is developed in Comments on Daniel Houck’s Book (2020) “Aquinas, Original Sin and the Challenge of Evolution”.

0098 This examination of Daryl Domning’s book adds depth to that commentary.

By separating the universal (descent from common ancestor) and moral (the traditional definition of concupiscence) realities of original sin, Domning offers me a path to discover one of features of the Lebenswelt that we evolved in, as well as one of the features of our current Lebenswelt.

0099 What games we play with words.

My thanks to Daryl Domning and Monica Hellwig for their speculative effort, trying to reconcile evolutionary science and Christian doctrine.  Original Selfishness: Original Sin and Evil in Light of Evolution is first published in 2006 by Ashgate.  My copy is published in 2016 by Routledge.  The first edition in paperback is issued in 2021.  ISBN is 978-1-03-224358-0.