Posted by: Johan Normark | December 30, 2009

2012: The alternative Obscuranist of the year – Calleman

Vetenskap och Folkbildning (VoF  – Science and Education in translation) is a Swedish non-profit organization set out to promote popular education about the methods of science and its results. Every year these Swedish Sceptics nominate the Enlightener of the year (Årets folkbildare) and the Obscuranist of the year (Årets förvillare). The obscuranist tends to be someone doing pseudoscientific research such as astrology, healing, homeopathy, dowsing, telepathy, UFO, etc. I think the nominee must be a Swedish citizen or be practicing in Sweden. This year’s nomination is not as clear to me as earlier nominations and as Terra at Terra Incognita argues they could have chosen some of the alarmists of the Swine flu instead.

If you ask me, there is one person that definitely qualifies as the obscuranist of the year. This is Carl Johan Calleman and this will be my third post on him. Readers of this blog may remember that we had a debate on the blog a while ago. Since then he has released a new book called “The Purposeful Universe: How Quantum Theory and Mayan Cosmology Explain the Origin and Evolution of Life”. About a month ago I received an email from Carl that said “Raving Response to The Purposeful Universe” and “The Purposeful Universe reaches #1 on Amazon for both Cosmology and Maya Categories”. I am not surprised since the bestselling books concerning the Maya tend not to be written by Mayanists but by pseudoscientists and New Agers. Fortunately, quantity tends to be in reversed proportion to quality (not always, but quite often).

To be honest, I have not read the book yet (and I guess I never will). However, just the fact that it is published by Inner Traditions – Bear & Company qualifies it as pseudoscience/New Age. Inner Traditions is a publisher of books on or devoted to New Age, spiritualism, esotericism, mysticism, neoshamanism, astrology, healing, etc. John Major Jenkins is another of their authors This is the production description of Calleman’s book:

Identifying the Mayan World Tree with the central axis of the cosmos, the author shows how evolution is not random

• Shows how the evolution of the universe emanates from the cosmic Tree of Life
• Explains the origin and evolution of biological life and consciousness and how this is directed
Using recent findings within cosmology, coupled with his broad understanding of the Mayan Calendar, biologist Carl Johan Calleman offers a revolutionary and fully developed ­alternative to Darwin’s theory of biological evolution–and the theory of randomness that holds sway over modern science. He shows how the recently discovered central axis of the universe correlates with the Tree of Life of the ancients. This provides an entirely new context for physics in general and especially for the origin and evolution of life and suggests that we look upon ourselves as parts of a hierarchy of systems that are all interrelated and evolve in a synchronized way.

Calleman’s research demonstrates that life did not just accidentally “pop up” on our planet, but that Earth was a place specifically tagged for this. He demonstrates how the Mayan Calendar describes different quantum states of the Tree of Life and presents a new explanation for the origin and evolution of consciousness. Calleman uses his scientific background in biology and cosmology to show that the idea of the Purposeful Universe is real. He explains not only how DNA but also entire organisms have emerged in the image of the Tree of Life, a theory that has wide-ranging consequences not only for medicine but also for the origin of sacred geometry and the human soul. With this new theory of biological evolution the divide between science and religion disappears.

As for my view of Calleman’s personal cosmology see my older posts since this book still is in line with his earlier ideas. The reviews of the book on Amazon can be divided into two categories: those who give it five stars and one reviewer (Gregg Mulry), who obviously has a slightly broader knowledge, who gives it one star. Judging from his review Calleman “lifted criticisms of natural selection from sources supportive of intelligent design and creationism.” No surprise there since the very title of the book says it all. The book has received more positive review from someone called Stephen Zaddikmann which was included in the email from Carl:

Dr Calleman’s new book is one of the best I have read in many years. It presents a solution to the greatest enigma of them all– the Creation and the Origin of Life. Starting in the beginning with the latest data from the WMAP which suggests a Central Axis to our universe (dubbed Axis of Evil), Dr Calleman uses the fractal scaling of the Mayan calendar to trace the trajectory of the development of life and this he does with great success: The Mayan calendar does map successfully into the history of our universe in the most uncanny way. The Shamanic vision of the Mayans was able to take in the whole of reality and that vision lines up almost completely with the science of the early 21th century, the time of the Mayan End Date. Dr Calleman, who holds a doctorate in bio-physics, has all but delivered the death blow to some aspects of both the Modern Synthesis and the Standard Model. He has established Purpose and Design where cowed and intimidated scientists see only randomness. We are dealing here with no less than a new Summa to all scientific knowledge and the author is the second coming of Bergson and Theilhard de Chardin. Aside from a few typos and a few foreignisms (the author grew up in Sweden) the style is crisp, lucid, and fresh. The photographs are of poor quality but the line drawings are marvelous and enlightening. All in all “The Purposeful Universe” is a breakthrough book of astounding depth of knowledge and understanding. A copy should find its way into every high school biology classroom. This book is the best counter to certain remarks by Steven Weinberg about the Universe being “pointless” and certain writings of Dennett, Dawkins, and the rest of the propagandists for the promotion of life and consciousness as “epiphenomena”. Calleman belongs to the old Chain of Being school as celebrated by Lovejoy and Arthur Koestler a few generations ago and whose principle proponent today is Ken Wilber. Calleman is the true successor to Bergson who saw Intuition as more important than the “geometric” side of the human intellect and “Purposeful Universe” is a highly Wilberian text. There are also similarities to Rupert Sheldrake. But Calleman is more impressive than either in the sense that he is more concrete– more concrete in his knowledge of physics and biology and more focused because he is one of the world’s foremost Mayan scholars. This is a formidable range of power for one man and I think this book will lead to a discontinuity in the history of the philosphy of science.

I wonder if Zadikkmann has read Bergson. Poor Henri, having Calleman as his proposed successor. Bergson never claimed that the universe has a purpose. Instinct and intellect are two tendencies of our consciousness but they are not dialectic opposites and neither is evidence of a higher purpose. Although Bergson was opposing the neo-Darwinists of his time, he was more attuned with Darwin himself if we are to believe Elizabeth Grosz. Darwin, Nietzsche and Bergson were all defenders of Becoming. Calleman’s cosmology is all about Being, and arborescent structures defining his chosen quantum leaps (by coincidence he actually relies on “the tree of life”…).

It is always a danger to make a judgment of a book I have not read, but I am confident that Calleman has little to offer as an alternative to established sciences. It is always good to criticize the Royal Science, dogmas, etc. which the Swedish Sceptics Society defends (hence I am usually sceptical of the sceptics). However, when it is so obvious that one tries to connect a distorted version of the Maya calendar with modern science it cannot be taken seriously. However, since his books apparently affect plenty of people he is well qualified as the Obscuranist of the year.

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Responses

  1. Johan Normark continues to engage in his shadow boxing against the message of the Mayan calendar. This includes my own work even though he, as he admits himself, has not even read one of my books. This approach is in my mind a very unprofessional way of working where he should instead be dealing with the actual facts and logic that I am presenting. As an aside from this unprofessionalism it also leaves him, and those that believe in such low levels of argumentation, completely in the dark about the forces driving the evolution of the universe. As is true for many academic scientists in our present time his interest is however not in a deep inquiry, but simply to defend the narrow confines within which science now operates. He talks about pseudoscience, but is in fact dealing with a scientist mentored by a member of the Nobel committees in Stockholm, who himself has served as an expert on cancer for the World Health Organization and written articles that have been quoted some 1500 times in the scientific literature proper. (The number of quotations is usually used as an indicator of the difference a researcher has made in science and so for comparison the Web of Science lists 0 quotations made by others to articles by J Normark, the archaeologist). It is embarrassing to see this disrespectful attitude from Normark, since if my work indeed was so confusing as he implies it would reflect very poorly also on several key scientific institutions. If Normark wanted to address my theory scientifically he should, in the face of the massive evidence for it presented in my most recent book, come up with at least one factual error before he makes the kind of presumptuous claims that he does. Earlier this year he tried, but could not come up with any error whatsoever and it seems obvious that he is attacking it merely on ideological grounds.

    Normark seems to have the idea that the experts on the meaning of the Mayan calendar are those with a narrow focus on the Mayan culture. Nothing could be further from the truth! A true understanding of the Mayan calendar requires a very broad holistic
    knowledge encompassing physics, biology, history, astronomy and countless other disciplines. Anyone who believes that the Mayan calendar is an ethnically limited phenomenon that is best left to the Mayanists will simply miss the point. It is for this reason that this calendar has often shattered the established framework of science, since it simply is not understandable within it. Understandably then, major breakthroughs in our understanding of the Maya have often come from people outside of the established academic circles. This is obviously the case with Knorozov, who cracked the Mayan script, but would apply to many others as well including Linda Schele, who liked to describe herself as a “redneck” outsider of academia. Major contributions in Mayanism do not come from linear thinking individuals spending all of their energy debunking others. The reason for this is that the Mayan notion of time, and cosmology, is so outside of the modern scientific paradigm that it mandates a paradigm shift to be properly understood. How for instance can the 260 day Sacred Calendar fit into the modern paradigm when its cycles of 13 numbers and 20 glyphs, unlike all other calendars of our planet, do not correlate with any apparent physical or astronomical phenomena? You will thus either have to dismiss this calendar as a superstition without any real meaning or chose to break out of the current paradigm of science. The latter is what I and many others have done. Hence, the Mayan calendar has become somewhat of an Achilles heal of the materialist and randomist paradigm of current science.

    Normark rightly quotes a review of my work that describes what my recent book The Purposeful Universe is all about. Thus, this takes its beginning with the significant discovery in the WMAP studies made only five years ago by Tegmark and coworkers of a central axis in the early universe. Among academic scientists it has become common to refer to this as the Axis of Evil, since it is so disturbing to the basic theories of physics, but to me it seems fairly obvious that this is what the ancients called the Tree of Life. Why this would be a less scientific name than the Axis of Evil is not clear to me and regardless, the axis is there whatever you like to call it. This finding becomes the starting point of my most recent book, and I consider the central axis as one of the most consequential discoveries of all time. It proves that from the very beginning the universe had a structure and so torpedoes the idea of a universe whose energy was originally randomly distributed. From the very moment of the Big Bang the universe thus had a structure consistent with the Mayan Tree of Life or the Yggdrasil of ancient Scandinavia. Partly as a result of this, but also based on the Mayan calendar, it has then been possible in The Purposeful Universe, for the first time in 150 years, to present a new complete theory about the mechanisms of biological evolution. This transcends both Darwinism and Biblical Creationism, none of which comes even close to it in explanatory power. It is thus not very surprising that people are very taken by this new theory that is perceived not only as making sense, but also to be very beautiful. Yet, this theory obviously is a threat to the ideas of purposelessness fiercely defended by academic science for such a long time and there is no reason to expect that it would be easily accepted there. But regular people today often seem to honor the ideal of rational empiricism more than many professional scientists. This is very evident in the case of Normark, who seems to have no respect for the scientific method and makes statements about theories he has not even studied. Yet, I must say that I doubt that he, who spends so much energy trying to debunk thoughts outside of the mainstream, would be impressed even if he actually tried to learn something about the new theory of biological evolution. Many scientists wedded to a materialist ideology will simply ignore what they cannot fit into their box and no amount of evidence is likely to sway them. Such an ideology is likely to be favorable to their careers, but it will certainly not lead them to the truth of why we and the universe exist or allow them to appreciate the beauty of a science that makes sense.
    Carl Johan Calleman

    • Your rather quick response at least shows that you are a bit troubled about criticism. As for your references, these relate to your old work do they not (I have no objection against that work)? Everytime you bring up your academic credentials (such as your PhD title and being mentored by someone in the Nobel comitte), it refers to your old work. Good for you that you have so many references (I guess being associated with WHO helps to increase that number).

      It is your distortion of the Maya I call pseudoscience and it is the only thing that concerns me. What does your old mentor think of this work? If we are to bash each others with academic merits I can mention that my dissertation was awarded with the Loubat Prize by the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History, and Antiquities (which is part of the Royal Academies in which other academies that decide the Nobel Prizes are included). One could say that I got an archaeological version of the Nobel Prize: https://haecceities.wordpress.com/2009/05/25/me-and-the-king/

      However, titles and awards mean nothing to me. Since you mention that I have zero references, that could probably be because my work in major journals have just recently been published (2008 and 2009) and hence have not had the time to be quoted by other researchers. It is either that or the fact that I am arguing against mainstream archaeology and hence stands outside the Mayanist core and their willingness to quote me will take a bit longer. I have been quoted so the quotation index does not cover all publications. Also, research on cancer is likely to be quoted more than research on ancient Maya causeways. An archaeologist is lucky if his or her work is quoted 30-40 times. In any case, if you are quoted by many scientists it means that you are part of the mainstream (and you say you are not)… How many references have your later work (on the Maya calendar) generated (and I do not mean references by other 2012ers/2011ers)? It should be more than your older work since you by now should be a well established researcher.

      Another index of how good researcher you are is the capability to attract financial support. My current research has been funded by eleven funds (The Swedish Research Council and The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency included). How many scientific funds have invested in your research? You are perhaps self-supporting but getting one’s application through the evaluation processes says something about what colleagues think of it. My current research is fairly mainstream as it concerns climate but the theoretical standpoint which I use is far from mainstream.

      You further think that I have a linear view of time. Since you apparantly are Bergson’s follower according to one reviewer (who apparantly have not understood Bergson), you would know that he is far from a follower of spatial time. Since Bergsonian ideas are at the core of my dissertation work I can hardly be seen as a linear scientist.

      Once again (we discussed this before), your website show your ideas and there is no need to read your book from cover to cover to get the main idea. If you cannot explain it on your website I am sure you cannot explain it in a couple of hundred pages either.

      I just end this with a quote from your comment: “Major contributions in Mayanism do not come from linear thinking individuals spending all of their energy debunking others.” Are you not debunking established science yourself? I notice that you see yourself as an individual that will make a difference in Mayanist studies (in line with Knorosov and Schele). They made a difference but your research will not make a difference in Mayanist studies (but perhaps in the New Age community). I spend little time debunking others, most of the time I outline a neomaterialistic archaeology. You are welcome to debunk it if you wish (there are plenty of posts on that theme on my blog – just click on tags labeled DeLanda or Deleuze). Just to make you happy, I will read your latest book in the future and I will review it on the blog. Do not accuse me for being biased when I do that.

  2. I have a problem I thought you might be interested in.
    In 1937 the state of Montana conducted its first archeological dig in Glendive. The site is called “The Hagen Site” 5 miles upriver just pass your old place. Established as a National Historical Landmark in 1964.
    I love to study pre history America, anything can go. So I have been investigating the site and everything written about the site, most of it out dated with no further investigations. The site is unusual do to the pottery and structure excavated at the site. The pottery is extremely advanced with a style that is hard to track.
    Being the builder that I am, I have been working on re constructing the building that was excavated. One of the core factors in understanding ancient cultures this of course, communication/wisdom.
    This is the equation I would like you to take a look at; the lodge is 16 foot diameter with 12 supporting posts, the front door faces to the sun raise with two post 6 feet apart, the center has two posts 4 feet apart , the west wall has two post two feet apart. Being that the lodge is round, a sacred symbol, I circled the other points, the center 4 foot squared give you the 16 foot lodge, connecting the set points from east to west which put you 8 feet outside the lodge with a diameter of 32 feet.
    Now you have your equation; A to B to C gives you a 15 degree angle (1/24 of 360) within the 16 foot diameter, with the three proportional circles in ratio to the moon and earth.
    I tried to associate the angle to the sun or stars which would have been 22.5 degrees, solstice.
    Hope you can enjoy this as much as I have, once I find the true all will change, good and bad.

    • “The site is called “The Hagen Site” 5 miles upriver just pass your old place.” Are you mistaking me for someone else because I have never been in Montana.

      It would not be a surprise if a building is aligned with a solstice, it is quite common.

  3. I have one evidence that humans and dinosaurs coexisted. At that time humans were also of giant size. Gravitation force has great influence on biological evolution too. The tendency of gravitation force is towards centre. As the Earth is growing older the tendency of gravitation force towards centre is increasing and compressing us all and making our size smaller and smaller. We have the fossil of giant size rodents. But they are not seen now. Their size have become smaller and smaller even smaller than the size of humans. Dinosaurs are also not extinct. They may be still traced , not in giant size of course.

    Gravitation force is the main determinant of genetic mutation. All elements like carbon, nitrogen, oxygen etc. have been formed by the fusion of hydrogen element on account of action of gravitation force during the formation of a star.

  4. I fail to see the evidence of this so-called vedic science. Where are the remains of these humans that coexisted with dinosaurs (I guess you mean non-avian dinosaurs)? Modern man is considerably taller than humans only a few hundred years ago. Further, the largest whale today is larger than any fossil whale. According to this reasoning we would find the largest animals at the very beginning of life. This is simply not true.

  5. I will provide you the evidence soon. Modern man is considerably not taller. It was reported in the media that when Sunita William George spent few months in space, her height increased. This also support my views with regards to Gravitation Force Theory of Evolution.

    According to His Holiness Maharaj Sahab (1861-1907), the third Revered Spiritual Head of Radhasoami Faith has described in His book ‘Discourses on Radhasoami Faith’ “that the source of spirit is the true Supreme Being. Whatever forms we find in creation have received their impress from the infinite form first manifested by the Supreme Being, as form is nothing but the arrangement into which energy resolves anything, and the prime energy emanated from the Supreme Being”. I am convinced that this prime energy is Gravitation Force.

    Maharaj Sahab further writes in this book, “that the solar systems are travelling in space round Brahamand, and that the Brahmand, too, is making a similar revolution round the spiritual region. During the course of these revolutions, the earth and the solar systems often come near such creations which possess fauna (including man) and flora differing to some extent from our own fauna and flora. The conjunction of the above description often leads to some affinity between the subtler portion of our system and of those of the creations we have approached. Many new forms of life are often manifested on our earth, and their remains are often dug up as fossils of the species not to be found on this earth.

  6. I disagree.

  7. You agree or don’t agree makes hardly any difference. This happened in the past too. People did not accept the truth. Later on it becomes a universal truth. Whatever I am writing is correct.

    It is now an established fact that seeds of life i.e. DNA, biological cells spread on planets through comets. Panspermia Theory is a confirmed fact. Life spreads in the universe through comets. Dr. Louis, Dr. Jayant Vishnu Narlikar (renowned astrophysicist) and other scientists are working in this area. Professor Nalin Chandra Vikramsinghe, Director, Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology, London is also helping in this work.

  8. “Whatever I am writing is correct.”

    Well, if you think like this then you are dealing with religion and not science (as is quite obvious in your comments). Where are these giant humans that coexisted with dinosaurs? I hope the evidence is not some sort of holy scripture?

  9. No, not at all. I have read somewhere (I will give you exact details later on) that during regression in hypnosis one girl reached in her past life and told that one dinosaur is fetching her and she was running away towards a cave to hide her.

    One fossil of a human of giant size has been found in India. The skull of this human measures about 5 to 6 feet in length.

    Kindly let me know the number of fossils of dinosaurs found so far.

    • “No, not at all. I have read somewhere (I will give you exact details later on) that during regression in hypnosis one girl reached in her past life and told that one dinosaur is fetching her and she was running away towards a cave to hide her.”

      I do not believe in reincarnations and the mention of cave seems just to reflect the stereotypical view of ancient humans as cave dwellers. Pure fiction in my opinion.

      “One fossil of a human of giant size has been found in India. The skull of this human measures about 5 to 6 feet in length.”

      Give me a reference to a peer-reviewed journal where this amazing discovery has been published.

      “Kindly let me know the number of fossils of dinosaurs found so far.”

      I am not a palaeontologist so I could not tell you. Do you mean species, genera or the exact number of fossilized bones? In the latter case there must be hundreds of thousands if not millions. Some skeletons are fragmentary and few are really complete. Then we also have the problem of defining a species since these change in time and space (unless you believe in static species). In any case according to Wikipedia the list of known dinosaur genera is now 877.

  10. Peer-reviewed journals are not the sole authority. I have seen the report about giant size human fossil in print media and electronic media. First time I have seen it in a news paper (in Hindi)-‘Dainik Jagran’ and thereafter I have seen report about this in TV Channel.

    Thanks

  11. If you are to call yourself a scientist you should probably specify this a little bit more. References are crucial.

  12. The size of pineal gland will unfold the mystery of biological evolution. The size of pineal gland was fully developed at the time of origin of humans. It gradually decreased and is now appears to be a vestigial part of human anatomy. When it was fully developed all humans easily made contact with the macrocosm or universal consciousness or source of our consciousness i.e. Almighty God. But this is not the case now. In millions, nay billions only a few are able to make such contacts through protracted practice of meditation and yoga. We should calculate the period from fully developed pineal gland at the time of origin of human species till date when the pineal gland appears to be vestigial gland. This may only throw some light on Age if Humans in Biological Evolution. I firmly believe that humans and dinosaurs co-existed. During regression (quoted from the work of Mr.Kapoor, published in a News Paper ‘Aj’) a girl had told that in her past life a dinosaur is fetching her and she is running away to save her in a cave.

  13. According to His Holiness Maharaj Sahab (1861-1907), the 3rd Spiritual Head of Radha Soami Faith, “during satyayuga,………..in consequence of their greater spirituality and of the high purity of their heart, had no difficulty in getting access at times into the astral planes and holding communion with the departed spirits.” (Source: Discourses on Radhasoami Faith). Greater Spirituality as mentioned above is linked to the size of pineal gland. In Satyauga pineal gland was highly developed but in Kaliyuga the pineal gland is a rudimentary (undeveloped) organ. This is downward evolution of humankind. We should ascertain the period taken from highly developed pineal gland to undeveloped pineal gland. This will determine the Age of Human Existence on this Earth Planet. Other arguments, as I think, will not help much.

  14. Interesting fantasies.

  15. We have no authority to term others ‘fact’ as ‘fantasies’.

  16. If there are no empirical data supporting your ideas than they are fantasies or speculations at best.

  17. ‘Fantasies’ live in future and not in past. What I have mentioned in my comments dated 13 Feb 2010 describes the level of consciousness of humans in certain age of remote past of human civilization. They are facts which are not seen now or very rare in present time. Based on this I have speculated that there appeared a link between such type of spiritual experience and some specific part of the human anatomy. This part (Pineal gland) seems to be a highly developed gland in ancient times and now it rudimentary. I have further suggested if some scientific technique could be developed to ascertain the period of downward evolution of pineal gland. This will unfold many secrets of human evolution. Now you may call it fantasies, day dreaming or speculation, whatever you like.

    • Show me the facts please.

  18. It is now proved that humans and dinosaurs co-existed.

  19. ‘Humans, dinos lived together’ (Times of India)(October 18,2011)
    Beijing: ‘The world’s only evidence of co-existence by humans and dinosaur tracks have been discovered by Chinese and American scientists in a remote county in southwest China, the state media reported on Sunday’.

    This evidence supports my views which I am saying for the last two years.

    .

    • If Humans, and Dinos lived together, where are the human bones from that time ? We find dinosaur bones everywhere, so there should be one human bone somewhere.

  20. Come back when this ground breaking research is published in a serious journal (since you seem to believe anything you read). Anyway, dinosaurs coexist with us today. Birds are dinosaurs…

    • ‘Humans, dinos lived together’ (Times of India)(October 18,2011) Beijing: ‘The world’s only evidence of co-existence by humans and dinosaur tracks have been discovered by Chinese and American scientists in a remote county in southwest China, the state media reported on Surnday’. This evidence supports my views which I am saying for the last two years

      • Oh, please forgive me, I should have written “serious peer-reviewed journal”…


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