The Problem with Lloyd Pye (1946-2013)

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I have watched (and enjoyed) a number of Lloyd Pye lectures in the past, and have respected his independence of thought and different approach to the explanation of existence. However, his rather simplistic denial of the theory of evolution due to natural selection, demonstrates a dangerous veering away from established science (premised upon the observation and measurement of phenomena), toward a ‘faith-based’ belief system masquerading as ‘science’. His work has influenced a number of impressionable young people to reject the work of Charles Darwin, and enter the field of pseudo-science – effectively turning-back the clock of human intellectual development. Lloyd Pye would have been on safer ground if he had tried to work within Darwinism and tried to improve or develop its theory and understanding through the rubric of his very interesting and quite often unique ideas and opinion. As a charismatic former US military intelligence officer, Lloyd Pye was more than able to disarm and persuade his audience – even if what he had to say had no bearing on observable reality. Darwinian evolution is an unfolding fact rather than an idea that can be ‘accepted’ or ‘rejected’ – as one might do a god concept. Lloyd Pye appears to have conflated an academic community that sneered at his alternative theories, with the theory of Darwinian evolution. He could have just as easily rejected the academic nay sayers – but kept one foot in the Darwinian camp. As matters transpired, by rejecting Darwinian evolution outright, Lloyd Pye threw the baby out with the bath-water. The point is that simply ‘imagining’ alternative scientific theories and notions does not make them ‘correct’, regardless of how original or entertaining those non-mainstream ideas might appear to be. Modern mainstream understanding exists to retain a certain quality of understanding throughout humanity. Science is important for the survival of humanity because it works. Regardless of whatever Lloyd Pye thought about existence – and I believe he was a good man – nothing of what he taught has been proven objectively correct. As a consequence, he seems to have been engaged in the practice of generating theories about theories. The question is whether any of this entertaining counter-culture is useful for the progression of humanity? Rejecting Darwinism is not useful as far as I am concerned, because ‘rejecting’ proves absolutely ‘nothing’. It does not prove Darwin wrong or Lloyd Pye right – so what is the point? For Darwin’s work to be proven wrong, Lloyd Pye would have had to furnish a whole new theory of development that clearly annuls Darwin’s observations, and his ideas simply do not do that. Enjoy the work of Lloyd Pye by all means, but view them in the context within which they historically appear, and remember that Lloyd Pye never established a competent understanding of Darwin’s theory throughout his many lectures and writings. Therefore, what Lloyd Pye was really rejecting, was his own limited idea of what he thought Darwinian theory was.

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