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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2 Comments

  1. I’m disappointed by Michael Heiser like post-mortum attack on Lloyd Pye. He was a man of integrity not afraid to follow facts where they led.

    Some of us understand Darwin’s Theory, its strengths and it’s flaws, all too well. Mr. Pye never dismissed evolution altogether. He simply and rightly pointed out it does not account fo the rapid and sudden emergence of modern humans and the supposed class of “pre-humans” did not lead to us. He made these points by observing data.

    Darwinists are well aware of this too. That’s why they’re creating mythological bottleneck stories (that cannot be proven) to account for the stark departure modern humans made from our primate cousins. Intervention Theory just happens to explain that fact better than Darwinian forces. Look Pye, and me by the way, don’t discount evolution. We also aren’t afraid to leave this dogma when it clearly does not fit with the facts, especially when hundreds of ancient texts (mere myths) from around the world tell a different story.

    We need to evaluate the wholeness of the data before us to arrive at some truth. When theories don’t fit, we look elsewhere for evidence. We don’t make them fit. I’m glad some younger generation thinkers, even scientists, ate inspired by Lloyd’s work. We need i openness in science not a refusal to consider different ideas.

    Reply
    • Adrian Chan-Wyles (PhD)

       /  06/06/2017

      Thank you for a very cogent reply. The situation as I see it, stems from the fact that a multitude of researchers approach the vast subject of evolutionary theory, from many different trajectories, for a number of different reasons, and expressed objectives. This being the case, evolutionary theory is adjudged according to the disparate nature of the approach, and not according to the implicit validity of the theory itself. On a number of occasions, evolutionary theory is rejected because of a lack of knowledge and understanding on behalf of the enquirer, whilst on other occasions, there exist hidden religious or political agendas, all designed to undermine and uproot evolutionary theory. Again, as far as I am concerned, premised upon decades of study, debate, enquiry and consideration, evolutionary theory is a ‘fact’ rather like ‘breathing’. Now, this does not necessarily mean that we as humans possess all the facts or understanding about this theory as of yet – even Charles Darwin did not possess this insight, as he readily admits – or that there is no room for development and improvement in interpretation. If Lloyd Pye is proven right about the existence of big foot and the like, then evolutionary interpretation will simply be re-adjusted to fit the known facts – as has happened many times in the past.I think this marks a crucial distinction between acknowledging and criticising the history of the ‘interpretation’ of evolutionary theory, and the sound scientific basis of the theory itself. The former maybe ruthlessly criticised as is fitting a scientific theory, but the latter cannot be dismissed without welcoming back the nonsensical teachings of theistic theology. In this regard, I prefer Stephen Jay Gould to Richard Dawkins, etc. As regards the criticism of the ever-changing ‘interpretation’ of evolutionary theory, I found in my youth the book by Richard Milton entitled ‘The Facts of Life’ very interesting. Although dated today, it contains many of the early misunderstandings associated with the theory, and discusses how and why they occurred.

      Reply

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