Gods, Genes and Consciousness by Paul Von Ward

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

Book: God, Genes and Consciousness: Nonhuman Intervention in Human History

Author: Paul Von Ward

Type of Book: Aliens, hidden history, alternate history, whacked theory

Why Do I Consider This Book Odd: Because the book attempts to explain how modern man and culture have been shaped by the intervention of space aliens.

Availability: Published by Hampton Roads Publishing Company in 2003, you can get a copy here:

Comments: I bought this book with the intention of having an “Alien Intervention Week.” I bought five books on the topic and got two in before my inner Edina Monsoon burst forth. (I consider Edina Monsoon to be my id, and have had far too many people tell me I reminded them of her in moments of hyperactivity or boredom.) I read the first book, a tiny little book that was more of a survey and felt heartened. I thought, “Hey, maybe this isn’t all boring crap!” Then I began this book and Edina was not impressed and felt I needed to go and buy some new clothes online and eat some chips and salsa. I read a chapter and muttered under my breath. I played the Ramones at full volume and wandered downstairs to find the vegan gummi bears. I bribed myself to finish each chapter because unless a book is really just an egregious pile of dishonest crap, I have to finish it. This is not an egregious pile of dishonest crap sort of book. It is simply Not Relevant to My Interests. I wasted copious amounts of time between each chapter. I watched Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift videos on YouTube because it seemed a better use of time. I cleaned the toilet. I ate lots of snacks. I told my inner Edina to hush so I could finish the book and when I was finished she said, “Fine! Are you happy? Because I’m not!” I wasn’t either.

But I read this thing and I’m gonna discuss it. Because this is a level of weird that never really interested me that deeply (just one of those things – I cannot read enough about Satanic Panic but aliens don’t do it for me, odd book-wise), I was forced to read carefully to prevent my mind from wandering. Who knows, as I write this I may have some sort of epiphany that I really do enjoy reading about alien intervention. But really, all I know as I am typing is that I sort of dread the Zecharia Sitchin tome I’ve got sitting on my bedside table.

And I have to mention, because it always bears repeating, that when I slip into snark discussing this book, it is not the fault of the author. Paul Von Ward sets out his thesis and uses all sorts of religious texts to draw what to some may seem like reasonable conclusions. In the eternal argument of “made” versus “just happened” I sit firmly in the camp of “just happened.” I don’t think God, gods, or aliens shaped the earth in any manner and am still amused at people who look at the world of 4,000 years ago and marvel that our ancient ancestors could, you know, build stuff like pyramids, as if being human, brain-wise, was really that radically different than being a human now. Humans are marvelous and remarkable. Don’t discount them when it comes to measuring things, cutting things, hauling things and assembling things.

Anyway, Von Ward simply has a radically different world view than mine and I respect that as far as it goes, but I must discuss this book as it filters through my world view and because this was relatively new ground for me, I will use copious amounts of text as I discuss it. But anyone who comes to this site after a search on Von Ward or this book or even the concepts within this book, please understand that when metaphysical texts are used to verify a supposition that aliens came from space to do that which man was certainly able to do on his own, I will be unable to accept such texts as wholly historical documents. Gilgamesh was not written to be a literal interpretation of historical events, and I think similar thoughts about the Holy Bible. Therefore I will be unable to agree with the conclusions reached. Not to say that religious texts don’t reflect historical truths to some degree but it is too much of a leap for me to take to believe that which was clearly written or related as parable is proof of alien overlords influencing mankind. To argue the concept with me will be a dead end because my mind is not colonized that way, if it is colonized at all, but that does not mean I don’t want to hear from True Believers. You may have a new perspective, and disagreements that come to this site in comment form tend, at the very least, to be civil (enough) and thought-provoking for me, so knock yourselves out.

So, the essential premise from Von Ward is that ABs (Advanced Beings), came to Earth and in many ways shaped the way things are now. He claims that religious texts from across the spectrum bear out the idea of ABs coming to Earth for various reasons and that human evolution could not have happened without alien influence. Exhaustively researched, while I think this book is full of pantsy ideas, it is pretty audacious and audacious ideas always get my respect. People can sit around and talk the same crap for years and then laugh at the guy who comes up with a new way of thinking about things. All disagreement aside, I have to respect the way that Von Ward looks at source materials and reaches his own conclusions. He is careful in his statement of his own truth, making it very clear that he often takes certain texts and within their tacit ideas manages to leap to different conclusions. He does not, as some people I have read, try to imply that his interpretation of other works was a correct one that all the sheeple missed – rather, he just reinterprets things and I have a vague respect for him just owning this fact. Even if I think he’s wackily wrong, he’s honest.

One of the first examples of Von Ward totally reinterpreting the conclusions others have reached came in the second chapter, “Who Were the First Gods?”:

A leading scholar of ancient civilizations, Arthur Cotterell, perhaps unwittingly, supports the case made in this book for considering the basis of myths as actual experience with ABs. He believes the work of psychologist Carl Jung suggested that images in “the collective unconscious stem from the actual experiences of our remote ancestors.” Cotterell wrote, “The civilizations of the first planters–the cities of the Nile, the Euphrates-Tigris Valley, and the Indus–involved mythologies connected with a priesthood. The Sumerians even looked upon themselves as the property of their gods; they were workers on the divine estate.” He quoted anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski: “The myth in a primitive society. . .is not mere tale but reality lived.”

This chapter starts with the assumption that mythic and sacred material should be treated as at least a partial reflection of human experience and studied for its historicity.

Okay, so if you can dig this, that myth is going to be used as historical text, this will all seem okay to you. I rebel against this idea. I worry about this concept, actually. I worry about all those kids being taught the Bible proves the world is only 6000 years old, and this is in the same camp, using text of questionable historical value to prove points of history.

I learned all kinds of interesting things from the whacked-theory camps. I know now that most people who believe that Atlantis existed claim a cataclysmic pole shift covered the islands in water. Okay, good luck with that because I sense all those stuffy, narrow-minded, establishment scientists are gonna disagree. However, in the pole shift argument, I had one of those moments that I suspect only happen to me, a moment wherein I struggled for understanding but felt as if I must have forgotten how the English language worked because the words just didn’t create lucid ideas. (Note: Andrews is Shirley Andrews, “one of the preeminent modern researchers on Atlantis.” B.P. means “before the present.”)

As a result of a planetary pole shift around 50,000 B.P., Andrews says Atlantis was left with only five islands. With another pole shift around 30,000 B.P. and the beginning of a new Ice Age, more land was lost, and only one island and an archipelago remained of the once mighty Atlantis. About 14,000 B.P., a bird-serpent war occurs, and about 12,000 B.P. the final destruction of Atlantis takes place, with the death of most inhabitants. Andrews believes a few remnants of that culture survived on various islands and shorelines. Around 4000 B.C.E., she believes another cataclysm destroyed a final outpost on Bimini Island off the coast of Florida, mostly underwater at the time. (Geological research findings support the pole shifts and cataclysms she describes.)

Wait… Geological research agrees with this? Admittedly, I was a liberal arts major from a state school but seriously? A new Ice Age began less than 30,000 years ago? Does she mean a really bad cold front? Or is she using the term to mean what it really means and that there were sheets of ice in the northern and southern hemispheres? I sense that cannot be it because we are still in an Ice Age currently, and the way it is used above implies something more catastrophic than just the presence of ice sheets near the poles. What am I missing here? Atlantean artifacts were off the coast of Florida 4000 years ago? I both desperately want to know how Andrews came to these conclusions and am terrified that if I find out I will end up with steam coming out of my ears. Really, I shouldn’t question any of this, but part of the problem is that Von Ward writes so earnestly and with an attempt at scholarship. It’s like I want to believe him, I sort of can see getting sucked into this, then suddenly we got pole shift/Ice Age out of nowhere, remnants of Atlantis off the coast of Florida and the Great Bird-Serpent War to contend with. And frankly, the bird-serpent war was the least wacky thing about the preceding paragraph.

But in the midst of all of this… questionable science and bizarre theorizing, I may have been a bit taken aback but at the core of this book I recognized the fact that this author is trying to answer a question that many others have tried before to answer: How did humans evolve?

Early humans, capable of conscious interaction with their environment, would have exercised a high degree of self-consciousness. While progressing slowly (by our modern standards) with tools, fire, foods and habitats, they could have developed more complex communication and social systems. They would have likely learned how to wisely relate to their environment, taking what they needed, storing seeds and roots for the winter, but leaving the plants and animals capable of replenishing themselves.

Something extraordinary happened. After hundreds of thousands of years, the gradual process of unfolding exploded in what is known as the “big bang” of human culture. Less than 50,000 years ago, social inventions began happening with increasing rapidity, and in the last 10,000 years full-blown civilizations burst upon the scene. Conventional theories simply cannot explain such a phenomenon. Other chapters deal with the problem by offering the AB-intervention hypothesis.

Okay, while I am pretty cool with the idea that Von Ward is trying to explain that which he thinks has not been explained, I also understand why this entire book made me moan, Edina-like, with despair. Because even as he dismisses some pretty interesting “conventional theories” that could explain the cultural explosion he describes, later in the book he dances with the ideas he dismisses. For instance, if one follows the way of thinking of Steven Pinker, one might think that a Darwinian selection for language skills caused this evolutionary explosion, and in a much later chapter, this very idea is discussed, though Pinker is never mentioned in this book and Noam Chomsky, whose ideas Pinker riffed on, has only one reference in this book’s index. I think, if one were looking for an explanation for an evolutionary explosion, Pinker and Chomsky would offer a far better and simpler explanation than aliens interfering with mankind, and frankly, a far more empowering idea. Humans are capable of a lot, even primitive humans were, and that is an essential argument I have with this book, the notion that ancient man was somehow incapable of doing extraordinary things unless a greater power intervened. Hell, Terence McKenna’s ideas of hallucinogenics and psychedelics changing the way ancient man’s mind worked is a far less complicated and far more likely a theory than the one Von Ward puts forth and it’s strange how easily Von Ward dismisses the very existence of such ideas as he discusses his own very bizarre theory. But then again, if he discussed them in depth, it would make it hard to continue with his own seriously flawed argument.

And, when I was able to suspend my disbelief, Von Ward’s imagination was a wondrous thing. Seriously. The man has created a human back story that rivals that of any conspiratologist. He just goes back a lot further than those who fear the the Masons, the Knights Templar and the Jews. In the way those sorts of conspiratologists create a back story that is carved in stone and utterly believable to them as the only manner in which events could have happened, Von Ward creates his own versions of events, using his mishmash of myth proving his suppositions and outright assertions backed only by his own interpretations of what he thinks must have happened:

…the Anunnaki leaders had different policies about helping humans. Some wanted only slaves, and others desired to help their human progeny realize their own potential. Because of the conflict among the ABs, groups of independent human thinkers apparently had to draw together in Mystery schools, dedicated to maintaining the secret teachings of the past. They, apparently helped by some Egyptian priests and other patrons, maintained a body of natural science from fields including cosmology, medicine, mathematics and astronomy.

If we follow Von Ward and others who believe in alien intervention, mankind could not have possibly come up with advanced ideas without the help from aliens and the knowledge the Egyptians had was not theirs but what they protected from the past. And I find it sort of interesting that even as Von Ward creates a new way of looking at human evolution and our current state in this world, he creates the same duality that is part and parcel with most religious beliefs. Bad Anunnaki who wanted to enslave men and good Anunnaki who wanted to help men. Von Ward would say that the religious texts recreate the original good versus evil that the aliens brought but I would posit that there is something innate in those who wonder about the past, those willing to create a new dogma, that sees the world in black and white, good and evil, and that Von Ward is creating a system of duality just like all the other men before him have created a system of duality. Mileage, as always, varies.

But I think it is the religious text documentation that drew me in because it was like the religious texts and Von Ward’s theories were the loony bread and my brain was the middle of a lunatic sandwich. For example:

Various Judaic sources provide details describing the progeny of intercourse between angels and humans which may offer further insight into some of the AB characteristics added to the human DNA pool. A fragment of the Book of Noah discovered with the oldest known Book of Enoch (an Ethiopian text) tells about a son (Noah) born to the wife of Lamech (son of Methuselah) who was thought to be fathered by an AB. In this version of the story, Enoch, who was Methuselah’s father, was asked his opinion about whether Noah had an AB parent. Lamech had suspicions that his wife had been impregnated by one of the “watchers” and wanted his father to check with Enoch, who was now living among the ABs.

The exchange between the two gives prima facie evidence that Noah was a hybrid. Methuselah told Enoch that Lamech had said his son was “unlike man, and resembling the sons of the God of heaven.” Enoch responded by saying that in the time of his father Jared “some of the angels of heaven . . . united themselves with women . . . [and] have begotten children by them.” The implication was that this family line carried with it the DNA of those angels. So, even if Lamech was the immediate biological father, he would have passed on genes of the angels.

The Bible said it, I believe it, that settles it. Or it would if the Old Testament was a strict and accurate record of history and life was a bumper sticker. But god help me, Von Ward is so earnest. Prima facia evidence? One really has to be a True Believer in order to think the above is proof enough that the matter is, by all evidence, proven. This? This is why I read books like this even as I groan as I read them. I find minds like this exotic and interesting, wholly foreign to all my first impulses.

The sheer speculation that Von Ward engages in is amazing and at times left me incredulous. Seriously, his spin on the Bible is a work of art, and I do not mean that with an ounce of sarcasm.

Around 4,025 years ago, the time some believe the AB nuclear destruction of Sumer and Akkad (including Babylon) occurred, Abram became Abraham. He submitted to the circumcision ritual of the Semites to be accepted under the command of a different AB. Abraham’s entanglement in the regional conflicts reflected the AB struggle for control of the spaceport in Sinai. Serving an unidentified AB, Abraham’s body of troops and supporters headed to the Negev area to serve a defensive role. Afterwards he went into Egypt (where infighting pitted the sons of Enlil and Enki against one another) in an apparent diplomatic role (see Book of Jubilees). After perhaps five years there, he and his wife Sarai returned to Beth-el (a key AB stronghold) in Palestine.

Wait. If the ABs have nukes and a space station, what did Abraham think he was gonna accomplish? “Oh no, an ancient Jew and his followers are assembling a defense against an atomic power with space exploration capacity. RUN! RUN FOR THE HILLS!” That must have been one helluva circumcision.

I marked dozens of lines from the sections that examine the Old Testament God, or YHVH as the deity is called in the book, so many that I don’t dare reproduce them here. I recommend that devout Christians give that a big old miss. I sense most Christians will find it hard to believe that Moses and others were selected by “YHVH–one of the now invisible gods–to serve as instruments for reestablishing an AB-oriented hegemony in the midst of the desolation wrought by the gods’ wars.” But non-Christians and atheists alike will have a difficult time as well because this book demands that the Bible and other religious and mythological texts be taken as a strict, though interestingly interpreted, historical record. Either way, this book is gonna test readers.

So let’s stroll into the part of the book that purports to proves that ABs indeed came to Earth and mankind learned things we could never have possibly have figured out unless the Anunnaki taught us. Let’s begin at the beginning, which seems to be the best place to start:

The scientifically dated evidence in this section leaves us with a forced choice between two fascinating conclusions. Either a very high level of human civilization has existed much longer than currently accepted theories permit, or beings more advanced than humans left evidence of their presence on Earth hundreds of thousands of years ago. The myths and legends of early humans do not claim human credit for this technology; they present the AB option.

Or, and I know I’m taking the easy way out, contemporary mainstream anthropology is correct and mankind has had plenty of time to advance to the point to where we could create fire, wheels, levers, houses, banks, antibiotics and suburban shopping malls, and myth and parable are not meant to be taken as a word for word recitation of fact. So there is a third option available to us.

Let’s continue:

Humans today have a strong tendency to identify new ideas and inventions with the individuals or groups responsible for their introduction. When somebody does something important and unique, they want to get credit for it. It is likely that our human ancestors were similar, and if they had been responsible for the discoveries and inventions described in these myths, would not humans have claimed the credit? Instead they gave Advanced Beings the credit.

I guess because we call tissues “Kleenex” and everyone knows who Bill Gates is, that settles it that human beings have always assigned correctly credit for inventions and that myth is again a literal interpretation of events. And that’s why we call fire “The Sky Lizard’s Angry Semen” and the wheel’s official name is “The Space Demon’s Roly-Thing.”

Yeah, that was sarcasm but here are some of Von Ward’s examples:

Often, when researchers attempt to identify the oldest memories in current culture, they find that its traditions point to earlier peoples and their receipt of knowledge from ABs. For instance, an Inca shaman/teacher in Peru once told me the megalithic ruins in the Andes attributed to the Incas were traditionally known to be constructed by the ancients who preceded them. Further, he said those ancients were reportedly taught the construction techniques by the Apus (light beings). Similarly, in the Amazon, the AB Abe Mango reportedly taught the Tukano tribe building technologies, pottery making, weaving and cookery.

You’ll forgive me if this is not enough proof to, you know, completely dismiss all the anthropology and evolutionary psychology that more or less refutes all of this.

It just goes on…

At the end of the last ice age, the Chippewa’s Manaboshu (a Noah-like personage) received instructions from an AB on how to make a good bow and arrow and how to work with copper. These technologies defined their early culture.

Von Ward fascinates me because my first and only impulse is to think that the tale of this Chippewa leader’s discoveries were passed along in a lore cloaked in superstition and ideas particular to the tribe, or rather, myths are composed of memes that made sense to the people who created them. This is an infinitely easier solution than that ABs came from space, interacted with humans for untold millennia before they finally coughed up the recipe for smelting copper, then left.

There are many more examples from different faiths:

The Bible’s Old Testament is replete with stories of ABs communicating higher knowledge to early leaders. Enoch reportedly walked with the gods and was instructed by them. In another reference, he was taken into the heavens and taught “wisdom.” Noah learned of the impending flood from one of the gods sympathetic to the human plight. Ezekiel received plans from the gods for the Temple at Jerusalem, walked with them and even left the Earth with them in a “fiery chariot.”

Also:

On other continents, only space limitations here preclude me from presenting scores of legends like that of the ancient Frisians of Northern Europe. An AB seer and philosopher named Minno helped start their civilization. Their Earth-Mother Frya also gave them–as YHVH gave the Israelites–laws that would result in a good society.

And also:

An Azerbaijani legend credits an antediluvian personality, a wise Enoch known as a demigod in other texts, with being the first teacher of the Kiyumars and the first ruler of Iran.

We’re not finished yet:

The Serpent God… gave knowledge from the Tree of Life to Eve and Adam. Prometheus gave fire (wisdom?) to prehistoric Greeks after stealing it from the heaven inaccessible to humans. A “water spider” who swam to the burning island no human could reach presented the “gift of fire” to the ancestors of the Cherokees and other Southeast U.S. tribes.

Not by a long shot:

The Sumerians admitted that the ABs they knew as the Anunnaki gave them all the sophisticated knowledge (described in their clay-tablet libraries) that current historians call “human firsts”: mathematics, astronomy, medicine, agriculture, business, engineering, law, and music, among others. Gods common to Mesopotamia/Egypt and India have been identified with teaching humans advanced information: Sarasvati, the teacher of science and writing (like Ninki and Venus); and Ganesa, the giver of learning (like Thoth). Other gods are described who fit the Anunnaki pantheon: Kali of thunder and destruction, Vishnu the preserver (like Enki), and Shiva the destroyer and regenerator (like Enlil, who wanted the Cataclysm to destroy humans but was then convinced to give the survivors seeds and tools to revive civilization).

And it really does go on seemingly forever from here, with examples of human endeavor explained via religious texts and myths as being not the work of humans but the work of Advanced Beings manipulating humans. It’s interesting to me how Von Ward’s insistence that the similarities between all these texts and myths proves a common experience (outside of simply being human) and a common shared history with aliens sounded so similar to the insistence of those who believe that the so-called common stories shared by modern abductees proves a common experience. The fact is, taken in their whole, most mythologies, prior to the Grecian and Roman myths, are quite different in detail and the commonalities are due to basic human personalities turned into archetypes. The number of times Middle Eastern religions outright stole stories from older mythologies makes it very easy for there to be familiar tales told, especially in the Old Testament, making any similarity easily explained.

I found the section on the development of language to be so annoying that I cannot bring myself to discuss it in depth. Human acquisition of language is a difficult topic and the part of me who is still in recovery from being a Southern Baptist rebels and recoils at the very idea that anyone really thinks the story of the Tower of Babel, tarted up with aliens, holds any water. It’s interesting that this is the part of the book that was finally a bridge too far for me so I will share some of this section that I found so bizarre.

Why would the Indo-European and Afro-Asiatic families split into so many branches in a small area with a concentrated population in such a short period of time? The circumstances surrounding the Tower of Babel story suggest an AB-based explanation. The word “Babel” has at least two possible origins. The Hebrew root “balal” means to “confound or mix.” In Akkadian, “bab-ilu” means “gate of the gods.” Both usages point to the same event.

[…]

Sumerian texts suggest that on two occasions ABs may have undermined human unity by forcing the adoption of different languages. But each Babel occasion actually arose as a result of conflicts among the gods. Sitchin believes one intervention (about 3450 B.C.E.) was to foil Marduk’s attempt, using human labor, to achieve his own agenda… Another language-confusion event (about 2850 B.C.E.), he believes, reflected AB Ishtar and Enmerkar disputes over who would control kingdoms in Mesopotamia and in the Indus Valley. If these interpretations are correct, then disputes among ABs (not humans) had significant language consequences for their human subjects.

Recent human history offers an unnerving parallel of dividing and controlling by the imposition of different languages. European colonist forced indigenous peoples to adopt French, English, Spanish, German, Dutch, or Portuguese in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Given the effectiveness of their manipulation in a period of a few generations, imagine what the Anunnaki could have done in a few hundred years.

Interestingly, given that humans have in recent recorded history caused major shifts in spoken languages all over the world, I wonder why one needs to believe that we needed aliens thousands of years ago to achieve the same result?

The section that discusses the rise of “God-Cults” interested me as an atheist about as much as erotica would interest the asexual but there was a small part in the book that hooked me in. Discussing Jesus, Von Ward thinks that Christianity is an “unintended cult.”

…Jesus believes the original light (life) was self-creating and that humans were direct manifestations of it.

By stressing each individual’s direct linkage to a self-manifesting creator, Jesus dethroned the idea that YHVH, any other AB, or their demigod and human lieutenants could be intermediaries between individuals and the ultimate source of consciousness (light). After his political execution, different groups felt empowered to establish communities of belief and lifestyle independent of the self-perpetuating priesthood that had served the AB rulers.

The last part of the book, discussing the current AB agenda where Earth is concerned, was not wholly alarmed about the AB intentions but warned that human beings, instead of cringing in fear and believing any story fed to them, must demand that governments share openly anything they know about ABs and their current activities on Earth. Von Ward definitely thinks there has been a cover-up where current alien visitation is concerned. Why have governments and the churches covered up such information?

First, admission that ABs exist would cause a collapse of the entire “card house” of divine rights and powers. Second, institutional authorities do not wish to reveal that their predecessors wittingly or otherwise supported the Anunnaki who had opposed the natural development of humanity. To admit having been on the “wrong side” of that early choice between human freedom and further AB control (whether real or projected) could hardly be justified in the twenty-first century.

So, to prevent a “revolt of the masses”, everyone stays quiet. Frankly, this makes the most sense out of all the cover-up explanations I have read. Too bad I have to believe the rest of the back story in order for this to work. The book ends suggesting that us humans (though I think, if the book is correct, some of us of us may be human-alien hybrids of some sort) are our own worst enemy and that an open discussion of our AB-influenced past will go a long way toward achieving a sustainable peace.

Okay, I snarked parts of this book. I can’t deny it. My inner-Edina loathes religious philosophy, even when it is infested with aliens from outer space. It’s all just a part of who I am. I can’t help it and I suspect at times my complete lack of a soul where these matters are concerned works against me in ways I cannot yet understand.

But I also understand that I am unusual in this respect. Most people in this world want to know their origins, be it evolution or God. I just don’t care. I’m here and that’s all that matters to me. But to people with a more focused desire to know the origins of man, this book is quite an astounding document. The rapid expansion of media has made new religion nearly extinct, almost ensuring that new religions are seen as and remain cults and that new interpretations are laughed at. Any person who looks at the breadth of human history and creates a theory like this, though he had help refining it as it would appear that he riffs heavily off the works of Zecharia Sitchin (not plagiarism but rather as parallel points with differing interpretations), has my respect.

Yeah, I think some of this book is silly and some of it is outright annoying. As much as it pains me to say this, such reactions don’t really matter in the final analysis. I recall in my anthropology class in college, my professor was talking about a debate between Richard Leakey and Donald Johanson. I don’t recall the specifics but evidently the men were asked to explain gaps in the fossil record. Johanson stood up, wrote on a blackboard what, to the best of his knowledge, the gap would contain and why it was missing (and if I am incorrect in telling this story, I hope any anthropologist reading this corrects me). Leakey’s response? To cross out what Johanson had written and to replace it with a huge question mark.

I have no idea if Johanson was correct. I do know that any contrarian asshole can stand in a place of intellectual safety and demean the ideas of those who are willing to put their ideas and egos on the line when presenting potentially erroneous or controversial information. Put up or shut up and Von Ward certainly put up writing this book. Yeah, I’m kind of a contrarian asshole. I can see that. I simply will not accept religious text as fact of anything except man’s desire to tell stories, to explain that which currently lacks clear definition, to make life more interesting than it is. My deeply humanist beliefs also tell me that mankind is definitely capable of doing amazing and terrible things within the current, accepted evolutionary time frame. I look at the scope of history and religion and see simply the struggle of men. Von Ward looked at this information and saw something vastly different and shared it.

And that is why this book is valuable. That is why this book is worth a read. Any asshole like me can tell you why my bullish tendencies indicate a book is a load of pants. But it takes a brave and intellectually honest person to devour the necessary history, religious thought and comparative natures between both studies and create a wholly new explanation of why we are the way we are. Though this book did make me groan at times, the fact is that I have copped often to my scattered nature and tendency towards softer forms of intellectualism. My mind is, at best, undisciplined, and a book like this requires attention. Readers more focused than me will not find this book as tiresome as I did at times, and despite the fact that I disagree with it almost entirely, I have a strange affection for this book. I don’t know if you should read it or not because speculation of this sort can be annoying. But disagree though I may, I think there needs to be more people willing to come to completely different conclusions than the mass of men. Simply accepting that which happened before, or refusing to discuss issues until we know the utter truth, is a cop out. Tradition is nice, but new ideas, even ones that may seem laughable, make the world a more interesting place than just following my inner-Edina Monsoon and reading nothing but bizarro or pulling a Leakey and writing down a question mark. Coming to a bad conclusion is far better than refusing to speculate at all if only because doing so permits people a chance to analyze their own beliefs and, in comparison to the offered speculation, find them utterly sound.

But if you read this book, for the love of my sanity, come back and tell me what you think.

2 thoughts on “Gods, Genes and Consciousness by Paul Von Ward

    1. Currently, I have nine. I don’t recommend much more than four but sometimes you just wake up and realize, “Crap, I have nine cats.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *