[Paleopsych] Foundation for the Future News, Vol. 7, No. 1, 2004/5 Winter
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Foundation for the Future News, Vol. 7, No. 1, 2004/5 Winter
[I call your attention to this newsletter about Walter Kistler's
foundatino. It would be much better to just click on the PDF, which I
converted using Adobe Professional. Note the great number of awards given
to those who stress the role of heredity in human life. Big Ed is losing
Humanity 3000 Seminar 5 -
A Fresh Multidisciplinary View
The .. participants who gathered for the .fth Humanity 3000 seminar
August ..-.4, 2004, brought together expertise in anthropology,
psychiatry, philosophy, nanotechnology, social complexity, cognitive
ethics, physics, genetics, science history, and ecological/economi-cal
sustainability - to name just a portion of the knowledge .elds
represented. "We believe that it is essential to have a wide mix of
minds and disciplines in the dialogue about the long-term future," said
Sesh Velamoor, Foundation For the Future Deputy Director, Programs, who
facilitated the seminar.
Walter Kistler, founder and President of the Foundation, opened the
seminar with comments about the viewpoint and purpose of the Foundation:
"There are lots of organizations today that have a speci.c purpose, a
speci.c idea, even an axe to grind. This organization is quite di.erent
... it does not look at any short-range purpose and does not have any
axe to grind. We want the free exchange of ideas, to let ideas evolve in
freedom without constraints, the
Disciplines ranging from computational social sciences to anthropology,
nanotechnology, and philosophy were represented by (left to right)
Claudio Cio.-Revilla, Ian Tattersall, Ramez Naam, Vincent Sarich, and
way evolution took place on Earth."
Seminar 5 participants [see Page 2 for this seminar's roster of
participants] worked in both plenary and small-group settings, arriving
at what they determined to be the three most critical issues for the
next thousand years. These were articulated as: (.) human identity and
threats: positive cooperation in an identity beyond nationhood in the
context of a major, perceived, shared global threat, (2) .nding ways to
bounce back when disasters happen, and
(3) designing an organizational solution that can mitigate or eliminate
the possibility of collapse of collective welfare. These critical issues
were discussed at length in .shbowl dialogues.
Two keynote speakers were selected from among the participants. Dr. Ian
Tattersall, Curator, Division of Anthropology, American Museum of
Continued on page 2
n the evening of August .., 2004, before an audience of .50 colleagues,
family, and other guests, Dr. Vincent M. Sarich, Professor Emeritus of
anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, was presented
the Kistler Prize for 2004 by Walter Kistler, creator of the Prize. Dr.
Sarich was honored for his scienti.c research in molecular dating, which
resulted in the determination that humans and the great apes diverged
much more recently than had previously been believed. His .ndings came
to be known as the "molecular clock" hypothesis, a milestone in human
Created in .999, the Kistler Prize includes a cash award of US..00,000
and a .80-gram gold medallion. The purpose of Continued on page 3
Humanity 3000, continued from page 1
spoke on "Human Past, Human Future." Tattersall said: "Much as
paleoanthropologists like to think of human evolution as a linear
process, a gradual progression from primitiveness to perfection, this
conceptual holdover from the past is clearly in error. We are not the
result of constant .ne-tuning over the eons, anymore than we are the
summit of creation." The invention of language in a local population is,
he believes, the cultural stimulus that led to humankind's present
cognition. The implication for the future is that "we can't depend on
evolution to ride in on its white horse and save us from our follies,"
Dr. Mott Greene, John B. Magee Professor of Science and Values, and
Director of the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at the
University of Puget Sound, spoke on "The Scienti.c Worldview - an
Oxymoron?" Greene de.ned three world-views in physics (Aristotelian,
Newtonian, and Einstein-Planck) and three world-views in biology
(Aristotelian, Darwinian, and Watson-Crick/Wright-Kimura). "Our
Wrye Sententia leads a small-group discussion on dominant civilizational
values in the millennium. Clockwise around the table from left are Wrye
Sententia, John Leslie, Victor Stenger, and Mott Greene.
Claudio Cio.-Revilla is a specialist A current interest of Mott Greene,
William Calvin is a neurobiologist in the origins of warfare and of
historian of science, is the evolution with expertise in the causes and
government in ancient civilizations. of computer climate modeling.
impacts of abrupt climate change.
current political system and social system in the United States, and
perhaps elsewhere in the world," said Greene, "is very closely tied to
the Newtonian worldview with a limited version of Darwinism and a
hankering to get back to Aristotle. There is an impossible longing to
A formal debate was engaged on the resolution: It is resolved that
terrorism manifests a clash of civilizations and is a war without end.
Geneticist Spencer Wells argued against the resolution, o.ering
de.nitions and history. "The key is the targeting of civilians with acts
of violence for disruptive e.ect," said Wells. "Race and nationalism,
some sort of ideology such as communism, and religion seem to be the
unifying factors in what motivates people to join or form these
terrorist organizations." His argument delineated means for mitigating
each of these factors. Claudio Cio.-Revilla, as the proponent,
illustrated how, throughout history, acts of terror have been clashes of
civilizations. If terrorists are clever enough, he said, they will bring
such clashes to large warfare with twice the Continued on page 4
Kistler Prize, continued from page 1
the annual Prize is to recognize and reward original work investigating
the implications of genetics for human society.
In his acceptance speech, Dr. Sarich explained that it was some 40 years
ago, in the mid-.960s, when he undertook a study of what was known at
the molecular level about relationships of human beings in order to
prepare a presentation for a seminar conducted by Clark Howell and
Sherwood Washburn. "Reading through the material, it occurred to me that
it evidenced the existence of a clock and that we ought to be able to
.nd out something about human relationships using molecular comparisons.
We weren't the .rst to do this, but we were the .rst to document that
there was a clock and then use it to solve a speci.c evolutionary
problem.... The idea was that the human line in its separation from the
African apes was no more than .ve million years old. Since the
australopithecines were already three million years old, this very
markedly narrowed the range of time, which was not evidenced either
among living forms or in the fossil record."
Sarich's .ndings were not well received at the time and did not .nd wide
acceptance until the .980s. "As people found more australopithecines in
Africa, they found more and more primitive forms, and shortened the
genetic and temporal distances between those forms and us," he said.
Dr. Sarich acknowledged the contributions to his work of Allan Wilson,
with whom he performed the molecular com-
Walter Kistler congratulates Vincent M. Sarich, who was awarded the
Kistler Prize for work in molecular dating.
parisons, and Sherwood Washburn, the professor who encouraged his
research. Both are now deceased.
The Kistler Prize award ceremony has been held at Bell Harbor
International Conference Center, Seattle, WA, annually for .ve years.
Previous Kistler Prize recipients are Dr. Edward O. Wilson of Harvard
University (2000); Dr. Richard Dawkins, Oxford University (200.); Dr.
Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza, Stanford University (2002); and Dr. Arthur R.
Jensen, University of California at Berkeley (2003). .
Knowledge Base of Future Studies: What Futurists Think
By Sesh Velamoor, Deputy Director, Programs, Foundation For the Future
Walter P. Kistler Book Award Presented to Dr. Spencer Wells
n March the Foundation For the Future presented the 2004 Walter P.
Kistler Book Award to Dr. Spencer Wells for his book The Journey of Man:
A Genetic Odyssey (hardback, Princeton University Press, 2003;
paperback, Random House, 2004).
The award was established in 2002 to recognize authors of science-based
books that make important contributions to the public's understanding of
the factors that may impact the long-term future of humanity. The annual
award includes a cash prize of US..0,000 and a certi.cate. It is named
for the originator of the award program and benefactor of the
Foundation, Walter Kistler, who presented the award to Dr. Wells in a
standing-room-only public ceremony at the University of Washington's
The Journey of Man explains the science of population genetics that
enabled Dr. Wells
to trace the genealogy of humankind by focusing on genetic markers on
the Y-chromo-some. From the Kalahari Desert to Australia, the Russian
Arctic, the Mediterranean, and the Americas, Wells collected blood
samples from modern-day males to analyze DNA changes in the Y-chromosome
the genetic evidence that all modern humans evolved from a single man -
and to trace the movements of humankind from that single origin in
Africa through waves of migration to other parts of the world.
Wells writes in The Journey of Man: "Accepting the evidence at face
value, the implication is that Adam lived in population groups directly
ancestral to the modern San, in eastern and/or southern Africa, around
60,000 years ago. The date of the earliest modern human populations
the .rst of our species - remains to be
Continued on page 7
he "future" has become my second life and profession. As a novice in the
.eld, functioning in a new foundation with a mission to "increase and
di.use knowledge concerning the long-term future of humanity," I have
had the good fortune to start with a new and clean slate. While this
necessitated examining the work of contemporaries and institutions in
the .eld, it also created the opportunity to construct possible new
approaches within a relatively unfettered framework: the Foundation For
Bringing together practitioners of repute, I examined their respective
approaches, mindsets, and methodologies, and found that it is necessary
to question what the terms future and long term really mean. It became
apparent that the "future" has been colonized by futurists but with no
consensus as to frameworks or methodologies. There are a plethora of
these. Closer examination also showed that a priori and implicit
ideologies, biases, preferences, visions, and dreams formed the basis
for their studies about the future. There is also an underlying
assumption that the future can and must be made to come about per
speci.cations that generally tend to be "ideal." Invariably, such
studies appear to take the currently dominant values, paradigms, memes,
structures, etc., and seek to enlarge the scope and range of their
applicability to those sections of humankind that are not currently
under such sway. For instance, democracy, freedom, and equality are
implicitly enshrined as desirables without question. Simply observing
the past, it is fairly obvious that most such well-intentioned e.orts at
shaping the future have failed, or are failing.
Forced to reexamine and reinvent, I have, like the proverbial fool,
rushed in where angels fear to tread. Taking sole responsibility, I will
name some of the more important irreversibles that I believe we must
take into account in ruminations about the long-term future.
.. Civilizational paradigms. At base, the
Continued on page 7
Humanity 3000, continued from page 2
lethality of World War II: as many as 26 million fatalities among
combatants, or 45 to 50 million if civilian casualties and postwar
fatalities are included. As to the phrase "without end," Cio.-Revilla
said that "a number of very important social dynamics that are currently
taking place" mean that our current condition of terrorism will continue
for the very long term.
The .nal vote narrowly defeated the debate resolution. The seminar
concluded with .nal statements from participants. .
Foundation Executive Director Bob Citron, far left, sits in on a
Humanity 3000 small-group discussion on key knowledge areas for the
millennium. Participants, left to right, are Tom Prugh, Spencer Wells,
and Ramez Naam.
The Next Thousand Years Workshop Ponders "This Tiny Planet"
Russell Genet (with microphone) suggests to the plenary that a challenge
for the future is evolving cultural workarounds that will allow humans
to work together in ever-larger groups until we achieve a planet-size
hat human-planet issues threaten the long-term livability of Earth? What
is the carrying capacity of our planet? What is the prognosis of Earth's
sustainability? What about global warming? What issues will impact
Earth's very long-term future? These and related questions were the main
focus of a workshop entitled "This Tiny Planet" in June 2004 to develop
background material for the Foundation's television series, The Next
The eight scholar participants were selected for their high levels of
expertise in scienti.c .elds related to climate, environment and
Jon Palfreman, Executive Producer of the Foundation's television
documentary series, The Next Thousand Years.
phy, atmospheric research, Earth ethics, population, sustainability,
astronomy, and demographics and public policy. [See sidebar for a
listing of participants.]
Joining the scholars were Jon Palfreman, President of the Palfreman Film
Group (PFG) and Executive Producer of The Next Thousand Years, and Kirk
Citron, writer and advertising entrepreneur who has been instrumental in
laying the groundwork of the Foundation's television series. The purpose
of the gathering was to enable PFG to learn from the discussions and
question the scholars at length about speci.c scienti.c factors and the
possible impacts to the planet of those factors.
Two keynote speeches provided critical information for the discussions.
Dr. John Delaney, Professor of oceanography at the University of
Washington, spoke on "The Role of the Oceans in Earth's Sustainability."
Dr. Delaney recommended viewing the oceans as the environmental .ywheel
of the planet. "There is so much momentum, so much heat, so much
chemical content tied up in the ocean," he said, "that in almost every
way you can imagine, the ocean is central to the long-term, sustained
capability of the planet to support all forms of life." However, there
is so much about the oceans we have yet to understand.
Michael Glantz, Senior Scientist in
Continued on page 6
Participants Richard Clugston, Elliott Maynard, and Steven Salmony
consider the implications of oceanographer John Delaney's remark: "What
feeds the human race grows on the continents, and what grows on the
continents is tied to
the patterns of the ocean."
"This Tiny Planet," continued from page 5
the Environmental and Societal Impacts Group of the National Center for
Atmospheric Research, spoke on "Creeping Environmental Problems and
Societal Responses to Them." Listing air pollution, acid rain, global
warming, tropical deforestation, soil erosion, and glacier retreat,
Glantz said, "Almost every environmental change in which humans are
involved is of the creeping kind. Today is not much worse than
yesterday; tomorrow is not much worse than today - so we don't pay
attention to it. It's always a back-burner issue. ... I would argue that
no society deals well with creeping environmental problems."
Small-group conversations targeted three temporal divisions: one
generation (the next 25 years), ten generations (the next 250 years),
and 40 generations (the next thousand years). William Calvin
"... if you look out 100 or 250 years, we might very well be in a
colonial era again," said Phillip Longman.
led the one-generation discussion, which emphasized issues such as
droughts, economic bounce-back, and bioterrorism.
The group discussing ten generations' time saw a progression in personal
identity, which started as identity with family, then became identity
with tribe, then neighborhoods of tribes, and eventually nation-states.
This identity with nation-state, the group concluded, will continue for
another hundred years and will then move to a planetary identity,
followed eventually by solar system identity and ultimately (at some
point beyond a thousand years) a galaxy identity. Issues of
decision-making, the aging of the population, and technology .gured into
these deliberations, possibly leading back to a re-tribalization of
society. John Delaney led the discussion focused on the next 250 years.
The third discussion, addressing the thousand-year future, was led by
Russell Genet. This group concluded that perhaps the most striking thing
40 generations away will be the change in human consciousness
- how di.erently humans will think about themselves, about society, and
about the planet. Perhaps there will be a blending of science and
spirit, of cultures and religions, even of reality and virtual reality.
Content from this workshop will be used in preparing a television
program entitled "Earth and Beyond," part of The Next Thousand Years
series. The workshop Proceedings will be published in the .rst quarter
of 2005 and will be available for downloading from the Foundation's
web-site (www.futurefoundation.org). .
Spring 2005 Events in Planning
he Evolution of the Human Brain is the topic for the next Center for
Human Evolution workshop, planned for spring 2005. The workshop will be
held at the Foundation o.ces, and distinguished scholars with expertise
related to this subject have been invited to participate.
This will be the .fth in a series of evolution workshops. The .rst two,
held in .998 and .999, focused on The Evolution of Intelligence;
Workshop 3, held in .999, was on How Evolution Works; and Workshop 4,
conducted in 2000, dealt with various aspects of Cultural Evolution.
Proceedings documents, including transcripts, of some of these earlier
workshops are available for downloading from the Foundation's web-site,
In conjunction with the Center for Human Evolution workshop in spring
2005, the Foundation will present the third Walter P. Kistler Book
Award. This award is given annually to authors of science-based books
that signi.cantly increase the knowledge and understanding of the public
regarding subjects that will shape the future of our species. The award
for 2005 will be announced in the near future. Previous winners are Dr.
Gregory Stock, in 2003, for Redesigning Humans: Our Inevitable Genetic
Future, and Dr. Spencer Wells, in 2004, for The Journey of Man: A
Genetic Odyssey [see story on Page 4 of this issue].
The Walter P. Kistler Book Award includes a cash prize of US..0,000 and
a certi.cate, and is presented personally by the originator of the award
program, Walter Kistler, benefactor of the Foundation. .
Research Grant Awards Program
Foundation For the Future's
Research Grant Awards Program
enters its sixth year of operation in 2005 with a revised structure and
calendar. In 2004, the program went from two cycles per year to one
annual cycle with a number of revised deadlines. Details on the overall
program, subject restrictions, requirements for both preliminary
applications and formal proposals, and the Preliminary Grant Application
are all spelled out at
A project funded by a Foundation For the Future grant in 2003 was
completed this fall. The Long Now Foundation has designed an open source
Timeline Tool for showing a series of events over centuries and
millennia. Visit the website (http://
www.longnow.org/.0klibrary/LongView. htm) to see biotechnology
milestones from 8000 BC through AD 2022, and bets and predictions over
time through 2.50.
The Foundation established the Research Grant Awards Program to provide
.nancial support to scholars undertaking research directly related to a
better understanding of the factors a.ecting the long-term future of
humanity. Preliminary Grant Applications are accepted only through the
website application process. .
Walter P. Kistler Book Award, continued from page 4
assessed, and could be anywhere between 60,000 and several hundred
thousand years ago."
In presenting the award, Walter Kistler said, "Dr. Wells demonstrates
that the combination of three forces - mutation, selection, and genetic
drift - has produced, as he puts it, 'the dizzying array of genetic
patterns we see today,' and provides a simple but powerful basis for
understanding the wonderful diversity we see around us. Dr. Wells's
research not only tells us where we have been, it also provides valuable
insight into humankind today, with important implications for us as we
move forward into the future."
Following his acceptance of the award, Dr. Wells gave a lecture on his
work, then .elded questions from the audience and was available for
signing books. .
Evolution-Education Award Goes to Assistant Professor of Biology
obertG.Weck,Assistant Professor of biology at Southwestern Illinois
College, Belleville, IL, is the 2004 recipient of the
Evo-lution-Education Award, an annual award given by the Foundation For
the Future in conjunction with the National Association of Biology
Teachers (NABT). The award honors educators who have demonstrated
innovative classroom teaching and community-education e.orts to promote
the understanding of biological evolution.
Weck is one of the organizers of Darwin Day, an annual event at
Southwestern designed to promote understanding of evolution by exposing
students and members of the community to experts in the .elds of science
and education. "It is important to show students that evolution is a
modern, sophisticated, empirical science and not just a theory," Weck
said. He has taught college-level biology since .99., and before that he
was a researcher in population genetics for the Cooperative Fisheries
Research Lab at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.
Weck received the 2004 award during the NABT Convention, held in Chicago
in mid-November. The Evolution-Educa-tion Award includes US..,000 in
cash plus travel expenses to the convention and a plaque. .
What Futurists Think, continued from page 4
many civilizational paradigms that have in.uenced our past and present,
and will in.uence the future, essentially articulate three
relationships: human and human, humans and nature, and humans and God.
Evolution. The complex yet simple and exquisite mechanism of evolution,
not only in the biological sense but also in the memetic sense, is
ultimately the mechanism that is operative in how the future comes
about. This is notwithstanding our view of ourselves as a species in
control of how we evolve. I believe this view is at least contradictory
and probably wrong.
The roles of the biological and the memetic realms in this evolutionary
The interaction between the accumulation of knowledge and the
corresponding e.ects on and responses of our faith and belief systems,
both religious and otherwise.
The role, place, and value of human intervention in the human future.
Human intervention and initiative are not the sole drivers of the future
and I believe them to be overstated.
Complex interactions. The future is a result of complex interactions
among a multitude of variables that defy planning, implementation, and
achievement of desired futures.
Chance and necessity. These are important triggers as they relate to
rences that will signi.cantly a.ect the future.
The future and its emergence is a process, not an event amenable to
being brought about in some managerial sense.
A true appreciation of what long term means is essential. In my view,
the human past, present, and future are relevant and comprehensible only
in evolutionary time frames, or, if it is necessary to shorten that, in
millennial time frames.
.0. The future and our role in it are akin to an "eternal" play without
beginning or end.
"Humans Acting in an Eternal Play"
My primary role, as Director of Programs at the Foundation For the
Future, is to
Continued on page 8
New Award to Honor Science Documentary Films
The Foundation For the Future has created a new annual prize, the
Kistler Science Documentary Film Award, which will be presented for the
.rst time in summer 2005. The award includes a US$10,000 cash award and
a certi.cate, and honors science-based documentary .lms that make
important contributions to the public's understanding of the factors
that may impact the long-term future of humanity.
What Futurists Think, continued from page 7
construct and facilitate ongoing multidisciplinary conversations about
the past, the present, and the future, and see that those conversations
are made available to the public. The major domains that are represented
in these conversations include:
Wildcards: climate change, asteroids, SETI, pandemics, etc.
My metaphor for the future is "humans acting in an eternal play." Humans
have parts in the play, but are neither the play nor the prime actors.
It is a play without beginning or end, and a future evolving a
trajectory that no one will ever see. The closest I could come to
describing this trajectory is to suggest that we are currently
positioned in the last "ethical" phase of a multiphase evolution moving
from the particulate to the galactic, stellar, planetary, chemical,
biological, and cultural stages. (I acknowledge Eric Chaisson for this
model of evolution.)
Researching the future within such a framework is undiluted ecstasy. It
is without limits. My current studies in this context are related to the
exploration of the "knowledge/faith-belief " interaction, and the
biological and genetic revolution that is unfolding before our eyes. If
one can accept that the future does evolve but not in some "design" or
"vision" or "preferred sense" but as reactive adjustments by humans at
all levels of identity and organization, there are no limits - only that
one must allow that what one is researching is a microscopic piece of a
very large and unde.ned jigsaw puzzle.
Forces and Trends for the Next 30 Years
Given that context, I believe that in the next 30 years a few basic
themes will dominate the planet:
.. The inevitable demise of the nation-state with accompanying trauma
for those states that have to submerge their self-importance, and huge
positives for those that seek to emerge from the dungeons and cellars of
the hierarchy - a path that promises eventual planetary consciousness
and citizenship for all humanity. This may not occur within 30 years but
the signs will be unmistakable. It is not a question of if but when.
Faith and belief systems of all kinds, religious and otherwise, that are
at odds with the march of knowledge will see their power and in.uence
erode. They will be relegated to issues of spirit in the private domains
of life and banished from the commons. Issues of sustainability,
planetary citizenship, climate change, etc., at the planetary level will
The revolution in biology that is taking place will set the stage for a
complete rede.nition of what it means to be human.
There will .rst be a return to Eastern paradigms in terms of the three
relationships named earlier and .nally a middle path will continue to
emerge including elements of Western paradigms.
In.uences, sources, theories, individuals, and dreams that have formed
my thinking with regard to the future are too numerous to mention. I
would, however, be remiss in not acknowledging Sohail Inayatullah, Eric
Chaisson, Walter Kistler, Zia Sardar, Joe Coates, et al, for their early
and .rm support for my foray into future studies. Books that have had a
profound impact on my thinking number in the hundreds but signi.cant
among these are books on evolution, memes, complexity, tipping points,
macrohistories, and criticalities. I do not have a preferred future. My
dream is to assist in the process of an informed humanity in.uencing
their future from the bottom up as citizens of
the planet. .
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