Ecologist Marr Speaks on “Omni-Science”

Internationally renowned wildlife preservationist Anthony Marr spoke Sunday at the Peabody Museum on “Omni-Science,” a new model he developed of the Earth and of the human destiny. Sponsored by the Phillips Academy Anthropology Society, Marr’s presentation elaborated on the ideas detailed in his new book, Omn-Science and the Human Destiny, the culmination of 25 years of philosophical thinking. Marr said that every culture which has ever arisen since homo erectus has created its own model of the universe, or cosmology. Today, however, he said that two major categories of world views can be established: mystical, also called fundamental creationism, and scientific, as expressed by the theory of evolution. According to Marr, 45 to 63 percent of Americans subscribe to creationism, a theory that he describes as complete, but wrong. Marr describes scientific theory, on the other hand, as correct but incomplete, because it does not include fields such as biology, sociology, anthropology, psychology, and ecology which are fundamental in our understanding of evolution. “Once all sciences are integrated into one [the result] will be a very powerful tool against mystical cosmology.” Hence, Marr coined the term “omni-science.” Marr said that his new model would, for the first time, provide accurate answers to the three primary philosophical questions that have been asked throughout time: Where do we come from? “The Big Bang,” Marr said. Where are we going? “Up this chart,” Marr said. What is our purpose on Earth? “In the short term, to go from many nations to one planet, in the long term, to go from many nations to one universe,” Marr said. Mar added, “If we are constructive we will make good transitions. If we are destructive, we will make bad transitions. But if you ask me whether the future holds Star Wars or heavenly peace, I would say heavenly peace.” Marr’s “Omni-Science” revives Morton Wheeler’s concept of the “super-organism,” which was the predominant school of thought until the 1950’s. Wheeler defined a super-organism as an “object” made up of other, smaller organisms, capable of performing the seven vital functions required of an organism: nutrition, excretion, reproduction, growth, respiration, movement, and irritability. Marr based “Omni-Science” on a chart that places molecules at the bottom, followed by cells, molecular organisms, animal societies, nations, planets, solar systems, galaxies and the universe. Each level is composed of a multitude of the super-organism types in the level directly below it. These are then divided into two columns: non-social- the refusal of interaction with other organisms on the same level, and social – interaction with other organisms, whether friendly or hostile. Marr described three possible scenarios for our future. Failure the “fast way”, through a global nuclear holocaust; failure the “slow way”, though planetary exhaustion of food, energy, and through population saturation, or success through world peace and cooperation. In Marr’s scenario, failure would bring us back down to the lower stages of evolution, whereas success would enable us to continue our evolution towards the “universe level”, which he places about 10 levels above the animal society level. Evolution within Marr’s chart follows a zigzag, rather than a linear form. To rise to the next level, the organisms must go through what Marr calls the OSES (organismization – speciation – ecosystemization – socialization) cycle of the integrative transcendence spiral. Theoretically, this universe level would be omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient, a description very much reminiscent of the Bible’s description of God. “But it is actually very different,” Marr said. “The universe super-organism did not create the lower levels, and there is nothing supernatural about it”.