Darwiniana

History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Back against the wall // The clock is ticking…

December 20th, 2014 · No Comments

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/75650151/LFM_press_release_selections.pdf
I am constantly promoting Last and First Men because that is the only way to make a statement if you are marginalized. I was surprised by the stark frozen isolation of the left: you can take out two years plus to write a book on communism, marxism and the issue of capitalism, and the current left will not bat an eyelash. This set of groups is stuck: they can’t create popular movements anymore, where the Second Internationale (and of the course the First) spread rapidly across the planet, while the same material now fails to do that. That’s a sign of many things, but ‘habit’ is one of the most insidious. Noone reacts to marxist jargon anymore. Much of the impetus has moved to other types of groups, but these are not truly radical enough. The marxist source, however dated, still has the core necessity of communist revolution and refoundation. But the dread legacy of Stalinism has made many react into Gandhian, anarchist, and other eclectic platforms, viz. the OWS. The sheer sense of hopelessness given the rising power of the state makes many demur. And the economic propaganda against communism is decisive, although the case for a centralized economy is not that hard to make, even given the muddled versions of the bolsheviks. That history has misled us: we need a system that in principle stands beyond private property, but that can be subject to many interpretations of the economy matched with that.
The crisis is grave: the critics chose democracy over socialism/communism, and now have lost democracy, and the power to choose another system. And the moment of rightist power is the moment of destroying the humble gains of social democratic struggle withe contempt. The system means to destroy the middle class, social security, and even the right to vagrancy in a capitalist designed hell. At some point the lesson of the suicide bomber will sink in. And this system is becoming so vicious because, in part, its proponents know it is vulnerable. But the mood of the left is in a new world: much revolution was driven by sheer hunger, starving men in the streets of Paris…The right has learned to dope enough compassion to make such demonstrations a thing of the past, while a century plus of commodity fetishism and its advertising have taught the means to press psychological buttons. But the situation which seems hopeless is nothing of the kind. The powers that be are well aware of their vulnerability, and pile ever new retrenchments one on the other, obsessively aware a system can crash and the left become resurgent. But the failed solutions of the Second Internationale, running on empty, are still the rote repetition of most leftist groups of the marxist brand. Breaking old habits is the first step. That is not compromise and cooptation. You can break habits and remain with the same message, in essence. It is the habits that are the problem, the message may be basically OK. It is a sufi trick: break habits and creative energy can be released.

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Link log 2014

December 20th, 2014 · No Comments

(This log goes back to mid 2013. The sidebar page/linklog goes back further: http://darwiniana.com/link-log-recent-posts/)
http://darwiniana.com/2014/12/19/clock-is-ticking/
http://darwiniana.com/2014/12/19/radical-xtianity-and-the-legacy-of-corrupted-xtian-socialcapitalist-ideology/
http://darwiniana.com/2014/12/19/frozen-cult-of-dogmatic-marxists/
http://darwiniana.com/2014/12/19/harris-tilts-against-xtian-windmill/
http://darwiniana.com/2014/12/19/groundless-overconfidence-of-darwin-paradigmersgroundless-annual-ritual-of-id-self-congratulation/
http://darwiniana.com/2014/12/18/ayn-rand-fixation-shows-a-sluggish-monster-stuck-in-dumb-logic/
http://darwiniana.com/2014/12/18/the-algae-bloom-of-youtube-collapse-scenarios/
http://darwiniana.com/2014/12/18/the-challenges-of-science-and-the-outcome-of-fake-results/
http://darwiniana.com/2014/12/18/the-cuban-question/
http://darwiniana.com/2014/12/18/dmr-teleology-and-the-need-for-an-example/
http://darwiniana.com/2014/12/17/the-current-transition-to-postcapitalist-inevitability/
http://darwiniana.com/2014/12/16/breaking-a-dowfield-tackle-by-the-feuerbachians/
http://darwiniana.com/2014/12/16/the-edge-point-of-feuerbach/
http://darwiniana.com/2014/12/16/how-marxism-got-stuck-on-hegel/
http://darwiniana.com/2014/12/16/sam-harris-and-the-path-to-fully-moronic-social-conditioned-consciousness-talk-of-enlightenment-to-be-forbidden/
http://darwiniana.com/2014/12/15/redeeming-the-materialist-kernel-of-marxism/ [Read more →]

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The real Jesus?

December 20th, 2014 · No Comments

http://www.religionnews.com/2014/12/19/forget-santa-claus-virginia-jesus-christ/

https://richarddawkins.net/2014/12/did-historical-jesus-really-exist-the-evidence-just-doesnt-add-up/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/12/18/did-historical-jesus-exist-the-traditional-evidence-doesnt-hold-up/?hpid=z3

The question of the existence of Jesus is subject to so much reverse bias from new atheists et al. that their arguments seem, ironically, untrustworthy. The question is muddled by the difference between saying the accretions of myth are false and that the figure, mostly unknown, behind them never existed: he never existed in the form that we tend to take him as.
A number of issues are relevant here: the larger ‘gnostic’ or whatever spiritual framework probably wanted a real figure cloaked behind a short manifest appearance followed by a movement emerging from a different context. That was clear from many who were as it were confused by the sudden appearance of Paul. And his visionary experience can go either way. The issue is three fold: it is a question not just of the existence of jesus, but of John the Baptist and St. Paul: there is an esoteric story of the triple savior triad in Gurdjieff, for example. So we are really talking about three individuals. I am not sure if this makes the real jesus more likely or not, but we have three people we need to consider. It could be Paul was deceived, but even his failure to meet the man nonetheless is in a context still fairly close to the source. And the question of John the Baptist must accompany the whole argument.
The gospels are filled with accretions, but the core tale of a human ‘rabbi’ and his short life is quite believable and almost too mundane, minus the miracles, to be made up. It is a robust tale of a person fulfilling a coherent, if confused, legacy of messiah prophecy. The real man was challenged over messiah ambiguity but not over his existence as a man. That’s not the way of mythmakers?? There were, of course, many such. This quietly suggests that one way or the other the ‘real candidates’ were real people.
In general the skeptics disbelieve in an occult or spiritual world. If Jesus had not existed many spiritual powers would have tended to point that out.

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Dystopian Fiction’s Popularity Is a Warning Sign for the Future

December 20th, 2014 · No Comments

http://www.wired.com/2014/12/geeks-guide-naomi-klein/

Naomi Klein on science fiction:

“This boom in cli-fi literature is exciting, but I think it can become dangerous if it isn’t seen as a warning, but just seen as inevitable. I think Margaret Atwood—not to be too Canadian about it—but I think Margaret Atwood’s In the Year of the Flood and that whole trilogy, that whole climate trilogy, is an example of the kind of narrative that really does serve as clarion warning, as opposed to just sort of hopeless ‘we’re on this road, we can’t get off.’ And it’s hard to define what makes something more of a warning than just affirming that sense of the inevitable. I loved Ursula Le Guin‘s acceptance speech at the Booker awards this year. I’m a huge Ursula Le Guin fan, and I think she’s one of the few science fiction writers that has pulled off utopian fiction well. She’s done both. But when she accepted the award she sort of accepted on behalf of the genre, and talked about how important it is to have and nurture voices from people who can imagine different worlds.”

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Polar Bears Feel the Heat as Icy Habitat Shrinks

December 20th, 2014 · No Comments

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/polar_bears_feel_the_heat_as_icy_habitat_shrinks_20141219

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Loss of Rainforests Is Double Whammy Threat to Climate

December 20th, 2014 · No Comments

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/loss_of_rainforests_is_double_whammy_threat_to_climate_20141220

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The left is a century behind the right on the issue of witchcraft…

December 20th, 2014 · No Comments

http://www.gurdjieff-con.net/2014/12/20/exit-from-insanity/

Some shock treatment from the alternate universe of The Gurdjieff Con. The left is a century behind the right on the issue of witchcraft. Historical materialism is ridiculous in this situation…

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Zizek slips in some jargon on the ‘end of history’ to counter Last and First Men

December 20th, 2014 · No Comments

http://www.amazon.com/Trouble-Paradise-End-History-Capitalism/dp/0241004969/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1419099818&sr=1-2&keywords=trouble+in+paradise: Trouble in Paradise: From the End of History to the End of Capitalism// Zizek

Another attempt, I suspect, to deal with my Last and First Men: 1848+: Capitalism, Communism, and the End of History with some jawboning about the end of history. Why can’t Zizek simply deal with a text on the end of history and marxist theory? What does it take to discuss a book on the issues by a fellow leftist?
This gang is totally closed. You can’t even exchange an email with these autistic drones from the nineteenth century.
This closed world of marxists is frustrating. It is also obsolete. Marxists have no monopoly on communism, maybe time to start over.I am suspicious the current left is too comfortable to challenge the system. Marxist obscurantism is the way to go to get the dot.gov off your back.
I will try to review Zizek’s book at Amazon.

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Redline and leftist confusion about human evolution

December 20th, 2014 · No Comments

http://rdln.wordpress.com/2014/12/20/dialectics-pt-6-dynamics-of-human-origins/

The discussion of evolution in Last and First Men is no doubt being challenged indirectly in this ‘dialectical bullshit as usual’ discussion of human evolution at Redline. The article is mostly descriptive, so critique is difficult, but the left has consistently gotten evolution wrong, between conformity with darwinism with a sort of side of dialectics. Here all the old cliches have to be vetted, including mostly out of date junk from Engels. The year is 2014. C’mon.

We have criticized dialectics here in many posts, and Zizek’s dialectical materialism more specifically.
The question of human evolution remains unsolved and the left could profit from dropping its stale dogmas and taking up the argument of Last and First Men.

But in general the rigidity of the left is sad. This article refuses to mention the book it is no doubt trying to counter, my Last and First Men.

In general the left is so closed it can’t do anything but ignore all venues of discussion outside of their mindset. Drop dead is the main message to ‘outsiders’. I am not an outsider.

There are no simple answers to the question of human evolution. The reductionist approach of darwinism has failed and the left should be on the forefront of its expose.

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How Exercise Changes Our DNA

December 20th, 2014 · No Comments

How Exercise Changes Our DNA

Exercise, a new study finds, changes the shape and functioning of our genes, an important stop on the way to improved health and fitness. More than 5,000 sites on the genome of muscle cells are altered by exercise.
Gretchen Reynolds
The New York Times
December 17, 2014
– See more at: http://portside.org/2014-12-20/how-exercise-changes-our-dna#sthash.ZrCAttHn.dpuf

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Case Filed in European Court Against Bush-Era Torture

December 20th, 2014 · No Comments

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Fracking Opponents Celebrate Key Victories in New Brunswick, Quebec and New York

December 20th, 2014 · No Comments

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Vijay Prashad on U.S. Catastrophes in the Middle East

December 20th, 2014 · No Comments

RG mail
Oct 11, 2014
Vijay Prashad on U.S. Catastrophes in the Middle East – Complete Talk
Vijay Prashad’s talk at Central Connecticut State University 10/7/2014. Prashad is the George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History and Professor of International Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He is a frequent guest on Democracy Now! He spoke at an event organized by Socialist Action.

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Jamaica and the Politics of Debt Trap

December 20th, 2014 · No Comments

RG mail
Jamaica and the Politics of Debt Trap

By: Jeb Sprague

TeleSUR- English, 18 December 2014

Debt is a drain on Jamaica, and also functions to block any potential efforts to structurally transform the nation or to ramp up social investment.

With a population of just under three million, the nation of Jamaica remains ensnared in debt. The debt trap is most apparent when looked at from the state’s interest payments as a percentage of the government’s non-grant revenue, which currently amounts to 40%. Jamaica’s continual caving in to the IMF has meant severe austerity measures, freezing of wages, cutting of spending, and it has left the country with the highest debt interest burden worldwide. A drain on the country, it also functions to block any potential efforts to structurally transform the nation or to ramp up social investment.

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/Jamaica-and-the-Politics-of-Debt-Trap-20141218-0034.html

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Pakistan: AWP “condemns the senseless and merciless slaughter”

December 20th, 2014 · No Comments

RG mail
Pakistan: AWP “condemns the senseless and merciless slaughter”
Statement by Awami Workers’ Party
Wednesday 17 December 2014
The Awami Workers Party condemns the senseless and merciless slaughter of innocent school-children in the attack by militant jihadists in Peshawar.
One hundred and forty-one died, including 132 students, at a school in Peshawar after religious fanatics took over the school this morning.

http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article3773

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Edge Question 2014: What scientific idea is ready for retirement? The Scientific Method

December 20th, 2014 · No Comments

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Book Review: “Arabs without God: Atheism and Freedom of Belief in the Middle East”

December 20th, 2014 · No Comments

https://richarddawkins.net/2014/12/book-review-arabs-without-god-atheism-and-freedom-of-belief-in-the-middle-east-by-brian-whitaker/

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Paper Suggests Catch 22: Neo-Darwinism Faces Either a Massive Molecular Clock Misfire, or a Major Biogeographical Conundrum

December 20th, 2014 · No Comments

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/12/paper_suggests_092171.html

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How human color vision evolved

December 20th, 2014 · No Comments

A clear, molecular view of how human color vision evolved
Date:
December 18, 2014
Source:
Emory Health Sciences
Summary:
Many genetic mutations in visual pigments, spread over millions of years, were required for humans to evolve from a primitive mammal with a dim, shadowy view of the world into a greater ape able to see all the colors in a rainbow. Now, after more than two decades of painstaking research, scientists have finished a detailed and complete picture of the evolution of human color vision.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141218210100.htm

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How Liberal Democracy Promotes Inequality

December 20th, 2014 · No Comments

A System for Subjugation
How Liberal Democracy Promotes Inequality
by WALDEN BELLO
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/12/19/how-liberal-democracy-promotes-inequality/
The evidence from Thomas Piketty, the United Nations, and other sources is quite conclusive: Rates of global inequality are simply unprecedented. And neoliberalism is to blame.

In his celebrated book Capital in the 21st Century , Piketty marshals a massive amount of data to show that rising inequality has been the norm since capitalist growth took off in the 18th century. Now, he says, things are likely to become even worse.

The dynamics of contemporary capital accumulation, he warns, “can lead to excessive and lasting concentration of capital: no matter how justified inequalities of wealth may be initially, fortunes can grow and perpetuate themselves beyond all reasonable limits and beyond any possible rational justification in terms of social utility.”

The only period when there was a reversal of this flow, Piketty writes, occurred in the middle decades of the 20th century, when what he calls “exogenous shocks” — such as wars and the social revolutions they triggered — forced capitalist elites to make economic concessions. These social compromises were largely mediated by Keynesian or social democratic political regimes. By the last quarter of the 20th century, however, inequality resumed its onward march under democratic regimes implementing neoliberal policies.

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What Direction Will Cuba Go?

December 20th, 2014 · No Comments

A Trojan Horse Approaches Havana
What Direction Will Cuba Go?
by ANDREW KAHN
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/12/19/what-direction-will-cuba-go/
If it was about justice and a rethinking of US foreign policy – or even a shift to decency and respect – there would have been an immediate indication by President Obama that the recently passed sanctions versus Venezuela would be vetoed by the president. Of course this did not occur and thus today’s actions regarding Cuba should be seen as nothing more than a Trojan Horse to infiltrate Cuba under the guise of bridge-building to an “enemy”.

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[Marxism] The Israel lobby strikes again

December 20th, 2014 · No Comments

NY Times, Dec. 20 2014
Ari Roth, Director of Jewish Theater, Is Fired
By MICHAEL PAULSON

A prominent but polarizing director of Jewish theater has been fired from his longtime perch at the Jewish Community Center in Washington after several productions that raised challenging questions about Israel.

Ari Roth, a 53-year-old playwright who had served as artistic director of the Jewish Community Center’s Theater J for 18 years, was removed on Thursday. He plans to start an independent theater company, called Mosaic, also in Washington.

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The Decline and Fall of the American Empire

December 20th, 2014 · No Comments

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-decline-and-fall-of-the-american-empire/

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