Darwiniana

History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Breakthroughs Unlikely at Upcoming UN Climate Summit

September 16th, 2014 · No Comments

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Klein set to make a bundle with her new book

September 16th, 2014 · No Comments

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1451697384/ref=s9_simh_gw_p14_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1PBD2JNZ3N2WE5HX7DFH&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1688200382&pf_rd_i=507846

I am not going to add to the hype over this book, which is overpriced, $30, $22 at Amazon for prime buyers. That’s an outrageous price and we must suspect Klein, or her publishers are out to exploit her celebrity: this book is going to make a bundle at this price (itranks 340 or so already at Amazon).

I live on foodstamps and can’t afford this book, which will produce cheap second hand copies next year at Amazon resale. At that point I may buy the book. But this is the wrong way to go in a crisis.
I spent two years writing a book on this subject, plus a communist framework, and published the book for $79 at Lightning print (the software is not so cheap, but I got that free from a relative). $79! The result was the minimal cost, $7.95, with an absolute minimum unavoidable royalty per book, about 30 cents, and free PDF versions online. I refuse out of hand to buy an overpriced book by Klein, who should know better. At a time of crisis she should POD her book at the ten dollar level (depending on page numbers) and release a free PDF series. Nothing less is honest at this point.
To be fair, authors are caught up in publisher regimes and the chance of making a bundle off Klein crisis is too big a temptation for the publishing world vultures.

Klein’s book has an important feature, it seems, and I can distance from my negative mood to let the book do whatever good it can do (The Shock Doctrine was a seminal achievement). That feature is the sideline that the problem is at the level of capitalism itself. This indirect statement is so muffled by context as to be a waste of breath…or maybe not: maybe the idea will sink in, as per my Last and First Men, that this system as current is beyond repair.

In any case, I find little sense of solidarity or comradeship in this probably idiotic Sept 21 march. Hope I am wrong. I can’t afford the train fare to participate. And I am unwelcome, after writing a book on the subject, at any of these ‘leftist’ groupings. I failed to compromise on central issues, like communism, (climate change), evolutionary social darwinism, 9/11, and much else. All the celebrities get center stage because they package a few slogans/insights around self-censorship of key issues.
Compromise seems necessary at each stage, until the last when you strike out because you made all those compromises.
But I think Klein stands out slightly on just these grounds: but it won’t go far enough, we can bet.

All these compromises have failed so far, so why bother with them? We can stand back and see if the book can do any good.
I wrote a book here with no compromises and am a pariah at this phony ‘march’:
http://www.amazon.com/Last-First-Men-1848-Capitalism/dp/0984702938/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402415593&sr=1-1&keywords=last+and+first+men+landon

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Link log 2014

September 16th, 2014 · No Comments

Scroll to end for new links from archive (moving backwards and forwards) many new links from earlier this year…

http://darwiniana.com/2014/09/13/127487/: Before the new atheists, the historical materialists
http://darwiniana.com/2014/09/13/secularist-confusion-over-religion-in-history/
http://darwiniana.com/2014/09/13/harris-needs-to-come-clean-on-911-by-seeing-the-reality-of-the-false-flog-op/ [Read more →]

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Harris’ repackaged ‘new age’ junk spirituality

September 16th, 2014 · No Comments

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/religion/sam-harris-wants-atheists-_-and-everyone-else-_-to-get-spirituality/2014/09/10/9872e244-3922-11e4-a023-1d61f7f31a05_story.html
Harris has brought about a new form of stupidity, in the name of ‘spirituality’, no less. The call for spirituality beyond religion is a mantra of the New Age movement, but somehow Harris has to reinvent the genre for scientism, by separating ‘spirituality’ from the ‘supernatural’, a hopeless contradiction. The gesture, however, distantly resembles the old Samkhya ‘materialism’ of ancient yoga, jainism, and in some sense buddhism. To castigate the ‘supernatural’ is understandable given the confusion over the subject, but if you look closely you see that Harris, beyond belief, has excised ‘enlightenment’ from his package to focus mindfulness a recent new mystification of the original. Mindfulness is nonetheless a useful surrogate of ‘meditation in action’, but only as an introduction to something more complex.
I am all for replacing the ideas of the supernatural with something else, but with what? I don’t think that the path of enlightenment is dependent on beliefs in the supernatural, but unfortunately literal minds will think otherwise and rewrite the core out of buddhism. What a huckster’s mess of pottage.
These fakes are good sellers, so be prepared to defend yourself from Harris style congregations of idiots.
Meanwhile, gosh knows, I have been critical of new age gurus, but not because they are ‘epileptics, etc…’. The number of pathological spiritual types is numerous but it is completely misleading to think that Harris’ strategy can solve this problem. For every ten failures there is one success, but with Harris’ approach everyone will be a failure.

The prescription, Harris holds, is Buddhist-based mindfulness meditation. A Stanford-trained neuroscientist, Harris is a long-time practitioner of Buddhist meditation. He said everyone can, through meditation, achieve a “shift in perspective” by moving beyond a sense of self to reach an enlightening sense of connectedness — a spirituality.

Spirituality “is a name for all of the deliberate efforts people can make to cut through the illusion of the self, the illusion that there is a thinker in addition to the thoughts, or an ego as it is often called,” Harris, 47, said in a telephone interview. “Self-transcendence is the foundation of what I am calling spirituality.”

But, he warns, conflating mindfulness meditation or spirituality with anything supernatural — from the forgiving love of a Christian God to the cosmology of Buddhism — is a path to nowhere.

“My goal,” he writes in the book, “is to pluck the diamond from the esoteric dunghill of religion.”

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After the People’s Climate March, Flood Wall Street

September 16th, 2014 · No Comments

After the People’s Climate March, Flood Wall Street

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No rain for decades: Stand by for the ‘megadroughts’, scientists warn

September 16th, 2014 · No Comments

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/no-rain-for-decades-stand-by-for-the-megadroughts-scientists-warn-9732483.html

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Naomi Klein Breaks a Taboo

September 16th, 2014 · No Comments

Naomi Klein Breaks a Taboo

Naomi Klein, John Tarleton
September 12, 2014
The Indypendent

http://portside.org/2014-09-15/naomi-klein-breaks-taboo

That global warming is man-made and poses a grave threat to our future is widely accepted by progressives. Yet, the most commonly proposed solutions emphasize either personal responsibility for a global emergency (buy energy-efficient light bulbs, purchase a Prius), or rely on market-based schemes like cap-and-trade. These responses are not only inadequate, says Naomi Klein, but represent a lost opportunity to confront climate change’s root cause: capitalism.

Naomi Klein, Lynne Foster/The Indypendent,
The fact that global warming is man-made and poses a grave threat to our future is widely accepted by progressives. Yet, the most commonly proposed solutions emphasize either personal responsibility for a global emergency (buy energy-efficient light bulbs, purchase a Prius), or rely on market-based schemes like cap-and-trade. These responses are not only inadequate, says best-selling author Naomi Klein, but represent a lost opportunity to confront climate change’s root cause: capitalism.
[Read more →]

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Will Misogyny Bring Down The Atheist Movement?

September 16th, 2014 · No Comments

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/09/the_new_atheism089821.html

http://www.buzzfeed.com/markoppenheimer/will-misogyny-bring-down-the-atheist-movement#2m2up3x

Will Misogyny Bring Down The Atheist Movement?

The continuing debate over a murky sexual encounter at a 2008 convention for cheekily anti-establishment skeptics underscores a broader dilemma: How can a progressive, important intellectual community behave so poorly towards its female peers?

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Sloths are no slouches when it comes to evolution

September 16th, 2014 · No Comments

https://richarddawkins.net/2014/09/sloths-are-no-slouches-when-it-comes-to-evolution/

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ISIS targets evolution in Iraqi schools

September 16th, 2014 · No Comments

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/isis-targets-evolution-iraqi-schools

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Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

September 16th, 2014 · No Comments

http://www.sciencedaily.com/videos/dc04538ce26ffba65a4c683ecdf0a961.htm

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Neuroscientists identify key role of language gene

September 16th, 2014 · No Comments

Neuroscientists identify key role of language gene
Date:
September 15, 2014
Source:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Summary:
Neuroscientists have found that a gene mutation that arose more than half a million years ago may be key to humans’ unique ability to produce and understand speech.

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There Is No Future in War

September 16th, 2014 · No Comments

Youth Rise Up
There Is No Future in War
by BEN NORTON, TYRA WALKER, ANASTASIA TAYLOR, ALLI MCCRACKEN, COLLEEN MOORE, JES GROBMAN, ASHLEY LOPEZ, SARA AL HARBI, SOPHIA ARMAN
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/16/there-is-no-future-in-war/
Once again, US politicians and pundits are beating the drums of war, trying to get our nation involved in yet another conflict. A few years ago it was Iran, with “all options on the table.” Last year it was a red line that threatened to drag us into the conflict in Syria. This time it’s Iraq and Syria.

We, the youth of America, have grown up in war, war war. War has become the new norm for our generation. But these conflicts–declared by older people but fought and paid for by young people–are robbing us of our future and we’re tired of it.

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[Marxism] Fwd: Survival of the Sexiest | The Nation

September 16th, 2014 · No Comments

Within the academy, doubts about evolutionary psychology abounded. A wide range of scholars contributed to a 2000 anthology called Alas, Poor Darwin: Arguments Against Evolutionary Psychology. In 2005, the philosopher David Buller wrote a book called Adapting Minds that captured the growing discomfort with EP among historians of science. Both historians and scientists criticized evolutionary psychologists for making broad claims about what humans desired in a prehistoric past to which we have very little access. Adaptationist narratives rarely qualify as scientific hypotheses, quite simply because they are impossible to prove right or wrong. Evolutionary psychology does draw on empirical data and laboratory studies, and those data are falsifiable. But the adaptationist explanations that evolutionary psychologists offer are not. We can know what today’s college students say they want in a mate, but it’s impossible to know what our Pleistocene ancestors were after by reading our own preferences backward.

Despite these critiques, the popularity of evolutionary psychology in mainstream media has only increased with the rise of Internet journalism throughout the new millennium. The headline of the typical story on evolutionary psychology entices us with a question. Usually it’s a question that the writer seems to imagine we have scratched our heads about—or wrung our hands over—before: “Why Do Men and Women Talk Differently?” “Why Do Men Cheat?” “Why Do Men Find Blondes So Very Attractive?” “Why Do Men Show Off Around Women?” “Why Do Nice Girls Fall for Bad Boys?” “Why Do Women All Seem to Want Taller Men?” But some headlines are more frivolous: “Can Evolution Explain High Heels?” (Spoiler alert: it can!) Still others pose questions that we never thought to ask: “Why Do Women Have Sex?”

full: http://www.thenation.com/article/181555/survival-sexiest?page=full

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[Marxism] How historian Shlomo Sand “stopped being a Jew”

September 16th, 2014 · No Comments

http://electronicintifada.net/content/how-historian-shlomo-sand-stopped-being-jew/13849?utm_source=EI+readers&utm_campaign=e20d31474b-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e802a7602d-e20d31474b-290662377

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Atheists’ Flawed Understanding of Terrorism

September 16th, 2014 · No Comments

Atheists’ Flawed Understanding of Terrorism: Why Sam Harris Fails to Understand the ‘Islamic Threat’
This logic ignores the social, economic, political, and oppressive military factors that motivate terrorism.
http://www.alternet.org/world/atheists-flawed-understanding-terrorism-why-sam-harris-fails-understand-islamic-threat

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Klein book out: $30

September 16th, 2014 · No Comments

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/09/16/naomi-klein-ferocious-love-and-climate-fight-come

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Toward the ‘new communism’

September 15th, 2014 · No Comments

LFM needs an extended ‘press release’ to reach as many as possible: the old left has a strangehold on its ideology which drives almost everyone away…

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/75650151/LFM_press_release_selections.pdf

Last and First Men will attempt to clarify the confusion over the ‘end of history’ ideology that has been a deceptive mainstay of the neoliberal age. The questions of revolution in the early modern, the emergence of democracy followed by the prophetic intimations of socialism and communism are immensely clarified when seen in the context of the new model of history proposed in the earlier books, and further developed here. We need to traverse a mysterious terrain: the connection of historical dynamics to the emergence of freedom. The question of this dynamic, then, is not merely that of causality, but a ‘dialectic’, or dyad of causality and freedom. This makes the ideal of value-free scientific laws ambiguous. The Idea of Freedom is itself a dynamical object: its appearance shows mysterious timing. It is this kind of issue that animated the original Hegelian insight into the question of history. Fukuyama’s camouflaged use of this idea behind a Nietzschean front was misleading. Sneaking in the historical inevitability of capitalism into this thinking falsified the whole idea.
This is not, then, and never was, grounds for a teleological endorsement of capitalism. The whole point of the socialist revision of democratic revolution was that if capitalism comes to dominate democracy, then it is no longer democracy at all, and fails as the ‘end of history’! In the process we can critique the left’s confusion over evolutionary issues, and connect this with the notion of ‘last and first men’ both echoing and challenging a Nietzschean idea of the ‘last man’. The original insights of Marx/Engels need to be rescued from nineteenth century positivism. The question suffers a devastating clarity capitalist minds must repress. The record of ‘primitive accumulation’ in an extended sense makes nonsense of the idea of private property as plunder of the commons. The status quo is kleptocracy.

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Tomgram: Bautista, Crisp-Sauray, and McKibben, A Future to March For

September 15th, 2014 · No Comments

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175894/tomgram%3A_bautista%2C_crisp-sauray%2C_and_mckibben%2C_a_future_to_march_for/

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American Bombs Will Not Defeat ISIS

September 15th, 2014 · No Comments

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Obama’s ‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Are Nowhere to Be Found

September 15th, 2014 · No Comments

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Link log 2014

September 15th, 2014 · No Comments

Scroll to end for new links from archive (moving backwards and forwards) many new links from earlier this year…

http://darwiniana.com/2014/09/13/127487/: Before the new atheists, the historical materialists
http://darwiniana.com/2014/09/13/secularist-confusion-over-religion-in-history/
http://darwiniana.com/2014/09/13/harris-needs-to-come-clean-on-911-by-seeing-the-reality-of-the-false-flog-op/
http://darwiniana.com/2014/09/13/harris-game/
http://darwiniana.com/2014/09/11/hight-praise-for-whee-a-book-that-still-needs-a-clarifying-introduction/
http://darwiniana.com/2014/09/11/zizek-running-scared-with-last-and-first-men-new-books-on-the-end-of-history-and-dialectical-materialism/
http://darwiniana.com/2014/09/11/the-end-of-history-meme-as-a-pillar-of-the-neoliberal-age/
http://darwiniana.com/2014/09/10/from-harris-scientism-to-the-limits-of-historical-materialism/
http://darwiniana.com/2014/09/10/the-failure-of-sam-harris-and-new-atheists-to-consider-the-evidence-of-religious-manifestation/
http://darwiniana.com/2014/09/10/nk-comment-on-harris-and-mindfulness/ [Read more →]

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Deepak Chopra: Richard Dawkins is a bad scientist and his arrogance pisses me off

September 15th, 2014 · No Comments

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/blog/2014/09/13/deepak-chopra-richard-dawkins-is-a-bad-scientist-and-his-arrogance-pisses-me-off/

I agree with Chopra that Dawkins is a bad scientist, but I find problems with Chopra’s attempts at science also to be a problem. But he consistently points to areas in, say, QM where the standard discourse always seems to be hiding something.

And the issue of ‘god’ is a puzzling one for Chopra: Indian religion is not exactly clear on monotheism.

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