Darwiniana

History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Last and First Men: sublation of the left project to the whole of modernity

August 26th, 2014 · No Comments

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/75650151/LastandFirstMen_2014_hires_21mb.pdf
We often discuss the problem with marxism, but it is also true that it is hard to overcome the inertia of marxist domination of the old, mostly new, left: the solution is provided in the approach drawn up in Last and First Men: create a superset of activist left projects in the sublation of the left project to the whole of modernity, with the emergence of communism in the context of capitalism, in parallel, as a means to reconstruct modernity beyond capitalism. This approach avoids the narrow contraction of historical materialism by making the entire dialectical spectrum of modernity the foundational framework for a ‘new communism’ as a postcapitalism social project. This approach creates a larger context where science, the Reformation, the rise of liberalism to leftist socialism/communism, the Enlightenement, the Romantic movement, etc….: the attempt to reduce the complexity of modernism to historical materialism was unsuccessful because it was a contracted subset and outcome that was dwarfed by its source.

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Red Fortyeight group: activism and the OWS mental sphere

August 26th, 2014 · No Comments

http://occupywallst.org/article/notes-toward-future-activism/

This is an interesting article on issues of activism, but I think the tendency to wrong analysis springs from (over-)analysis itself. Here Zizek attempts to revinvent a theory of time, but can this work: I don’t know, and don’t understand it. There is no mystery to the stalled activism effect. 1. Bolshevism failed. 2. the left is still using the same terms of discourse, however. 3.marxism is not tuned to neo-classical economics and talks into a void. dialectical materialism is a millstone around…4.the failure of Bolshevism puts the discourse of the old left into limbo…and so on.

I think that a new let will arrive rapidly if a new discourse can be invented: the OWS did that, and there was an explosion. But its thinking was preprogrammed to fail: the anarchist element was the key to success, as an innovation, and its failure, as a woolly thesis of change through magical thinking: nice guys without leaders will produce miraculous changes above from below, by doing not much of anything except denouncing leaders.

The issue of climate change is a good point of focus: but how will we deal with this issue if we don’t have a global movement that can control global capitalism?

In general the old left persists in trying to repeat the success of the Second Internationale, but that won’t work. But its core was essentially right.

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The Dahiya Doctrine: Evidence of Israel’s Intentional Mass Slaughter in Gaza

August 26th, 2014 · No Comments

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Keynes is dead, but Marx is not viable either: toward a ‘new communism’ from scratch

August 26th, 2014 · No Comments

A fascinating article, but I think that marxism is also dead: its core insights remain, but its theory, despite repeated spurts of relevance, is not fully capable of dealing with neoliberalism or capitalism: we need a new broader platform based on a ‘new communism’ that can take marxism both ways: as a resource, and as an out of date yet still relevant critique. But marxism can’t be allowed to forestall the reinvention of marx’s essental goal: we must tackle neo-liberal economics, its theory, and ideology, subjects Marx never knew about..

The Death Grip of Neoliberalism
Keynes is Dead; Long Live Marx!
by ISMAEL HOSSEIN-ZADEH
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/08/26/keynes-is-dead-long-live-marx/
Many liberal economists envisioned a new dawn of Keynesianism in the 2008 financial meltdown. Nearly six years later, it is clear that the much-hoped-for Keynesian prescriptions are completely ignored. Why? Keynesian economists’ answer: “neoliberal ideology,” which they trace back to President Reagan.

This study argues, by contrast, that the transition from Keynesian to neoliberal economics has much deeper roots than pure ideology; that the transition started long before Reagan was elected President; that the Keynesian reliance on the ability of the government to re-regulate and revive the economy through policies of demand management rests on a hopeful perception that the state can control capitalism; and that, contrary to such wishful perceptions, public policies are more than simply administrative or technical matters of choice—more importantly, they are class policies.

The study further argues that the Marxian theory of unemployment, based on his theory of the reserve army of labor, provides a much robust explanation of the protracted high levels of unemployment than the Keynesian view, which attributes the plague of unemployment to the “misguided policies of neoliberalism.” Likewise, the Marxian theory of subsistence or near-poverty wages provides a more cogent account of how or why such poverty levels of wages, as well as a generalized predominance of misery, can go hand-in-hand with high levels of profits and concentrated wealth than the Keynesian perceptions, which view high levels of employment and wages as necessary conditions for an expansionary economic cycle [1].

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Confusion over secularism

August 26th, 2014 · No Comments

The Decline of Liberalism Threatens Secularism in America
Statehouses are succumbing to the agenda of the Christian right.
http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/decline-liberalism-threatens-secularism-america

This argumentation suffers from the usual confusion over the term ‘secularism’. The secular is not opposed to religion. To suggest otherwise is a part of what drives religionists to the right, and to an antimodern stance.

In general the stance of the new atheists is so impoverished (and not because they are atheists) that people find their exit from Xtianity blocked by an unreasonable set of fanatics, all over again.

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As if Harris can ignore three million american buddhists

August 26th, 2014 · No Comments

http://darwiniana.com/2014/08/25/harris-mindcontrol-coup-on-meditation-whose-this-character-working-for/

Harris’ strategy is very puzzling: the US alone has three million buddhists, yet Harris wishes to reinvent/coopt this phalanx by trying to factor ‘enlightenment’ out of the picture in the name of ‘waking up’, the biggest cliche in fake mediation of the last two millennia. To be sure, you can plateau out short of enlightenment with a path of ‘self-consciousness’, but even that has no place in the world of scientism Harris inhabits.
The project of neuroscience proposed is not suited to the task set for it: it is like demanding we all use assembler code instead of a high-level programming language. I think that some day science will come upon these issues in a serious way, but in the meantime we must find better categories than ‘just the latest science discovery’.

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backlog…

August 26th, 2014 · No Comments

Scroll to end for new links from archive (moving backwards and forwards)
http://darwiniana.com/2014/08/25/dummiehood-for-dummies/
http://darwiniana.com/2014/08/25/diffusion-buddhism-and-the-macro-effect/
http://darwiniana.com/2014/08/25/harris-mindcontrol-coup-on-meditation-whose-this-character-working-for/
http://darwiniana.com/2014/08/25/an-older-post-xtianity-an-exit-strategy/
http://darwiniana.com/2014/08/25/an-older-post-re-religion-and-secularism/
http://darwiniana.com/2014/08/23/whee-history-and-evolution/
http://darwiniana.com/2014/08/22/sinking-intellectual-credit-reference/ [Read more →]

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Hillary Clinton Just Lost the White House in Gaza

August 26th, 2014 · No Comments

RG mail

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/08/24/hillary-clinton-just-lost-white-house-gaza

Mondoweiss August 24, 2014
Hillary Clinton Just Lost the White House in Gaza

by Philip Weiss
Famously, Hillary Clinton lost her bid to be president in 2008 six years before the election, when she cast a vote for the Iraq war. Barack Obama, who’d been against that war as a nobody state senator in Illinois, was able to run to her left in appealing to the Democratic Party base, and win the nomination.

Hillary’s done it again. Her pro-war comments in that famous interview two weeks ago have painted her into a right wing neoconservative corner. In 2016, a Democratic candidate will again emerge to run to her left and win the party base, again because of pro-war positioning on the Middle East that Hillary has undertaken in order to please neoconservatives.

The last time it was Iraq, this time it was Gaza. Hillary Clinton had nothing but praise for Netanyahu’s actions in Gaza, and echoed him in saying that Hamas just wanted to pile up dead civilians for the cameras. She was “hepped up” to take on the jihadists, she said that Obama’s policy of “not doing stupid shit” was not a good policy. She undermined Obama for talking to Iran and for criticizing Israel over the number of civilian casualties in Gaza. She laid all the fault for the massacre at Hamas’s door.

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Obama Destabilizes Europe’s Economy: Sanctions Deepen the Recession

August 26th, 2014 · No Comments

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article39497.htm

RG mail
Obama Destabilizes Europe’s Economy: Sanctions Deepen the Recession

By James Petras
August 24, 2014 “ICH” – The Obama Administration actively pressured Europe to impose harsh sanctions on Russia in order to defend the violent takeover (‘regime change’) in the Ukraine. England, France, Germany and the rest of the European regimes gave in to Washington’s demands. Russia responded by imposing reciprocal sanctions, especially on agriculture goods, and is establishing alternative trading partners and increasing trade with China, Iran, Latin America and Africa.
[Read more →]

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How Economic Inequality Harms Societies

August 26th, 2014 · No Comments

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Great free resources from May conference on scientism

August 26th, 2014 · No Comments

http://www.uncommondescent.com/news/great-free-resources-from-may-conference-on-scientism-2/

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Should Richard Give Up Twitter and Retreat to His Ivory Tower?

August 26th, 2014 · No Comments

https://richarddawkins.net/2014/08/should-richard-give-up-twitter-and-retreat-to-his-ivory-tower/

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Ohio anti-Common Core bill eliminates non-English literature, encourages …

August 26th, 2014 · No Comments

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/08/20/ohio-anti-common-core-bill-eliminates-non-english-literature-encourages-creationism/

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Exposure to toxins makes great granddaughters more susceptible to stress, rat study shows

August 26th, 2014 · No Comments

Exposure to toxins makes great granddaughters more susceptible to stress, rat study shows
Date:
August 25, 2014
Source:
University of Texas at Austin
Summary:
Male and female rats are affected differently by ancestral exposure to a common fungicide, vinclozolin, new research shows. Female rats whose great grandparents were exposed to vinclozolin become much more vulnerable to stress, becoming more anxious and preferring the company of novel females to familiar females.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140825185836.htm

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Pope Francis, ISIS and the United Nations

August 26th, 2014 · No Comments

Global Problems Call for Global Solutions
Pope Francis, ISIS and the United Nations
by LAWRENCE WITTNER

Sometimes, amid the heated political debate about what should done by the U.S. government in world affairs, a proposal cuts through the TV babble of the supposed experts with a clear, useful suggestion.

That proposal came on August 17, when Pope Francis told journalists how he thought the world should cope with the challenge posed by ISIS, the Islamic militant group engaged in murderous behavior in Syria and Iraq. “One nation alone cannot judge how you stop this,” he said, in an apparent reference to U.S. action against ISIS crimes. Instead, the United Nations is the proper forum to “discuss `Is there an unjust aggression’” and “`How should we stop it?’ Just this. Nothing more.”

The idea that the responsibility for dealing with global problems lies with the world community rather than with individual nations is not a popular one among the governments of the major military powers.
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/08/26/pope-francis-isis-and-the-united-nations/

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[Marxism] Fwd: Keynes is Dead; Long Live Marx!

August 26th, 2014 · No Comments

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/08/26/keynes-is-dead-long-live-marx/

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How Shadow Banking and Extreme Wealth Inequality Threaten Us

August 26th, 2014 · No Comments

How Shadow Banking and Extreme Wealth Inequality Threaten Us
The systematic exploitation of a majority of the population will continue without redress.
http://www.alternet.org/economy/how-shadow-banking-and-extreme-wealth-inequality-threaten-us

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Governments Exploit Cell Phone Technology to Track Users Worldwide

August 26th, 2014 · No Comments

Published on
Monday, August 25, 2014
by
Common Dreams
WaPo: Governments Exploit Cell Phone Technology to Track Users Worldwide

Investigation shows “the burgeoning, multibillion-dollar surveillance industry makes advanced spying technology available worldwide.”
by
Deirdre Fulton, staff writer
http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/08/25/wapo-governments-exploit-cell-phone-technology-track-users-worldwide

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Dummiehood for dummies

August 25th, 2014 · No Comments

http://chronicle.com/article/What-Ails-Elite-Education-/148419/

I am not quite sure this is the right link, but it’s close: a critique of educational establishments, a critique of meritocracy, and a critique of scientism, while not unified as a single problem, demand an answer to the stubborn inability of the intellectual elite to evaluate issues of evolution. The problem has devolved to religious groups, who can’t extract the issue from their own ideology, I sometimes wonder if I, as an outsider, am the only one who can look at the problem out of its darwinian container.
It remains hard to grasp the way a question that has been frozen since the nineteenth century can turn into such a rigid ideology. Even the left is stuck: they sense the problems with darwinism but must find a way to set critique within the paradigm: the tactics of the dreary Science/for the/People group, and the marxists.
It is a strong critique of meritocracy to see the way the ‘smartest’ are equally stuck in the paradigm. We have a partial clue in the New Atheists who expose the hidden agenda of darwinism in the way Dawkins with such deluded ‘smartness’ attempts to use the theory of natural selection to hold the fort against intelligent design. The whole platform is visibly false here, for reasons transparent from the outside.
In any case, the ID gambit is itself flawed, although I am not sure that the frenzy of denunciation by scientists is very helpful. This makes the exit strategy a problem for darwnists. I don’t see why scientists are so afraid of the design argument: you can simply note the way design claims are not open to proof, and the danger is stopped. And the issue of design won’t go away because it is a challenge, not one using theology, but one that attempts to review the anti-teleological obsession of reductionist scientism. Again this issue was grasped clearly two hundred years ago by Kant, who founded indirectly a school of teleomechanists who tried to revise for biology the breakthroughs of Newton so misapplied to exterior fields.

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Diffusion, buddhism, and the macro effect

August 25th, 2014 · No Comments

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

Our discussion of Harris today shows the way that historical development can lose the advances of earlier eras. One thing that can help here is to see the way our ‘new era’ model has a shifting directionality focus: we see a form of development that exploits discrete stage transitions, but these are always in a new sector, which assumes the prior stage has diffused evenly into its exteriors. That worked fairly well in ancient times: e.g. the Egyptian culture diffused into Canaan, not far away, and we see that the new creative era built on the old.
But the modern transitions was far away from the center of gravity of Eurasia: something like buddhism never reached Europe. We can see the imbalance being corrected asap in the endphase of the early modern, but the result has always been haunted by the inability of western modernity to really evaluate this aspect of antiquity. In fact buddhism has suddenly achieved success, but we can see that it is still cast in an ancient language. Surely we can come to see the problem and accept this antique diffusion without crippling it with scientism.

We see that scientism is confusing people: it is taken to represent modernity when in fact it is an offshoot and decline. The scope of modernity is far larger, a point apparent in figures such as Kant, whose ‘dialectic’ could encompass a larger range of opposites.

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Protecting the Amazon Includes Defending Indigenous Rights

August 25th, 2014 · No Comments

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Special Report: Ferguson Police Profiling of Blacks a Major Funding Source for City Budget

August 25th, 2014 · No Comments

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Harris’ mindcontrol coup on meditation…who’s this character working for?

August 25th, 2014 · No Comments

The post from yesterday is worth dwelling on because it shows a wrong-headed way to think about religion. The attempt of coopt ‘mindfulness’, and now ‘waking up’, are clearly designed to control and replace the legacies involved with the dictates of scientism.
And it wont work, although fake movements often succeed. The issue is to find some modernist platform for ‘buddhism’, traditions of ‘waking up’, and the rest of it. The problem is Harris’ narrow obsession with scientism, and dogmatic neuroscience. You don’t need neuroscience here. It confuses the issue.
The right way to modernize buddhism emerged sublinimally in the Enlightenment with figures like Schopenhauer: he created the basis for a view that can coexist with science. But the stampede of Eastern gurus has muffled this promising beginning. So I agree and disagree with Harris, but his formulation is singularly bad, and seems almost intentionally fake: sink the new age movement with phony substitutes.
A complete formulation of these issues done right exists already in fully modern form in the format of Osho/Rajneesh, who was poisoned, sent of the country, his commune dispersed. There are thousands of other treatments of these questions by gurus ad infinitum. Yet Harris, backed by unseen institutional orgs and what not, wishes to replace the entire tradition of meditation with mindfulness baloney.
From yesterday:

The Buddhas look the other way when people shoplift their meditation techniques
http://darwiniana.com/2014/08/22/harris-ugly-and-transparent-strategy/
I have been critical of Harris’ strategy on the new atheism front.
But I should interject that the Buddhas look the other way when people shoplift their meditation techniques. Harris is in the situation I have often discussed with respect to modernity, whose inherent dynamic seems to be to recast old legacies, and that is what Harris has done here.
But his foundations are flawed: the contrast of religion and spirituality is itself a new age mantra, and the trend of Harris’ thinking is to mechanize spiritual inheritance into a mechanical version that, well, can turn into a secular religion. The interpolation of ‘mindfulness’ for meditation/enlightenment is a dangerous downshift of potential, a freeze point that automatically injects a rigidity into the issue. ‘Waking up’ is a category long a fumbled football and we see Harris picking it up, but no doubt no for long. The gesture is an invitation to collision with all the far better versions, including the shadowy versions, like that of Gurdjieff.
Harris’ gesture will prove self-defeating: people will be driven to move away from the artificial format. And in the general the tone seems wrong: why filch an ancient set of techniques only to turn them into scientism-compatibility mode.
But why worry, a movement bent on ‘waking up’ will self-destruct at some point. Beelzebub is perched like a crow or buzzard on a tree near by, ready for the casualties. Better mean what you mean, and wake up.

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