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The Facts In The Case Of Dr. Andrew Wakefield

, | : m
mood: cynicalcynical

Originally posted by tallguywrites at The Facts In The Case Of Dr. Andrew Wakefield

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The goal of the Cultural Revolution (in the light of fascist reaction)

, | : m
mood: cynicalcynical

Excerpted from The mass-psychology of fascism, by Wilhelm Reich (originally in German)

The social revolution concentrates all of its forces on the elimination of the social basis of human suffering. The priority given to the necessity of revolutionising the social order obscures the sex-management goals and intentions. The revolutionary is compelled to put off the solution of very urgent questions until the most urgent task, the establishment of the preconditions for the practical solution of these questions, is accomplished. The reactionary, on the other hand, spares no effort in assailing precisely the ultimate cultural goals of the revolution, which are obscured by the preliminary and immediate tasks.

Cultural Bolshevism aims at the destruction of our existing culture and wants to reconstruct it so as to serve man’s earthly happiness... [Sic!]

That’s how Kurt Hutten put it in his fascist call to arms, Kulturbolschewismus, published by the Volksbundes in 1931. Does political reaction’s accusation touch on what the cultural revolution really has in mind, or does it, for demagogic reasons, impute goals to the revolution that definitely do not lie within its compass? In the former case a defence and clear elucidation of the necessity of these goals would be indispensible. In the latter, the proof of false imputation (that is, a denial of that which political reaction imputes to the revolution) would be sufficient.

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Mysteries of the Cosmos unveiled

, | : m
mood: complacentcomplacent

There’s an awful amount of astrological mystification going on at the moment. The 2012 phenomenon plus “news” of a shifted zodiac have caught a faintly hysterical part of the public imagination. In the spirit of VERITAS VOS LIBERABIT, I would like to give a quick and easy explanation of the cosmic situation. Nothing is out of the ordinary in Heaven this evening.

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Tropical and Sidereal ZodiacsCut...Collapse )

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2012
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Why Werewolves Are Better Than Vampires

, | : m
mood: predatorypredatory

Somebody on Formspring has asked me the question; "Would you rather be a vampire or a werewolf?"
My answer is undoubtedly Werewolf, which you may have guessed from my furry-fandom and bestial sexuality. Note that when vampire fiction is tinged with erotic themes it is necrophilia, while werewolf fiction tinged with erotic themes is zoophilia - guess which I prefer!
The question is a deceptively complex one however, since both these mythical creatures have in the fantasy media of the past few decades developed into very sophisticated archetypes, worthy of considered analysis. Here is my analysis of each, and it seems that werewolves are better than vampires in pretty much every way.

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God and Man

, | : m
mood: cynicalcynical

As an unbeliever I’m used to getting into conversation with religious people and, upon trying to honestly engage in discourse, facing a solid wall of uncompromising superstitious rubbish, whose cement is ‘faith’. Modern monotheism with its God idea is utterly ridiculous as a serious theory assessed by rational criteria like Occam’s razor. That is why Gods can only survive into the twenty-first century with grossly irrational methods of disseminating the idea.

You get indoctrinated as a child (taught doctrines as fact by trusted adults) and just carry on believing. Pretty much everything else you get taught, you end up trying to find out the truth for yourself and making up your own mind - but with religion, such "doubting" is considered weakness or immoral. So you end up with belief based on just unthinking conviction.
Then, once you've become thoroughly convinced, you can start to attribute all kinds of disparate phenomena to divine action... "I survived cancer thanks to prayer!" "Those earthquakes were prophesised!" The fact that people's health can go either way and earthquakes are a normal feature of the planet just gets overlooked by the observer bias, seeing only what you expect to see within your fixed world-view.
So you end up falsely seeing "proof" everywhere where there actually is none. Then, in exactly the same way, you end up artificially slotting all your subjective spiritual experiences into the framework. You can say that you've "spoken with God", when all that's really happened is a normal human psychedelic brainwave that you've deluded yourself into misinterpreting.
This is how I see people becoming religious and their faith grow. I gave up the Anglicanism of my indoctrination because I caught myself doing these stupid things, and saw my peers at school doing them.
A rational belief is one that avoids all these traps and keeps in line with the way that the real world objectively is. The scientific method is our strategy for keeping all our beliefs about how the world works thoroughly rational.

The other key fact I am faced with is that religion is an immensely powerful global institution. Churches of one sort or another command the intimate beliefs and thus loyalties of billions of people, of all classes and races. For that reason alone it is deserving of intense scrutiny and criticism from all freedom-minded individuals.
I'm all for letting people worship whatever God they want, in exactly the way that I'm all for letting people worship whatever King they want, but as a libertarian I push for the abolition of Gods, for the exact same reason as Kings.


{This entry is partly an open letter to Brianna McKinney, who in March tried to get me to “rethink your atheism” on Facebook, and then promptly deleted her account, seemingly to escape my overly-informative responses.}


Illusions

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Reality

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Homophobia, a symptom of the disease

, | : m
mood: discontentdiscontent

I am not homosexual, but I totally support the Gay Agenda; TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD AND MAKE IT FABULOUS! :D

...But this shit isn't funny, its deadly serious.
On my Facebook friends list is a tortured teen whose father's hateful reaction to his coming-out this spring has driven him near suicidal, and a shopkeeper whose business was vandalised so many times he had to jump state.
People's lives are being ruined on a massive scale for the very worst of reasons!

Ignorant bigotry and shame are suffocating the livelihoods of millions of our fellow citizens. Myths of uncleanliness and perversion are disseminated by churchmen, politicians and the rest with the clear intent of persecution.
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Human Nature, as an obstacle to Anarchy

, | : m
mood: sympatheticsympathetic

Anarchy can sound wildly utopian – complete freedom, yet with effective equality and an economy dependent on the practice of solidarity. All good stuff, but seemingly dependent on everybody living and working according to an incredibly high moral standard. This sort of thing will work in a nation of angels, but can it possibly happen with human beings?

No, human nature is not fundamentally virtuous, but it doesn’t need to be for anarchism and communism to make sense. 

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Jac’s quotation compendium!

, | : m
mood: chipperchipper

This is where I’ll compile all my most important or admired quotations. This is here only because Facebook’s “favourite quotes” box is far too small, lol.
They’re arranged alphabetically by surname, with Big Mike having a section all to himself. As new ones come along, I’ll slot them in as an edit and leave a comment as notification.

Mikhail Bakunin

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And everyone else...

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Darwinism

, | : m
mood: contemplativecontemplative


2009 was Darwin’s great anniversary year, and it went predictably – popularisers of science have invested massive labours to make sure that the Darwinian scientific legacy is widely understood and welcomed. Hopefully the Jerry Coynes, Richard Dawkinses and David Attenboroughs have collectively managed to increase public understanding of evolution as a scientific principle and the history of life on Earth.

It is however tragic that these efforts are even necessary. Huge sections of the population are either ignorant or persistently sceptical, actively resisting the truths of modern scientific understanding. It seems amazing that evolution has remained so controversial, despite being the established central theorem of biology, proven way beyond all reasonable doubt. There is no scientific debate anymore – the basic question of life’s history is utterly settled.

The dissent comes from people who object to the philosophical implications of the fact of evolution, and unscientifically cling to any evidence that they can twist into discrediting it. “Evolutionism” is seen as a world-view or ideology that is inherently objectionable for multiple reasons. To elaborate, I have to give a brief history of the Creation-Evolution controversy, as it existed before and after Darwin.

 

Creationism and Evolutionism

 

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The Law of the Jungle is Survival of the Fittest

 

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The Selfish Gene

 

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“We can see the long-term benefits of participating in a ‘conspiracy of doves’, and we can sit down together to discuss ways of making the conspiracy work.  We have the power to defy the selfish genes of our birth and, if necessary, the selfish memes of our indoctrination.  We can even discuss ways of deliberately cultivating and nurturing pure, disinterested altruism -- something that has no place in nature, something that has never existed before in the whole history of the world.  We are built as gene machines and cultured as meme machines, but we have the power to turn against our own creators.  We, alone on earth, can rebel against the tyranny of the selfish replicators.”

~ Richard Dawkins; closing words of The Selfish Gene

 

tl;dr

OK, here’s a quick summary for if you don’t want to bother with 9 pages of rambling historical commentary.

 

Darwinism is the quintessential example of the central importance of Hume's guillotine - what is true or natural has zero relevance to what is right or good.

This is the way of the world - Darwin was correct to apply the “Malthusian Struggle” model to the world's past and present ecosystems... But Malthus was wrong to apply it to the human race. Darwinian evolution remains a neutral fact of the ecosystem, and Social Darwinism a falsehood.

We are sentient, informed beings, and so have our own values and agendas distinct from those of the selfish genes. Darwinism is not the inevitable principle of society - we can apply any form of social ethics that we want.


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Authoritarians in Libertarian Clothing

, | : m
mood: cynicalcynical

By Kevin Carson.

While it’s possible for a person to be libertarian in the sense of accepting the nonaggression principle, and without formal contradiction simultaneously favor such voluntary forms of authoritarianism as the patriarchal family, the hierarchical employment relationship, and various other forms of cultural domination ... it would be just plain weird. Why would the sort of person with an affinity for that sort of thing draw the line at state authoritarianism, in particular?

Unfortunately, there seems to be a great deal of such authoritarian weirdness among professed libertarians.

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Hell's Werewolf: an original(ish) short monologue

, | : m
mood: creativecreative
music: Into the Enchanted Chamber, Timeless Miracle

Blame this one on the satanic music I listen to. Werewolves and demons and time-travel oh my!  =P
The monologue is very blunt and matter-of-fact because I'm an ass pie who can't write shit the character is in pain, delivering a very blunt quick message which needs no emotive hyperbole to communicate the seriousness of the matter. The author does not endorse any of the theological, metaphysical or ethical views expressed herein. Look at me, I'm doing CREATIVE WRITING! Isn't that awesome!?
 

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Ayn Rand and the evil cult of antisocialist greed

, | : m
mood: bitchyhating Libertarian trolls!

The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged are by most accounts (I've read only a few chapters of the latter) terrible, terrible books. But bad as the writing may be, it's the philosophy & the fanbase that makes them really astonishingly horrific.  An idealised libertarianism, elevating callous selfishness, ruthless self-interest and a cruel class-based mentality as the highest values for the rational individual.

Laissez-faire ultracapitalism taken to its inhuman, violent, exploitative conclusion. A universe of antisocial egotists who destroy everything and everyone that gets in the way of their mission of conquest, rape and cannibalism of the unfortunates below them in the social scale, enthusiastically blaming the victims all the while with words like "you got where you are by your own efforts alone".

Randianiasm is the inability to differentiate between healthy self-interest and antisocial greed... as contrasted against healthy human compassion, which is presented as identical to insane surrender of all individuality into the Herd or State.

 

 

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Liberation from Newton's Mechanical Order, Industrial Rape, and Civilisation Itself

, | : m
mood: contemplativecontemplative

Science cannot help but see reality as fundamentally consistent, such that the same underlying characteristics of Nature apply to the past, present and future equally. Scientific theorisation involves simply codifying the patterns in an intelligible manner, formulation. Sir Isaac Newton laid out a scientific paradigm of the world in which all the constituents of reality are subject to a few certain immutable absolutist Laws - which it is a scientist's duty to discover and formulate as they are naturally (experimentally) revealed. This developed into to the world-view of mechanicalism - all physical systems are the sum of soulless particles operating on an absolute cause-and-effect basis, impacted solely by the influence of interacting systems nearby and by natural physical laws on all the components. The entire universe is matter in motion, with natural process running like sort of hypercomplex machines.
To men of Newton's era, the Natural Laws in question were God's Laws over the components of His physical creation - the world itself was intelligently designed for His (mysterious) purposes. In that old Christian world-view, humans have total dominion over Nature. Man with his mighty brain can and shall acquire knowledge of the workings of Creation and proceed to exercise his power over it by means of technologies that exploit the bounteous natural resources to their full. Humans lower than us on God's Great Chain are fair game, too. Thence, exploitative western authoritarianism and industrialism.
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Somebody else's (similar) thoughts

, | : m
mood: exhaustedexhausted

Time to post something not my own work again, becase it's genuinely worth reading.
This was posted on Facebook earlier this year. Not very well written, but nonetheless highly insightful and delivering a radical progressive message which everybody needs to hear.

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~by Scott Nestler~
☆Ⓐ☆

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A statement of Faith in Humanity

, | : m
mood: accomplishedaccomplished

Jac's journal - it's alive! It's alive! IT'S ALIIIIVEEE!!!
Time for some more original writing after all this time, as philosophical and radical as ever. This is a very long essay, it gives a broad overview of my entire position on humanity and society - what's wrong, how to fix it and what we should do to make things better for everybody.
Commentary is even more welcome than before, since these are my own honest thoughts and any criticism or general feedback will be much appreciated. Feel free to call me a mad globalist or an idealistic rose-spectacled youth, we can have productive discourse. =)

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Extracts from The Conquest of Bread

, | : m
mood: crushedoverworked

Just so there's no confusion: Yes, I AM a nutty ideologue.
This is a lightly edited series of extracts from the first few chapters of The Conquest of Bread, a revolutionary book by the Russian prince Peter Kropotkin in 1892. Here he outlines the basics of Anarchist Communism.
The full text (280 pages) is available online from many sources.
☆☭☆Ⓐ☆☭☆Ⓐ☆☭☆Ⓐ☆☭☆Ⓐ☆☭☆Ⓐ☆☭☆Ⓐ☆☭☆Ⓐ☆

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Sorry, North Carolina.... the vampire has struck!

, | : m
mood: recumbentrecumbent



Lolz! ...Who wants to 'shop the face of the President-elect onto this, with that corny grin?

 

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The "Controversial" Survey

, | : m
mood: complacentcomplacent

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A Red Rant

, | : m
mood: busybusy


Luxuries are by definition unnecessary. Addictive, maybe, but not needed. On the other hand, everyone does have real material needs - the necessities of survival and of life being worth living. The output of one healthy man's labour (aided by the right technology) is wholly sufficient to meet all of the basic needs not just of himself, but of his family and of any friends too, and only take up less than half the hours of his day. Therefore there is no fundamental reason why any human on Earth, even with the present inflated population, should be unable to survive comfortably.
Affluence, like all luxuries, is not at all necessary for survival, nor for health... nor for happiness. It is not just possible but easy for the whole world to live healthily and happily in what we would call "poverty". Insatiable greed, the state of being always aware that one could have more than what one has and wishing/striving to get it, is a disease that retards the individual. It isn't healthy to pursue one's infinite "wants" with a sense of hunger - if your needs are satisfied, then to be a happy developed individual (surely the highest goal of life?) merely involves spending your time on activities that you enjoy, and in experiencing the love of your friends and colleagues. You'll soon find that the most enjoyable tasks are those that produce things of value or benefit to yourself and others. 

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I found a song I liked, so here's the lyrics and a link

, | : m
mood: blahblah
music: Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Green Day

I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don't know where it goes
But it's home to me and I walk alone

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
and I'm the only one and I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk alone

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
'Til then I walk alone

I'm walking down the line
That divides me somewhere in my mind
On the border line
Of the edge and where I walk alone

Read between the lines
What's fucked up and everything's alright
Check my vital signs
To know I'm still alive and I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk alone

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
'Til then I walk alone

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
And I'm the only one and I walk a...

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
'Til then I walk alone...


Youtube freelancers make awesome hybrid music videos.
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Undeserved Respect -or- The evils of the Authoritarian School

, | : m
mood: crankybitter

This is a sequel to the Freud-fest of last time. If I come across here as an extremist rebel, that impression is largely mistaken. Throughout my life I’ve been intensely conscious of the difference between legitimate (which in my mind usually means “sensible”) authority on the one hand, and arbitrary diktat on the other. It is nonsensical authoritarian power-trippery that my personal crusade is aimed at.
I had developmental problems when young, and have never been very independent from my parents. You could be expected to conclude that this would predispose me to belligerent rebellion against them later on. Not true. They’ve always been liberal and accommodating, and our arguments are always merely petty misunderstandings... however, the tyrants at school were a very different kettle of fish.
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One not inconsiderable part of what makes Jac tick

, | : m
mood: curiousreflective

So here I am, an angry social libertarian ranter with a radical ideological vendetta against all conservative and Christian prescriptive authority. How does a young man turn out so wrong? Was I raised by hippie anarchists? Absolutely not – my parents were married in a church 40 years ago and have stayed together, sent me to a State (ergo institutionally Anglican) school, and consciously instilled a quiet obedience (with mixed success). Was I brainwashed by the LEFT-LIBERAL MEDIA CONSPIRACY? Well, I do happen to be addicted to BBC Radio 4’s Friday evening comedy programs, which have a deserved reputation for being full of very smug liberal leftwing comedians, but such glib commentary cannot create a spirit as radically rebellious as mine.
My reasons for adopting the positions I have are many and complex, but one specific and discrete quality of mine has been extremely important. My sexuality is one forbidden by conservative moralisms: zoophilia.
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The origin of the Nostalgia Saga

, | : m
mood: nostalgicnostalgic

"The Saga of the Nostalgia House" was a half-finished story written by two TDFers and myself a little over a year ago. All the ideas were produced in an anarchic MSN conversation between us three and several others too. Here is that conversation.

 

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Margaret Thatcher, Ron Paul and other ultra-conservative “Libertarian” Capitalists

, | : m
mood: predatorycondemnatory

Many of my LJ friends will have witnessed my past ideological frictions with a certain couple of Ron Paul fanatics. Anyone who advocates the destruction/selling off of all public property, the “liberation” of corporations from regulations requiring fair treatment of employees, denies that good quality of life is a human right but instead must be individually earned through “playing by the (economic) rules”, and has as the foundation of their nasty ideology in a repressive Christian Conservatism, is an enemy of mine.
Yet nonetheless, the Libertarian ethos consistently shines through – liberal progressive tenets of the U.S. Constitution such as jury nullification of the law, habeas corpus and federalism are seen as inviolable in this political system. Thatcher, Paul and the rest are anti-statist for all the right reasons, trusting individuals to be fully responsible for their own decisions and hence capable of enjoying unfettered Liberty in all spheres – personal, socio-political, and economic. Authoritarian criminal justice measures, compulsory personal ID documentation, paranoid anti-terrorism laws and nationalistic protectionism are brushed aside as the ugly trappings of closet totalitarianism that they are. The inalienable rights to life, family, property, and the security of one’s person and property are respected in full.
 
...What the hell am I saying!?

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A cry for help!

, | : m
mood: depresseddepressed

In the last month I’ve been unable to find any subject on which to write one of my characteristic essays. I desperately need a project to occupy my wits, to just stay healthy for as much as any other reason.
This is a simple appeal to those who know me and those who like what I have written in the past: I desire commissions for essays on a topic of your choice – I don’t ask for anything additionally at all, except that you prescribe a subject which is at least marginally related to my specialities (science, religion, left and libertarian politics).
Please and thank you all so much.
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Bandwagon ahoy!

, | : m
mood: boredbored


You are the Hanged Man


Self-sacrifice, Sacrifice, Devotion, Bound.


With the Hanged man there is often a sense of fatalism, waiting for something to happen. Or a fear of
loss from a situation, rather than gain.


The Hanged Man is perhaps the most fascinating card in the deck. It reflects the story of Odin who offered himself as a sacrifice in order to gain knowledge. Hanging from the world tree, wounded by a spear, given no bread or mead, he hung for nine days. On the last day, he saw on the ground runes that had fallen from the tree, understood their meaning, and, coming down, scooped them up for his own. All knowledge is to be found in these runes.


The Hanged Man, in similar fashion, is a card about suspension, not life or death. It signifies selflessness, sacrifice and prophecy. You make yourself vulnerable and in doing so, gain illumination. You see the world differently, with almost mystical insights.


What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

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Right and Wrong in the land of Do-As-You're-Told

, | : m
mood: annoyedannoyed

Some time ago, much to my dismay, I found myself sucked into Christianland, that place where Right is always right and Wrong is always wrong regardless of context or consequence. Scriptural commandments are imagined to be the One True source of morals – go without God, and you fall into an atheistic morass of amorality. This is because Evil is simply evil and so Sin is wrong, always. The Law is absolute and unchanging, having been dictated by the Almighty and hence perfect.
The natural and obvious conclusion is that any perversion of God’s righteous plan is always absolutely bad. What a back-to-front morality! It really would be good if The Law of God was indeed always righteous and good, but alas, as anyone who’s read the Bible to any depth will attest, this is simply not so.
Put formulaically; Sin =/= immorality, Sin = whatever God hates, Sinful =/= harmful, Sinful = subjectively abhorrent.

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Yes, evolution does explain it all.

, | : m
mood: recumbentrecumbent

So it’s been a while since my last update. I’ve had end-of-first-year exams this month and here I am making it up to the internet by writing an uber-essay to follow up on what I wrote last time. Let this point be made with zero ambiguity whatsoever: there are no reasonable grounds whatsoever to discount the theory of evolution from one’s understanding of the world. All objections to it come either from those who scoff without recourse to the evidence, or those who can’t accept the truth of an idea which they don’t like.
Before I begin, I’ll repeat an important point I made last time – I have very little education in biology, palaeontology or radiometrics, but this does not prevent me from understanding many different aspects of Darwinian & neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory. This is because evolution is an extremely simple idea.
Explanatory power of a theory = (phenomena explained + successful predictions) / (assumptions made + complexity)
By this vital formula, evolution is easily one of the greatest ideas in the history of human thought. The numerator (both top-half terms) of the ratio encompasses all of biology. Yes, all of biology, and much of geology and geography too. The denominator (bottom half) is utterly negligible, merely that all life-forms behave in such a way that we all already know that they do – self-reproduce, with occasional mutations that have an impact on the life prospects of offspring. It is a totally automatic, naturalistic process, which in the currency of scientific ideas is solid gold.
The number of substantial counter-arguments to evolutionary theory (i.e. dealing with the biological facts, not philosophy or personal incredulity, etc) which I’ve come across can be counted on two hands. I’ve you’ve seen another, please post it in!
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Ask me about Evolution!

, | : m
mood: determineddetermined

It appears that the central idea of biology occupies a special place in laypeople's perceptions of science. Even though there have been countless studies over more than a century, done by thousands of scientists collecting millions of pieces of evidence, and not one aspect of modern life sciences makes a jot of sense without it, a great many people simply do not believe that the theory of Evolution by Natural Selection is at all true. Why the central dogma of biology is so unfairly subject to such scoffing scepticism from the ignorant is a fair question – Hubble’s Law, Plate Tectonics and the laws of Thermodynamics are accepted by non-scientifically literate persons as perfectly legitimate scientific theories.
Having come into contact with many evolution-deniers, high- and low-profile, I can with some confidence sort them loosely into three clades:
1.       Positive creationists. Those who hold unshakable faith in the literal truth of a creation myth which evolutionary theory contradicts. They will ignore or dismiss as “bad science” any evidence which goes against their view of the world. Often religiously fundamentalist and unshakable.
2.       Philosophical evolution-deniers. “I don’t want it to be true.” Either unaware of or ignoring the evidence, these people prefer blissful ignorance over the inconvenient truth behind the origin of species. This is often motivated by fear of the evils consequent from evolutionary thought, such as Social Darwinism or the anti-anthropocentrism implied by Common Descent. Once properly educated, a difficult reconciling process is needed before they can get over the tricky is/ought dilemma.
3.       The ignorant and fooled. Those whose education in natural history was anti-evolutionist. With no genuine knowledge of the facts, they suck in the falsehoods of evolution-denial and happily sing along to “Behemoth is a Dinosaur!” What marks these as separate from the above two clades is that the belief “evolution is a lie” is merely a part of their scientific education and is not consequent from any more fundamental belief. Once shown the strength of the case for evolution and the poor quality of the counter-arguments, they can usually be brought round.
The problem of public misunderstanding of this most vulnerable pillar of science is increasing in urgency. The Midwest of the United States is the Creationist capital of the world, and the ideology of evolution-denial is being ruthlessly and indiscriminately evangelised globally. Bizarrely, those who question the scientific orthodoxy on this subject don’t attempt to disprove evolutionary theory via the scientific method, instead they spend their resources distributing non-scientific anti-evolution propaganda for public consumption and lobbying the authorities to change school science curricula.
That’s enough lecturing for now. I’m posting this as a wide open invitation for those who do not believe in evolution at all, or just elements of the consensus, to ask/challenge me about it. I am NOT a biologist. However, a large part of what makes the theory of evolution so powerful is its maddening simplicity – ignorant of all but the most fundamental aspects of molecular biology, I still have a thorough grasp of the mechanics and laws which comprise the theory just because they are so very easy to understand.
Please comment with your questions/arguments. You have nothing to lose but your stupidity.
Eventually I’ll get round to posting here a comprehensive set of responses to the countable-on-two-hands evolution-denial arguments that are repeated ad infinite nauseam. 

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shadow_of_mars

The Chronicles of Narnia: My experience

, | : m
mood: contemplativecontemplative


C. S. Lewis is famous for his heptalogy of high-quality children’s fantasy novels, and also infamous for his later logic-murdering Christian apologetic writings. The Chronicles ooze Christian mythos and many atheists consider them to be little short of indoctrination material. Like a not inconsiderable proportion of the Anglophone world, I was brought up with these cherished staples of children’s literature and they of course exerted a religious influence on my formative years. Here I outline exactly what that was.
When I was young I was quite autistic and couldn't read novels by myself - I listened to audiobooks instead. So I've never actually read most of Narnia, and didn't actually read HDM or the first four Harry Potters until quite recently.
Anyway, I was spoon-fed The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by my Anglican primary school, and I just found it very very boring. The boy (the name escapes me) who gets seduced but later comes back is the only truly interesting character, and his reasons for repentance are pathetic - the Witch failed to deliver on her promises of everlasting fine living. So does that mean it’s OK to collect your pieces of silver as long as they actually arrive?
When my Methodist mother found out I was doing Narnia she got me Prince Caspian on cassette. I actually preferred that story, because we see much more of the world and the politics are more complicated (Narnians vs Narnians). Plus methinks the part where they examine ancient relics from events of the previous book is a very clever piece of writing indeed.
I was WAY too young and ill-informed to notice any religious or political points being made.
The voyage of the Dawn Treader is/was my undisputed favourite. I loved the premise "we're sailing to the edge of the universe to find the God who's waiting for us there", and Reepicheep's quest is so beautiful and poetic. Every one of the islands they visit hosts a wonderful story, especially Eustace's draconic transformation and the Magician's island. I'm less impressed by the Goldwater Lake story, though: God wiping everybody's memories clean so they won't become barbarians is a storyteller's cop-out. Why couldn’t they have had the fight, killed somebody, and then realised the error of their ways once the tragedy had occurred?
The religious themes did not go over my head this time; they become more and more obvious the further east the heroes go. They didn’t strike me as especially Christian, though. The Emperor-beyond-the-sea has a divine nation to himself which is a literal physical land, not an ethereal Heaven. The closer to the world’s edges you go, the more Holy everything is and the closer to God you get – as opposed to the whole world being as Holy as any other part and God being omnipresent. When Aslan says he, God, exists in many aspects in all worlds, I of course saw that this is a blatant endorsement of real-world religion... but he never spelled out exactly which religion, did he?
The Silver Chair (I think that's the one, I may have my titles mixed up) was the first novel I ever read by myself – the story is very good, I was totally immersed. I was really rather disappointed how everybody was saying the White Witch from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and the Green Witch who was nearly tyrant of Bism were “from the same crowd”, yet the origin of the series’ greatest villains isn’t explored at all in later books.
By that time I was old enough to really notice the author’s not-so-subtly-alluded-to world view. The distain for modern schooling (and for a progressive teacher-pupil relationship based on respect) was just sickening, even when I read it aged 12. Furthermore, the young nontheist that I was scoffed at the idea of “signs” and “speaking the Name” and religiously repeating a prayer twice daily OR ELSE CALAMITY WILL BEFALL YOU!
The Last Battle... *headdesk* I read it directly after The Silver Chair, as a sequel. A rubbish story, but the “this is The End!”aesthetic in the first half works really quite well. You see Narnia’s society fall apart at the seams and Aslan’s influence fail... But how the Hell does a crisis between two rival countries and religions turn into the apocalypse?! For some reason a rather pointless skirmish at a diplomatic conference constitutes Armageddon. I gawp at the way God, at The End, gets out of bed with a hangover and says “fuck it all” then destroys everything. It’s up to his poor Son to save a few people he thinks are worth it and let them hang at his place for eternity. Mind you, the Revelation of John is just like that, so I’m shooting at the wrong target. BURN BIBLES, PEOPLE! LOL! (j/k) The part, just after Narnia gets nuked into the sea, where all the old kings return to do the formalities was confusing for me, but I hadn’t read all the books they refer to. Finally, Susan’s fate struck me as terribly unfair at the time. She’s portrayed as a Vicky Pollard character, obsessed with her sex life and scornful of anything deeper than looks. But all that she’s become is a teenager and sceptic – are those two things really so terrible?
A bit like Dawn Treader, I get the allusions but I don’t see the direct Christian parallel. That may simply be because I’m not all that familiar with Christian theology, though. Lewis’ vision of the afterlife seems so much better than the Heaven our vicar at school told us about: more like a playground with infinite freedom and opportunity than a huge Church with harps and hymn sheets for all. And Reepicheep’s glorious return was fantastic – that mouse is just so awesome!
Tash is a very interesting character indeed. He does exist and he’s not Satan. It seems that the Tashite religion is true, and when the villain (I forget the name) abuses the faith in his bid to rape Narnia, the therianthropic deity does exactly the same thing Aslan did in Prince Caspian – he climbs down from his cloud and confronts the offending party. He declares “you brought me here!” as he drags his victim off, meaning that the human mind is what creates demons and gods.
The theological conclusion I was left with was: there is a God, but he/it is not the “God” of any one religious faith – all the Gods of mythology are like Tash, real entities who are spirit beings created by human thoughts but are not divine or even powerful. This was years before I first read Discworld, which is based on a very similar theory.
It took Richard Dawkins to make me shake off that Pantheistic Agnosticism, and I’m certainly not looking back.
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Cave, cave, Magnus Frater videt!

, | : m
mood: discontentdiscontent

An American acquaintance has given me a tragically believable anecdote of a literature teacher lecturing his class on George Orwell’s masterpiece, Nineteen Eighty-four. According to this erudite professor, the pillar of English language libertarian writing is a cautionary tale about the dangers of atheist amorality and of Socialism. I call this tragically believable because the ideological attitude betrayed is one that I observe to be well-established in the United States and on this side of the Iron Curtain (i.e. all of Europe) generally.
Orwell’s brilliant epic does indeed warn against authoritarian socialism – Big Brother’s ruling party is called Ingsoc (English Socialism). But this is National Socialism, and only an anarcho-capitalist is ignorant of the vast gulf between nationalist communism and the infinitely more liberal and libertarian left which the S-word taken alone refers to, of which E.A. Blair was himself a major advocate. Ultimately this attitude is just about forgivable in an American teacher, since the entire culture of the Unites States rests firmly upon the unshakable foundation of liberal capitalism and rugged individualism.
What is in no way understandable is how anyone could possibly interpret a story in favour of complete personal liberation from a totalitarian quasi-moral authority as a diatribe against the moral failure of atheism! Not only is Oceania a deeply religious state, but Winston’s glorious attempted rebellion is an inherently atheistic enterprise.
Oceania strikingly resembles Stalin’s USSR, and the character of Big Brother was obviously closely based upon Uncle Joe. Neither state is/was at all atheistic. Here is an excellent illustration of Soviet religion in action, a poem published in the daily national broadsheet Pravda:
O great Stalin, O leader of the peoples;
Thou who broughtest Men to birth;
Thou who fructifiest the earth;
Thou who restorest the centuries;
Thou who makest bloom the spring;
Thou who makest vibrate the musical cords;
Thou splendour of my spring, O thou sun reflected by millions of hearts.
There’s obviously no God in this communist hell-hole! Likewise, Big Brother is idolised as the unifier of the Oceanian people under the righteous and eternal banner of Ingsoc. Actually, Big Brother is less like Stalin and more like the Christian God, because there is no evidence that he even exists.
What is the goal, the vision of religious conservatism (of which fundamentalist reactionism is merely the extreme end), that which people like our literature teacher are wont to dream of with a smile on their faces? A Sinless world where the absolute Law of God reigns supreme for ever and ever. Atheism (or, rather, antitheism) is the rejection of and rebellion against this authoritarianism.
In the above paragraph, replace “religious conservatism” with “Ingsoc”, “Sin” with “thoughtcrime”, “God” with “Big Brother” and “Atheism” with “Winston’s effort”. What we are left with is a wonderfully succinct summary of the Orwellian message.
After the core message about freedom of thought, the next most powerful theme in Nineteen Eighty-Four is that of sexual liberation. When Winston is in the process of becoming free minded and escaping from the Party’s overarching authority, he doesn't become faithful, charitable or even humble… he falls into Free Love! Eros, not agape, is embraced. A cranky middle-aged bureaucrat seduces a beautiful young woman, who was once the model of a chaste, moral conservative. They run off and debauch in secret, getting each other addicted to the perverse thrill. The love between Winston and Julia is forbidden and is highly sexual, but it is true love.
In the Orwellian dystopia all sexuality is forbidden except for atomistic pornographic gratification, and it’s easy to see why. Sex is almost inseparable from love, and provides one of the highest forms of pleasure, but one that can only be fully attained in partnership with a person that you love. When the powers that be demand total devotion to the system, such powerful rogue impulses are a serious threat.
Sexual repression --> psychological suppression --> social oppression. This is one of the core Ingsoc slogans, and one they prefer not to put on buildings and cutlery. This ideology is shared, in its entirety with negligible modification, with religious conservatism.
To summarise, Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four has one very simple message: The Tyrants want you to be sexually, psychologically, socially and politically repressed! Break free from the authoritarian machine in every field of human endeavour and find happiness regardless of the prescribed moral paradigm! How this could possibly be achieved through religious adherence to the Christian values of obedience, humility and self-control within the framework of a millennia-old absolutist moral code is totally beyond me. The social libertarian project is inherently antitheistic, for the simple reason that the social libertarian vision for mankind is wholly in opposition to the Christian vision & ultimate goal.

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shadow_of_mars

An Introduction

, | : m
mood: optimisticoptimistic

Greetings, Live-Journal readers. There's one born every minute, and one gets a Journal every day.
I like to be known as Jac or Piranha JAC, and this little Journal will in due course be filled with my extraordinarily insightful, witty and coherent rambli- ...err, essays.
 Subjects to be covered include politics (I'm a libertarian-communist and anarchist), science (chemistry undergrad), and religion (negative atheist and antitheist). I am a philosopher - I love Wisdom.
On matters of opinion I may be quite extreme sometimes. I'm not afraid to debate anything posted here with both rationality and passion, but all too often my high passion tends to be coupled with low stamina. I like discussion - any and all comments, from anybody, are completely welcome and will surely be given a meaningful reply.
90% or more of this Journal's content is sure to be copy-pasted from things I've written elsewhere. This is my way of publishing as widely as possible that output of mine which I have most pride in.
I hope to reach plenty of people, stimulating receptive minds with original points of view. The comment boxes on all entries are open to everybody - please feel free to reply with your own thoughts, I'll definately give them fair consideration.
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