The remainder of the title would not fit: “The destruction of language in politics”. The series this is a part of has the labels:Anti-capitalist meet-up and anti-capitalism. No better a way to introduce my topic. Those are “buzz words” and have been around for a very long time. What do they mean? I would guess that the vast majority of the people who use these words along with “communism”, “socialism”, “democracy” , “freedom”, liberty”and many others have no real idea what they are talking about. Political exchanges are the “good guys” and the “bad guys” just like in our Western movies. But many of us are more sophisticated or at least we think we are. Read the diaries here and you will be able to see what I am getting at. Language is a very interesting thing. We have dictionaries and now the Google and Wikipedia sources for word meanings. The technology is racing ahead faster than we can comprehend. Umberto Eco calls it the modern magic. We use it like magic not really knowing how it works or where it originates. This diary is meant to blow your mind. It comes from the strange creature I am, a hybrid between scientist (but very unconventional), political activist (but very radical and unconventional) and citizen of the world rather than of a Nation. Oh yes I am an American citizen because that’s the way things have to be at this point in time. It will change, but I will be dead. When I die I cease to exist. I am 76 now. If I haven’t turned you off yet read on below. I hope to shock you.
Jun 03 2012
Conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg thinks some people are too dumb to vote:
Personally, I think the voting age should be much higher, not lower. I think it was a mistake to lower it to 18, to be brutally honest.
It is a simple fact of science, that nothing correlates more with ignorance and stupidity than youth.
In some cases he may be right except that he wouldn’t agree. 46% of Americans believe the creationist view of human existence:
The prevalence of this creationist view of the origin of humans is essentially unchanged from 30 years ago, when Gallup first asked the question. About a third of Americans believe that humans evolved, but with God’s guidance; 15% say humans evolved, but that God had no part in the process.
Click On image to enlarge
Hmmm, why would that be? Could it be a failure of our schools? Scarecrow at FDL says:
assume these numbers reflect the effects of private religious schooling and the growing trend of devising various schemes to use public dollars to subsidize private/religious schools, as reported in the New York Times.
Every time I hear Arne Duncan go on about NCLB or his Race to the Top and how we ought to be promoting clever ways to give parents more choices outside the public school system in how they teach their children, so as to improve their children’s math and engineering scores, I have to wonder why he just doesn’t make moving the numbers on this chart in a more enlightened direction as a measure of what “success means.” That chart shouts “failure” when I look at.
Or could it be more that our country’s “youths”, as Chris Mooney points out in his new book The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science and Realityyou’re too misinformed to vote if you get your news from Fox News:
In June of last year, Jon Stewart went on air with Fox News’ Chris Wallace and started a major media controversy over the channel’s misinforming of its viewers. “Who are the most consistently misinformed media viewers?” Stewart asked Wallace. “The most consistently misinformed? Fox, Fox viewers, consistently, every poll.”
Stewart’s statement was factually accurate, as we’ll see. The next day, however, the fact-checking site PolitiFact [weighed in http://www.politifact.com/trut… and rated it “false.” In claiming to check Stewart’s “facts,” PolitiFact ironically committed a serious error and later, doubly ironically, failed to correct it. How’s that for the power of fact checking?
There probably is a small group of media consumers out there somewhere in the world who are more misinformed, overall, than Fox News viewers. But if you only consider mainstream U.S. television news outlets with major audiences (e.g., numbering in the millions), it really is true that Fox viewers are the most misled based on all the available evidence-especially in areas of political controversy. This will come as little surprise to liberals, perhaps, but the evidence for it-evidence in Stewart’s favor-is pretty overwhelming.
I am fairly certain Jonah wasn’t pointing his pudgy conservative finger at the religious right or Fox News but if the shoe fits
Nov 30 2011
Lynn Margulis is best known for postulating in 1966 the theory of endosymbiosis, the theory that eukaryotic cells (having nuclear DNA and nucleically differentiated organelles) resulted from the symbiotic fusion of smaller and more primitive prokaryotic cells. Both mitochondria and chloroplasts, critical metabolic organelles in animal and plant eukaryotic cells, for example, are thought to be descended from independent prokaryotic lineages. While her hypothesis was roundly rejected the over the first 15 or so submissions, the theory of endosymbiosis is now one of the most important ideas advanced in evolutionary biology in the last century. As Richard Dawkins put it:
I greatly admire Lynn Margulis’s sheer courage and stamina in sticking by the endosymbiosis theory, and carrying it through from being an unorthodoxy to an orthodoxy. I’m referring to the theory that the eukaryotic cell is a symbiotic union of primitive prokaryotic cells. This is one of the great achievements of twentieth-century evolutionary biology, and I greatly admire her for it.
While I cannot do justice to the topic, several things do stand out to even a blockhead like me.
Jun 13 2011
More fun from the far right and re-inventing history. Sarah Palin’s ignorance about Paul Revere’s ride at least didn’t screw with the time line. The right wings favorite winger historian, Texan Evangelical, David Barton, whose theory is that America’s unique success in the world is divinely caused and due to its commitment to core Judeo-Christian principles, has his own version of history stating that the Founding Fathers rejected Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Small problem with that, Darwin hadn’t been born yet and Origin of the Species wasn’t published until 1859 but according to Barton “there is no need to debate the teaching of Creationism in public schools, because the Founding Fathers made clear that we needed to do so.”
From Mother Jones:
On Wednesday, Right Wing Watch flagged a recent interview Barton gave with an evangelcial talk show, in which he argues that the Founding Fathers had explicitly rejected Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Yes, that Darwin. The one whose seminal work, On the Origin of Species, wasn’t even published until 1859. Barton declared, “As far as the Founding Fathers were concerned, they’d already had the entire debate over creation and evolution, and you get Thomas Paine, who is the least religious Founding Father, saying you’ve got to teach Creation science in the classroom. Scientific method demands that!” Paine died in 1809, the same year Darwin was born. . . . .
It’s been said that James Madison and Alexander Hamilton were ahead of their times. But perhaps not that prescient.
In the same interview, Barton explains that one of the main reasons that the colonies wanted to break away from England was because it would then become easier to abolish slavery. Any who has studied the basics of the American Revolution knows that the issue of slavery was tabled in order to secure approval of the Declaration of Independence. (For the record, Britain abolished slavery in 1833-32 years before the United States.)
Newt Gingrich is a fan. So’s Michele Bachmann. Mike Huckabee’s such a booster that he recently said that all Americans should be “forced at gunpoint” to listen to this guy.
The object of this high praise from Huckabee-and recent shout-outs from other potential GOP presidential contenders-is David Barton, a Republican activist and minister who founded WallBuilders, a for-profit evangelical outfit that works to inject religion into politics. Barton holds some pretty unconventional views, and in the past he has spoken alongside fringe figures like Holocaust deniers and white supremacists. Among other things, he claims that Jesus would oppose the capital gains tax and the minimum wage; that global warming is “self-correcting”; and that the nation’s homeland security apparatus has been infiltrated by members of the Muslim Brotherhood. He also contends that the separation of church and state is a perversion of the Founding Fathers’ intention to create a Christian nation.
Remember the Star Trek episode The City on the Edge of Forever, maybe Darwin popped through the portal to meet with the Founding Fathers to discuss evolution. I bet Ben Franklin would have been quite intrigued.
Mar 24 2011
I beg you to watch this video. Embed has been disabled as “inappropriate” material on You Tube. It is theoretical physicist Michio Kaku discussing the nuclear disaster for Japan and the world. I think the embed was prohibited by the nuclear power industry out of fear for what he says.
What he says is inspiring. Interviewed by Eliot Spitzer, Kaku ends with an incredible statement of where humanity will be by 2100 when/if we get by the Faustian bargain within which we all currently live.
I couldn’t agree with Michio more, he clearly elucidates where we can and must go to accomplish the evolutionary imperative of the nuclear age.
With the splitting of the atom, everything has changed save man’s way of thinking. And thus we drift toward unimaginable peril.
Since the embed has been disallowed, I can only cite the link. Please go. Do yourselves a favor:
Nov 01 2010
Oct 20 2010
We often think people are motivated to do something solely by facts alone. Instead, they are spurred to action by the feeling these facts produce. People make choices and decisions based to some extent on figures and concrete details, but it is the emotional impact these soberly presented bits of information create that really matters. It has been noted many times before that polls and other human-made means of discernment have limits because no one can truly understand what lies inside a voter’s heart. This, in part, is what I mean. Unlike the typical columnist, I do not intend to use this introduction as a segue-way to rip into President Obama and the ineffectiveness of the (for now) Democratic-controlled Congress. Rather, I’d like to go well beyond.
May 19 2010
VARIATIONS ON THE MYTH OF ZEUS AND SEMELE: POETRY FOR THE
ATOMIC AGE END OF TIME
Once, as in a dream, Zeus came to her
Quietly slumbering on her emerald isle
Thought form wholly
Holy without form
Asleep upon her emerald isle she played in dream
Invoking out of emptiness
Some image, sub-atomic, non-particulate
Evoking echo without sound
…and to her watery bed she took
mankind as her groom…
Just as in a dream, Zeus came to her
He too a shadow of his glimpse of her
Yet not wholly formed
Echoing the formlessness of his perfection
Awake above the teal blue sea
He sought the body for his litany
Shakti dreaming by the emerald sea
The dream in his emerald eye
…and to his sky bound heart he took
the maiden as his bride…
He, taking her hand in hand
Gave her hyacinths from the sun god’s land
To weave in her sea wound hair
Just as in a dream they moved
Dancing in tidepools
Gems for their eyes
They gathered anemonies from the tidal pools
…pink, purple, lemon and orange…
With anemonies for her bridal bouquet
Eels grass for her gown
She led her sky god lover down
To the church at the bottom of the sea
~~~pls follow below~~~
May 05 2010
In an attempt to make large-scale farming easier, and corner the seed markets, Monsanto inadvertently engineered “Round-Up-resistant weeds.”
Roundup – originally made by Monsanto but now also sold by others under the generic name glyphosate – has been little short of a miracle chemical for farmers. It kills a broad spectrum of weeds, is easy and safe to work with, and breaks down quickly, reducing its environmental impact.
Sales took off in the late 1990s, after Monsanto created its brand of Roundup Ready crops that were genetically modified to tolerate the chemical, allowing farmers to spray their fields to kill the weeds while leaving the crop unharmed. Today, Roundup Ready crops account for about 90 percent of the soybeans and 70 percent of the corn and cotton grown in the United States.
But farmers sprayed so much Roundup that weeds quickly evolved to survive it. “What we’re talking about here is Darwinian evolution in fast-forward,” Mike Owen, a weed scientist at Iowa State University, said.
Sowing the seeds of one’s own destruction does not take that long.
Jan 15 2010
In recent conversation with a friend, we discussed the means by which any organization or group might best enlighten those who cling to bigoted, ignorant, or otherwise offensive points of view. It is a conversation no different from the very same ones we have in a multitude of related corners, spaces where abstract theorizing has to take the place of hard fact. As an anthropologist, my friend is constantly aware of the intersection where intellect and biological construction meet and couches her views from that point. As she puts it, evolution of any sort is a tediously slow process. We have, for example, still not really advanced to the point that we have gotten the hang of this whole walking upright issue. The human body’s propensity to arthritis is but only one of those most visible examples of this fact of reality. If our skeletal construction are but unfinished business, it would stand to reason that many others are too.
Nov 24 2009
Crossposted from Daily Kos
On July 21, 1925, a court in Dayton, Tennessee found the defendant, John Scopes, guilty of teaching the theory of evolution in high school. Writing in the Baltimore Evening Sun, journalist H.L. Mencken had some harsh words for anti-intellectuals opposing Scopes’ viewpoint
What its people ask for — many of them in plain terms — is suspended judgment, sympathy, Christian charity, and I believe that they deserve all these things… The civilized minority in the State is probably as large as in any other Southern State. What ails it is simply the fact it has been, in the past, too cautious and politic — that it has been too reluctant to offend the Fundamentalist majority. To that reluctance something else has been added: an uncritical and somewhat childish local patriotism. The Tennesseeans have tolerated their imbeciles for fear that attacking them would bring down the derision of the rest of the country.
[F]undamentalism, after all, made men happy — that a Tennesseean gained something valuable by being an ignoramus — in other words, that a hog in a barnyard was to be envied by an Aristotle.