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  • Maria

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  • Phil, 268

    So the question is, come August the eleventh will we get a new Open
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  • Moderator commented on the post, OPEN DISCUSSION 1 month ago

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    No, nothing else showing in our system and needing approval at the moment. There is a reply from you to Laurie, complete with hyperlink, a couple of posts above this one (#77). Is that the one you mean?

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    • Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • This! Shocking, absolutely shocking. The positive desire for an idiocracy is blatant.

      Republicans now hate the idea of higher education.

      http://www.people-press.org/2017/07/10/sharp-partisan-divisions-in-views-of-national-institutions/

      By 2016, Republicans’ ratings of colleges and universities were mixed (43% positive, 45% negative). Today, for the first time on a question asked since 2010, a majority (58%) of Republicans say colleges and universities are having a negative effect on the way things are going in the country, while 36% say they have a positive effect.

    • Marco replied 1 month ago

      Is it all about a massive inferiority complex, do you suppose?

      I have long suspected that that’s what underlies the EU-phobia of the Brexiteers. That, as a country, the UK doesn’t have the innate sense of self-confidence that would enable us to interact as equals with the EU27; and that this finds expression in brash arrogance and demands that we should be in charge (but as a right: not as something we negotiate and agree). It’s very, very apparent to me whenever I travel in mainland Europe that people there generally come across with a calm, polite assurance that is far from commonplace here.

      And I’ve also long suspected that the Trumpeteers and the Brexiteers are driven largely by the same kind of issues and fears. It’s not unusual for a chronic lack of self-confidence to be turned outwards into fear and hatred of others.

      I can’t think of any other reason to object to higher education. Isn’t it a tacit admission that they fear the educated will look down on them?

    • Marco

      Isn’t it a tacit admission that they fear the educated will look down on them?

      I suspect that also. But doesn’t this, perhaps, also suggests they fear they may be wrong… especially on this occasion? They just don’t know. Better that nobody does.

      I think the reversal in two years is the nearest sign we have that they know they have fucked up.

      I’ve always felt that Europeans seem more comfortable in their own skin, too. But sometimes I rather like our lack of confidence that we lampoon our own pretensions and failures…..

      Dan,

      How do you contrive (in a people) such a sudden turn around? Two years and a pretty thoroughgoing switch.

      Trump is cunning, very cunning, but not smart…. not even close.

    • The European Union and Japan have formally agreed an outline free-trade deal.

      I feel sick.

    • “Republicans see college as negative”

      If a conservative speaker shows up on campus he is either shouted down or attacked. Is it any wonder Republicans would feel less than warm about colleges? The whole concept of open debate on campus is dead.

      Republicans don’t “hate the idea of higher education,” they hate its current implementation.

    • …If a conservative speaker shows up on campus he is either shouted down or attacked. Is it any wonder Republicans would feel less than warm about colleges? The whole concept of open debate on campus is dead…

      Crass overgeneralization.

      In most US state campuses people are free to say what they want.

      Conversely, in many conservative/religious colleges there are restrictions on freedom of thought (e.g., see Liberty “University”).

      …Republicans don’t “hate the idea of higher education,” they hate its current implementation…

      What they really hate is that real Universities produce evidence that is incompatible with their worldview, making it look outdated, to say the least.

    • Fox news has been working on the demonization of the elitist liberal college Professors for some years now. Profs have been presented as evil brainwashers of innocent young students. The word liberal is spoken with a tone and facial expression that most people would use with the word pedophile. I’m not surprised at those numbers in comment 2.

      I don’t think that conservatives ever got over the campus activism of the sixties and seventies. It’s all mashed together in their minds – protestors, radicals, riots, demonstrators, Berkeley, liberal Professors…

    • Re: why the sudden flip in Republican attitudes to tertiary education?

      Of course they don’t feel guilty about their choices but they do feel vulnerable. They have been closing off primary and secondary education where they can for many decades, whilst the US tertiary education has remained world class.

      To Marco’s point I think it at least an inferiority complex but more rather a vulnerability. Cleverness has traction over dogma with the rich (clever) movers and shakers. Cleverness is ungovernable. It needs taming.

      I share Dan’s flummoxedness over whatever suddenly flipped the switch and I’m going to suggest something I have never ever done before. I’m going to moot a modest conspiracy, perhaps through social media and seeded via the Bannons of the world.

      I wonder if a study of social media traffic fed from particular sources could be identified as feeding such an agenda?

      I think scepticj is wrong in fact about universities (which are mostly robustly rational) but maybe has a clue in the cultivation of the image of universities. The Hyper Pro Social vocal few become cast as the new nature of the entire left and the universities are the factories producing this threat.

      So essentially Cantaz’s points then Dan’s and Laurie’s just above with a little extra paranoia thrown in to explain the suddenness of change, perhaps?

    • skepticj #10
      Jul 11, 2017 at 9:26 pm

      If a conservative speaker shows up on campus he is either shouted down or attacked.

      If a conservative speaker shows up on campus, preaching pseudo-science, ideological science denial, and fundamentalist religious nonsense, his fallacious arguments, “alternative facts”, and confused religious assumptions, are either shouted down or critically objectively attacked – as they should be in a rational institution working on evidence-based education!

      Is it any wonder Republicans would feel less than warm about colleges?

      Given the standard of reporting in the Republican press, they are likely to find any level of objective intellectual presentation, in place of right wing propagandist opinion, challenging!

      The whole concept of open debate on campus is dead.

      The concept that science deniers, YECs, ideological fantacists, hired propagandists, and backward red-necks, have anything to contribute to modern objective education, is deeply flawed.
      Most of them are not even qualified to have a seat at the table in an honest and competent evidence-based debate of serious issues, because they have nothing of value to contribute!

      Republicans don’t “hate the idea of higher education,” they hate its current implementation.

      Yep! That real science, real history, mathematical evaluation, and expectation of numeracy and literacy, boggles their closed minds and exposes their ignorance!
      If the village idiot turns up to give lectures in a university, they can expect a rough ride -and considerable ridicule! – Just as if for reasons of “political correctness”, the team from weight-watchers turns up to represent the country in World Olympic athletic events!

      You only need look as far as Trump’s cabinet to see the problem of the Republican uneducated, posing as know-it-all experts on subjects they know nothing about!

    • New posts to older threads (say those not immediately clickable from the home page) get lost almost immediately as only a tiny window’s worth of recent posts is visible.

      I wonder if a very brief note or link here might draw more views for these and bring some life back to them?

      The risk is clutter but it might be worth a try. Alan very often adds useful updates to old threads and I think we often miss them when absent for a day or two.

    • Erol replied 1 month ago

      Alan – there is NO stupidity in Brexit!

      It is result of the majority of the British population’s desire to take control of its affairs and control its borders. There is already the prospect of massive emigration from Africa to Europe which Italy is currently bearing the burden of because of the EU’s pathetic mismanagement of the illegal migration from Libya. It makes sense for an island state such as the UK to control its borders under these circumstances.

      The jury is still out as to how the Brexit negotiations will proceed and what its conclusions will be for the UK as a whole. And no amount of gloom from the doom merchants can change that.

    • Erol #23
      Jul 13, 2017 at 10:32 am

      Alan – there is NO stupidity in Brexit!

      Perhaps you should look a little more deeply! “Leap before you look”, never was a good strategy!

      The present system arises from Cameron’s attempts to stop the nutty Tory right wing MPs defecting to UKIP, while the split in the Labour Party, is the result of Corbyn’s priority of winning votes from UKIP so as to make himself prime minister.

      Neither of them, nor Theresa May, have any plan as to how this will affect the country, although numerous academic organisations and businesses have pointed out negative effects on our trading position and economy!
      The pound has already massively dropped in value putting up food and import prices, just on the prospects of brexit!

      It is result of the majority of the British population’s desire to take control of its affairs and control its borders.

      Not quite! It is the result people who had no idea what they were being asked to comment on, being fed brexiteer Utopian fairy-tales about taking control of UK borders to distract from the real causes of illegal immigration: Namely, the cuts in staff and resources to the UK Border Agency, and the pathetic attempt to make three patrol boats do the job of twelve around thousands of miles of UK coastline, as a government cost cutting exercise!

      There is already the prospect of massive emigration from Africa to Europe which Italy is currently bearing the burden of because of the EU’s pathetic mismanagement of the illegal migration from Libya.

      The mass immigration from Libya is the direct result of the destabilisation of African countries by foreign powers, greedy corporations, and arms from the trade of weapons merchants to foreign sponsored terrorist groups.
      The route through Libya is the direct result of the stupid military adventure attempting regime change in Libya, for which the UK had a major responsibility, – and is now recognised as a disastrously incompetent intervention!

      The US, UK, and European unnecessary attacks on Iraq on the basis of false claims about “weapons of mass destruction”, are the primary causes of the Syrian refugee exoduses, which are causing vastly more problems for southern and eastern Europe than in the UK.

      @#22 – Sir Amyas said he had “expressed interest” to Brexit Secretary David Davis and officials at the Department for Exiting the European Union (Dexeu) in seeing a report on the overall preparedness across government but the response had been “vague”.

      The jury is still out as to how the Brexit negotiations will proceed and what its conclusions will be for the UK as a whole.

      “The jury” which should have been in place BEFORE the referendum, has not yet even been recruited to make a report on likely outcomes, but the vagueness and shuffling, is because the brexiteers don’t want the public to know they have been talking crap since before the referendum, and for the last several months!

      It is pure fantasy to suggest there are no predictable outcomes, as I point out @#19 and #22.

      And no amount of gloom from the doom merchants can change that.

      The doom and gloom is coming from people who have studied the negative impacts on their specialist business activities and the UK economy as a whole. They also know that brexiteer claims are worthless because they still have no evaluation, report or plan!

      The fantasy fairy-stories are coming from political brexiteers, who months down the line, still have no coherent plan – apart from “Keep reading junk in the Daily Express” and make up whimsical nonsense about immigration, and reneging on previously agreed debts, like barmy Boris does!

    • At Just under three quarters of a billion people the EU is the biggest single duty-free technology market with common standards and also has a propensity to innovate on ecological and sustainability matters. Our strongest performance as a country is in this market. Its growth drives inward investment like no other sector and brings in the talent we can’t supply sufficiently rapidly ourselves. We were the high perch from which to attack this sumptuous market.

      62% of UK technology product goes to the EU, but with an expected 5% duty coming straight off the profit reducing it by 33% to 50%, our ability to compete in selling to this immediate huge market is critically damaged. And worse, profitable access to the tech manufacturing of Eastern European countries now cheaper than China, will probably be penalised, in tit for tat duty.

      (I’m too disgusted to talk about the opportunity with Japan that we will now miss out on.)

      The EU is waking up to its own border integrity issues and they’ll get fixed by and by.

      Erol, what is your expectation of average import duty into the EU? What figure did you weigh against a notional improvement in immigration control? Where can I get more Polish Phds to plug the gap?

      Is your business not affected by all this?

      And finally, where do you live? North, midlands, south, Wales, Scotland, NI, city, town, country? What problems did you actually experience there to make you think Brexit the most pressing problem?

    • what will eventually transpire is the outcome of a grand chess game now being played out between the two parties. The notion of having an ‘evaluation’ or ‘plan’ is itself meaningless because the UK cannot foretell what the EU’s moves are going to be in this game.

      And you voted for this!!!???

      Because of the certainty that…???

    • I’d love to talk about Captain Fantastic. But I don’t want to spoil it. My favourite reviewer Peter Bradshaw hated it. My poor second favourite reviewer Mark Kermode loved it. I liked it but was annoyed by it and now I have totally changed my mind.

      I suspect only a few have seen it. Its currently on UK Netflix or Amazon atm. I think its worth seeing. It is all about cults and living morally and well.

    • @Phil – #28

      I saw it Phil. I liked it. It was a bit heavy handed at times, as well as being a bit fantastical (hence the title), but it was a good hearted film that was heavier hitting than the phrase “good hearted” would let on. The juxtaposition of survival skills and left wing politics (uneasy natural bedfellows) was interesting to me. But it’s hard for most of the people who post here to push back much against the message of thinking critically, much less celebrating Noam Chomsky day in place of Xmas!

    • Right, just checked Netflix here in US. Captain Fantastic not available for streaming. 🙁

    • @LaurieB

      Check Amazon Prime. I believe that’s where I streamed/watched it.

    • Laurie,

      Amazon? I’ll go check later.

      Steven 007

      Survivalism seemed a weird choice and it seemed very heavy handed. Then something clicked for me. Quarantining your kids from a sick society makes ideological sense. But such Ideology makes you blind to whole humanness (all that entails) and moral existence in the world. And yes its a fantasy but look at its market. It needs vivid brushstrokes.

    • Erol replied 1 month ago

      Phil:

      I support what I strongly believe is in the interests of the UK. I do not subscribe to the ridiculous notion of a European super state that wields power over individual nation states – I never have and I never will. It will not work. The Greeks already know this and now the Italian public are realizing it as well. I view JC Juncker as a kind of EU Blatter whose main purpose is a huge ego trip while also enriching himself.

      I am London-based but am not a business person. I have an R&D background. However if someone of the calibre of John Longworth can be pro-Brexit then that makes it all the more credible:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-35741715

      Clearly, if Brexit leads to significant changes to the business environment between the UK and the EU that may impact upon the viability of some businesses. The target for the negotiations would/should be to minimize any such impact for both sides. Let’s hope they do so.

    • Hi Dan.

      Beat you to it, Phil. It’s available on Amazon Prime.

      Um, you might want to check comment #31… 😉

    • Erol.

      If I thought the EU was headed to Federalism I’d join you in the march against it, as would the bulk of the EU. Junckers is a temporary servant of the EU not to my taste. He will be gone soon enough. He was brought in to stiffen the sinews of the organisation and brought exactly the wrong psychology. You can see there is no taste for a USE amongst the members, can’t you?

      There is no existential threat to the UK. There never was.

      So you had no cost benefit analysis in your voting brexit? It was entirely ideological?

    • Maria

      So, you would vote for Bernie Sanders because of Heath Care Services, I see Hillary Clinton just said in her campaign there are things to improve in Obamacare, but the creation of it is really something.

      Yes, Maria, I would vote for Sanders because he wants universal single payer health care. This is the only program that will solve our massive health insurance failure in the US. Obamacare was, as I see it, a great step in the right direction. It’s true that it isn’t quite right as it stands, this based on the opinions of plenty of Democrats but it was a significant improvement over the predatory system that was before it. I hope that Obamacare stands and that Dems go on to improve it, when they have the majority back in place and after that I hope that medicaid (low income government subsidized health insurance) is granted to higher and higher income people until at some point then we’ll have universal coverage.

      It’s not just the health coverage that has me sold on Sanders, it’s plenty of other issues too. I have his book here on my Kindle and now have it opened to remind me about the other issues that he speaks for.

      Ok, here’s another one; Ending Voter Suppression at 41% point in the book. That voter suppression still exists in this country is an abomination. Here’s what Bernie says about this problem from his book Our Revolution:

      We need to encourage voter registration, not make it a burden for voters. We should join other countries in making certain that every person is automatically registered to vote when he/she turns eighteen. Every person who moves to a new state should be automatically registered to vote as soon as he/she has a new postal address. The burden of registering voters should be on the state, not the individual voter….We should make election day a federal holiday, or spread Election Day over a two-day weekend, to increase voters’ ability to participate.

      Huh??!! This is incredible! You see, until someone gets out there and comes up with ideas and communicates them in a simple way then everyone just goes along day to day with the current stupid system. Most Americans would be shocked to hear these ideas for the first time.

      Here’s another issue that Bernie is way out in front on: Making Public Colleges and Universities Tuition-Free at 74%

      …This plan, the College for All Act, would allow all Americans, if they had the ability and the desire, to go to college regardless of the income of their families. It would also prevent them from going deeply into debt as a result of their education.

      All of the chapters of his book deal with our worst daunting issues here and give solid ideas on how to make changes. He deals with campaign finance reform, combating climate change, criminal justice system reform, immigration reform, corporate media, income/wealth disparity between classes.

      I want all of this. I hope he runs in the next Presidential election.

    • Captain Fantastic is available on DVD at my public library. Tomorrow morning I’ll grab my coffee and trot on over there (across the street) and sign it out.

      Problem solved!

      I’ll also get a Grateful Dead CD while I’m at it.

      Dan
      THX-1138 is not available on Netflix and there’s only one copy of DVD in my whole library system. It’s listed as longterm overdue. That means it’s stolen. Will keep searching because I do like sci fi, especially dystopias.

    • Dan, first things first — stay focused on what the sane in the USA need to do next. You need to get a majority of worthy Democrats in both houses of Congress in the upcoming mid-term elections. Then, at the next presidential election, you need to elect a worthy president (Bernie Sanders, if he runs again for office, would certainly be a good choice). If that can be accomplished, most of the problems you have been airing and re-airing here will evaporate, as president and congress work together again for the people they are in fact duty-bound to serve, namely all citizens of the USA.

    • Dan,

      Do you know that that tea party was not a grass roots movement but was created by the Koch brothers and some other groups that share that right-wing agenda? Do you know how hard it was to get passed what Obama got passed with all that intense public opposition? Don’t you remember that? Obamacare was, as a result of all that, a deeply compromised piece of legislation.

      Winning the presidency will never be enough. You have to win top to bottom to begin to wrest power from the money purchased power and media. Your dauntedness at the task is key to keeping US cleverly crippled. (Its a democracy with a system designed to deny power to any single election event. Only sustained political pressure over two presidential cycles to win sufficient change throughout the system can win real change.)

      The only other hope is a major crash like the one that gave you the New Deal, which ushered in decades of economic growth and the lowest levels of inequality….ever in the USA. Clearly 2008 didn’t hurt enough.

    • Garrick many likes.

    • Olgun replied 1 month ago

      Phil

      Watched Captain Fantastic night on your recommendation. The very first scene with the hunter set the agenda for me. We did not know in what era we were with a primitive looking man hunting in the most primitive way until…, we got a glimpse of a very modern tool, his hunting knife. From there on in it was a battle of the old and the new. A father trying to hold back time with cliches all the way of modern life, teenage angst, awkward questions about sex etc. The end shows the balance needed between the two where dad finally tames the savage beast in him.

    • I’m going to wait for Laurie and any others who wish to view it before responding in detail. But I do think holding back time is really about holding back a particular sequence of time that is not (was not) inevitable in any way.

      Laurie look away now…

    • Erol replied 1 month ago

      Regarding the current situation of apparently unstoppable migration from Libya to Italy (and henceforth to the rest of Europe) here’s an article detailing an unexpected and worrying development in Germany caused by that country’s generous intake of refugees;

      https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/10676/germany-migrants-infectious

    • 51

      So they’re filthy too!

      You’re all heart, Erol.

    • Erol replied 1 month ago

      Phil

      Just ignore the article – these unexpected consequences of mass migration clearly don’t matter to you.

    • Olgun replied 1 month ago

      http://wenr.wes.org/2017/05/lessons-germanys-refugee-crisis-integration-costs-benefits

      The upshot is that, Germany’s extensive support for refugees is both a remarkable humanitarian gesture, and an example of economic pragmatism.

    • They matter hugely, Erol. Folk suffering for quite other reasons have illness to contend with too.

    • Erol replied 1 month ago

      Olgun – ‘economic pragmatism’ remains to be proved.

      Phil – and your concerns for the indigenous population are…..??

    • and your concerns for the indigenous population are…..??

      Take a guess.

    • Olgun replied 1 month ago

      Erol

      Olgun – ‘economic pragmatism’ remains to be proved

      It puts a huge dent in the words ‘remarkable humanitarian gesture’ though 😉

      If it were proved, does that make the suffering of the indeginous people worth it?

    • Erol replied 1 month ago

      Phil – if you are concerned then why shy away from mentioning it?

      Olgun – your question is hypothetical and would need to determine the degree of ‘success’ against the degree of ‘suffering’ endured – both unknowable quantities at present. I dare say that if a plague was to take hold in Germany with many deaths occurring as a result, this would also likely have a negative impact upon the economy!

    • Just finished Captain Fantastic. Really liked it very much.

    • Olgun replied 1 month ago

      Sorry I jumped in a bit early Laurie. Hope I didn’t spoil it for you?

      Phil

      Are you saying that the education of the children to a high degree and making them street wise can be done together and that’s what that scene shows?

    • Olgun

      No, no, no spoilers ruined the film for me. I also read through some reviews of the film on Rotten Tomatoes, NY Times, The New Yorker, etc. Pretty much everything that came up on the first page of Google when I entered the name of the film. Even the critical review and comments didn’t lessen my appreciation of the film.

      The film definitely plays to my personal political and cultural biases, heh. Brain candy delivered on video to my long sublimated hippie utopian Chomsky loving mind. The gorgeous Northwestern US scenery, the forest, wildlife, yes, I’m pining for that, can smell the moss and dirt, ~moan~

      What must it be like to grow up like those kids? Off the grid, learning in an unstructured way, back to the ways of the hunter-gatherers, it seems idyllic to me, the product of authoritarian conservative parents. Is the father in this film just an authoritarian lefty liberal parent? Maybe it’s my bias to bear right now but I wish I’d been assigned to read Marx and Chomsky rather than the Bible and every vapid dusty textbook assigned in my public school education. I want their education! Not mine!

      As soon as they set out on their journey to their Grandparents’ home I felt the end of their utopia was near. The visit with the cousins was the foreshadowing of doom. You feel it coming; their world is going down the crapper now. The alpha male, so strong and confident (sexy attractive!) is knocked off his position at the top by that establishment grandfather and his simpering broken wife and the law and its enforcers make their presence known and there you go, he’s thrown into a crisis of doubt. Truth is that there were cracks in the facade prior to his crisis of doubt. The oldest son was helped to apply for college by his mom unbeknownst to his father, and some defiant behavior from the younger son as well.

      That the father took the time to stop and consider all of what his kids said and his in-laws as well was what I’d expect from a liberal rational thinker. He made an assessment of the situation and modified his behavior in response to his new understanding of the needs of his children and what was best for their future. He made some sacrifices but stayed true to his principles.

    • Glad you liked it, Laurie. I think it is a graphic novel of a film. At first I thought the story trite then I thought it marvellous. I’ll say more later.

      Ollie, I was commenting on your phrase a man holding back time. I thought rather he was sequestering his kids not from modernity but a uniquely crass modernity. (Finland, Finland, Finland. That’s the country for him.) Yes its schematic… clever kids exist in the USA thanks to their education. But a movie isn’t a novel, its a short story (at best a graphic novel) and hasn’t time for finesse when it is mostly a polemic

    • This analysis of one of the main themes of the movie snapped my view of it into richness. So beguiled by the delight of an impossibly rich childhood, I hadn’t noticed how numerous the warning flags were. It put a proper meaty story behind its polemic.

      Also, I loved the repeated kicks (by counter example) at the American approach to sex education. Children are tough and trust worthy once inoculated with the truth, and that simply means answering honestly when asked.

    • Dan #62 and #63

      We are in agreement on the political situation in the USA, and the difference between us is that you have to live in it and I do not. Nor do I want to offer an on-line equivalent of tea and sympathy. You do have my sympathy though — it is horrible enough to think that the US polity, founded on the best of political principles, should have been so corrupted and soiled, but how much worse it must be to have to live in it. Still, because you and all your saner fellow Americans live there, you have an obligation to do what can be done to clean the polity up again as quickly as you can. Bewailing your plight will do no good. Self-pity is not what is needed. Your awareness of the severity of the United States’ political corruption by Big Money should at least press upon you the aptness of Bernie Sanders’s talk of revolution. In a country as large as the USA the task of cleaning up its corrupted political system will take a while. But, as long as there are steps that can be taken to do that task, those are the steps that people like you should be taking. Never mind that perfection will not be achieved (it never is, even in the best of polities), just keep working towards a democratic polity freed from the control of Big Money. The education system, for example, is very important in making opportunities for all a reality in people’s lives, but the education system can only be reinvigorated to that end if the elected representatives in Congress and in the White House are motivated to work together to that end. Likewise with all the other things that are needed in a vibrant, free, open and just society. So just keep working for what is better, as Phil Rimmer has repeatedly said on various discussion-boards here — that actually is the only way anything worthwhile is achieved in this world — step by step. So you and your saner fellow Americans need to do what you can to get better representatives in Congress at the next mid-term elections, and so on. While there’s life, there’s hope.

    • Dan

      Yes, all those ideas are good ideas. But Sanders didn’t invent them and doesn’t own those ideas; they are very basic ideas, shared by all or most progressives, and, presumably, by most democrats in Congress, and by Hillary.

      If Sanders didn’t invent them then who did? Some of these ideas come from the Europeans like obviously, universal health care and he must be aware of their voting arrangements there too. Was it Australia that has compulsory voting? How does that even work out? What happens if a citizen just doesn’t vote? Penalty of some sort? Ok, look, as much as I was devoted to Hillary, as I described on another thread, I just don’t remember hearing her advocate hard for any of the ideas that he’s held up right out front. And he has plans for implementation for these ideas in a rough draft state in his book. These plans involve shifting big blocks of cash from one place to another in the government. It’s some really bold shit he’s talking about. I support Hillary and I was crushed when she lost but there’s no way she was thinking outside the box like Sanders and his supporters are.

      I’m not sure if I’ll go along with the statement that his “basic ideas are shared by most progressives”. I’m not sure about this. Where are you getting this? Granted, you and I find it to be completely reasonable and if we found ourselves with the power to implement these policies of course we would only need a very short meeting to breeze through the list of executive actions, but Dan, are we really “most progressives”? Just the fact that we’re atheists puts us in a subset of “most progressives” I’m often reminded of this when talking with my other progressive friends. I realize that Hillary did make a great effort to reform our shit healthcare system back in that administration but these ideas that Sanders has grabbed and forcefully presents in his book and speeches are way outside the box of the Democratic party at the present time.

      That is the shock of the past campaign – how many Americans thought that Trump was presidential material and how many Americans strongly supported Sanders, the Socialist! That Bernie attracted so much admiration is something that gives me much hope now. If not for that I’d be convinced that we’re completely and utterly screwed. That northern border…only six hours drive away…could be there in time for a glass of wine and some of that heavenly fois gras…

      Voter suppression has been going on for years. We’ve had ample time to correct it under Obama. It isn’t so easy. You don’t think Obama tried? (Maybe he didn’t. Not sure.) Let’s see what Sanders does if he is elected in 2020 with a Republican House or Senate and/or the Koch brothers et al. working hard to undermine his efforts.

      I agree with your frustration over the thwarting of Obamas efforts by the House and Senate. I wonder what he would have accomplished if he had them on his side the whole time. We’ll never know. Eight years of Obama unimpeded followed by eight years of Hillary also unimpeded – what would America look like then? Hey this would be an interesting book. A utopia not a Trump dystopia, right? ha. More of my massive bias speaking, I know! I know! Just venting dammit!

      Laurie, why don’t you just rent THX-1138? You’ll never get to see it otherwise. Will four dollars make or break you?

      Errr…you must be unaware of the devastating genetic condition that I am afflicted with – New England yankee cheapness. I will find that video and it will be for free, so help me god! I’ll never go without seeing a movie for free ever again!! sob.

    • No vote (equivalent to spoiling your paper) would be made an option to express your position.

    • Dan #62

      I have responded to you, and my response was here at #68. Now I see it has vanished and LaurieB’s message has taken its place.

      Garrick looks suspiciously at LaurieB.

      Perhaps it will turn up later.

    • Phil

      Also, I loved the repeated kicks (by counter example) at the American approach to sex education.

      That was excellent.

      Thinking about the cult/religious leader aspects of the film pointed out in that clip. Watching it again.

    • Garrick

      haha. I had nothing to do with it and if you only knew what a technodunce I really am you would never have cast your evil eye in my direction.

      We have noticed here in the past that if someone is in edit mode then somehow that comment gets mixed up in order to others that come in at the same time. Could this be a possible explanation? Were you editing?

      Also, if you included links then your comment could be sidelined for some time then it reappears in order.

    • LaurieB #74

      Yes, I did edit the message before posting it. That was probably what led to it being snatched by the system, though I too know very little about such technical matters. No hyperlink was included.

      I am not Australian but I do know that voting in national and state elections in Australia has been compulsory for Australians since 1924. However, according to the following Wikipedia article, Australia is not the only country with compulsory voting.

      Wikipedia: Compulsory voting

      As Phil mentioned at #71, spoiling one’s vote is how Australians abstain legally from casting a vote for any of the candidates. But the Wikipedia article mentions the different approach taken in Belgium, where enrolled voters must present themselves at a polling-station on election day but may choose not to cast a vote. If, however, a voter fails to vote in four successive elections, he or she can lose the right to vote for ten years.

      The Wikipedia article also sets out some of the arguments for and against compulsory voting, which you may find interesting.

      • Sorry, Garrick. Editing comments generally causes them to trigger the spam filter, which then puts them aside pending moderator approval. Now retrieved and posted.

        The mods

    • Thank you, Moderator! This must be as much a nuisance to you as it is to us. There is another coming through to you now. My response to LaurieB. I edited that too, but it also has a hyperlink in it, so there was not much chance of that one getting through without delay.

      • No, nothing else showing in our system and needing approval at the moment. There is a reply from you to Laurie, complete with hyperlink, a couple of posts above this one (#77). Is that the one you mean?

    • Moderator #80

      Yes, that’s it, thanks. It must have come through while I was typing #79. All’s well that ends well!

    • Dan,

      Spoiling your paper means doing something to it that makes it fail to satisfy the rules for a formal vote. Like ticking every box, writing 1 in every box, handing it in blank even. In Australia we call it an informal vote.

      http://www.aec.gov.au/Voting/Informal_Voting/

      In Australian the informal voting rate is usually single digits. Probably quite a few will be genuine mistakes as with our preferential system voting is not completely trivial. For example 8 candidates have to be numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Number then 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7 and it’s informal.

      I’ve always liked the idea of a “None of the above option”. I think I can be required to take the trouble to go to the voting booth as a civic duty but I’m not so sure I should be required to choose between candidates all of whom I don’t want to vote for.

    • Erol replied 1 month ago
    • None of my Jewish friends were happy with Zionism in the first place. Its arrogance has consumed perhaps two generations of good will. Besides, rigid, top to bottom nationalisms and identities are increasingly passé in a world that needs broader coordination over shared resources and more local autonomy to deal with topical issues .

      This additional battleground growing from it, of undue religious influence in the state, possibly needs more targeted sanctions. But if it leads folk to question this example of an uber zionism, and realise the arrogance of a sense of entitlement on no good basis, then maybe the general sanctions should stand and their condemnation be broadened.

      P.S. Missed your continued response on TB in Germany. My concern for any affected by new disease threats should be taken for granted. My response was specifically directed at your initial partisan use of the issue.

    • Erol replied 1 month ago

      Phil

      The Palestine problem will never be resolved if hardliners such as Netanyahu continue to head the Israeli government. I know that there is a strong peace movement in Israel but it doesn’t seem to be able to muster enough support to achieve a fair settlement with the Palestinians. Perhaps the recent objections by American Jews might eventually lead to a change in government there?

      With regard to the previous discussion on Germany and TB, the issues with mass migration are many and complex but too little concern is directed to their effects on intaking countries in my opinion. This disease problem was not one I had foreseen and posted the link because of its novelty.

    • Erol

      Perhaps the recent objections by American Jews might eventually lead to a change in government there?

      Lets hope so.

      and

      Ok.

    • mmurray

      Spoiling your paper.

      This was always a therapeutic opportunity for me. Drawing the genitalia of choice adjacent to the biggest arsehole in the list has improved my depressed state for an entire day.

    • The pound has already massively dropped in value putting up food and
      import prices, just on the prospects of brexit! Alan4discussion

      I´ve read an economist on that, that´s irrelevant it seems. Perhaps not for you.
      Before the Euro currency, I used to pay for my usual breakfast muffin, €0,25 and in the first of Euro the price for it was €1,00, now its €0,80.
      Everything is affected also when someone as the German minister of Mekel says Portugal is in grreat need for a second amount of Money (when in fact the internal deficit has the best balance of the latest 50 years).

    • Portugal e o Euro: o Brexit é uma Aula prática de Moeda

      Portugal e o Euro: o Brexit é uma Aula prática de Moeda

      The article looks like interesting, not pro not against brexit, perhaps you can translate the page.
      I know that you´re a fierce anti-brexit and defend “rationality”, but I see economists divide on the subject too, and one shouldn´t be enslaved by economic rules I think, fear difficulties coming through, if one thinks there is nothing more valuable the UE can offer because it´s going in the wrong way politically -on more step towards federalism each time-I would rather prefer famine than European federalism.

    • Perhaps just a gut feeling?

      Alan,

      Here´s another “article” for you to translate the page (hope you don´t mind), feel free to translate the page if it worths the effort.

      Governo recusa federalismo mas defende “melhor Europa”
      http://www.dn.pt/portugal/interior/governo-recusa-federalismo-mas-defende-melhor-europa-5249582.html

    • in the first day of Euro currency (16 years ago).

      lacked the word “day”

    • Maria, Alan, Erol

      Good link Maria. Translated…

      The word “federalism” is one of the banned in the European Union, says Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs

      If there is anyone in Portugal who knows the corridors of power well in Brussels, she is the current Secretary of State for European Affairs. From 2005 to 2011, Margarida Marques, 62, headed the representation in Lisbon of the European Commission. And she was an official of the institution from 1994 to 2015 – leaving to join the current government, which represents in the Council of General Affairs, the council where the heads of government of the EU with the European affairs portfolio.

      Margarida Marques has no doubts. “There are words that have been banned in the EU.” “Federalism” is one of those words. The other two are words associated with federalism: “Constitutional Treaty” and “more integration”. “It can be,” says the Secretary of State, “until it is favorable to the content but the word can not be pronounced.” So what she advocates is what she calls “better Europe” – a “better Europe”, which corrects the mistakes of “excessive Brussels imposition on national policies”. This is because, she acknowledges, “there has been excessive intrusion by the European Commission”, for example through the European semester (verification of the compatibility of national budgets with European objectives and, moreover, It is necessary to say a thousand times that the Eurogroup does not exist. “” The impression was created that, by the imposition of Brussels, national policies were always the same, even if they were carried out by different parties. And this brought populism to the fore. What is needed is to strengthen the internal market in the digital economy and in the energy sector and to strengthen common policies, for example in defense and security. ”

    • Brexit is killing the pound but it’s having a really productive side-effect on Britain’s economy

      http://www.businessinsider.com/adam-smith-institute-brexits-impact-on-the-pound-uk-economy-jobs-2017-4

    • Sorry, Maria, #94, that article is just wish thinking. Wage growth is collapsing and the expected increase in unemployment was mitigated by a carefully timed programme of quantitative easing from the Bank of England, put in to achieve exactly this. Mark Carney estimated 250,000 jobs preserved by it.

    • Two months ago, article 50 of Lisbon Treaty was activated by PM Theresa May.

      Phil,
      Let´s stay calm. Notice that economists don´t have a crystal ball to predict the future (Some people will not loose more than what they did already actually).
      Isn´t it too soon- only after two months- to point out brexit effects on economy and prices to consumer-bluff-, there´s no doubt it will have negative huge impact and negative side effects for every one, lasting perhaps for more than a decade, no one doubts that, that´s not the point.
      Let´s see within a decade how the economy recovery was (if we can meet again).

      “I think employment is likely to be quite strong. It is unlikely that
      [Brexit] will cause any large scale unemployment. even in a very, very
      pessimistic outcome — the reason for that being the pound has absorbed
      most of the costs, meaning that we effectively have real term wage
      cuts and our purchasing power falls but people become more employable
      as a result. So there are good and bad [aspects] to the fall in the
      pound.”

    • PM Theresa May triggered article 50 of Lisbon Treaty two months ago (not activeted, I think)

    • Maria

      Phil,
      Let´s stay calm.

      I’m quite calm. But not passive. From the inside we see already altered investment strategies. Development plans built on UK expansion into main European market areas of technology, bring forward plans or newly adopt them for European bases to achieve that end. Huge earlier investments have been put at risk and mitigations need planning immediately.

      A marginal wrong decision, arrived at through dishonesty, that puts so much at risk needs addressing again. Nor should it ever be allowed to happen again.

    • So, Laurie. Cult-ish?

      Cults create clones and squash individuality with litanies and isolate from outside influence.

      Watched it again last night. Thought it even better.

    • Phil

      You probably made the day of the people counting the votes as well. Interestingly if your ballot paper was otherwise formal then the vote would count

      So you can get in a vote and express disgust at the same time.

    • A marginal wrong decision, arrived at through dishonesty, that puts so
      much at risk needs addressing again. Nor should it ever be allowed to
      happen again.

      Phil,

      I don´t know exactely what you mean by saying it, it looks kind of a thread to the political establishment on “economic” grounds, and it seems that the political state shouldn´t become an “institution” made to protect vested economic interests (I believe that´s how it works in US).
      It seems liberal economic doctrines are healthy in UK, and you gave two examples of that happening. corporations didn´t made of state an institution ready to protect vested interests, despite the fact that politicians will negociate to reach the best solutions.

    • threat not thread

    • DN News 11 hours ago

      Former editor of diplomacy for Sky News and the BBC, Tim Marshall is considered a reputed specialist in international relations. The DN spoke about the future of relations between the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU), current conflict points and the superpowers of the future.

      As a Briton, how do you see the UK’s relationship with the EU and its future?
      I voted for staying in the EU, but I believe that the only ones currently thinking that the EU 27 is stronger are the so-called federalists. And federalism is perhaps the reason why there are so many Europeans reticent and skeptical about the European project. Only the idea of ​​a country that abandons the EU is subjected to some form of punishment (which in itself is highly undemocratic) what does it tell us about the EU? That the member states only do so because they fear punishment? Which would also say a lot about what the EU is. Of course, a country that wants to leave can not be rewarded, but it can not be punished either. It is therefore necessary to seek points of agreement even if you believe there is a window of opportunity for the UK to remain in the EU. And the EU will not get any stronger with the British exit. It will increasingly continue to run at various speeds, or risk disintegrating. There will be more and more different ways of dealing with the same problems.
      You´ve mentioned a window of opportunity for the UK to stay. How is it possible?
      The British political situation became unpredictable after the recent elections, which were precisely aimed at making the political situation more stable and predictable, to the point where it is possible to think that the agreement negotiated with the United Kingdom (which has to be voted on in Parliament here Two years) can be turned down by him, challenging the outcome of the 2016 referendum, arguing that “yes, we know they want to leave but we do not believe it is under these conditions. Which would trigger the process of a second referendum. So far, the dominant idea is that it is not the French who have to hold five referendums until they reach the desired outcome, but the elections have created the impression that there is still a possibility of staying. Of course, those who want to stay will do everything to open this window.

      http://www.msn.com/pt-pt/noticias/mundo/h%C3%A1-uma-oportunidade-para-o-reino-unido-ficar-na-ue/ar-BBEsOkn?li=AAl4orZ&ocid=spartandhp
      ……………

    • Grid Batteries Are Poised to Become Cheaper Than Natural-Gas Plants in Minnesota.

      https://www.technologyreview.com/s/608273/grid-batteries-are-poised-to-become-cheaper-than-natural-gas-plants-in-minnesota/?set=608263

      Just to be clear this is NG plants configured to be peak supply sources (Peakers). These often consist of gas turbines kept spinning by electric motors so they can be fired up at a moments notice (within seconds) to meet transient demands or sudden deficiencies in supply.

      Additionally, EVs could profitably be plugged in 23 hours a day. Globally car makers are committing to car ranges consisting entirely of using electrical power and storage as part of the power train. As wind and solar power dip below gas power station costs, the gas peaker requirements may well not remain the last toe hold for fossil for much longer.

    • Maria,

      Politicians traded a low interference (zero duty) access to the worlds largest most sophisticated market in favour of totally contentious political gains (more autonomy over immigration etc.) and secured by lying about economic gains.

      They have been meddling with a huge and successful capitalist venture to its detriment.

      I believe in globalisation (especially from a position of power) and not least because it is the moral solution to global inequality. I have no desire to be exclusively a Little Englander nor do most young folk who most have to live with the choices made for them. Our identity needs to shift with the problems we are addressing, global, regional, national, local.

      Look at the graphic. The old fucked up the young, who most have to live with their fearful choices.

      https://ichef-1.bbci.co.uk/news/624/cpsprodpb/15372/production/_90089868_eu_ref_uk_regions_leave_remain_gra624_by_age.png

    • Erol replied 1 month ago

      Dan

      The situation over there is quite bleak now. But not hopeless.

      Here’s a recent development that may cheer you up a little!

      http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-kuttab-palestinian-israeli-alliance-20170608-story.html

    • The new “regionalism” in a federalist Europe

      Anger after head of eurozone finance ministers says southern Europe blew cash on ‘drinks and women’

      (…) A national level, there is a federal level, there is a regional level, “he said, considering that” 20 years from now, true competition will not take place between states, but between regions. ” Juncker´s words

      I wonder what Bristish social scientists think of this “regionalism.”

    • Maria, the regionalism I intended, between global and national, were precisely things like trading and shared cultural blocks like the EU.

    • Phil

      I haven’t skipped town to avoid your comment #102. Just a grueling day jostling my way through IKEA on a hot Sunday afternoon. I must be out of my mind.

      I also watched the film again and read Wiki pages on cults, ideology, and brainwashing.

      I took a few notes while watching the film and the bonus material. These aren’t exact quotations. I may have dropped words, paraphrased, etc. Mostly going for the main idea.

      What we’ve created here may be unique in all of human existence. We’ve created a paradise
      Garden of Eden???

      Grappling with what kind of parent are you going to be…Conflict about how much of the real world do you let in and how much do you keep away?

      The father isn’t a hero and the grandfather not a villain, just complicated individuals trying to work out their differences on how to raise children.

      The second time around I definitely felt those religious/spiritual references more strongly than the first viewing. The coming of age ritual in the opening scene, purification ritual in the waterfall, meditation circle in natural setting, the comforting scene after mother’s death with book in hand (from the clip you posted above). These really feel cult-like especially after reading the Wiki page on cults:

      The term cult usually refers to a social group defined by its religious, spiritual, or philosophical beliefs, or its common interest in a particular personality, object or goal.

      A political cult is a cult with a primary interest in political action and ideology.[96][97] Groups which some writers have termed “political cults”, mostly advocating far-left or far-right agendas, have received some attention from journalists and scholars.

      Cults create clones and squash individuality with litanies and isolate from outside influence.

      As for the ideological clones, those kids were very talented at reciting certain litanies! Even though there is a scene where the younger son wants to disagree (with celebrating Chomsky day) he is advised or invited to defend his opinion but he backs away shaking his head. I don’t think he’s comfortable with the idea of presenting his case. Is he intimidated? Will he be pressured to conform to the approved litany? Obviously they are isolated from outside influence. Their Garden of Eden paradise came crashing down due to outside influence. Their fall from grace. The two guys shaving and cutting their long hair was a Sampson-like acceptance of their defeat. Loss of their savage power and acceptance of the norms of “civilized” society. It was sad. The father was reduced to bland, civilized mediocrity. The son, maybe was more anticipating of his future adventures and cutting his hair was part of a new beginning.

      The scenes of the father agonizing over his decision to isolate the kids from the outside world seem very real to me. but now I’m wondering if he didn’t stage his grief and the whole scene of handing custody over to the grandparents so that the kids would be offered the choice of whether to stay in the outside world or come back to their paradise of their own accord. It could’ve gone either way. Could he have contrived this whole thing? Maybe he just wanted redemption from his guilt over the isolation and endangerment of his kids.

      Speaking of accusations of endangerment, do you think he really put his kids at extreme risk? The kid climbing rock face had a minor injury and the daughter had a more dangerous injury from falling off the roof, but considering the physical training they went through on a regular basis, it seems like they were in very good shape physically. In their opinions (litany) I saw a reflection of my own kids but to a lesser degree. As parents, we transfer our own political perspectives to our kids somewhat unaware of that at times and other times more assertively. At what point does it become ideological brainwashing?

      The scene of “liberating” food from the store was just a risky illegal activity. Is this the worst episode of parenting he participated in? Well, I guess the social awkwardness of his oldest son is quite an unfortunate consequence, worse than shoplifting in the long run.

      Totally disjointed comment. Exhausted.

    • Dan

      Those flames next to the comment – I think they indicate a financial donation. I had one that has disappeared a while ago. I need to update my donation and get it back.

    • Laurie,

      Great observations. I need sleep so a quick note for now…

      It was sad. The father was reduced to bland, civilized mediocrity. The son, maybe was more anticipating of his future adventures and cutting his hair was part of a new beginning.

      It was sad BUT he became a father to all his children. He preached reason and took his own advice. By learning stuff you get kicked out of the garden. The son didn’t go to Princeton etc. But Namibia to start living. I think love and sex are the very tokens of the problem of a sequestered paradise and the need to be freed to be in the world and be whole. His sadness is also the sadness of every parent, especially those who have done their job well.

    • His sadness is also the sadness of every parent, especially those who have done their job well.

      Yes that’s true. It’s a bittersweet sadness.

      You mentioned above the kick they took at American puritanical dealings with the subject of sex which we loved but I also liked the kick at our dealings with death. You know this is one of my pet peeves, ha.

    • Yep. Celebrating loved ones is reduced to a ghastly farce by the church. Body fetishising is weird for spirit believers.

      A sweet little film “What we did on our holiday” punctures quite a few adult idiocies including this one.

      Another odd but I thought wonderful Greek film, Attenberg (on death and intimacy) has another perspective. (You can’t get cremated in Greece!)

    • On the news:

      “Scientists will always find ways to collaborate after brexit”~

      http://www.dn.pt/sociedade/interior/cientistas-encontrarao-sempre-forma-de-colaborar-apos-o-brexit-8613462.html

    • ****URGENT MOD MESSAGE**

      WE HAVE JUST BEEN INFORMED THAT THE SITE WILL BE CLOSED FOR MAINTENANCE ETC. STARTING VERY SOON AND LASTING UNTIL FRIDAY 21st AT THE EARLIEST, POSSIBLY STRETCHING TO MONDAY 24th. SORRY FOR ANY DISAPPOINTMENT THIS MAY CAUSE, BUT IT SOUNDS AS IF EVERYTHING WILL BE UP AND RUNNING AGAIN BY NEXT WEEK AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU AGAIN THEN.

    • Ok, we’re back! Just posting this here so there’s a quick link to the Open Thread in the Latest Comments section.

      The mods

    • Lights are back on! Thanks.

    • I remember here! Yay!

    • @Phil #15

      Late getting into this thread, but this article seems to chime with comment #15 above. Far above.

      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/19/despot-disguise-democracy-james-mcgill-buchanan-totalitarian-capitalism

    • On voting rights, and spoiling your vote:

      I’ve used the Spoiled Vote approach to ensure that (a) I wasn’t giving my vote to any of the candidates and – more importantly – (b) I was making it more difficult for anyone to steal my vote to use in support of any candidate.

      Doing this assumes that some level of fraud was likely, but also that the election wasn’t 100% rigged (or there’d have been no point in voting at all, as it wasn’t compulsory).

    • O’Hool 123

      Preaching to the converted here. Very useful extra ammo. Thanks.

      On Patheos somewhere there is a a thread about a Chinese party official warning party members about displaying any religious behaviour and bias. Normally I’d rush to the barricades of free speech and howl such meddling down. But what was interesting was how Americans were quick to praise their own free speech standards and claim China an ideological dictatorship. Now the democratic deficit in China is huge, but having spent a lot of time studying their evolving policy on economics, science, agriculture and technology, I have come to admire them greatly. China is not an ideological dictatorship but a pragmatic technocracy, deeply concerned to fuel societal well being via sustained lifting of individual wealth. Whilst China has seen average wages rise at least 6% per annum since 1960, US wages pretty much flat-topped from 1980. Only by working 8 hours a week more than a German can an American have the same standard of living. Those extra 8 hours go to buy that third Ferrari for her boss.

      Having freedom of speech has done nothing for Americans in fending off the sheer professionalism of the parasites that now afflict them. Never will they have a Government putting funding, legislation and new standards in place to lift their poorest (farmers and farm workers) out of poverty with a projected fast track wage rise of 12.5% per annum. Never will a US government cancel the building of more coal mines and use the very investment funds to compensate and retrain workers affected.

      Until Americans take against these kleptocrats and stop admiring them, realising them the thieving psychopaths they are, then the only undoing is for intelligent Republicans to come to their moral senses. Selfishness has wormtongued its way into too many American heads and hearts.

    • Dan,

      Sorry to hear about your mother. I hope all goes well for her tomorrow.

      My solution if this nonsense persists is Revolution. Sorry if that brings you out in a rash. But I increasingly feel Bernie’s vocabulary hits the spot. Failing that the slow accumulation of states down the west and half the east coast and in the top middle into the United States of Canada. Culture, compassion and creativity.

      The United States of Dixie could be left in peace.

    • Bernie Sanders – folks, aren’t you apparently forgetting a small but not unimportant detail about him? Wikipedia claims he was born 08 September 1941. He’ll be turning 76 this year. By election time 2020 he’ll be 79. Reagan, born 06 February 1911, was 69 at inauguration and turned 70 shortly thereafter. So he turned 78 shortly after leaving office after two terms. Sanders would enter office a year older than Reagan was leaving office, and Reagan was not overly healthy when he left. Is a 79-year-old man up to the office of the President of the US? Just think of it another way, as of 08 September 2021 he would be too old to be eligible for election as Pope!

    • Dan

      So sorry to hear about your mom. So alarming. She will have a difficult rehabilitation but you’ll keep her on track with her physical therapy. Let us know how she comes through the surgery tomorrow.

    • Grumpy K

      As old as Bernie is, he’s keeping up a campaign schedule that would kill a horse. I don’t know how he does it. He’s sharper cognitively than most fifty year olds I know and I’m including myself in that. He has tremendous momentum and the young people (except for the self-sabotage bunch) love him. The situation is so depressing here in the US right now I can’t imagine how much darker it would be without Bernie. I don’t care if he’s 100.

    • Trump’s latest governance via Twitter/distraction:
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/07/26/trump-announces-ban-on-transgender-people-in-u-s-military/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_transgender-945am%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.a72f7008328c

      BTW, there is no way in hell he composed that Twitter message: it has long, multi-syllable words and complete sentences. Just sayin…

    • Dan

      Good news about your mom. Encourage her to give it all she’s got in rehab. The physical therapists will push her hard. When my dad had to work with them he’d get his back up over their “pushiness” but I’d point my finger at him and say, “if you want to walk again and get back home with independence then you have to fight for that!” They can really lose ground very quickly if they don’t fight to get their strength back. I hope her rehab goes as smoothly as possible.

      I don’t think the news is “in on it”. I think there is one news channel that is blatantly in on it and in fact is the media/propaganda entity of the Republican party and its wealthy predatory super-capitalist backers. I don’t expect perfect neutrality from media outlets because I don’t see how this would be possible but my feeling is that PBS and BBC are the most neutral sources I can find. I am faithful to MSNBC and acknowledge that it leans left but I’m happy to explain to others that our left leaning media station would be considered stodgy centrist in Europe. I know CNN is accused of supporting the liberal agenda but for the life of me, I don’t perceive it. They seem so centrist to me as to be boring. Have you heard about the Emmy awards for Maddow, O’Donnell and Hayes? I’m going to watch the interview with Maddow and Conway again for a reminder.

      Yes, I read O’hooligan’s article. This is the stuff that is most depressing; the scope of this whole con job. 99.9% of Americans are just strolling along whistling a happy tune, completely unaware of this disaster. The Trump voters all pissed off about Mexicans taking our jobs (not) and sharia law taking over the American legal system (not) and poor people collecting benefits, and Iran cheating on the Obama nuclear deal – “How could he trust them!!!” that they’ve gone and invited the fox into the hen house! Forgive them Lord they know not what they do. ~eye roll~.

      I understand that there may appear to be a complacency around us but there may be some explanation for this perception; people are waiting for Mueller to collect his info. He is said to be widely admired and trusted. This seems to have a calming effect on us. I’m trying to be patient and let him collect everything he needs. I understand that impulsively attacking highly placed political figures without a solid legal case is a mistake. Also, I think people understand that while we count on these various investigations to reach deep into areas where average citizens can’t go, one thing that the average citizen can do is vote the bastards out of office at the next opportunity we get. So I’m just sittin pretty for now but on election day I’ll be voting a straight Democratic ticket, even if that means I’ll have to hold my nose on a few of those people, just to pull the rug out from under the treacherous Republicans.

      What worries me is something that I’ve asked here before; will it be possible to undo the damage that these snakes have done and will continue to do? If the Dems take control of the House/Senate next year, will that cut the Repubs off at the knees? If they take the next Presidential election, can they undo most of this mess then?

      Last night I watched a show (I think it was CNN) on 1967 the summer of love in San Francisco. The activism then, Dan! If this is what Revolution looks like – count me in!! Yeeehaaaaa!

    • Vicki #135
      Jul 26, 2017 at 11:18 am

      Trump’s latest governance via Twitter/**distraction**:

      Apparently, nobody has any idea how this transgender ban is supposed to work in the real world, so the military and the White House are busy referring enquiries to each other, and to anywhere where someone might think up an answer!

      With all the chaos and investigations, he is in desperate need of some distractions.

    • Dan
      Yes, they are part of the profit driven system. They are constrained and yes, I think they’re too soft on the liars and give a false sense of equivalency on many issues. I saw the commercials for oil and gas. All true.

      I will try to watch the Conway interview but no guarantees that I’ll actually get through the whole thing. Conway is a toxic liar and I avoid watching her.

      Can you believe the stupid news conference going on right now? Obviously, our new press secretary has acceded to her creepy boss’s suggestion that she upgrade her hair and makeup for the camera. ~steaming~

      She wasted half the time reading a letter (fake?) from some kid asking pointless questions to Trump. WTF? On a national press conference?! This is a blatant appeal to the “low information” Trump base. “Awe…what a cute kid! And he loves his country and his President! Awe…” So much sappy treacle.

      Devos, Sec. of Education, the cross eyed dunce presents the propaganda item that Trump has donated half of his salary to creating a STEM camp for kids. Don’t even get me started. Two dunces collaborate to create and announce a STEM camp and meanwhile, behind the scenes they undermine public education in debilitating measures. Then, Devos said that she and Ivanka, the fake “feminist” self-serving corporate money grubber had an educational moment at the Smithsonian to encourage girls to study STEM subjects. No mention of help with exorbitant tuition payments or universal health care or any other programs to take the financial pressure off the lower economic classes, girls AND boys, who need all of this help to get to college BEFORE they even decide to major in STEM courses. No mention of the dire situation of our inner city schools and those students that are trapped in poverty and in failing schools. What did they do, hand pick some delightful little girls from the financially privileged Washington D.C. crowd and stroll around a museum that poor minority kids wouldn’t even know existed? Devos should be mucking around in our most challenged inner city schools and get herself a paradigm shift now and then. She doesn’t have the guts for that. Stupid brainwashed elitist bitch.

      Dan, P. S. Through no fault of your own, you have no chance with Maddow. Through no credit to myself, I have a better chance than you. Although, truth be told, it is highly unlikely that either of us has any chance whatsoever.
      😉

    • Dan
      Warren, according to google, is married to a Harvard Law School prof named Bruce Mann. Tough luck for you buddy.

    • McCain is a trouper.

    • phil rimmer #148
      Jul 28, 2017 at 5:15 am

      McCain is a “trouper”.

      If you’re trying to imply he’s part of a circus then I’d have to agree.

    • Dan,

      Roger Bacon is the first English/western scientist of note. And deserves much praise. For me the first scientist of note is Democritus.

      Aristotle’s first cause argument is a logical one to make and I don’t criticise him for it, though it becomes dangerous in Aquinas’s hands and misleads us from a the subtle truth for long enough. It is surrounded by some useful physics concepts.

      Schopenhauer was right….’nuff said. He was though compromised by a religiously primitive view of what the human mind might constitute, f’rinstance as were all philosophers up until this point. (My old complaint of philosophers creating solutions with insufficient parts and idealising what they do conjecture… Bloody Plato! 🙂 ) It was of course Freud who broke this all apart from direct observation. Though Freud was consistently wrong in his just so analyses he was thumpingly right to note our manifold interiors.

      My point there is no one single mind that gets it all right. We cannot find to praise a perfect philosopher or scientist. The greatest minds live a the very edge of comprehension trying to scout ahead. Only the drudges following on behind may appear to do better.

    • Arkrid

      circus troupe?

      No. Un-cynical comment. I think Republicans may have glimmers of morality somewhere in their selfish ideology-fritzed wiring. McCain maybe focused on his legacy right now. Good on him.

    • phil rimmer #151
      Jul 28, 2017 at 6:11 am

      Arkrid

      circus troupe?

      https://www.dailywritingtips.com/trooper-or-trouper/

    • Arkrid,

      I did indeed check on which troo/uper I intended before publishing. Thespian not soldier

      He played his part for the good guys’n’gals.

    • Indeed, good on McCain. And I agree that this cancer scare has him thinking about his legacy. John McCain is exasperating and always has been. I liked him in 2000 and wanted to like him in 2008 (I was not early on the Obama train; I was a Jon Hunstman (best republican IMO in the last 25 years; Obama thought so as well and made him Ambassador to China, a task he took seriously. He was the only American politician I know of who spoke Mandarin with Chinese leadership) and then HRC supporter). Of course his embrace of Palin convinced me he had premature Alzheimer’s (I’ve since learned he had little to do with the idea itself though obviously he gave it the green light). Had he run with a competent candidate history might be a bit different. Anyway we’ve all heard about his speech to the senate. It was a good one. Unfortunately it came on the heels of his yea vote. But lines like the following – a republican speaking truth! – is encouraging in some small way:

      “All we’ve managed to do is make more popular a policy that wasn’t very popular when we started trying to get rid of it,” he said.”

      His vote on the skinny repeal almost makes up for the yea.

    • Dan

      …is being human and sensible something we should be unduly praising, Phil?

      Normally, no….

      Steven 007

      McCain… Its almost like he remembers when Republicans could be decent….

    • Dan #145

      Ah, a quote of mine from the “You win some, you lose some! (KPFA Cancellation)” thread. The philosophical genius I was referring to there was Ibn Rushd (Latinized Averroes), 1126 – 1198, last and greatest of the Arabian commentators of Aristotle, not Aristotle himself. And my point was that had it been up to Islam to preserve the memory of Ibn Rushd, likely no one would know his name anymore. Yes, he inspired Thomas Aquinas and other Christian theologians, but their taking up his writings, and in turn commenting on them, preserved his memory as his (nominally) own religion would not have done.

      As for the ol’ Greek himself, his philosophy (a term which has only been narrowed down to its far more narrow definition fairly recently) was very wide-ranging. The part which we would nowadays consider natural sciences has ended up in the dustbin for all practical purposes. The metaphysics – well, the topic (about which I have not read much, unless it includes theology) impresses me as superstition hopped up by a much expanded vocabulary – and often put forward with a high level of verbosity (now why does this spontaneously remind me of at least two or three high-volume posters here? grin). Other parts – vague memories involving theater – and most of all his contribution to logic seem to hold up to modern scrutiny far better.

      As for latent theists – let me just list what is to be found under the topic: monotheism, hard polytheism, soft polytheism, henotheism, kathenotheism, monolatrism (which is what the pre-Babylon belief of very many Israelites in OT time may have been), pantheism (with a nod to nontheism), panentheism, deism with the (I kid you not!) subdivisions pandeism and polydeism, autotheism, eutheism, dystheism, and misotheism. Theologians can split hairs in their “profession” with the best of the philosophers in theirs. Correct me if I’m wrong, but my guess is that with theism you mostly mean monotheism (as Schopenhauer may have done, though he apparently was not ignorant of eastern beliefs). As I can also be pigheaded when not sufficiently convinced (just in case you haven’t noticed yet … whistle), for my taste “will is in everything” retains a flavor of vague panentheism.

      I love give and take. And considering the (partly justified) reputation of the “natives” of the part of Germany I have been living in for over forty years (with interruptions), assuming I have a corner on grumpiness is a totally alien concept to me. I could blame them for messing up my originally sunny disposition – but the truth is probably simply watching the news in those fortysomething years.

      As for choosing my user name (haven’t been able to find a place telling me when exactly I did), the first part certainly had something to do with my less-than-sweet disposition at the time, and the second was to give the “bluddy Limies & Yanks” a rough bearing on where I’m coming from. Both “Krauts” and “Limies” actually has to do with the respective navies finally getting the former scourge of all navies, scurvy, under control.

    • Dan, you ARE emotional and that’s ok 😉 I didn’t feel the need to at the time but I should have clarified my position. You’ve seen me post enough to know where I stand politically, at least in part. During the republican primaries in 2012 Hunstman was THE only coherent republican (by a long shot). Obama saw this early on which is why he was in his administration. And he was and is, by far, the best Mormon candidate of all time (I know, I know, that’s like winning the tallest midget contest), ha-ha. At any rate, does this not sound like a reasonable republican:

      In early November 2012, just days before Barack Obama was re-elected as President, the Associated Press named Huntsman as a possible successor to Hillary Clinton as the United States Secretary of State.[82] This speculation was echoed by various media outlets[83] particularly after Huntsman came to the defense of United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, describing the criticism of her response to the 2012 Benghazi attack as being “overblown.”

      So Obama considered him for Secretary of State, and he came to the defense of Rice during Benghazi. Huff Po described him as “a conservative technocrat-optimist with moderate positions who was willing to work substantively with President Barack Obama”

      Does that sound like a center right conservative? Just because he describes himself as one, likely because he knows that appeals to the base, does not make it so and it’s obviously not so. He is not pro life; not sure where you read that (in an extremely conservative state he signed some bills limiting abortions. I don’t agree but can forgive him for this appeal to the base), and is FOR same sex marriage. Again, center right conservative? I don’t think so. And how about this for a center right conservative:

      Later that year, in response to perceived anti-science comments by Rick Perry and other Republican presidential candidates, he tweeted: “To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.”

      Listen, he’s persona non grata in the party these days, but he had promise.

    • “To be clear, I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global
      warming” does not impress me and should not impress anyone. What does
      he want, praise? How about this: “I am against lunacy and brutality!”

      Dan, he was responding directly to anti science comments from republicans. So in a party that abhors and shuns science, yes, this should be applauded. It’s a step in the right direction certainly, don’t you think?

    • Dan #164

      Certainly “ma’am” would have been immensely far wider of the mark.

      I’ll confess to a certain reservation I have with the term “Sir”. Not with the one Queen Elisabeth bestows on citizens of an amazing number of non-UK countries (Sir Peter Jackson of J.R.R. Tolkien movies trilogies fame – or for me being as close to being a Tolkien scholar as a non-professional can get, infamy). Guessing that the potential recipients are any citizens of any country belonging to the Commonwealth.

      No, it has to do with one of my favorite (anti-) war movies, “Full Metal Jacket”, directed by my absolutely favorite director of all time, Stanley Kubrick. It’s in the first, basic training part of the movie, where the recruits have to address their superiors, especially Senior Drill Instructor Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (Ronald Lee Ermey having been an actual US Marines drill Sergeant during the Vietnam War) with “sir yes (rarely no) sir”. I spent 15 months doing duty with the West German army during 1977-78. This was not just Cold War time, it was the most virulent time of the leftist Red Army Faction terrorists here. I was a very good shot with the caliber .30-06 munitions German automatic rifle we had with us during (especially) night patrol of the barracks. I’m pretty certain I would have shot back.

      But.

      Some of the military language put me off, at least in the sense that I decided never to use it in civilian life after discharge end of March 1978 again. The term is “jawohl”, though mostly barked out to sound like “jawoll!” (please remember that German J is pronounced like English Y, I had enough issues with that in my nine years in the US!). I have heard generation of young-‘uns in our company (and not just there) responding in the affirmative by using “jawohl”, and each time it has invariably raised the hackles on my neck. My affirmative has just as invariably been a simple “ja”.

      Perhaps relevant was the experience my wife and I had in the early 90s heading ultimately heading over to Ireland for a three-week vacation. This was the Rotterdam-to-Hull ferry leg, somewhat more than fourteen hours between embarkation in Rotterdam and debarkation in Hull. The announcements on the PA system of the ferry were (at least) in German and English. The German announcements started with “achtung bitte,” the British ones with “attention please”. Residues of WWII enmity or whatever cropped up when some Brits mocked the German announcements with drill instructor type barks of ach-TUNG!!! Yeah, right. I know what the corresponding barks in the English-speaking armies is (Monty Python’s writer-performers were brilliant at this, especially Graham Chapman and John Cleese): “’ten-SHUN!!!” We need to de-militarize our civilian language, maybe?

      A P.S. to this ferry ride. While sitting in the bar and enjoying my first (or so) Guinness, I overheard some guys talking. One of them had apparently just come back from military duty with the British forces in Bosnia. The guy was absolutely not happy about what he had experienced …

    • GK #160

      And my point was that had it been up to Islam to preserve the memory of Ibn Rushd, likely no one would know his name anymore.

      I still have to strongly argue with this. Religions don’t preserve science. Never have, never will. Cultures are not religions. There are many reasons why Muslims lost their cultural mojo and the memory of it. Relative impoverishment, no printing, the crusades, the edict that everything was know (religious!), the subsequent rewriting of their history by colonists in the nineteenth century.

      More to the point the Catholic Church banned Averroesm. Islam never did that. Scientists and a few interested scribes preserved science. They were often learned religious folk, but only because they had the languages and the leisure.

    • For Reckless and any others wanting to discuss Media and Journalism.

      This

      http://www.acsh.org/sites/default/files/ACSH-RCS%20infographic%20v8.jpg

      was a fairly recently published informed, expert but subjective assessment of science news journalism.

      I found myself in almost complete agreement on the placements, accuracy versus interestingness.

      In the same manner I wonder if we can agree some scores out of ten for accuracy (X) and interestingness (Y) in other areas of news and documentary-with-analysis reporting of say politics, social, cultural matters? (Best would be top right.)

      Politics/World Affairs.

      Al Jazzera English (X, Y)?

      BBC

      BBC World Service

      Russian TV RT

      MNBC

      Huff Po

      Wash Po

      WSJ

      NYT

      Fox News

      etc. etc.

    • Interesting that Slate was presented as slightly higher on the evidence based axis than the NY Times. Hmm.

    • https://www.change.org/p/comcast-broadcast-al-jazeera-english-now

      Are other news stations reporting this? Journalists everywhere must be feeling a need to speak up?

    • Ollie, thats six years old. After that AJA got started but then closed due to financial pressures.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Jazeera_America

      Laurie, the table is only related to science news reporting. The difference may be down to just one or two individuals, possibly?

    • Alan,

      From the main wiki page, which I urge all to read….

      “Some observers have argued that Al Jazeera has formidable authority as an opinion-maker. Noah Bonsey and Jeb Koogler, for example, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review, argue that the way in which the station covers any future Israeli-Palestinian peace deal could well determine whether or not that deal is actually accepted by the Palestinian public.[69]

      The channel’s tremendous popularity has also, for better or worse, made it a shaper of public opinion. Its coverage often determines what becomes a story and what does not, as well as how Arab viewers think about issues. Whether in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, or Syria, the stories highlighted and the criticisms aired by guests on Al Jazeera’s news programs have often significantly affected the course of events in the region.
      In Palestine, the station’s influence is particularly strong. Recent polling indicates that in the West Bank and Gaza, Al Jazeera is the primary news source for an astounding 53.4 percent of Palestinian viewers. The second and third most watched channels, Palestine TV and Al Arabiya, poll a distant 12.8 percent and 10 percent, respectively. The result of Al Jazeera’s market dominance is that it has itself become a mover and shaker in Palestinian politics, helping to craft public perceptions and influence the debate. This has obvious implications for the peace process: how Al Jazeera covers the deliberations and the outcome of any negotiated agreement with Israel will fundamentally shape how it is viewed—and, more importantly, whether it is accepted—by the Palestinian public.

    • Ollie, Laurie…. post missing briefly

      Alan,
      now two posts

    • Yeh soorry Phil. My mistake.

    • More bread to scatter on the water before starting.

      Al Jazeera treads the middle way of evidence and reason, better than very many. Here is AJ interviewing the ever articulate Maajid Nawaz.

    • Yeah, but Ollie, that problem you note remains.

      The US has terrible access to AJ. and, well, information about the world in general.

    • Agree Phil.

      Have posted another with four links all relative. Will be up once past the spam filter I hope.

    • Phil #179

      Like the video Phil. Comment about calling Egypt a Muslim country and point very important. The identity crisis of EU countries as well. Cameron’s disallusioned statement that the UK is a Christian country comes to mind. Where did th e pigeon holing start?

    • Phil
      Yes, I saw that the graphic presents science content.

      was a fairly recently published informed, expert but subjective assessment of science news journalism.

      “expert but subjective”. This makes me nervous. Surely this can be quantified (like everything else in existence) to achieve a result as close to objectivity as we possibly can. My Slate vs NY Times comment is a feeling, an impression because I have no explanation of the criteria used to create that graphic.

    • Dan
      I don’t find him to be irritating. I have been watching from the sidelines to see how his message has been received. What you perceive as pomposity I see as an assertive self confidence that given what his message is and who it is aimed at, he needs a truckload of it! He’s up against some frothing at the mouth fundamentalists and even the moderates of his religion who will view him as an absolute enemy of Islam who deserves to die painfully. He actually frightened me, for his sake, when I first noticed him out there in the marketplace of ideas. I don’t have half the guts this guy has. Here’s me hiding behind a computer screen and him out there using his own name in the middle of public crowds.

      He’s extremely important because he identifies as a Muslim and yet he advocates for moderation. When criticism comes from a group insider it’s powerful. I know you must feel this when you discuss issues with Jews. I feel this when I discuss Christianity with others, especially the mainline Protestants that being the church I grew up in. At least they can never say that I’m an outsider attacking them just to be mean. I feel I have the right to take the Protestants on and point out their ethical failures and bullshit scriptures. This is what Nawaz can do for the Muslims. Of course it needs to be said that a renegade ex-Methodist is in no danger whatsoever and a renegade Muslim is risking his/her life. That’s what Nawaz is about. He’s trying to lead and he needs all of the authority and resilience he can muster.

    • Dan

      Nawaz may be the one to save our bacon or at least a rasher or two. He at least has a political plan and has dedicated himself to doing something. Sam Harris and Ayan Hirsi Ali recognise this and have been persuaded that a broadened and re-invigorated moderate Muslim identity can improve the possibility of mass push-back against the bully Islamists…from within Islam. Sam and Maajid co-authored a book and Ali’s third has a radical change of tone as she sees the simple practicality of Maajid’s endeavour. Your indifference is irrelevant. Your endless well-poisoning and messenger shooting, (on the strength of suits!!!) though, is unwelcome.

      The graphic reflected my views on the publications pretty well, on both axes. People with a science degree can tell when a non science trained person writes about the stuff and gets it wrong. Interestingness is entirely subjective. It is a little surprising to find consensus. But, that makes it interesting! Nor is this science. It was entirely open handed. Its what you do to see how similar or different we are.

      To claim that there is no chance of usefully prioritising science journalism from inspection is value destroying pomo nonsense. Political journalism likewise, perhaps with a little more latitude needed. Read the Atlantic to see it done well.

      Do you have a list of great and greatish novels? Is it fatuous?

    • Dan

      Take some time away from the stinking media and all of the completely depressing news about D.C. and do something completely different tomorrow. I’m going to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum with my daughter tomorrow. We’ll have an extremely expensive lunch, gaze at some masterpieces and wonder at what her life was all about. We need to recharge sometimes. Art does that for me. I stand before these amazing creations and I think – the world is full of idiots, shitheads and psychopaths but then there’s this right here in front of me. How did a human create this?! It’s unbelievable! Everything that goes into the creation of a masterpiece. It’s elegant and parsimonious. Nothing is missing and nothing is superfluous about it. There is a mastery of the materials and a spontaneous expression that can never be imitated by another.

      Try to get some inspiration, Dan. We could be dealing with this state of affairs for three more years. Fortify yourself!

    • Hugo Jenks #195

      I agree that Angela Merkel’s decision (of which she has since repented) to let in hundreds of thousands of Middle Eastern migrants some two years ago was reckless, and that the problem of migrants and refugees from the Middle East needed to be dealt with by due process despite the immense numbers involved. It does not follow, however, that leaving the EU was necessary to protect one’s own country from an excessive influx of migrants. This is the faulty logic that misled too many Britons.

      When Mrs Merkel decided to let in all those migrants without due process, she overreached herself. If she expected other member-states to take a share of the migrants, she should have had their agreement first. For that reason Poland and Hungary have been within their rights to refuse to accept these migrants. Britain could have done likewise. That migrant crisis needed a joint EU decision-making process and action-plan, and the EU was found wanting even the ability to form such a process; which is to say that the problem is one about the constitution of the EU, not whether Britain should remain in the EU. Obviously, the EU still has some serious rethinking to do on how it can act as a coherent entity when faced with problems from outside. Britain has opted, rather inconsequently, to quit the EU altogether, instead of contributing to sorting out how to improve the EU for all its member-nations.

      The really sad part is that, in opting out of the EU, Britain has opted for worse conditions in commerce, finance, movement of people, research and a vast array of fields of co-operation than it enjoys at present as a member of the EU. Bear in mind that this is not the eighteenth or nineteenth century — there is no wide and savage world out there to colonize and exploit — Britain will not be able to bluff and bluster its way to prosperity and glory around the globe as it once did. It will have to negotiate with its neighbors near and far, and it will have to settle for less than it has at present. Where else will it find an open market of more than 500 million people?

      But what do I know? I live on the opposite side of the planet to Europe. I am just sorry to see Britain shooting itself in the foot like this.

    • Garrick #198
      Jul 30, 2017 at 7:24 am

      But what do I know? I live on the opposite side of the planet to Europe. I am just sorry to see Britain shooting itself in the foot like this.

      Perhaps like those of us at a distance from the USA, who do not have the “benefit” of being fed Republican/Trump junk via Faux-Noose, Dimbart, and InfoWhores, you may have missed out on the constant UK barrage of Europhobic brexiteer pseudo-knowledge headlines, from The Daily Wail, The Daily Express, and The Sun which I see on news stands almost every day!

    • Alan@197

      That raises the issue of the other massive failing of UK (and allied)
      governments, in GENERATING a massive refugee problem, by reducing
      middle-east and African states to chaotic lawless civil wars, by
      reckless military adventures, in clueless attempts at “regime change”
      in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya!

      Alan, this is nonsense. You know very well that the primary problem with Middle Eastern regimes is that they have been run by dictatorships largely unloved and resented by their populations. In the Syria case for example Bashar al-Assad is from a minority Alawite sect which has repressed the largely Sunni population for decades (i.e. also by his father before him) and once the Arab Spring was initiated from Tunisia the people of Syria took their chance to try and topple him by instigating a popular uprising which, with hindsight, has proved disastrous!

      http://www.iamsyria.org/conflict-background.html

      Similarly with Libya being governed by the evil dictator Ghadafi. In this case the ‘crime’ that you allude to for the western powers was in their desire to hasten his downfall in order to try and establish a more democratic system for Libya. Again, with wonderful hindsight, this was utterly naive because of the all pervading influence of Islam in the Middle East and the desire by many in that region to install repressive theocracies instead, something wholly perplexing for western governments to understand in general.

      The majority of UK Muslims are a residue from the British Empire and
      Commonwealth migrations, and have NOTHING to do with the EU!

      They come from Pakistan, Bangladesh. Somalia, and India!

      This is obviously true! But the fact that Merkel was so very quick to welcome with open arms thousands of Syrian refugees which, by implication, could by choice have moved across Europe and settled in the UK because of open borders, was a worrying factor in adopting the Brexit choice for many Brits at the time of the referendum.

    • Erol

      A bit old, you may say, but a solution to a massive problem……

      http://uk.businessinsider.com/r-in-ageing-germany-refugees-seen-as-tomorrows-skilled-workers-2015-9

    • Erol #200
      Jul 30, 2017 at 8:26 am

      Alan, this is nonsense. You know very well that the primary problem with Middle Eastern regimes is that they have been run by dictatorships largely unloved and resented by their populations.

      It is not nonsense at all!
      The peoples of Libya, Syria and even Iraq, were far better off under Gaddafi, Saddam, and Assad’s rules of law, which were repressive, but effective in keeping the jihadist fanatics in order and allowing most citizens to get on with their lives.
      It was the stupid notion that some sort of western democracy would work in these cultures, and had to be imposed from outside by clandestine foreign interests, along with propaganda campaigns, installing corrupt pro-western, anti-Russian, puppet governments, while grabbing oil resources by using foreign funding, of weapons for rebels, military intervention, and corporate slush-funds, that was the problem.

      It is because of foreign backing of different foreign powers for conflicting rebel groups, that the civil wars over whose puppet government will be installed, have persisted for so long!
      Meanwhile the locals have spent years dodging bullets and bombs in war-zones, and some of them are looking for revenge on the people who are orchestrating this! No surprise really! The most dedicated and persistent are the religious fanatics who think martyrdom brings eternal bliss. No surprise there either!

      Like Bush sending US troops to chase all over Afghanistan looking for Bin Laden when he was actually in Pakistan, – not to mention Bush flying his guests and business associates – the Bin Laden family, back home out of the USA after the 9/11 attacks and then attacking Iraq! – The levels of destructive interfering incompetence beggars belief!

    • Olgun @201

      I’m not making a judgment on whether a large refugee intake into the UK would ultimately be beneficial or not, simply that it was something that could have been forced on the UK without the indigenous population’s – or indeed UK government’s – acceptance.

    • Erol #200
      Jul 30, 2017 at 8:26 am

      This is obviously true! But the fact that Merkel was so very quick to welcome with open arms thousands of Syrian refugees which, by implication, could by choice have moved across Europe and settled in the UK because of open borders,

      The EU rule on asylum seekers is clear!

      A European regulation allows a country such as the UK to return an adult asylum seeker to the first European country they reached. This means that countries on the edge of Europe have responsibility for a lot more asylum seekers than others.

      So once again this is brexiteer scaremongering fantasy!

      was a worrying factor in adopting the Brexit choice for many Brits at the time of the referendum.

      . . . . And like so many other brexiteer fantasies, pseudo-solutions to non-problems, fake pseudo-solutions to real problems, and blaming Europe for UK political failures, reckless cost cutting, dereliction of government responsibilities, – months after deciding to LEAP BEFORE WE LOOK, Theresa May has finally set up an investigation into positive and negative effects on the UK of leaving the EU – but it is not due to report until after we have left! When it come to the levels of clueless incompetence and fantasy-finance of brexiteers, they are so farcical you couldn’t make it up!
      (Yes I know! – THEY DID – and the readers of the SUN, Express and Mail, swallowed it, hook, line and sinker!)
      Most who voted “leave”, still don’t know what they voted for leaving! (European Court(s), EU, European Customs Union, ESA ?) – Or where they will land if we do leave! (WTO rules).

    • Alan@202

      The peoples of Libya, Syria and even Iraq, were far better off under
      Gaddafi, Saddam, and Assad’s rules of law, which were repressive, but
      effective in keeping the jihadist fanatics in order and allowing most
      citizens to get on with their lives.

      Yes, this is true enough – but it’s only because of the benefit of hindsight that you can declare this!! Do you think that that the people of Syria went to war against Assad in order for the current disastrous situation to prevail? No, of course not – they tried to achieve a better life for themselves, free from the repression that existed! in a normal situation the forces of good will eventually overcome those of evil, as it did in WWII! Unfortunately it’s taking much longer for the Syrians to achieve their goal. The rise of the jihadists and of ISIS in particular could not have been predicted beforehand, and your proclamations from the benefit of hindsight are really of little worth.

    • Alan@204

      The EU rule on asylum seekers is clear!

      A European regulation allows a country such as the UK to return an
      adult asylum seeker to the first European country they reached. This
      means that countries on the edge of Europe have responsibility for a
      lot more asylum seekers than others.

      Ha Ha! Try telling that to the Greeks and Italians who are desperate for asylum seekers and economic migrants – some of whom are posing as asylum seekers – to move on further into Europe because they’re finding it so difficult to cope!

    • Erol #205
      Jul 30, 2017 at 9:50 am

      Yes, this is true enough – but it’s only because of the benefit of hindsight that you can declare this!!

      Not really! I was critical of the actions at the times they were initiated!

      Do you think that that the people of Syria went to war against Assad in order for the current disastrous situation to prevail?

      No! They rebelled against Assad because they were conned by propagandists, just like the supporters of brexiteers are in the UK and Trump supporters in the US. The foreign powers who were clandestinely arming dissenting factions within the populations were running fanciful propaganda stories about an “Arab Spring”, for consumption by gullible Arabs and their European and US populations.

      No, of course not – they tried to achieve a better life for themselves, free from the repression that existed!

      That was the false dream they were sold, but civil wars rarely end like that! The stories are “glorious” but that is only because they are written by the victors who end up in power and write the stories!

      in a normal situation the forces of good will eventually overcome those of evil, as it did in WWII!

      Thousands died in dire circumstances because of arguments between politicians of little merit!

      I think the Polish perspective on WW2 sums it up! In the beginning Britain entered WW2 to “save Poland from Hitler” – and at the end of WW2 after much bloodshed, it “handed Poland over to Stalin”!

      Somehow, I think the Poles were less than impressed!

      Meanwhile, after making huge profits from selling arms to both sides, the USA joined in to participate in defeating Germany – after its ally Japan attacked Peal Harbour!

    • Alan@208

      No! They rebelled against Assad because they were conned by
      propagandists, just like the supporters of brexiteers are in the UK
      and Trump supporters in the US. The foreign powers who were
      clandestinely arming dissenting factions within the populations were
      running fanciful propaganda stories about an “Arab Spring”, for
      consumption by gullible Arabs and their European and US populations.

      What is your evidence for any of this!? Just saying it’s so doesn’t make it true!

      I myself am a Brexiteer in outlook and I can assure you that I was not swayed by any propaganda. I can claim that you are vehemently anti-Brexit because of the opposite propaganda that has impacted upon you! It’s a very easy claim to make!

    • Erol #205
      Jul 30, 2017 at 9:50 am

      Alan@202

      Yes, this is true enough – but it’s only because of the benefit of hindsight that you can declare this!!

      Not really! I was critical of of these decisions at the time they were first implemented!

      Do you think that that the people of Syria went to war against Assad in order for the current disastrous situation to prevail?

      No! They were sold fanciful propagandist dreams! – rather like the supporters of brexit and the supporters of Trump!

      No, of course not – they tried to achieve a better life for themselves, free from the repression that existed! in a normal situation the forces of good will eventually overcome those of evil,

      These are just glorious fairy stories about war – written by the winners who achieve power and wealth.
      Civil wars and colonial wars mainly generate losers who suffer, die, and lose the lands, homes, possessions, families and communities!

      as it did in WWII!

      Perhaps a more realistic view of WW2 comes from a Polish perspective!

      Britain entered WW2 to “save Poland from Hitler” and at the end of WW2, handed Poland over to Stalin!

      I think the Poles were less than impressed!

      In WW2 American – after profiting from selling weapons to both sides, joined in to defeat Germany after its ally Japan attacked Pear Harbour!

      Both America and Russia collected as much German advanced military equipment as they could as spoils of war!

    • Alan@208(amended)

      France says it plans to set up “hotspots” in Libya to process asylum
      seekers, in a bid to stem the flow of migrants to Europe. President
      Emmanuel Macron said the move would stop people not eligible for
      asylum from “taking crazy risks”. The centres would be ready “this
      summer”.

      Yawn – I’ll believe it when I see it! The EU elite have been issuing these sorts of high-minded statements for some months now but nothing ever happens!

    • Alan@210

      These are just glorious fairy stories about war – written by the
      winners who achieve power and wealth.

      And this is an astonishingly cynical viewpoint from someone whose freedom to express his current views is owed to the many who fought and died against the tyranny of the Nazis during the same war!

    • Erol #211

      This could be the alternative!

      https://www.ft.com/content/c5197e60-b2fc-11e6-9c37-5787335499a0

      Immigration wars is not new. Think back to Calais. Countries offloading onto one another. The mess has to be cleaned up by those responsible.

    • Olgun@213

      I’m not a subscriber to the FT so cannot view the link unfortunately.

    • Alan@215

      Are you unaware of the various conflicting armed militias in Syria and
      who their foreign sponsors are? To suggest that there was some unity
      of purpose in the rebellions in Syria is utter naivety!

      You are again arguing from a position of knowledge after the event! The initial uprising in Syria occurred spontaneously from earlier events that occurred in Tunisia without any evidence of Western interference or support so why impute that there was any? The West admittedly played a part in bringing the downfall of Ghadafi but couldn’t foresee the after effects caused by ensuing Islamist fervour. The West’s failing in this regard was naivety but that is the sum total in my view.

      Perhaps you could list any brexiteer claims which are evidence rather
      than made-up propaganda based!

      The end result of the Brexit negotiations is yet to be defined because – by definition – the two sides have to agree on terms favourable to BOTH. Hence, this is akin to a chess game whose likely conclusion will be a draw. Because everything is up for negotiation the notions of ‘evidence’ or ‘propaganda’ are meaningless. The UK wishes to achieve certain end points – we will have to wait and see whether these are ultimately achieved.

      Canada recently negotiated a trade deal with the EU. It took SEVEN
      YEARS!

      One could argue that because the UK has been a member already that the time taken to achieve a result will be much quicker. Remember that it’s also very much in the interests of the EU to achieve a quick settlement, so we will just have to wait and see how things pan out!

    • Alan@217

      Most of those victims of WW2 who fought or died from effects of war
      were Russian, and Chinese.

      Both these countries were seriously impoverished before the war anyway, so there wasn’t any good prospect of quickly gaining social and economic progress following it. The Russian people have only risen in this regard following the collapse of Communist rule in 1989 and the Chinese by the more recent adoption of capitalist economic modes of development!

    • Yeh sorry about that Erol. I’m not a member either but it opened for me???

      It was about Erdogan threatening to let loose 3M refugees.

    • Olgun@221

      Olgun I managed to open the link – I had signed up for the FT ages ago (but forgot) so it was expecting me to do this before opening the link.

      However the article you linked is dated November 25th 2016 so it’s not relevant now. I’d like to see Erdogan try this now after apparently receiving billions of Euros for causing a halt to the migration!

    • Alan – just saw your comment 222.

      Will reply tomorrow since am now shutting down for the evening.

      Cheers.

    • Alan@222

      None of the events in Libya, or Syria were “spontaneous”!

      From: http://www.iamsyria.org/conflict-background.html

      The unrest in Syria was started alongside a string of revolutions in the middle east, known as the Arab Spring. Unrest in Syria began when residents in the small Syrian town of Dara’a, took to the streets to protest the torture of young boys, who put up anti-government graffiti on their school building. President Assad responded with heavy-handed force, causing demonstrations to quickly spread across the country.

      Up to this point in March 2011, President Bashar al-Assad had been ruling over the Syrian people with an iron fist. After the initial protest in March 2011, President Assad started to crackdown on the demonstrations across the country. In April 2011, he began to send tanks into cities and having regime forces open fire on civilians.

      As Assad’s military forces continued to crack down on demonstrations through the summer of 2011, thousands of regime soldiers began to break away from the government to launch attacks against them. As the opposition grew stronger, the United Nations warned Syria was on the verge of a civil war and called for immediate action.

      In August 2011, the Syrian National Council (SNC) was formed to fight the Syrian government. Their goal was to end President Assad’s rule and establish a modern democratic state. Unfortunately the opposition was a fractious collection of political groups, longtime exiles, grass-roots organizers and armed militants, divided along ideological, ethnic or sectarian lines.

      Ethical divisions in Syria also play a pivotal role in the conflict. The Assad family, and much of the nation’s elite, especially the military, belong to the Alawite sect, a minority in a mostly Sunni country. While the Assad government has the advantage of crushing firepower and units of loyal, elite troops, the insurgents should not be underestimated. They are highly motivated and, over time, demographics should tip in their favor. Alawites constitute about 12 percent of the 23 million Syrians. Sunni Muslims, the opposition’s backbone, make up about 75 percent of the population.

    • Alan@225

      You talk as if this is a negotiation between equals! The rules are in
      place and the EU negotiators have spelt it out that they will not even
      talk about new trade deals until the matters of the rights of EU
      citizens, borders, and payments of agreed UK contributions to the EU
      budget, have been met!

      It is more equal than you currently imagine!

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/europe-more-at-risk-from-hard-financial-brexit-than-uk-says-mark-carney-a7521861.html

      The European Union is at greater risk than the UK if the two parties are unable to agree a financial transition phase for the City of London after Brexit in 2019, the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has warned.

      The rest of your comments in 225 are largely based upon the false notion that the UK is analogous to a fly irritating an elephant’s bottom! I do not subscribe to such a view!! Who is eventually correct will become apparent in due course. We are clearly diametrically opposed with our respective outlooks on this matter, and I suggest we cease further needless discussion until things become much clearer on the Brexit front.

    • Alan@228

      Ethical divisions in Syria also play a pivotal role in the conflict.
      Is this a typo? I think you mean “ethnic divisions” or religious
      divisions.

      If you look you will see that what I’ve posted is lifted directly from the iamsyria.org website so it will have been their typo (which I hadn’t noticed!)

      The point that is being made is that the uprising was a spontaneous event that followed the initial torture of the young boys who put up anti-government graffiti on their school building. Everything else that followed was subject to the additional forces that impacted upon the country, mostly for the worse.

      I accept your point that al-Assad is the lesser of two evils when it comes to now taking into account the jihadists that have mushroomed in the country since those early days, and my view is that he shouldn’t be pushed off from his perch anytime soon. He will, unfortunately, still have to have role in running the country otherwise the jihadists will run amok!

    • Erol #230
      Jul 31, 2017 at 6:56 am

      I accept your point that al-Assad is the lesser of two evils when it comes to now taking into account the jihadists that have mushroomed in the country since those early days,
      and my view is that he shouldn’t be pushed off from his perch anytime soon.
      He will, unfortunately, still have to have role in running the country
      otherwise the jihadists will run amok!

      I am glad we are in agreement on that, although it has been my view that this should be been anticipated, (based on population analysis) before incompetent foreign interventions took place!

      Unfortunately various other foreign powers have different agendas, and are still working towards their own plans for puppet regimes.

    • Alan@233

      ….although it has been my view that this should be been
      anticipated….before incompetent foreign interventions took place

      But what evidence is there for ‘foreign interventions’ to have initiated the Syrian conflict??? These came later when everyone with their own selfish interests flocked in!

    • Olgun@234

      Yes, potential gas pipelines will also be a factor to consider for the greedy, self-interested external players of the Syrian disaster. But this doesn’t detract from my original point which was that the instigation of the violence in the country was brought about via a popular uprising directed against al-Assad’s dictatorship.

    • Erol #237
      Jul 31, 2017 at 10:54 am

      But this doesn’t detract from my original point which was that the instigation of the violence in the country was brought about via a popular uprising directed against al-Assad’s dictatorship.

      Popular uprisings don’t just happen! Sensationalist media campaigns, plotters, and conspiring groups, foreign intelligence agencies, and corporate mercenaries, plan them over periods of months or years. To be nationwide, they need funding and organisation – which may, or may not, originate in the same country!

    • Alan@238

      Popular uprisings don’t just happen!

      Yes, they can – if the impetus stems from years of sustained resentment from dictatorial rule which is then ignited by an outrageous act such as the torture of the two boys as mentioned in the link that I gave. Your suggested scenario is also feasible but there’s no evidence that there was any pre-planning in this particular instance.

    • Erol #239
      Aug 1, 2017 at 4:58 am

      Popular uprisings don’t just happen!

      Yes, they can – if the impetus stems from years of sustained resentment from dictatorial rule
      which is then ignited by an outrageous act such as
      the torture of the two boys as mentioned in the link that I gave.

      . . . and yet with regular canings with hundreds of lashings, and executions, there is no popular uprising in Saudi Arabia! – or in other places where torture is a regular occurrence?

      Your suggested scenario is also feasible but there’s no evidence that there was any pre-planning in this particular instance.

      Would you really expect there to be readily available evidence of foreign intelligence agency clandestine operations to place agents and agitators in other countries?

      Are you aware of the number of ruthless dictators who came to power as a result of CIA anti-“communist”operations in South and Central America? or the number of rogue regimes, which resulted from commercial corruption, or failed attempts at revolutionary regime change? (Iran-Contra – British Empire set-up of Saudi Arabia)

      The KGB set up quite a few puppet regimes in Eastern Europe too after WW2!

    • Alan@240

      ….and yet with regular canings with hundreds of lashings, and
      executions, there is no popular uprising in Saudi Arabia! – or in
      other places where torture is a regular occurrence?

      Evidently the Syrian people – who I would consider to be more westernized than Saudis – were more inclined to overcome their dictatorial regime!

      Would you really expect there to be readily available evidence of
      foreign intelligence agency clandestine operations to place agents and
      agitators in other countries?

      No, I wouldn’t. But the course of events in the early days of the Syrian uprising as I’ve just described above ring true for me personally, so there’s no reason to consider foreign conspiracy involvement in this particular case. However, I can understand how someone who’s more conspiracy minded such as yourself would wish to choose this latter option even though there’s no evidence to support it. Just because such foreign intervention has been discovered to have occurred in the past, it doesn’t therefore mean that ALL attempts to dethrone despised despots are dependent upon them.

    • Erol #241
      Aug 1, 2017 at 6:00 am

      Would you really expect there to be readily available evidence of
      foreign intelligence agency clandestine operations to place agents and agitators in other countries?

      No, I wouldn’t. But the course of events in the early days of the Syrian uprising as I’ve just described above ring true for me personally, so there’s no reason to consider foreign conspiracy involvement in this particular case.

      This really does look like pure wish-thinking on your part!

      However, I can understand how someone who’s more conspiracy minded such as yourself would wish to choose this latter option even though there’s no evidence to support it.

      I think you mean I am more streetwise about the reality of clandestine operations and political conflicts!

      There is plenty of evidence , but it is not blatantly obvious to the casual observer, or the readers of popular tabloid newspapers!

      Spontaneous up-risings from demonstrations by the unprepared and unsupported, are normally put down in a matter of days!

      Army mutinies and civil uprisings, take hundreds or thousands of people and months of planning if those involved don’t wish to rapidly face death in shoot-outs, beatings from riot police, trial in establishment courts, or later court-martial!
      I would suggest a look at the recent situation in Turkey would illustrate this!

    • Alan@242

      This really does look like pure wish-thinking on your part!….I think
      you mean I am more streetwise about the reality of clandestine
      operations and political conflicts!

      We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one Alan. I read into your ‘streetwise’ as being overly cynical I’m afraid.

      I would suggest a look at the recent situation in Turkey would
      illustrate this!

      Being ethnically Turkish I have been following events in Turkey with great interest!! Erdogan has over the last several years replaced secular generals with his own Islamist leaning ones, so the coup attempt over there last year was doomed to fail. That may not have been a bad thing, since if successful it could have led to a civil war rivaling that of Syria’s because Erdogan has a strong 51% backing by the people. Nevertheless Erdogan’s rule is now far too authoritarian and something will have to give at some point to alleviate this. What this may be, I’m not sure. Perhaps a trade embargo by the EU, since relations with the EU are also rapidly dropping?

    • Erol

      The best report I have read so far. Explains the water/gas pipe from Turkey to Cyprus which could provide water to the Gulf states as well. A good exchange?

      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2013/aug/30/syria-chemical-attack-war-intervention-oil-gas-energy-pipelines

    • Olgun – interesting article. But it still doesn’t provide actual evidence that direct foreign intervention initiated the Syrian civil war.

    • Here’s a very interesting web link of great relevance to our one:

      http://islam-science.net/islamic-theological-views-on-darwinian-evolution-3888/#

      This is a long article but the conclusions listed at the end include these:

      The debates around evolution have not subsided among Muslim scholars, intellectuals, and educated people. The fast growth and advancement of education in the Muslim world over the last half century, coupled with the spread of a globalized culture through the internet and satellite TV channels, in particular, has brought the issue of evolution (and to a lesser extent other topics at the interface of science and religion) to the center of the discussions. More and more Muslims now express their conviction that evolution is a true fact of nature and the current theory is largely correct, and most of them find it totally compatible with their Islamic beliefs. However, a large majority of Muslims, from both the general public and the elite, including the religious scholarly community, still reject the theory, either partially (for humans) or totally; in fact, in many instances (as we have seen) harsh fatwas are issued against the acceptance of evolution.

      More education is needed to bridge this divide. First, it is important to dispel myths and misconceptions about evolution, particularly the widespread idea of “humans descended from monkey”. Secondly, it is important to explain to any audience (school pupils, university students, educated readers, Muslim scholars) that evolution is not necessarily a materialistic theory; it is not an ideological proposition; it is indeed a fully scientific hypothesis/theory, and tons of work have been and continue to be performed around its various aspects, including the experimental/observational evidence. Most importantly, while the facts of evolution must not be disputed, the theory that explains them must continue to be improved, and the philosophical and theological interpretation of evolution can easily be theistic (for believers). Thirdly, it is often useful to provide names and quotes of great Muslim scholars and thinkers who discussed the idea of evolution in the natural world and/or for humans, both in the classical age of Islam and in modern times. Finally, theological arguments must be addressed to alleviate the serious concerns that many Muslims have on the issues I have outlined above.

      By Nidhal Guessoum, American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.*

    • Erol replied 2 weeks ago

      Alan@247

      They were emboldened by the Arab uprisings sweeping through the
      region. But in this conservative monarchy, dissent is rarely
      tolerated.

      I’m not sure of the point you’re making with this link. The Saudis have acted to stop an uprising in their eastern Shia district just as al-Assad’s forces were quick on the scene to try and quell the Sunni uprising in their domain.

    • Erol replied 2 weeks ago

      To all:

      The post #246 above was submitted by me yesterday but for some reason has only been accepted now.

    • However, I can understand how someone who’s more conspiracy minded
      such as yourself would wish to choose this latter option even though
      there’s no evidence to support it.

      Alan,

      Why do you think UKIP is a supported party (I don´t recall your exact words nor will I look for it to transcript, it seemed to me some theory of conspirancy).

    • Erol replied 2 weeks ago

      Alan@250

      Theistic evolution, is NOT science. It is an attempt to present
      theology as science by those who find the ignorance fundamentalism an
      embarrassment, but who still wish to cling to their indoctrinated
      beliefs of humans as the central feature of the universe run by
      big-daddy.

      I totally agree with you! Nevertheless the fact that someone from the Emirates has broached the topic on an Islam based website is positive in my view, since it could represent a first attempt to enlighten those who are only moderately opposed to evolution in principle. The reforming of Islam will take a long time and needs to start somewhere. Reason will eventually prevail. (Hopefully)

    • Erol #252
      Aug 3, 2017 at 10:55 am

      I totally agree with you! Nevertheless the fact that someone from the Emirates has broached the topic on an Islam based website is positive in my view, since it could represent a first attempt to enlighten those who are only moderately opposed to evolution in principle.

      It is an educational problem of trying to overcome the indoctrinated bigoted ignorance!
      “Theistic evolution” (evolutionary creationism), is junk, but at the same time we do not want to discourage those who are beginning to learn or wish to learn.
      Nobody will ever understand genetics or the mechanisms of Natural Selection, from theistic evolution!

      Evolution has no “guided purpose of creating human worshippers of god(s)”, and in fact has no purposes, aims, or objectives, at all! Organisms replicate because they can – or fail and die.

      However, unless they are encouraged to learn in small steps, they will never learn at all!
      Fortunately when organisations like the Vatican say [their fudged] evolution is acceptable to believers, the REAL science gets taught in Catholic school science departments, and the god-did-it junk, gradually fades from the indoctrinated minds as the new generation learns real science!

    • Alan@253

      ………..the REAL science gets taught in Catholic school science
      departments, and the god-did-it junk, gradually fades from the
      indoctrinated minds as the new generation learns real science!

      That’s precisely what is needed for Islam! Did you notice that evolution is no longer to be taught in Turkish schools (up to a certain age) because children are deemed too young to learn the ‘controversial subject’. This will now be delayed until undergraduate study – i.e. presumably until after their initial indoctrination of religious nonsense! I despair for Turkey currently.

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/turkey-evolution-secondary-school-education-national-curriculum-recep-tayyip-erdogan-regime-a7804016.html

    • Dan,

      Phil, I realize that they are also the dispossessed. I can’t decide whether they deserve compassion and understanding or contempt.

      Your concern is always for the moral. (This issue is complex as the abused nearly always transition into abusers to normalise their experience.)

      I need to know they are the dispossessed to fix things politically. Compassion is bred (as I have pointed out in a number of psychological experiments and the simple numbers of things like “The Spirit Level”.) Indeed compassion breeds compassion.

      I picked a fight elsewhere a day or two ago with the observation “Fucking punitive Americans”. I think this a national characteristic that particularly affects those in the USA and right across the political spectrum. (I think the roots of it are deep and wide and cultivated. Hyper individualism, the myth of the omni-competent individual, plus insecurity, keeps you conquerable.) Everyone is fearful and judgemental as all hell of others.

      This pressing need for judgement, I contend stands in the way of actually fixing the problem. Repossession of the dispossessed (even if they have become abusers; even if it means treating them generously) is the more moral path, because it fixes things for generations to come. The young deserve nothing of this.

    • Dan #261
      Aug 4, 2017 at 3:53 pm

      “The free market will take care of everything.”
      Kind of like religion in a lot of ways.

      Surely in New York, you have seen its cathedrals, high priests, and televangelists!

      Those towering corporate head-office buildings are unmistakable!

    • Dan #263
      Aug 4, 2017 at 4:15 pm

      @link -Now look at what the Koch brothers have been advocating!

      A true recipe for a third world state with a puppet government driven by corruption and corporate slush-funds!

    • Dan,

      You were right to flip to the open thread. from the other, which is where I responded without seeing this.

      I’ll carry on here.

      Incidentally, no “transcendence” in your example…

    • You don’t share my fondness for Wilde’s use of Christian imagery and symbolism, Phil?

      He invokes an obscenity.

      Heathcliff…. sob. He’s so much more her than she is

      Exactly not.

    • So the question is, come August the eleventh will we get a new Open Thread to switch to? This would keep the threads individually manageable.

      This one has done reasonably well and may reach 300 comments. Traffic generally appears better.

    • Dan,

      Sorry I completely misread what you wrote in ” He’s so much more (her) than she is.”

      “My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I’m well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Healthcliff! He’s always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.”

      It is not possible for a Victorian Vicars daughter to escape religious vocabulary and tropes but she very much is striving for something non-ethereal, with the immediacy of her own existence.

    • Phil, 268

      So the question is, come August the eleventh will we get a new Open
      Thread to switch to? This would keep the threads individually
      manageable.

      Yes, we’re happy with the way the open thread has worked so far. For the sake of clarity, we’ll leave it until 1st Sept to set up the new thread (labeled Open Discussion: September 2017), and then do it monthly from then, always assuming it continues to work well.

      The mods

    • Mod.

      Makes perfect sense. And thank you.

    • Prime Minister Theresa May has said: “No deal is better than a bad deal.”

      Is it actually possible that Britain may find itself with a deal worse than “no deal” (which means World Trade Organization rules)? What can Theresa May mean by such a sentence? This seems to be no more than an expression of her own muddlemindedness or, worse, dishonest obfuscation.

      However one looks at the United Kingdom’s options, there can be no deal as good as the one it already has as a member of the European Union. Governments are elected to govern for the common good. Despite the outcome of the referendum, which, by a very slim margin and because of a campaign of misinformation and scaremongering, favored leaving the European Union, the members of Parliament should now do what is manifestly in the interests of the common good of the United Kingdom: disregard the referendum result as injurious to the nation’s interests, cancel the triggering of Article 50, and reaffirm the United Kingdom’s membership in the European Union. If some voters object, too bad. Theirs is not the responsibility of governing. The referendum was not binding on Parliament, and rule by referendum is not democratic government but mob rule. The initial and remaining problem in this case seems to be the lack of principle and integrity, the irresponsibility and the spineless self-serving of British parliamentarians.

    • Garrick #273
      Aug 5, 2017 at 10:49 am

      Prime Minister Theresa May has said: “No deal is better than a bad deal.”

      Is it actually possible that Britain may find itself with a deal worse than “no deal” (which means World Trade Organization rules)?

      I suppose the UK could get no deal, WTO Rules, AND a bill from other people, for all the wasted effort and resources, which are being put into negotiations of the brexiteer’s “no-plan fantasies”!

      The pound and investment have already been significantly down-graded, because of the uncertainty and lack of confidence, caused fumbling political ideological idiots, who seem incapable of formulating any coherent plan, but keep chanting, “Brexit means brexit” – and – “Respect the (stupidity of the dishonest con-artists’) referendum”!
      Some businesses are already relocating to other countries.

    • Alan, (on comment 250)

      I´m glad that someone made it clear here. I really appreciate your comment 250, as far as i´ve been participating in the same kind of discussion on different disperse threads here on RDF (not available to link to anymore i´m afraid).

    • Dan,

      Put an answer to your last post on the Pensacola thread. I should have put it here. (We con’t need to distract the flow of other threads any longer. I’m going to try and kick the habit.)

      I’ll be back on the literary criticism here tomorrow. Its one of my favourite things to debate with you. Thank goodness we have different tastes….

      The Christian story is a cheap conning obscenity. Christ had a bad weekend for our “sins”. Not my sins. Not as protracted and bad a time as my dad had. Eternal Life? I’m not built for it. Such hyperinflation cheapens everything.

    • Yes Phil, and now I’m thinking about my own list of sins and wondering why I didn’t sin even more delicious sins since I had a ready and waiting scapegoat all good to go…so convenient.

    • Laurie, Dan,

      I would question the depth of anyone who would insist that it is without meaning.

      Shallow Phil here. I can see how it would work a thousand years ago, but not now. As someone brought up entirely free and clear of anyone I respected telling me this was significant, the allegory of Christ’s life has meant nothing much. A sacrifice that involves a few days dead then back to heaven, had me at WTF at eight.

      The two most religious people in my life were the two Head mistresses of my primary/junior school. Miss Lenham (we said Lemon…we couldn’t hear the difference) and later Miss Lyons. The first dotty and sweet the latter fierce and obsessed with pronunciation. (…with dismal store-is, His strength the more is…)

      These were not clever people. I was occasionally taken by the teacher to see them to show off my knowledge of this or that. I knew they had nothing for me in return.

      The most I got from these folk was a discovery of Christina Rossetti, In the Bleak Mid-Winter… and Blake. Poetry started to work. And around nine I realised I had mysterious buttons inside me. Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone…(I was transported in moments to something unpleasant yet wonderful.) DARE (shudder)frame thy fearful symmetry. I was more complicated than I thought.

      Later I got exactly this

      the simple palpable idiocy of religion.

      Religiously inspired art was always utterly empty for me. The stories they depicted useless nonsense. The music, however was sublime. The masses and Passions of all of the greats, but also the wild stuff of the Glagolitic Mass, the quirky Petite Misse Solonelle, impossibly sweet Faure, shuddery Penderecki, Peasant/Primitive Orff, sublime Hildegard von Bingen, all just stuffed to the gunnels with music that could transport me wherever my imagination wanted to go.

      The first positive encounter I had with “religion”, I didn’t know it. My neighbour was a history lecturer. A sweet and clever man who was a Quaker and father to my home friends. I loved his library. History, poetry, philosophy, it was an unsuspected literary world about people. I found it fascinating and mysterious, not my books of wonder at all, nor my inherited library of Sci Fi. At eleven he got the just unbanned Lady Chatterly’s Lover. Over several months of discreet reading (I don’t think he knew), it answered a lot of questions and confirmed not a few hypotheses I had formed some topological but others emotional. Grown ups had all sorts of problems to contend with. We had a few simple discussions (though at the time they seemed impossibly profound) about the struggle to live well with others that very possibly started me off on this best of all possible problems to tackle. Not one hint of Christ, because none pertained. None ever has.

    • I’m not against the use of biblical and other religious narratives. I often use versions of eden, banishment and knowledge because there is some sort of insight in it.

      The Jesus story is execrable for all its few moments of moral modernity. Eternal life an appalling, morally poisoning bribe.

      Mailer was very astute….

      Monty Python was not for entertainment but simply to evidence my own experience. It felt exactly like that.

    • Brian spoke more morally, less coercively without tricks and promises and threats.

      Think for yourselves.

      Our very success is the result of a mutualism with great diversity. Religion squashes our varieties of speech, our varieties of concerns, our varieties of aspirations.

    • Dan,

      The Jesus story is such a contrived thing and carries such baggage, fulfilling prophecy, scapegoating ancient heritable (!) crimes, risen again this day in heaven, swapping the burden of original sin (too obvious coercion) for the sleek subtle coercion of a debt of gratitude, yet still to be repaid… and all for a free $500 BDSM suspension….

      A nobler story is the individual tortured to death whose continued silence saves a village say, and whose suffering and death are quiet and ill perceived. There are, ostensibly, far better souls than Christ’s.

    • Phil@290

      The Jesus story is such a contrived thing…..

      Tacitus, the famous Roman historian, apparently refers to him:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacitus_on_Christ

    • Just an FYI for those interested, Richard Dawkins will be on Real Time with Bill Maher this coming Friday evening (7.11.17).

    • Erol #291
      Tacitus, the famous Roman historian, apparently refers to him [Christ]:

      Apparently, but not really.

      The key passage in the Testimonium Taciteum — “Christ, the author of this name [Chrestians (mentioned in the previous sentence)] was executed by the procurator Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius” — contains the only mention of Christ in Tacitus’s work. This passage is now regarded by most historians as an interpolation in a passage where Tacitus is referring to the followers of the Jewish instigator Chrestus first suppressed under Claudius (as reported by Suetonius, who, significantly, had no knowledge of a scapegoating of Christians for the fire in Rome in 64 CE). Tacitus wrote this part of his Annals around the year 116 CE, but this interpolation in it is not known until some time after the middle of the fourth century. The documentary evidence is so scant, however, that no certainty can be had on these points. The strongest indications that the cited passage was interpolated by a later scribe is in the textual analysis, the three main points of which are the discrepancy of vowels between ‘Chrestians’ and ‘Christ’, the absence of any mention of blame for the Neronian fire in Rome on Christians in reports by Pliny the Elder and Suetonius, and the disturbance of the flow and balance of the sentence (uncharacteristic of Tacitus’s writing) that results from the presence of this passage.

      If the passage generally thought to have been inserted later is in fact a reference to a man named Christ who was executed under Pontius Pilate — for this remains a possibility, albeit less likely — this still does not count as an independent source concerning a historical Christ. Tacitus was a close friend of Pliny the Younger, and both of them were governors of neighboring provinces in Asia Minor at the same time and corresponded regularly, frequently asking each other for information for the books they were each writing. Pliny had never heard of Christians before 110 CE, when he had occasion to question some Christians about their beliefs, which had to do with “the worship of a certain Christ who was like a god”, but he gives no further details (not even the name Jesus). Tacitus most probably received his information about Christians and their beliefs from Pliny; if he had any other source, it could only have been Christians telling him about their religion. Either way, Tacitus’s mention of Christ and Christians/Chrestians in his Annals, written in the second decade of the second century, relies on Christians’ testimonies of their own religious beliefs. That is to say, it is not an independent source of historical information about someone named Christ and therefore has no value as historical evidence. You can find a good summary of the available evidence and the various arguments based on it regarding Pliny’s and Tacitus’s mentions of Christ in On the Historicity of Jesus, ch. 8, §10 (pp. 342-346) by Richard Carrier.

    • Erol #291
      Aug 7, 2017 at 9:09 am

      Tacitus, the famous Roman historian, apparently refers to him:

      After the fire of Rome July 64 AD Tacitus, the famous Roman historian, apparently refers to THE STORIES ABOUT him, told by the early Christians who Nero blamed for the fire! : –

      @wiki link – Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judæa, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome,

      Tacitus was about 7 years old at the time of the Great Fire of Rome, and like other Romans as he grew up he would have most likely heard about the fire that destroyed most of the city, and Nero’s accusations against Christians.

      So Tacitus is repeating a mythical story he heard as a child, years after the fire, which was around 30 years after supposed events. – Hardly an eye-witness account of any details of anything which is claimed to have happened by the Canonical Gospels of the New Testament! which were edited in the 4th. century AD!

      So:- to sum up:-

      There is a story that some troublesome preacher was crucified, and his followers were blamed by Nero for the fire. (- which could well have been started by Nero as a slum-clearance and redevelopment project!)

      Bear in mind that the area was over-run by itinerant Jewish preachers at this time in history, and that the Romans crucified thousands of criminals, terrorist rebels, rabble-rousers, and trouble-makers!

    • Garrick@292, and Alan@294,

      Yes, I had realized that a time gap had elapsed before Tacitus’s reference, allowing for corruption of the original story/myth – hence my use of the term ‘apparently’.

    • Dan #297
      Aug 9, 2017 at 6:18 pm

      The information you seem to have difficulty understanding, is supported by, thousands of man-hours of serious scientific experiments which have tested ideas including using chemical analysis, and high-tec scanning techniques and observations of large sample often over large numbers of years.

      You can’t simply make stuff up and claim that seriously challenges this sort of work!

    • Dan, read Sapolsky’s latest.

      You will not be unhappy, but you are missing many mechanisms. You are also putting up straw hypotheses.

    • Here’s a repost of Sapolsky from the intro to behave,

      I MAKE MY living as a combination neurobiologist—someone who studies the brain—and
      primatologist—someone who studies monkeys and apes. Therefore, this is a book that is
      rooted in science, specifically biology. And out of that come three key points. First, you
      can’t begin to understand things like aggression, competition, cooperation, and
      empathy without biology; I say this for the benefit of a certain breed of social scientist
      who finds biology to be irrelevant and a bit ideologically suspect when thinking about
      human social behavior. But just as important, second, you’re just as much up the creek if
      you rely only on biology; this is said for the benefit of a style of molecular
      fundamentalist who believes that the social sciences are destined to be consumed by
      “real” science. And as a third point, by the time you finish this book, you’ll see that it
      actually makes no sense to distinguish between aspects of a behavior that are
      “biological” and those that would be described as, say, “psychological” or “cultural.”

    • Dan 303

      Busy today so apologies…

      Of course causality is layered. Also, you are answering why questions that frame extra material about you.

      Immediately after this comment from Sapolsky he makes an argument for exactly the varieties of explanations about the same phenomenon that differently interested people make, the best answer (a comprehensive how answer) being a composite of all answers.

      On muscles.

      Lifting probably didn’t cause muscles. (How could it?) Possibly the useful opportunity to lift caused specific muscles. But muscles do many jobs. Most probably peristalsis came first or hearts. (All the elements associated are ever present in the body creating sustained selective pressures.) Most useful function was made possible by re-purposing existing evolved engineering. Muscles needed neurons to activate them, needed sensors to activate them in turn, so eventually muscle sets caused the creation of brains made by re-purposing signalling neurons to better utilise and coordinate the resource. Teeth re-purposed became skulls to protect our new brains. Skulls became skeletons… Muscles “caused” locomotion (defensive before aggressive feeding). Muscles “caused” lifting only when a need to lift. Muscles cause brains and brains cause lifting…to the evolutionist. Its complicated once you take a step back.

      There are many such notional “causal” chains in the world of the “Why”, in our need for mere “Understanding”. The world of How and Mastery happens when we try to take the maximally complex view with all its convolved “causal” chains.

      No, the terrible lizard (etc.) came before the chicken egg. Its a trick question.

    • Dan #302

      Laurie, sorry about The Selfish Giant. I just liked it. Friends?

      Of course! No worries. After that conversation I read through some sonnets by Shakespeare and some sections of R&Juliet that I love, just to see how S used religious references. I wanted to understand why I was so affronted by Selfish Giant and inspired by works of S. This seems inconsistent and it was niggling at my mind. After reading the writings of S I still don’t feel bludgeoned by those appeals to heaven that are ubiquitous throughout! Is the writing of S so sublime that I allow him full license to invoke the nonexistent almighty? But I still see the ending of the Wilde story as a sneaky cheap shot. I dare not venture any deeper into literary criticism. I’m in over my head as it is.

    • So, I was somewhat wrong talking of the first muscle applications being something internal like the pumps of peristalsis (too coordinated to be an early use) or hearts (too needful of things like valves). The striated muscle cell is formed utilising the protein myosin. This was created way before complex muscled animals existed and appears to have been used for regulating water flow through sponges (not too far from the tasks of pumps I suggested but rather more passive than active, merely constricting an inbound external flow.) Striated type muscles for locomotion have evolved at least twice in animals and of a sort in jellyfish.

    • Dan,

      I will be back, but now its time for Liquid Philosophy, when all problems are fixed for another week…if only we kept notes.

      I will argue that the brain has a brain.

      That evolution may well deliver spandrels, that may, sometime later, find use or not.

      That evolution’s inability to truly backtrack and start again as new circumstance arises delivers our complex, perplexing humanity.

      That muscles are strong (they don’t need brains sometimes).

      That brains are clever and sad and happy though bodies are needed to realise these states in a sustainable way and not just our own bodies. Cognition is situated.

      Laurie,

      I think R&J by S is a great contrast. Religion (like Astrology) provides him with a rich metaphorical language to use. He is content that you simply feel for his characters and story.

    • Dan

      I have at least succeeded in forcing you to admit an absurdity. No, brains do not think.

      You don’t know what I mean by this yet…so, no.

    • Dan

      A couple of neurobiologists just moved next door.

      Haaaa! Face it Dan, you’re now surrounded in reality and virtually all at the same time! It’s obvious this was “meant to be”.

      HeeHee

    • Dan,

      Brains don’t think..

      This is a huge topic. It is exactly the centre of what I am trying to write, The Tale of the Antique Amygdala, the Evolution of Thinking.

      I’m searching for that excellent phrase you quoted for the limbic system as being in effect a paleo-cortex, the outer-rind of icthy-reptilian brains and the back then latest most sophisticated cognitive tool for cognition and response. Washes of hormones released can put the brain globally into new modes that alter short term strategies and with sustained washes can rewrite brain development to better accommodate your apparent world. Lack of affection like maternal nose licking, normally delivering a calming oxytocin bath, eventually results in an increase in the stress hormone cortisol which dramatically rolls back brain development into that of an an earlier defensive state when the need for social avoidance and an aggressive selfishness were the helpful strategies and mutuality a dangerous waste of effort and energy. This is well studied in rats as you saw but also thousands of neglected Romanian orphans. The same genes deliver caterpillars and butterflies, also axalotls and salamanders. Environmental impoverishment of the salamanders leads to a neotenous expression of the genes creating an animal better adapted to impoverishment (an earlier/simpler version), axalotls.

      There are many ways in which I intend brains have brains. First is this layer cake of evolutionary updates of the nominally final arbiter of behaviour. Leg jerk at knee tap. One synaptic gap sense and response (no brain needed). Brain stem, signalling to autonomous remote (enervated) organs like hearts and guts. Muscle complexity handled by remote hard wired embedded brainlets. Central co-ordinated muscle skill in the Cerebrum, responding to very broad and diverse sensory (including proprio-sensory) data, delivering the first sense-of-self-the-machine. The limbic system delivering a primitive but global signalling for co-ordination of strategy and development via hormones… the very substrate of emotion, the thinking tool of 400 million year old animals. Etc. etc. The valuing, self indexing storer of autobiography in the hippocampus. The error detector of the ACC. Once a final arbiter of mistakes and now overtopped yet again by a slow, fine, general purpose, 5 layer recursive, inference generating machine, the cortex. Our new final rind. An over arching brain of brains. (Though we could also now argue for a neo- neo-cortex in culture….)

      Complicated and huge and expensive to run, the cortex is used sparingly and is often too late in its inference delivery. Despite super fast new wiring to take its insight into the ACC error detector its often too late to avoid a screw up. This is when the cortex can shine in identifying and rehearsing strategy, training the lower, earlier, once top-dog brains (each still with the task of initiating those historical actions) to act differently under certain circumstances. We anticipate the result of interactions with environment, animals and people and we rehearse strategies, spear throwing and speech. Using our cortex, we model things this way and that and let the lower stuff inform us of its likely responses.

      Now, there is another contemporaneous (overlaid) way in which brains have brains. Brains are hugely recursive. And I will have to leave this to a later time….still busy. I have talked before about the iterative (always on) model making of the self which is essential in modelling outcomes with others and I contend forms the basis of self consciousness and consequently vivid consciousness. But there is also another broader conceptual recursion proposed by Douglas Hofstadter in “I am a Strange Loop”. This is brilliant but flawed and missing new neurological insights. My intention is to graft his good stuff on to mine. When I can I’ll come back to this.

    • Well, that was truly unpleasant to wake up to. Couldn’t even wait to hear the conclusion…

      We have a fish brain (for instance), live with it even now and use it for some of the same tasks it was always used for. This has profound effects on our perception of ourselves, especially when we achieve a recursive mode and make a model including a model of ourselves.

      I’ll waste no further time.

    • I’d like to qualify my lung lining as once being a hagfish!

    • Not sure if I posted this before?

    • I must say those illustrations help enormously. Thank you for them, Alan.

      To pretend these things don’t fundamentally affect the mode of our thinking and quality of our perceptions is asking a lot.

      The critical thing is that in order to have some degree of integration higher brains need a model of sorts of lower brains. They need to conform with the kinds of data offered from below. This ability to model lower brains, to “understand” them, make allowances for them becomes a general purpose evolved skill. We finally use it to model other brains (other animals), indeed, any other suspected “agent” (not conforming to general laws, but their own). We model other humans. Finally, finally we use the skill in part consciously on the totality of ourselves, and like mirrors reflecting mirrors, models containing models of themselves, something astonishing happens. Suddenly a depth of sensation happens and we catch glimpses of ourselves thinking, and thinking that. We have a possibility to see ourselves, not least as others see us. From it we achieve another kind of self-control through rehearsal and self knowledge.

      This latter is something of Douglas Hoffstadter’s work. What’s needed is someone to stitch this together with the latest insights into neuro-science. Far better than me would be an Eagleman, Metzinger or Sapolsky even. Maybe the philosopher psychologists like the Churchlands, Dennett or Chalmers?

    • Your Inner Hagfish as Neil Shubin would have it, Ollie.

      Dan, one day you will acknowledge the Hard Problem. You seem not to be able to see it at present, being something of a supernaturalist.

      The models of which I speak are in the brain states of the jelly, the nexus of all our cognitions and extended self (my daughter’s toothache).

    • Dan #318
      Aug 13, 2017 at 1:49 am

      And a single cell does not contain a cell or cells as it is itself a cell.

      Actually they do, – from the absorption and merging of separate cells at an earlier stage of evolution! earlier.

      Each of our cells harbours tiny structures that descended from the smaller cell. These structures are called mitochondria. After all this time mitochondria still dispay the hallmarks of being cells.

    • Dan #318
      Aug 13, 2017 at 1:49 am

      The rest is just verbiage, intellectual noise, rigmarole. Well intentioned and sincerely intended, but wrong.

      As I explained in this earlier discussion, LABELLING WORDS will be meaningless, to those who have no concept of the physical reality for which they are only labels!

      Without understanding of the earlier work for which the words are merely labels, like a novice gardener who has discovered a bucket of old plant labels, they are merely words, producing no imagery, and with no attachment to the physical reality of the beautiful garden they described.
      Only a gardener who has seen them attached to the growing plants, in the display beds, knows what they represent,

    • Olgun replied 4 days ago

      Phil #325

      All the evidence to show we are of this world.

    • Chaps,

      Just one point of clarification, a limbic system of sorts evolved with tetrapods so possibly as early as Tiktaalik 375MYA. Reptiles do have some of the components of a limbic system, but of very modest development. Mammal scale limbic systems of course get seen from 160MYA. This is when essentially a transfer of executive control from a mostly environmentally cued, cerebellar tool kit of behaviours to an internal, emotional(!) value-based system of global reach (not just sequenced muscle patterns). Heart rate breathing and digestion all metabolically optimised for the scary adrenaline inducing moment Even generational gene expression invoked if shit keeps happening.

    • Dan,

      There are two great philosophical questions that stand head and shoulders above the rest and even one of these is quite trivial

      1.) “Why is there something rather than nothing?”

      Response.

      PJR: How could there be nothing? ….Sorted.

      2.) “Conciousness…WTF?”

      Response

      PJR: I’m trying to write a book or two on the evolution of thinking and of thoughts. I hope it reveals some of the TF.

      DR: This is boring and a waste of time.

    • Dan,

      You are looking at the end of my finger, not where I’m pointing. Many brains was riffing on a comment of yours

      We model minds. We model other’s minds. We model our own mind. In case you were thinking it, it is not about the humunculus inside doing the seeing. You are failing to notice and comment on the recursive brain. We model our own mind including the layer cake (being simple minded) of the cerebellar automaton (if these senses then pull that muscle), next the over-arching valuing emoter (scary, mmmm, nice), then our inferential selves over-arching all of that and so generalised in its inference drawing-it can infer about itself and all the other earlier brains and modes.

      (Definition. Minds are brains including all peripheral enervation, of all our bodies, and all cultural and personal conditioning through experience…as a first approximation. Thinking etc. happens here.)

    • Hi Guys,

      Just wanted to add a bit of Tim for those fellow Aussies feeling let down by our governments ridiculous postal plebiscite on Gay Marriage.. Not the best audio quality seems to have been done in a bit of a rush. Hope he fine tunes it.

      here

    • Dan #331
      Aug 13, 2017 at 5:53 pm

      To my esteemed co Dawkins site members, Phil (and Alan and Olgun):

      There are different components within the brain but there is only one brain.

      Nope! There is a collection of earlier brains with later additions. Some of the earlier brains and their functions now operate as components in the latest model!

      “You have only one brain.
      However, the cerebral hemispheres are divided right down the middle into a right hemisphere and a left hemisphere.” –
      My doctor friend (the ultimate authority)

      Nope! Merely an attempt at a very simple explanation in vernacular terms, which he thinks you will understand.

      It’s like arguing that rail journey pulled by three locomotives with forty carriages, is only one train, even though it was put together from 3 trains at a stop halfway along its journey!
      It is a pointless semantic argument, which contributes nothing to understanding the independent mechanisms!

      Some cells may contain cells. I said a single cell does not contain cells!

      Every human cell has mitochondria which were originally from a combination of two separate single celled ancestor organisms with the smaller one getting inside the larger one and eventually combining to reproduce together.

      Plant cells have chloroplasts where were originally separate Cyanobacteria cells.

      The links I gave you, show that these still retain some independent functions, and have similar modern single-celled relatives descended from the same single-celled ancestors.

      This origin of chloroplasts was first suggested by the Russian biologist Konstantin Mereschkowski in 1905 after Andreas Schimper observed in 1883 that chloroplasts closely resemble cyanobacteria. (Wiki)

      Modern biology recognises a huge range symbiotic and parasitic relationships between different organisms, with gene exchanges taking place horizontally in non-sexual reproduction.

      As I explained at #327, you are trying to use your own asserted made-up definitions of scientific terminology, in the absence of understanding the complex science which underlies the name label.
      This is not going to give you any useful understanding of these complex subjects.

      Ancient philosophers had no high-tech equipment and so no understanding of modern microscopic biology, medicine or neuroscience!
      Consequently trying to rely on their GUESSES of how things work, is doomed to failure – apart from the odd item which may happen to be correct in part by pure chance!

    • Awesome Tim, Reckless.

    • Alan, its not just the ancients, even Victorian philosophers dropped huge clangers by failing to conceive of the possible complexity of entities. Evolution was simple, linear and still widely infected by religious teleology, perhaps peaking in stupidity in 1920s eugenics. Plato still steered too many “safely” past considerations of complexity. Symbionts were arcane things tucked away in biology. It took until the 1950s for Wittgenstein and Popper to reinvigorate Philosophy and reconnect metaphysics with physics. It took until 1990 for complexity theory to break out of maths departments and support the reality of the metaphysic of emergence. Only since the 1990s have we seen philosophers accept this and struggle to use it on the last tough problem of Conscious Experience. Only since 2000 have we had high enough resolution fMRI to explore brains in any detail in cognitive tests to corroborate and close the predictive loop.

      Keeping up is tough.

    • phil rimmer #344
      Aug 14, 2017 at 6:42 am

      Alan, its not just the ancients,
      even Victorian philosophers dropped huge clangers
      by failing to conceive of the possible complexity of entities.
      0=0=0=0=0
      Only since the 1990s have we seen philosophers accept this
      and struggle to use it on the last tough problem of Conscious Experience.

      Only since 2000 have we had high enough resolution fMRI
      to explore brains in any detail in cognitive tests to corroborate and close the predictive loop.

      Perhaps I committing Dan’s error in using my own definition of “ancient”!

      In the world of space-science and hi-tech medical research, philosophers from the 1800s and 1900s are “ancient” in their thinking!
      Most simply do not keep up with the science which so rapidly moves on and leaves them behind!

      As you point out, too much of the earlier stuff is entangled with unevidenced theology and ideology!

    • @Dan, 318, others –

      I apologize as I am catching up from the weekend. Dan, sometimes I think you’re contrarian on purpose because you relish the thought of Phil and Alan’s (among others) exasperation at reading some of your comments. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. But you are awfully dogmatic for someone who frequents this website as much as you do! Both Phil and Alan have a background in the sciences. I have a background in the sciences. I don’t believe you do yet you argue with these guys about things that you are clearly not nearly as well read on as they are. I can see asking questions. But your unequivocal statements (#318, many others) such as this (The rest is just verbiage, intellectual noise, rigmarole. Well intentioned and sincerely intended, but wrong) are simply ignorant (in the truest form of the word, not as a pejorative) and insulting. This should be evident by the swift rebuttals and links and other editorial evidence provided by them which is all the more glaring in the absence of yours. We are all entitled to our opinions, but as Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, you are not entitled to your own facts 😉

    • Its all good, Dan?

      Apparently my philosophy is no good.

      Philosophers have always started from observation of the external world at least as a prompt, as a source of problems, etc.. We continually get new facts that need to be accommodated in our philosophical musings.

      We seem fairly convinced that our astonishing consciousness is not shared in all its glory by earlier evolved animals, that we lacked much of it ourselves maybe ten thousand generations ago. We suspect mammals as having an experience like our own in some way.

      We now know three types of brain evolved with utterly different strategies. Utterly different. Automatic, if these inputs then that behaviour, global hormone responses ( after valuation of external/internal configurations with new dedicated detectors) with locally evolved strategies enabling much future development and subtlety, and latterly clever inference making, good enough to train us, if not good enough to get it right the first time.

      But still, still there is something missing. Primates still miss the astonishing bit we think. The proposed missing entity is the metaphysical entity of recursion. Introspection on introspection, especially given a human evolutionary history of introspection on other brains, our own earlier behaviour generators and those of others others. Why is it metaphysical? Because we can’t yet prove anything physically about the quality of our thinking experiences only the informational content of them.

      So, will you accept facts, ignore semantic niggles, work with ideas and for goodness sake stop looking at the end of my finger? …………And stop arguing like a Creationist. These folk nitpick at the earliest they can to prevent you expanding an idea, seemingly fearful that it might get beyond their control. Debating with any bright sceptical others I have always found them to supply any amount of rope I might need to make my case. No angst, no do or die investment, just amusement. Frequently hanged I (we) learn oodles and move on.

      Where are thoughts? Where is the informational content of them? Where is the experiential content of them?

      Just seen…

      Remnants? No, mostly, intact but with some forward evolution too.

    • Dan, do you actually intend “knowledge” rather than information or even data?

      To think means any number of different neural processes. Evaluate, categorise, infer, introspect, etc., with many other possibilities when used in combinations.

      in order for one to know that one is thinking of an object there has to be something that is not an object, something that isn’t IT; that can only be the “I”.

      Parse this to show me there aren’t other solutions. Why can I not distinguish objects one from another? Why can I not be an object too? I think perhaps that may be a very special new trick. AI vision systems evolve to reifying their world superbly well now.. Put a mirror there, they will thingify themselves.

    • Dan #351
      Aug 14, 2017 at 3:27 pm

      Did you read what I said above (348)?

      Yes , but only after I had posted #349.

      You must have posted it 5 minutes earlier, while I was writing #349.

      If you say “thought IS something, in this case something “done by neural networks”,

      Yes thought is a PROCESS done by neural networks to process sensory data, or evaluate new data in terms of memories.

      an existence must already be there to think about thinking in this way!

      An existence of what? Neural networks? sense organs? Sensory inputs? Memories of past events and similarities to new ones?

      “Thought IS, therefore thought IS” just means cogito ergo cogito, a tautology.

      Thought is a process through time, involving chemistry, circuits and calculations. – Usually leading to some reaction, or modification of behaviour.

      Thought cannot think,

      Thought is a process of thinking. – A mechanism within parts of brains. It varies with the area of brain in use, and the nature of the inputs.

      As Phil points out in his reference to recursive introspection, a human brain can certainly reflect and review, earlier thoughts by drawing on memory.

      Thought cannot think, can produce no knowledge of anything existent either external to itself or internal.

      I think scientists who have made successful predictions and calculations of subsequently confirmed theories, would disagree! Their thoughts, have produced much commonly used knowledge. (Although again your semantics lack clear definitions)

      By “think” or “thought” do you mean any process within any part of (a) brain(s) or nervous systems, or something specific to particular areas or particular reactions? (see #349, #343,and #321).

      @#352 – To think means any number of different neural processes. Evaluate, categorise, infer, introspect, etc., with many other possibilities when used in combinations.

    • @Tim,
      Seriously? “Did you know they have positive evidence that man lived among dinosaurs 5000 years ago…”

      Okay, let’s forget about evolution for the moment, since it boggles your mind (as, seriously, dogs did not evolve from frogs; they both evolved from a more distant common ancestor which looked like neither). As an educational exercise leaf through RD’s The Ancestor’s Tale and find any two consecutive pages where the animals depicted are so dissimilar you can’t imagine one evolving from the other by a series of “micro-“evolutions.

      Meantime let’s just get a few facts on the table:-

      the universe is somewhere in excess of 12 billion years old
      the Earth is around 4.5 billion years old
      dinosaurs first appeared maybe 240 my ago, flourished from 200 my ago, and were gone by 65 my ago
      hominids appeared only in the last few million years
      modern man is a few hundred thousand years to a million years young, depending on your definition of “modern”

      I may be 10% out with my (drawn from memory) figures of all these datings, but saying dinosaurs existed 5k years ago is over 4 orders of magnitude from the truth and just totally absurd.

      On a more philosophical note, it may come as a surprise to you, but it’s not an either/or situation between evolution being true and the xtian god existing.
      That’s a very parochial view, and all the other believers in made up gods have just as much right (meaning none whatsoever) to say “[I don’t understand it so] evolution can’t be true … and therefore MY god(s) is (are) true!”

    • Tim,

      First welcome to the site you are welcome but you should understand that your unsubstantiated views will get some kickback especially as many on this site are highly qualified scientists who really know their stuff.

      So there is a lot to cover and others may do a better job but let’s address some of your points.

      Microevolution is very real and is fully provable with undeniable proof. However, macroevolution only exists in the minds of those that are misled and those that mislead.

      Two things here you need to focus on evidence assertions about people being misled are not evidence. So if you accept that genetic information and mutations can change characteristics that are beneficial to the organism and the frequency of these genes in the population will increase changing say the beak size of a bird in the relative short term then the problem you have is in providing some mechanism that stops this process. What you are calling macro-evolution is just evolution but on a shorter time scale. So don’t tell me I’m being fooled because I understand enough about genetics to know what the evidence is and how it works, please provide me with the genetic mechanism that freezes changes at some point in time, that is what you need to show.

      Folks, don’t just believe what you’re told; if you really want to know the truth, then research the topic of evolution yourself. I am certainly not as smart as RD but I wanted to know so I looked into the subject.

      Good, care to let us know what books by people who are qualified in this field have you read.

      I’ll admit that it is not an easy task and it took some time having to cut through all the BS but, I’m glad I put in the time. I discovered that there is NO undisputed positive evidence of evolution and, in fact, several examples that were sighted were found to be falsified or fabricated.

      Mate there are people who believe the Earth is flat so there is NO undisputed proof that the Earth is spherical (roughly). Likewise on any field of human knowledge there is some idiot who will argue with you. So what you need to look at the facts themselves and the qualifications of the people making the claim. If the flat Earther is a well trained geologist and Astronaught it would be worth a listen to but if it’s just someone with a religious or political agenda or a tin foil hat wearing conspiracy theorist then you can usually not bother wasting your time. But evidence is key so if you find yourself with two experts disagreeing (which we don;t have here we have Richard Dawkins a well trained professor in his field who has published scientific papers subjected himself to peer review from fellow experts and you have religious nut bags). When you do look at the evidence there is mountains of it that is not questioned by any competent evolutionary biologist.

      I’ll give you one nice example chimps (according to evolution) are are our nearest relatives that is we share a close common ancestor. Creationists before the ability to read the genome of animals argued that this was proof we were not related to chimps or we would have the same number of chromosomes. Evolutionary biologists at the time suggested it was likely that the chromosomes of a common ancestor had fused together giving the different number of chromosomes. This is a testable hypothesis. Meaning if they’d been wrong it would have destroyed the theory of evolution or at least the close relationship between chimps and humans common ancestor. We would expect to see a sequence on either side of the join point that matched both humans and chimps with high fidelity (given out 98% common genes). As soon as we had the ability to map the human and chimp genes we found the fused genes with letters going either side matching precisely, what’s more telomeres were found around either side of the fusion point, this normally occur only at the end of the chromosomes so it is a dead give-away that fusion had occurred. Genes themsleves while they may exist on say chromosome 18 could exist in any order on any of the chromosomes so if God created it that way then he must be leading me to the conclusion that I should believe in evolution. That is just one little piece of evidence that is as solid as the laws governing gravity, germ theory of disease etc. In reality the whole genome of every species we have tested confirms the basic model proposed by Darwin, the evidence is so strong that the only reason you could not believe it is ignorance of the actual evidence or emotional motivation to hide the truth from yourself. Ignorance nothing to be ashamed of so long as you are prepared to do your best to inform yourself of course. But your comments clearly show you haven’t read enough by qualified people to actually understand the arguments.

      any scientist should confirm this, the evidence would be everywhere; in fact the evidence would be so overwhelming that even Christians would have to acknowledge it.

      It is, but some of it requires some reading so you can understand the mechanisms involved such as geology, biology, genetics etc. Also Christians can’t even agree with each other even in the same church what makes you think that they are so open to evidence? It is easier to believe a simple lie than to read well written and researched book.

      hypothetically, let’s say the frog was turning into a dog over thousands or millions of years… at some point the frog would have a tail and or a snout, wouldn’t it? The creature, at that stage, would be part of billions like it and would live and die that way. That is just one of trillions of examples of what should be easily found when looking for evidence.

      You’re making a few fundamental errors here. One is what we now call frogs and dogs are modern animals that is they are both the product of an equal amount of evolution. Amphibians lead to reptiles which lead to mammals so there was never a period when there was a hairy frog for example. But we have many transitions between the groups so we have a very good idea how animals changed over time. Another mistake you are making is in assuming that there will be an unbroken line of fossils. You’re also wrong on the numbers. For one fossils are very, very rare because usually animals die when another is eating it, then scavengers come and destroy the rest add in microbes, bettles, worms etc and very, very few animals are preserved to be fossilised. Most that become so do so because they caught in a mud slide or something that removes, air to delay decay, buries them so they don’t get eaten etc. So no it is not easy to find fossils. Of if the biblical flood was true we’d have an entire catalog of every species all jumbled up together but we don’t the dinosaurs for example only appear on certain layers the large mammals not until higher layers again powerful evidence of change. Again read some books by paleontologists .

      Evidence disproving evolution is squashed and hidden from the masses, you have to really dig. Did you know they have positive evidence that man lived among dinosaurs 5000 years ago… research that, you wont believe what you find.

      Have and did and you’re right I couldn’t believe that anyone would believe this nonsense. No one is hiding evidence if someone could disprove any aspect of evolution they’d win a nobel prize get famous and rich. In fact there is a lot of argument within evolutionary fields about aspects of evolution such as punctuated equilibrium, epigenetics and more. Lively disagreement is to be had but you have to pony up some actual evidence and not cry like a snowflake when you’re evidence is found wanting.

      science teacher Dr Kent Hovind on air.
      No scientist will debate Dr. Hovind anymore because they were all left speechless, angered and confused and left with shaken beliefs.

      Hovind is a fraud and tax cheat and a deeply dishonest man. He has been charged and jailed for such. I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him. I have had the misfortune to watch some of his videos and all I can say Tim is it is far more likely that evolutions won’t debate him because he is a dishonest moron and appearing with him is only likely to give him unwarranted credibility. At my quite limited level of understanding I found his arguments utter nonsense.

      Anyway I’d strongly encourage you to read Dawkins on Evolution any of his books I particularly liked the Blind Watchmaker and The Greatest Show on Earth but you’ll find whole orders of magnitude better, clearer and more honest writing than Kent Hovind.

      Good luck

    • Reckless Monkey #361
      Aug 15, 2017 at 3:07 am

      I would suggest you look at the Rational Wiki link – in the sections on Hovindian litigatious drivel and dismissed legal actions, before wasting time on Hovindian claims!
      Hovind lives in a world of deluded unreality, where he persistently complains, and demonstrates an utter inability to learn about law or science or accept findings!

    • Tim #357
      Aug 14, 2017 at 11:25 pm

      Microevolution is very real and is fully provable with undeniable proof.

      And as there is no dividing line between short-term microevolution, and long term macroevolution, apart from the time scale, the two flowe seamlessly into each other. – as the fossil record and modern genetics show.

      However, macroevolution only exists in the minds of those that are misled and those that mislead.

      Nope! The DENIAL of macroevolution only exists in the minds of those who are profoundly ignorant of biology, ecology and genetics – and their uneducated followers, who do not know how to access honest evidence based information.

      People like you just don’t want to know because they believe that a divine creator is the only other answer and they and the powers that be cannot have that!

      Scientists who understand palaeontology, biology, and genetics, recognise that Young Earth Creationists are using “god-did-it” as a patch to cover their ignorance of the subject and pretend to have knowledge they not possess.
      Throughout history “I refuse to admit I don’t know, so god-did-it, and I have all the answers”, has been a posture of the ignorant and deceivers, who had aspirations to be leaders!

      Any in-depth investigation into creationist claims, simply reveals ignorant denials of science, and made-up nonsense which falls apart when compared to the real world laws of physics, solidly evidenced biology, and historical records.

      There is evidence of evolution, in the genetics of every living organism on the planet.

      There is no evidence whatever, that the Earth is only a few thousand years old. – but plenty of evidence of its formation from the same accretion disk which formed the Sun and the other planets!

    • Hi Alan,

      I agree, and was aware of Hovin’s shenanigans (legal and otherwise) merely trying education one under his spell 😉

    • Dan,

      Disembodied thought? Where did that come from?

      Sometimes people get to think their thoughts are disembodied. Or fail to notice they are always “bodied”. These are the anhedonic, empty of limbic feedback, eastern mystics, seeking to dissolve any sense of self and those sliding into severe Cotard’s syndrome, “I’m dead. All I have is my voice”.

      General purpose inference machines like the PFC can get to view/imagine/model their carrying device as separate from themselves and thus objectify it after disease or injury or extended self training to ignore all feedbacks from other parts of the brain or body. Such “bodiless” thinking removes all possibility of valuing things while it is happening. (Like Nicholas Gage.) but we might imagine the trained may dip in and out of the state. Indeed it is one major theory of the development of mind that before we developed the intense experience of self we mostly live with, we noticed others and imagined how they thought, to help anticipate their actions (agency is a threatening problem) and only later turned it in on our selves as an obsessive habit.

      What thinks, then Dan?

      I think we can agree “thoughts thinking” is gibberish. And where did that come from?

    • I agree it is unhelpful to have the concept subconscious thoughts without it risking embracing every single mental process as a thought.

      Thoughts are highly salient mental confections that reside in short term memory.

      A possible definition of a subconscious thought might be any mental process like the above that fails its final salience test….. but this is so speculative and in the moment to moment evolution of such mental confections what proportion lie half baked, with never a chance to be a thought?

      This is semantic stuff worth sorting out. So if not the site of thoughts might we not consider this evolutionary baking process thinking?

      Tell me, Dan, where is fancy bred? (Ooh, coffee and doughnuts for breakfast.)

    • Dan #368
      Aug 16, 2017 at 1:34 am

      Thought is a process of thinking. – A mechanism within parts of brains.

      No, that is only one aspect and not the essential one.

      I think you will struggle to define thoughts in the absence of physical mental processes within brain circuitry!

      Thought as I define it is the always conscious mental activity of living or thinking beings.

      So how is your definition any different to my descriptions of thought as “A mechanism, within parts of the brains of thinking beings, which deal with conscious thought processes”?
      Your definition merely narrows my definition down to specific areas carrying out those conscious processes, and excluding other autonomous ones! (I have provided links explaining the functions of different areas of the nervous system.)
      The recognition of process, in no way denies that processes have outcomes.

      As for thought about thoughts, there is nothing to stop some areas of a brain from reviewing or evaluating, thoughts generated by different parts of it! – But in the world of reality NO brain = NO thoughts!

    • Dan #372
      Aug 16, 2017 at 11:58 am

      In this age of rethinking such things as consciousness and thinking about such things as AI, I thought it was worthwhile to ask where our brains and the rest of our body parts end and we as beings begin,

      I think that the “human being” is simply the sum of the parts, but the combined effects of the parts working together, gives emergent properties which are greater than that of each separate part working independently.

      worthwhile to inquire at least into whether a distinction of that kind can reasonably be made. We are bodies, yes. begs a question, I think. Just like the question: “where is consciousness?” (although consciousness is inseparable from the body, is a function of the body)

      I think a similar comparison can be made about the aggregated collection of ancestral brains and the peripheral inputs from other organs throughout the body.
      Consciousness is centred on certain areas of the brain, but clearly other bodily features affect how this works.

      Anyone who doubts this, should experimentally try to concentrate on some abstract task, while suffering severe toothache, or with a finger jammed in a drawer or door!
      Nerve impulses from other parts of the body do affect processes within the brain and moods! (It is also why drivers using mobile phones are much more likely to have the distractions cause crashes! )

    • Fancy Bread? to misquote the Merchant of Venice.

      Mental confection….(ideas) half baked….doughnuts. But a jest to show even Shakespeare thought about this stuff.

    • Brains thinking is just fine. To keep the cookery metaphor going. Brains are the oven but the ingredients initially all come from outside. Latterly we’ve cooked up some stuff that is mistake-able for our own.

      Sometimes Shakespeare or Dickens or Wilde does our thinking for us. There they are in our heads conjuring feasts…

    • Dan

      Either way, I feel depressed.

      Thats just the allergic reaction to W. Quite understandable.

      For me the problem that has never failed to fascinate after the dips of depressions is the Hard Problem. No golden ring with glowing elvish runes, no Light of Zartha, a cosmos in a bauble, but that all of that and the rest of the universe of experience can live in that modest grey jelly. How on earth can Anions and Cations and the curious tendrils where they live reduce us to tears one minute, soar the next, then gift peace.

    • Post for you, Dan just here ….eventually.

    • Mods,

      I’ve lost a post with a youtube attachment.

  • Phil #213

    From a modding point of view we wouldn’t have any objection, provided it didn’t descend into mere chat: the discussions would still have to be broadly related to science and reason, and the usual standards would still apply.

    We’ve passed the request on, so we’ll see what happens.

    The mods

  • You’ll need to speak nicely to Trav, Phil.

    In the meantime, this thread is well advanced now, so there’s no problem letting it branch out a little into other, broadly relevant areas.

    The mods

  • Trav doesn’t do the moderating, Alan. We do!

    And although there’s no particular reason why you should have noticed, we have been deliberately holding back on several of the discussions of late. That said, there are certain standards of discussion that are non-negotiable, so there will always be limits. They are, however, rather more stretchy just…[Read more]

  • Moderator message

    Can we have less gratuitous insult and fewer personal digs in the comments, please.

    Section 14 at the foot of the very long Terms & Conditions document at http://www.richarddawkins.net/tcp should give a good sense of the kind of discussion we are aiming for here. There’s a link to it at the foot of every page, so please take a look.…[Read more]

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