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Natural Disasters and Socio-Economic Collapse

 Socio-economic Collapse  Comments Off on Natural Disasters and Socio-Economic Collapse
Jun 282016
 

For millennia, people have considered what events might transpire at the end of the age. The ancient prophet Isaiah predicted, very explicitly, events at the end of human history, as we know it, when he wrote Isaiah 24:1-23. Most of that passage speaks of the eventual laying waste and devastation of the earth. God will not do this because He is cruel, ruthless, or evil. Rather, He will do this because of the following:

However, there always was one essential ingredient missing: a seven-year agreement, involving Israel. Encompassed within the final seven years of this age, also known as the 70th Week, will be the events that will alter human history as we know it. The prophecy, making a reference to this unique perioda week of seven yearswas given by the angel Gabriel to the Israeli prophet Daniel:

Never before, in history, has Israel engaged in a seven-year agreement with anyone, much less one that reinforced a previous accordthat is, until the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) was established and funded in October 2006. Not only is the ENP scheduled to run specifically for seven years (2007 through 2013), but it confirms and strengthens a prior accord: the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EuroMed) of 1995, of which Israel also is a member.

Furthermore, included in the collection of ENP documents, involving Israel, is the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument: Israel. This document contains language affirming a goal, by the European Union (EU), to bring about peace between Israel and the Palestinians:

Now, if the ENP is the prophesied seven-year agreement, we would expect to see an increase in instability around the globe, not only in nature, but also socio-economically as well, during the first half of the seven years. Jesus referred to this time as the beginning of birth pains (Matthew 24:8).

Indeed, such things have been occurring, especially during 2008 and 2009. Besides record-breaking floods, droughts, and tornadoes in the USA, as well as a marked escalation in the frequency of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, famines, and plagues worldwide, there also has been a severe financial breakdown globally.

Today (March 1, 2009), the stock market dropped 299.64 points; it is down to a 12-year low of 6,763.29. There may be some short-term improvement; but, in the long run, there probably is no bottom in sight. As such, I look forward to the return of the Lord Jesus, at the end of the 70th Week, to rule and reign. Jesus, alone, is the light at the end of the dark tunnel.

So what is next? Well, according to the Daniel 9:27 prophecy, in the middle of the seven-year period, an end will be put to sacrifice and offering , and the abomination that causes desolation will be set up in the holy place (Matthew 24:15)in Jerusalem. On my proposed time scale, sacrifice and offering should cease during the first week of April 2010, which happens to be Passover Week 2010.

I feel that at the midpoint of the 70th Week, the Fourth Seal (Revelation 6:7,8) of the heavenly scroll will be opened. This will commence the darkest period of human history up to that point, the Great Tribulation, described by Jesus in Matthew 24:21. (In Jesus narrative, some Bible versions use the phrase great distress; other versions read great tribulation.)

This is how John described the events to take place at that time:

As such, if my time frame is correct, I anticipate the following things to take place after Passover Week of 2010:

To make things worse, I predict that there will be huge power outages, phone and internet service interruptions, food riots, bridge and building collapses, escalating unemployment and homelessness, bankruptcies, foreclosures, drug abuse, crime, murders, widespread civil unrest and revolts, declaration of martial law, and other related occurrences. The widespread denial that any of this is going to happen will make it be a great deal worse when it actually does happen.

Aside from an increase in catastrophic natural events, causing a great deal of death on the earth, there will be a global socio-economic and financial collapse, not to mention horrendous tax increases and skyrocketing hyperinflation. It may be that once the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 fails (see my Feb. 17, 2009 entry), President Obama will be forced to tell the American public that their problems, economic and otherwise, are insurmountable.

Possibly the North American Union (Canada, USA, Mexico) will be formed, with the Amero, worth a small fraction of the dollar, as the common currency. The NAU will be immersed in a much greater global crisis, and this will require global solutionsby a global leader. As such, it may be that Obama, identifying this leader as the only one who can help us, will become the False Prophet: the second beast of Revelation 13:11-17 (see Barack Obama: False Prophet?).

After entering the holy place in Jerusalem, and setting up the abomination that causes desolation inside, the first beast or Antichrist will set himself up in the temple, proclaiming himself to be God (2Thessalonians 2:4). He also will exercise his authority for 42 months [3 years] and blaspheme [the true] God (Revelation 13:5,6). Many people will be taken into captivity, and many will be killed (13:10). I also believe that during the final half (3 years) of the seven years, there will be escalating conflicts between the Antichrist and Gog (see Gog vs. Antichrist).

Once the Seventh Seal is opened, the earth and much of the life on it will be utterly devastated by the supernatural Trumpet Judgmentsthe initial wave of Gods wrath being blown out upon the earth. It is at this time that most of Isaiah 24:1-23 will come to pass. I place the opening of the Seventh Seal, most likely, in September 2012. (See an email question and response, If we have entered the 70th Week, do you see any special significance to the year 2012?)

With all of this great tribulation, suffering, and tremendous devastation of the earth to take place within less than a handful of years, what can people do to prepare for, or perhaps to avoid, most or even all of it? I am convinced that it is imperative to develop an intensely close and strong relationship with our Sovereign Lord and Master, Jehovah-Adonai. This is done mainly through prayer and obedience.

Learning as much as possible about God and Jesus (see Who Is God?, Was Jesus God?, and My Beliefs and Faith) will be critically important. For those who have not read the Bible from cover to cover, this would be a good time to do it, to understand whom God truly is and how He works (see Chronological Reading of the Bible in One Year). God does not change (Malachi 3:6). Just as He protected and delivered the ancient Israelites who loved and obeyed Him, He also will protect and deliver those believers, during the worst of times, who do the same.

A Rapture is an event in which believers (in Jesus/Yeshua as Lord and Messiah) will be caught up and away from the earth, prior to the worst destruction and desolation that is to take place. Most likely, there will be multiple Raptures events (see secondary rapture events), removing true believers, at successive times, who have developed a real and intimate relationship with God. However, those who have allowed themselves to embrace the notion of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, to take place prior to the beginning of the 70th Week, have set themselves up for a gigantic disillusionment. This view of the Rapture is a bogus, pie-in-the-sky fantasy, with no valid basis in Scripture.

Potentially, Matthew 25:1-13could be indicative of a Mid-Tribulation Rapture, to occur midway through the final seven years, since the Bridegroom (Jesus) is seen to come at midnight (25:6) for half of the waiting virgins (Perhaps these are the believers who will have acquired their oil by properly utilizing, rather than wasting, the gifts of the Holy Spirit that God has provided them.) On my proposed time scale, this would be during the first week of April 2010. Interestingly, the exact midpoint is April 4, 2010, which just happens to be Resurrection Day (Easter). I believe it is possible that as many as half of believers could be caught up and away at that time.

If so, the majority of remaining believers would have to wait for the Pre-Wrath Rapture event to take place, soon after the opening of the Sixth Seal, but prior to the opening of the Seventh Seal (initiating Gods wrath). In any case, anyone who is present on the earth during the Great Tribulation period might wish to read repentance, endurance, and overcoming in my Chronology of Revelation commentary.

I also recommend that, besides becoming spiritually prepared for the dark tunnel ahead, people also should become psychologically and emotionally prepared as well. The world, as we know it, is going to change radically and drastically. Many of our comforts of daily life, and many of the things that we take for granted, will be compromised, or even eliminated altogether. Prices of common necessities, such as food and gasoline, will skyrocket, due to scarcity and hyperinflation. Sadly, multitudes of people will not be able to cope; unfortunately, the rates of insanity and suicide will soar.

It is advisable to stock up on items on my Adversity Supplies Basic Check List. This will provide at least some buffer when massive shortages (scarcity) and enormous price increases (hyperinflation) occur. It also is a good idea to recommend to friends, neighbors, and other family members that they do the same. Otherwise, when shortages occur, these people may come to you for help, and you will not be able to supply everybody that you know.

Know always that the Lord God is in charge. Nothing is too difficult for God. He provided, miraculously, for the ancient Israelites, drifting through the desert for forty years. Likewise, He can provide for those who acknowledge Him as Lord and God and follow His commandments.

Those who take the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:16-18) will be forever sorry that they have done so (14:9-11, 16:2). At the same time that satanic miracles will be abounding, to deceive those who are lost (2Thessalonians 2:9),Jehovah-Jireh will be performing miracles of provision and deliverance for those who have refused the mark and who willingly and faithfully pledge their allegiance and devotion to Him. And those believers who die during this horrific time in history will have the blessed assurance and comfort that they will be with their God for eternity.

So if my seven-year hypothesis is correct, here is a summary of the things that can be expected to take place, beginning a few months into 2010:

The rest is here:

Natural Disasters and Socio-Economic Collapse

liberal – Dictionary Definition : Vocabulary.com

 Liberal  Comments Off on liberal – Dictionary Definition : Vocabulary.com
Jun 282016
 

A liberal is someone on the left wing of politics the opposite of a conservative. Also, a liberal attitude toward anything means more tolerance for change.

There are many meanings for liberal, but they mostly have to do with freedom and openness to change. A teacher with a liberal policy toward attendance is going to be forgiving of missed days. A bank with a liberal attitude toward your money would probably be bad: some things are awful if they’re loose and free. But no one will give you a hard time if you use a liberal amount of catsup on your fries.

1.

showing or characterized by broad-mindedness

a person who favors a political philosophy of progress and reform and the protection of civil liberties

2.

given or giving freely

3.

not literal

Full Definitions of liberal

1

of or belonging to the political or intellectual left

having or showing active concern for protection of civil liberties protected by law

having or demonstrating belief in the essential goodness of man and the autonomy of the individual; favoring civil and political liberties, government by law with the consent of the governed, and protection from arbitrary authority

having or showing belief in the need for economic growth in addition to traditional liberalistic values

favoring or promoting reform (often by government action)

under group or government control

of or relating to a welfare state

of or belonging to the political or intellectual left

resistant to change

pompously ultraconservative and nationalistic

conservative in professional manner

old-fashioned and out of date

stubbornly conservative and narrow-minded

extremely conservative

adhering to what is commonly accepted

of or belonging to the political or intellectual right

a person who is reluctant to accept changes and new ideas

a person of liberal ideals who takes no action to realize them

a person who is broad-minded and tolerant (especially in standards of religious belief and conduct)

a liberal who subscribes to neoliberalism

someone who believes that distinct ethnic or cultural or religious groups can exist together in society

a member of the political party that urged social reform in 18th and 19th century England; was the opposition party to the Tories

a fully developed person from maturity onward

a fully developed person from maturity onward

Excerpt from:

liberal – Dictionary Definition : Vocabulary.com

War-On-Drugs.net

 War On Drugs  Comments Off on War-On-Drugs.net
Jun 212016
 

US Admits Failings As Afghan Poppy Output Doubles (And A Staggering 36 Times More Than The Taliban)

by Arianna Huffington, April 2, 2002

In an infuriating blow to reason, logic, fairness, compassion and equal justice, the Supreme Court ruled last week that people living in public housing can be evicted for any drug activity by any household member or guest — even if the drug use happened blocks away from the housing project and even if the tenant had no inkling that anything illegal was taking place.

Chew on that for a second. The highest judicial body in the land has said –unanimously — that it’s OK to toss people who the court acknowledges are innocent out of their houses for crimes they didn’t commit and didn’t even know about. The generals in the drug war are getting mighty desperate –and silly.

The justices did not just uphold the constitutionality of the “One Strike and You’re Out” eviction policy, first implemented by the Clinton administration in 1996; they also rushed to its defense, calling it “reasonable,” “unambiguous” and “not absurd.”

But try to tell Pearlie Rucker that the law’s not absurd. She was the named defendant in the case the court ruled on, a 63-year-old great-grandmother who found herself and everyone living with her facing eviction when her mentally disabled daughter was caught possessing cocaine — three blocks away from Rucker’s apartment. Or to co-defendant Herman Walker, a disabled 79-year old man, who now stands to lose his home because his full-time health care worker was found with drug paraphernalia in the apartment. You’d think that if the Supremes didn’t understand the hardship of poverty, they’d at least understand the hardships of old age.

When the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had struck down this draconian policy, it ruled that it perverted the intent of the law, which was meant to improve the lives of public housing residents — not destroy them.

The high court’s opinion, written by Chief Justice William Rehnquist no less, tried to buttress its cold-hearted argument by claiming that so-called “no fault” evictions are justified because drug use leads to “murders, muggings, and other forms of violence.” But he failed to point out how locking up innocent people solves that. Or what social ills will be avoided by Pearlie and Herman being cast out on their innocent rear ends. Surely even the most brutal and utilitarian calculus would at least balance the cost of punishing so many blameless victims against whatever perceived good is achieved.

But, no, the justices couldn’t be bothered. In adopting such one-sided reasoning and hyperbolic “Reefer Madness” rhetoric the Supreme Court is following in the fear-mongering footsteps of the administration, whose latest whacko anti-drug ad campaign tried to draw a link between teenage drug use and violent acts of terrorism.

In reality, two of the four plaintiffs in the case before the court were elderly women whose grandchildren were caught smoking pot in a housing project parking lot. I have a feeling the grandkids were far more interested in the munchies than in murder and mayhem.

The ruling is not only a galling example of drug war lunacy, but also a gut-wrenching reminder of just how differently America treats its rich and its poor. The multi-million dollar homes of Beverly Hills or the Upper East Side of Manhattan have more than their share of kids struggling with drug problems. But as concerned as these kids’ parents are, you can bet that their problems are not compounded by the additional worry that the entire family will be tossed out onto the street because their kid is seen smoking a joint three blocks away. Why should we hold poor people to a standard of accountability most of us could never meet?

“A tenant who cannot control drug crime,” wrote Justice Rehnquist in the majority opinion, “is a threat to other residents and the project.” I wonder if the Chief Justice would apply the same condemnatory logic to Gov. Jeb Bush, who also lives in public housing and was also unable to control his troubled daughter.

Indeed, our political establishment, whether ensconced in plush public housing or not, is filled with people unable to “control drug crime” by a household member. But none of them — including Sens. Ted Kennedy, Richard Lugar, and Richard Shelby, and Reps. Dan Burton, Spencer Bachus, John Murtha, Duke Cunningham and Maurice Hinchey — were punished for the sins of their kids. What’s more, unlike the thousands of poor and minority drug offenders who have had the book thrown at them, these lawmakers’ lawbreaking offspring were frequently granted special treatment.

Take the amazing case of Rep. Burton’s son, Dan II, who, in 1994, was arrested for transporting seven pounds of marijuana across state lines with the intent to distribute. He pleaded guilty and received probation, community service and house arrest. Soon after, he was discovered growing 30 pot plants in his apartment but skated on the charges once again — a federal felony carrying a mandatory-minimum sentence of five years in jail having been miraculously transformed into a state level misdemeanor.

It’s not surprising that poor kids are routinely sent to jail while rich kids are given a slap on the wrist and a ticket to rehab, or that poor parents are thrown out of their houses for not knowing what their kids are doing while powerful parents are given our sympathy and understanding. But it is unjust. And isn’t that ultimately what the Supreme Court is supposed to be about: dispensing justice?

Since Rehnquist and company were too busy taking hits from their double-standard bong, it’s now up to Congress to undo this discriminatory policy. Here’s a thought: Why don’t Ted Kennedy and Dan Burton call a joint Senate-House hearing on “One Strike and You’re Out” no-fault evictions. They can call Jeb Bush, Pearlie Rucker and their respective daughters (one taken to rehab, one taken to jail) as the first witnesses.

Source: http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=12747

Excerpt from:

War-On-Drugs.net

Ayn Rand – Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre

 Ayn Rand  Comments Off on Ayn Rand – Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre
Jun 212016
 

Ayn Rand, seudnimo de Alisa Zinvievna Rosenbaum (San Petersburgo, Imperio ruso, 2 de febrero de 1905-Nueva York, Estados Unidos, 6 de marzo de 1982), filsofa y escritora estadounidense de origen judo ruso, ampliamente conocida por haber escrito los superventas El manantial y La rebelin de Atlas, y por haber desarrollado un sistema filosfico al que denomin objetivismo.

Rand defenda el egosmo racional, el individualismo y el capitalismo laissez faire, argumentando que es el nico sistema econmico que le permite al ser humano vivir como ser humano, es decir, haciendo uso de su facultad de razonar. En consecuencia, rechazaba absolutamente el socialismo, el altruismo y la religin.

Entre sus principios sostena que el hombre debe elegir sus valores y sus acciones mediante la razn, que cada individuo tiene derecho a existir por s mismo, sin sacrificarse por los dems ni sacrificando a otros para s, y que nadie tiene derecho a obtener valores provenientes de otros recurriendo a la fuerza fsica.[1]

Teniendo la conviccin de que los gobiernos tienen una funcin legtima pero limitada, a Ayn Rand no se le puede confundir con una anarcocapitalista, pudiendo en cambio ser considerada liberal y minarquista, pese a que ella nunca aplic este ltimo trmino para referirse a s misma.

Ayn Rand ( , Alisa Zinvievna Rosenbaum) naci el 2 de febrero de 1905 en San Petersburgo (Imperio ruso), era la mayor de tres hermanos de una familia juda, cuyos padres no eran practicantes de esta religin. Desde muy joven sinti un fuerte inters por la literatura y por el arte cinematogrfico, empezando a escribir novelas y guiones a los siete aos. Ley las novelas de Alejandro Dumas, Walter Scott, entre otros escritores romnticos, y expres un apasionado entusiasmo por el movimiento romntico. Descubri a Vctor Hugo a los trece aos: qued prendada por sus novelas. Aprendi francs gracias a su madre.

Durante sus aos en la escuela secundaria, fue testigo tanto de la Revolucin de Kerensky y la Revolucin Bolchevique en 1917. Para escapar de los combates, su familia se fue a Crimea, donde ella termin la escuela secundaria.

Una vez que su familia regres de Crimea, Ayn Rand se matricul en la Universidad de San Petersburgo para estudiar filosofa e historia. Se gradu en 1924. Como admiradora del cine, se inscribi en 1924 en el Instituto Estatal de Artes Cinematogrficas para aprender a escribir guiones cinematogrficos. Fue en esta poca cuando consigui publicar por primera vez: un folleto sobre la actriz Pola Negri (1925), y un folleto titulado Hollywood: American Movie City (1926); ambos han sido reimpresos en 1999 en los llamados Escritos de Rusia en Hollywood.

A finales de 1925 obtuvo permiso de salir de la Rusia sovitica para visitar a sus familiares en los Estados Unidos. Aunque les dijo a las autoridades soviticas que su visita sera corta, estaba decidida a no regresar nunca a Rusia. Pas los siguientes seis meses con sus parientes en Chicago, obtuvo una prrroga de su visado, y luego continu a Hollywood para seguir la carrera de guionista.

Descubri tambin en la Universidad a Nietzsche, de quien apreciaba mucho su exaltacin de lo heroico y del individuo heroico, aunque aos ms tarde critic fuertemente lo irracional de su filosofa.

Su mayor influencia la recibi de Aristteles, al que consideraba el mayor filsofo del mundo y apreciaba en especial su rganon (Lgica).

Ayn Rand detestaba a Rusia, sobre todo desde la revolucin de 1917, que haba expropiado a su padre su negocio de farmacia y empeorado an ms sus condiciones de vida. Conociendo Nueva York por las pelculas estadounidenses, Ayn Rand tena muy claro que quera emigrar a los Estados Unidos. Aos ms tarde escribi Los que vivimos, un relato de primera mano de esos aos y de la atmsfera de la Rusia de entonces, sobre el cual dijo: Es lo ms cercano a una autobiografa que haya escrito nunca.

A finales de 1925, Ayn Rand consigui un visado para abandonar el pas y visitar a parientes suyos ya establecidos en Estados Unidos, a donde lleg en febrero de 1926, con 21 aos.

Ayn estuvo un tiempo en casa de sus parientes en Chicago. Ms tarde se traslad a Hollywood, donde aceptaba cualquier tipo de trabajo para pagar sus gastos bsicos. Casualmente conoci all a Cecil B. De Mille, quien se interes por esta rusa recin llegada a Estados Unidos y fascinada por el mundo del cine. Cecil B. De Mille le mostr el funcionamiento bsico de un estudio de cine y le ofreci trabajo como extra, que Ayn Rand acept, y apareci as de forma visible entre los extras en el metraje definitivo de Rey de reyes [1] (metraje visible en el documental en el DVD Ayn Rand, a sense of life). En el rodaje de la pelcula conoci, adems, al que sera su marido el resto de su vida: el tambin actor Frank O’Connor, con quien se cas en 1929.

En 1931 Ayn Rand adquiri la ciudadana de los Estados Unidos de Amrica.

En 1936 escribi: Llmenlo destino o irona, pero yo nac, de entre todos los pases de la Tierra, en el menos conveniente para una fantica del individualismo: Rusia. Decid ser escritora a la edad de nueve aos, y todo lo que he hecho se ha circunscrito a tal propsito. Soy estadounidense por eleccin y conviccin. Nac en Europa, pero emigr a los Estados Unidos de Amrica porque este era el pas donde una poda sentirse totalmente libre para escribir.

Ayn Rand estaba muy satisfecha de ser ciudadana estadounidense, y en 1973 dijo en una conferencia que dio en West Point: Puedo decir, y no como un mero patrioterismo, sino con el conocimiento completo de las necesarias races metafsicas, epistemolgicas, ticas, polticas y estticas, que Estados Unidos de Amrica es el ms grande, noble y, en sus principios fundadores originales, el nico pas moral en la historia del mundo.

Ayn Rand fue sometida a ciruga por cncer de pulmn en 1974 luego de dcadas de fumar mucho.[2] En 1976, dej de escribir en su peridico y, a pesar de sus objeciones iniciales, le permiti a Evva Pryor, una trabajadora social de la oficina de su abogado, que la inscribiese en la Seguridad Social y Medicare.[3][4]

Ayn Rand muri en 1982. Est enterrada junto a su marido en el cementerio de Valhalla (Estado de Nueva York).

Las novelas ms importantes de Ayn Rand son los superventas El manantial (1943) y La rebelin de Atlas (1957).

Sus novelas crearon el arquetipo del hroe randiano, un individuo racional digno de vivir en la tierra, ya que puede lograr lo mejor de s mismo, un hombre cuya habilidad e independencia lo hacen entrar en conflicto con los hombres-masa, pero que aun as persevera, alcanzando finalmente la realizacin de sus valores.

En 1932 consigue vender su primer guion cinematogrfico, Red pawn (Pen rojo), a los estudios Universal.

En 1934 Ayn escribe la obra de teatro Night of January 16th (La noche del 16 de enero, conocida tambin como Penthouse Legend), que incorpora la novedad absoluta en el mundo del teatro de incorporar al pblico que desee participar en un jurado al final de la obra que debe decidir sobre la inocencia o culpabilidad de la protagonista. En la nota inicial dirigida al productor de la obra, Ayn Rand explica:

La obra est construida de tal manera que las pruebas de la culpabilidad o la inocencia de la acusada estn cuidadosamente contrapesadas, y la decisin se basar en el carcter y valores del jurado. Es realmente a la audiencia a la que se juzga. En palabras del abogado defensor: A quin se juzga en este caso? A Karen Andre [coprotagonista de la obra]? No!, son ustedes, damas y caballeros del jurado, quienes estn siendo juzgados. Son sus almas las que sern puestas a la luz cuando hayan tomado su decisin.

Ayn Rand

La obra se sigue representando con xito como parte del repertorio clsico de obras de teatro para compaas de aficionados en Estados Unidos.

En 1936 publica We the living (Los que vivimos) que, segn Ayn Rand, fue lo ms parecido a una autobiografa que hubiese nunca escrito. En Los que vivimos se narra la vida dramtica de una mujer de espritu independiente bajo el rgimen totalitario sovitico.

La novela no fue bien recibida inicialmente en Estados Unidos, que estaba sumergido en la Gran Depresin y en lo que a veces all se llama la dcada roja, esto es, la dcada de mximo apogeo de las ideas socialistas y comunistas en aquel pas.

Sin el permiso ni el conocimiento de Ayn Rand (quien se enter de toda la historia despus de la Segunda Guerra Mundial), la Italia de Mussolini rod en 1942 dos pelculas basadas en la novela: Noi vivi y Addio, Kira, de los estudios Scalara Films. Las pelculas eran un intento de propaganda antisovitica por parte del rgimen italiano, y fueron un gran xito en Italia. Orgullosos de su xito, prepararon copias que enviaron a los nazis alemanes, quienes se enfurecieron al ver la pelcula y aconsejaron a los italianos su inmediata retirada de la circulacin. Los jerarcas nazis, ms coherentes en su ideologa antiliberal que los italianos, percibieron inmediatamente que el mensaje del libro no era tan slo antisovitico, sino adems antitotalitario, y que el libro no criticaba slo el totalitarismo sovitico, sino cualquier forma de totalitarismo.[5]

Estas pelculas fueron tambin proyectadas sin permiso de Ayn Rand en la Espaa de Francisco Franco. Ayn Rand pidi derechos atrasados a ambos pases.[6] Finalmente, Ayn Rand an en vida autoriz una reedicin de estas pelculas, las cuales fueron finalmente comercializadas para vdeo domstico en 1986.[7]

Himno (Anthem, titulada Vivir! en las primeras ediciones en espaol) es una novela corta que presenta en trminos altamente simblicos la lucha de un individualista contra una sociedad del futuro en la cual el colectivismo ha triunfado. Se trata de una distopa en la que el concepto de individualidad ha desaparecido (por ejemplo, el pronombre yo ha sido eliminado del lenguaje) y en la que se aprecian numerosas similitudes con la novela Nosotros (1921), de Yevgeni Zamiatin, pero tambin notables diferencias en el tono (serio en Rand, satrico en Zamiatin) y en el discurrir de la historia. Los temas que constituyen el ncleo de Himno sern desarrollados en posteriores obras extensas de Rand, como El manantial y La rebelin de Atlas.

Himno no encontr editor en Estados Unidos y fue publicada primero en el Reino Unido en 1938. Por razones algo abstrusas, es la nica obra de Rand que se encuentra en el dominio pblico en Estados Unidos (no as en otros pases), lo que ha permitido incorporarla al Proyecto Gutenberg.

En 1943 vino el primer xito importante de Ayn Rand como novelista, con la publicacin de El manantial (The fountainhead). El libro, que haba tardado siete aos en escribir, fue rechazado por doce editores, hasta que, en la editorial Bobbs-Merrill, un editor joven le espet a su jefe: Si este no es un libro adecuado para usted, entonces yo tampoco debo trabajar para usted.[8]

En 1949 se realiz una versin flmica de El manantial, dirigida por King Vidor y protagonizada por Gary Cooper (Howard Roark), Patricia Neal (Dominique Francon), Raymond Massey (Gail Wynand) y Kent Smith (Peter Keating).

El guion fue escrito por Ayn Rand y controlado minuciosamente por ella misma de una forma completamente desacostumbrada en Hollywood, donde los estudios se toman todo tipo de libertades con los guiones originales. En varias ocasiones durante el rodaje, Ayn amenaz con suspender todo el proyecto si el guion sufra la ms leve modificacin. Tanto Gary Cooper como Ayn Rand no quedaron satisfechos con la pelcula. Gary Cooper, quizs ya demasiado mayor para un papel que en el libro corresponde a un hombre joven, pronunci el famoso discurso final sin entenderlo realmente, cosa que se nota en la entonacin y el nfasis. Ayn Rand tuvo que luchar mucho para mantener la integridad del guion, y aun as tampoco qued satisfecha con la pelcula, llegando a afirmar que lo nico bueno que tena era que conseguira nuevos lectores para la novela. No obstante, la pelcula es muy apreciada hoy en da en crculos objetivistas y, dado lo irregular de su distribucin, suele estar disponible en redes P2P.

El fundamento de El manantial es el individualismo y el colectivismo en el alma humana. La obra se concentra en las vidas de los cinco principales personajes. El hroe, Howard Roark, es la persona ideal para Rand: Un arquitecto intransigente que est completamente entregado firmemente, aun cuando de manera serena, a sus ideales, especialmente creyendo que ninguna persona debe jams copiar el estilo de otra, sobre todo en el campo de la arquitectura. A lo largo de la novela, todos los dems protagonistas en algn momento u otro, por diferentes razones y con distintos grados de nfasis, le piden que renuncie a algunos de sus principios. Sin embargo, Howard se mantiene inclume y no compromete su integridad. Un aspecto interesante e impactante de la personalidad de Howard es que, en contraste con las formas acostumbradas de los hroes tpicos, no se lanza a explicar sus puntos de vista y por qu el mundo no es lugar justo por medio de largos y apasionados sermones y monlogos; todo lo contrario, Howard lo hace de forma desdeosa, lacnica y altiva.

La rebelin de Atlas (Atlas Shrugged) es considerada por muchos la obra de ficcin ms completa y poderosa de Rand sobre la filosofa objetivista. En los aos ochenta, la Biblioteca del Congreso de los Estados Unidos hizo una encuesta, preguntando cul era el libro que mayor influencia haba tenido en la vida de los encuestados. El primero en el rnking fue La Biblia, el segundo, La rebelin de Atlas.

La rebelin de Atlas es el principal motivo, por encima de cualesquiera otros, por el que ms individuos confiesan haber llegado a ser libertarios o, dicho de otro modo, anarcocapitalistas.[9]

El libro narra la decadencia de los Estados Unidos como consecuencia del excesivo intervencionismo del gobierno. A pesar de que el libro se escribi entre los aos 1946 y 1957, algunas personas ven en la lectura del proceso de destruccin econmico que el libro narra, una situacin de deterioro econmico similar al vivido por Cuba a partir de 1960. [citarequerida]

El libro divide la fibra social de Estados Unidos en dos clases: la de los saqueadores y la de los nosaqueadores.

Galt, desde su escondite en las montaas, da rdenes, sugiere iniciativas y mueve todos los hilos. Junto con l, se refugian los principales empresarios. Durante el tiempo que dura la huelga y la desaparicin de los empresarios, el sistema estadounidense se va hundiendo bajo el peso del cada vez ms opresivo intervencionismo estatal. La obra termina cuando los empresarios deciden abandonar por completo el “Mundo Exterior” para volver a las “Montaas Rocosas” y comenzar una nueva sociedad.

Rand quera llamar a su novela La huelga. El ttulo La rebelin de Atlas le fue sugerido por su esposo, pues as equipara el empresario al titn mtico que carga a sus espaldas los destinos del mundo. Cuando la obra apareci, llam la atencin por lo atrevido y osado del planteamiento para ese entonces. Hasta ese momento, ni siquiera en Estados Unidos alguien se haba atrevido a realizar un planteamiento en el que los empresarios fuesen los buenos y el Estado el malvado.

Para Ayn Rand, el hecho de que una huelga pudiera hundir en el caos a los Estados Unidos es la confirmacin de que el pas no puede vivir sin su clase empresarial, que la poltica debe subordinarse a las necesidades de la economa empresarial y, finalmente, que es preciso volver al espritu de los primeros colonos que se sublevaron contra Inglaterra en el siglo XVIII: lucharon contra el intervencionismo estatal y en defensa de sus derechos individuales. Lo que propone Rand es volver al origen de la tradicin americana, solo que el hroe ya no es un granjero que se subleva contra los ingleses, sino el patrono que lucha contra el intervencionismo subyugante del Estado y cuyo esfuerzo es el que verdaderamente crea riqueza.

Al poco tiempo de salir se vendieron cuatro millones de ejemplares de la obra. Luego de este libro, solo escribi ensayos, en los que desarroll explcitamente las premisas filosficas implcitas de La rebelin de Atlas. Uno de esos ensayos, La virtud del egosmo es considerado uno de los manifiestos principales de la corriente filosfica de Rand.

Ayn Rand sostena:

En La virtud del egosmo Rand escribi sobre la vida:

En Derechos del hombre dijo:

En La rebelin de Atlas escribi sobre el trabajo manual, los empresarios y los inventores:

Ayn Rand no se consideraba a s misma como de derechas (tampoco de izquierdas). En innumerables ocasiones Ayn Rand declar I am not a conservative (No soy conservadora), al mismo tiempo que declaraba vehementemente su oposicin a Ronald Reagan. En el espectro poltico usualmente se la ubica en la derecha poltica por su apego a un tipo de individualismo heroico y capitalista.

Desde cierto punto de vista, se la puede considerar como una seguidora del ideal liberal libertario o simplemente liberal. Ella estaba de acuerdo en buscar la maximizacin de los derechos del individuo desde un anlisis liberal individualista; sin embargo, Rand tambin buscaba maximizar lo que consideraba beneficios de la propiedad privada y del sistema capitalista, lo cual se identifica con los conservadores, quienes a su vez son considerados de derecha. No obstante, Ayn Rand denost hasta su muerte a los liberales libertarios, a los que llamaba hippies de derechas.

Algunos puntos de la ideologa de Ayn Rand sugeriran su no adscripcin ideolgica a la derecha conservadora:

Basndose en el principio de que la esfera de la libertad del individuo slo puede autorrealizarse a travs de la propiedad privada, Ayn Rand reconoce en el sistema poltico capitalista la afirmacin de la economa libre y el ideal del autointers personal mediante la cooperacin social en el mercado. Partiendo de esta base miseana, Rand procede a identificar mediante el principio de no agresin al trabajo personal. En esto la doctrina de Ayn Rand es coincidente con lo sostenido por lo que se considera la derecha liberal, por cuanto que las desigualdades no seran estructuralmente impuestas por la sociedad, sino producto de la utilidad desigual de los bienes productivos en el mercado libre, sean estos el capital o el trabajo asalariado. Desasociaba as cualquier relacin necesaria entre poder econmico (defensivo) y poder poltico (agresivo), presentndolos como opuestos naturales. Tambin reinterpret y legitim la desigualdad de oportunidades por no ser dependiente de la cuanta del dinero, sino de su uso productivo en el mercado, idea que desarroll junto a Alan Greenspan en Capitalism: the unknown ideal.

Su filosofa ha sido as apologtica del orden social capitalista puro sin intervencin gubernamental, y por ende el modelo, a la vez tico y utilitario, para muchos grandes empresarios en la bsqueda del xito en los negocios que no dependan de la coercin poltica. La influencia del egosmo individualista racional randiano se puede rastrear hasta la obra de Milton Friedman al respecto de la idea de internalizacin de las externalidades, limitando la responsabilidad corporativa al beneficio de los accionistas, as como en los trabajos de Robert Hessen y Stephen Hicks sobre la tica en los negocios.

Las ideas de Rand sobre esttica giran en torno al concepto de lo que ella llamara realismo romntico, que suele referirse al arte que trata los temas de la volicin y de los valores humanos, reconociendo tambin la importancia de la tcnica artstica y del reconocimiento de la realidad. El realismo romntico plasma frecuentemente a seres humanos heroicos en situaciones de alegra y triunfo vital, con un fondo optimista y una estimacin positiva de la Ciencia y de la Tcnica. A menudo hay referencias ms o menos sutiles a Ayn Rand en estas obras.

Aun habiendo sido utilizado anteriormente, el trmino fue popularizado por Ayn Rand. Ayn Rand defini al realismo romntico como la representacin de las cosas y de los seres humanos como podran ser y deberan ser, tomando estos conceptos de Aristteles.

Esta combinacin est basada en la idea de que los valores heroicos son racionales y realistas, ya que el realismo romntico considera como falsa la dicotoma entre realismo y romanticismo.

Tanto el trabajo literario como el trabajo filosfico de Ayn Rand han sido objeto de innumerables crticas. Tambin se ha criticado su metodologa y su personalidad egocntrica.

La lucha contra el altruismo por parte de Ayn Rand atrajo crticas de orden tico. El famoso escritor estadounidense izquierdista Gore Vidal escribi tratando el tema en 1961:

A partir del momento en que las personas deben vivir en comunidad, dependiendo los unos de los otros, el altruismo es necesario para la supervivencia.

Gore tambin explica el porqu de la popularidad de las ideas de Ayn Rand:

Rand siente una gran afinidad por las personas que se hallan a s mismas perdidas en una sociedad organizada. Son personas renuentes a pagar impuestos, que no soportan al Estado y sus leyes y que sienten remordimientos frente al dolor ajeno pero buscan endurecer sus corazones. A estas personas ella les ofrece una solucin muy atractiva: el altruismo es el origen de todos los males, el inters individual es el nico bien, y si alguien es estpido o incompetente, ese es su problema.

Los aspectos biogrficos de Ayn Rand tambin han sido centro de controversias. En la obra The Passion of Ayn Rand’s Critics, James Valliant apoya su tesis sobre unas supuestas manipulaciones que Nathaniel Branden y su esposa hicieron a los hechos que tratan sobre la vida de Rand. Segn Valliant, los herederos de Ayn Rand exageraron su carrera y ocultaron anotaciones del diario de la filsofa.

El filsofo Robert Nozick critica la obra de Rand en su libro Socratic puzzles (ISBN 0-674-81654-4). Nozick es liberal libertario, por lo que simpatiza con varias de las conclusiones de Ayn Rand, aunque est en desacuerdo con aspectos fundamentales de su obra. En Socratic puzzles critica el argumento fundacional de la tica de Rand: la proclamacin de que la propia vida es, para cada hombre, el valor definitivo, ya que es el valor que hace posibles a todos los dems. Nozick afirma que Rand no explic por qu alguien no podra preferir racionalmente morir y el no tener ningn valor. De acuerdo con este argumento, la defensa de Rand del egosmo es una petitio principii (peticin de principio), y la solucin de Rand al problema del ser-deber ser de David Hume no es satisfactoria.

Las novelas de Rand, al ser publicadas, se convirtieron desde el principio en superventas, tanto dentro como fuera de los Estados Unidos, debido principalmente al boca a boca entre los lectores. Aunque recibieron algunas crticas especializadas positivas, fueron denostadas por la crtica literaria como terribles o simplemente malas. Los expertos en literatura inglesa y la lite cultural progresista en general han ignorado sus novelas. Como excepcin, el crtico literario Harold Bloom encontr la obra de Rand lo suficientemente significativa como para incluirla en su antologa crtica American women fiction writers (escritoras estadounidenses de ficcin, 1998).[11]

El movimiento objetivista fundado por Rand y que fue disuelto tras su separacin de Nathaniel Branden en 1968 ha sido acusado de haber sido una secta destructiva, con Rand como la figura de culto.

En 1979, en una entrevista televisiva, Ayn Rand afirm: yo no soy una secta.[12]

Un seguidor ciego es precisamente lo que mi filosofa condena, y lo que yo rechazo. El objetivismo no es una secta mstica.

Cuando sucedi el colapso del instituto NBI (Nathaniel Branden Institute), Ayn Rand declar que ella ni siquiera haba querido tener un movimiento organizado:

Por lo tanto quiero aclarar enfticamente que el objetivismo no es un movimiento organizado y nadie lo debe considerar as.

El trmino randroide (una mezcla de las palabras Rand y androide) se ha utilizado para evocar la imagen de los robots imitadores de Galt producidos por la secta.[15]

Las sugerencias de que la conducta sectaria de los objetivistas comenzaron durante los das del Nathaniel Branden Institute. Con la creciente cobertura de los medios, comenzaron a aparecer artculos que hablaban de la secta de Ayn Rand, y que la comparaban con varios lderes religiosos.[16]

Terry Teachout describi al Nathaniel Branden Institute como una casisecta que giraba en torno a la adoracin de Ayn Rand y de sus hroes de ficcin, una secta que se desintegr cuando Rand se separ de Nathaniel Branden.[17]

En 1968, el psiclogo Albert Ellis, a raz de un debate pblico con Nathaniel Branden, public un libro argumentando que el objetivismo era una religin, cuyas prcticas incluan la condenacin y la demonizacin, el puritanismo sexual, el absolutismo y la divinizacin hacia Ayn Rand y sus hroes de ficcin.[18]

En sus memorias, dice Nathaniel Branden del Colectivo y del Nathaniel Branden Institute que haba un aspecto de secta en nuestro mundo […] ramos un grupo organizado en torno a un lder carismtico, donde cada miembro juzgaba el carcter del otro principalmente sobre la base de la lealtad hacia esa lder y sus ideas.[19]

En 1972, el autor libertario Murray Rothbard comenz a hacer circular de manera privada su ensayo The sociology of the Ayn Rand cult (la sociologa de la secta de Ayn Rand), en la que escribi:

Si las contradicciones internas evidentes de las sectas leninistas las convierten en intrigantes objetos de estudio, ms an lo es la secta de Ayn Rand […] [p]orque que la secta Rand no solo era explcitamente atea, antirreligiosa y aduladora de la Razn, sino que tambin promueve la dependencia servil a un gur en nombre de la independencia; la adoracin y la obediencia hacia un lder en nombre de la individualidad de cada persona; y la emocin ciega y la fe en el gur en nombre de la Razn.[20]

Rothbard tambin escribi que

el espritu gua del movimiento randiano no era la libertad individual sino el poder personal de Ayn Rand y sus principales discpulos.[21]

En 1993, Michael Shermer fundador de The Skeptics Society, escribi sobre este tema el artculo The unlikeliest cult in History (La secta ms improbable de la historia).[22] Shermer argument que el movimiento objetivista mostraba caractersticas de las sectas religiosas, como la veneracin y la infalibilidad del lder; las intenciones ocultas, la explotacin sexual y financiera, y la creencia de que el movimiento ofreca la verdad absoluta y la moral absoluta. Shermer sostuvo que ciertos aspectos de la epistemologa y la tica objetivista promueve conductas sectarias:

{{cita|En el momento en que un grupo se establece como rbitro moral definitivo de las acciones de otras personas sobre todo cuando sus miembros creen que han descubierto patrones absolutos del bien y del mal es el principio del fin de la tolerancia, y por lo tanto de la razn y la racionalidad. Es esta caracterstica ms que cualquier otra la que convierte a una secta, a una religin, a una nacin o a cualquier otro grupo en algo peligroso para la libertad individual. El absolutismo es el mayor defecto del objetivismo de Ayn Rand, la cual es la secta ms improbable de la Historia.[23]

En 1999, Jeff Walker public The Ayn Rand cult (la secta de Ayn Rand). En un pasaje, Walker compar el objetivismo con las prcticas dianticas de la cienciologa, que muchos consideran como una secta destructiva. Segn Walker, ambos son conjuntos de creencias totalitarias que defienden una tica para las masas sobre la base de la supervivencia como un ente racional. Walker contina: La diantica utiliza un razonamiento un tanto similar al de Rand acerca de considerar el cerebro como una mquina. […] Ambos hablan de una mente superior que puede reprogramar el resto de la mente. Walker seala adems que ambas doctrinas pretenden basarse en la ciencia y en la lgica.[24]

El libro de Walker provoc las crticas de los seguidores de Rand. Chris Matthew Sciabarra critic la objetividad y la academicidad de Walker.[25] Mimi Reisel Gladstein escribi que la tesis de Walker es cuestionable ya menudo depende de la insinuacin ms que de la lgica.[26] R.W.Bradford afirm que para los estudiosos el libro es simplemente aburrido.[27]

Las afirmaciones de la calidad sectaria de esta doctrina siguieron en aos ms recientes. En 2004, Thomas Szasz escribi en apoyo de 1972 el ensayo de Rothbard,[28] y en 2006, Albert Ellis public una edicin actualizada de su libro de 1968, donde incluy algunas referencias favorables a Walker.[29] Del mismo modo, Walter Block aunque expres su admiracin por algunas ideas y afirm la fuerte influencia de Rand sobre el libertarismo describi al movimiento objetivista como una diminuta secta implosiva.[30]

Personas que convivieron con Ayn Rand han escrito libros sobre ella en los que mezclan el elogio con la crtica personal.

Estos libros son The passion of Ayn Rand (La pasin de Ayn Rand), ISBN 0-385-24388-X, de Barbara Branden, y My years with Ayn Rand (Mis aos con Ayn Rand), ISBN 0-7879-4513-7, de Nathaniel Branden.

Ambos autores han sido asimismo criticados en el libro de James Valliant The passion of Ayn Rands critics (ISBN 1-930754-67-1).

A blind follower [el nfasis aparece en el original] is precisely what my philosophy condemns and what I reject. Objectivism is not a mystic cult.

Se puede encontrar esta cita en el sitio web NobleSoul.com.

I want, therefore, to make it emphatically clear that Objectivism is not an organized movement and is not to be regarded as such by anyone.

If the glaring inner contradictions of the Leninist cults make them intriguing objects of study, still more so is the Ayn Rand cult… [f]or not only was the Rand cult explicitly atheist, anti-religious, and an extoller of Reason; it also promoted slavish dependence on the guru in the name of independence; adoration and obedience to the leader in the name of every person’s individuality; and blind emotion and faith in the guru in the name of Reason.

[A]s soon as a group sets itself up to be the final moral arbiter of other people’s actions, especially when its members believe they have discovered absolute standards of right and wrong, it is the beginning of the end of tolerance, and thus reason and rationality. It is this characteristic more than any other that makes a cult, a religion, a nation, or any other group, dangerous to individual freedom. Its absolutism was the biggest flaw in Ayn Rand’s Objectivism, the unlikeliest cult in history.

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Ayn Rand – Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies | KurzweilAI

 Superintelligence  Comments Off on Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies | KurzweilAI
Jun 212016
 

Superintelligence asks the questions: What happens when machines surpass humans in general intelligence? Will artificial agents save or destroy us? Nick Bostrom lays the foundation for understanding the future of humanity and intelligent life.

The human brain has some capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position. If machine brains surpassed human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become extremely powerful possibly beyond our control. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on humans than on the species itself, so would the fate of humankind depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence.

But we have one advantage: we get to make the first move. Will it be possible to construct a seed Artificial Intelligence, to engineer initial conditions so as to make an intelligence explosion survivable? How could one achieve a controlled detonation?

This profoundly ambitious and original book breaks down a vast track of difficult intellectual terrain. After an utterly engrossing journey that takes us to the frontiers of thinking about the human condition and the future of intelligent life, we find in Nick Bostroms work nothing less than a reconceptualization of the essential task of our time.

Amazon.com

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Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies | KurzweilAI

Moral nihilism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Nihilism  Comments Off on Moral nihilism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jun 212016
 

This article is about the meta-ethical position. For a more general discussion of amoralism, see Amorality.

Moral nihilism (also known as ethical nihilism) is the meta-ethical view that nothing is intrinsically moral or immoral. For example, a moral nihilist would say that killing someone, for whatever reason, is neither inherently right nor inherently wrong. Moral nihilists consider morality to be constructed, a complex set of rules and recommendations that may give a psychological, social, or economical advantage to its adherents, but is otherwise without universal or even relative truth in any sense.[1]

Moral nihilism is distinct from moral relativism, which does allow for actions to be right or wrong relative to a particular culture or individual, and moral universalism, which holds actions to be right or wrong in the same way for everyone everywhere. Insofar as only true statements can be known, moral nihilism implies moral skepticism.

According to Sinnott-Armstrong (2006a), the basic thesis of moral nihilism is that “nothing is morally wrong” (3.4). There are, however, several forms that this thesis can take (see Sinnott-Armstrong, 2006b, pp.3237 and Russ Shafer-Landau, 2003, pp.813). There are two important forms of moral nihilism: error theory and expressivism[1] p.292.

One form of moral nihilism is expressivism. Expressivism denies the principle that our moral judgments try and fail to describe the moral features, because expressivists believe when someone says something is immoral they are not saying it is right or wrong. Expressivists are not trying to speak the truth when making moral judgments; they are simply trying to express their feelings. “We are not making an effort to describe the way the world is. We are not trying to report on the moral features possessed by various actions, motives, or policies. Instead, we are venting our emotions, commanding others to act in certain ways, or revealing a plan of action. When we condemn torture, for instance, we are expressing our opposition to it, indicating our disgust at it, publicizing our reluctance to perform it, and strongly encouraging others not to go in for it. We can do all of these things without trying to say anything that is true.”[1] p.293.

This makes expressivism a form of non-cognitivism. Non-cognitivism in ethics is the view that moral statements lack truth-value and do not assert genuine propositions. This involves a rejection of the cognitivist claim, shared by other moral philosophies, that moral statements seek to “describe some feature of the world” (Garner 1967, 219-220). This position on its own is logically compatible with realism about moral values themselves. That is, one could reasonably hold that there are objective moral values but that we cannot know them and that our moral language does not seek to refer to them. This would amount to an endorsement of a type of moral skepticism, rather than nihilism.

Typically, however, the rejection of the cognitivist thesis is combined with the thesis that there are, in fact, no moral facts (van Roojen, 2004). But if moral statements cannot be true, and if one cannot know something that is not true, non-cognitivism implies that moral knowledge is impossible (Garner 1967, 219-220).

Not all forms of non-cognitivism are forms of moral nihilism, however: notably, the universal prescriptivism of R.M. Hare is a non-cognitivist form of moral universalism, which holds that judgements about morality may be correct or not in a consistent, universal way, but do not attempt to describe features of reality and so are not, strictly speaking, truth-apt.

Error theory is built on three principles:

Thus, we always lapse into error when thinking in moral terms. We are trying to state the truth when we make moral judgments. But since there is no moral truth, all of our moral claims are mistaken. Hence the error. These three principles lead to the conclusion that there is no moral knowledge. Knowledge requires truth. If there is no moral truth, there can be no moral knowledge. Thus moral values are purely chimerical.[1]

Error theorists combine the cognitivist thesis that moral language consists of truth-apt statements with the nihilist thesis that there are no moral facts. Like moral nihilism itself, however, error theory comes in more than one form: Global falsity and Presupposition failure.

The first, which one might call the global falsity form of error theory, claims that moral beliefs and assertions are false in that they claim that certain moral facts exist that in fact do not exist. J. L. Mackie (1977) argues for this form of moral nihilism. Mackie argues that moral assertions are only true if there are moral properties that are intrinsically motivating, but there is good reason to believe that there are no such intrinsically motivating properties (see the argument from queerness and motivational internalism).

The second form, which one might call the presupposition failure form of error theory, claims that moral beliefs and assertions are not true because they are neither true nor false. This is not a form of non-cognitivism, for moral assertions are still thought to be truth-apt. Rather, this form of moral nihilism claims that moral beliefs and assertions presuppose the existence of moral facts that do not exist. This is analogous to presupposition failure in cases of non-moral assertions. Take, for example, the claim that the present king of France is bald. Some argue[who?] that this claim is truth-apt in that it has the logical form of an assertion, but it is neither true nor false because it presupposes that there is currently a king of France, but there is not. The claim suffers from “presupposition failure.” Richard Joyce (2001) argues for this form of moral nihilism under the name “fictionalism.”

The philosophy of Niccol Machiavelli is sometimes presented as a model of moral nihilism, but this is at best ambiguous. His book Il Principe (The Prince) praised many acts of violence and deception, which shocked a European tradition that throughout the Middle Ages had inculcated moral lessons in its political philosophies. Machiavelli does say that the Prince must override traditional moral rules in favor of power-maintaining reasons of State, but he also says, particularly in his other works, that the successful ruler should be guided by Pagan rather than Christian virtues. Hence, Machiavelli presents an alternative to the ethical theories of his day, rather than an all-out rejection of all morality.

Closer to being an example of moral nihilism is Thrasymachus, as portrayed in Plato’s Republic. Thrasymachus argues, for example, that rules of justice are structured to benefit those who are able to dominate political and social institutions. Thrasymachus can, however, be interpreted as offering a revisionary account of justice, rather than a total rejection of morality and normative discourse.

Glover has cited realist views of amoralism held by early Athenians, and in some ethical positions affirmed by Joseph Stalin.[2]

Criticisms of moral nihilism come primarily from moral realists,[citation needed] who argue that there are positive moral truths. Still, criticisms do arise out of the other anti-realist camps (i.e. subjectivists and relativists). Not only that, but each school of moral nihilism has its own criticisms of one another (e.g. the non-cognitivists’ critique of error theory for accepting the semantic thesis of moral realism).[citation needed]

Still other detractors deny that the basis of moral objectivity need be metaphysical. The moral naturalist, though a form of moral realist, agrees with the nihilists’ critique of metaphysical justifications for right and wrong. Moral naturalists prefer to define “morality” in terms of observables, some even appealing to a science of morality.[citation needed]

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The Golden Rule – harryhiker.com

 Golden Rule  Comments Off on The Golden Rule – harryhiker.com
Jun 192016
 

My Ethics and the Golden Rule (New York and London: Routledge, 2013) is a fairly comprehensive treatment of the golden rule. It covers a wide range of topics, such as how the golden rule connects with world religions and history, how it applies to practical areas like moral education and business, and how it can be understood and defended philosophically. I wrote this to be a “golden-rule book for everyone,” from students to general readers to specialists. Click here for a video overview or here to preview the first 30 pages. Click here to order (or click here for the Kindle version, which I fine-tuned to fit the e-book format).

I got interested in the golden rule in 1968, after hearing a talk in Detroit by R.M. Hare. I did a masters thesis (1969 Wayne State University) and doctoral dissertation (1977 Michigan) on the golden rule. Since then, I’ve done many book chapters and articles on the golden rule (the short essay above is adapted from my golden-rule entry in the Blackwell Dictionary of Business Ethics). Three of my earlier books have much on the golden rule.

My Ethics: A Contemporary Introduction, second edition (Routledge, 2011) is an introductory textbook in moral philosophy. Chapters 7 to 9 talk about how to understand, defend, and apply the golden rule. This book is written in a simple way and should be understandable to the general reader. This book and Formal Ethics have cool Web exercises and EthiCola downloadable exercise software, much of which deals with the golden rule.

My Introduction to Logic, second edition (Routledge, 2010) has a chapter that formalizes a system of ethics, leading to a proof of the golden rule in symbolic logic. This gets pretty technical. Other books of mine have golden-rule parts, including my Historical Dictionary of Ethics, Anthology of Catholic Philosophy (the essay on pages 523-31), and Ethics: Contemporary Readings. To order any of my books, click here or here. Several of my books are available in e-book format: Kindle, Sony, Routledge (search for author Gensler). Yes, the golden rule does have an intellectual component; it’s not as simple as it might seem.

Here are some books on the golden rule by others: (1) R.M. Hare’s Freedom and Reason (Oxford 1963) greatly influenced my thinking; compared to Hare, I am more neutral on foundational issues, formulate the golden rule a little differently, and am more of a logician at heart. (2) Jeff Wattles’s The Golden Rule (Oxford 1996) emphasizes historical and religious aspects and thus complements my logical-rational approach; I have benefited much from our discussions. (3) Oliver du Roy’s La rgle d’or: Le retour d’une maxime oublie (Cerf 2009) and Histoire de la rgle d’or (Cerf 2012); here is a short talk of his on the golden rule, in English and French. (4) Martin Bauschke’s Die Goldene Regel: Staunen, Verstehen, Handeln (Erbverlag 2010). (5) Howard (Q.C.) Terry’s Golden Rules and Silver Rules of Humanity (Infinity 2011). (6) Mike Bushman’s Doing Unto Others (Altfuture 2015).

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The Golden Rule – harryhiker.com

WW3 : China uveils Stealth Fighter, Nuclear Subs, Russian …

 Ww3  Comments Off on WW3 : China uveils Stealth Fighter, Nuclear Subs, Russian …
Jun 192016
 

News Articles:

China Stealth Fighter:

New pictures show second Chinese stealth fighter being test flown http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2012/11…

Inside China: J-31 stealth jet takes to the skies http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2…

Second stealth jet J-31 puts China on path to top regional power: Expert http://articles.economictimes.indiati…

Russian Nuclear Subs off U.S. East Coast:

Navy detects Russian sub off U.S. East Coast http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2012/11…

Russian Nuclear Submarines Are Trolling the East Coast http://www.vice.com/read/russian-nucl…

Russian attack sub discovered just 200 miles from US East Coast is given safe harbor during Hurricane Sandy http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/artic…

China Submarines with Ballistic Missiles

China submarines to soon carry nukes, draft U.S. report says http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/1…

China ‘is two years from arming its submarines with nuclear weapons’, says U.S. report http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/artic…

China Two Years Away From Deploying Nuclear Submarines: Report http://www.ibtimes.com/china-two-year…

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WW3 : China uveils Stealth Fighter, Nuclear Subs, Russian …

Cyberpunk – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Cyberpunk  Comments Off on Cyberpunk – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jun 192016
 

Primary exponents of the cyberpunk field include William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, Bruce Sterling, Bruce Bethke, Pat Cadigan, Rudy Rucker, John Shirley and Philip K. Dick (author of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, from which the film Blade Runner was adapted).[8]

Blade Runner can be seen as a quintessential example of the cyberpunk style and theme.[4]Video games, board games, and tabletop role-playing games, such as Cyberpunk 2020 and Shadowrun, often feature storylines that are heavily influenced by cyberpunk writing and movies. Beginning in the early 1990s, some trends in fashion and music were also labeled as cyberpunk. Cyberpunk is also featured prominently in anime and manga:[9]Akira, Gunnm, Ghost in the Shell, Serial Experiments Lain, Dennou Coil, Ergo Proxy and Psycho Pass being among the most notable.[9][10]

Cyberpunk writers tend to use elements from hardboiled detective fiction, film noir, and postmodernist prose to describe the often nihilistic underground side of an electronic society. The genre’s vision of a troubled future is often called the antithesis of the generally utopian visions of the future popular in the 1940s and 1950s. Gibson defined cyberpunk’s antipathy towards utopian SF in his 1981 short story “The Gernsback Continuum,” which pokes fun at and, to a certain extent, condemns utopian science fiction.[13][14][15]

In some cyberpunk writing, much of the action takes place online, in cyberspace, blurring the border between actual and virtual reality.[16] A typical trope in such work is a direct connection between the human brain and computer systems. Cyberpunk settings are dystopias with corruption, computers and internet connectivity. Giant, multinational corporations have for the most part replaced governments as centers of political, economic, and even military power.

The economic and technological state of Japan in the 80s influenced Cyberpunk literature at the time. Of Japan’s influence on the genre, William Gibson said, “Modern Japan simply was cyberpunk.”[12] Cyberpunk is often set in urbanized, artificial landscapes, and “city lights, receding” was used by Gibson as one of the genre’s first metaphors for cyberspace and virtual reality.[17]

One of the cyberpunk genre’s prototype characters is Case, from Gibson’s Neuromancer.[18] Case is a “console cowboy,” a brilliant hacker who has betrayed his organized criminal partners. Robbed of his talent through a crippling injury inflicted by the vengeful partners, Case unexpectedly receives a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be healed by expert medical care but only if he participates in another criminal enterprise with a new crew.

Like Case, many cyberpunk protagonists are manipulated, placed in situations where they have little or no choice, and although they might see things through, they do not necessarily come out any further ahead than they previously were. These anti-heroes”criminals, outcasts, visionaries, dissenters and misfits”[19]call to mind the private eye of detective fiction. This emphasis on the misfits and the malcontents is the “punk” component of cyberpunk.

Cyberpunk can be intended to disquiet readers and call them to action. It often expresses a sense of rebellion, suggesting that one could describe it as a type of culture revolution in science fiction. In the words of author and critic David Brin:

…a closer look [at cyberpunk authors] reveals that they nearly always portray future societies in which governments have become wimpy and pathetic …Popular science fiction tales by Gibson, Williams, Cadigan and others do depict Orwellian accumulations of power in the next century, but nearly always clutched in the secretive hands of a wealthy or corporate elite.[20]

Cyberpunk stories have also been seen as fictional forecasts of the evolution of the Internet. The earliest descriptions of a global communications network came long before the World Wide Web entered popular awareness, though not before traditional science-fiction writers such as Arthur C. Clarke and some social commentators such as James Burke began predicting that such networks would eventually form.[21]

The science-fiction editor Gardner Dozois is generally acknowledged as the person who popularized the use of the term “cyberpunk” as a kind of literature [according to whom?], although Minnesota writer Bruce Bethke coined the term in 1980 for his short story “Cyberpunk,” which was published in the November 1983 issue of Amazing Science Fiction Stories.[22] The term was quickly appropriated as a label to be applied to the works of William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Pat Cadigan and others. Of these, Sterling became the movement’s chief ideologue, thanks to his fanzine Cheap Truth. John Shirley wrote articles on Sterling and Rucker’s significance.[23]John Brunner’s 1975 novel The Shockwave Rider is considered by many[who?] to be the first cyberpunk novel with many of the tropes commonly associated with the genre, some five years before the term was popularized by Dozois.[24]

William Gibson with his novel Neuromancer (1984) is likely[according to whom?] the most famous writer connected with the term cyberpunk. He emphasized style, a fascination with surfaces, and atmosphere over traditional science-fiction tropes. Regarded as ground-breaking and sometimes as “the archetypal cyberpunk work,”[7]Neuromancer was awarded the Hugo, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick Awards. Count Zero (1986) and Mona Lisa Overdrive (1988) followed after Gibson’s popular debut novel. According to the Jargon File, “Gibson’s near-total ignorance of computers and the present-day hacker culture enabled him to speculate about the role of computers and hackers in the future in ways hackers have since found both irritatingly nave and tremendously stimulating.”[25]

Early on, cyberpunk was hailed as a radical departure from science-fiction standards and a new manifestation of vitality.[26] Shortly thereafter, however, some critics arose to challenge its status as a revolutionary movement. These critics said that the SF New Wave of the 1960s was much more innovative as far as narrative techniques and styles were concerned.[27] Furthermore, while Neuromancer’s narrator may have had an unusual “voice” for science fiction, much older examples can be found: Gibson’s narrative voice, for example, resembles that of an updated Raymond Chandler, as in his novel The Big Sleep (1939).[26] Others noted that almost all traits claimed to be uniquely cyberpunk could in fact be found in older writers’ worksoften citing J. G. Ballard, Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison, Stanisaw Lem, Samuel R. Delany, and even William S. Burroughs.[26] For example, Philip K. Dick’s works contain recurring themes of social decay, artificial intelligence, paranoia, and blurred lines between objective and subjective realities, and the influential cyberpunk movie Blade Runner (1982) is based on his book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. Humans linked to machines are found in Pohl and Kornbluth’s Wolfbane (1959) and Roger Zelazny’s Creatures of Light and Darkness (1968).[citation needed]

In 1994, scholar Brian Stonehill suggested that Thomas Pynchon’s 1973 novel Gravity’s Rainbow “not only curses but precurses what we now glibly dub cyberspace.”[28] Other important[according to whom?] predecessors include Alfred Bester’s two most celebrated novels, The Demolished Man and The Stars My Destination,[29] as well as Vernor Vinge’s novella True Names.[30]

Science-fiction writer David Brin describes cyberpunk as “the finest free promotion campaign ever waged on behalf of science fiction.” It may not have attracted the “real punks,” but it did ensnare many new readers, and it provided the sort of movement that postmodern literary critics found alluring. Cyberpunk made science fiction more attractive to academics, argues Brin; in addition, it made science fiction more profitable to Hollywood and to the visual arts generally. Although the “self-important rhetoric and whines of persecution” on the part of cyberpunk fans were irritating at worst and humorous at best, Brin declares that the “rebels did shake things up. We owe them a debt.”[31]

Fredric Jameson considers cyberpunk the “supreme literary expression if not of postmodernism, then of late capitalism itself”.[32]

Cyberpunk further inspired many professional writers who were not among the “original” cyberpunks to incorporate cyberpunk ideas into their own works,[citation needed] such as George Alec Effinger’s When Gravity Fails. Wired magazine, created by Louis Rossetto and Jane Metcalfe, mixes new technology, art, literature, and current topics in order to interest today’s cyberpunk fans, which Paula Yoo claims “proves that hardcore hackers, multimedia junkies, cyberpunks and cellular freaks are poised to take over the world.”[33]

The film Blade Runner (1982)adapted from Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?is set in 2019 in a dystopian future in which manufactured beings called replicants are slaves used on space colonies and are legal prey on Earth to various bounty hunters who “retire” (kill) them. Although Blade Runner was largely unsuccessful in its first theatrical release, it found a viewership in the home video market and became a cult film.[34] Since the movie omits the religious and mythical elements of Dick’s original novel (e.g. empathy boxes and Wilbur Mercer), it falls more strictly within the cyberpunk genre than the novel does. William Gibson would later reveal that upon first viewing the film, he was surprised at how the look of this film matched his vision when he was working on Neuromancer. The film’s tone has since been the staple of many cyberpunk movies, such as The Matrix (1999), which uses a wide variety of cyberpunk elements.

The number of films in the genre or at least using a few genre elements has grown steadily since Blade Runner. Several of Philip K. Dick’s works have been adapted to the silver screen. The films Johnny Mnemonic[35] and New Rose Hotel,[36][37] both based upon short stories by William Gibson, flopped commercially and critically.

In addition, “tech-noir” film as a hybrid genre, means a work of combining neo-noir and science fiction or cyberpunk. It includes many cyberpunk films such as Blade Runner, Burst City,[38]The Terminator, Robocop, 12 Monkeys, The Lawnmower Man, Hackers, Hardware, and Strange Days.

Cyberpunk themes are widely visible in anime and manga. In Japan, where cosplay is popular and not only teenagers display such fashion styles, cyberpunk has been accepted and its influence is widespread. William Gibson’s Neuromancer, whose influence dominated the early cyberpunk movement, was also set in Chiba, one of Japan’s largest industrial areas, although at the time of writing the novel Gibson did not know the location of Chiba and had no idea how perfectly it fit his vision in some ways. The exposure to cyberpunk ideas and fiction in the mid 1980s has allowed it to seep into the Japanese culture.

Cyberpunk anime and manga draw upon a futuristic vision which has elements in common with western science fiction and therefore have received wide international acceptance outside Japan. “The conceptualization involved in cyberpunk is more of forging ahead, looking at the new global culture. It is a culture that does not exist right now, so the Japanese concept of a cyberpunk future, seems just as valid as a Western one, especially as Western cyberpunk often incorporates many Japanese elements.”[39] William Gibson is now a frequent visitor to Japan, and he came to see that many of his visions of Japan have become a reality:

Modern Japan simply was cyberpunk. The Japanese themselves knew it and delighted in it. I remember my first glimpse of Shibuya, when one of the young Tokyo journalists who had taken me there, his face drenched with the light of a thousand media-sunsall that towering, animated crawl of commercial informationsaid, “You see? You see? It is Blade Runner town.” And it was. It so evidently was.[40]

Cyberpunk has influenced many anime and manga including the ground-breaking Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Ergo Proxy, Battle Angel Alita, Megazone 23, Neo Tokyo, Goku Midnight Eye, Cyber City Oedo 808, Bubblegum Crisis, A.D. Police: Dead End City, Angel Cop, Extra, Blame!, Armitage III, Texhnolyze, Neon Genesis Evangelion and Psycho-Pass.

There are many cyberpunk video games. Popular series include the Metal Gear series, Megami Tensei series, Deus Ex series, Syndicate series, and System Shock and its sequel. Other games, like Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell, and the Matrix series, are based upon genre movies, or role-playing games (for instance the various Shadowrun games). CD Projekt RED are currently developing a cyberpunk game, Cyberpunk 2077.[41]

Several role-playing games (RPGs) called Cyberpunk exist: Cyberpunk, Cyberpunk 2020 and Cyberpunk v3, by R. Talsorian Games, and GURPS Cyberpunk, published by Steve Jackson Games as a module of the GURPS family of RPGs. Cyberpunk 2020 was designed with the settings of William Gibson’s writings in mind, and to some extent with his approval[citation needed], unlike the approach taken by FASA in producing the transgenre Shadowrun game. Both are set in the near future, in a world where cybernetics are prominent. In addition, Iron Crown Enterprises released an RPG named Cyberspace, which was out of print for several years until recently being re-released in online PDF form.

In 1990, in a convergence of cyberpunk art and reality, the United States Secret Service raided Steve Jackson Games’s headquarters and confiscated all their computers. This was allegedly because the GURPS Cyberpunk sourcebook could be used to perpetrate computer crime. That was, in fact, not the main reason for the raid, but after the event it was too late to correct the public’s impression.[42] Steve Jackson Games later won a lawsuit against the Secret Service, aided by the new Electronic Frontier Foundation. This event has achieved a sort of notoriety, which has extended to the book itself as well. All published editions of GURPS Cyberpunk have a tagline on the front cover, which reads “The book that was seized by the U.S. Secret Service!” Inside, the book provides a summary of the raid and its aftermath.

Cyberpunk has also inspired several tabletop, miniature and board games such as Necromunda by Games Workshop. Netrunner is a collectible card game introduced in 1996, based on the Cyberpunk 2020 role-playing game. Tokyo NOVA, debuting in 1993, is a cyberpunk role-playing game that uses playing cards instead of dice.

“Much of the industrial/dance heavy ‘Cyberpunk’recorded in Billy Idol’s Macintosh-run studiorevolves around Idol’s theme of the common man rising up to fight against a faceless, soulless, corporate world.”

Some musicians and acts have been classified as cyberpunk due to their aesthetic style and musical content. Often dealing with dystopian visions of the future or biomechanical themes, some fit more squarely in the category than others. Bands whose music has been classified as cyberpunk include Psydoll, Front Line Assembly, Clock DVA and Sigue Sigue Sputnik. Some musicians not normally associated with cyberpunk have at times been inspired to create concept albums exploring such themes. Albums such as Gary Numan’s Replicas, The Pleasure Principle and Telekon were heavily inspired by the works of Philip K. Dick. Kraftwerk’s The Man-Machine and Computer World albums both explored the theme of humanity becoming dependent on technology. Nine Inch Nails’ concept album Year Zero also fits into this category. Billy Idol’s Cyberpunk drew heavily from cyberpunk literature and the cyberdelic counter culture in its creation. 1. Outside, a cyberpunk narrative fueled concept album by David Bowie, was warmly met by critics upon its release in 1995. Many musicians have also taken inspiration from specific cyberpunk works or authors, including Sonic Youth, whose albums Sister and Daydream Nation take influence from the works of Phillip K. Dick and William Gibson respectively.

Vaporwave and Synthwave are also influenced by cyberpunk. The former has been interpreted as a dystopian[44] critique of capitalism[45] in the vein of cyberpunk and the latter as a nostalgic retrofuturistic revival of aspects of cyberpunk’s origins.

Furthermore, many dubstep producers, such as Machine Man and Ghosthack, have found inspiration in cyberpunk themes for their works.

Some Neo-Futurism artworks and cityscapes have been influenced by cyberpunk, such as [12] the Sony Center in the Potsdamer Platz public square of Berlin, Germany,[46]Hong Kong, and Shanghai.[47]

Several subcultures have been inspired by cyberpunk fiction. These include the cyberdelic counter culture of the late 1980s and early 90s. Cyberdelic, whose adherents referred to themselves as “cyberpunks”, attempted to blend the psychedelic art and drug movement with the technology of cyberculture. Early adherents included Timothy Leary, Mark Frauenfelder and R. U. Sirius. The movement largely faded following the dot-com bubble implosion of 2000.

Cybergoth is a fashion and dance subculture which draws its inspiration from cyberpunk fiction, as well as rave and Gothic subcultures. In addition, a distinct cyberpunk fashion of its own has emerged in recent years[when?] which rejects the raver and goth influences of cybergoth, and draws inspiration from urban street fashion, “post apocalypse”, functional clothing, high tech sports wear, tactical uniform and multifunction. This fashion goes by names like “tech wear”, “goth ninja” or “tech ninja”. Important designers in this type of fashion[according to whom?] are ACRONYM, Demobaza, Boris Bidjan Saberi, Rick Owens and Alexander Wang.

The Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong (demolished in 1994) is often referenced as the model cyberpunk/dystopian slum as, given its poor living conditions at the time coupled by the city’s political, physical, and economic isolation has caused many in academia to be fascinated by the ingenuity of its spawning.[48]

As a wider variety of writers began to work with cyberpunk concepts, new subgenres of science fiction emerged, some of which could be considered as playing off the cyberpunk label, others which could be considered as legitimate explorations into newer territory. These focused on technology and its social effects in different ways. One prominent subgenre is “steampunk,” which is set in an alternate history Victorian era that combines anachronistic technology with cyberpunk’s bleak film noir world view. The term was originally coined around 1987 as a joke to describe some of the novels of Tim Powers, James P. Blaylock, and K.W. Jeter, but by the time Gibson and Sterling entered the subgenre with their collaborative novel The Difference Engine the term was being used earnestly as well.[49]

Another subgenre is “biopunk” (cyberpunk themes dominated by biotechnology) from the early 1990s, a derivative style building on biotechnology rather than informational technology. In these stories, people are changed in some way not by mechanical means, but by genetic manipulation. Paul Di Filippo is seen as the most prominent biopunk writer, including his half-serious ribofunk. Bruce Sterling’s Shaper/Mechanist cycle is also seen as a major influence. In addition, some people consider works such as Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age to be postcyberpunk.

Cyberpunk works have been described as well-situated within postmodern literature.[50]

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Cyberpunk – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cloning – The New York Times

 Cloning  Comments Off on Cloning – The New York Times
Jun 192016
 

Latest Articles

The companies behind it, Boyalife Group and Soaam Biotech, must contend with consumers in a country where food safety is a near obsession.

By OWEN GUO

The retraction by Science of a study of changing attitudes on gay marriage is the latest in a growing number of prominent withdrawals of the results of studies from scientific literature.

By MICHAEL ROSTON

Scientists have moved a step closer to the goal of creating stem cells perfectly matched to a patients DNA in order to treat diseases, they announced on Thursday, creating patient-specific cell lines out of the skin cells of two adult men.

Nearly a decade after his downfall for faking research, the South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-suk has won patents for his work in an attempt to resume studying human stem cells.

Bringing extinct animals back to life is really happening and its going to be very, very cool. Unless it ends up being very, very bad.

By NATHANIEL RICH

Dr. Hwang Woo-suk of South Korea received the patent for the method by which he claimed in 2004 to have extracted stem cells from cloned human embryos.

A cloning experiment in mice indicates that for one type of cancer, at least, cancerous cells may be able to revert to normal. But the study does not reveal a way to cure cancer. Instead, it addresses a theoretical question about the genetic nature of one type of cancer.

France banned human cloning, calling it a crime against the human race. But Parliament suspended a ban on stem-cell research on human embryos for five years to assess the merits of research that might lead to treatments for illnesses like Alzheimer’s, diabetes and heart disease. The law, which updates three 1994 laws on bioethics, makes human cloning punishable by 30 years in prison and a fine of more than $9 million. It also forbids cloning for therapeutic purposes — the generation of stem cells for medical research — and bans certain techniques used in embryo research. The use of stem cells, master cells that can develop into specialized cells, has drawn wide opposition because the most promising cells are derived from human embryos.

The Vatican said today that claims that a cloned baby had been born were a sign of a ”brutal” mentality devoid of ethical considerations. A papal spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, said that the announcement came with no scientific proof and that it ”has already given rise to the skepticism and moral condemnation of a great part of the international scientific community.”

President Bush named 17 academics, doctors and lawyers to his bioethics advisory council today, the day before the group was opening its first meeting with a discussion of human cloning. The group, the President’s Council on Bioethics, is to tackle issues like embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia and assisted reproduction, which primarily involves in vitro fertilization.

Lawmakers dropped controversial proposals on stem cell research and cloning today after the provisions threatened to create gridlock as the Senate hurried to complete work on spending bills. Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, had included language in a labor and health spending bill that would have bent President Bush’s policy on stem cell research to allow couples to donate unused embryos from fertility clinics. And Senator Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas, an ardent abortion opponent, had threatened to counter with several amendments of his own.

A panel of experts has urged the government to allow the cloning of human embryonic stem cells for scientific study of transplants. The government accepted the recommendation today and said it would submit legislation to adopt it. If the legislation passes, the British government could become the first to allow its researchers to work with the cells, which are from fertilized eggs, in test tubes.

Japanese scientists have cloned a cloned bull, the first time a large cloned animal has itself been cloned, researchers said today. The calf, born on Sunday, is part of a project to study the life expectancy and aging of cloned animals, said scientists at the Kagoshima Prefectural Cattle Breeding Development Institute in southern Japan.

The tiny club of animals cloned from adult cells, restricted until now to females like Dolly the sheep and Cumulina the mouse, has gone co-ed with the cloning of a male mouse, researchers said today. The male mouse, Fibro, is also the first documented live mammal cloned from adult cells that do not originate in the reproductive system. The accomplishment suggests that adult animals can be cloned from any cell in the body.

A physicist who has said that he wants to raise money to open a clinic to clone humans said today that he foresaw as many as 200,000 human clones a year once his process was perfected, at a price for each clone far lower than the $1 million the first one would cost. The physicist, Dr. Richard Seed of Riverside, Ill., said the initial market for human clones would come from the 10 percent to 15 percent of infertile couples who cannot conceive by alternative methods, like test-tube fertilization.

The uproar over Dolly the sheep and human embryonic stem cells, revisited in a Retro Report video, shows how emotions can cloud understanding of science.

By NICHOLAS WADE

In 1997, Scottish scientists revealed they had cloned a sheep and named her Dolly, sending waves of future shock around the world that continue to shape frontiers of science today.

Retro Report

Researchers fused skin cells with donated human eggs to create human embryos that were genetically identical to the person who provided the skin cells.

By ANDREW POLLACK

It could be years before scientists succeed in bringing species back from extinction, but they are thinking of ways to give new life to creatures like woolly mammoths and weird frogs.

By GINA KOLATA

The companies behind it, Boyalife Group and Soaam Biotech, must contend with consumers in a country where food safety is a near obsession.

By OWEN GUO

The retraction by Science of a study of changing attitudes on gay marriage is the latest in a growing number of prominent withdrawals of the results of studies from scientific literature.

By MICHAEL ROSTON

Scientists have moved a step closer to the goal of creating stem cells perfectly matched to a patients DNA in order to treat diseases, they announced on Thursday, creating patient-specific cell lines out of the skin cells of two adult men.

Nearly a decade after his downfall for faking research, the South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-suk has won patents for his work in an attempt to resume studying human stem cells.

Bringing extinct animals back to life is really happening and its going to be very, very cool. Unless it ends up being very, very bad.

By NATHANIEL RICH

Dr. Hwang Woo-suk of South Korea received the patent for the method by which he claimed in 2004 to have extracted stem cells from cloned human embryos.

A cloning experiment in mice indicates that for one type of cancer, at least, cancerous cells may be able to revert to normal. But the study does not reveal a way to cure cancer. Instead, it addresses a theoretical question about the genetic nature of one type of cancer.

France banned human cloning, calling it a crime against the human race. But Parliament suspended a ban on stem-cell research on human embryos for five years to assess the merits of research that might lead to treatments for illnesses like Alzheimer’s, diabetes and heart disease. The law, which updates three 1994 laws on bioethics, makes human cloning punishable by 30 years in prison and a fine of more than $9 million. It also forbids cloning for therapeutic purposes — the generation of stem cells for medical research — and bans certain techniques used in embryo research. The use of stem cells, master cells that can develop into specialized cells, has drawn wide opposition because the most promising cells are derived from human embryos.

The Vatican said today that claims that a cloned baby had been born were a sign of a ”brutal” mentality devoid of ethical considerations. A papal spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, said that the announcement came with no scientific proof and that it ”has already given rise to the skepticism and moral condemnation of a great part of the international scientific community.”

President Bush named 17 academics, doctors and lawyers to his bioethics advisory council today, the day before the group was opening its first meeting with a discussion of human cloning. The group, the President’s Council on Bioethics, is to tackle issues like embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia and assisted reproduction, which primarily involves in vitro fertilization.

Lawmakers dropped controversial proposals on stem cell research and cloning today after the provisions threatened to create gridlock as the Senate hurried to complete work on spending bills. Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, had included language in a labor and health spending bill that would have bent President Bush’s policy on stem cell research to allow couples to donate unused embryos from fertility clinics. And Senator Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas, an ardent abortion opponent, had threatened to counter with several amendments of his own.

A panel of experts has urged the government to allow the cloning of human embryonic stem cells for scientific study of transplants. The government accepted the recommendation today and said it would submit legislation to adopt it. If the legislation passes, the British government could become the first to allow its researchers to work with the cells, which are from fertilized eggs, in test tubes.

Japanese scientists have cloned a cloned bull, the first time a large cloned animal has itself been cloned, researchers said today. The calf, born on Sunday, is part of a project to study the life expectancy and aging of cloned animals, said scientists at the Kagoshima Prefectural Cattle Breeding Development Institute in southern Japan.

The tiny club of animals cloned from adult cells, restricted until now to females like Dolly the sheep and Cumulina the mouse, has gone co-ed with the cloning of a male mouse, researchers said today. The male mouse, Fibro, is also the first documented live mammal cloned from adult cells that do not originate in the reproductive system. The accomplishment suggests that adult animals can be cloned from any cell in the body.

A physicist who has said that he wants to raise money to open a clinic to clone humans said today that he foresaw as many as 200,000 human clones a year once his process was perfected, at a price for each clone far lower than the $1 million the first one would cost. The physicist, Dr. Richard Seed of Riverside, Ill., said the initial market for human clones would come from the 10 percent to 15 percent of infertile couples who cannot conceive by alternative methods, like test-tube fertilization.

The uproar over Dolly the sheep and human embryonic stem cells, revisited in a Retro Report video, shows how emotions can cloud understanding of science.

By NICHOLAS WADE

In 1997, Scottish scientists revealed they had cloned a sheep and named her Dolly, sending waves of future shock around the world that continue to shape frontiers of science today.

Retro Report

Researchers fused skin cells with donated human eggs to create human embryos that were genetically identical to the person who provided the skin cells.

By ANDREW POLLACK

It could be years before scientists succeed in bringing species back from extinction, but they are thinking of ways to give new life to creatures like woolly mammoths and weird frogs.

By GINA KOLATA

See the original post:

Cloning – The New York Times

Cloning – Food and Drug Administration

 Cloning  Comments Off on Cloning – Food and Drug Administration
Jun 192016
 

As a consequence of scientific and biotechnological progress during the past decades, new biological therapies involving somatic cells and genetic material are being investigated. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) described existing legal authorities governing a new class of human somatic cell therapy products and gene therapy products in an October 14, 1993 Federal Register Notice.

On February 23, 1997, the public learned that Ian Wilmut, a Scottish scientist, and his colleagues at the Roslin Institute successfully used a technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) to create a clone of a sheep; the cloned sheep was named Dolly. SCNT involves transferring the nucleus of an adult sheep somatic cell, into a sheep egg from which the nucleus had been removed. After nearly 300 attempts, the cloned sheep known as Dolly was born to a surrogate sheep mother.

SCNT is not reproduction since a sperm cannot be used with the technique, but rather it is an extension of technology used not only in research but also used to produce medically relevant cellular products such as cartilage cells for knees, as well as gene therapy products. On February 28, 1997, FDA announced a comprehensive plan for the regulation of cell and tissue based therapies that incorporated the legal authorities described in FDA’s 1993 guidance “Proposed Approach to Regulation of Cellular and Tissue-Based Products

On March 7, 1997 then President Clinton issued a memorandum that stated: “Recent accounts of advances in cloning technology, including the first successful cloning of an adult sheep, raise important questions. They potentially represent enormous scientific breakthroughs that could offer benefits in such areas as medicine and agriculture. But the new technology also raises profound ethical issues, particularly with respect to its possible use to clone humans.” (Prohibitions on Federal Funding for Cloning of Human Beings)

The memorandum explicitly prohibited Federal Funding for cloning of a human being, and also directed the National Bioethics Advisory Commission (NBAC) to thoroughly review the legal and ethical issues associated with the use of cloning technology to create a human being.

“NBAC found that concerns relating to the potential psychological harms to children and effects on the moral, religious, and cultural values of society merited further reflection and deliberation.” The report, Ethical Issues in Human Stem Cell Research, September 1999, describes 5 recommendations.

Somatic cell nuclear transfer holds great potential to someday create medically useful therapeutic products. FDA believes, however, that there are major unresolved questions pertaining to the use of cloning technology to clone a human being which must be seriously considered and resolved before the Agency would permit such investigation to proceed. The Agency sent a “Dear Colleague” letter which stated that creating a human being using cloning technology is subject to FDA regulation under the Public Health Service Act and the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act. This letter notified researchers that clinical research using SCNT to create a human being could precede only when an investigational new drug application (IND) is in effect. Sponsors are required to submit to FDA

Recently, FDA sent letters to remind the research community that FDA jurisdiction over clinical research using cloning technology to create a human being, and to advise that FDA regulatory process is required in order to initial these investigations. (March 2001 letter)

On March 28, 2001, Dr. Kathryn C. Zoon, Director, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research gave testimony before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Committee on Energy and Commerce, United States House of Representatives. Her statement described FDA’s role in regulating the use of cloning technology to clone a human being and further described current significant scientific concerns in this area.

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Cloning – Food and Drug Administration

Cloning – Wookieepedia – Wikia

 Cloning  Comments Off on Cloning – Wookieepedia – Wikia
Jun 192016
 

“Clones can think creatively. You will find that they are immensely superior to droids.” Lama Su, to Obi-Wan Kenobi[src]

A batch of clone troopers during the early stages of their development on Kamino

Cloning was the process of creating a biological replica of a living creature. That replica could be absolutely identical to its template or modified purposefully. For example, a clone could be made to grow at twice the rate of its template’s aging.[1] The genetic structure of a clone could also be altered to make it more obedient than the original host.[2]

The Kaminoans, a species from the watery planet of Kamino, were reputed for their advanced cloning skills. Unknown to the Galactic Senate and the Jedi Council, the Kaminoans created an army of human clones for the Galactic Republic.[2] As soldiers, the clone troopers fought for the Republic in a conflict that, because of the soldiers involved, came to be known as the Clone Wars.[3]

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Cloning – Wookieepedia – Wikia

Evolution – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Evolution  Comments Off on Evolution – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jun 192016
 

Evolution is change in the heritable traits of biological populations over successive generations.[1][2] Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including the levels of species, individual organisms, and molecules.[3]

All life on Earth shares a common ancestor known as the last universal ancestor,[4][5][6] which lived approximately 3.53.8 billion years ago,[7] although a study in 2015 found “remains of biotic life” from 4.1 billion years ago in ancient rocks in Western Australia.[8][9]

Repeated formation of new species (speciation), change within species (anagenesis), and loss of species (extinction) throughout the evolutionary history of life on Earth are demonstrated by shared sets of morphological and biochemical traits, including shared DNA sequences.[10] These shared traits are more similar among species that share a more recent common ancestor, and can be used to reconstruct a biological “tree of life” based on evolutionary relationships (phylogenetics), using both existing species and fossils. The fossil record includes a progression from early biogenic graphite,[11] to microbial mat fossils,[12][13][14] to fossilized multicellular organisms. Existing patterns of biodiversity have been shaped both by speciation and by extinction.[15] More than 99 percent of all species that ever lived on Earth are estimated to be extinct.[16][17] Estimates of Earth’s current species range from 10 to 14 million,[18] of which about 1.2 million have been documented.[19]

In the mid-19th century, Charles Darwin formulated the scientific theory of evolution by natural selection, published in his book On the Origin of Species (1859). Evolution by natural selection is a process demonstrated by the observation that more offspring are produced than can possibly survive, along with three facts about populations: 1) traits vary among individuals with respect to morphology, physiology, and behaviour (phenotypic variation), 2) different traits confer different rates of survival and reproduction (differential fitness), and 3) traits can be passed from generation to generation (heritability of fitness).[20] Thus, in successive generations members of a population are replaced by progeny of parents better adapted to survive and reproduce in the biophysical environment in which natural selection takes place. This teleonomy is the quality whereby the process of natural selection creates and preserves traits that are seemingly fitted for the functional roles they perform.[21] Natural selection is the only known cause of adaptation but not the only known cause of evolution. Other, nonadaptive causes of microevolution include mutation and genetic drift.[22]

In the early 20th century the modern evolutionary synthesis integrated classical genetics with Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection through the discipline of population genetics. The importance of natural selection as a cause of evolution was accepted into other branches of biology. Moreover, previously held notions about evolution, such as orthogenesis, evolutionism, and other beliefs about innate “progress” within the largest-scale trends in evolution, became obsolete scientific theories.[23] Scientists continue to study various aspects of evolutionary biology by forming and testing hypotheses, constructing mathematical models of theoretical biology and biological theories, using observational data, and performing experiments in both the field and the laboratory.

In terms of practical application, an understanding of evolution has been instrumental to developments in numerous scientific and industrial fields, including agriculture, human and veterinary medicine, and the life sciences in general.[24][25][26] Discoveries in evolutionary biology have made a significant impact not just in the traditional branches of biology but also in other academic disciplines, including biological anthropology, and evolutionary psychology.[27][28]Evolutionary Computation, a sub-field of Artificial Intelligence, is the result of the application of Darwinian principles to problems in Computer Science.

The proposal that one type of organism could descend from another type goes back to some of the first pre-Socratic Greek philosophers, such as Anaximander and Empedocles.[30] Such proposals survived into Roman times. The poet and philosopher Lucretius followed Empedocles in his masterwork De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things).[31][32] In contrast to these materialistic views, Aristotle understood all natural things, not only living things, as being imperfect actualisations of different fixed natural possibilities, known as “forms,” “ideas,” or (in Latin translations) “species.”[33][34] This was part of his teleological understanding of nature in which all things have an intended role to play in a divine cosmic order. Variations of this idea became the standard understanding of the Middle Ages and were integrated into Christian learning, but Aristotle did not demand that real types of organisms always correspond one-for-one with exact metaphysical forms and specifically gave examples of how new types of living things could come to be.[35]

In the 17th century, the new method of modern science rejected Aristotle’s approach. It sought explanations of natural phenomena in terms of physical laws that were the same for all visible things and that did not require the existence of any fixed natural categories or divine cosmic order. However, this new approach was slow to take root in the biological sciences, the last bastion of the concept of fixed natural types. John Ray applied one of the previously more general terms for fixed natural types, “species,” to plant and animal types, but he strictly identified each type of living thing as a species and proposed that each species could be defined by the features that perpetuated themselves generation after generation.[36] These species were designed by God, but showed differences caused by local conditions. The biological classification introduced by Carl Linnaeus in 1735 explicitly recognized the hierarchical nature of species relationships, but still viewed species as fixed according to a divine plan.[37]

Other naturalists of this time speculated on the evolutionary change of species over time according to natural laws. In 1751, Pierre Louis Maupertuis wrote of natural modifications occurring during reproduction and accumulating over many generations to produce new species.[38]Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon suggested that species could degenerate into different organisms, and Erasmus Darwin proposed that all warm-blooded animals could have descended from a single microorganism (or “filament”).[39] The first full-fledged evolutionary scheme was Jean-Baptiste Lamarck’s “transmutation” theory of 1809,[40] which envisaged spontaneous generation continually producing simple forms of life that developed greater complexity in parallel lineages with an inherent progressive tendency, and postulated that on a local level these lineages adapted to the environment by inheriting changes caused by their use or disuse in parents.[41][42] (The latter process was later called Lamarckism.)[41][43][44][45] These ideas were condemned by established naturalists as speculation lacking empirical support. In particular, Georges Cuvier insisted that species were unrelated and fixed, their similarities reflecting divine design for functional needs. In the meantime, Ray’s ideas of benevolent design had been developed by William Paley into the Natural Theology or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity (1802), which proposed complex adaptations as evidence of divine design and which was admired by Charles Darwin.[46][47][48]

The crucial break from the concept of constant typological classes or types in biology came with the theory of evolution through natural selection, which was formulated by Charles Darwin in terms of variable populations. Partly influenced by An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798) by Thomas Robert Malthus, Darwin noted that population growth would lead to a “struggle for existence” in which favorable variations prevailed as others perished. In each generation, many offspring fail to survive to an age of reproduction because of limited resources. This could explain the diversity of plants and animals from a common ancestry through the working of natural laws in the same way for all types of organism.[49][50][51][52] Darwin developed his theory of “natural selection” from 1838 onwards and was writing up his “big book” on the subject when Alfred Russel Wallace sent him a version of virtually the same theory in 1858. Their separate papers were presented together at a 1858 meeting of the Linnean Society of London.[53] At the end of 1859, Darwin’s publication of his “abstract” as On the Origin of Species explained natural selection in detail and in a way that led to an increasingly wide acceptance of concepts of evolution. Thomas Henry Huxley applied Darwin’s ideas to humans, using paleontology and comparative anatomy to provide strong evidence that humans and apes shared a common ancestry. Some were disturbed by this since it implied that humans did not have a special place in the universe.[54]

Precise mechanisms of reproductive heritability and the origin of new traits remained a mystery. Towards this end, Darwin developed his provisional theory of pangenesis.[55] In 1865, Gregor Mendel reported that traits were inherited in a predictable manner through the independent assortment and segregation of elements (later known as genes). Mendel’s laws of inheritance eventually supplanted most of Darwin’s pangenesis theory.[56]August Weismann made the important distinction between germ cells that give rise to gametes (such as sperm and egg cells) and the somatic cells of the body, demonstrating that heredity passes through the germ line only. Hugo de Vries connected Darwin’s pangenesis theory to Weismann’s germ/soma cell distinction and proposed that Darwin’s pangenes were concentrated in the cell nucleus and when expressed they could move into the cytoplasm to change the cells structure. De Vries was also one of the researchers who made Mendel’s work well-known, believing that Mendelian traits corresponded to the transfer of heritable variations along the germline.[57] To explain how new variants originate, de Vries developed a mutation theory that led to a temporary rift between those who accepted Darwinian evolution and biometricians who allied with de Vries.[42][58][59] In the 1930s, pioneers in the field of population genetics, such as Ronald Fisher, Sewall Wright and J. B. S. Haldane set the foundations of evolution onto a robust statistical philosophy. The false contradiction between Darwin’s theory, genetic mutations, and Mendelian inheritance was thus reconciled.[60]

In the 1920s and 1930s a modern evolutionary synthesis connected natural selection, mutation theory, and Mendelian inheritance into a unified theory that applied generally to any branch of biology. The modern synthesis was able to explain patterns observed across species in populations, through fossil transitions in palaeontology, and even complex cellular mechanisms in developmental biology.[42][61] The publication of the structure of DNA by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953 demonstrated a physical mechanism for inheritance.[62]Molecular biology improved our understanding of the relationship between genotype and phenotype. Advancements were also made in phylogenetic systematics, mapping the transition of traits into a comparative and testable framework through the publication and use of evolutionary trees.[63][64] In 1973, evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky penned that “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution,” because it has brought to light the relations of what first seemed disjointed facts in natural history into a coherent explanatory body of knowledge that describes and predicts many observable facts about life on this planet.[65]

Since then, the modern synthesis has been further extended to explain biological phenomena across the full and integrative scale of the biological hierarchy, from genes to species. This extension, known as evolutionary developmental biology and informally called “evo-devo,” emphasises how changes between generations (evolution) acts on patterns of change within individual organisms (development).[66][67][68]

Evolution in organisms occurs through changes in heritable traitsthe inherited characteristics of an organism. In humans, for example, eye colour is an inherited characteristic and an individual might inherit the “brown-eye trait” from one of their parents.[69] Inherited traits are controlled by genes and the complete set of genes within an organism’s genome (genetic material) is called its genotype.[70]

The complete set of observable traits that make up the structure and behaviour of an organism is called its phenotype. These traits come from the interaction of its genotype with the environment.[71] As a result, many aspects of an organism’s phenotype are not inherited. For example, suntanned skin comes from the interaction between a person’s genotype and sunlight; thus, suntans are not passed on to people’s children. However, some people tan more easily than others, due to differences in genotypic variation; a striking example are people with the inherited trait of albinism, who do not tan at all and are very sensitive to sunburn.[72]

Heritable traits are passed from one generation to the next via DNA, a molecule that encodes genetic information.[70] DNA is a long biopolymer composed of four types of bases. The sequence of bases along a particular DNA molecule specify the genetic information, in a manner similar to a sequence of letters spelling out a sentence. Before a cell divides, the DNA is copied, so that each of the resulting two cells will inherit the DNA sequence. Portions of a DNA molecule that specify a single functional unit are called genes; different genes have different sequences of bases. Within cells, the long strands of DNA form condensed structures called chromosomes. The specific location of a DNA sequence within a chromosome is known as a locus. If the DNA sequence at a locus varies between individuals, the different forms of this sequence are called alleles. DNA sequences can change through mutations, producing new alleles. If a mutation occurs within a gene, the new allele may affect the trait that the gene controls, altering the phenotype of the organism.[73] However, while this simple correspondence between an allele and a trait works in some cases, most traits are more complex and are controlled by quantitative trait loci (multiple interacting genes).[74][75]

Recent findings have confirmed important examples of heritable changes that cannot be explained by changes to the sequence of nucleotides in the DNA. These phenomena are classed as epigenetic inheritance systems.[76]DNA methylation marking chromatin, self-sustaining metabolic loops, gene silencing by RNA interference and the three-dimensional conformation of proteins (such as prions) are areas where epigenetic inheritance systems have been discovered at the organismic level.[77][78] Developmental biologists suggest that complex interactions in genetic networks and communication among cells can lead to heritable variations that may underlay some of the mechanics in developmental plasticity and canalisation.[79] Heritability may also occur at even larger scales. For example, ecological inheritance through the process of niche construction is defined by the regular and repeated activities of organisms in their environment. This generates a legacy of effects that modify and feed back into the selection regime of subsequent generations. Descendants inherit genes plus environmental characteristics generated by the ecological actions of ancestors.[80] Other examples of heritability in evolution that are not under the direct control of genes include the inheritance of cultural traits and symbiogenesis.[81][82]

An individual organism’s phenotype results from both its genotype and the influence from the environment it has lived in. A substantial part of the phenotypic variation in a population is caused by genotypic variation.[75] The modern evolutionary synthesis defines evolution as the change over time in this genetic variation. The frequency of one particular allele will become more or less prevalent relative to other forms of that gene. Variation disappears when a new allele reaches the point of fixationwhen it either disappears from the population or replaces the ancestral allele entirely.[83]

Natural selection will only cause evolution if there is enough genetic variation in a population. Before the discovery of Mendelian genetics, one common hypothesis was blending inheritance. But with blending inheritance, genetic variance would be rapidly lost, making evolution by natural selection implausible. The HardyWeinberg principle provides the solution to how variation is maintained in a population with Mendelian inheritance. The frequencies of alleles (variations in a gene) will remain constant in the absence of selection, mutation, migration and genetic drift.[84]

Variation comes from mutations in the genome, reshuffling of genes through sexual reproduction and migration between populations (gene flow). Despite the constant introduction of new variation through mutation and gene flow, most of the genome of a species is identical in all individuals of that species.[85] However, even relatively small differences in genotype can lead to dramatic differences in phenotype: for example, chimpanzees and humans differ in only about 5% of their genomes.[86]

Mutations are changes in the DNA sequence of a cell’s genome. When mutations occur, they may alter the product of a gene, or prevent the gene from functioning, or have no effect. Based on studies in the fly Drosophila melanogaster, it has been suggested that if a mutation changes a protein produced by a gene, this will probably be harmful, with about 70% of these mutations having damaging effects, and the remainder being either neutral or weakly beneficial.[87]

Mutations can involve large sections of a chromosome becoming duplicated (usually by genetic recombination), which can introduce extra copies of a gene into a genome.[88] Extra copies of genes are a major source of the raw material needed for new genes to evolve.[89] This is important because most new genes evolve within gene families from pre-existing genes that share common ancestors.[90] For example, the human eye uses four genes to make structures that sense light: three for colour vision and one for night vision; all four are descended from a single ancestral gene.[91]

New genes can be generated from an ancestral gene when a duplicate copy mutates and acquires a new function. This process is easier once a gene has been duplicated because it increases the redundancy of the system; one gene in the pair can acquire a new function while the other copy continues to perform its original function.[92][93] Other types of mutations can even generate entirely new genes from previously noncoding DNA.[94][95]

The generation of new genes can also involve small parts of several genes being duplicated, with these fragments then recombining to form new combinations with new functions.[96][97] When new genes are assembled from shuffling pre-existing parts, domains act as modules with simple independent functions, which can be mixed together to produce new combinations with new and complex functions.[98] For example, polyketide synthases are large enzymes that make antibiotics; they contain up to one hundred independent domains that each catalyse one step in the overall process, like a step in an assembly line.[99]

In asexual organisms, genes are inherited together, or linked, as they cannot mix with genes of other organisms during reproduction. In contrast, the offspring of sexual organisms contain random mixtures of their parents’ chromosomes that are produced through independent assortment. In a related process called homologous recombination, sexual organisms exchange DNA between two matching chromosomes.[100] Recombination and reassortment do not alter allele frequencies, but instead change which alleles are associated with each other, producing offspring with new combinations of alleles.[101] Sex usually increases genetic variation and may increase the rate of evolution.[102][103]

The two-fold cost of sex was first described by John Maynard Smith.[104] The first cost is that only one of the two sexes can bear young.[clarification needed] (This cost does not apply to hermaphroditic species, like most plants and many invertebrates.) The second cost is that any individual who reproduces sexually can only pass on 50% of its genes to any individual offspring, with even less passed on as each new generation passes.[105] (Again, this applies mostly to the evolution of sexual dimorphism, which occurred long after the evolution of sex itself.) Yet sexual reproduction is the more common means of reproduction among eukaryotes and multicellular organisms (although more common than sexual dimorphism). The Red Queen hypothesis has been used to explain the significance of sexual reproduction as a means to enable continual evolution and adaptation in response to coevolution with other species in an ever-changing environment.[105][106][107][108]

Gene flow is the exchange of genes between populations and between species.[109] It can therefore be a source of variation that is new to a population or to a species. Gene flow can be caused by the movement of individuals between separate populations of organisms, as might be caused by the movement of mice between inland and coastal populations, or the movement of pollen between heavy metal tolerant and heavy metal sensitive populations of grasses.

Gene transfer between species includes the formation of hybrid organisms and horizontal gene transfer. Horizontal gene transfer is the transfer of genetic material from one organism to another organism that is not its offspring; this is most common among bacteria.[110] In medicine, this contributes to the spread of antibiotic resistance, as when one bacteria acquires resistance genes it can rapidly transfer them to other species.[111] Horizontal transfer of genes from bacteria to eukaryotes such as the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the adzuki bean weevil Callosobruchus chinensis has occurred.[112][113] An example of larger-scale transfers are the eukaryotic bdelloid rotifers, which have received a range of genes from bacteria, fungi and plants.[114]Viruses can also carry DNA between organisms, allowing transfer of genes even across biological domains.[115]

Large-scale gene transfer has also occurred between the ancestors of eukaryotic cells and bacteria, during the acquisition of chloroplasts and mitochondria. It is possible that eukaryotes themselves originated from horizontal gene transfers between bacteria and archaea.[116]

From a Neo-Darwinian perspective, evolution occurs when there are changes in the frequencies of alleles within a population of interbreeding organisms.[84] For example, the allele for black colour in a population of moths becoming more common. Mechanisms that can lead to changes in allele frequencies include natural selection, genetic drift, genetic hitchhiking, mutation and gene flow.

Evolution by means of natural selection is the process by which traits that enhance survival and reproduction become more common in successive generations of a population. It has often been called a “self-evident” mechanism because it necessarily follows from three simple facts:[20]

More offspring are produced than can possibly survive, and these conditions produce competition between organisms for survival and reproduction. Consequently, organisms with traits that give them an advantage over their competitors are more likely to pass on their traits to the next generation than those with traits that do not confer an advantage.[117]

The central concept of natural selection is the evolutionary fitness of an organism.[118] Fitness is measured by an organism’s ability to survive and reproduce, which determines the size of its genetic contribution to the next generation.[118] However, fitness is not the same as the total number of offspring: instead fitness is indicated by the proportion of subsequent generations that carry an organism’s genes.[119] For example, if an organism could survive well and reproduce rapidly, but its offspring were all too small and weak to survive, this organism would make little genetic contribution to future generations and would thus have low fitness.[118]

If an allele increases fitness more than the other alleles of that gene, then with each generation this allele will become more common within the population. These traits are said to be “selected for.” Examples of traits that can increase fitness are enhanced survival and increased fecundity. Conversely, the lower fitness caused by having a less beneficial or deleterious allele results in this allele becoming rarerthey are “selected against.”[120] Importantly, the fitness of an allele is not a fixed characteristic; if the environment changes, previously neutral or harmful traits may become beneficial and previously beneficial traits become harmful.[73] However, even if the direction of selection does reverse in this way, traits that were lost in the past may not re-evolve in an identical form (see Dollo’s law).[121][122]

Natural selection within a population for a trait that can vary across a range of values, such as height, can be categorised into three different types. The first is directional selection, which is a shift in the average value of a trait over timefor example, organisms slowly getting taller.[123] Secondly, disruptive selection is selection for extreme trait values and often results in two different values becoming most common, with selection against the average value. This would be when either short or tall organisms had an advantage, but not those of medium height. Finally, in stabilising selection there is selection against extreme trait values on both ends, which causes a decrease in variance around the average value and less diversity.[117][124] This would, for example, cause organisms to slowly become all the same height.

A special case of natural selection is sexual selection, which is selection for any trait that increases mating success by increasing the attractiveness of an organism to potential mates.[125] Traits that evolved through sexual selection are particularly prominent among males of several animal species. Although sexually favoured, traits such as cumbersome antlers, mating calls, large body size and bright colours often attract predation, which compromises the survival of individual males.[126][127] This survival disadvantage is balanced by higher reproductive success in males that show these hard-to-fake, sexually selected traits.[128]

Natural selection most generally makes nature the measure against which individuals and individual traits, are more or less likely to survive. “Nature” in this sense refers to an ecosystem, that is, a system in which organisms interact with every other element, physical as well as biological, in their local environment. Eugene Odum, a founder of ecology, defined an ecosystem as: “Any unit that includes all of the organisms…in a given area interacting with the physical environment so that a flow of energy leads to clearly defined trophic structure, biotic diversity and material cycles (ie: exchange of materials between living and nonliving parts) within the system.”[129] Each population within an ecosystem occupies a distinct niche, or position, with distinct relationships to other parts of the system. These relationships involve the life history of the organism, its position in the food chain and its geographic range. This broad understanding of nature enables scientists to delineate specific forces which, together, comprise natural selection.

Natural selection can act at different levels of organisation, such as genes, cells, individual organisms, groups of organisms and species.[130][131][132] Selection can act at multiple levels simultaneously.[133] An example of selection occurring below the level of the individual organism are genes called transposons, which can replicate and spread throughout a genome.[134] Selection at a level above the individual, such as group selection, may allow the evolution of cooperation, as discussed below.[135]

In addition to being a major source of variation, mutation may also function as a mechanism of evolution when there are different probabilities at the molecular level for different mutations to occur, a process known as mutation bias.[136] If two genotypes, for example one with the nucleotide G and another with the nucleotide A in the same position, have the same fitness, but mutation from G to A happens more often than mutation from A to G, then genotypes with A will tend to evolve.[137] Different insertion vs. deletion mutation biases in different taxa can lead to the evolution of different genome sizes.[138][139] Developmental or mutational biases have also been observed in morphological evolution.[140][141] For example, according to the phenotype-first theory of evolution, mutations can eventually cause the genetic assimilation of traits that were previously induced by the environment.[142][143]

Mutation bias effects are superimposed on other processes. If selection would favor either one out of two mutations, but there is no extra advantage to having both, then the mutation that occurs the most frequently is the one that is most likely to become fixed in a population.[144][145] Mutations leading to the loss of function of a gene are much more common than mutations that produce a new, fully functional gene. Most loss of function mutations are selected against. But when selection is weak, mutation bias towards loss of function can affect evolution.[146] For example, pigments are no longer useful when animals live in the darkness of caves, and tend to be lost.[147] This kind of loss of function can occur because of mutation bias, and/or because the function had a cost, and once the benefit of the function disappeared, natural selection leads to the loss. Loss of sporulation ability in Bacillus subtilis during laboratory evolution appears to have been caused by mutation bias, rather than natural selection against the cost of maintaining sporulation ability.[148] When there is no selection for loss of function, the speed at which loss evolves depends more on the mutation rate than it does on the effective population size,[149] indicating that it is driven more by mutation bias than by genetic drift. In parasitic organisms, mutation bias leads to selection pressures as seen in Ehrlichia. Mutations are biased towards antigenic variants in outer-membrane proteins.

Genetic drift is the change in allele frequency from one generation to the next that occurs because alleles are subject to sampling error.[150] As a result, when selective forces are absent or relatively weak, allele frequencies tend to “drift” upward or downward randomly (in a random walk). This drift halts when an allele eventually becomes fixed, either by disappearing from the population, or replacing the other alleles entirely. Genetic drift may therefore eliminate some alleles from a population due to chance alone. Even in the absence of selective forces, genetic drift can cause two separate populations that began with the same genetic structure to drift apart into two divergent populations with different sets of alleles.[151]

It is usually difficult to measure the relative importance of selection and neutral processes, including drift.[152] The comparative importance of adaptive and non-adaptive forces in driving evolutionary change is an area of current research.[153]

The neutral theory of molecular evolution proposed that most evolutionary changes are the result of the fixation of neutral mutations by genetic drift.[22] Hence, in this model, most genetic changes in a population are the result of constant mutation pressure and genetic drift.[154] This form of the neutral theory is now largely abandoned, since it does not seem to fit the genetic variation seen in nature.[155][156] However, a more recent and better-supported version of this model is the nearly neutral theory, where a mutation that would be effectively neutral in a small population is not necessarily neutral in a large population.[117] Other alternative theories propose that genetic drift is dwarfed by other stochastic forces in evolution, such as genetic hitchhiking, also known as genetic draft.[150][157][158]

The time for a neutral allele to become fixed by genetic drift depends on population size, with fixation occurring more rapidly in smaller populations.[159] The number of individuals in a population is not critical, but instead a measure known as the effective population size.[160] The effective population is usually smaller than the total population since it takes into account factors such as the level of inbreeding and the stage of the lifecycle in which the population is the smallest.[160] The effective population size may not be the same for every gene in the same population.[161]

Recombination allows alleles on the same strand of DNA to become separated. However, the rate of recombination is low (approximately two events per chromosome per generation). As a result, genes close together on a chromosome may not always be shuffled away from each other and genes that are close together tend to be inherited together, a phenomenon known as linkage.[162] This tendency is measured by finding how often two alleles occur together on a single chromosome compared to expectations, which is called their linkage disequilibrium. A set of alleles that is usually inherited in a group is called a haplotype. This can be important when one allele in a particular haplotype is strongly beneficial: natural selection can drive a selective sweep that will also cause the other alleles in the haplotype to become more common in the population; this effect is called genetic hitchhiking or genetic draft.[163] Genetic draft caused by the fact that some neutral genes are genetically linked to others that are under selection can be partially captured by an appropriate effective population size.[157]

Gene flow involves the exchange of genes between populations and between species.[109] The presence or absence of gene flow fundamentally changes the course of evolution. Due to the complexity of organisms, any two completely isolated populations will eventually evolve genetic incompatibilities through neutral processes, as in the Bateson-Dobzhansky-Muller model, even if both populations remain essentially identical in terms of their adaptation to the environment.

If genetic differentiation between populations develops, gene flow between populations can introduce traits or alleles which are disadvantageous in the local population and this may lead to organisms within these populations evolving mechanisms that prevent mating with genetically distant populations, eventually resulting in the appearance of new species. Thus, exchange of genetic information between individuals is fundamentally important for the development of the biological species concept.

During the development of the modern synthesis, Sewall Wright developed his shifting balance theory, which regarded gene flow between partially isolated populations as an important aspect of adaptive evolution.[164] However, recently there has been substantial criticism of the importance of the shifting balance theory.[165]

Evolution influences every aspect of the form and behaviour of organisms. Most prominent are the specific behavioural and physical adaptations that are the outcome of natural selection. These adaptations increase fitness by aiding activities such as finding food, avoiding predators or attracting mates. Organisms can also respond to selection by cooperating with each other, usually by aiding their relatives or engaging in mutually beneficial symbiosis. In the longer term, evolution produces new species through splitting ancestral populations of organisms into new groups that cannot or will not interbreed.

These outcomes of evolution are distinguished based on time scale as macroevolution versus microevolution. Macroevolution refers to evolution that occurs at or above the level of species, in particular speciation and extinction; whereas microevolution refers to smaller evolutionary changes within a species or population, in particular shifts in gene frequency and adaptation.[166] In general, macroevolution is regarded as the outcome of long periods of microevolution.[167] Thus, the distinction between micro- and macroevolution is not a fundamental onethe difference is simply the time involved.[168] However, in macroevolution, the traits of the entire species may be important. For instance, a large amount of variation among individuals allows a species to rapidly adapt to new habitats, lessening the chance of it going extinct, while a wide geographic range increases the chance of speciation, by making it more likely that part of the population will become isolated. In this sense, microevolution and macroevolution might involve selection at different levelswith microevolution acting on genes and organisms, versus macroevolutionary processes such as species selection acting on entire species and affecting their rates of speciation and extinction.[170][171]

A common misconception is that evolution has goals, long-term plans, or an innate tendency for “progress,” as expressed in beliefs such as orthogenesis and evolutionism; realistically however, evolution has no long-term goal and does not necessarily produce greater complexity.[172][173][174] Although complex species have evolved, they occur as a side effect of the overall number of organisms increasing and simple forms of life still remain more common in the biosphere.[175] For example, the overwhelming majority of species are microscopic prokaryotes, which form about half the world’s biomass despite their small size,[176] and constitute the vast majority of Earth’s biodiversity.[177] Simple organisms have therefore been the dominant form of life on Earth throughout its history and continue to be the main form of life up to the present day, with complex life only appearing more diverse because it is more noticeable.[178] Indeed, the evolution of microorganisms is particularly important to modern evolutionary research, since their rapid reproduction allows the study of experimental evolution and the observation of evolution and adaptation in real time.[179][180]

Adaptation is the process that makes organisms better suited to their habitat.[181][182] Also, the term adaptation may refer to a trait that is important for an organism’s survival. For example, the adaptation of horses’ teeth to the grinding of grass. By using the term adaptation for the evolutionary process and adaptive trait for the product (the bodily part or function), the two senses of the word may be distinguished. Adaptations are produced by natural selection.[183] The following definitions are due to Theodosius Dobzhansky:

Adaptation may cause either the gain of a new feature, or the loss of an ancestral feature. An example that shows both types of change is bacterial adaptation to antibiotic selection, with genetic changes causing antibiotic resistance by both modifying the target of the drug, or increasing the activity of transporters that pump the drug out of the cell.[187] Other striking examples are the bacteria Escherichia coli evolving the ability to use citric acid as a nutrient in a long-term laboratory experiment,[188]Flavobacterium evolving a novel enzyme that allows these bacteria to grow on the by-products of nylon manufacturing,[189][190] and the soil bacterium Sphingobium evolving an entirely new metabolic pathway that degrades the synthetic pesticide pentachlorophenol.[191][192] An interesting but still controversial idea is that some adaptations might increase the ability of organisms to generate genetic diversity and adapt by natural selection (increasing organisms’ evolvability).[193][194][195][196][197]

Adaptation occurs through the gradual modification of existing structures. Consequently, structures with similar internal organisation may have different functions in related organisms. This is the result of a single ancestral structure being adapted to function in different ways. The bones within bat wings, for example, are very similar to those in mice feet and primate hands, due to the descent of all these structures from a common mammalian ancestor.[199] However, since all living organisms are related to some extent,[200] even organs that appear to have little or no structural similarity, such as arthropod, squid and vertebrate eyes, or the limbs and wings of arthropods and vertebrates, can depend on a common set of homologous genes that control their assembly and function; this is called deep homology.[201][202]

During evolution, some structures may lose their original function and become vestigial structures.[203] Such structures may have little or no function in a current species, yet have a clear function in ancestral species, or other closely related species. Examples include pseudogenes,[204] the non-functional remains of eyes in blind cave-dwelling fish,[205] wings in flightless birds,[206] the presence of hip bones in whales and snakes,[198] and sexual traits in organisms that reproduce via asexual reproduction.[207] Examples of vestigial structures in humans include wisdom teeth,[208] the coccyx,[203] the vermiform appendix,[203] and other behavioural vestiges such as goose bumps[209][210] and primitive reflexes.[211][212][213]

However, many traits that appear to be simple adaptations are in fact exaptations: structures originally adapted for one function, but which coincidentally became somewhat useful for some other function in the process. One example is the African lizard Holaspis guentheri, which developed an extremely flat head for hiding in crevices, as can be seen by looking at its near relatives. However, in this species, the head has become so flattened that it assists in gliding from tree to treean exaptation. Within cells, molecular machines such as the bacterial flagella[215] and protein sorting machinery[216] evolved by the recruitment of several pre-existing proteins that previously had different functions.[166] Another example is the recruitment of enzymes from glycolysis and xenobiotic metabolism to serve as structural proteins called crystallins within the lenses of organisms’ eyes.[217][218]

An area of current investigation in evolutionary developmental biology is the developmental basis of adaptations and exaptations.[219] This research addresses the origin and evolution of embryonic development and how modifications of development and developmental processes produce novel features.[220] These studies have shown that evolution can alter development to produce new structures, such as embryonic bone structures that develop into the jaw in other animals instead forming part of the middle ear in mammals.[221] It is also possible for structures that have been lost in evolution to reappear due to changes in developmental genes, such as a mutation in chickens causing embryos to grow teeth similar to those of crocodiles.[222] It is now becoming clear that most alterations in the form of organisms are due to changes in a small set of conserved genes.[223]

Interactions between organisms can produce both conflict and cooperation. When the interaction is between pairs of species, such as a pathogen and a host, or a predator and its prey, these species can develop matched sets of adaptations. Here, the evolution of one species causes adaptations in a second species. These changes in the second species then, in turn, cause new adaptations in the first species. This cycle of selection and response is called coevolution.[224] An example is the production of tetrodotoxin in the rough-skinned newt and the evolution of tetrodotoxin resistance in its predator, the common garter snake. In this predator-prey pair, an evolutionary arms race has produced high levels of toxin in the newt and correspondingly high levels of toxin resistance in the snake.[225]

Not all co-evolved interactions between species involve conflict.[226] Many cases of mutually beneficial interactions have evolved. For instance, an extreme cooperation exists between plants and the mycorrhizal fungi that grow on their roots and aid the plant in absorbing nutrients from the soil.[227] This is a reciprocal relationship as the plants provide the fungi with sugars from photosynthesis. Here, the fungi actually grow inside plant cells, allowing them to exchange nutrients with their hosts, while sending signals that suppress the plant immune system.[228]

Coalitions between organisms of the same species have also evolved. An extreme case is the eusociality found in social insects, such as bees, termites and ants, where sterile insects feed and guard the small number of organisms in a colony that are able to reproduce. On an even smaller scale, the somatic cells that make up the body of an animal limit their reproduction so they can maintain a stable organism, which then supports a small number of the animal’s germ cells to produce offspring. Here, somatic cells respond to specific signals that instruct them whether to grow, remain as they are, or die. If cells ignore these signals and multiply inappropriately, their uncontrolled growth causes cancer.[229]

Such cooperation within species may have evolved through the process of kin selection, which is where one organism acts to help raise a relative’s offspring.[230] This activity is selected for because if the helping individual contains alleles which promote the helping activity, it is likely that its kin will also contain these alleles and thus those alleles will be passed on.[231] Other processes that may promote cooperation include group selection, where cooperation provides benefits to a group of organisms.[232]

Speciation is the process where a species diverges into two or more descendant species.[233]

There are multiple ways to define the concept of “species.” The choice of definition is dependent on the particularities of the species concerned.[234] For example, some species concepts apply more readily toward sexually reproducing organisms while others lend themselves better toward asexual organisms. Despite the diversity of various species concepts, these various concepts can be placed into one of three broad philosophical approaches: interbreeding, ecological and phylogenetic.[235] The Biological Species Concept (BSC) is a classic example of the interbreeding approach. Defined by Ernst Mayr in 1942, the BSC states that “species are groups of actually or potentially interbreeding natural populations, which are reproductively isolated from other such groups.”[236] Despite its wide and long-term use, the BSC like others is not without controversy, for example because these concepts cannot be applied to prokaryotes,[237] and this is called the species problem.[234] Some researchers have attempted a unifying monistic definition of species, while others adopt a pluralistic approach and suggest that there may be different ways to logically interpret the definition of a species.[234][235]

Barriers to reproduction between two diverging sexual populations are required for the populations to become new species. Gene flow may slow this process by spreading the new genetic variants also to the other populations. Depending on how far two species have diverged since their most recent common ancestor, it may still be possible for them to produce offspring, as with horses and donkeys mating to produce mules.[238] Such hybrids are generally infertile. In this case, closely related species may regularly interbreed, but hybrids will be selected against and the species will remain distinct. However, viable hybrids are occasionally formed and these new species can either have properties intermediate between their parent species, or possess a totally new phenotype.[239] The importance of hybridisation in producing new species of animals is unclear, although cases have been seen in many types of animals,[240] with the gray tree frog being a particularly well-studied example.[241]

Speciation has been observed multiple times under both controlled laboratory conditions and in nature.[242] In sexually reproducing organisms, speciation results from reproductive isolation followed by genealogical divergence. There are four mechanisms for speciation. The most common in animals is allopatric speciation, which occurs in populations initially isolated geographically, such as by habitat fragmentation or migration. Selection under these conditions can produce very rapid changes in the appearance and behaviour of organisms.[243][244] As selection and drift act independently on populations isolated from the rest of their species, separation may eventually produce organisms that cannot interbreed.[245]

The second mechanism of speciation is peripatric speciation, which occurs when small populations of organisms become isolated in a new environment. This differs from allopatric speciation in that the isolated populations are numerically much smaller than the parental population. Here, the founder effect causes rapid speciation after an increase in inbreeding increases selection on homozygotes, leading to rapid genetic change.[246]

The third mechanism of speciation is parapatric speciation. This is similar to peripatric speciation in that a small population enters a new habitat, but differs in that there is no physical separation between these two populations. Instead, speciation results from the evolution of mechanisms that reduce gene flow between the two populations.[233] Generally this occurs when there has been a drastic change in the environment within the parental species’ habitat. One example is the grass Anthoxanthum odoratum, which can undergo parapatric speciation in response to localised metal pollution from mines.[247] Here, plants evolve that have resistance to high levels of metals in the soil. Selection against interbreeding with the metal-sensitive parental population produced a gradual change in the flowering time of the metal-resistant plants, which eventually produced complete reproductive isolation. Selection against hybrids between the two populations may cause reinforcement, which is the evolution of traits that promote mating within a species, as well as character displacement, which is when two species become more distinct in appearance.[248]

Finally, in sympatric speciation species diverge without geographic isolation or changes in habitat. This form is rare since even a small amount of gene flow may remove genetic differences between parts of a population.[249] Generally, sympatric speciation in animals requires the evolution of both genetic differences and non-random mating, to allow reproductive isolation to evolve.[250]

One type of sympatric speciation involves crossbreeding of two related species to produce a new hybrid species. This is not common in animals as animal hybrids are usually sterile. This is because during meiosis the homologous chromosomes from each parent are from different species and cannot successfully pair. However, it is more common in plants because plants often double their number of chromosomes, to form polyploids.[251] This allows the chromosomes from each parental species to form matching pairs during meiosis, since each parent’s chromosomes are represented by a pair already.[252] An example of such a speciation event is when the plant species Arabidopsis thaliana and Arabidopsis arenosa crossbred to give the new species Arabidopsis suecica.[253] This happened about 20,000 years ago,[254] and the speciation process has been repeated in the laboratory, which allows the study of the genetic mechanisms involved in this process.[255] Indeed, chromosome doubling within a species may be a common cause of reproductive isolation, as half the doubled chromosomes will be unmatched when breeding with undoubled organisms.[256]

Speciation events are important in the theory of punctuated equilibrium, which accounts for the pattern in the fossil record of short “bursts” of evolution interspersed with relatively long periods of stasis, where species remain relatively unchanged.[257] In this theory, speciation and rapid evolution are linked, with natural selection and genetic drift acting most strongly on organisms undergoing speciation in novel habitats or small populations. As a result, the periods of stasis in the fossil record correspond to the parental population and the organisms undergoing speciation and rapid evolution are found in small populations or geographically restricted habitats and therefore rarely being preserved as fossils.[170]

Extinction is the disappearance of an entire species. Extinction is not an unusual event, as species regularly appear through speciation and disappear through extinction.[258] Nearly all animal and plant species that have lived on Earth are now extinct,[259] and extinction appears to be the ultimate fate of all species.[260] These extinctions have happened continuously throughout the history of life, although the rate of extinction spikes in occasional mass extinction events.[261] The CretaceousPaleogene extinction event, during which the non-avian dinosaurs became extinct, is the most well-known, but the earlier PermianTriassic extinction event was even more severe, with approximately 96% of all marine species driven to extinction.[261] The Holocene extinction event is an ongoing mass extinction associated with humanity’s expansion across the globe over the past few thousand years. Present-day extinction rates are 1001000 times greater than the background rate and up to 30% of current species may be extinct by the mid 21st century.[262] Human activities are now the primary cause of the ongoing extinction event;[263]global warming may further accelerate it in the future.[264]

The role of extinction in evolution is not very well understood and may depend on which type of extinction is considered.[261] The causes of the continuous “low-level” extinction events, which form the majority of extinctions, may be the result of competition between species for limited resources (the competitive exclusion principle).[66] If one species can out-compete another, this could produce species selection, with the fitter species surviving and the other species being driven to extinction.[131] The intermittent mass extinctions are also important, but instead of acting as a selective force, they drastically reduce diversity in a nonspecific manner and promote bursts of rapid evolution and speciation in survivors.[265]

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The Earth is about 4.54 billion years old.[266][267][268] The earliest undisputed evidence of life on Earth dates from at least 3.5 billion years ago,[7][269] during the Eoarchean Era after a geological crust started to solidify following the earlier molten Hadean Eon. Microbial mat fossils have been found in 3.48 billion-year-old sandstone in Western Australia.[12][13][14] Other early physical evidence of a biogenic substance is graphite in 3.7 billion-year-old metasedimentary rocks discovered in Western Greenland[11] as well as “remains of biotic life” found in 4.1 billion-year-old rocks in Western Australia.[8][9] According to one of the researchers, “If life arose relatively quickly on Earth then it could be common in the universe.”[8]

More than 99 percent of all species, amounting to over five billion species,[270] that ever lived on Earth are estimated to be extinct.[16][17] Estimates on the number of Earth’s current species range from 10 million to 14 million,[18] of which about 1.2 million have been documented and over 86 percent have not yet been described.[19]

Highly energetic chemistry is thought to have produced a self-replicating molecule around 4 billion years ago, and half a billion years later the last common ancestor of all life existed.[5] The current scientific consensus is that the complex biochemistry that makes up life came from simpler chemical reactions.[271] The beginning of life may have included self-replicating molecules such as RNA[272] and the assembly of simple cells.[273]

All organisms on Earth are descended from a common ancestor or ancestral gene pool.[200][274] Current species are a stage in the process of evolution, with their diversity the product of a long series of speciation and extinction events.[275] The common descent of organisms was first deduced from four simple facts about organisms: First, they have geographic distributions that cannot be explained by local adaptation. Second, the diversity of life is not a set of completely unique organisms, but organisms that share morphological similarities. Third, vestigial traits with no clear purpose resemble functional ancestral traits and finally, that organisms can be classified using these similarities into a hierarchy of nested groupssimilar to a family tree.[276] However, modern research has suggested that, due to horizontal gene transfer, this “tree of life” may be more complicated than a simple branching tree since some genes have spread independently between distantly related species.[277][278]

Past species have also left records of their evolutionary history. Fossils, along with the comparative anatomy of present-day organisms, constitute the morphological, or anatomical, record.[279] By comparing the anatomies of both modern and extinct species, paleontologists can infer the lineages of those species. However, this approach is most successful for organisms that had hard body parts, such as shells, bones or teeth. Further, as prokaryotes such as bacteria and archaea share a limited set of common morphologies, their fossils do not provide information on their ancestry.

More recently, evidence for common descent has come from the study of biochemical similarities between organisms. For example, all living cells use the same basic set of nucleotides and amino acids.[280] The development of molecular genetics has revealed the record of evolution left in organisms’ genomes: dating when species diverged through the molecular clock produced by mutations.[281] For example, these DNA sequence comparisons have revealed that humans and chimpanzees share 98% of their genomes and analysing the few areas where they differ helps shed light on when the common ancestor of these species existed.[282]

Prokaryotes inhabited the Earth from approximately 34 billion years ago.[284][285] No obvious changes in morphology or cellular organisation occurred in these organisms over the next few billion years.[286] The eukaryotic cells emerged between 1.62.7 billion years ago. The next major change in cell structure came when bacteria were engulfed by eukaryotic cells, in a cooperative association called endosymbiosis.[287][288] The engulfed bacteria and the host cell then underwent coevolution, with the bacteria evolving into either mitochondria or hydrogenosomes.[289] Another engulfment of cyanobacterial-like organisms led to the formation of chloroplasts in algae and plants.[290]

The history of life was that of the unicellular eukaryotes, prokaryotes and archaea until about 610 million years ago when multicellular organisms began to appear in the oceans in the Ediacaran period.[284][291] The evolution of multicellularity occurred in multiple independent events, in organisms as diverse as sponges, brown algae, cyanobacteria, slime moulds and myxobacteria.[292] In January 2016, scientists reported that, about 800 million years ago, a minor genetic change in a single molecule called GK-PID may have allowed organisms to go from a single cell organism to one of many cells.[293]

Soon after the emergence of these first multicellular organisms, a remarkable amount of biological diversity appeared over approximately 10 million years, in an event called the Cambrian explosion. Here, the majority of types of modern animals appeared in the fossil record, as well as unique lineages that subsequently became extinct.[294] Various triggers for the Cambrian explosion have been proposed, including the accumulation of oxygen in the atmosphere from photosynthesis.[295]

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Evolution – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Zeitgeist Information

 Zeitgeist Movement  Comments Off on Zeitgeist Information
Jun 192016
 

The Zeitgeist-Info (shortened to ZInfo), website is a resource of useful Zeitgeist Movement related posts, aimed at existing Zeitgeist Movement members. It was created to inform ZM members of advanced concepts and useful news and information.

New to the Zeitgeist Movement or don’t even know what it is?

The term Zeitgeist refers to theintellectual, cultural and moral Spirit of the Times and we want to change that for the betterment of all humanity. Currently people define success by how much financial wealth, power, control or fame they have acquired. However we want to change it so we value people by how much they’ve contributed to humanity and the environment.

Check out the TEDx talk below for a quick introduction, or watch Zeitgeist Moving Forward, the 2.5 hour documentary/movie.

An Introduction to a Resource-Based Economy [ TEDx – Peter Joseph ]

Once you have watched the TED talk orZeitgeist Moving Forward then find and join your local ZM chapter. Don’t forget to come back here for the latest in ZM information and concepts.

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The 6 short animations cover the basics of critical thinking including logic and faulty arguments. Well worth watching for anyone especially those who do lots of debating.

Original source :http://bridge8.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/critical-thinking-animations/

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Download the latest issue:

Spirit Of The Times #3 Transition to a Resource Based Economy

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In consolidating the Zeitgeist Info site, the Resources page has been converted into a Video Wall and updated with a few new resources.

http://zeitgeist-info.com/video-wall/

If you are new to the movement then that page should be your first point of call for a great selection of videos.

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This is a repost from the Australian Atrium (Project Management) website and is aimed at Australian ZM members.

This is a proposal regarding the Beyond Zero Emissions renewable energy proposal. Beyond Zero Emissions is a group of engineers and scientists who have created a proposal to convert Australia’s energy supply to 100% renewable energy within 10 years. It is primarily done using a mixture of wind power and concentrated solar thermal.

The Beyond Zero Emissions cause is very much in line with the Zeitgeist Movements aims and principals. We will need their help to prevent humanity from facing environmental and energy crises, whilst they need our help in order for the proposal to get traction.

We are interested in helping promote and champion the BZE emissions scheme.

In order to help us develop new project ideas we are working on a output centric approach.

1. You start off by writing the press release you would like to see. 2. You then write the FAQ. 3. If it’s particularly complex you can even write a help manual. Only after you’ve gone through the above steps do you work backwards to find out what needs to be done/created and how.

Solar Concentrator Array

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Zeitgeist Movement chapters need to balance activity in at least 3 main areas, which include Activism, Learning and Relations. These activities can take the form of various types of projects and meetings, and ways in which to allocate time and resources.

Activism – Zeitgeist Movement chapters generally have two forms of activism, helping with the mindset change and physical activism/labour. The mindset activism is usually in the form of handing out DVDs, running film screenings, and town hall meetings. It is also one of the more important processes for gathering new members and affecting the culture and community around the chapter(s). The main mindset change happens when people understand the different values, definition of success and change in the defaults that we want to achieve. Many of the newer ZM members get annoyed at the lack of physical activism. As a movement we are only just starting to reach the point at which creating tangible change is an option. Some great examples would be converting existing people’s lawn area into gardens, creating eco-village style setups which run on renewable energy and are progressively automated to the point they are creating an abundance of produce. An important requirement for the price of zero transition.

Learning – Furthering our understanding of the ZM but also the world around us. From the latest in science, to the history of economics, to current news. It also covers research and analysis, particularly with regard to how to do things more efficiently and effectively or in other ways. Learning is divided into two main sections: personal learning and chapter learning. Personal learning is particularly focused on reaching an understanding of how the world works, the issues with the current system, and the solutions (the RBE). This is usually done through watching movies, being a part of a mailing list, reading articles, creating newsletters, and attending or giving presentations.

Relations – This is about internal chapter relationships and relations with other organisations. A very important motivator for continuous membership is the social aspect of being surrounded by other people who care about and understand them. This sense of community is fostered by holding social meetups, like BBQs, or casually meeting up at a bar. The relations between chapters and with other organisations are also very important. The potential for the Zeitgeist Movement to foster a transition to a Resource Based Economy is facilitated by creating strong ties with other RBE advocating groups and organisations such as Beyond Zero Emissions (in Australia).

A basic outline of the sub-points is below

As an example, the table below lists of some projects being undertaken or planned in Australian ZM chapters. Some projects are listed twice as they have pronounced secondary effects, which arecoloured in grey.

On top of the three different buckets that need to be balanced is the almost constant review and admin work.

The regular review process could for example involve reading your posts, emails, and behaviour for the last week and allow you to both fix up mistakes and give you feedback regarding how to do thing better next time. A group review process should also be on the agenda of the next ZM meetup after an event (e.g Zday, ZMedia Festival).

The admin work involves general organisation work and maintenance. From maintaining mailing lists and websites to doing checks and balances, etc…

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I thought I knew a decent amount about energy and renewables, but still learnt a lot from this.

Energy Knowledge

It’s only 19mins long and well worth watching.

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Survival of the Fittest

This is a great video which explains the true meaning of ‘Survival of the Fittest’. It also does a great job of explaining some of the issues between Tournament and Pair Bonding Species.

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This is a MUST WATCH video of Derrick Jensen talking about the premises of our Civilisation and why it is not sustainable.

In the talk he does a great job of explaining the premises, although if you enjoyed the video, or if you didn’t fully understand it then you should probably read the book. (NB : ZInfo is not associated with Derrick and does not receive any money for any form of advertising, in any way).

Premises :

There are some points that I think could be debated or slightly tweaked. Especially premise 6. I agree that whilst civilisation won’t go voluntarily, you don’t have to have a Price of Infinity (enviro, energy, economic) collapse. We can guide civilisation through a Price of Zero collapse (using abundance, sustainability, automation and education).

As you’ll see in the next post (about changing the value system), I think that point 8 needs to be pointed out to people. They know it, but don’t realise that the economic system is given priority over nature, life, and human wellbeing. The Sydney, Australia chapter is currently editing some vox-pop/street interviews which show this mentality in action.

Regarding point 9. It’s possible that if we were to be efficient and effective with the natural resources, we would likely be able to keep similar numbers of people or even raise the population whilst maintaining a stable equilibrium with the environment. But we would need to be net positive not net destructive to the environment. Humanity would also expand in numbers as we colonise other planets. But would shouldn’t and likely won’t do such a thing under the current culture and system. If we did it wouldn’t be pretty for anything that got in our way.

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This is a quick announcement of the creation of the Transition Ideas Team (TIT) a new ZM team that Scott Wrampler and Michael Kubler are currently helping kick start.

For those who are interested here’s a recent Blog Talk Radio show regarding the team which talks about the organisational structure and some of the initial teams. It’s only 30mins long.

The team will be split into 3 main groups :

The Admin staff will be a small group who run the website, organise the tools and help co-ordinate the other two groups.

The Transition Proposals group will be a collection of people who, working alone or together, come up with various transition models then propose them.

The Proposal Analysts are those who are knowledgeable within their field and as a group can analyse the proposal and undertake useful critical analysis and highlight potential issues and also make suggestions or reccomendations.

The process of submitting, analysing and refining a proposal will itself need to be developed and refined over time. One of the hardest parts of the process will be removing human bias, especially those which are predictable. An example may be that proposals are to be madeanonymousbefore being presented to the proposal analysts. Once the analysts have provided feedback and the proposal refined the proposal can then be presented on the website for further analysis and discussions with the wider public.

It’s possible that the team may itself change from being about transition ideas, to be a TransitionImplementationteam (or more likely, a group of teams).

If you have any transition ideas or suggestions then feel free to comment or email transition@zeitgeist-info.com

Thank you

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Zeitgeist Information

Socio-Economic Collapse | Prometheism.net

 Socio-economic Collapse  Comments Off on Socio-Economic Collapse | Prometheism.net
Jun 172016
 

In archaeology, the classic Maya collapse refers to the decline of Maya civilization and abandonment of Maya cities in the southern Maya lowlands of Mesoamerica between the 8th and 9thcenturies, at the end of the Classic Mayan Period. Preclassic Maya experienced a similar collapse in the 2nd century.

The Classic Period of Mesoamerican chronology is generally defined as the period from 250 to 900, the last century of which is referred to as the Terminal Classic.[1] The classic Maya collapse is one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in archaeology. Urban centers of the southern lowlands, among them Palenque, Copn, Tikal, Calakmul, went into decline during the 8th and 9thcenturies and were abandoned shortly thereafter. Archaeologically, this decline is indicated by the cessation of monumental inscriptions and the reduction of large-scale architectural construction at the primary urban centers of the classic period.

Although termed a collapse, it did not mark the end of the Maya civilization; Northern Yucatn in particular prospered afterwards, although with very different artistic and architectural styles, and with much less use of monumental hieroglyphic writing. In the post-classic period following the collapse, the state of Chichn Itz built an empire that briefly united much of the Maya region,[citation needed] and centers such as Mayapn and Uxmal flourished, as did the Highland states of the Kiche and Kaqchikel Maya. Independent Maya civilization continued until 1697 when the Spanish conquered Nojpetn, the last independent city-state. Millions of Maya people still inhabit the Yucatn peninsula today.

Because parts of Maya civilization unambiguously continued, a number of scholars strongly dislike the term collapse.[2] Regarding the proposed collapse, E. W. Andrews IV went as far as to say, in my belief no such thing happened.[3]

The Maya often recorded dates on monuments they built. Few dated monuments were being built circa 500 around ten per year in 514, for example. The number steadily increased to make this number twenty per year by 672 and forty by around 750. After this, the number of dated monuments begins to falter relatively quickly, collapsing back to ten by 800 and to zero by 900. Likewise, recorded lists of kings complement this analysis. Altar Q shows a reign of kings from 426 to 763. One last king not recorded on Altar Q was Ukit Took, Patron of Flint, who was probably a usurper. The dynasty is believed to have collapsed entirely shortly thereafter. In Quirigua, twenty miles north of Copn, the last king Jade Sky began his rule between 895 and 900, and throughout the Maya area all kingdoms similarly fell around that time.[4]

A third piece of evidence of the progression of Maya decline, gathered by Ann Corinne Freter, Nancy Gonlin, and David Webster, uses a technique called obsidian hydration. The technique allowed them to map the spread and growth of settlements in the Copn Valley and estimate their populations. Between 400 and 450, the population was estimated at a peak of twenty-eight thousand between 750 and 800 larger than London at the time. Population then began to steadily decline. By 900 the population had fallen to fifteen thousand, and by 1200 the population was again less than 1000.

Some 88 different theories or variations of theories attempting to explain the Classic Maya Collapse have been identified.[5] From climate change to deforestation to lack of action by Mayan kings, there is no universally accepted collapse theory, although drought is gaining momentum as the leading explanation.[6]

The archaeological evidence of the Toltec intrusion into Seibal, Peten, suggests to some the theory of foreign invasion. The latest hypothesis states that the southern lowlands were invaded by a non-Maya group whose homelands were probably in the gulf coast lowlands. This invasion began in the 9thcentury and set off, within 100years, a group of events that destroyed the Classic Maya. It is believed that this invasion was somehow influenced by the Toltec people of central Mexico. However, most Mayanists do not believe that foreign invasion was the main cause of the Classic Maya Collapse; they postulate that no military defeat can explain or be the cause of the protracted and complex Classic Collapse process. Teotihuacan influence across the Maya region may have involved some form of military invasion; however, it is generally noted that significant Teotihuacan-Maya interactions date from at least the Early Classic period, well before the episodes of Late Classic collapse.[7]

The foreign invasion theory does not answer the question of where the inhabitants went. David Webster believed that the population should have increased because of the lack of elite power. Further, it is not understood why the governmental institutions were not remade following the revolts, which actually happened under similar circumstances in places like China. A study by anthropologist Elliot M. Abrams came to the conclusion that buildings, specifically in Copan, did not actually require an extensive amount of time and workers to construct.[8] However, this theory was developed during a time period when the archaeological evidence showed that there were fewer Maya people than there are now known to have been.[9] Revolutions, peasant revolts, and social turmoil change circumstances, and are often followed by foreign wars, but they run their course. There are no documented revolutions that caused wholesale abandonment of entire regions.

It has been hypothesized that the decline of the Maya is related to the collapse of their intricate trade systems, especially those connected to the central Mexican city of Teotihuacn. Preceding improved knowledge of the chronology of Mesoamerica, Teotihuacan was believed to have fallen during 700750, forcing the restructuring of economic relations throughout highland Mesoamerica and the Gulf Coast.[10] This remaking of relationships between civilizations would have then given the collapse of the Classic Maya a slightly later date. However, after knowing more about the events and the time periods that they occurred, it is now believed that the strongest Teotihuacan influence was during the 4th and 5thcenturies. In addition, the civilization of Teotihuacan started to lose its power, and maybe even abandoned the city, during 600650. This differs greatly from the previous belief that Teotihuacano power decreased during 700750.[11] But since the new decline date of 600650 has been accepted, the Maya civilizations are now thought to have lived on and prospered for another century and more[12] than what was previously believed. Rather than the decline of Teotihuacan directly preceding the collapse of the Maya, their decline is now seen as contributing to the 6thcentury hiatus.[12]

The disease theory is also a contender as a factor in the Classic Maya Collapse. Widespread disease could explain some rapid depopulation, both directly through the spread of infection itself and indirectly as an inhibition to recovery over the long run. According to Dunn (1968) and Shimkin (1973), infectious diseases spread by parasites are common in tropical rainforest regions, such as the Maya lowlands. Shimkin specifically suggests that the Maya may have encountered endemic infections related to American trypanosomiasis, Ascaris, and some enteropathogens that cause acute diarrheal illness. Furthermore, some experts believe that, through development of their civilization (that is, development of agriculture and settlements), the Maya could have created a disturbed environment, in which parasitic and pathogen-carrying insects often thrive.[13] Among the pathogens listed above, it is thought that those that cause the acute diarrheal illnesses would have been the most devastating to the Maya population. This is because such illness would have struck a victim at an early age, thereby hampering nutritional health and the natural growth and development of a child. This would have made them more susceptible to other diseases later in life. Such ideas as this could explain the role of disease as at least a possible partial reason for the Classic Maya Collapse.[14]

Mega-droughts hit the Yucatn Peninsula and Petn Basin areas with particular ferocity, as thin tropical soils decline in fertility and become unworkable when deprived of forest cover,[15] and due to regular seasonal drought drying up surface water.[16] Colonial Spanish officials accurately documented cycles of drought, famine, disease, and war, providing a reliable historical record of the basic drought pattern in the Maya region.[17]

Climatic factors were first implicated in the Collapse as early as 1931 by Mayanists Thomas Gann and J.E.S. Thompson.[18] In The Great Maya Droughts, Richardson Gill gathers and analyzes an array of climatic, historical, hydrologic, tree ring, volcanic, geologic, lake bed, and archeological research, and demonstrates that a prolonged series of droughts probably caused the Classic Maya Collapse.[19] The drought theory provides a comprehensive explanation, because non-environmental and cultural factors (excessive warfare, foreign invasion, peasant revolt, less trade, etc.) can all be explained by the effects of prolonged drought on Classic Maya civilization.[20]

Climatic changes are, with increasing frequency, found to be major drivers in the rise and fall of civilizations all over the world.[21] Professors Harvey Weiss of Yale University and Raymond S. Bradley of the University of Massachusetts have written, Many lines of evidence now point to climate forcing as the primary agent in repeated social collapse.[22] In a separate publication, Weiss illustrates an emerging understanding of scientists:

Within the past five years new tools and new data for archaeologists, climatologists, and historians have brought us to the edge of a new era in the study of global and hemispheric climate change and its cultural impacts. The climate of the Holocene, previously assumed static, now displays a surprising dynamism, which has affected the agricultural bases of pre-industrial societies. The list of Holocene climate alterations and their socio-economic effects has rapidly become too complex for brief summary.[23]

The drought theory holds that rapid climate change in the form of severe drought brought about the Classic Maya collapse. According to the particular version put forward by Gill in The Great Maya Droughts,

[Studies of] Yucatecan lake sediment cores provide unambiguous evidence for a severe 200-year drought from AD800 to 1000 the most severe in the last 7,000years precisely at the time of the Maya Collapse.[24]

Climatic modeling, tree ring data, and historical climate data show that cold weather in the Northern Hemisphere is associated with drought in Mesoamerica.[25] Northern Europe suffered extremely low temperatures around the same time as the Maya droughts. The same connection between drought in the Maya areas and extreme cold in northern Europe was found again at the beginning of the 20thcentury. Volcanic activity, within and outside Mesoamerica, is also correlated with colder weather and resulting drought, as the effects of the Tambora volcano eruption in 1815 indicate.[26]

Mesoamerican civilization provides a remarkable exception: civilization prospering in the tropical swampland. The Maya are often perceived as having lived in a rainforest, but technically, they lived in a seasonal desert without access to stable sources of drinking water.[27] The exceptional accomplishments of the Maya are even more remarkable because of their engineered response to the fundamental environmental difficulty of relying upon rainwater rather than permanent sources of water. The Maya succeeded in creating a civilization in a seasonal desert by creating a system of water storage and management which was totally dependent on consistent rainfall.[28] The constant need for water kept the Maya on the edge of survival. Given this precarious balance of wet and dry conditions, even a slight shift in the distribution of annual precipitation can have serious consequences.[16] Water and civilization were vitally connected in ancient Mesoamerica. Archaeologist and specialist in pre-industrial land and water usage practices, Vernon Scarborough, believes water management and access were critical to the development of Maya civilization.[29]

Critics of the drought theory wonder why the southern and central lowland cities were abandoned and the northern cities like Chichen Itza, Uxmal, and Coba continued to thrive.[30] One critic argued that Chichen Itza revamped its political, military, religious, and economic institutions away from powerful lords or kings.[31] Inhabitants of the northern Yucatn also had access to seafood, which might have explained the survival of Chichen Itza and Mayapan, cities away from the coast but within reach of coastal food supplies.[32] Critics of the drought theory also point to current weather patterns: much heavier rainfall in the southern lowlands compared to the lighter amount of rain in the northern Yucatn. Drought theory supporters state that the entire regional climate changed, including the amount of rainfall, so that modern rainfall patterns are not indicative of rainfall from 800 to 900. LSU archaeologist Heather McKillop found a significant rise in sea level along the coast nearest the southern Maya lowlands, coinciding with the end of the Classic period, and indicating climate change.[33]

David Webster, a critic of the megadrought theory says that much of the evidence provided by Gill comes from the northern Yucatn and not the Southern part of the peninsula, where Classic Maya civilization flourished. He also states that if water sources were to have dried up, then several city-states would have moved to other water sources. The fact that Gill suggests that all water in the region would have dried up and destroyed Maya civilization is a stretch, according to Webster.[34]

A study published in Science in 2012 found that modest rainfall reductions, amounting to only 25 to 40 percent of annual rainfall, may have been the tipping point to the Mayan collapse. Based on samples of lake and cave sediments in the areas surrounding major Mayan cities, the researchers were able to determine the amount of annual rainfall in the region. The mild droughts that took place between 800-950 would therefore be enough to rapidly deplete seasonal water supplies in the Yucatn lowlands, where there are no rivers.[35][36][37]

Some ecological theories of Maya decline focus on the worsening agricultural and resource conditions in the late Classic period. It was originally thought that the majority of Maya agriculture was dependent on a simple slash-and-burn system. Based on this method, the hypothesis of soil exhaustion was advanced by Orator F. Cook in 1921. Similar soil exhaustion assumptions are associated with erosion, intensive agricultural, and savanna grass competition.

More recent investigations have shown a complicated variety of intensive agricultural techniques utilized by the Maya, explaining the high population of the Classic Maya polities. Modern archaeologists now comprehend the sophisticated intensive and productive agricultural techniques of the ancient Maya, and several of the Maya agricultural methods have not yet been reproduced. Intensive agricultural methods were developed and utilized by all the Mesoamerican cultures to boost their food production and give them a competitive advantage over less skillful peoples.[38] These intensive agricultural methods included canals, terracing, raised fields, ridged fields, chinampas, the use of human feces as fertilizer, seasonal swamps or bajos, using muck from the bajos to create fertile fields, dikes, dams, irrigation, water reservoirs, several types of water storage systems, hydraulic systems, swamp reclamation, swidden systems, and other agricultural techniques that have not yet been fully understood.[39] Systemic ecological collapse is said to be evidenced by deforestation, siltation, and the decline of biological diversity.

In addition to mountainous terrain, Mesoamericans successfully exploited the very problematic tropical rainforest for 1,500years.[40] The agricultural techniques utilized by the Maya were entirely dependent upon ample supplies of water. The Maya thrived in territory that would be uninhabitable to most peoples. Their success over two millennia in this environment was amazing.[41]

Anthropologist Joseph Tainter wrote extensively about the collapse of the Southern Lowland Maya in his 1988 study, The Collapse of Complex Societies. His theory about Mayan collapse encompasses some of the above explanations, but focuses specifically on the development of and the declining marginal returns from the increasing social complexity of the competing Mayan city-states.[42] Psychologist Julian Jaynes suggested that the collapse was due to a failure in the social control systems of religion and political authority, due to increasing socioeconomic complexity that overwhelmed the power of traditional rituals and the kings authority to compel obedience.[43]

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The History Of Germ Warfare – Very Long, Very Deadly

 Germ Warfare  Comments Off on The History Of Germ Warfare – Very Long, Very Deadly
Jun 172016
 

WASHINGTON – Although anthrax and other biological weapons seem like 21st-century threats, they have been tools of terror for ages. Ancient armies, for instance, tainted water supplies of entire cities with herbs and fungus that gave people horrible diarrhea and hallucinations. One germ-warfare assault in the 1300s apparently got out of hand, triggering an epidemic that ravaged the population of Europe. British troops in the French and Indian War launched a stealth smallpox attack on Indians. During World War I, German agents ran an anthrax factory in Washington, D.C. World War II anthrax bombs left a whole island uninhabitable for almost 50 years. “The earliest reference to anthrax is found in the Fifth Plague,” said Dr. Philip Brachman, an anthrax expert at Emory University in Atlanta. It took 10 calamities inflicted on the Egyptians to finally convince an obstinate pharaoh to liberate the ancient Hebrews, according to the Bible. The plagues probably date to about 1300 B.C. They ranged from Nile River water turned blood-red and undrinkable to the one-night destruction of all the first-born of Egypt. The Fifth Plague (Exodus 9:3) was an infectious disease that killed all the cattle in Egypt, while sparing the Hebrews’ cattle. Brachman and other experts think the biblical account actually refers to a natural epidemic of anthrax. Such epidemics periodically decimated domestic animals in the ancient Middle East. The anthrax might have spared the Israelites because their sheep would have been grazing on poorer pastures where infections don’t take hold as well. Domestic animals (and wild animals such as deer and bison) get anthrax by eating spores of the bacteria while grazing on contaminated land, or from eating contaminated feed. Animal anthrax still is an important problem in developing countries, especially in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Humans can catch the disease from contact with infected animals, their meat, hide or hair. Medical historians see anthrax’s fingerprints in manuscripts from the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Hindus in India, which contain descriptions of animal and human anthrax. They think history’s most serious anthrax outbreak was “Black Bane,” a terrible epidemic that swept Europe in the 1600s. It killed at least 60,000 people and many more domestic and wild animals. People called it “Black Bane” because many cases involved the cutaneous, or skin, form of anthrax, which involves a blackish sore. Anthrax actually was named from a Greek word that refers to coal and charcoal. Cutaneous anthrax can be quickly cured today with Cipro, penicillin, doxycycline or other antibiotics. Like other infections in the pre-antibiotic era, however, it often killed. Brachman said that epidemics of anthrax were common in Europe during the 1700s and 1800s, with up to 100,000 cases of human anthrax annually. Medicine’s first major advance against anthrax occurred in Germany as the United States celebrated its 100th birthday. A physician named Robert Koch discovered how to grow bacteria on gelatin-like material in glass laboratory dishes, and rules to prove that specific bacteria caused specific diseases. In 1876, Koch identified the anthrax bacteria. It led to development of a vaccine that was first used to immunize livestock in 1880, and later humans. Other biological agents have roots as almost as ancient as anthrax. Some of the first recorded biological terror attacks occurred in the 6th century B.C. The ancient Assyrians (whose civilization began around 2400 B.C. in modern Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq) poisoned enemy wells with ergot, a fungus that can grow on wheat, rye and other grains. It produces LSD-like chemicals that cause hallucinations and other symptoms. In another 6th-century biological assault, the ancient Greeks, besieging a city called Krissa, poisoned its water supply with the herb hellebore. It causes violent diarrhea. During their sieges, ancient Roman soldiers threw decaying human corpses and carcasses of dead animals into their enemies’ water supplies, and catapulted them over the walls of enemy towns. A Tartar army in 1346 launched a biological assault that may have gotten out of control – big time. While besieging a city in modern-day Crimea, soldiers hurled corpses of bubonic plague victims over city walls. Fleas from the corpses infested people and rats in the city. Plague spread as people and rats escaped and fled. Some experts believe it triggered the great epidemic of bubonic plague -the “Black Death” -that swept Europe, killing 25 million people. In 1797, Napoleon tried to infect residents of a besieged city in Italy with malaria. During the French and Indian War, the British suspected American Indians of siding with the French. In an “act of good will,” the British gave the Indians nice, warm blankets -straight from the beds of smallpox victims. The resulting epidemic killed hundreds of Indians. Dr. Anton Dilger, an agent of the Imperial German Government during World War I, grew anthrax and other bacteria in a corner of his Washington home. His henchmen on the docks in Baltimore used the anthrax to infect 3,000 horses and mules destined for the Allied forces in Europe. Many of the animals died, and hundreds of soldiers on the Western Front in Europe were infected. In 1937, Japan began a biological warfare program that included anthrax, and later tested anthrax weapons in China. During World War II, Japan spread fleas infected with bubonic plague in a dozen Chinese cities. The United States, Great Britain and other countries developed anthrax weapons during World War II. The British military in 1942 began testing “anthrax bombs” on Gruinard Island, a 500-acre dot of land off the northwestern coast of Scotland. After the war, the project was abandoned. However, the Gruinard experiments established the terrible environmental consequences of using anthrax as a weapon of mass destruction. British scientists thought the anthrax spores would quickly die or blow away into the ocean. But the spores lived on. Huge numbers remained infectious year after year. Finally, in 1986, after critics labeled Gruinard “Anthrax Island,” the British government decided to clean up the mess. Workers built an irrigation system over the entire test range. It saturated the ground with 280 tons of formaldehyde -“embalming fluid” -diluted in 2,000 tons of seawater. The fluid flowed 24 hours a day for more than a year. Gruinard finally was declared decontaminated in 1990. It remains uninhabited today. Modern biological warfare programs have resulted in environmental contamination as well. An accident in 1979 at a Soviet biological warfare plant in Sverdlovsk (Ekaterinburg), released anthrax that killed at least 68 people who lived downwind. A 1972 treaty, ratified by 143 countries, banned production, deployment, possession and use of biological weapons. Analysts think that a dozen countries still may have clandestine biological weapons programs, including Iraq. Iraq is believed to have hidden stockpiles of weapons-grade anthrax and other biological agents, plus artillery shells and other weapons to deliver the germs. Link MainPage http://www.rense.com This Site Served by TheHostPros

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The History Of Germ Warfare – Very Long, Very Deadly

Freedom in the 50 States 2013 | Wisconsin Overall Freedom …

 Victimless Crimes  Comments Off on Freedom in the 50 States 2013 | Wisconsin Overall Freedom …
Jun 172016
 

Analysis

Wisconsin has slipped slightly since the last edition of the index and is now just outside the bottom 10. However, this is one state that may already be improving due to legislative changes since the data cutoff for this study. For example, Governor Scott Walker and the state legislature have agreed to budget cuts in education and other areas, while passing Act 10which aims to limit the bargaining power of public employee unions (though it is unclear whether this law will survive legal challenges). A study by the Wisconsin-based MacIver Institute for Public Policy argues that Act 10 has already saved taxpayers $2 billion.1 Therefore, Wisconsins rank is likely to improve in the next edition of Freedom in the 50 States.

Wisconsin ranks near the bottom in economic freedom, due primarily to its poor fiscal policy. Wisconsins overall tax burden is very high, as are individual income and property taxes. State spending and debt are roughly average. However, its benefit payments are quite high, as is its level of transportation spending. Moreover, Wisconsin government employment is quite large relative to the private workforce.

Wisconsin fares a lot better in regulatory policy, ranking 15th. It is slightly worse than average in terms of land-use regulation but has passed some eminent domain reforms. Wisconsins labor market freedom, occupational freedom, health insurance freedom, and liability system are mediocre. It is not (yet) a right-to-work state, but has avoided mandating a minimum wage above the federal average or requiring employers to buy short-term disability insurance. Wisconsin does not have community rating (though there are small-group rate bands) or rate reviews. Wisconsin has also deregulated cable and telecom. It does quite well in terms of insurance rate filing requirements. However, it is almost a standard deviation worse than the mean on occupational licensing.

Wisconsin performs below average in a number of personal freedom categories. The state has high victimless crimes arrest rates, though its drug enforcement rate is below average. It has the worst gaming laws in the country (social gambling is not allowed) and almost the strictest campaign finance laws. The state also performs below average on gun freedom and travel freedom. Home schools are regulated with some onerous notification requirements. Wisconsin has some of the best alcohol laws in the country, with taxes fairly low across the board. However, its cigarette taxes are very high and smoking bans are extensive. Wisconsin recently enacted a domestic partnership law. Its asset forfeiture laws score well (over one standard deviation better than average).

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Freedom in the 50 States 2013 | Wisconsin Overall Freedom …

Utopia (book) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Jun 172016
 

Utopia (Libellus vere aureus, nec minus salutaris quam festivus, de optimo rei publicae statu deque nova insula Utopia) is a work of fiction and political philosophy by Thomas More (14781535) published in 1516 in Latin. The book is a frame narrative primarily depicting a fictional island society and its religious, social and political customs. Many aspects of More’s description of Utopia are reminiscent of life in monasteries.[1]

The title De optimo rei publicae deque nova insula Utopia literally translates, “Of a republic’s best state and of the new island Utopia”. It is variously rendered On the Best State of a Republic and on the New Island of Utopia, Concerning the Highest State of the Republic and the New Island Utopia, On the Best State of a Commonwealth and on the New Island of Utopia, Concerning the Best Condition of the Commonwealth and the New Island of Utopia, On the Best Kind of a Republic and About the New Island of Utopia, About the Best State of a Commonwealth and the New Island of Utopia, etc. The original name was even longer: Libellus vere aureus, nec minus salutaris quam festivus, de optimo rei publicae statu deque nova insula Utopia. This translates, “A truly golden little book, no less beneficial than entertaining, of a republic’s best state and of the new island Utopia”.

“Utopia” is derived from the Greek prefix “ou-“(ou), meaning “not”, and topos (), “place”, with the suffix -i (-) that is typical of toponyms; hence the name literally means “nowhere”, emphasizing its fictionality. In early modern English, Utopia was spelled “Utopie”, which is today rendered Utopy in some editions.[2]

A common misunderstanding has that “Utopia” is derived from eu- (e), “good”, and “topos”, such that it would literally translate as “good place”.[3]

In English, Utopia is pronounced exactly as Eutopia (the latter word, in Greek [Eutopi], meaning good place, contains the prefix – [eu-], “good”, with which the of Utopia has come to be confused in the French and English pronunciation).[4] This is something that More himself addresses in an addendum to his book Wherfore not Utopie, but rather rightely my name is Eutopie, a place of felicitie.[5]

One interpretation holds that this suggests that while Utopia might be some sort of perfected society, it is ultimately unreachable (see below).

The work begins with written correspondence between Thomas More and several people he had met on the continent: Peter Gilles, town clerk of Antwerp, and Hieronymus van Busleyden, counselor to Charles V. More chose these letters, which are communications between actual people, to further the plausibility of his fictional land. In the same spirit, these letters also include a specimen of the Utopian alphabet and its poetry. The letters also explain the lack of widespread travel to Utopia; during the first mention of the land, someone had coughed during announcement of the exact longitude and latitude. The first book tells of the traveller Raphael Hythlodaeus, to whom More is introduced in Antwerp, and it also explores the subject of how best to counsel a prince, a popular topic at the time.

The first discussions with Raphael allow him to discuss some of the modern ills affecting Europe such as the tendency of kings to start wars and the subsequent loss of money on fruitless endeavours. He also criticises the use of execution to punish theft, saying thieves might as well murder whom they rob, to remove witnesses, if the punishment is going to be the same. He lays most of the problems of theft on the practice of enclosurethe enclosing of common landand the subsequent poverty and starvation of people who are denied access to land because of sheep farming.

More tries to convince Raphael that he could find a good job in a royal court, advising monarchs, but Raphael says that his views are too radical and wouldn’t be listened to. Raphael sees himself in the tradition of Plato: he knows that for good governance, kings must act philosophically. However, he points out that:

More seems to contemplate the duty of philosophers to work around and in real situations and, for the sake of political expediency, work within flawed systems to make them better, rather than hoping to start again from first principles.

Utopia is placed in the New World and More links Raphael’s travels in with Amerigo Vespucci’s real life voyages of discovery. He suggests that Raphael is one of the 24 men Vespucci, in his Four Voyages of 1507, says he left for six months at Cabo Frio, Brazil. Raphael then travels further and finds the island of Utopia, where he spends five years observing the customs of the natives.

According to More, the island of Utopia is

The island was originally a peninsula but a 15-mile wide channel was dug by the community’s founder King Utopos to separate it from the mainland. The island contains 54 cities. Each city is divided into four equal parts. The capital city, Amaurot, is located directly in the middle of the crescent island.

Each city has 6000 households, consisting of between 10 and 16 adults. Thirty households are grouped together and elect a Syphograntus (whom More says is now called a phylarchus). Every ten Syphogranti have an elected Traniborus (more recently called a protophylarchus) ruling over them. The 200 Syphogranti of a city elect a Prince in a secret ballot. The Prince stays for life unless he is deposed or removed for suspicion of tyranny.

People are re-distributed around the households and towns to keep numbers even. If the island suffers from overpopulation, colonies are set up on the mainland. Alternatively, the natives of the mainland are invited to be part of these Utopian colonies, but if they dislike it and no longer wish to stay they may return. In the case of underpopulation the colonists are re-called.

There is no private property on Utopia, with goods being stored in warehouses and people requesting what they need. There are also no locks on the doors of the houses, which are rotated between the citizens every ten years. Agriculture is the most important job on the island. Every person is taught it and must live in the countryside, farming for two years at a time, with women doing the same work as men. Parallel to this, every citizen must learn at least one of the other essential trades: weaving (mainly done by the women), carpentry, metalsmithing and masonry. There is deliberate simplicity about these trades; for instance, all people wear the same types of simple clothes and there are no dressmakers making fine apparel. All able-bodied citizens must work; thus unemployment is eradicated, and the length of the working day can be minimised: the people only have to work six hours a day (although many willingly work for longer). More does allow scholars in his society to become the ruling officials or priests, people picked during their primary education for their ability to learn. All other citizens are however encouraged to apply themselves to learning in their leisure time.

Slavery is a feature of Utopian life and it is reported that every household has two slaves. The slaves are either from other countries or are the Utopian criminals. These criminals are weighed down with chains made out of gold. The gold is part of the community wealth of the country, and fettering criminals with it or using it for shameful things like chamber pots gives the citizens a healthy dislike of it. It also makes it difficult to steal as it is in plain view. The wealth, though, is of little importance and is only good for buying commodities from foreign nations or bribing these nations to fight each other. Slaves are periodically released for good behaviour. Jewels are worn by children, who finally give them up as they mature.

Other significant innovations of Utopia include: a welfare state with free hospitals, euthanasia permissible by the state, priests being allowed to marry, divorce permitted, premarital sex punished by a lifetime of enforced celibacy and adultery being punished by enslavement. Meals are taken in community dining halls and the job of feeding the population is given to a different household in turn. Although all are fed the same, Raphael explains that the old and the administrators are given the best of the food. Travel on the island is only permitted with an internal passport and any people found without a passport are, on a first occasion, returned in disgrace, but after a second offence they are placed in slavery. In addition, there are no lawyers and the law is made deliberately simple, as all should understand it and not leave people in any doubt of what is right and wrong.

There are several religions on the island: moon-worshipers, sun-worshipers, planet-worshipers, ancestor-worshipers and monotheists, but each is tolerant of the others. Only atheists are despised (but allowed) in Utopia, as they are seen as representing a danger to the state: since they do not believe in any punishment or reward after this life, they have no reason to share the communistic life of Utopia, and will break the laws for their own gain. They are not banished, but are encouraged to talk out their erroneous beliefs with the priests until they are convinced of their error. Raphael says that through his teachings Christianity was beginning to take hold in Utopia. The toleration of all other religious ideas is enshrined in a universal prayer all the Utopians recite.

Wives are subject to their husbands and husbands are subject to their wives although women are restricted to conducting household tasks for the most part. Only few widowed women become priests. While all are trained in military arts, women confess their sins to their husbands once a month. Gambling, hunting, makeup and astrology are all discouraged in Utopia. The role allocated to women in Utopia might, however, have been seen as being more liberal from a contemporary point of view.

Utopians do not like to engage in war. If they feel countries friendly to them have been wronged, they will send military aid. However they try to capture, rather than kill, enemies. They are upset if they achieve victory through bloodshed. The main purpose of war is to achieve that which, if they had achieved already, they would not have gone to war over.

Privacy is not regarded as freedom in Utopia; taverns, ale-houses and places for private gatherings are non-existent for the effect of keeping all men in full view, so that they are obliged to behave well.

One of the most troublesome questions about Utopia is Thomas More’s reason for writing it.

Most scholars see it as some kind of comment or criticism of contemporary European society, for the evils of More’s day are laid out in Book I and in many ways apparently solved in Book II.[7] Indeed, Utopia has many of the characteristics of satire, and there are many jokes and satirical asides such as how honest people are in Europe, but these are usually contrasted with the simple, uncomplicated society of the Utopians.

Yet, the puzzle is that some of the practices and institutions of the Utopians, such as the ease of divorce, euthanasia and both married priests and female priests, seem to be polar opposites of More’s beliefs and the teachings of the Catholic Church of which he was a devout member. Another often cited apparent contradiction is that of the religious toleration of Utopia contrasted with his persecution of Protestants as Lord Chancellor. Similarly, the criticism of lawyers comes from a writer who, as Lord Chancellor, was arguably the most influential lawyer in England. However, it can be answered that as a pagan society Utopians had the best ethics that could be reached through reason alone, or that More changed from his early life to his later when he was Lord Chancellor.[7]

One highly influential interpretation of Utopia is that of intellectual historian Quentin Skinner.[8] He has argued that More was taking part in the Renaissance humanist debate over true nobility, and that he was writing to prove the perfect commonwealth could not occur with private property. Crucially, his narrator Hythlodaeus embodies the Platonic view that philosophers should not get involved in politics and his character of More has the more pragmatic Ciceronic view; thus the society Hythlodaeus proposes is the ideal More would want, but without communism, which he saw no possibility of occurring, it was wiser to take a more pragmatic view. Utopia is thus More’s ideal, but an unobtainable one, explaining why there are inconsistencies between the ideas in Utopia and More’s practice in the real world.

Quentin Skinner’s interpretation of Utopia is consistent with the speculation that Stephen Greenblatt made in The Swerve: How the World Became Modern. There, Greenblatt argued that More was under the Epicurean influence of Lucretius’s On the Nature of Things and the people that live in Utopia were an example of how pleasure has dictated them as the guiding principle of life.[9] Although Greenblatt acknowledged that More’s insistence on the existence of an afterlife and punishment for people holding contrary views were inconsistent with the essentially materialist view of Epicureanism, Greenblatt contended that it was the minimum conditions for what the pious More would have considered as necessary to live a happy life.[9]

Another complication comes from the Greek meaning of the names of people and places in the work. Apart from Utopia, meaning “Noplace,” several other lands are mentioned: Achora meaning “Nolandia”, Polyleritae meaning “Muchnonsense”, Macarenses meaning “Happiland,” and the river Anydrus meaning “Nowater”. Raphael’s last name, Hythlodaeus means “dispenser of nonsense” surely implying that the whole of the Utopian text is ‘nonsense’. Additionally the Latin rendering of More’s name, Morus, means “fool” in Greek. It is unclear whether More is simply being ironic, an in-joke for those who know Greek, seeing as the place he is talking about does not actually exist or whether there is actually a sense of distancing of Hythlodaeus’ and the More’s (“Morus”) views in the text from his own.

The name Raphael, though, may have been chosen by More to remind his readers of the archangel Raphael who is mentioned in the Book of Tobit (3:17; 5:4, 16; 6:11, 14, 16, 18; also in chs. 7, 8, 9, 11, 12). In that book the angel guides Tobias and later cures his father of his blindness. While Hythlodaeus may suggest his words are not to be trusted, Raphael meaning “God has healed” suggests that Raphael may be opening the eyes of the reader to what is true. The suggestion that More may have agreed with the views of Raphael is given weight by the way he dressed; with “his cloak… hanging carelessly about him”; a style which Roger Ascham reports that More himself was wont to adopt. Furthermore, more recent criticism has questioned the reliability of both Gile’s annotations and the character of “More” in the text itself. Claims that the book only subverts Utopia and Hythlodaeus are possibly oversimplistic.

Utopia was begun while More was an envoy in Flanders in May 1515. More started by writing the introduction and the description of the society which would become the second half of the work and on his return to England he wrote the “dialogue of counsel”, completing the work in 1516. In the same year, it was printed in Leuven under Erasmus’s editorship and after revisions by More it was printed in Basel in November 1518. It was not until 1551, sixteen years after More’s execution, that it was first published in England as an English translation by Ralph Robinson. Gilbert Burnet’s translation of 1684 is probably the most commonly cited version.

The work seems to have been popular, if misunderstood: the introduction of More’s Epigrams of 1518 mentions a man who did not regard More as a good writer.

The word Utopia overtook More’s short work and has been used ever since to describe this kind of imaginary society with many unusual ideas being contemplated. Although he may not have founded the genre of Utopian and dystopian fiction, More certainly popularised it and some of the early works which owe something to Utopia include The City of the Sun by Tommaso Campanella, Description of the Republic of Christianopolis by Johannes Valentinus Andreae, New Atlantis by Francis Bacon and Candide by Voltaire.

The politics of Utopia have been seen as influential to the ideas of Anabaptism and communism.[citation needed] While utopian socialism was used to describe the first concepts of socialism, later Marxist theorists tended to see the ideas as too simplistic and not grounded on realistic principles. The religious message in the work and its uncertain, possibly satiric, tone has also alienated some theorists from the work.

An applied example of More’s utopia can be seen in Vasco de Quiroga’s implemented society in Michoacn, Mexico, which was directly taken and adapted from More’s work.

The opening scene in the movie A Man for all Seasons set in an eatery, before Thomas More appears, Utopia comes up in the conversation. England’s priests and their alleged immorality (Somebody says every 2nd person born is fathered by a priest) is compared to the priests of Utopia.

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Utopia (book) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Welcome to FIC – Fellowship for Intentional Community

 Intentional Communities  Comments Off on Welcome to FIC – Fellowship for Intentional Community
Jun 172016
 

The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting cooperative culture. Thank you for visiting!

We believe that intentional communities arepioneers in sustainable living, personal and cultural transformation, and peaceful social evolution.Intentional communities includeecovillages,cohousing, residential land trusts, income-sharingcommunes, student co-ops, spiritual communities,and other projects where people live together on the basis of explicit common values.

Since our beginning in 1987, we go about our work in a number of ways, including the Communities Directory,Communities magazine,Community Bookstore, community-focused Events, Classifieds, the Blog, and more.

Our passion is promoting cooperative culture and sustainable living. That means providing the information and inspiration for those seeking community, forming communities, struggling with the challenges of community, and those who want to develop a greater sense of community where they are.

However community touches your life, well try to help you find what youre looking for. In turn, you can help us by becoming anFIC member.

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Welcome to FIC – Fellowship for Intentional Community




Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution