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Phoenix SEO Company | Get on the First Page!

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Feb 112016
 

Want to be on the first page of Google? Wecan get you there.

If you are looking to be on the first page of the search results, search engine optimization is how to make that possible. Google, as well as the other search engines, want you to optimize your website in such a way that they know what each page is about. This in turn helps the search engines return results that are relevant to what the searcher is looking for. The websites that are best optimized have a higher chance of getting to #1 position. As anSEO Company we provide seo services to help you get as close to the #1 position as possible. We do this by staying up to date with the algorithm changes of the search engines and implementing white hat SEO strategies that are Google friendly.

Southwest Sod is a sod farm located in Arizona and they have been around since 1985. However, there were several companies outranking them in the search engines. By using proper SEO techniques we were able to get them to #1 for their desired keyword Sod in Arizona (see our case studiespage for more examples).

If you are a business or an entrepreneur that wants to learn SEO, we also offer SEO Coachingby one of our SEO experts to help you and your staff learn how to implement a SEO strategy in-house. You can also check out our blog to find out more about search engine optimization and what white-hat techniques we use to get to the top of the search engines.

Testimonials:

Deacon is a great partner to have that you can trust to do what he says hes going to do in a timely and effective way. The top-line growth that Southwest Sod has achieved since weve been doing business with him can, in large measure, be directly related to the SEO and website development he has performed for us. Our Q1 retail sales alone have jumped by 200% from 2013. Josh P. at Southwest Sod

Wow, Phoenix SEO Company exceeded my expectations. When Deacon and I started working together at the beginning of October, my site was not even ranking (showing up in Google searches). However, by the end of October, I was showing up in the top two spots for my search of mobile website design in Phoenix. I will definitely continue to work with Deacon moving forward as I expand my services and grow my company. Jesse Clark at uShine technologies

Deacon Hayes, President

Thank you for taking the time to check us out. As a business owner, I know first-hand the importance of search engine optimization since it drivesbusiness through our doors. If you would like a free consultation or more information about our SEO services, please feel free call us at 480-567-2637 or visit our contact us page. Although we are located in Arizona, we do servenational clients as well. We look forward to helping you achieve your digital marketing goals.

Deacon Hayes

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nihilism | philosophy | Britannica.com

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Feb 092016
 

Nihilism,(from Latin nihil, nothing), originally a philosophy of moral and epistemological skepticism that arose in 19th-century Russia during the early years of the reign of Tsar Alexander II. The term was famously used by Friedrich Nietzsche to describe the disintegration of traditional morality in Western society. In the 20th century, nihilism encompassed a variety of philosophical and aesthetic stances that, in one sense or another, denied the existence of genuine moral truths or values, rejected the possibility of knowledge or communication, and asserted the ultimate meaninglessness or purposelessness of life or of the universe.

The term is an old one, applied to certain heretics in the Middle Ages. In Russian literature, nihilism was probably first used by N.I. Nadezhdin, in an 1829 article in the Messenger of Europe, in which he applied it to Aleksandr Pushkin. Nadezhdin, as did V.V. Bervi in 1858, equated nihilism with skepticism. Mikhail Nikiforovich Katkov, a well-known conservative journalist who interpreted nihilism as synonymous with revolution, presented it as a social menace because of its negation of all moral principles.

Turgenev, Ivan SergeyevichDavid MagarshackIt was Ivan Turgenev, in his celebrated novel Fathers and Sons (1862), who popularized the term through the figure of Bazarov the nihilist. Eventually, the nihilists of the 1860s and 70s came to be regarded as disheveled, untidy, unruly, ragged men who rebelled against tradition and social order. The philosophy of nihilism then began to be associated erroneously with the regicide of Alexander II (1881) and the political terror that was employed by those active at the time in clandestine organizations opposed to absolutism.

If to the conservative elements the nihilists were the curse of the time, to the liberals such as N.G. Chernyshevsky they represented a mere transitory factor in the development of national thoughta stage in the struggle for individual freedomand a true spirit of the rebellious young generation. In his novel What Is to Be Done? (1863), Chernyshevsky endeavoured to detect positive aspects in the nihilist philosophy. Similarly, in his Memoirs, Prince Peter Kropotkin, the leading Russian anarchist, defined nihilism as the symbol of struggle against all forms of tyranny, hypocrisy, and artificiality and for individual freedom.

Fundamentally, 19th-century nihilism represented a philosophy of negation of all forms of aestheticism; it advocated utilitarianism and scientific rationalism. Classical philosophical systems were rejected entirely. Nihilism represented a crude form of positivism and materialism, a revolt against the established social order; it negated all authority exercised by the state, by the church, or by the family. It based its belief on nothing but scientific truth; science would be the solution of all social problems. All evils, nihilists believed, derived from a single sourceignorancewhich science alone would overcome.

The thinking of 19th-century nihilists was profoundly influenced by philosophers, scientists, and historians such as Ludwig Feuerbach, Charles Darwin, Henry Buckle, and Herbert Spencer. Since nihilists denied the duality of human beings as a combination of body and soul, of spiritual and material substance, they came into violent conflict with ecclesiastical authorities. Since nihilists questioned the doctrine of the divine right of kings, they came into similar conflict with secular authorities. Since they scorned all social bonds and family authority, the conflict between parents and children became equally immanent, and it is this theme that is best reflected in Turgenevs novel.

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nihilism | philosophy | Britannica.com

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The Vindicator: The oldest continuously printing news source …

 Liberty  Comments Off on The Vindicator: The oldest continuously printing news source …
Feb 072016
 

Senator Robert Nichols Senate District 3 http://www.senate.state.tx.us 512-463-0103 First elected to the Texas Senate in 2006, Robert Nichols represents 19 counties including the greater part of East Texas and Montgomery County. In the Texas Senate, Nichols serves as Chairman for the Transportation Committee. He also serves on the Senate Finance, Natural Resources and Economic Development, and Intergovernmental Relations Committees. He is a member of the Legislative Audit Committee and a former Vice Chairman of the Sunset Advisory Committee. During his five sessions as a state senator, Nichols authored and passed legislation to protect landowners rights, increase educational opportunities in East Texas and reform transportation policies. He has worked to reduce Medicaid fraud, and promote free-market principles. During his time with the Sunset Advisory Committee, he was able to help eliminate six state agencies which saved the tax payers $161.9 million. He has been named a Champion for Children by the Equity Center, a Courageous Conservative by the Texas Conservative Coalition, a Friend of County Government by the Texas Association of Counties and a Champion of Free Enterprise by the Texas Association of Business. Before running for Senate, Nichols served as transportation commissioner for eight years where he established a reputation for increasing efficiency without compromising quality. Nichols is a businessman from Jacksonville, Texas. In his hometown he served on city council, was elected mayor, built four successful manufacturing facilities, earned 32 U.S. patents, 128 foreign patents and created more than 900 jobs for East Texas families. Working his way through college by selling fireworks and ironing clothes for other students, Nichols earned a bachelors degree from Lamar University in 1968. He married his high school sweetheart, Donna, and they are the proud parents of three children: Brittney, Joshua and Collynnrae. Nichols is a member of First United Methodist Church in Jacksonville. Senator Robert Nichols was introduced by Rotary Club of Liberty Sergeant at Arms Charles Grabein Tues., Nov. 3, 2015 at Liberty Center.

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Empiricism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Rationalism  Comments Off on Empiricism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Feb 022016
 

Empiricism is a theory that states that knowledge comes only or primarily from sensory experience.[1] One of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism and skepticism, empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence, especially sensory experience, in the formation of ideas, over the notion of innate ideas or traditions;[2] empiricists may argue however that traditions (or customs) arise due to relations of previous sense experiences.[3]

Empiricism in the philosophy of science emphasizes evidence, especially as discovered in experiments. It is a fundamental part of the scientific method that all hypotheses and theories must be tested against observations of the natural world rather than resting solely on a priori reasoning, intuition, or revelation.

Empiricism, often used by natural scientists, says that “knowledge is based on experience” and that “knowledge is tentative and probabilistic, subject to continued revision and falsification.”[4] One of the epistemological tenets is that sensory experience creates knowledge. The scientific method, including experiments and validated measurement tools, guides empirical research.

The English term “empirical” derives from the Greek word , which is cognate with and translates to the Latin experientia, from which we derive the word “experience” and the related “experiment”. The term was used by the Empiric school of ancient Greek medical practitioners, who rejected the three doctrines of the Dogmatic school, preferring to rely on the observation of “phenomena”.[5]

A central concept in science and the scientific method is that it must be empirically based on the evidence of the senses. Both natural and social sciences use working hypotheses that are testable by observation and experiment. The term semi-empirical is sometimes used to describe theoretical methods that make use of basic axioms, established scientific laws, and previous experimental results in order to engage in reasoned model building and theoretical inquiry.

Philosophical empiricists hold no knowledge to be properly inferred or deduced unless it is derived from one’s sense-based experience.[6] This view is commonly contrasted with rationalism, which states that knowledge may be derived from reason independently of the senses. For example John Locke held that some knowledge (e.g. knowledge of God’s existence) could be arrived at through intuition and reasoning alone. Similarly Robert Boyle, a prominent advocate of the experimental method, held that we have innate ideas.[7][8] The main continental rationalists (Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz) were also advocates of the empirical “scientific method”.[9][10]

Vaisheshika darshana founded by ancient Indian philosopher Kanada accepted perception and inference as only two reliable source of knowledge. This is enumerated in his work Vaieika Stra.

The notion of tabula rasa (“clean slate” or “blank tablet”) connotes a view of mind as an originally blank or empty recorder (Locke used the words “white paper”) on which experience leaves marks. This denies that humans have innate ideas. The image dates back to Aristotle:

What the mind (nous) thinks must be in it in the same sense as letters are on a tablet (grammateion) which bears no actual writing (grammenon); this is just what happens in the case of the mind. (Aristotle, On the Soul, 3.4.430a1).

Aristotle’s explanation of how this was possible was not strictly empiricist in a modern sense, but rather based on his theory of potentiality and actuality, and experience of sense perceptions still requires the help of the active nous. These notions contrasted with Platonic notions of the human mind as an entity that pre-existed somewhere in the heavens, before being sent down to join a body on Earth (see Plato’s Phaedo and Apology, as well as others). Aristotle was considered to give a more important position to sense perception than Plato, and commentators in the middle ages summarized one of his positions as “nihil in intellectu nisi prius fuerit in sensu” (Latin for “nothing in the intellect without first being in the senses”).

This idea was later developed in ancient philosophy by the Stoic school. Stoic epistemology generally emphasized that the mind starts blank, but acquires knowledge as the outside world is impressed upon it.[11] The doxographer Aetius summarizes this view as “When a man is born, the Stoics say, he has the commanding part of his soul like a sheet of paper ready for writing upon.”[12] Later stoics, such as Sextus of Chaeronea, would continue this idea of empiricism in later Stoic writings as well. As Sextus contends “For every thought comes from sense-perception or not without sense-perception and either from direct experience or not without direct experience” (Against the Professors, 8.56-8).

During the middle ages Aristotle’s theory of tabula rasa was developed by Islamic philosophers starting with Al Farabi, developing into an elaborate theory by Avicenna[14] and demonstrated as a thought experiment by Ibn Tufail.[15] For Avicenna (Ibn Sina), for example, the tabula rasa is a pure potentiality that is actualized through education, and knowledge is attained through “empirical familiarity with objects in this world from which one abstracts universal concepts” developed through a “syllogistic method of reasoning in which observations lead to propositional statements which when compounded lead to further abstract concepts”. The intellect itself develops from a material intellect (al-‘aql al-hayulani), which is a potentiality “that can acquire knowledge to the active intellect (al-‘aql al-fa’il), the state of the human intellect in conjunction with the perfect source of knowledge”.[14] So the immaterial “active intellect”, separate from any individual person, is still essential for understanding to occur.

In the 12th century CE the Andalusian Muslim philosopher and novelist Abu Bakr Ibn Tufail (known as “Abubacer” or “Ebn Tophail” in the West) included the theory of tabula rasa as a thought experiment in his Arabic philosophical novel, Hayy ibn Yaqdhan in which he depicted the development of the mind of a feral child “from a tabula rasa to that of an adult, in complete isolation from society” on a desert island, through experience alone. The Latin translation of his philosophical novel, entitled Philosophus Autodidactus, published by Edward Pococke the Younger in 1671, had an influence on John Locke’s formulation of tabula rasa in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.[15]

A similar Islamic theological novel, Theologus Autodidactus, was written by the Arab theologian and physician Ibn al-Nafis in the 13th century. It also dealt with the theme of empiricism through the story of a feral child on a desert island, but departed from its predecessor by depicting the development of the protagonist’s mind through contact with society rather than in isolation from society.[16]

During the 13th century Thomas Aquinas adopted the Aristotelian position that the senses are essential to mind into scholasticism. Bonaventure (12211274), one of Aquinas’ strongest intellectual opponents, offered some of the strongest arguments in favour of the Platonic idea of the mind.

In the late renaissance various writers began to question the medieval and classical understanding of knowledge acquisition in a more fundamental way. In political and historical writing Niccol Machiavelli and his friend Francesco Guicciardini initiated a new realistic style of writing. Machiavelli in particular was scornful of writers on politics who judged everything in comparison to mental ideals and demanded that people should study the “effectual truth” instead. Their contemporary, Leonardo da Vinci (14521519) said, “If you find from your own experience that something is a fact and it contradicts what some authority has written down, then you must abandon the authority and base your reasoning on your own findings.”[17]

The decidedly anti-Aristotelian and anti-clerical music theorist Vincenzo Galilei (ca. 15201591), father of Galileo and the inventor of monody, made use of the method in successfully solving musical problems, firstly, of tuning such as the relationship of pitch to string tension and mass in stringed instruments, and to volume of air in wind instruments; and secondly to composition, by his various suggestions to composers in his Dialogo della musica antica e moderna (Florence, 1581). The Italian word he used for “experiment” was esperienza. It is known that he was the essential pedagogical influence upon the young Galileo, his eldest son (cf. Coelho, ed. Music and Science in the Age of Galileo Galilei), arguably one of the most influential empiricists in history. Vincenzo, through his tuning research, found the underlying truth at the heart of the misunderstood myth of ‘Pythagoras’ hammers’ (the square of the numbers concerned yielded those musical intervals, not the actual numbers, as believed), and through this and other discoveries that demonstrated the fallibility of traditional authorities, a radically empirical attitude developed, passed on to Galileo, which regarded “experience and demonstration” as the sine qua non of valid rational enquiry.

British empiricism, though it was not a term used at the time, derives from the 17th century period of early modern philosophy and modern science. The term became useful in order to describe differences perceived between two of its founders Francis Bacon, described as empiricist, and Ren Descartes, who is described as a rationalist. Thomas Hobbes and Baruch Spinoza, in the next generation, are often also described as an empiricist and a rationalist respectively. John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume were the primary exponents of empiricism in the 18th century Enlightenment, with Locke being the person who is normally known as the founder of empiricism as such.

In response to the early-to-mid-17th century “continental rationalism” John Locke (16321704) proposed in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689) a very influential view wherein the only knowledge humans can have is a posteriori, i.e., based upon experience. Locke is famously attributed with holding the proposition that the human mind is a tabula rasa, a “blank tablet”, in Locke’s words “white paper”, on which the experiences derived from sense impressions as a person’s life proceeds are written. There are two sources of our ideas: sensation and reflection. In both cases, a distinction is made between simple and complex ideas. The former are unanalysable, and are broken down into primary and secondary qualities. Primary qualities are essential for the object in question to be what it is. Without specific primary qualities, an object would not be what it is. For example, an apple is an apple because of the arrangement of its atomic structure. If an apple was structured differently, it would cease to be an apple. Secondary qualities are the sensory information we can perceive from its primary qualities. For example, an apple can be perceived in various colours, sizes, and textures but it is still identified as an apple. Therefore its primary qualities dictate what the object essentially is, while its secondary qualities define its attributes. Complex ideas combine simple ones, and divide into substances, modes, and relations. According to Locke, our knowledge of things is a perception of ideas that are in accordance or discordance with each other, which is very different from the quest for certainty of Descartes.

A generation later, the Irish Anglican bishop, George Berkeley (16851753), determined that Locke’s view immediately opened a door that would lead to eventual atheism. In response to Locke, he put forth in his Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge (1710) an important challenge to empiricism in which things only exist either as a result of their being perceived, or by virtue of the fact that they are an entity doing the perceiving. (For Berkeley, God fills in for humans by doing the perceiving whenever humans are not around to do it). In his text Alciphron, Berkeley maintained that any order humans may see in nature is the language or handwriting of God.[18] Berkeley’s approach to empiricism would later come to be called subjective idealism.[19][20]

The Scottish philosopher David Hume (17111776) responded to Berkeley’s criticisms of Locke, as well as other differences between early modern philosophers, and moved empiricism to a new level of skepticism. Hume argued in keeping with the empiricist view that all knowledge derives from sense experience, but he accepted that this has implications not normally acceptable to philosophers. He wrote for example, “Locke divides all arguments into demonstrative and probable. On this view, we must say that it is only probable that all men must die or that the sun will rise to-morrow, because neither of these can be demonstrated. But to conform our language more to common use, we ought to divide arguments into demonstrations, proofs, and probabilitiesby proofs meaning arguments from experience that leave no room for doubt or opposition.”[21] And,[22]

“I believe the most general and most popular explication of this matter, is to say [See Mr. Locke, chapter of power.], that finding from experience, that there are several new productions in matter, such as the motions and variations of body, and concluding that there must somewhere be a power capable of producing them, we arrive at last by this reasoning at the idea of power and efficacy. But to be convinced that this explication is more popular than philosophical, we need but reflect on two very obvious principles. First, That reason alone can never give rise to any original idea, and secondly, that reason, as distinguished from experience, can never make us conclude, that a cause or productive quality is absolutely requisite to every beginning of existence. Both these considerations have been sufficiently explained: and therefore shall not at present be any farther insisted on.”

Hume Section XIV “of the idea of necessary connexion in A Treatise of Human Nature

Hume divided all of human knowledge into two categories: relations of ideas and matters of fact (see also Kant’s analytic-synthetic distinction). Mathematical and logical propositions (e.g. “that the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the two sides”) are examples of the first, while propositions involving some contingent observation of the world (e.g. “the sun rises in the East”) are examples of the second. All of people’s “ideas”, in turn, are derived from their “impressions”. For Hume, an “impression” corresponds roughly with what we call a sensation. To remember or to imagine such impressions is to have an “idea”. Ideas are therefore the faint copies of sensations.[23]

Hume maintained that all knowledge, even the most basic beliefs about the natural world, cannot be conclusively established by reason. Rather, he maintained, our beliefs are more a result of accumulated habits, developed in response to accumulated sense experiences. Among his many arguments Hume also added another important slant to the debate about scientific method that of the problem of induction. Hume argued that it requires inductive reasoning to arrive at the premises for the principle of inductive reasoning, and therefore the justification for inductive reasoning is a circular argument.[23] Among Hume’s conclusions regarding the problem of induction is that there is no certainty that the future will resemble the past. Thus, as a simple instance posed by Hume, we cannot know with certainty by inductive reasoning that the sun will continue to rise in the East, but instead come to expect it to do so because it has repeatedly done so in the past.[23]

Hume concluded that such things as belief in an external world and belief in the existence of the self were not rationally justifiable. According to Hume these beliefs were to be accepted nonetheless because of their profound basis in instinct and custom. Hume’s lasting legacy, however, was the doubt that his skeptical arguments cast on the legitimacy of inductive reasoning, allowing many skeptics who followed to cast similar doubt.

Most of Hume’s followers have disagreed with his conclusion that belief in an external world is rationally unjustifiable, contending that Hume’s own principles implicitly contained the rational justification for such a belief, that is, beyond being content to let the issue rest on human instinct, custom and habit.[24] According to an extreme empiricist theory known as phenomenalism, anticipated by the arguments of both Hume and George Berkeley, a physical object is a kind of construction out of our experiences.[25] Phenomenalism is the view that physical objects, properties, events (whatever is physical) are reducible to mental objects, properties, events. Ultimately, only mental objects, properties, events, exist hence the closely related term subjective idealism. By the phenomenalistic line of thinking, to have a visual experience of a real physical thing is to have an experience of a certain kind of group of experiences. This type of set of experiences possesses a constancy and coherence that is lacking in the set of experiences of which hallucinations, for example, are a part. As John Stuart Mill put it in the mid-19th century, matter is the “permanent possibility of sensation”.[26] Mill’s empiricism went a significant step beyond Hume in still another respect: in maintaining that induction is necessary for all meaningful knowledge including mathematics. As summarized by D.W. Hamlin:

[Mill] claimed that mathematical truths were merely very highly confirmed generalizations from experience; mathematical inference, generally conceived as deductive [and a priori] in nature, Mill set down as founded on induction. Thus, in Mill’s philosophy there was no real place for knowledge based on relations of ideas. In his view logical and mathematical necessity is psychological; we are merely unable to conceive any other possibilities than those that logical and mathematical propositions assert. This is perhaps the most extreme version of empiricism known, but it has not found many defenders.[20]

Mill’s empiricism thus held that knowledge of any kind is not from direct experience but an inductive inference from direct experience.[27] The problems other philosophers have had with Mill’s position center around the following issues: Firstly, Mill’s formulation encounters difficulty when it describes what direct experience is by differentiating only between actual and possible sensations. This misses some key discussion concerning conditions under which such “groups of permanent possibilities of sensation” might exist in the first place. Berkeley put God in that gap; the phenomenalists, including Mill, essentially left the question unanswered. In the end, lacking an acknowledgement of an aspect of “reality” that goes beyond mere “possibilities of sensation”, such a position leads to a version of subjective idealism. Questions of how floor beams continue to support a floor while unobserved, how trees continue to grow while unobserved and untouched by human hands, etc., remain unanswered, and perhaps unanswerable in these terms.[20][28] Secondly, Mill’s formulation leaves open the unsettling possibility that the “gap-filling entities are purely possibilities and not actualities at all”.[28] Thirdly, Mill’s position, by calling mathematics merely another species of inductive inference, misapprehends mathematics. It fails to fully consider the structure and method of mathematical science, the products of which are arrived at through an internally consistent deductive set of procedures which do not, either today or at the time Mill wrote, fall under the agreed meaning of induction.[20][28][29]

The phenomenalist phase of post-Humean empiricism ended by the 1940s, for by that time it had become obvious that statements about physical things could not be translated into statements about actual and possible sense data.[30] If a physical object statement is to be translatable into a sense-data statement, the former must be at least deducible from the latter. But it came to be realized that there is no finite set of statements about actual and possible sense-data from which we can deduce even a single physical-object statement. Remember that the translating or paraphrasing statement must be couched in terms of normal observers in normal conditions of observation. There is, however, no finite set of statements that are couched in purely sensory terms and can express the satisfaction of the condition of the presence of a normal observer. According to phenomenalism, to say that a normal observer is present is to make the hypothetical statement that were a doctor to inspect the observer, the observer would appear to the doctor to be normal. But, of course, the doctor himself must be a normal observer. If we are to specify this doctor’s normality in sensory terms, we must make reference to a second doctor who, when inspecting the sense organs of the first doctor, would himself have to have the sense data a normal observer has when inspecting the sense organs of a subject who is a normal observer. And if we are to specify in sensory terms that the second doctor is a normal observer, we must refer to a third doctor, and so on (also see the third man).[31][32]

Logical empiricism (also logical positivism or neopositivism) was an early 20th-century attempt to synthesize the essential ideas of British empiricism (e.g. a strong emphasis on sensory experience as the basis for knowledge) with certain insights from mathematical logic that had been developed by Gottlob Frege and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Some of the key figures in this movement were Otto Neurath, Moritz Schlick and the rest of the Vienna Circle, along with A.J. Ayer, Rudolf Carnap and Hans Reichenbach.

The neopositivists subscribed to a notion of philosophy as the conceptual clarification of the methods, insights and discoveries of the sciences. They saw in the logical symbolism elaborated by Frege (18481925) and Bertrand Russell (18721970) a powerful instrument that could rationally reconstruct all scientific discourse into an ideal, logically perfect, language that would be free of the ambiguities and deformations of natural language. This gave rise to what they saw as metaphysical pseudoproblems and other conceptual confusions. By combining Frege’s thesis that all mathematical truths are logical with the early Wittgenstein’s idea that all logical truths are mere linguistic tautologies, they arrived at a twofold classification of all propositions: the analytic (a priori) and the synthetic (a posteriori).[33] On this basis, they formulated a strong principle of demarcation between sentences that have sense and those that do not: the so-called verification principle. Any sentence that is not purely logical, or is unverifiable is devoid of meaning. As a result, most metaphysical, ethical, aesthetic and other traditional philosophical problems came to be considered pseudoproblems.[34]

In the extreme empiricism of the neopositivistsat least before the 1930sany genuinely synthetic assertion must be reducible to an ultimate assertion (or set of ultimate assertions) that expresses direct observations or perceptions. In later years, Carnap and Neurath abandoned this sort of phenomenalism in favor of a rational reconstruction of knowledge into the language of an objective spatio-temporal physics. That is, instead of translating sentences about physical objects into sense-data, such sentences were to be translated into so-called protocol sentences, for example, “X at location Y and at time T observes such and such.”[35] The central theses of logical positivism (verificationism, the analytic-synthetic distinction, reductionism, etc.) came under sharp attack after World War II by thinkers such as Nelson Goodman, W.V. Quine, Hilary Putnam, Karl Popper, and Richard Rorty. By the late 1960s, it had become evident to most philosophers that the movement had pretty much run its course, though its influence is still significant among contemporary analytic philosophers such as Michael Dummett and other anti-realists.

In the late 19th and early 20th century several forms of pragmatic philosophy arose. The ideas of pragmatism, in its various forms, developed mainly from discussions between Charles Sanders Peirce and William James when both men were at Harvard in the 1870s. James popularized the term “pragmatism”, giving Peirce full credit for its patrimony, but Peirce later demurred from the tangents that the movement was taking, and redubbed what he regarded as the original idea with the name of “pragmatism”. Along with its pragmatic theory of truth, this perspective integrates the basic insights of empirical (experience-based) and rational (concept-based) thinking.

Charles Peirce (18391914) was highly influential in laying the groundwork for today’s empirical scientific method.[citation needed] Although Peirce severely criticized many elements of Descartes’ peculiar brand of rationalism, he did not reject rationalism outright. Indeed, he concurred with the main ideas of rationalism, most importantly the idea that rational concepts can be meaningful and the idea that rational concepts necessarily go beyond the data given by empirical observation. In later years he even emphasized the concept-driven side of the then ongoing debate between strict empiricism and strict rationalism, in part to counterbalance the excesses to which some of his cohorts had taken pragmatism under the “data-driven” strict-empiricist view.

Among Peirce’s major contributions was to place inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning in a complementary rather than competitive mode, the latter of which had been the primary trend among the educated since David Hume wrote a century before. To this, Peirce added the concept of abductive reasoning. The combined three forms of reasoning serve as a primary conceptual foundation for the empirically based scientific method today. Peirce’s approach “presupposes that (1) the objects of knowledge are real things, (2) the characters (properties) of real things do not depend on our perceptions of them, and (3) everyone who has sufficient experience of real things will agree on the truth about them. According to Peirce’s doctrine of fallibilism, the conclusions of science are always tentative. The rationality of the scientific method does not depend on the certainty of its conclusions, but on its self-corrective character: by continued application of the method science can detect and correct its own mistakes, and thus eventually lead to the discovery of truth”.[36]

In his Harvard “Lectures on Pragmatism” (1903), Peirce enumerated what he called the “three cotary propositions of pragmatism” (L: cos, cotis whetstone), saying that they “put the edge on the maxim of pragmatism”. First among these he listed the peripatetic-thomist observation mentioned above, but he further observed that this link between sensory perception and intellectual conception is a two-way street. That is, it can be taken to say that whatever we find in the intellect is also incipiently in the senses. Hence, if theories are theory-laden then so are the senses, and perception itself can be seen as a species of abductive inference, its difference being that it is beyond control and hence beyond critique in a word, incorrigible. This in no way conflicts with the fallibility and revisability of scientific concepts, since it is only the immediate percept in its unique individuality or “thisness” what the Scholastics called its haecceity that stands beyond control and correction. Scientific concepts, on the other hand, are general in nature, and transient sensations do in another sense find correction within them. This notion of perception as abduction has received periodic revivals in artificial intelligence and cognitive science research, most recently for instance with the work of Irvin Rock on indirect perception.[37][38]

Around the beginning of the 20th century, William James (18421910) coined the term “radical empiricism” to describe an offshoot of his form of pragmatism, which he argued could be dealt with separately from his pragmatism though in fact the two concepts are intertwined in James’s published lectures. James maintained that the empirically observed “directly apprehended universe needs … no extraneous trans-empirical connective support”,[39] by which he meant to rule out the perception that there can be any value added by seeking supernatural explanations for natural phenomena. James’s “radical empiricism” is thus not radical in the context of the term “empiricism”, but is instead fairly consistent with the modern use of the term “empirical”. (His method of argument in arriving at this view, however, still readily encounters debate within philosophy even today.)

John Dewey (18591952) modified James’ pragmatism to form a theory known as instrumentalism. The role of sense experience in Dewey’s theory is crucial, in that he saw experience as unified totality of things through which everything else is interrelated. Dewey’s basic thought, in accordance with empiricism was that reality is determined by past experience. Therefore, humans adapt their past experiences of things to perform experiments upon and test the pragmatic values of such experience. The value of such experience is measured experientially and scientifically, and the results of such tests generate ideas that serve as instruments for future experimentation,[40] in physical sciences as in ethics.[41] Thus, ideas in Dewey’s system retain their empiricist flavour in that they are only known a posteriori.

Leavitt, Fred: “Dancing with Absurdity: Your Most Cherished Beliefs (and All Your Others) are Probably Wrong. (2015) Peter Lang Publishers.

Links to related articles

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Empiricism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Posted by at 4:49 pm  Tagged with:

cryonics – The Skeptic’s Dictionary – Skepdic.com

 Cryonics  Comments Off on cryonics – The Skeptic’s Dictionary – Skepdic.com
Feb 022016
 

Cryonics claims it can store a dead human body at low temperatures in such a way that it will be possible to revitalize that body and restore life at some unspecified future date. One hook the cryonics folks use is to give hope that a cure for a disease one dies of today will be found tomorrow, allowing that cure to be applied to the thawed body before or while bringing the dead person back to life. Cryonics might be called resurrection by technology and believers in it might be classified as suffering from the Moses syndrome. The simple fact is once you are dead, you are dead forever. This fact may seem horrifying, but it is not nearly as horrifying as the thought of living forever.

The technology exists to freeze or preserve people and that technology is improving and will probably get better. The technology to revivify a frozen body exists in the imagination. Nanotechnology, for example, is a technology that supporters of cryonics appeal to. Someday, they say, we’ll be able to rebuild anything, including diseased or damaged cells in the body, with nanobots. So, no matter what disease destroyed healthy cells in the living body before preservation and no matter what damage was done to the cells of the frozen body during storage, nanotechnology will allow us to bring the dead back to life. This seems like wishful thinking. Nanotechnology might rebuild a mass of dead tissue into a mass of healthy tissue, but without a complete isomorphic model of the brain it will be impossible to return a mushy brain to the exact state it was in before death occurred. (Of course, since this is an exercise in imagination, one can posit that some day we will be able to preserve the brain without any decomposition or transformation at all.) In any case, some other jolt, probably electricity, will be needed to get the heart beating and the brain working again, assuming, of course, that the mush brain has been reconstructed into a healthy brain.

Some preserved by cryonics have the head severed from the body after death. Then, either the head alone is preserved, or both the head and the body are preserved separately. Maybe some future technology will allow the head to be attached to an artificial body. It can be imagined without contradiction, as the philosophers say, so it is not logically impossible that some day our planet will be inhabited by bodiless heads that are connected to machines that allow either actual or virtual experiences of any kind imaginable without requiring the head to leave the room. Of course, when that times comes medical science will have advanced to the point where the aging process can be reversed or maintained in stasis.

A business based on little more than hope for developments that can be imagined by science is quackery. (Cryonics should not be confused with cryogenics, which is a branch of physics that studies the effects of low temperatures on the structure of objects.) There is little reason to believe that the promises of cryonics will ever be fulfilled. Even if a dead body is somehow preserved for a century or two and then repaired, whatever is animated by whatever process will not be the same person who died. The brain is the key to consciousness and to who a person is. There is no reason to believe that a brain preserved by whatever means and restored to whatever state by nanobots will result in a consciousness that is in any way connected to the consciousness of the person who died two centuries earlier.

For those who want to live forever, cloning might be a more realistic possibility but I wouldn’t bank on it. First, there is the aging problem. Even if cloning is successful, you won’t be able to clone yourself as younger. Of course, you can hope that future technology will have solved the aging problem. Perhaps your body can be cloned repeatedly until science can assist you to overcome aging. However, there is no reason to believe that your clone would be a continuation of you. Your bodies might have identical looking cells, but the only way your minds could be identical is if you had no experience. (It is logically impossible for your bodies to have identical experiences since they occupy different spatial and temporal coordinates.) In that case, you would be as good as dead.

origin of cryonics

Teacher Robert Ettinger (physics and math) brought cryonics into the intellectual mainstream in 1964 with The Prospect of Immortality. Ettinger founded the Cryonics Institute and the related Immortalist Society. He got the idea for cryonics from a story by Neil R. Jones. “The Jameson Satellite” appeared in the July 1931 issue of Amazing Stories. It told the tale of

one Professor Jameson [who] had his corpse sent into earth orbit where (as the author mistakenly thought) it would remain preserved indefinitely at near absolute zero. And so it did, in the story, until millions of years later, when, with humanity extinct, a race of mechanical men with organic brains chanced upon it. They revived and repaired Jameson’s brain, installed it in a mechanical body, and he became one of their company.*

Thus was born the idea that we could freeze our bodies, repair them at a later date, and bring them back to life when technology had advanced sufficiently to do the repairs and the reviving.

ethical & other issues

I will leave to others to discuss most of the ethical, legal, political, and economic issues of cryonics. I’ll conclude with some comments about the cryonics case of Ted Williams.

Williams died in 2002 at the age of 83. According to his estranged daughter, Barbara Joyce (Bobby-Jo Ferrell) Williams, he left a will in which he expressed his desire to be cremated and have his ashes spread over his favorite fishing grounds in the Florida Keys. His son (Barbara Joyce’s half-brother), John Henry Williams, arranged for Williams’s body to be processed by Alcor LIfe Extension Foundation. A story in SportsIllustrated.com (SI) stated:

Hall of Famer Ted Williams’ head and body are being stored in separate containers at an Arizona cryonics lab that is still trying to collect a $111,000 bill from Williams’ son [he had already paid $25,000], according to a story by Tom Verducci in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated.

Alcor still has Williams’s head in a canister and his body in a tank, both filled with liquid nitrogen (to keep the remains at a cool -321 degrees Fahrenheit). According to SI, Alcor representatives met with John Henry Williams, but not Ted Williams, about a year before Ted’s death. Furthermore, SI reported that the Consent for Cryonic Suspension form submitted to Alcor after Williams had died had a blank line where his signature should have been.

There was a lawsuit by the estranged daughter that fizzled, allegedly for lack of funds, but no legal action by the authorities was taken against John Henry or Alcor. There is a movement still going to right this ship (see the Free Ted Williams website.) Larry Johnson, who worked briefly at Alcor, is leading the crusade to get Congress and a couple of state legislatures to regulate the cryonics industry and have Ted Williams cremated. A video interview with Johnson on “Good Morning America” discussing the disposition of Ted Williams’s body at Alcor can be viewed by clicking here. Johnson’s book on the subject, Shiver: A Whistleblower’s Chilling Expose of Cryonics and the Truth Behind What Happened to Ted Williams, is scheduled to be published in May 2009.

See also Ralian and my comments on cryonics in Mass Media Funk.

further reading

books and articles

Ettinger, Robert C. W. 1964. The Prospect of Immortality. Doubleday.

Kunzman, Alan, with Paul Nieto. 2004. Mothermelters: The inside story of Cryonics and the Dora Kent Homicide. 1st Books Library. (For Alcor’s version of the case, see Our Finest Hours: Notes On the Dora Kent Crisis by Michael Perry, Ph.D.)

Johnson, Larry with Scott Baldyga. 2009. Shiver: A Whistleblower’s Chilling Expose of Cryonics and the Truth Behind What Happened to Ted Williams. Morgan James Publishing.

Polidoro, J. P. 2005. Brain Freeze -321 f ~Saving “Reggie” Sanford~. Xlibris Corporation. (A novel about a former baseball player whose body is whisked off to a cryonics facility….)

websites and blogs

Nano Nonsense & Cryonics by Michael Shermer

CryonicsA futile desire for everlasting life – Only on Wednesdays

Is Cryonics Feasible? Stephen Barrett, M.D.

Dora Kent – Wikipedia (“News coverage at the time [1987] was limited, due to the gruesomeness of the case and the Christmas season.”)

Cryonics UK

Debates about cryonics with skeptics (condensed from exchanges that occurred in May-June 2006 in the James Randi Educational Forum (JREF).)

Cryonics: The Issues (An Overview) by Ben Best

Can cryogenic cooling miraculously improve car parts, sports equipment, and musical instruments? – The Straight Dope

Last updated 05-Dec-2013

Original post:
cryonics – The Skeptic’s Dictionary – Skepdic.com

Talk:Colonization of Mars – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Mars Colonization  Comments Off on Talk:Colonization of Mars – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Feb 022016
 

Cost of a Manned Mission?[edit]

Is there any reliable information about the cost of a manned mission to mars? I think it would be useful to include in the article.

For anyone who digs this up, two ideas would be:

Q: How much will sending humans to Mars cost? A: Estimates of the cost of a human Mars exploration program over the years have been wildly disparate, leaving much confusion in their wake. On the high end of the scale was the Space Exploration Initiative proposed by President George H. W. Bush in 1989 at $450 billion; Mars Direct occupies the low end of the scale at roughly $30 billion. – http://www.marssociety.org/portal/c/faq

-Lexspoon 12:51, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

I know many are already aware that both “colonization” and “colonisation” are valid ways of spelling the word. Nevertheless, I thought it would be nice to make a note of it here since I noticed some people changing things to reflect one particular spelling. This may be done for the sake of consistency, but, in that case, it should be noted that the wikipedia article for the term is listed under Colonisation. –Xaliqen

Consideration ought to be given to retitling this entry “Settlement of Mars” rather than coloniz/sation, given the negative connotations the word “colonization” engenders in political discussion. Inevitably — amazingly — such diversionary concerns arise when discussing Martian settlement. Ericmachmer (talk) 21:48, 29 December 2009 (UTC)

The possibility of terraforming plays a great part all over the article. However, I’m in doubt about its feasibility. For one thing I believe it takes too long to wait for the results, and nobody is willing to invest a dollar into something that possibly (!) returns in some hundred or may be thousand years. For another, there is good reason Mars having such a thin atmosphere today. The long term stability of a terraformed environment is pretty unlikely. All this about the terraforming thing seems to be science fiction, while the colonization is not. So, how about reducing the idea of terraforming to a small paragraph with a link to the main article Terraforming of Mars? The whole article would be more believable if it concentrates strictly on technology that is in reach of men. — The Cascade (talk) 08:04, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Yes, our presence will change the Martian environment, there is no doubt about it. I would not call this unintentional influence terraforming, because it surely does not aim to make Mars resemble Terra. Neither I would expect the unintentional changes to leed even into this direction. No, our presence will not terraform Mars. Probably, our presence will dirtyform it.

Still this is not what I meant. The article describes intentional terraforming. Sure, it is much easier to live on a terraformed Mars, but yet it is not possible with our current knowledge and technology. There are ideas, but nobody knows about the viability. It’s too premature. I find it nice to have that article Terraforming of Mars. It is a good article, and I definitely want to keep it, even grow it bigger, concentrate all available info in it. However, the article Colonization of Mars points to a more realistic scenario. It describes many ideas to colonize the planet without the need for terraforming, which is possible with known technology. I wouldn’t want to describe terraforming here as inevitable, which is not at all. I find terraforming too fantastic, and my impression is that it makes the article somehow fantastic, too. I’d rather want the article be realistic. — The Cascade (talk) 14:48, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Sorry for being rude. And offensive for that matter… first of all the green house gases: Mars has a lots of it. atmosphere consists of >95% CO2. and there is frozen CO2 all over the planet… thats just not the reason why the atmosphere is so thin.

there are mainly two reasons:

1. mars is too small to keep a dense atmosphere. just not enough gravity to keep it.

2. no magnetic field. the charged particles from the sun (sun wind) just “blow” away the atmosphere.

We can think about a solution for (2), like building a superconductor coil around the equator. But because of (1) this wont help in the long run… terraforming mars is a nice dream. but as long as we dont invent a seriously new kind physics, it will be a dream..

Anyway i think it is good to mention the historical ideas about terraforming, just please also mention that it is just nowhere close to be imaginable for someone who studied physics.

135.196.213.146 (talk) 17:17, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

CAN MARS KEEP AN ATMOSPHERE?

Mars surface gravity is high enough to keep all gases except Hydrogen, Helium and Water. Further, water stays in the troposphere, (because of the cold trap), and is not normally lost to thermal escape. Mars HAS lost about 15 meters of water globally, but most of this was from UV light disassociating water into hydrogen and oxygen, with the hydrogen being quickly lost. If Mars was to have an oxygen atmosphere (and an ozone layer), it would keep its water for billions of years. In fact, even with out an oxygen atmosphere, Mars has kept its water for billions of years. Plenty of water is in its ice caps and as permafrost. It has not lost all of its water from thermal escape or any other method.

Scientists have shown that worlds with no magnetic field lose tiny amounts of air from solar wind erosion. This adds up over billions of years. However, it is not something that terraformers have to worry about over hundred of millions of year time scales. (100 million years is far longer than the lifetime of our species.)

Venus has no magnetic field and a solar flux more than 5 times what Mars has but it has not lost its atmosphere. Mercury has quite a strong magnetic field and basically has no atmosphere. The meme that no magnetic field = no atmosphere is far too simplistic. Venus is an obvious disproof of this idea.

Scientists think Mars had a 3 or 4 bar atmosphere early in its life and estimate that about 75% to 80% of this was lost to the solar wind. (The solar wind was ~100 times stronger at the start of the solar system and ~6 times stronger ~2.5 billion years ago.) Since it now has an atmosphere of 1/100th of a bar, where is its air?

In the soil. Lightning and UV radiation will form nitrates. On Earth these are recycled quickly by life. But in some regions like the Gobi desert, the nitrate beds are very deep. (Dozens of meters deep if I remember correctly, don’t quote me.) On Mars, most of the nitrogen was not lost, it has been deposited in the soil. Oxygen is too heavy for thermal escape, but will react with rocks or with salts to form perchlorates. Carbon dioxide will form carbonate rocks, be absorbed into CO2 clathrates, and be dissolved in ground water and form ice caps. Further, clays which are common on Mars will absorb carbon dioxide when they get cold, typically 4 to 6% by mass. Most of Mars’ atmosphere is in its soils and rocks.

If terraformers brought Mars atmosphere up to 1 bar pressure by dropping comets onto the planet, it would take 2 to 3 billion years of solar wind sputtering to reduce its air pressure to the point where humans still would NOT need a pressure suit. (Tho the pressure would be too low for humans to breath.) (This assumes that the Sun’s solar wind continues to decline or at least stays the same.) Claiming that we can’t live on a Terraformed Mars because the solar wind will erode the atmosphere in 2.5 billion years when the Earth’s biosphere won’t survive 800 million years (because the sun is warming) is silly. Let’s focus on the next two hundred to 200,000,000 years and let someone else worry about the time after that.

I’ll track down more references for these statements later. Out of time.

http://people.virginia.edu/~rej/papers03/Leblanc01.pdf

“Life and Death of Planet Earth, The: How The New Science Of Astrobiology Charts The Ultimate Fate” by Peter D Ward & Don Brownlee. // They show multicellar life likely won’t last 1/2 a billion years on Earth as the sun warms.

http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/ast121/lectures/lec14.html

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v272/n5656/pdf/272803a0.pdf

http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1980LPSC…11.2479W

“Mars: A Warmer Wetter Planet” by Jeffrey S. Kargel // Discussed MEGAOUTFLO events in the past when the atmosphere in the soil out gases. Also talks about the 3 to 4 bar early Martian atmosphere & the martian water budget.

Warm regards, Rick. 65.110.28.47 (talk) 15:51, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

I think that the discussion of economics on this page pays too much attention to ways that Earth could economically supplement life on Mars, and not enough attention to how Mars could supplement Earth. It mentions trade between Earth and Mars without mentioning what exactly Mars would have to offer Earth. I think the entire feasibility of Mars colonization rests on Mars having something that Earth does not have, and at this point, I have a great deal of trouble seeing what that might be, except cheap land, which doesn’t seem to me to make up for the transportation and development costs that would go into it. Maybe a tourist industry, but I don’t think you could build anything bigger than a small city on the basis of the tourist industry. Preceding unsigned comment added by 66.57.230.223 (talk) 18:24, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

I agree with the above. The moon advocates have a myriad of ways to provide services/products to earth in a fiscal timetable, and value for value trades. However, this section on mars economics focuses mainly on earth providing economic benefits to mars and not an even exchange of value for value.Moonus111 (talk) 20:38, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

VIABILITY OF MARTIAN TRADE:

We know Mars has water enriched with deuterium (5 times more so than Earth). which is a viable export for cash. Strategic metals worth $10,000 / kg or more (gold and more expensive metals) can be shipped to Earth for a profit. Also, if there are asteroid bases, it is FAR cheaper to supply them from Mars than from Earth. Robert Zubrin suggested a triangle trade. High tech parts from Earth to Mars. Fuel, light industry supplies and food from Mars to the Asteroids. Asteroids send strategic metals back to Earth.

It is also easier for Mars to send stuff to Luna than it is to go from Earth to Luna. So if we get an industry collecting Helium 3 from the Moon, a similar triangle trade can be set up between the Earth, Mars and the Moon.

It won’t be profitable to go to Mars to get Platinum (for example). It would be cheaper to re-open marginal mines on Earth. But the platinum on Mars won’t have been picked over for hundreds of years – it will be right on the surface. If there are Martian colonists, they will be able to easily collect iridium, deuterium, rubidium, palladium, gallium, gold, etc, since there will be vulcanism and water created deposits right on the surface. These could be sold for a profit to get high tech, low mass supplies from Earth.

Mars has all of the elements needed for rocket fuel, plastics, industrial metals, computer chips and food. It also has a ~24 hour day night cycle which allows growing food economically. Coupled with Mars’ greatest resource (a shallow gravity well) it can supply needed materials to bases in the inner and outer solars system more cheaply than Earth can.

For example: On page 230 of “the case for Mars” Robert Zubrin shows that a mission to Ceres requires 50 times less mass to be launched from Mars rather than Earth. (If the mission requires 1,000 tonnes of supplies it can be done with two launches from Mars or 107 launches from Earth.) This assumes that no propellent has to be hauled to Ceres. If we have to bring return fuel as well, then the Earth based mission becomes even more hopeless. Even if space launches from Mars are 10 times more expensive than Earth, it would still be much more profitable to send supplies from Mars.

Luna has severe disadvantages for a self sustaining colony. It lacks 24 hour day night cycle which is a huge problem if you have to grow plants there. (Plants require a really tremendous amount of energy to grow with artificial light.) Its lack of atmosphere means that plants will die from solar flares unless you have thick glass walls which will crack from the day / night heat stress. It lacks ores since the moon is made up of junk rock (see page 220 ibid for why ores are rare on Luna but likely common on Mars). Elements like H, C, N, P, K & S are all rare or very rare on Luna and must be imported from else where. There is plenty of oxygen and silicon but they are tightly bound to the rock and require a huge amount of energy and hydrogen and carbon to extract.

For references to what I’ve said above (and far more details), see “The Case for Mars” and “Opening Space” by Robert Zubrin. 65.110.28.47 (talk) 14:40, 27 May 2011 (UTC)Warm regards, Rick.

WHY WAS COMMENTS ON ROCKET SLEDS / ROTATING SKY HOOKS DELETED? Space elevators are far more difficult to build than a rocket sled / sky ramp and or a rotating sky hook. If you are looking for cheap ways for a martian colony to make getting into space both methods are far more practical than a space elevator. Further, a sky ramp can put things into low Mars orbit, which a space elevator can’t do, unless you haul rocket fuel up and launch from part way up the the elevator. I suggest that a rocket sled or Mag Lev style sky ramp located on Pavonis Mons is so many more times more practical than a space elevator (especially for a small colony struggling for capital) that the space elevator reference should be considered to be removed as a remote fantasy. I did not site sources in this article, but provided links to Wiki pages where there ARE references. 65.110.28.47 (talk) 14:40, 27 May 2011 (UTC)Regards, Rick

While interesting, I’d not stress this too much until 1) the results are duplicated independently, and 2) a longer time period is tested. 34 days is hardly long enough to ensure the survival of earth-life in Martian conditions. Cumulative radiation affects, for example, could prove disastrous over the course of months/years. Additionally, one good solar flare would probably destroy any life exposed to it in the same environment that this lab used, which due to its lack of a magnetosphere, Mars would be greatly affected by (locally.) I don’t have a paper to cite, but discussions with some profs at the local university were not very positive on the long-term success of such tests. Note that hard questions were not asked/answered in the news articles cited, either. HammerFilmFan (talk) 12:20, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

On the 10th of November 2011 R.Schuster called for a citation for the statement: “It is not known if this is enough to prevent the health problems associated with Weightlessness.” However it is well known that no experiments were done in which human beings were subjected to fractional g accelerations for weeks or more at a time. The experimental evidence is from free fall in orbit. There does not need to be much documentation to show that we do not know something. So it seems we could just drop the citation needed template on the basis of common knowledge. We should do that or get rid of the statement. – Fartherred (talk) 02:18, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

In a number of edits on the 19th of July, Robertinventor among other things removed the sentences: “It’s impossible for any manned mission to Mars to keep to the requirements of the [[COSPAR]] (Committee on Space Research) guidelines for planetary protection. NASA currently follows COSPAR guidelines.” He replaced these with a second link to [[Manned_mission_to_Mars#Critiques]] and his comments about introducing Earth organisms to Mars affecting Mars’ biologically pristine condition. I have added the comment about NASA following COSPAR guidelines of planetary protection to the [[Manned_mission_to_Mars#Critiques]]. However, this is better addressed directly in the [[Colonization of Mars]] article because it is a direct concern of colonization. The time of a colonization mission cannot be until nations supporting launches to orbit consider that the research question of life developing independently on Mars or not has been sufficiently addressed. Technologies necessary to the colonization of Mars have not been sufficiently developed to have a one-way mission to Mars yet, so we are not waiting just for the COSPAR requirements to expire; but it is a definite road block. There are some advocates of colonization that want colonization started in their lifetimes, as do the backers of Mars One. So this is an item of interest to them. For a neutral point of view, we should not be promoting Mars colonization or minimizing or ignoring the problems. We should present significant facts that are published. – Fartherred (talk) 17:53, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

The article fails to point out how easy it is to colonize mars. It has wind, a steady stream of wind will blow on mars as a faint wistle effect. Mars is a dead planet. It can easily be colonized and solar power is not an issue. Ever here of electro-magentic generators? Its called free energy. They would be quite sufficient.–Asfd777 (talk) 14:49, 15 September 2012 (UTC)

People can get the idea of domes for Mars colonies by looking at many old science fiction magazine covers, but a transparent dome is impractical for Mars. Temperatures down to -143 degrees Celsius just overwhelm the limited heating available from a dome greenhouse. It is more practical for a greenhouse to be a buried cylinder with a portion of the curved roof made of glass and steel exposed to sunlight from mirrors that concentrate it as much as is needed to maintain operating temperature, and the skylight covered by insulation at night. I cannot give a reliable source for this but it is rather obvious to someone who knows a little physics. I would like to see a reliable source for the statement that domes are useful for trapping heat for greenhouses on Mars so that if it comes from a graduate student I can urge that they flunk out and if it comes from a professor I can urge that his research funds be cut back. – Fartherred (talk) 21:23, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

There has been the direct observation of many of the elements necessary for life and this could be supported by citation. However some of the elements necessary for life are necessary only in trace amounts and have not been directly measured yet. We have from the theory of the solar system forming from a cloud of gas and dust that Earth and Mars formed from planetesimals that formed from dust in neighboring regions of the cloud. Therefore the elemental composition of Earth and Mars should have been similar to start with and only limited differences in environment caused changes in composition over geological ages. That Mars is expected to have all of the elements necessary for life can be arrived at by synthesis from sources that I have found, but maybe someone can find the synthesis published. Then it could be included in the article. – Fartherred (talk) 10:14, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

The result of the proposal was no consensus. –BDD (talk) 17:51, 22 March 2013 (UTC) (non-admin closure)

Colonization of Mars Settlement of Mars Reflects modern terminology in the space advocate community without the distracting cultural baggage accompanying the term ‘colonization’ Relisted. BDD (talk) 16:33, 15 March 2013 (UTC) Ericmachmer (talk) 15:56, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Comment I think consensus was quite clear, it was to not move. — 65.92.180.137 (talk) 01:55, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

Settlement of Mars , Mars settlement , Mars settlement should all redirect here. — 65.92.180.137 (talk) 02:08, 7 March 2013 (UTC)

Why is this useful? It seems to me that any worries about colonization should be addressed in the relevant sections up page. A lot of the info is literally duplicated from above. Also, it contains unsourced SYNTH from Robert Walker. Already have deleted some of the obvious duplication of info and unsourced opinions. The telerobotics paragraph is irrelevant so that was deleted as well. I have half a mind to delete the whole section. Warren Platts (talk) 17:14, 27 June 2013 (UTC)

This article now has an Advocacy section but no balancing Concerns section.

I kept a copy of the original Concerns section in my user space here: User:Robertinventor/Colonization_of_Mars_-_concerns

I expected this to happen as the author said he is nauseated by all the concerns sections on Project Mars and is on a cleanup mission, also to remove all content written by myself on contamination issues. I did not write this now deleted section, just contributed some material to it. Robert Walker (talk) 14:12, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

Please be aware that a Request for Arbitration has been submitted to address the long-standing user conduct issues that prevent the resolution of content disputes. The RFAR is at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case#Mars Robert McClenon (talk) 23:04, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

Can we include a more realistic-looking image (like CGI or something like that) as the lead one? The current one looks a little like it’s from a children’s magazine… –Againme (talk) 19:56, 16 October 2013 (UTC)

___________

Why not just stage something in Arizona, to convey the illusion that there are already people on Mars? It seems that this “childish” picture is sufficient to mislead the uninformed that Mars is already colonized. WikiEditor2563 (talk) 18:42, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

This is in response to a personal email I received from wikieditor Grayfell, who asked that I discuss this here. I need instruction from him or anyone so I can email him personally, I find communicating this way to be overly complicated and incoherent First, I’m writing the final pages of a non-fiction book, which includes several chapters on the colonization of Mars, exoplanets, etc, so I’m somewhat of an expert on the subject, regarding the real potential of a colony on Mars.

Now, the Colonization of Mars is a particularly unique subject, in particular regarding its inclusion in an encyclopedia, because there isnt actually a colony on Mars! And such a thing is certainly not inevitable. EVERYTHING about the colonization of Mars is opinion and highly speculative. The case can easily be made that nothing about this wiki page is encyclopedic! and that this web page is nothing but a bullhorn for the Mars advocates which certainly seems to be the case when some of the edits Ive made are undone before Ive even logged off! I mean, why would anyone be so vigilant about (of all things) the colonization of Mars?

Your sense of how things can be edited is too strict. Even your sense of what constitutes an encyclopedic tone is subjective and about which you dont have the last word. You and a few others are way too quick to simply undo others edits, and is arrogant.

First, why do you insist on using the word hospitable in describing Mars? That is entirely propagandistic. In no sense of the word, relatively or absolutely, is Mars hospitable. That might have been a matter of speculation to people in the stone ages, who gazed up in wonder but who couldnt have known any better; to Galileo; or even to early 20th century manbut NOW? given all that we know, in all its degrees of precision?

The sources that you are protecting belie the facts, and have no place in this wiki page. Anyone can write a science article these days and theres no reason their opinion is more relevant than mine. Even science articles are biased and often have a case to promote, and this is especially true for articles about Mars and the exploration of space. Furthermore, there are no sources that say that Mars has been colonized (regardless of unmanned research – which is truly amazing and gives me goose bumps), so maybe the entire Colonization of Mars page should be removed.

For the intro paragraph for this webpage, you need something for a general audience, not bogged down in misleading data. The fact is, a colony on Mars is science-fiction, and there are HUGE obstacles that prevent this from ever happening. this should be conveyed somewhere in the wiki page, preferably at the top, rather than cater to the dreamers and fantasists in some form of agenda.

For example, its FAR better to say that circumstances on Mars in fact would be deadly to all life as we know it (except for perhaps some extremophilic microorganisms) THAN deadly to most life because that implies that there are some forms of life on Mars, which is an OUTRAGEOUS implication, and propagandistic. Things that can be grown in simulated conditions on Earth do NOT change this simple fact! Mars is absolutely NOT hospitable to life and it is propagandistic to suggest that it does or might. Its not encyclopedic to suggest that there MIGHT be life on Mars when after the last 50 years of reconnaissance and actual soil and air analysisNO LIFE HAS BEEN FOUND ON MARS. Its very irrational at this point in the research – given all that we know, and we know a lot, and to a great deal of precision that there might be life on Mars. Thats a serious hang-up that is not supported by science, only by science-fiction fans and fantasists. Science doesnt HOPE or DREAM. Science simply collects facts.

The discovery of life on another planet would be the biggest breakthrough OF ALL TIME. That milestone has not been reached, so to imply that life may exist on Mars because of some dumb simulation here on Earth, or the unrestrained enthusiasm for such, does NOT belong in an encyclopedia. Maybe in Bizarre Fantasy Weekly, but not an encyclopedia.

This wiki page should not be used as a voice for dreamers, fantasists, or space tourism promoters. Now, I should be free to say THIS in the introductory paragraph maybe now you can appreciate how much restraint Ive been exercising.

The intro para to this wiki page should say, or convey, this specific point, because its realistic, not bogged down with misleading data, doesnt promote an agenda, and is entirely, as you say, encyclopedic:

It is absolutely true that This does not preclude the possibility that man might one day step foot on Mars and scout around, but whether or not we ever get to Mars seems less a matter of scientific progress, than the balance of power between sane and crazy which is properly referenced by National Geographic but which you reject because YOU HAVE AN AGENDA TO PROMOTE, which is in complete violation of the Wiki terms of service.

Its not scientific or encyclopedic to HOPE for something, just to state the facts or what can be reasonably surmised where scientific proof of something may be impossible, which seems to be the case, to a large degree, in this arena.

Given what we know, it makes more sense, at this point, to surmise that man will NOT colonize Mars, even though of course theres nothing to stop him from trying. This opinion should be conveyed, somehow, in the wiki page for this topic.

Bearing in mind that if someone wants to learn about Mars they are better served by the wiki page for Mars, because as a planet there is, of course, much to be said. WikiEditor2563 (talk) 20:03, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

As I indicated above, there are really no facts regarding a colonization of Mars, only opinions – much of which is wild speculation – so the idea of “reliable sources” regarding this is somewhat meaningless – since no one’s been to Mars! One could challenge anyone who claims to be an expert on this subject. For that reason I don’t understand why this webpage is so bulky! There seems to be nothing on the plus side for Mars! So where does the optimism come from?

Even for reliable sources, some things are still a matter of subjective opinion, or involve tremendous amounts of speculation, particularly about a colony on Mars. Such opinions are very biased, it’s nave to deny this. This occurs, for example, when a “specialist” says something will happen in 20 years – which gets them off the hook, and implies “let the next generation do it while we still collect a paycheck.” Engineers are not magicians, they can’t turn lead into gold. There’s an incentive to push things ahead 20 years and not a more realistic 50 – or 100. 20 years seems more within reach, so project funding is maintained. Imagine if they said 50 years – funding would stop! When a specialist at NASA says “something can be done” its because if he said “it can’t be done” he and the rest of his pals would lose their jobs! So this website CAN’T be a bullhorn for NASA or the Mars advocates. AND IN THIS ARENA, MANY THINGS MUST BE SURMISED, and this Wikipedia page includes a lot of surmising and speculating. Who do you think has their fingers crossed the hardest? NASA. When we read their articles we need to take everything they say with a few grains of salt, and be skeptical of their optimism, because the idea of a colony on Mars IS outrageous, for many reasons (and hence the book I’m writing). For starters, heavy payloads can’t land gently on Mars – but that’s just a distraction, that’s not even one of the REAL obstacles. Maybe these reasons are just more intuitive to me than you, based on years of reading and my own point of view, for which I have 2 science degrees to support, but you have a point of view too, it’s hard for ANYONE to be completely objective, we’re all rooting for one side or another.

Also, there are a lot of “opinions” on Wikipedia, everything isn’t sourced. Everything I’ve contributed to Wikipedia is objective, restrained, suitable for a general audience, and free of promotion. Even the part about “balance between sane and crazy” but I knew that would be deleted, even though some science articles are describing some things in this arena as just that. The content I’ve repeatedly posted to introduce this Wikipedia page is both historically correct, succinct, insightful, and captures the spirit of the concept without going overboard.

_____________________ I only

What’s interesting is that you haven’t substantiated any of your disagreements with me, just condescending threats and warnings.

As I just said to another editor,

So saying that something is “sourced” is, in the end, somewhat meaningless. Which is why I put a higher priority on relevance and readability than the source material. It goes without saying that ALL of my edits are informed through the research I’ve been doing the last 15 months – and which is ongoing.

And again, regarding the “warring,” it takes two to tango. WikiEditor2563 (talk) 19:37, 13 November 2013 (UTC) __________________________

WikiEditor2563, why are you removing sourced, relevant text and wikilinks? [2] –NeilN talk to me 18:30, 13 November 2013 (UTC) _______________________

Note: this editor has now been indefinitely blocked. andy (talk) 22:56, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

I have no particular expertise in the area but as an ever-curious reader here is what struck me about the article:

My two cents anyways. –NeilN talk to me 00:27, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

As far as I can see the article now has no mention of the requirements for planetary protection of Mars. Particularly, increasing evidence of possible habitable regions on present day Mars surface for microbes. This is a recent news story in Nature about the warm seasonal flows now found in equatorial regions: Water seems to flow freely on Mars – Any areas of water could be off-limits to all but the cleanest spacecraft.

Current guidelines for Planetary protection require us to keep Mars free of Earth life so that we can study it in its pristine state. This is an international requirement under the Outer Space Treaty which all space faring countries and countries with space ambitions except N. Korea have signed and nearly all other countries as well.

There is much published on planetary protection issues for rovers on Mars, as of course is an ongoing thing – there is not so much published on planetary protection for future human missions to Mars, although the issues are of course far greater for humans.

This is one article Human Missions to Mars a Challenge for Planetary Protection:Gernot Groemer

There are also general statements in some of the COSPAR documents but no detailed discussion or technical details.

I think the general assumption is that the humans would be sent to Mars only after the current exploration phase is already completed, at a point when requirements for protection can be relaxed somewhat, but there is no set criterion for the end of the exploration phase (which I personally think must surely last at least several more decades, probably longer, before we have a reasonable understanding of Mars by way of ground truth).

On the idea that perhaps it might be a major issue for human missions to address, there is this 2012 space.com article, with remarks from Cassie Conley planetary protection officer. Manned Mars Missions Could Threaten Red Planet Life – which of course is a bit out of date not mentioning the newer 2013 resuults.

Suggestion: to say that

Robert Walker (talk) 14:00, 5 January 2014 (UTC)

Hello everybody! I’m interested in reading about the feasability of a martian space elevator, such as mentionned by the end of the Tranportation section of this article. I already found an articles about the Space Elevators on Earth and the Moon. Now I need data about the martian one. Can anybody find them and add them to the article? Thanks. 80.82.235.62 (talk) 15:28, 4 April 2015 (UTC) A Martian lost on Earth;)

In the section, Economics, there is a link to Economics of extraterrestrial resource extraction which at first sounds pertinent to colonization of Mars, but when one follows the link it leads by redirect to the asteroid mining article which is only indirectly related to Mars colonization. This link is particularly distracting because although it is attached to the words “economic problem” it does not elaborate the economic problem of the Colonization of Mars. – Fartherred (talk) 04:48, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

Magnetosphere does nothing to UV or gamma rays, only to charged particles like beta and alpha rays. Now the sentence is misleading, but magnetosphere is good to mention in context of other radiation. I just don’t have clue what is the effect size..? 91.159.81.20 (talk) 01:58, 3 May 2015 (UTC)

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Eugenics in California – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Eugenics  Comments Off on Eugenics in California – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jan 312016
 

Eugenics in California is a notable part of eugenics in America.

As an early leading force in the field of eugenics, California became the third state in the United States to enact a sterilization law. By 1921, California had accounted for 80% of the sterilizations nationwide. This continued until World War II, after which the number of sterilizations began to decrease, largely due to the fallout of Hitler’s eugenics movement.[1] There were about 20,000 forced sterilizations in California between 1909 and 1963.[2]

Records of eugenics practices in California are held at the following agencies and institutions. The records are still protected for confidentiality reasons.

In California, [eugenics] was always linked to the use of land: to agriculture and plant hybridization.[3] Many of the powerful social workers, doctors, psychiatrists, and biologists, sought to hurt many of Californias Mexican, Indian, and Asian populations through the exclusionary laws that those scientists propose. In addition to the conquest to hurt the undesirables in the state, the California Eugenics plan also was a way to save the state money so they could eliminate the money the state spends on welfare and other programs that help the less fortunate.[3] Eugenics takes take three forms in California:

Dolores Madrigal entered the University of Southern Californias medical center on October 12, 1973, in order to give birth to her second child. During her time in labor, she was given a consent form and coerced by doctors into having a tubal ligation, effectively sterilizing her. Madrigal insisted that No one at the medical center informed me that a tubal ligation operation was going to performed on me. No one at the medical center informed me of what a tubal ligation operation consists nor of its permanent effects (Enoch, 5). Rebecca M. Kluchin found while researching the case that Physicians preferred to perform cesarean sections and tubal ligations in tandem to minimize risks associated with infection and anesthesia, as well as to reduce medical costs. It appears that at this hospital physicians who performed emergency cesarean sections sometimes used the opportunity to persuade a woman to accept permanent contraception.[10]

In July 1976 Madrigal sued the University of Southern California medical center, accompanied by Guadalupe Acosta, Estela Benavides, Consuelo Hermosillo, Georgina Hernandez, Maria Hurtado, Maria Figueroa, Rebecca Figueroa, Jovita Rivera, and Helena Orozco. Each of the nine other women who joined the class action lawsuit complained of similar proceedings. Together, these 10 chicanas decided to sue the USC medical center, contending that they had never given their informed consent to have the tubal ligation procedure performed. Karen Benker testified that poor minority women in L.A. County were having too many babies; that it was a strain on society; and that it was good that they be sterilized”.[11]

Despite Benkers testimony and other corroborating evidence, Judge Jesse Curtis ruled in favor of the defendants, stating that there had been nothing more than a breakdown in communication between the patients and the doctors (Stern 1135). He went on to say that it was appropriate for an obstetrician to believe that a tubal ligation could help diminish overpopulation as long as they did not attempt to overpower the will of his patients.[11]

In 1909 a eugenics law was passed in California allowing for state institutions to sterilize those deemed unfit or feeble-minded.[12] As one of the leading states in forced sterilization victims, Californias sterilization procedures primarily took place in state mental hospitals. Dr. Leo Stanley was one of the first people to bring the eugenics movement to Californias prisons.

Stanley was San Quentin penitentiarys chief surgeon and was particularly interested in eliminating those deemed unfit for society. His avid eugenic-based surgeries were the first of its kind to been seen in a prison. Taking place between 1930 and 1959, the peak of the eugenics movement, Stanley’s surgeries were driven by the idea of purifying criminals. Through testicular surgeries, he believed he could cultivate socially fit individuals by replacing a prisoners testicles with those of a deceased male previously deemed socially fit. His practices spawned early ideologies of white manhood,” which stemmed from his belief that he could “help a new, ideal man emerge”.[13]

Use of human and even animal testicles made Stanleys procedures highly unsuccessful and all around bizarre. His desire to restore social morality, along with his fascination with the endocrine system, fueled his research. Throughout the time of his procedures, criminals were believed to have something anatomically off that drove them to commit crimes. This belief inspired Stanley to explore the endocrine systems role in the criminology of a person. By persuading inmates that his testicular surgeries would produce favorable results in their sex lives he sterilized more than 600 prisoners by the end of his career.[13] Stanleys prison work concluded upon the start of World War II where he served overseas, only to retire as a eugenic pioneer.

The Human Betterment Foundation (HBF) was established in Pasadena, California in 1928. Led by E.S. Gosney it researched with an aim to foster and aid constructive and educational forces for the protection and betterment of the human family in body, mind, character, and citizenship. In 1929 E.S. Gosney set up the Human Betterment Foundation and gathered twenty-five of the leading scientists, philanthropists, and community leaders to carry out research on the effects of sterilization for thirteen years (Valone). Gosney also used the HBF to distribute the product of his research, Sterilization for Human Betterment which attracted attention from the nearby university, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Robert A. Millikan, a leading faculty member and proponent of Caltech, was looking for potential donors to the university and shared many of Gosneys views in his work decided to join the HBF board.

Lois Gosney Castle and the board of trustees eventually liquidated the foundation and turned the proceeds over to Caltech. Thirteen years after publishing the 1929 report entitled “Sterilization for Human Betterment, the HBF continued to carry out research on the effects of sterilization and undertook widespread distribution of the report to individuals, public libraries, and schools. After the liquidation files were found in 1968, but since they contained personal medical information, they were legally closed to researchers.[14]

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US Virgin Islands Americas Paradise

 Islands  Comments Off on US Virgin Islands Americas Paradise
Jan 312016
 

Charlotte Amalie Harbour, St. Thomas USVI

Welcome to usvi.net, the US Virgin Islands oldest and longest running travel website.

There are three main islands to visit in the US Virgin Islands; St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John. There is also the small, and historically fascinating Water Island.

St. Thomas is the most popular cruise port in the Caribbean. St. Thomas is home of Charlotte Amalie. Charlotte Amalie is the capital of the US Virgin Islands. Charlotte Amalie is both the principle cruise terminal as well as the location islands airport.

St. Croix is the largest of the US Virgin Islands at 82 square miles in area. St. Croix consists of two distinct towns; Christiansted and Frederiksted. The architectural quality and historic interest of the one-time Danish West Indiescapital has made part of Christiansted (founded in 1734) a National Historic Site.

St. John is mainly aUS National Park. St. John offers incredible vantages of nature in the Caribbean.Friends of the Virgin IslandsNational Park volunteers staff an information kiosk on St. John Island. This is a good place to start your visit of St. John.

Spend day after day on beach after beach, each with its own panoramic view. Try camping under the stars. Let a friendly mongoose lead you along a woodland trail. Many of the trails end on a plateau high in the sky, offering panoramic views of white beaches, emerald cays, and turquoise waters.

Water Island is the smallest of the US Virgin Islands at fewer than 1.3 square miles. Water Island is only a short 10-minute ferry ride from St. Thomas. If youre looking for something more than shopping, you will find it on Water Island. To help get around Water Island golf carts can be rented right off the ferry.

Some of the things that can be done in the US Virgin Islands include sailing, scuba diving, skin diving, water skiing and most other water sports. Newer attractions like zip lining are also available. Taking in a round of golf or horseback riding are also options if time allows. If staying over night take the time to enjoy the nightlife.

If looking for a tropical wedding location but do not want to worry about passports this is the perfect place! Imagine being wed on the beach at Magens Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. Receptions can be held at any number of locations from beaches to five star hotels and anywhere in between. With scheduled daily flights provided by American, Delta, Jet Blue, and United from major mainland hubs Atlanta and Miami the Islands are a reasonable location for those along the eastern seaboard.

Driving is on the left hand side of the road, steering wheel also on the left!

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NSA warrantless surveillance (200107) – Wikipedia, the free …

 NSA  Comments Off on NSA warrantless surveillance (200107) – Wikipedia, the free …
Jan 252016
 

The NSA warrantless surveillance controversy (“warrantless wiretapping”) concerns surveillance of persons within the United States during the collection of allegedly foreign intelligence by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) as part of the touted war on terror. Under this program, referred to by the Bush administration as the terrorist surveillance program,[1] part of the broader President’s Surveillance Program, the NSA was authorized by executive order to monitor, without search warrants, the phone calls, Internet activity (Web, e-mail, etc.), text messaging, and other communication involving any party believed by the NSA to be outside the U.S., even if the other end of the communication lies within the U.S. However, it has been discovered that all U.S. communications have been digitally cloned by government agencies, in apparent violation of unreasonable search and seizure.

Critics claim that the program was in an effort to attempt to silence critics of the Bush Administration and its handling of several controversial issues during its tenure. Under public pressure, the Bush administration allegedly ceased the warrantless wiretapping program in January 2007 and returned review of surveillance to the FISA court.[2] Subsequently, in 2008 Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which relaxed some of the original FISA court requirements.

During the Obama Administration, the NSA has allegedly continued operating under the new FISA guidelines despite campaign promises to end warrantless wiretapping.[3] However, in April 2009 officials at the United States Department of Justice acknowledged that the NSA had engaged in “overcollection” of domestic communications in excess of the FISA court’s authority, but claimed that the acts were unintentional and had since been rectified.[4]

All wiretapping of American citizens by the National Security Agency requires a warrant from a three-judge court set up under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. After the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed the Patriot Act, which granted the President broad powers to fight a war against terrorism. The George W. Bush administration used these powers to bypass the FISA court and directed the NSA to spy directly on al-Qaeda in a new NSA electronic surveillance program. Reports at the time indicate that an “apparently accidental” “glitch” resulted in the interception of communications that were purely domestic in nature.[5] This action was challenged by a number of groups, including Congress, as unconstitutional.

The exact scope of the program remains secret, but the NSA was provided total, unsupervised access to all fiber-optic communications going between some of the nation’s largest telecommunication companies’ major interconnected locations, including phone conversations, email, web browsing, and corporate private network traffic.[6] Critics said that such “domestic” intercepts required FISC authorization under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.[7] The Bush administration maintained that the authorized intercepts were not domestic but rather foreign intelligence integral to the conduct of war and that the warrant requirements of FISA were implicitly superseded by the subsequent passage of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF).[8] FISA makes it illegal to intentionally engage in electronic surveillance under appearance of an official act or to disclose or use information obtained by electronic surveillance under appearance of an official act knowing that it was not authorized by statute; this is punishable with a fine of up to $10,000 or up to five years in prison, or both.[9] In addition, the Wiretap Act prohibits any person from illegally intercepting, disclosing, using or divulging phone calls or electronic communications; this is punishable with a fine or up to five years in prison, or both.[10]

After an article about the program, (which had been code-named Stellar Wind), was published in The New York Times on December 16, 2005, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales confirmed its existence.[11][12][13]The Times had posted the exclusive story on their website the night before, after learning that the Bush administration was considering seeking a Pentagon-Papers-style court injunction to block its publication.[14]Bill Keller, the newspaper’s former executive editor, had withheld the story from publication since before the 2004 Presidential Election, and the story that was ultimately published was essentially the same as reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau had submitted in 2004. The delay drew criticism from some in the press, arguing that an earlier publication could have changed the election’s outcome.[15] In a December 2008 interview with Newsweek, former Justice Department employee Thomas Tamm revealed himself to be the initial whistle-blower to The Times.[16] The FBI began investigating leaks about the program in 2005, with 25 agents and 5 prosecutors on the case.[17]

Gonzales said the program authorized warrantless intercepts where the government had “a reasonable basis to conclude that one party to the communication is a member of al Qaeda, affiliated with al Qaeda, or a member of an organization affiliated with al Qaeda, or working in support of al Qaeda” and that one party to the conversation was “outside of the United States.”[18] The revelation raised immediate concern among elected officials, civil right activists, legal scholars and the public at large about the legality and constitutionality of the program and the potential for abuse. Since then, the controversy has expanded to include the press’ role in exposing a classified program, the role and responsibility of the US Congress in its executive oversight function and the scope and extent of presidential powers under Article II of the Constitution.[19]

In mid-August 2007, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard arguments in two lawsuits challenging the surveillance program. The appeals were the first to reach the court after dozens of civil suits against the government and telecommunications companies over NSA surveillance were consolidated last year before the chief judge of the Northern District of California, Vaughn R. Walker. One of the cases is a class-action lawsuit against AT&T, focusing on allegations that the company provided the NSA with its customers’ phone and Internet communications for a vast data-mining operation. Plaintiffs in the second case are the al-Haramain Foundation Islamic charity and two of its lawyers.[20][21]

On November 16, 2007, the three judgesM. Margaret McKeown, Michael Daly Hawkins, and Harry Pregersonissued a 27-page ruling that the charity, the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, could not introduce a key piece of evidence in its case because it fell under the government’s claim of state secrets, although the judges said that “In light of extensive government disclosures, the government is hard-pressed to sustain its claim that the very subject matter of the litigation is a state secret.”[22][23]

In an August 14, 2007, question-and-answer session with the El Paso Times which was published on August 22, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell confirmed for the first time that the private sector helped the warrantless surveillance program. McConnell argued that the companies deserved immunity for their help: “Now if you play out the suits at the value they’re claimed, it would bankrupt these companies”.[24] Plaintiffs in the AT&T suit subsequently filed a motion with the court to have McConnell’s acknowledgement admitted as evidence in their case.[25]

The program may face an additional legal challenge in the appeal of two Albany, New York, men convicted of criminal charges in an FBI anti-terror sting operation. Their lawyers say they have evidence the men were the subjects of NSA electronic surveillance, which was used to obtain their convictions but not made public at trial or made available in response to discovery requests by defense counsel at that time.[26]

In an unusual related legal development, on October 13, 2007, The Washington Post reported that Joseph P. Nacchio, the former CEO of Qwest Communications, is appealing an April 2007 conviction on 19 counts of insider trading by alleging that the government withdrew opportunities for contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars after Qwest refused to participate in an unidentified National Security Agency program that the company thought might be illegal. According to court documents unsealed in Denver in early October as part of Nacchio’s appeal, the NSA approached Qwest about participating in a warrantless surveillance program more than six months before the Sep 11, 2001, attacks which have been cited by the government as the main impetus for its efforts. Nacchio is using the allegation to try to show why his stock sale should not have been considered improper.[27] According to a lawsuit filed against other telecommunications companies for violating customer privacy, AT&T began preparing facilities for the NSA to monitor “phone call information and Internet traffic” seven months before 9/11.[28]

On August 17, 2007, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court said it would consider a request filed by the American Civil Liberties Union which asked the intelligence court to make public its recent, classified rulings on the scope of the government’s wiretapping powers. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, presiding judge of the FISC, signed an order calling the ACLU’s motion “an unprecedented request that warrants further briefing.”[29] The FISC ordered the government to respond on the issue by August 31, saying that anything involving classified material could be filed under court seal.[30][31] On the August 31 deadline, the National Security Division of the Justice Department filed a response in opposition to the ACLU’s motion with the court.[32]

In previous developments, the case ACLU v. NSA was dismissed on July 6, 2007 by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.[33] The court did not rule on the spying program’s legality. Instead, its 65-page opinion declared that the American Civil Liberties Union and the others who brought the case including academics, lawyers and journalists did not have the legal standing to sue because they could not demonstrate that they had been direct targets of the clandestine surveillance.[34] Detroit District Court judge Anna Diggs Taylor had originally ruled on August 17, 2006 that the program is illegal under FISA as well as unconstitutional under the First and Fourth amendments of the United States Constitution.[35][36][37]Judicial Watch, a watchdog group, discovered that at the time of the ruling Taylor “serves as a secretary and trustee for a foundation that donated funds to the ACLU of Michigan, a plaintiff in the case.”[38] On February 19, 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court, without comment, turned down an appeal from the American Civil Liberties Union, letting stand the earlier decision dismissing the case.[39]

On September 28, 2006 the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act (H.R. 5825).[40] That bill now has been passed to the U.S. Senate, where three competing, mutually exclusive, billsthe Terrorist Surveillance Act of 2006 (S.2455) (the DeWine bill), the National Security Surveillance Act of 2006 (S.2455) (the Specter bill), and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Improvement and Enhancement Act of 2006 (S.3001) (the Specter-Feinstein bill) were themselves referred for debate to the full Senate by the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 13, 2006.[41] Each of these bills would in some form broaden the statutory authorization for electronic surveillance, while still subjecting it to some restrictions. The Specter-Feinstein bill would extend the peacetime period for obtaining retroactive warrants to seven days and implement other changes to facilitate eavesdropping while maintaining FISA court oversight. The DeWine bill, the Specter bill, and the Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act (passed by the House) would all authorize some limited forms or periods of warrantless electronic surveillance subject to additional programmatic oversight by either the FISC (Specter bill) or Congress (DeWine and Wilson bills).

On January 17, 2007, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales informed U.S. Senate leaders by letter that the program would not be reauthorized by the President.[2] “Any electronic surveillance that was occurring as part of the Terrorist Surveillance Program will now be conducted subject to the approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court,” according to his letter.[42]

On September 18, 2008, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an Internet-privacy advocacy group, filed a new lawsuit against the NSA, President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Cheney’s chief of staff David Addington, former Attorney General and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and other government agencies and individuals who ordered or participated in the warrantless surveillance. They sued on behalf of AT&T customers to seek redress for what the EFF alleges to be an illegal, unconstitutional, and ongoing dragnet surveillance of their communications and communications records. An earlier, ongoing suit by the EFF may be bogged down by the recent changes to FISA provisions, but these are not expected to impact this new case.[43][44]

On January 23, 2009, the administration of President Barack Obama adopted the same position as his predecessor when it urged U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker to set aside a ruling in Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation et al. v. Obama, et al.[45] The Obama administration also sided with the former administration in its legal defense of July 2008 legislation that immunized the nation’s telecommunications companies from lawsuits accusing them of complicity in the eavesdropping program, according to testimony by Attorney General Eric Holder.[46]

On March 31, 2010, Judge Vaughn R. Walker, chief judge of the Federal District Court in San Francisco, ruled that the National Security Agency’s program of surveillance without warrants was illegal when it intercepted phone calls of Al Haramain. Declaring that the plaintiffs had been “subjected to unlawful surveillance”, the judge said the government was liable to pay them damages.[47]

In 2012, the Ninth Circuit vacated the judgment against the United States and affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the claim against Mueller.[48]

The Trailblazer Project, an NSA IT project that began in 2000, has also been linked to warrantless surveillance. It was chosen over ThinThread, which had included some privacy protections. Three ex-NSA staffers, William Binney, J. Kirke Wiebe, and Ed Loomis, all of whom had quit NSA over concerns about the legality of the agency’s activities, teamed with Diane Roark, a staffer on the House Intelligence Committee, to ask the Inspector General to investigate. A major source for the IG report was Thomas Andrews Drake, an ex-Air Force senior NSA official with an expertise in computers. Siobhan Gorman of The Baltimore Sun published a series of articles about Trailblazer in 20062007.

The FBI agents investigating the 2005 The New York Times story eventually made their way to The Baltimore Sun story, and then to Binney, Wiebe, Loomis, Roark, and Drake. In 2007 armed FBI agents raided the houses of Roark, Binney, and Wiebe. Binney claimed they pointed guns at his head. Wiebe said it reminded him of the Soviet Union. None were charged with crimes except for Drake. In 2010 he was indicted under the Espionage Act of 1917, as part of Obama’s unprecedented crackdown on leakers.[49][50] The charges against him were dropped in 2011 and he pled to a single misdemeanor.

The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) regulates U.S. government agencies’ carrying out of physical searches, and electronic surveillance, wherein a significant purpose is the gathering of foreign intelligence information. “Foreign intelligence information” is defined in 50 U.S.C.1801 as information necessary to protect the U.S. or its allies against actual or potential attack from a foreign power, sabotage or international terrorism. FISA defines a “foreign power” as a foreign government or any faction(s) of a foreign government not substantially composed of US persons, or any entity directed or controlled by a foreign government. FISA provides for both criminal and civil liability for intentional electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized by statute.

FISA provides two documents for the authorization of surveillance. First, FISA allows the Justice Department to obtain warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) before or up to 72 hours after the beginning of the surveillance. FISA authorizes a FISC judge to issue a warrant for the electronic cameras if “there is probable cause to believe that the target of the electronic surveillance is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power.” 50 U.S.C. 1805(a)(3). Second, FISA permits the President or his delegate to authorize warrantless surveillance for the collection of foreign intelligence if “there is no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party”. 50 U.S.C. 1802(a)(1).[51]

Soon after the September 11, 2001 attacks U.S. President George W. Bush issued an executive order that authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to conduct surveillance of certain telephone calls without obtaining a warrant from the FISC as stipulated by FISA (see 50 U.S.C.1802 50 U.S.C.1809 ). The complete details of the executive order are not known, but according to statements by the administration,[52] the authorization covers telephone calls originating overseas from or to a person suspected of having links to terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda or its affiliates even when the other party to the call is within the US. The legality of surveillance involving US persons and extent of this authorization is at the core of this controversy which has steadily grown to include:

About a week after the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF) which authorized the President to “use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

The administration has argued that the language used in the AUMF implicitly authorized the President to exercise those powers “incident to the waging of war”, including the collection of enemy intelligence, FISA provisions notwithstanding.[8]

On January 20, 2006, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee along with lone co-sponsor Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) introduced S. Res. 350, a resolution “expressing the sense of the Senate that Senate Joint Resolution 23 (107th Congress), as adopted by the Senate on September 14, 2001, and subsequently enacted as the Authorization for Use of Military Force does not authorize warrantless domestic surveillance of United States citizens.”[55][56] This non-binding resolution died in the Senate without being brought up for debate or being voted upon.[57]

Because of its highly classified status, little is publicly known about the actual implementation of the NSA domestic electronic surveillance program. Mark Klein, a retired AT&T communications technician, submitted an affidavit including limited technical details known to him personally in support of a class-action lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in federal district court in San Francisco in January 2006 on behalf of AT&T customers who alleged that they had been damaged by the telecommunications corporation’s cooperation with the NSA. The lawsuit is called Hepting v. AT&T.[60][61]

A January 16, 2004 statement by Mr. Klein includes additional technical details regarding the secret 2003 construction of an NSA-operated monitoring facility in Room 641A of 611 Folsom Street in San Francisco, the site of a large SBC phone building, three floors of which are occupied by AT&T.[62][63]

According to Klein’s affidavit, the NSA-equipped room uses equipment built by Narus Corporation to intercept and analyze communications traffic, as well as perform data-mining functions.[64]

In an article appearing in the January/February 2008 issue of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers journal of Security and Privacy, noted technology experts from academia and the computing industry analyzed potential security risks posed by the NSA program, based on information contained in Klein’s affidavits as well as those of expert witness J. Scott Marcus, a designer of large-scale IP-based data networks, former CTO at GTE Internetworking and at Genuity, and former senior advisor for Internet Technology at the US Federal Communications Commission.[65] They concluded that the likely architecture of the system created serious security risks, including the danger that such a surveillance system could be exploited by unauthorized users, criminally misused by trusted insiders, or abused by government agents.[66]

Journalist Barton Gellman reported in the Washington Post that David Addington who was at that time legal counsel to former Vice President Dick Cheney was the author of the controlling legal and technical documents for the NSA surveillance program, typing the documents on a TEMPEST-shielded computer across from his desk in room 268 of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and storing them in a vault in his office.[67][68][69]

The NSA surveillance controversy involves legal issues that fall into two broad disciplines: statutory interpretation and Constitutional law. Statutory interpretation is the process of interpreting and applying legislation to the facts of a given case. Constitutional law is the body of law that governs the interpretation of the United States Constitution and covers areas of law such as the relationship between the federal government and state governments, the rights of individuals, and other fundamental aspects of the application of government authority in the United States.[70]

However, there are analogies between the NSA Spying Scandal (20012007) and Hewlett-Packard spying scandal (2006)[71] that may ease to predict the court outcomes. HP, in order to find the leak source of its board strategic minutes revealed to press, employed several contractors to investigate the leak issue but without engaging any external legal firm and supervisory stakeholder. Contractors, under supervision of the HP’s internal investigation team, confidentially used false pretense and social security numbers a spying technique namely Pretexting for obtaining phone records of suspicious board members and several journalists. Later on, the HP’s surveillance extended beyond the board of directors leaking issue and became a conspiracy for interest of the probe initiators; through which it was claimed that the informational privacy rights of even innocent employees and directors of the board, who had nothing to do with the board leaks, were violated.

In October 2006, HP’s chairwoman Patricia Dunn and HP’s former chief ethics officer Kevin Hunsaker and several private investigators were charged for criminal cases under California Penal Code such as

All of these charges were dismissed.[72]

18 U.S.C.2511(2)(f) provides in relevant part that “the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 shall be the exclusive means by which electronic surveillance, as defined in 50 U.S.C.1801(f) … and the intercept of domestic [communications] may be conducted.” The interpretation of this clause is central to the controversy because both sides agree that the NSA program operates outside of the procedural framework provided by FISA. The interpretive conflict arises because other provisions of FISA, including the criminal sanctions subpart 50 U.S.C.1809 include an “unless authorized by statute” provision, raising the issue of statutory ambiguity. The administration’s position is that the AUMF is an authorizing statute which satisfies the FISA criteria.

The U.S. Supreme Court faced a similar issue in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld where the government claimed that the AUMF authorized the President to detain U.S. citizens designated as an enemy combatant despite its lack of specific language to that intent and notwithstanding the provisions of 18 U.S.C.4001(a) which requires that the United States government cannot detain an American citizen except by an act of Congress. In that case, the Court ruled:

[B]ecause we conclude that the Government’s second assertion [“that 4001(a) is satisfied, because Hamdi is being detained “pursuant to an Act of Congress” [the AUMF] is correct, we do not address the first. In other words, for the reasons that follow, we conclude that the AUMF is explicit congressional authorization for the detention of individuals … and that the AUMF satisfied 4001(a)’s requirement that a detention be “pursuant to an Act of Congress”

In Hamdan v. Rumsfeld however, the court rejected the government’s argument that the AUMF implicitly authorized the President to establish military commissions in violation of the UCMJ. The opinion of the Court held:

Neither of these congressional Acts, [AUMF or ATC] however, expands the President’s authority to convene military commissions. First, while we assume that the AUMF activated the President’s war powers, see Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. 507 (2004)) (plurality opinion), and that those powers include the authority to convene military commissions in appropriate circumstances, see id., at 518; Quirin, 317 U. S., at 2829; see also Yamashita, 327 U. S., at 11, there is nothing in the text or legislative history of the AUMF even hinting that Congress intended to expand or alter the authorization set forth in Article 21 of the UCMJ. Cf. Yerger, 8 Wall., at 105 (“Repeals by implication are not favored”)

Determining when explicit congressional authorization is and is not required appears by this decision to require a court to first determine whether an implicit authorization would amount to a “repeal by implication” of the governing Act.

The exclusivity clause also raises a separation of powers issue. (See Constitutional law issues below)

The arguments against the legality of the NSA fall into two broad categories, those who argue that FISA raises no Constitutional issues and therefore the NSA program is illegal on its face

Common to both of these views is the argument that the participation of “US persons” as defined in FISA 50 U.S.C.1801 renders the objectional intercepts “domestic” in nature.[73] Those advocating the “no constitutional issue” position, argue that Congress has the authority it needs to legislate in this area under Article I and the Fourth Amendment[74] while those who see a constitutional conflict[75] acknowledge that the existing delineation between Congressional and Executive authority in this area is not clear[76] but that Congress, in including the exclusivity clause in FISA, meant to carve out a legitimate role for itself in this arena.

The administration holds that an exception to the normal warrant requirements exists when the purpose of the surveillance is to prevent attack from a foreign threat. Such an exception has been upheld at the Circuit Court level when the target was a foreign agent residing abroad,[77][78] a foreign agent residing in the US,[79][80][81][82] and a US citizen abroad.[83] The warrantless exception was struck down when both the target and the threat was deemed domestic.[84] The legality of targeting US persons acting as agents of a foreign power and residing in this country has not been addressed by the US Supreme Court, but has occurred at least once, in the case of Aldrich Ames.[85]

The Administration’s position with regard to statutory interpretation, as outlined in the DOJ whitepaper, is to avoid what it has termed the “difficult Constitutional questions” by

This argument, as outlined in the DOJ whitepaper, is based on the language of the AUMF, specifically, the acknowledgment of the President’s Constitutional authority contained in the preamble; “Whereas, the President has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States”, and the language in the resolution itself;

[Be it resolved] [t]hat the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

The administration also adds that the program is legal under Title II of the USA PATRIOT Act entitled Enhanced Surveillance Procedures,[citation needed] although it is not relying upon the domestic law enforcement provisions of the PATRIOT Act for authorization of any of the NSA program activities.[citation needed] The President had said prior to this, that Americans’ civil liberties were being protected and that purely domestic wiretapping was being conducted pursuant to warrants under applicable law, including the Patriot Act.[87]

These arguments must be compared to the language of the FISA itself, which states:

Notwithstanding any other law, the President, through the Attorney General, may authorize electronic surveillance without a court order under this subchapter to acquire foreign intelligence information for a period not to exceed fifteen calendar days following a declaration of war by the Congress.[88]

Because the law only authorizes the President to bypass the FISA court during the first 15 days of a war declared by Congress (see “Declaration of war”), the administration’s argument rests on the assumption that the AUMF gave the President more power than was understood as absolutely implicit in any Congressional “declaration of war” at the time of the statute’s enactment. However, as a “declaration of war by the Congress” encompasses all military actions so declared, no matter how small, brief or otherwise constrained by Congress, the above citation could be seen as setting not a default or typical level of Presidential wartime authority, but instead a presumptive minimum, which might more often than not be extended (explicitly or implicitly) by Congress’s war declaration.

According to Peter J. Wallison, former White House Counsel to President Ronald Reagan: “It is true, of course, that a president’s failure to report to Congress when he is required to do so by law is a serious matter, but in reality the reporting requirement was a technicality that a President could not be expected to know about.”[89] In regard to this program, a Gang of Eight (eight key members of Congress, thirteen in this case between the 107th and 109th Congressional Sessions) have been kept informed to some degree:

Under the National Security Act of 1947, 501503, codified as 50 USC 413-413b,[90] the President is required to keep Congressional intelligence committees “fully and currently” informed of U.S. intelligence activities, “consistent with … protection from unauthorized disclosure of classified information relating to sensitive intelligence sources and methods or other exceptionally sensitive matters.” For covert actions, from which intelligence gathering activities are specifically excluded in 413b(e)(1), the President is specifically permitted to limit reporting to the so-called “Gang of Eight”.[91]

The administration contends that with regard to the NSA surveillance program, the administration fulfilled its notification obligations by briefing key members of Congress (thirteen individuals in this case between the 107th and 109th Congressional sessions) have been briefed on the NSA program more than a dozen times[citation needed] but they were forbidden from sharing information about the program with other members or staff.[citation needed]

On January 18, 2006 the Congressional Research Service released a report, “Statutory Procedures Under Which Congress Is To Be Informed of U.S. Intelligence Activities, Including Covert Actions”.[92][93] That report found that “[b]ased upon publicly reported descriptions of the program, the NSA surveillance program would appear to fall more closely under the definition of an intelligence collection program, rather than qualify as a covert action program as defined by statute”, and, therefore, concluded there was no specific statutory basis for limiting briefings on the terrorist surveillance program to the Gang of Eight.[94] However, the report goes on to note in its concluding paragraph that limited disclosure is also permitted under the statute “in order to protect intelligence sources and methods”.[95]

Thus, although the specific statutory “Gang of Eight” notification procedure for covert action would not seem to apply to the NSA program, it is not clear if a limited notification procedure intended to protect sources and methods is expressly prohibited. Additionally, should the sources and methods exception apply it will require a factual determination as to whether it should apply to disclosure of the program itself or only to specific sensitive aspects.

The constitutional debate surrounding executive authorization of warrantless surveillance is principally about separation of powers (“checks and balances”). If, as discussed above, no “fair reading” of FISA can be found in satisfaction of the canon of avoidance, these issues will have to be decided at the appellate level, by United States courts of appeals. It should be noted that in such a separation of powers dispute, the burden of proof is placed upon the Congress to establish its supremacy in the matter: the Executive branch enjoys the presumption of authority until an Appellate Court rules against it.[citation needed]

Article I vests Congress with the sole authority “To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces” and “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.” The U.S. Supreme Court has used the “necessary and proper” clause of Article I to affirm broad Congressional authority to legislate as it sees fit in the domestic arena[citation needed] but has limited its application in the arena of foreign affairs. In the landmark Curtiss-Wright decision, Justice Sutherland writes in his opinion of the Court:

The [“powers of the federal government in respect of foreign or external affairs and those in respect of domestic or internal affairs”] are different, both in respect of their origin and their nature. The broad statement that the federal government can exercise no powers except those specifically enumerated in the Constitution, and such implied powers as are necessary and proper to carry into effect the enumerated powers, is categorically true only in respect of our internal affairs.

Article II vests the President with power as “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States,” and requires that he “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”.

The U.S. Supreme Court has historically used Article II to justify wide deference to the President in the arena of foreign affairs.[citation needed] Two historical and recent Supreme Court cases define the secret wiretapping by the NSA. Quoting again from the Curtiss-Wright decision:

It is important to bear in mind that we are here dealing not alone with an authority vested in the President by an exertion of legislative power, but with such an authority plus the very delicate, plenary and exclusive power of the President as the sole organ of the federal government in the field of international relationsa power which does not require as a basis for its exercise an act of Congress, but which, of course, like every other governmental power, must be exercised in subordination to the applicable provisions of the Constitution.

The extent of the President’s power as Commander-in-Chief has never been fully defined, but two U.S. Supreme Court cases are considered seminal in this area:[96][97]Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. v. Sawyer and Curtiss-Wright.

In addition, two relatively new cases, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, have clarified, and in the case of Hamdan limited, the scope of executive power to detain and try suspected terrorists as enemy combatants.

In Hamdan, the Court’s opinion in footnote 23, rejected the notion that Congress is impotent to regulate the exercise of executive war powers:

Whether or not the President has independent power, absent congressional authorization, to convene military commissions, he may not disregard limitations that Congress has, in proper exercise of its own war powers, placed on his powers. See Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U. S. 579, 637 (1952) (Jackson, J., concurring). The Government does not argue otherwise.

Whether “proper exercise” of Congressional war powers includes authority to regulate the gathering of foreign intelligence, which in other rulings[citation needed] has been recognized as “fundamentally incident to the waging of war”, is a historical point of contention between the Executive and Legislative branches.[8][98]

As noted in “Presidential Authority to Conduct Warrantless Electronic Surveillance to Gather Foreign Intelligence Information”, published by The Congressional Research Service:

A review of the history of intelligence collection and its regulation by Congress suggests that the two political branches have never quite achieved a meeting of the minds regarding their respective powers. Presidents have long contended that the ability to conduct surveillance for intelligence purposes is a purely executive function, and have tended to make broad assertions of authority while resisting efforts on the part of Congress or the courts to impose restrictions. Congress has asserted itself with respect to domestic surveillance, but has largely left matters involving overseas surveillance to executive self-regulation, subject to congressional oversight and willingness to provide funds.

The same report makes clear the Congressional view that intelligence gathered within the U.S. and where “one party is a U.S. person” qualifies as domestic in nature and as such completely within their purview to regulate, and further that Congress may “tailor the President’s use of an inherent constitutional power”:

The passage of FISA and the inclusion of such exclusivity language reflects Congress’s view of its authority to cabin the President’s use of any inherent constitutional authority with respect to warrantless electronic surveillance to gather foreign intelligence.

The Senate Judiciary Committee articulated its view with respect to congressional power to tailor the President’s use of an inherent constitutional power:

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights and helps guard against “unreasonable” searches and seizures by agents of the government. It is solely a right of the people that neither the Executive nor Legislative branch can lawfully abrogate, not even if acting in concert: no statute can make an unreasonable search reasonable, nor a reasonable search unreasonable.

The term “unreasonable” is deliberately imprecise but connotes the sense that there is a rational basis for the search and that it is not an excessive imposition upon the individual given the motivation for and circumstances of the search, and is in accordance with customary societal norms. It is conceived that a judge will be sufficiently distanced from the authorities seeking a warrant that they can render an impartial decision unaffected by any prejudices or improper motivations they (or the legislators who enacted a law they are seeking to enforce) may harbor.

An individual who believes their Fourth Amendment rights have been violated by an unreasonable search or seizure may file a civil suit for monetary compensation and seek a court-ordered end to a pattern or practice of such unlawful activities by government authorities, although the plaintiff will need to have evidence that such a wiretap is taking place in order to show standing (Amnesty International v. Clapper). Such civil rights violations are sometimes punishable by state or federal law. Evidence obtained in an unlawful search or seizure is generally inadmissible in a criminal trial.

The law countenances searches without warrant as “reasonable” in numerous circumstances, among them (see below): the persons, property, and papers of individuals crossing the border of the United States and those of paroled felons; in prisons, public schools and government offices; and of international mail. Although these are undertaken as a result of statute or Executive order, they should not be seen as deriving their legitimacy from these, rather, the Fourth Amendment explicitly allows reasonable searches, and the government has instituted some of these as public policy.

The Supreme Court held in Katz v. United States (1967), that the monitoring and recording of private conversations within the United States constitutes a “search” for Fourth Amendment purposes, and therefore the government must generally obtain a warrant before undertaking such domestic recordings.

The Supreme Court has also held in Smith v Maryland (1979) that citizens have no Fourth Amendment expectation of privacy in the business records (sometimes termed metadata) of their communications. This means that the court can subpoena data such as the numbers that an individual has phoned, when and, to a limited degree, where (subject to Jones v. United States) the phone conversation occurred, although a full judicial warrant would be required for the government to acquire or admit audio content from the telephone call. Under Section 215 of the PATRIOT act, the FBI can subpoena some or all such records from a business record holder using a warrant applied for in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

The protection of “private conversations” has been held to apply only to conversations where the participants have not only manifested a desire but also a reasonable expectation that their conversation is indeed private and that no other party is listening in. In the absence of such a reasonable expectation, the Fourth Amendment does not apply, and surveillance without warrant does not violate it. Privacy is clearly not a reasonable expectation in communications to persons in the many countries whose governments openly intercept electronic communications, and is of dubious reasonability in countries against which the United States is waging war.

The law also recognizes a distinction between domestic surveillance taking place within U.S. borders and foreign surveillance of non-U.S. persons either in the U.S. or abroad.[99] In United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the principle that the Constitution does not extend protection to non-U.S. persons located outside of the United States, so no warrant would be required to engage in even physical searches of non-U.S. citizens abroad.

The U.S. Supreme Court has never ruled on the constitutionality of warrantless searches targeting foreign powers or their agents within the US. There have been, however, a number of Circuit Court rulings upholding the constitutionality of such warrantless searches.[100] In United States v. Bin Laden, the Second Circuit noted that “no court, prior to FISA, that was faced with the choice, imposed a warrant requirement for foreign intelligence searches undertaken within the United States.”[101] Assistant Attorney General William Moschella in his written response to questions from the House Judiciary Committee explained that in the administration’s view, this unanimity of pre-FISA Circuit Court decisions vindicates their argument that warrantless foreign-intelligence surveillance authority existed prior to FISA and since, as these ruling indicate, that authority derives from the Executive’s inherent Article II powers, they may not be encroached by statute.[102] In 2002, the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (Court of Review) met for the first time and issued an opinion (In re: Sealed Case No. 02-001) which seems to echo that view. They too noted all the Federal courts of appeal having looked at the issue had concluded that there was constitutional power for the president to conduct warrantless foreign intelligence surveillance. Furthermore, based on these rulings it “took for granted such power exits” and ruled that under this presumption, “FISA could not encroach on the president’s constitutional power.” Professor Orin Kerr argues in rebuttal that the part of In re: Sealed Case No. 02-001 that dealt with FISA (rather than the Fourth Amendment) was nonbinding obiter dicta and that the argument does not restrict Congress’s power to regulate the executive in general.[103]

Harold Koh, dean of Yale Law School, Suzanne Spaulding, former general counsel for the Intelligence Committees of the House and Senate, and former Counsel to the President John Dean, contend that FISA clearly makes the wiretapping illegal and subject to the criminal penalties of FISA,[104] (in seeming disagreement with the FISA Court of Review finding above) and that the president’s own admissions already constitute sufficient evidence of a violation of the Fourth Amendment, without requiring further factual evidence. Professor John C. Eastman, in his analysis, prepared at the behest of the House Judiciary Committee, comparing the CRS and DOJ reports, concluded instead that under the Constitution and ratified by both historical and Supreme Court precedent, “the President clearly has the authority to conduct surveillance of enemy communications in time of war and of the communications to and from those he reasonably believes are affiliated with our enemies. Moreover, it should go without saying that such activities are a fundamental incident of war.”[105]

Orin S. Kerr, associate professor of law at The George Washington University Law School[106] and a leading scholar in the subjects of computer crime law and internet surveillance,[107] points to an analogy between the NSA intercepts and searches allowed by the Fourth Amendment under the border search exception.

The border search exception permits searches at the border of the United States “or its functional equivalent.” (United States v. Montoya De Hernandez, 473 U.S. 531, 538 (1985)). The idea here is that the United States as a sovereign nation has a right to inspect stuff entering or exiting the country as a way of protecting its sovereign interests, and that the Fourth Amendment permits such searches. Courts have applied the border search exception in cases of PCs and computer hard drives; if you bring a computer into or out of the United States, the government can search your computer for contraband or other prohibited items at the airport or wherever you are entering or leaving the country. See, e.g., United States v. Ickes, 393 F.3d 501 (4th Cir. 2005) (Wilkinson, J.)…At the same time, I don’t know of a rationale in the case law for treating data differently than physical storage devices. The case law on the border search exception is phrased in pretty broad language, so it seems at least plausible that a border search exception could apply to monitoring at an ISP or telephone provider as the “functional equivalent of the border,” much like airports are the functional equivalent of the border in the case of international airline travel…the most persuasive case on point: United States v. Ramsey, [held] that the border search exception applies to all international postal mail, permitting all international postal mail to be searched.

Evidence gathered without warrant may raise significant Fourth Amendment issues which could preclude its use in a criminal trial. As a general rule of law, evidence obtained improperly without lawful authority, may not be used in a criminal prosecution.[citation needed] The U.S. Supreme Court has never addressed the constitutionality of warrantless searches (which has been broadly defined by the court to include surveillance) targeting foreign powers or their agents, the admissibility of such evidence in a criminal trial nor whether it is permissible to obtain or use evidence gathered without warrant against US persons acting as agents of a foreign power.[citation needed]

The National Security Act of 1947[108] requires Presidential findings for covert acts. SEC. 503. [50 U.S.C. 413b] (a) (5) of that act states: “A finding may not authorize any action that would violate the Constitution or any statute of the United States.”

On August 17, 2006, Judge Anna Diggs Taylor of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan ruled in ACLU v. NSA that the Terrorist Surveillance Program was unconstitutional under the Fourth and First Amendments and enjoined the NSA from using the program to conduct electronic surveillance “in contravention of [FISA or Title III]”.[36] In her ruling,[109] she wrote:

The President of the United States, a creature of the same Constitution which gave us these Amendments, has indisputably violated the Fourth in failing to procure judicial orders as required by FISA, and accordingly has violated the First Amendment Rights of these Plaintiffs as well.

Even some legal experts who agreed with the outcome have criticized the reasoning set forth in the opinion.[110] Others have argued that the perceived flaws in the opinion in fact reflect the Department of Justice’s refusal to argue the legal merits of the program (they chose to focus solely on arguments about standing and state secrets grounds).[111]

On October 4, 2006, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit unanimously ruled that the government can continue the program while it appeals the lower court decision.[112][113]

On July 6, 2007 the Sixth Circuit dismissed the case, finding that the plaintiffs had no standing.

The Court found that:[114]

[T]he plaintiffs do not and because of the State Secrets Doctrine cannot produce any evidence that any of their own communications have ever been intercepted by the NSA, under the TSP, or without warrants. Instead, they assert a mere belief, which they contend is reasonable and which they label a well founded belief,…

Implicit in each of the plaintiffs’ alleged injuries is the underlying possibility which the plaintiffs label a “well founded belief” and seek to treat as a probability or even a certainty that the NSA is presently intercepting, or will eventually intercept, communications to or from one or more of these particular plaintiffs, and that such interception would be detrimental to the plaintiffs’ clients, sources, or overseas contacts. This is the premise upon which the plaintiffs’ entire theory is built.

But even though the plaintiffs’ beliefs based on their superior knowledge of their contacts’ activities may be reasonable, the alternative possibility remains that the NSA might not be intercepting, and might never actually intercept, any communication by any of the plaintiffs named in this lawsuit.

Corporate secrecy is also an issue. Wired reported: In a letter to the EFF, AT&T objected to the filing of the documents in any manner, saying that they contain sensitive trade secrets and could be “used to ‘hack’ into the AT&T network, compromising its integrity.”[115] However, Chief Judge Vaughn Walker stated, during the September 12, 2008 hearing in the class-action lawsuit filed by the EFF, that the Klein evidence could be presented in court, effectively ruling that AT&T’s trade secret and security claims were unfounded.

The majority of legal arguments supporting the NSA warrantless surveillance program have been based on the War Powers Resolution. There have not been any other noteworthy types of supporting legal arguments. The War Powers Resolution has been questioned as unconstitutional since its creation, and its adaptation to the NSA warrantless surveillance program has been questionable.

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Jan 242016
 

A list of links to my science fiction short stories:

I am a Hummingbird After my body died the surgeons put me in a hummingbird. It took a while to get use to having my perspective darting around so quickly, but my mind had finally adapted to it.

Sneeze! A few days Mr. Anderson. Don’t worry, it’s a positive virus, I’m origin zero. Then you’ll be one of us, welcome to the new global hivemind, we-I always choose well. It will be unlike anything you have ever experienced or imagined. Expect a mental call, anything will be possible, said Kay, a future echo … Kay Noble replied, then collected the documents, velvet and all, and left the room without a further word.

Muffy the Time Traveling Chihuahua Muffy was a loyal pack dog on the locally collapsed time-day of his death, which varied in fractal quantum probability across a multitude of bifurcated futures or space-time universes.

Lunch 2032 Her IQ was probably skyrocket norm. It seems the gene engineers had given her both great brains and beauty. She wanted to be a Terraforming Research Scientist, but on Earth she would have to settle for other work. Her parents had lost most of their money in a wild Marsearth start-up investment, so she had to work her way through the university, no one would give a genmod scholarship. It was just plain and simple prejudice.

Virtuality Zane Pax hid behind a large bolder as the black alien warship flew overhead. NaHan had swarmed the cities of the world laying waste to human civilization. Humanity was on the endangered species list, on our way out for good.

The Alien Time-Traveler Historian Mathew answers, Variations of me exist in most all future branches. Thats really rare, and thats why Im allowed to speak to you. To help you understand. You see, those that are still basically human in the future have great compassion. They want to help reduce the suffering. Im here on their behalf to try and influence things.

The Galactic Culture Finally, in order to survive the approaching technological singularity and remove their aggressive and self-destructive evolved behaviors, pre-type 1 species sometimes begin an extensive program of self-initiated genetic re-engineering and intelligence amplification (usually proceeded by development of a global computing system -Internet). Sometimes this is successful, other times not.

Lunar CityOutward space exploration and expansion grew at a rapid pace, due to the privatization of all space exploration and its subsequent exploitation. Corporations headed by forward thinking executives now controlled access to space. Spaceports have sprouted up all over the world, giving average citizens access to affordable space travel. Now space stations, moon bases and asteroid factories, which provided most of the raw materials, have become independent space communities. Distant science outposts have been constructed on the outer planets and moons. The solar system has become the playground of humanity.

VR Prototype Jason Chen bent over in his subway seat to pick up a rarely seen plastic penny he spotted face-up on the train floor. A penny existed today only to make exact change for those who still stubbornly used physical money. He didnt understand why, but somehow its continued existence was comforting for some. Angling the lucky coin in his fingers to see the three-dimensional head of Abraham Lincoln, he noted the year on the coin was 2053, the year of his birth.

Dr. Xanoplatu Dr. Xanoplatu, an alien anthropologist, historian, and time traveler, materialized on stage wearing the body of his ancestors, a giant green Praying Mantis with large yellow eyes and small black pupils. He was speaking at a galactic cultural lecture, inside a de-localized spherical space station, somewhere and some when in a multi-versed space-time reality.

Virtuality Mind Marcus replies, Yes, you can assume Im crazy. But, Im just communicating to you through this mans body. For a short period of time, I can do this, without his knowing it. When I leave and his consciousness re-awakens, this memory will seem like a daydream to him.

Resurrection Birth Jason awoke to a static humming sound.It was so annoying, grating on his nerves more than a badly tuned alarm clock.He lifted his heavy eyelids to blinding light, and out of focus images.His vision slowly cleared and he realized he was inside a plastic coffin thing.

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Astronomy – Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Jan 212016
 

Astronomy is the study of the universe and everything in it. This includes stars, planets and galaxies as well as other things. The word astronomy comes from the Greek words astron which means star and nomos which means law.[1] A person who studies astronomy is called an astronomer.

Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences. Ancient people used the positions of the stars to navigate, and to find when was the best time to plant crops. Astronomy is very similar to astrophysics. Since the 20th century there have been two main types of astronomy, observational and theoretical astronomy. Observational astronomy uses telescopes and cameras to observe or look at stars, galaxies and other astronomical objects. Theoretical astronomy uses maths and computer models to predict what should happen. The two often work together, the theoretical predicts what should happen and the observational shows whether the prediction works.

Astronomy is not the same as astrology, the belief that the patterns the stars and the planets may affect human lives.

Early astronomers used only their eyes to look at the stars. They used maps of the constellations and stars for religious reasons and also to work out the time of year.[2] Early civilisations such as the Maya people and the Ancient Egyptians built simple observatories and drew maps of the stars positions. They also began to think about the place of Earth in the universe. For a long time people thought Earth was the center of the universe, and that the planets, the stars and the sun went around it. This is known as the geocentric model of the Universe.

Ancient Greeks tried to explain the motions of the sun and stars by taking measurements.[3] A mathematician named Eratosthenes was the first who measured the size of the Earth and proved that the Earth is a sphere. A theory by another mathematician named Aristarchus was, that the sun is in the center and the Earth is moving around it. This is known as the Heliocentric model. Only a small group of people thought it was right. The rest continued to believe in the geocentric model.

Most of the names of constellations and stars that we have, come from Greeks of that time.[4]

Arabic astronomers made many advancements during the Middle Ages including improved star maps and ways to estimate the size of the Earth.[5]

During the renaissance a priest named Nicolaus Copernicus thought, from looking at the way the planets moved, that the Earth was not the center of everything. Based on previous works, he said that the Earth was a planet and all the planets moved around the sun, bringing the heliocentric model back to the light. A physicist called Galileo Galilei built his own telescope, and used it to look more closely at the stars and planets for the first time. He agreed with Copernicus. Their ideas were also improved by Johannes Kepler and Isaac Newton who came up with the theory of gravity. At this time the Catholic Church decided that Galileo was wrong. The Pope gave the order to lock Galileo up in his house and they did not let him write any more books until he died.[6]

After Galileo, people made better telescopes and used them to see farther objects such as the planets Uranus and Neptune. They also saw how stars were similar to our Sun, but in a range of colours and sizes. They also saw thousands of other faraway objects such as galaxies and nebulae.

The 20th century saw important changes in astronomy.

In 1931, Karl Jansky discovered radio emission from outside the Earth when trying to isolate a source of noise in radio communications, marking the birth of radio astronomy and the first attempts at using another part of the electromagnetic spectrum to observe the sky. Those parts of the electromagnetic spectrum that the atmosphere did not block were now opened up to astronomy, allowing more discoveries to be made.

The opening of this new window on the Universe saw the discovery of entirely new things, for example pulsars, which sent regular pulses of radio waves out into space. The waves were first thought to be alien in origin because the pulses were so regular that it implied an artificial source.

The period after World War 2 saw more observatories where large and accurate telescopes are built and operated at good observing sites, normally by governments. For example, Bernard Lovell began radio astronomy at Jodrell Bank using leftover military radar equipment. By 1957, the site had the largest steerable radio telescope in the world. Similarly, the end of the 1960s saw the start of the building of dedicated observatories at Mauna Kea in Hawaii, a good site for visible and infra-red telescopes thanks to its high altitude and clear skies. Mauna Kea would eventually come to host very large and very accurate telescopes like the Keck Observatory with its 10-meter mirror.

The next great revolution in astronomy was thanks to the birth of rocketry. This allowed telescopes to be placed in space on satellites.

Satellite-based telescopes opened up the Universe to human eyes. Turbulence in the Earth’s atmosphere blurs images taken by ground-based telescopes, an effect known as seeing. It is this effect that makes stars “twinkle” in the sky. As a result, the pictures taken by satellite telescopes in visible light (for example, by the Hubble Space Telescope) are much clearer than Earth-based telescopes, even though Earth-based telescopes are very large.

Space telescopes gave access, for the first time in history, to the entire electromagnetic spectrum including rays that had been blocked by the atmosphere. The X-rays, gamma rays, ultraviolet light and parts of the infra-red spectrum were all opened to astronomy as observing telescopes were launched. As with other parts of the spectrum, new discoveries were made.

From 1970s satellites were launched to be replaced with more accurate and better satellites, causing the sky to be mapped in nearly all parts of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Discoveries broadly come in two types: bodies and phenomena. Bodies are things in the Universe, whether it is a planet like our Earth or a galaxy like our Milky Way. Phenomena are events and happenings in the Universe.

For convenience, this section has been divided by where these astronomical bodies may be found: those found around stars are solar bodies, those inside galaxies are galactic bodies and everything else larger are cosmic bodies.

Diffuse Objects:

Compact Stars:

Burst events are those where there is a sudden change in the heavens that disappears quickly. These are called bursts because they are normally associated with large explosions producing a “burst” of energy. They include:

Periodic events are those that happen regularly in a repetitive way. The name periodic comes from period, which is the length of time required for a wave to complete one cycle. Periodic phenomena include:

Noise phenomena tend to relate to things that happened a long time ago. The signal from these events bounce around the Universe until it seems to come from everywhere and varies little in intensity. In this way, it resembles “noise”, the background signal that pervades every instrument used for astronomy. The most common example of noise is static seen on analogue televisions. The principal astronomical example is: Cosmic background radiation.

There are way astronomers can get better pictures of the heavens. Light from a distant source reaches a sensor and gets measured, normally by a human eye or a camera. For very dim sources, there may not be enough light particles coming from the source for it to be seen. One technique that astronomers have for making it visible is using integration, (which is like longer exposures in photography).

Astronomical sources do not move much: only the rotation and movement of the Earth causes them to move across the heavens. As light particles reach the camera over time, they hit the same place making it brighter and more visible than the background, until it can be seen.

Telescopes at most observatories (and satellite instruments) can normally track a source as it moves across the heavens, making the star appear still to the telescope and allowing longer exposures. Also, images can be taken on different nights so exposures span hours, days or even months. In the digital era, digitised pictures of the sky can be added together by computer, which overlays the images after correcting for movement.

With radio telescopes smaller telescopes can be combined together to create a big one, which works like one as big as the distance between the two smaller telescopes.

Adaptive optics means changing the shape of the mirror or lens while looking at something, to see it better.

Data analysis is the process of getting more information out of an astronomical observation than by simply looking at it. The observation is first stored as data. This data will then have various techniques used to analysisanalyse it.

Fourier analysis in mathematics can show if an observation (over a length of time) is changing periodically (changes like a wave). If so, it can extract the frequencies and the type of wave pattern, and find many things including new planets.

A good example of a fields comes from pulsars which pulse regularly in radio waves. These turned out to be similar to some (but not all) of a type of bright source in X-rays called a Low-mass X-ray binary. It turned out that all pulsars and some LMXBs are neutron stars and that the differences were due to the environment in which the neutron star was found. Those LMXBs that were not neutron stars turned out to be black holes.

This section attempts to provide an overview of the important fields of astronomy, their period of importance and the terms used to describe them. It should be noted that astronomy in the Modern Era has been divided mainly by electromagnetic spectrum, although there is some evidence this is changing.

Solar astronomy is the study of the Sun. The Sun is the closest star to Earth at around 92 million (92,000,000) miles away.[7] It is the easiest to observe in detail. Observing the Sun can help us understand how other stars work and are formed. Changes in the Sun can affect the weather and climate on Earth. A stream of charged particles called the Solar wind is constantly sent off from the Sun. The Solar Wind hitting the Earth’s magnetic field causes the northern lights.[8] Studying the Sun helped people understand how nuclear fusion works.

Planetary Astronomy is the study of planets, moons, dwarf planets, comets and asteroids as well as other small objects that orbit stars. The planets of our own Solar System have been studied in depth by many visiting spacecraft such as Cassini-Huygens (Saturn) and the Voyager 1 and 2.

Galactic Astronomy is the study of distant galaxies. Studying distant galaxies is the best way of learning about our own galaxy, as the gases and stars in our own galaxy make it difficult to observe. Galactic Astronomers attempt to understand the structure of galaxies and how they are formed through the use of different types of telescopes and computer simulations.

Hydrodynamics is used in astronomy for mathematically modelling how gases behave. Strong magnetic fields found around many bodies can drastically change how these gases behave, affecting things from star formation to the flows of gases around compact stars. This makes MHD an important and useful tool in astronomy.

Gravitational wave astronomy is the study of the Universe in the gravitational wave spectrum. So far, all astronomy that has been done has used the electromagnetic spectrum. Gravitational Waves are ripples in spacetime emitted by very dense objects changing shape, which include white dwarves, neutron stars and black holes. Because no one has been able to detect gravitational waves directly, the impact of Gravitational Wave Astronomy has been very limited.

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Astronomy – Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Atheism – Conservapedia

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Jan 202016
 

Atheism, as defined by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and other philosophy reference works, is the denial of the existence of God.[1] Beginning in the latter portion of the 20th century and continuing beyond, many agnostics/atheists have argued that the definition of atheism should be defined as a mere lack of belief in God or gods. [2][3][4]

Atheism has been examined by many disciplines in terms of its effects on individuals and society and these effects will be covered shortly.

As far as individuals adopting an atheistic worldview, atheism has a number of causal factors and these will be elaborated on below.

See also: Schools of atheist thought and Atheist factions

The history of atheism can be dated to as early as the 5th century B.C. Diagoras of Melos was a 5th century BC. Greek atheist, poet and sophist. Since this time, there have been many schools of atheist thought that have developed.

Atheists claim there are two main reasons for their denial of the existence of God and/or disbelief in God: the conviction that there is positive evidence or argument that God does not exist (Strong atheism which is also sometimes called positive atheism), and their claim that theists bear the burden of proof to show that God exists, that they have failed to do so, and that belief is therefore unwarranted (Weak atheism).

As as alluded to above, theists and others have posited a number of causes of atheism and this matter will be further addressed in this article.

Charles Bradlaugh, in 1876, proposed that atheism does not assert “there is no God,” and by doing so he endeavored to dilute the traditional definition of atheism.[5][2] As noted above, in the latter portion of the 20th century, the proposition that the definition of atheism be defined as a mere lack of belief in God or gods began to be commonly advanced by agnostics/atheists.[2][6] It is now common for atheists/agnostics and theists to debate the meaning of the word atheism.[2][7]

Critics of a broader definition of atheism to be a mere lack of belief indicate that such a definition is contrary to the traditional/historical meaning of the word and that such a definition makes atheism indistinguishable from agnosticism.[2][4][8]

For more information, please see:

Below are three common ways that atheism manifests itself:

1. Militant atheism which continues to suppress and oppress religious believers today

Topics related to militant atheism

2. Philosophical atheism – Atheist philosophers assert that God does not exist. (See also: Naturalism)

3. Practical atheism: atheism of the life – that is, living as though God does not exist.[9]

See also: Atheist factions and Schools of atheist thought and Atheist cults and Atheism and intolerance

In 2015, Dr. J. Gordon Melton said about the atheist movement (organized atheism) that atheism is not a movement which tends to create community, but in the last few years there has been some growth of organized atheism.[10]

Jacques Rousseau wrote in the Daily Maverick: “Elevatorgate..has resulted in three weeks of infighting in the secular community. Some might observe that we indulge in these squabbles fairly frequently.”[11] An ex-atheist wrote: “As an Atheist for 40 years, I noticed that there is not just a wide variety of Atheist positions, but there exists an actual battle between certain Atheist factions.”[12]

See also: Atheist movement and Atheism and anger

Blair Scott served on the American Atheists board of directors.[13] Mr. Scott formerly served as a State Director for the American Atheists organization in the state of Alabama. On December 1, 2012 he quit his post as a director of outreach for the American Atheists due to infighting within the American atheist movement.[14]

Mr. Blair wrote:

See also: Antitheism and antisocial behavior

See also: Atheism has a lower retention rate compared to other worldviews and Desecularization and Atheism and apathy

In 2012, a Georgetown University study was published indicating that only about 30 percent of those who grow up in an atheist household remain atheists as adults.[15] Similarly, according to recent research by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, in the United States, a majority of those surveyed who were raised in atheist or agnostic households, or where there was no specific religious attachment, later chose to join a religious faith.[16] See also: Atheism and poor relationships with parents

A 2012 study by the General Social Survey of the social science research organization NORC at the University of Chicago found that belief in God rises with age, even in atheistic nations[17] See also: Atheism and immaturity.

In addition, in atheistic Communist China, Christianity is experiencing rapid growth (see: Growth of Christianity in China).

See also:

See also: Atheism and loneliness and Atheism and apathy and Internet atheism and American atheists and church attendance

In comparison to many religious groups, which have many meetings in numerous places in a given day or week which are convenient to attend, atheist meetings are sparse. One of the causes of this situation is the apathy of many atheists (see: Atheism and apathy and Atheism is uninspiring).

Atheist Francois Tremblay wrote about the difficulty of motivating atheists to engage in activities related to atheism: “One last problem that undermines any propagation of atheism is inspiration. Let’s be honest here, “there is no god!” is not a very motivating call for most people.” (see also: Atheism is uninspiring).[19] The atheist Jerry Coyne said about atheist meetings/conferences, “But to me the speakers and talks have often seemed repetitive: the same crew of jet-set skeptics giving the same talks.”[20]

In an essay entitled How the Atheist Movement Failed Me, an atheist woman noted that participation in the atheist community is often expensive due to the cost of attending atheist conferences and even local atheist meetings in restaurants and bars challenged her modest budget.[21] As a result of the challenges that atheists commonly have in terms of socializing in person, many atheists turn to the internet in terms of communicating with other atheists.[22] Often internet communication between atheists turns turns contentious (see: Atheist factions).

For more information, please see: Atheism and loneliness

See also: Atheists doubting the validity of atheism

Hannah More wrote: “[T]he mind, which knows not where to fly, flies to God. In agony, nature is no Atheist. The soul is drawn to God by a sort of natural impulse; not always, perhaps by an emotion of piety; but from a feeling conviction, that every other refuge is ‘a refuge of lies’.”[23]

See also: Atheism and death and Atheist funerals and Atheism and Hell

Science Daily reported that Death anxiety increases atheists’ unconscious belief in God.[25] In a Psychology Today article, Dr. Nathan A. Heflick reported similar results in other studies.[26] Under stress, the brain’s processing works in a way that prefers unconscious thinking.[27]

A United States study and a Taiwanese study indicated that the irreligious fear death more than the very religious.[28]

For additional information, please see the article: Atheism and death

See also: Atheism and Hell

The journalist and ex-atheist Peter Hitchens, who is the brother of the late atheist Christopher Hitchens, said upon seeing an art exhibit of Michelangelo’s painting The Last Judgment he came to the realization that he might be judged which startled him.[29] This started a train of thought within Peter Hitchens that eventually led him to become a Christian.[29]

For more information, please see: Atheism and Hell

See: Atheism and cryonics and Atheist cults

Cryonics is a pseudoscience that tries to extend life or achieve immortality in a non-theistic way after a person is legally dead (Cryonic procedures are performed shortly after a person’s death).[30] Atheists Robert Ettinger and Isaac Asimov played a notable role in the founding of the cryonics movement.[31] According to The Cryonics Society, Asimov said of cryonics, “Though no one can quantify the probability of cryonics working, I estimate it is at least 90%…”[32] For more information, please see: Atheism and cryonics

See: Atheism and transhumanism

See also: There are no atheists in foxholes and Atheists doubting the validity of atheism

Reverend William T. Cummings is famous for declaring “There are no atheists in foxholes.”[34] Chaplain F. W. Lawson of the 302d Machine Gun Battalion, who was wounded twice in wartime, stated “I doubt if there is such a thing as an atheist. At least there isn’t in a front line trench.”[35]On the other hand, the news organization NBC featured a story in which atheist veterans claimed that there are atheists in foxholes.[36]

Research indicates that heavy combat has a positive correlation to the strength of the religious faith in soldiers during the battles and subsequent to the war if they indicated their experience was a negative experience (for more information please see: There are no atheists in foxholes).

Also, due to research showing that death anxiety increases atheists’ unconscious belief in God, Dr. Nathan Heflick declared in a Psychology Today article, “But, at a less conscious (or pre-conscious) level, this research suggests that there might be less atheism in foxholes than atheists in foxholes report.”[26] Please see: Atheism and death

See also: Denials that atheists exist and Atheists doubting the validity of atheism and Atheism and apathy

It has been asserted by various theists that atheists do not exist and that atheists are actively suppressing their belief and knowledge of God and enigmatically engage in self-deception and in the deception of others (see: Denials that atheists exist and Atheism and deception). In atheistic Japan, researchers found that Japanese children see the world as designed.[37]

see also: Atheism and communism and Militant atheism and Atheism and economics and Atheism and mass murder and Atheist cults and Atheism and Karl Marx

Karl Marx said “[Religion] is the opium of the people”. Marx also stated: “Communism begins from the outset (Owen) with atheism; but atheism is at first far from being communism; indeed, that atheism is still mostly an abstraction.[38]

Vladimir Lenin similarly wrote regarding atheism and communism: “A Marxist must be a materialist, i.e., an enemy of religion, but a dialectical materialist, i.e., one who treats the struggle against religion not in an abstract way, not on the basis of remote, purely theoretical, never varying preaching, but in a concrete way, on the basis of the class struggle which is going on in practice and is educating the masses more and better than anything else could.”[39]

In 1955, Chinese communist leader Zhou Enlai declared, “We Communists are atheists”.[40] In 2014, the Communist Party of China reaffirmed that members of their party must be atheists.[41]

According to the University of Cambridge, historically, the “most notable spread of atheism was achieved through the success of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which brought the Marxist-Leninists to power.”[42] Vitalij Lazarevi Ginzburg, a Soviet physicist, wrote that the “Bolshevik communists were not merely atheists but, according to Lenin’s terminology, militant atheists.”[43] However, prior to this, the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution established a state which was anti-Roman Catholicism/Christian in nature [44] (anti-clerical deism and anti-religious atheism and played a significant role in the French Revolution[45]), with the official ideology being the Cult of Reason; during this time thousands of believers were suppressed and executed by the guillotine.[46]

See also: Atheism vs. Christianity

The atheism in communist regimes has been and continues to be militant atheism and various acts of repression including the razing of thousands of religious buildings and the killing, imprisoning, and oppression of religious leaders and believers.[47]

The persecution of Christians in the Soviet Union was the result of the violently atheist Soviet government. In the first five years after the October Revolution, 28 bishops and 1,200 priests were murdered, many on the orders of Leon Trotsky. When Joseph Stalin came to power in 1927, he ordered his secret police, under Genrikh Yagoda to intensify persecution of Christians. In the next few years, 50,000 clergy were murdered, many were tortured, including crucifixion. “Russia turned red with the blood of martyrs”, said Father Gleb Yakunin of the Russian Orthodox Church.[48] According to Orthodox Church sources, as many as fifty million Orthodox believers may have died in the twentieth century, mainly from persecution by Communists.[49]

In addition, in the atheistic and communist Soviet Union, 44 anti-religious museums were opened and the largest was the ‘The Museum of the History of Religion and Atheism’ in Leningrads Kazan cathedral.[50] Despite intense effort by the atheistic leaders of the Soviet Union, their efforts were not effective in converting the masses to atheism.[51]

China is a communist country. In 1999, the publication Christian Century reported that “China has persecuted religious believers by means of harassment, prolonged detention, and incarceration in prison or ‘reform-through-labor’ camps and police closure of places of worship.” In 2003, owners of Bibles in China were sent to prison camps and 125 Chinese churches were closed.[53] China continues to practice religious oppression today.[54]

The efforts of China’s atheist leaders in promoting atheism, however, is increasingly losing its effectiveness and the number of Christians in China is rapidly growing (see: Growth of Christianity in China). China’s state sponsored atheism and atheistic indoctrination has been a failure and a 2007 religious survey in China indicated that only 15% of Chinese identified themselves as atheists.[55]

North Korea is a repressive communist state and is officially atheistic.[56] The North Korean government practices brutal repression and atrocities against North Korean Christians.[57]

See also: Atheism and mass murder

It has been estimated that in less than the past 100 years, governments under the banner of communism have caused the death of somewhere between 40,472,000 to 259,432,000 human lives.[58] Dr. R. J. Rummel, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Hawaii, is the scholar who first coined the term democide (death by government). Dr. R. J. Rummel’s mid estimate regarding the loss of life due to communism is that communism caused the death of approximately 110,286,000 people between 1917 and 1987.[59]Richard Dawkins has attempted to engage in historical revisionism concerning atheist atrocities and Dawkins was shown to be in gross error. See also: Atheism and historical revisionism

See also: Atheistic communism and torture

The website Victimsofcommunism.org declares concerning atheistic communism and the use of torture:

For more information, please see: Atheistic communism and torture

In atheistic communist regimes forced labor has often played a significant role in their economies and this practice continues to this day (see: Atheism and forced labor).[63]

See also: Communist China and involuntary organ harvesting

Several researchers for example, Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas, former Canadian parliamentarian David Kilgour, and the investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann estimate that tens of thousands of Falun Gong prisoners in communist China have been killed to supply a financially lucrative trade in human organs and cadavers, and that these human rights abuses may be ongoing concern.[64] For more information, please see: Communist China and involuntary organ harvesting

Christian apologist Gregory Koukl wrote relative to atheism and mass murder that “the assertion is that religion has caused most of the killing and bloodshed in the world. There are people who make accusations and assertions that are empirically false. This is one of them.”[65] Koukl details the number of people killed in various events involving theism and compares them to the much higher tens of millions of people killed under regimes which advocated atheism.[65] As noted earlier, Richard Dawkins has attempted to engage in historical revisionism concerning atheist atrocities and Dawkins was shown to be in gross error.

Koukl summarized by stating:

Nobel Prize winner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was asked to account for the great tragedies that occurred under the brutal communist regime he and fellow citizens suffered under.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote:

Since then I have spend well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”[66]

Theodore Beale notes concerning atheism and mass murder:

The total body count for the ninety years between 1917 and 2007 is approximately 148 million dead at the bloody hands of fifty-two atheists, three times more than all the human beings killed by war, civil war, and individual crime in the entire twentieth century combined.

The historical record of collective atheism is thus 182,716 times worse on an annual basis than Christianitys worst and most infamous misdeed, the Spanish Inquisition. It is not only Stalin and Mao who were so murderously inclined, they were merely the worst of the whole Hell-bound lot. For every Pol Pot whose infamous name is still spoken with horror today, there was a Mengistu, a Bierut, and a Choibalsan, godless men whose names are now forgotten everywhere but in the lands they once ruled with a red hand.

Is a 58 percent chance that an atheist leader will murder a noticeable percentage of the population over which he rules sufficient evidence that atheism does, in fact, provide a systematic influence to do bad things? If that is not deemed to be conclusive, how about the fact that the average atheist crime against humanity is 18.3 million percent worse than the very worst depredation committed by Christians, even though atheists have had less than one-twentieth the number of opportunities with which to commit them. If one considers the statistically significant size of the historical atheist set and contrasts it with the fact that not one in a thousand religious leaders have committed similarly large-scale atrocities, it is impossible to conclude otherwise, even if we do not yet understand exactly why this should be the case. Once might be an accident, even twice could be coincidence, but fifty-two incidents in ninety years reeks of causation![67]

See also:

See also: Irreligion/religion and war/peace

Louise Ridley (assistant news editor at the Huffington Post UK), Vox Day and others point out that academic studies and other research consistently challenge the link between religion and war.[68]

There is historical evidence indicating that Darwinism was a causal factor for WWI and WWII (see: Irreligion/religion and war/peace and World War I and Darwinism).

See also: Religion and education and Atheistic indoctrination and education and Atheism and intelligence and Atheism and academia and Atheism and academic performance

In the United States, religious belief is positively correlated to education; a study published in an academic journal titled the Review of Religious Research demonstrated that increased education is correlated with belief in God and that “education positively affects religious participation, devotional activities, and emphasizing the importance of religion in daily life.”[69]

One of the reasons education is positively correlated with belief in God in the United States is that the demographics of people attending higher education has shifted due to more women and southerners attending higher education (these two groups are more likely to be theists. See: Atheism and women).[70]

Although atheistic indoctrination in school systems can have an effect on individuals (See: Atheist indoctrination), research indicates that social/economic insecurity often has a more significant impact.[71]

For more information, please see:

See also: Atheism and academia

In 2001, the atheist and philosopher Quentin Smith declared:

In 2004, Professor Alister McGrath, professor of historical theology at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University declared, “The golden age of atheism is over.”[73]

For more information please see:

See also: Atheism and intelligence and Atheism and Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences and Causes of atheism

Within various countries, standardized intelligence test (IQ) scores related to the issue of atheists/agnostics vs. theists intelligence scores yield conflicting results.[74][75] Part of the problem is that social scientists use variant definitions of atheism.[76] See also: Atheism, intelligence and the General Social Survey

However, within individuals, families and societies irreligion/religion can have an effect on intelligence – especially over time (See: Atheism and intelligence).

The Flynn effect is the significant and long-sustained increase intelligence test scores measured in many parts of the world from roughly 1930 to the present.[77] In some secular, economically developed countries, the Flynn effect has ceased and their scores on standardized intelligence tests are falling.[78] However, the Flynn effect is continuing in developing countries which tend to be more religious (see: Intelligence trends in religious countries and secular countries).

See also: Atheism and the brain and Religiosity and larger frontal lobes

Brain researchers have conducted a number of studies focusing on the differences between atheists and the religious (see: Atheism and the brain and Religiosity and larger frontal lobes).

In many secular countries intelligence is falling, while in many religious countries intelligence is increasing. See: Intelligence trends in religious countries and secular countries

See: Atheism and the theory of multiple intelligences

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Atheism – Conservapedia

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History of atheism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Jan 202016
 

Atheism (derived from the Ancient Greek atheos meaning “without gods; godless; secular; denying or disdaining the gods, especially officially sanctioned gods”[1]) is the absence or rejection of the belief that deities exist. The English term was used at least as early as the sixteenth century and atheistic ideas and their influence have a longer history. Over the centuries, atheists have supported their lack of belief in gods through a variety of avenues, including scientific, philosophical and ideological notions.

Philosophical atheist thought began to appear in Europe and Asia in the sixth or fifth century BCE. Will Durant explains that certain pygmy tribes found in Africa were observed to have no identifiable cults or rites. There were no totems, no deities, and no spirits. Their dead were buried without special ceremonies or accompanying items and received no further attention. They even appeared to lack simple superstitions, according to travelers’ reports.[citation needed] The Vedas of Ceylon[clarification needed] only admitted the possibility that deities might exist, but went no further. Neither prayers nor sacrifices were suggested in any way.[citation needed]

In the East, a contemplative life not centered on the idea of deities began in the sixth century BCE with the rise of Jainism, Buddhism, and certain sects of Hinduism in India, and of Taoism in China. These religions claim to offer a philosophic and salvific path not involving on deity worship. Deities are not seen as necessary to the salvific goal of the early Buddhist tradition, their reality is explicitly questioned and refuted there is a fundamental incompatibility between the notion of gods and basic Buddhist principles.[2]

Within the astika (“orthodox”) schools of Hindu philosophy, the Samkhya and the early Mimamsa school did not accept a creator-deity in their respective systems.

The principal text of the Samkhya school, the Samkhya Karika, was written by Ishvara Krishna in the fourth century CE, by which time it was already a dominant Hindu school. The origins of the school are much older and are lost in legend. The school was both dualistic and atheistic. They believed in a dual existence of Prakriti (“nature”) and Purusha (“spirit”) and had no place for an Ishvara (“God”) in its system, arguing that the existence of Ishvara cannot be proved and hence cannot be admitted to exist. The school dominated Hindu philosophy in its day, but declined after the tenth century, although commentaries were still being written as late as the sixteenth century.

The foundational text for the Mimamsa school is the Purva Mimamsa Sutras of Jaimini (c. third to first century BCE). The school reached its height c. 700 CE, and for some time in the Early Middle Ages exerted near-dominant influence on learned Hindu thought. The Mimamsa school saw their primary enquiry was into the nature of dharma based on close interpretation of the Vedas. Its core tenets were ritualism (orthopraxy), anti-asceticism and anti-mysticism. The early Mimamsakas believed in an adrishta (“unseen”) that is the result of performing karmas (“works”) and saw no need for an Ishvara (“God”) in their system. Mimamsa persists in some subschools of Hinduism today.

Jains see their tradition as eternal. Organized Jainism can be dated back to Parshva who lived in the ninth century BCE, and, more reliably, to Mahavira, a teacher of the sixth century BCE, and a contemporary of the Buddha. Jainism is a dualistic religion with the universe made up of matter and souls. The universe, and the matter and souls within it, is eternal and uncreated, and there is no omnipotent creator deity in Jainism. There are, however, “gods” and other spirits who exist within the universe and Jains believe that the soul can attain “godhood”, however none of these supernatural beings exercise any sort of creative activity or have the capacity or ability to intervene in answers to prayers.

The thoroughly materialistic and anti-religious philosophical Crvka school that originated in India with the Brhaspatya-stras (final centuries BCE) is probably the most explicitly atheist school of philosophy in the region. The school grew out of the generic skepticism in the Mauryan period. Already in the sixth century BCE, Ajita Kesakambalin, was quoted in Pali scriptures by the Buddhists with whom he was debating, teaching that “with the break-up of the body, the wise and the foolish alike are annihilated, destroyed. They do not exist after death.”[3] Crvkan philosophy is now known principally from its Astika and Buddhist opponents. The proper aim of a Crvkan, according to these sources, was to live a prosperous, happy, productive life in this world. The Tattvopaplavasimha of Jayarashi Bhatta (c. eighth century) is sometimes cited as a surviving Carvaka text. The school appears to have died out sometime around the fifteenth century.

The non-adherence[4] to the notion of a supreme deity or a prime mover is seen by many as a key distinction between Buddhism and other religions. While Buddhist traditions do not deny the existence of supernatural beings (many are discussed in Buddhist scripture), it does not ascribe powers, in the typical Western sense, for creation, salvation or judgement, to the “gods”, however, praying to enlightened deities is sometimes seen as leading to some degree of spiritual merit.

Buddhists accept the existence of beings in higher realms, known as devas, but they, like humans, are said to be suffering in samsara,[5] and not particularly wiser than we are. In fact the Buddha is often portrayed as a teacher of the deities,[6] and superior to them.[7] Despite this they do have some enlightened Devas in the path of buddhahood.

In later Mahayana literature, however, the idea of an eternal, all-pervading, all-knowing, immaculate, uncreated, and deathless Ground of Being (the dharmadhatu, inherently linked to the sattvadhatu, the realm of beings), which is the Awakened Mind (bodhicitta) or dharmakaya (“body of Truth”) of the Buddha himself, is attributed to the Buddha in a number of Mahayana sutras, and is found in various tantras as well. In some Mahayana texts, such a principle is occasionally presented as manifesting in a more personalised form as a primordial Buddha, such as Samantabhadra, Vajradhara, Vairochana, Amitabha, and Adi-Buddha, among others.

In western Classical antiquity, theism was the fundamental belief that supported the legitimacy of the state (Polis, later the Roman Empire). Historically, any person who did not believe in any deity supported by the state was fair game to accusations of atheism, a capital crime. For political reasons, Socrates in Athens (399 BCE) was accused of being atheos (“refusing to acknowledge the gods recognized by the state”). Christians in Rome were also considered subversive to the state religion and persecuted as atheists.[8] Thus, charges of atheism, meaning the subversion of religion, were often used similarly to charges of heresy and impiety as a political tool to eliminate enemies.

The roots of Western philosophy began in the Greek world in the sixth century BCE. The first Hellenic philosophers were not atheists, but they attempted to explain the world in terms of the processes of nature instead of by mythological accounts. Thus lightning was the result of “wind breaking out and parting the clouds”,[9] and earthquakes occurred when “the earth is considerably altered by heating and cooling”.[10] The early philosophers often criticised traditional religious notions. Xenophanes (sixth century BCE) famously said that if cows and horses had hands, “then horses would draw the forms of gods like horses, and cows like cows”.[11] Another philosopher, Anaxagoras (fifth century BCE), claimed that the Sun was “a fiery mass, larger than the Peloponnese”; a charge of impiety was brought against him, and he was forced to flee Athens.[12]

The first fully materialistic philosophy was produced by the atomists Leucippus and Democritus (fifth century BCE), who attempted to explain the formation and development of the world in terms of the chance movements of atoms moving in infinite space.

Euripides (480406 BCE), in his play Bellerophon, had the eponymous main character say:

Doth some one say that there be gods above? There are not; no, there are not. Let no fool, Led by the old false fable, thus deceive you.[13]

Aristophanes (ca. 448380 BCE), known for his satirical style, wrote in his play The Knights: “Shrines! Shrines! Surely you don’t believe in the gods. What’s your argument? Where’s your proof?”[14]

In the fifth century BCE the Sophists began to question many of the traditional assumptions of Greek culture. Prodicus of Ceos was said to have believed that “it was the things which were serviceable to human life that had been regarded as gods,”[15] and Protagoras stated at the beginning of a book that “With regard to the gods I am unable to say either that they exist or do not exist.”[16]

Diagoras of Melos (fifth century BCE) is known as the “first atheist”. He blasphemed by making public the Eleusinian Mysteries and discouraging people from being initiated.[17] Somewhat later (c. 300 BCE), the Cyrenaic philosopher Theodorus of Cyrene is supposed to have denied that gods exist, and wrote a book On the Gods expounding his views.

Euhemerus (c. 330260 BCE) published his view that the gods were only the deified rulers, conquerors, and founders of the past, and that their cults and religions were in essence the continuation of vanished kingdoms and earlier political structures.[18] Although Euhemerus was later criticized for having “spread atheism over the whole inhabited earth by obliterating the gods”,[19] his worldview was not atheist in a strict and theoretical sense, because he differentiated that the primordial deities were “eternal and imperishable”.[20] Some historians have argued that he merely aimed at reinventing the old religions in the light of the beginning of deification of political rulers such as Alexander the Great.[21] Euhemerus’ work was translated into Latin by Ennius, possibly to mythographically pave the way for the planned divinization of Scipio Africanus in Rome.[22]

Also important in the history of atheism was Epicurus (c. 300 BCE). Drawing on the ideas of Democritus and the Atomists, he espoused a materialistic philosophy where the universe was governed by the laws of chance without the need for divine intervention. Although he stated that deities existed, he believed that they were uninterested in human existence. The aim of the Epicureans was to attain peace of mind by exposing fear of divine wrath as irrational.

One of the most eloquent expressions of Epicurean thought is Lucretius’ On the Nature of Things (first century BCE) in which he held that gods exist but argued that religious fear was one of the chief causes of human unhappiness and that the gods did not involve themselves in the world.[23][24]

The Epicureans also denied the existence of an afterlife.[25]

Epicureans were not persecuted, but their teachings were controversial, and were harshly attacked by the mainstream schools of Stoicism and Neoplatonism. The movement remained marginal, and gradually died out at the end of the Roman Empire.

In medieval Islam, Muslim scholars recognized the idea of atheism, and frequently attacked unbelievers, although they were unable to name any atheists.[26] When individuals were accused of atheism, they were usually viewed as heretics rather than proponents of atheism.[27] However, outspoken rationalists and atheists existed, one notable figure being the ninth-century scholar Ibn al-Rawandi, who criticized the notion of religious prophecy, including that of Muhammad, and maintained that religious dogmas were not acceptable to reason and must be rejected.[28] Other critics of religion in the Islamic world include the physician and philosopher Abu Bakr al-Razi (865925), the poet Al-Maarri (9731057), and the scholar Abu Isa al-Warraq (fl. 7th century). Al-Maarri, for example, wrote and taught that religion itself was a “fable invented by the ancients”[29] and that humans were “of two sorts: those with brains, but no religion, and those with religion, but no brains.”[30]

In the European Middle Ages, no clear expression of atheism is known. The titular character of the Icelandic saga Hrafnkell, written in the late thirteenth century, says that I think it is folly to have faith in gods. After his temple to Freyr is burnt and he is enslaved, he vows never to perform another sacrifice, a position described in the sagas as golauss “godless”. Jacob Grimm in his Teutonic Mythology observes that

It is remarkable that Old Norse legend occasionally mentions certain men who, turning away in utter disgust and doubt from the heathen faith, placed their reliance on their own strength and virtue. Thus in the Slar lio 17 we read of Vbogi and Rdey sik au tru, “in themselves they trusted”,[31]

citing several other examples, including two kings.

In Christian Europe, people were persecuted for heresy, especially in countries where the Inquisition was active. Thomas Aquinas’ five proofs of God’s existence and Anselm’s ontological argument implicitly acknowledged the validity of the question about God’s existence.[original research?]Frederick Copleston, however, explains that Thomas laid out his proofs not to counter atheism, but to address certain early Christian writers such as John of Damascus, who asserted that knowledge of God’s existence was naturally innate in man, based on his natural desire for happiness.[32] Thomas stated that although there is desire for happiness which forms the basis for a proof of God’s existence in man, further reflection is required to understand that this desire is only fulfilled in God, not for example in wealth or sensual pleasure.[32]

The charge of atheism was used to attack political or religious opponents. Pope Boniface VIII, because he insisted on the political supremacy of the church, was accused by his enemies after his death of holding (unlikely) atheistic positions such as “neither believing in the immortality nor incorruptibility of the soul, nor in a life to come.”[33]

During the time of the Renaissance and the Reformation, criticism of the religious establishment became more frequent in predominantly Christian countries, but did not amount to atheism, per se.

The term athisme was coined in France in the sixteenth century. The word “atheist” appears in English books at least as early as 1566.[34] The concept of atheism re-emerged initially as a reaction to the intellectual and religious turmoil of the Age of Enlightenment and the Reformation as a charge used by those who saw the denial of god and godlessness in the controversial positions being put forward by others. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the word ‘atheist’ was used exclusively as an insult; nobody wanted to be regarded as an atheist.[35] Although one overtly atheistic compendium known as the Theophrastus redivivus was published by an anonymous author in the seventeenth century, atheism was an epithet implying a lack of moral restraint.[36]

According to Geoffrey Blainey, the Reformation in Europe had paved the way for atheists by attacking the authority of the Catholic Church, which in turn “quietly inspired other thinkers to attack the authority of the new Protestant churches”. Deism gained influence in France, Prussia and England, and proffered belief in a non-interventionist deity, but “while some deists were atheists in disguise, most were religious, and by today’s standards would be called true believers”. The scientific and mathematical discoveries of such as Copernicus, Newton and Descartes sketched a pattern of natural laws that lent weight to this new outlook[37] Blainey wrote that the Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza was “probably the first well known ‘semi-atheist’ to announce himself in a Christian land in the modern era”. Spinoza had been expelled from his synagogue for his protests against the teachings of its rabbis and for failing to attend Saturday services. He believed that God did not interfere in the running of the world, but rather that natural laws explained the workings of the universe. In 1661 he published his Short Treatise on God, but he was not a popular figure for the first century following his death: “An unbeliever was expected to be a rebel in almost everything and wicked in all his ways”, wrote Blainey, “but here was a virtuous one. He lived the good life and made his living in a useful way… It took courage to be a Spinoza or even one of his supporters. If a handful of scholars agreed with his writings, they did not so say in public.”[38]

How dangerous it was to be accused of being an atheist at this time is illustrated by the examples of tienne Dolet who was strangled and burned in 1546, and Giulio Cesare Vanini who received a similar fate in 1619. In 1689 the Polish nobleman Kazimierz yszczyski, who had denied the existence of God in his philosophical treatise De non existentia Dei, was imprisoned unlawfully; despite Warsaw Confederation tradition and king Sobieski’s intercession, yszczyski was condemned to death for atheism and beheaded in Warsaw after his tongue was pulled out with a burning iron and his hands slowly burned. Similarly in 1766, the French nobleman Franois-Jean de la Barre, was tortured, beheaded, and his body burned for alleged vandalism of a crucifix, a case that became a cause clbre because Voltaire tried unsuccessfully to have the judgment reversed.

The English philosopher Thomas Hobbes (15881679) was also accused of atheism, but he denied it. His theism was unusual, in that he held god to be material. Even earlier, the British playwright and poet Christopher Marlowe (15631593) was accused of atheism when a tract denying the divinity of Christ was found in his home. Before he could finish defending himself against the charge, Marlowe was murdered.

In early modern times, the first explicit atheist known by name was the German-languaged Danish critic of religion Matthias Knutzen (1646after 1674), who published three atheist writings in 1674.[39]

Kazimierz yszczyski, a Polish philosopher (executed in 1689, following a hasty and controversial trial pressed by the Catholic Church) demonstrated strong atheism in his work De non existentia Dei:

II – the Man is a creator of God, and God is a concept and creation of a Man. Hence the people are architects and engineers of God and God is not a true being, but a being existing only within mind, being chimaeric by its nature, because a God and a chimaera are the same.[40]

IV – simple folk are cheated by the more cunning with the fabrication of God for their own oppression; whereas the same oppression is shielded by the folk in a way, that if the wise attempted to free them by the truth, they would be quelled by the very people.[41][42]

While not gaining converts from large portions of the population, versions of deism became influential in certain intellectual circles. Jean Jacques Rousseau challenged the Christian notion that human beings had been tainted by sin since the Garden of Eden, and instead proposed that humans were originally good, only later to be corrupted by civilisation. The influential figure of Voltaire, spread deistic notions of to a wide audience. “After the French Revolution and its outbursts of atheism, Voltaire was widely condemned as one of the causes”, wrote Blainey, “Nonetheless, his writings did concede that fear of God was an essential policeman in a disorderly world: ‘If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him’, wrote Voltaire”.[43]

Arguably the first book in modern times solely dedicated to promoting atheism was written by French Catholic priest Jean Meslier (16641729), whose posthumously published lengthy philosophical essay (part of the original title: Thoughts and Feelings of Jean Meslier … Clear and Evident Demonstrations of the Vanity and Falsity of All the Religions of the World[44]) rejects the concept of god (both in the Christian and also in the Deistic sense), the soul, miracles and the discipline of theology.[45] Philosopher Michel Onfray states that Meslier’s work marks the beginning of “the history of true atheism”.[45]

By the 1770s, atheism in some predominantly Christian countries was ceasing to be a dangerous accusation that required denial, and was evolving into a position openly avowed by some. The first open denial of the existence of God and avowal of atheism since classical times may be that of Baron d’Holbach (17231789) in his 1770 work, The System of Nature. D’Holbach was a Parisian social figure who conducted a famous salon widely attended by many intellectual notables of the day, including Denis Diderot, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, David Hume, Adam Smith, and Benjamin Franklin. Nevertheless, his book was published under a pseudonym, and was banned and publicly burned by the Executioner.[citation needed] Diderot, one of the Enlightenment’s most prominent philosophes, and editor-in-chief of the Encyclopdie, which sought to challenge religious, particularly Catholic, dogma said, “Reason is to the estimation of the philosophe what grace is to the Christian”, he wrote. “Grace determines the Christian’s action; reason the philosophe’s”.[46] Diderot was briefly imprisoned for his writing, some of which was banned and burned.[citation needed]

In Scotland, David Hume produced a six volume history of England in 1754, which gave little attention to God. He implied that if God existed he was impotent in the face of European upheaval. Hume ridiculed miracles, but walked a careful line so as to avoid being too dismissive of Christianity. With Hume’s presence, Edinburgh gained a reputation as a “haven of atheism”, alarming many ordinary Britons.[47]

The culte de la Raison developed during the uncertain period 179294 (Years I and III of the Revolution), following the September Massacres, when Revolutionary France was ripe with fears of internal and foreign enemies. Several Parisian churches were transformed into Temples of Reason, notably the Church of Saint-Paul Saint-Louis in the Marais. The churches were closed in May 1793 and more securely, 24 November 1793, when the Catholic Mass was forbidden.

Blainey wrote that “atheism seized the pedestal in revolutionary France in the 1790s. The secular symbols replaced the cross. In the cathedral of Notre Dame the altar, the holy place, was converted into a monument to Reason…” During the Terror of 1792-93, France’s Christian calendar was abolished, monasteries, convents and church properties were seized and monks and nuns expelled. Historic churches were dismantled.[48] The Cult of Reason was a creed based on atheism devised during the French Revolution by Jacques Hbert, Pierre Gaspard Chaumette, and their supporters. It was stopped by Maximilien Robespierre, a Deist, who instituted the Cult of the Supreme Being.[49] Both cults were the outcome of the “de-Christianization” of French society during the Revolution and part of the Reign of Terror.

The Cult of Reason was celebrated in a carnival atmosphere of parades, ransacking of churches, ceremonious iconoclasm, in which religious and royal images were defaced, and ceremonies which substituted the “martyrs of the Revolution” for Christian martyrs. The earliest public demonstrations took place en province, outside Paris, notably by Hbertists in Lyon, but took a further radical turn with the Fte de la Libert (“Festival of Liberty”) at Notre Dame de Paris, 10 November (20 Brumaire) 1793, in ceremonies devised and organised by Pierre-Gaspard Chaumette.

The pamphlet Answer to Dr. Priestley’s Letters to a Philosophical Unbeliever (1782) is considered to be the first published declaration of atheism in Britain plausibly the first in English (as distinct from covert or cryptically atheist works). The otherwise unknown ‘William Hammon’ (possibly a pseudonym) signed the preface and postscript as editor of the work, and the anonymous main text is attributed to Matthew Turner (d. 1788?), a Liverpool physician who may have known Priestley. Historian of atheism David Berman has argued strongly for Turner’s authorship, but also suggested that there may have been two authors.[50]

The French Revolution of 1789 catapulted atheistic thought into political notability in some Western countries, and opened the way for the nineteenth century movements of Rationalism, Freethought, and Liberalism. Born in 1792, Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, a child of the Age of Enlightenment, was expelled from England’s Oxford University in 1811 for submitting to the Dean an anonymous pamphlet that he wrote entitled, The Necessity of Atheism. This pamphlet is considered by scholars as the first atheistic ideas published in the English language. An early atheistic influence in Germany was The Essence of Christianity by Ludwig Feuerbach (18041872). He influenced other German nineteenth century atheistic thinkers like Karl Marx, Max Stirner, Arthur Schopenhauer (17881860), and Friedrich Nietzsche (18441900).

The freethinker Charles Bradlaugh (18331891) was repeatedly elected to the British Parliament, but was not allowed to take his seat after his request to affirm rather than take the religious oath was turned down (he then offered to take the oath, but this too was denied him). After Bradlaugh was re-elected for the fourth time, a new Speaker allowed Bradlaugh to take the oath and permitted no objections.[51] He became the first outspoken atheist to sit in Parliament, where he participated in amending the Oaths Act.[52]

In 1844, Karl Marx (18181883), an atheistic political economist, wrote in his Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right: “Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” Marx believed that people turn to religion in order to dull the pain caused by the reality of social situations; that is, Marx suggests religion is an attempt at transcending the material state of affairs in a society the pain of class oppression by effectively creating a dream world, rendering the religious believer amenable to social control and exploitation in this world while they hope for relief and justice in life after death. In the same essay, Marx states, “…[m]an creates religion, religion does not create man…”[53]

Friedrich Nietzsche, a prominent nineteenth century philosopher, is well known for coining the aphorism “God is dead” (German: “Gott ist tot”); incidentally the phrase was not spoken by Nietzsche directly, but was used as a dialogue for the characters in his works. Nietzsche argued that Christian theism as a belief system had been a moral foundation of the Western world, and that the rejection and collapse of this foundation as a result of modern thinking (the death of God) would naturally cause a rise in nihilism or the lack of values. While Nietzsche was staunchly atheistic, he was also concerned about the negative effects of nihilism on humanity. As such, he called for a re-evaluation of old values and a creation of new ones, hoping that in doing so humans would achieve a higher state he labeled the Overman.

Atheist feminism also began in the nineteenth century. Atheist feminism is a movement that advocates feminism within atheism.[54] Atheist feminists also oppose religion as a main source of female oppression and inequality, believing that the majority of the religions are sexist and oppressive to women.[55]

Atheism in the twentieth century found recognition in a wide variety of other, broader philosophies in the Western tradition, such as existentialism, Objectivism,[56]secular humanism, nihilism, logical positivism, Marxism, anarchism, feminism,[57] and the general scientific and rationalist movement. Neopositivism and analytical philosophy discarded classical rationalism and metaphysics in favor of strict empiricism and epistemological nominalism. Proponents such as Bertrand Russell emphatically rejected belief in God. In his early work, Ludwig Wittgenstein attempted to separate metaphysical and supernatural language from rational discourse. H. L. Mencken sought to debunk both the idea that science and religion are compatible, and the idea that science is a dogmatic belief system just like any religion.[58]

A. J. Ayer asserted the unverifiability and meaninglessness of religious statements, citing his adherence to the empirical sciences. The structuralism of Lvi-Strauss sourced religious language to the human subconscious, denying its transcendental meaning. J. N. Findlay and J. J. C. Smart argued that the existence of God is not logically necessary. Naturalists and materialists such as John Dewey considered the natural world to be the basis of everything, denying the existence of God or immortality.[59][60]

The historian Geoffrey Blainey wrote that during the twentieth century, atheists in Western societies became more active and even militant, though they often “relied essentially on arguments used by numerous radical Christians since at least the eighteenth century”. They rejected the idea of an interventionist God, and said that Christianity promoted war and violence, though “the most ruthless leaders in the Second World War were atheists and secularists who were intensely hostile to both Judaism and Christianity” and “Later massive atrocities were committed in the East by those ardent atheists, Pol Pot and Mao Zedong”. Some scientists were meanwhile articulating a view that as the world becomes more educated, religion will be superseded.[61]

Often, the state’s opposition to religion took more violent forms; Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn documents widespread persecution, imprisonments and torture of believers, in his seminal work The Gulag Archipelago. Consequently, religious organizations, such as the Catholic Church, were among the most stringent opponents of communist regimes. In some cases, the initial strict measures of control and opposition to religious activity were gradually relaxed in communist states. Pope Pius XI followed his encyclicals challenging the new right-wing creeds of Italian Fascism, (Non abbiamo bisogno 1931); and Nazism (Mit brennender Sorge, 1937); with a denunciation of atheist Communism in Divini redemptoris (1937).[62]

The Russian Orthodox Church, for centuries the strongest of all Orthodox Churches, was suppressed by Russia’s atheists.[63] In 1922, the Soviet regime arrested the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church.[64] The Soviet leaders Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin energetically pursued the persecution of the Church through the 1920s and 1930s. Lenin wrote that every religious idea and every idea of God “is unutterable vileness… of the most dangerous kind, ‘contagion of the most abominable kind”.[65] Many priests were killed and imprisoned. Thousands of churches were closed, some turned into hospitals. In 1925 the government founded the League of Militant Atheists to intensify the persecution. The regime only relented in its persecution following the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.[63] Bullock wrote that “A Marxist regime was ‘godless’ by definition, and Stalin had mocked religious belief since his days in the Tiflis seminary”. His assault on the Russian peasantry, wrote Bullock, “had been as much an attack on their traditional religion as on their individual holdings, and the defence of it had played a major part in arousing peasant resistance… “.[66] In Divini Redemptoris, Pius XI said that atheistic Communism being led by Moscow was aimed at “upsetting the social order and at undermining the very foundations of Christian civilization”:[67]

The central figure in Italian Fascism was the atheist Benito Mussolini.[68] In his early career, Mussolini was a strident opponent of the Church, and the first Fascist programme, written in 1919, had called for the secularization of Church property in Italy.[69] More pragmatic than his German ally Adolf Hitler, Mussolini later moderated his stance, and in office, permitted the teaching of religion in schools and came to terms with the Papacy in the Lateran Treaty.[68] Nevertheless, Non abbiamo bisogno condemned his Fascist movement’s “pagan worship of the State” and “revolution which snatches the young from the Church and from Jesus Christ, and which inculcates in its own young people hatred, violence and irreverence.”[70]

As noted by Steigmann-Gall, in October 1928 Hitler had publicly declared: “We tolerate no one in our ranks who attacks the ideas of Christianity … in fact our movement is Christian.”[71] In contrast to that, Richard J. Evans wrote that “Hitler emphasised again and again his belief that Nazism was a secular ideology founded on modern science. Science, he declared, would easily destroy the last remaining vestiges of superstition [-] ‘In the long run’, [Hitler] concluded in July 1941, ‘National Socialism and religion will no longer be able to exist together’ […] The ideal solution would be to leave the religions to devour themselves, without persecutions.’ “[72][73] On Steigmann-Gall’s research, Evans says, “Far from being uniformly anti-Christian, Nazism contained a wide variety of religious beliefs, and Steigmann-Gall has performed a valuable service in providing a meticulously documented account of them in all their bizarre variety.”[71]

The majority of Nazis did not leave their churches. Evans wrote that, by 1939, 95% of Germans still called themselves Protestant or Catholic, while 3.5% were gottglubig and 1.5% atheist. Most in these latter categories were “convinced Nazis who had left their Church at the behest of the Party, which had been trying since the mid 1930s to reduce the influence of Christianity in society”.[74] The majority of the three million Nazi Party members continued to pay their church taxes and register as either Roman Catholic or Evangelical Protestant Christians.[75] “Gottglubig” (lit. “believers in god”) were a non-denominational nazified outlook on god beliefs, often described as predominantly based on creationist and deistic views.[76]Heinrich Himmler, who himself was fascinated with Germanic paganism[citation needed], was a strong promoter of the gottglubig movement and didn’t allow atheists into the SS, arguing that their “refusal to acknowledge higher powers” would be a “potential source of indiscipline”.[77]

Across Eastern Europe following World War Two, the parts of the Nazi Empire conquered by the Soviet Red Army, and Yugsolavia became one party Communist states, which, like the Soviet Union, were antipathetic to religion. Persecutions of religious leaders followed.[78][79] The Soviet Union ended its truce against the Russian Orthodox Church, and extended its persecutions to the newly Communist Eastern block: “In Poland, Hungary, Lithuania and other Eastern European countries, Catholic leaders who were unwilling to be silent were denounced, publicly humiliated or imprisoned by the Communists. Leaders of the national Orthodox Churches in Romania and Bulgaria had to be cautious and submissive”, wrote Blainey.[63] While the churches were generally not as severely treated at they had been in the USSR, nearly all their schools and many of their churches were closed, and they lost their formally prominent roles in public life. Children were taught atheism, and clergy were imprisoned by the thousands.[80]

Albania under Enver Hoxha became, in 1967, the first (and to date only) formally declared atheist state,[81] going far beyond what most other countries had attempted completely prohibiting religious observance, and systematically repressing and persecuting adherents. The right to religious practice was restored in the fall of communism in 1991.

Further post-war communist victories in the East saw religion purged by atheist regimes across China, North Korea and much of Indo-China.[80] In 1949, China became a Communist state under the leadership of Mao Zedong’s Communist Party of China. China itself had been a cradle of religious thought since ancient times, being the birthplace of Confucianism and Daoism, and Buddhists having arrived in the first century AD. Under Mao, China became officially atheist, and though some religious practices were permitted to continue under State supervision, religious groups deemed a threat to order have been suppressed – as with Tibetan Buddhism from 1959 and Falun Gong in recent years. Today around two-fifths of the population claim to be nonreligious or atheist.[82] Religious schools and social institutions were closed, foreign missionaries expelled, and local religious practices discouraged.[80] During the Cultural Revolution, Mao instigated “struggles” against the Four Olds: “old ideas, customs, culture, and habits of mind”.[83] In 1999, the Communist Party launched a three-year drive to promote atheism in Tibet, saying intensifying propaganda on atheism is “especially important for Tibet because atheism plays an extremely important role in promoting economic construction, social advancement and socialist spiritual civilization in the region”.[84]

In India, E. V. Ramasami Naicker (Periyar), a prominent atheist leader, fought against Hinduism and the Brahmins for discriminating and dividing people in the name of caste and religion.[85] This was highlighted in 1956 when he made the Hindu god Rama wear a garland made of slippers and made antitheistic statements.[86]

During this period, Christianity in the United States retained its popular appeal, and, wrote Blainey, the country “was the guardian, militarily of the “free world” and the defender of its religion in the face of militant communism”.[87] During the Cold War, wrote Thomas Aiello the United States often characterized its opponents as “godless communists”, which tended to reinforce the view that atheists were unreliable and unpatriotic.[88] Against this background, the words “under God” were inserted into the pledge of allegiance in 1954,[89] and the national motto was changed from E Pluribus Unum to In God We Trust in 1956. However, there were some prominent atheist activists active at this time. Atheist Vashti McCollum was the plaintiff in a landmark 1948 Supreme Court case (McCollum v. Board of Education) that struck down religious education in U.S. public schools.[90][91]Madalyn Murray O’Hair was perhaps one of the most influential American atheists; she brought forth the 1963 Supreme Court case Murray v. Curlett which banned compulsory prayer in public schools.[92] Also in 1963 she founded American Atheists, an organization dedicated to defending the civil liberties of atheists and advocating for the complete separation of church and state.[93][94]

The early twenty-first century has continued to see secularism and atheism promoted in the Western world, with the general consensus being that the number of people not affiliated with any particular religion has increased.[95][96] This has been assisted by non-profit organizations such as the Freedom From Religion Foundation in the United States (co-founded by Anne Nicol Gaylor and her daughter, Annie Laurie Gaylor, in 1976 and incorporated nationally in 1978, it promotes the separation of church and state[97][98]), and the Brights movement, which aims to promote public understanding and acknowledgment of the naturalistic worldview.[99] In addition, a large number of accessible antitheist and secularist books, many of which have become bestsellers, have been published by authors such as Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, and Victor J. Stenger.[100][101] This period has seen the rise of the New Atheism movement, a label that has been applied, sometimes pejoratively, to outspoken critics of theism.[102] Richard Dawkins also propounds a more visible form of atheist activism which he light-heartedly describes as ‘militant atheism’.[103]

Atheist feminism has also become more prominent in the 2010s. In 2012 the first “Women in Secularism” conference was held.[104] Also, Secular Woman was founded on June 28, 2012 as the first national American organization focused on nonreligious women. The mission of Secular Woman is to amplify the voice, presence, and influence of non-religious women. The atheist feminist movement has also become increasingly focused on fighting sexism and sexual harassment within the atheist movement itself.

In 2013 the first atheist monument on American government property was unveiled at the Bradford County Courthouse in Florida; it is a 1,500-pound granite bench and plinth inscribed with quotes by Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Madalyn Murray O’Hair.[105][106]

In 2015, Madison, Wisconsin’s common council amended their city’s equal opportunity ordinance, adding atheism as a protected class in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations.[107] This makes Madison the first city in America to pass an ordinance protecting atheists.[107]

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Twenty-fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution …

 Fourth Amendment  Comments Off on Twenty-fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution …
Jan 192016
 

The Twenty-fourth Amendment (Amendment XXIV) of the United States Constitution prohibits both Congress and the states from conditioning the right to vote in federal elections on payment of a poll tax or other types of tax. The amendment was proposed by Congress to the states on August 27, 1962, and was ratified by the states on January 23, 1964.

Southern states of the former Confederacy adopted poll taxes in laws of the late 19th century and new constitutions from 1890 to 1908, after the Democratic Party had generally regained control of state legislatures decades after the end of Reconstruction, as a measure to prevent African Americans and often poor whites from voting. Use of the poll taxes by states was held to be constitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States in the 1937 decision Breedlove v. Suttles.

When the 24th Amendment was ratified in 1964, five states still retained a poll tax: Virginia, Alabama, Texas, Arkansas, and Mississippi. The amendment prohibited requiring a poll tax for voters in federal elections. But it was not until 1966 that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 63 in Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections that poll taxes for any level of elections were unconstitutional. It said these violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Subsequent litigation related to potential discriminatory effects of voter registration requirements has generally been based on application of this clause.

Poll tax

Cumulative poll tax (missed poll taxes from prior years must also be paid to vote)

No poll tax

Southern states adopted the poll tax as a requirement for voting as part of a series of laws intended to marginalize black Americans from politics so far as practicable without violating the Fifteenth Amendment. This required that voting not be limited by “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” All voters were required to pay the poll tax, but in practice it most affected the poor. Notably this impacted both African Americans and poor white voters, some of whom had voted with Populist and Fusionist candidates in the late 19th century, temporarily disturbing Democratic rule. Proponents of the poll tax downplayed this aspect and assured white voters they would not be affected. Passage of poll taxes began in earnest in the 1890s, as Democrats wanted to prevent another Populist-Republican coalition. Despite election violence and fraud, African Americans were still winning numerous local seats. By 1902, all eleven states of the former Confederacy had enacted a poll tax, many within new constitutions that contained other provisions to reduce voter lists, such as literacy or comprehension tests. The poll tax was used together with grandfather clauses and the “white primary”, and threats of violence. For example, potential voters had to be “assessed” in Arkansas, and blacks were utterly ignored in the assessment.[2]

From 19001937, such use of the poll tax was nearly ignored by the federal government. Some state-level initiatives repealed it. The poll tax survived a legal challenge in the 1937 Supreme Court case Breedlove v. Suttles, which ruled that “[The] privilege of voting is not derived from the United States, but is conferred by the state and, save as restrained by the Fifteenth and Nineteenth Amendments and other provisions of the Federal Constitution, the state may condition suffrage as it deems appropriate.”[3]

The issue remained prominent, as most African Americans in the South were disenfranchised. President Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke out against the tax. He publicly called it “a remnant of the Revolutionary period” that the country had moved past. However, Roosevelt’s favored liberal Democrats lost in the 1938 primaries to the reigning conservative Southern Democrats, and he backed off the issue. He felt that he needed Southern Democratic votes to pass New Deal programs and did not want to further antagonize them.[4] Still, efforts at the Congressional level to abolish the poll tax continued. A 1939 bill to abolish the poll tax in federal elections was tied up by the Southern Block, lawmakers whose long tenure in office from a one-party region gave them seniority and command of numerous important committee chairmanships. A discharge petition was able to force the bill to be considered, and the House passed the bill 25484.[5] However, the bill was unable to defeat a filibuster in the Senate by Southern senators and a few Northern allies who valued the support of the powerful and senior Southern seats. This bill would be re-proposed in the next several Congresses. It came closest to passage during World War II, when opponents framed abolition as a means to help overseas soldiers vote. However, after learning that the US Supreme Court decision Smith v. Allwright (1944) banned use of the “white primary,” the Southern block refused to approve abolition of the poll tax.[6]

In 1946, the Senate came close to passing the bill. 24 Democrats and 15 Republicans approved an end to debate, while 7 non-southern Democrats and 7 Republicans joined with the 19 Southern Democrats in opposition. The result was a 39-33 vote in favor of the bill, but the filibuster required a two-thirds supermajority to break at the time; a 48-24 vote was required to pass the bill.[clarification needed] Those in favor of abolition of the poll tax considered a constitutional amendment after the 1946 defeat, but that idea did not advance either.[7]

The tenor of the debate changed in the 1940s. Southern politicians tried to shift the debate to Constitutional issue, but private correspondence indicates that black disenfranchisement was still the true concern. For instance, Mississippi Senator Theodore Bilbo declared, “If the poll tax bill passes, the next step will be an effort to remove the registration qualification, the educational qualification of Negroes. If that is done we will have no way of preventing the Negroes from voting.”[8] This fear explains why even Southern Senators from states that had abolished the poll tax still opposed the bill; they did not want to set a precedent that the federal government could interfere in state elections.

President Harry S. Truman established the President’s Committee on Civil Rights, which among other issues investigated the poll tax. Considering that opposition to federal poll tax regulation in 1948 was claimed as based on the Constitution, the Committee noted that a constitutional amendment might be the best way to proceed. Still, little occurred during the 1950s. Members of the anti-poll tax movement laid low during the anti-Communist frenzy of the period; some of the main proponents of poll tax abolition, such as Joseph Gelders and Vito Marcantonio, had been committed Marxists.[9]

President John F. Kennedy returned to this issue. His administration urged Congress to adopt and send such an amendment to the states for ratification. He considered the constitutional amendment the best way to avoid a filibuster, as the claim that federal abolition of the poll tax was unconstitutional would be moot. Still, some liberals opposed Kennedy’s action, feeling that an amendment would be too slow compared to legislation.[10]Spessard Holland, a conservative Democrat from Florida, introduced the amendment to the Senate. Holland opposed most civil rights legislation during his career,[11] and Kennedy’s gaining of his support helped splinter monolithic Southern opposition to the Amendment. Ratification of the amendment was relatively quick, taking slightly more than a year; it was rapidly ratified by state legislatures across the country from August 1962 to January 1964.

President Lyndon B. Johnson called the amendment a “triumph of liberty over restriction” and “a verification of people’s rights.”[12] States that maintained the poll tax were more reserved. Mississippi’s Attorney General, Joe Patterson, complained about the complexity of two sets of voters – those who paid their poll tax and could vote in all elections, and those who had not and could only vote in federal elections.[12] Additionally, non-payers of the poll tax could still be deterred by requirements that they register far in advance of the election and retain records of such registration.[13] States such as Alabama also exercised discrimination in the application of literacy tests.

Ratified amendment, 196264

Ratified amendment post-enactment, 1977, 1989, 2002, 2009

Rejected amendment

Didn’t ratify amendment

Congress proposed the Twenty-fourth Amendment on August 27, 1962.[14][15] The amendment was submitted to the states on September 24, 1962, after it passed with the requisite two-thirds majorities in the House and Senate.[12] The following states ratified the amendment:

Ratification was completed on January 23, 1964. The Georgia legislature did make a last-second attempt to be the 38th state to ratify. This was a surprise as “no Southern help could be expected”[13] for the amendment. The Georgia Senate quickly and unanimously passed it, but the House did not act in time.[12] Georgia’s ratification was apparently dropped after South Dakota’s ratification.

The amendment was subsequently ratified by the following states:

The amendment was specifically rejected by the following state:

The following states have not ratified the amendment:

Arkansas effectively repealed its poll tax for all elections with Amendment 51 to the Arkansas Constitution at the November 1964 general election, several months after this amendment was ratified. The poll-tax language was not completely stricken from its Constitution until Amendment 85 in 2008.[16] Of the five states originally affected by this amendment, Arkansas was the only one to repeal its poll tax; the other four retained their taxes until they were struck down in 1966 by the US Supreme Court decision in Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections (1966), which ruled poll taxes unconstitutional even for state elections. Federal district courts in Alabama and Texas, respectively, struck down their poll taxes less than two months before the Harper ruling was issued.

The state of Virginia accommodated the amendment by providing an “escape clause” to the poll tax. In lieu of paying the poll tax, a prospective voter could file paperwork to gain a certificate establishing a place of residence in Virginia. The papers would have to be filed six months in advance of voting and the voter had to provide a copy of certificate at the time of voting. This measure was expected to decrease the number of legal voters.[17] In the 1965 Supreme Court decision Harman v. Forssenius, the Court unanimously found such measures unconstitutional. It declared that for federal elections, “the poll tax is abolished absolutely as a prerequisite to voting, and no equivalent or milder substitute may be imposed.”[18]

While not directly related to the Twenty-fourth Amendment, the Supreme Court case Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections (1966) ruled that the poll tax was unconstitutional at every level, not just for federal elections. The Harper decision relied upon the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, rather than the Twenty-Fourth Amendment. As such, issues related to whether burdens on voting are equivalent to poll taxes in discriminatory effect have usually been litigated on Equal Protection grounds since.

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Twenty-fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution …

Michigan SEO Company Blog – SEO Link Building, SEO Services …

 SEO  Comments Off on Michigan SEO Company Blog – SEO Link Building, SEO Services …
Jan 192016
 

In 2013 search engine optimization continues to be one of the most cost effective ways to get potential customers to your small business website. The methods of taking advantage of SEO services are evolving however and you need to keep up with the best practices in order to build the most trust between your web site and the search engines. This article will act as a guide for small businesses to create the most cost effective and safe campaign. Follow this guide to gain free (also referred to as organic) web site traffic.

Get Friendly with Social Media

You have probably heard it before but you need to be using social media. Social media has many benefits including direct traffic referrals, building a community and brand awareness. As far as search engine optimization goes, social media is a must. Search engines have caught on to the popularity of social media and therefore placed social signals in their ranking algorithms.

A social signal is when someone interacts with your social media posts or page. Every social media site has a different method for interacting with one another. On Twitter you have hash tags and re-tweets, on Facebook there are likes, shares and comments. When you post a link to content on your business page directing them to your website and people interact with it that is a social signal.

Another SEO benefit of social media sites is that there are so many of them. By creating profiles on many of these sites you are connecting your site to them which will increase your authority. One caution however is that all the information on these profiles needs to be exactly the same. The information in input boxes does not need to be identical but should contain the same keywords. All the contact information including your name, address, phone number etc. does need to be identical however. If your competitors are doing this and you are not, that could be enough to put them ahead of you in the search results.

Learn to Link Internally

Internal linking and structure is a big deal that many web site owners have no idea about. You can do everything right but if you do not have proper internal linking on your site, then it could all be for nothing. Linking internally means linking to pages within your own website. The benefit of doing this is that it gives search engines a path to follow in order to find all the pages of your website. If they do not have this path, they may never be able to index the internal pages of your site. This is a method to help a common practice of having a Sitemap.

Also by using keyword anchor text from your home page you can pass along the authority of your home page to your internal pages thus making them easier to rank themselves. The best way to practice this internal link structure is to create a pyramid starting with your homepage. Plan out this pyramid on paper and how you intend to link to the lower pages, then take your plan to your web site and add the links.

Create a Blog and Use it

As a small business owner you are probably not excited to take on another task that needs to be done daily or every other day. However, blogging is one of the most important parts of the cost effectiveness of search engine optimization today.

Most small business seo web sites do not have much content on them because they were not intended to deliver much diverse information. Essentially, they are a larger business card that sits online for most. The idea of a small business web site is to convey the message of the company and contact potential customers. A blog gives you an opportunity to build as much content as you can. The benefit of this is great. First of all you will give search engines more pages to view thus building trust with them. Second you will have an opportunity to update your web site often. Updating your website often will cause search engines to view your website often too. This alone gives you yet another trust factor in the eyes of search engines. A website that is updated often means the owner is interested in the topic and invested in it. Also by updating, you will have a better chance at ranking for topics that are time sensitive.

By following these steps you will be practicing the most cost effective way to get new customers. These tactics are completely safe and will not draw any red flags from search engines. Take the time to practice these SEO tactics and you will be sure to see an increase in free traffic.

About the Author

Jas Saran is the founder of G Web Pro Marketing Inc, a Web Design and Small Business SEO Company in Toronto, specializing in a complete online marketing solutions.

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 Posted by at 3:31 pm  Tagged with:

Goldman Sachs Files Patent for Cryptocurrency System …

 Cryptocurrency  Comments Off on Goldman Sachs Files Patent for Cryptocurrency System …
Jan 182016
 

Goldman Sachs is seeking to create its own cryptocurrency for post-trade settlement, according to a recently released patent filing.

The cryptocurrency, called SETLcoin, would be the architecture behind a new securities settlement system for the banking giant that would reduce delays in the transfer of assets; the time between when the transaction is initiated and finalized can take days.

SETLcoin guarantees instant execution and settlement, according to the filing, submitted October 2014.

“As implemented by the described technology, a trader no longer trades securities by meeting at an exchange with an indication of cash for security and then settles the transaction meanwhile bearing all of the associated credit risk in the interim,” it says.

Goldman isn’t the first to patent its own cryptocurrency. Citi and Bank of New York Mellon have also created them, CitiCoin and BK Coins respectively, for internal testing of blockchain technology.

Banks have become increasingly interested in blockchain technology this year. Goldman Sachs was one of the inaugural members of the R3CEV consortium, which now has 30 members and is expected to announce more soon. That firm is developing a similar distributed ledger-based settlement platform with which its members can experiment.

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Goldman Sachs Files Patent for Cryptocurrency System …

 Posted by at 6:42 am  Tagged with:

Eugenics – Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Eugenics  Comments Off on Eugenics – Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jan 162016
 

Eugenics is a social and political philosophy. It tries to influence the way people choose to mate and raise children, with the aim of improving the human species.

Eugenics rests on some basic ideas. The first is that, in genetics, what is true of animals is also true of man. The characteristics of animals are passed on from one generation to the next in heredity, including mental characteristics. For example, the behaviour and mental characteristics of different breeds of dog differ, and all modern breeds are greatly changed from wolves.[1] The breeding and genetics of farm animals show that if the parents of the next generation are chosen, then that affects what offspring are born.

Negative eugenics aims to cut out traits that lead to suffering, by limiting people with the traits from reproducing. Positive eugenics aims to produce more healthy and intelligent humans, by persuading people with those traits to have more children.[2]p85 In the past, many ways were proposed for doing this, and even today eugenics means different things to different people. The idea of eugenics is controversial, because in the past it was sometimes used to justify discrimination and injustice against people who were thought to be genetically unhealthy or inferior.

Modern eugenics was first invented in 1865 by Sir Francis Galton, a British scientist who was the cousin of Charles Darwin.[3] Galton believed that intelligence and talent were hereditary and were passed from parent to their children. Based on this, he thought that people could be bred to be smarter, just like animals were bred to be larger or smaller. Galton thought the best way to do this was to learn more about heredity, and also to tell people that they should only marry people who were smart and strong. Galton chose the name “Eugenics” because it was very similar to the Greek for “well born”.

Galton developed the idea of eugenics throughout his life. He understood the two types of eugenics, positive and negative eugenics. One problem, which critics brought up, is the difficulty of agreeing on who is a healthy person, genetically speaking, and who is an inferior person. Obviously, opinions might differ.

The rediscovery of the scientific work of Gregor Mendel in 1900 led to modern genetics, and an understanding of how heredity worked. Mendel himself experimented on peas, and found that many characteristics of the pea plants, such as their colour or their height, could be turned on and off through heredity like a switch. For example, his peas could be either yellow or green, one or the other.

When applied to humans, people thought this meant that human characteristics, like being smart or not, could be influenced by heredity.

Another line of thought goes like this. During their evolution, humans were subject to natural selection like any other form of life. On average, healthy and intelligent people had a better chance of reproducing. In modern civilisation, however, it often seems that this process does not apply. Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Darwin had discussed this very point, with concern.[2]p70 In countries where statistics were collected, those statistics showed that in many cases the poor had more children than the rich. Also, statistics showed that the total population of some great nations was declining.[2]p73 One startling piece of information was produced by research directed by Karl Pearson, the Galton Professor of Eugenics at University College London, and the founder of the Department of Applied Statistics. The finding was that half of each succeeding generation was produced by no more than a quarter of the previous generation, and that quarter was “disproportionately located amongst the dregs of society”.[2]p74

The evolutionary biologist Julian Huxley was also a supporter of eugenics. He used this argument several times:

The American historian of science Garland Allen commented: “The agricultural analogy appears over and over again as it did in the writings of many American eugenicists”.[4]

Similarly, the American geneticist Charles Davenport was a lifelong promoter of eugenics, and wrote one of its first textbooks.[2][5][6]Chapter 3 There is no doubt of the support given to eugenics by professional scientists of undoubted repute.

In the United States, eugenics became a very popular idea in the early 20th century. People thought it would cure society of all of its problems at the time, like crime and poverty, because they thought that all aspects of human behavior were probably hereditary. Very important scientists and politicians supported eugenics, and most thought it was a very progressive and scientific philosophy.

But some of those who led the eugenics movement used it to justify racism and prejudice. They used eugenics as an excuse to pass laws which to restrict immigration from countries that they did not like, saying that the people in them were genetically “unfit”. They also passed laws which said that people of different races could not get married to one another. Most importantly, they passed laws which said that people who were thought to have mental illness or mental disability could be sterilised against their will. Under these laws over 60,000 people were sterilised in the United States between 1907 and the 1970s.

Today we know that interpreting statistics of this type is a complex business, and that many of the studies published early in the 20th century have serious flaws. Nevertheless, what stopped the eugenics movement was not better science. It was the realization, after World War II, of the effects of Nazi policies on race in Germany and other countries occupied during the war.[7] Such war crimes were not, of course, advocated by any eugenicist. All the same, there was a common theme. This theme was the growing interest in the rights of individuals as against the rights of the state.

With the end of the Second World War, forced sterilisation ended in Germany. It was continued in the United States until 1974. The main targets were at first those that were ill or that had some physical or mental disabilities. Later on, the focus shifted towards convicted criminals, as well as black people.

Only in 1985 was a law of the Swiss canton of Vaud abolished. This law allowed for the forced sterilisation of a certain group of people. It was replaced by a law on the national level, that tells under which circumstances people who are unable to consent, may be sterilised.

Though there are few people who openly advocate eugenics today, many people wonder what improvements in genetic technologies will mean in the future.

Genetic counselling exists, where parents can get information about their heredity and even prevent the birth of a child if it has a risk of hereditary illness. Some people do not think the issue is so clear, though, and wonder if genetic screening, genetic counselling, and birth control, are all just another type of eugenics. Some people wonder if it is bad because it infringes human dignity. Some people oppose eugenics and genetic counselling for religious reasons. The idea of eugenics is controversial today for these reasons.

Much of this concern is misplaced. Genetic counselling is not going to change the genetic composition of the human population to any noticeable extent. More relevant is the developing power to identify, and then to change directly, elements of the human genome (genetic engineering). This does have the potential to change the genetic structure of human populations.

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Eugenics – Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Liberty News Online

 Liberty  Comments Off on Liberty News Online
Jan 142016
 

HEADLINES USA :: Freedom and Liberty OREGON STANDOFF UPDATE: THE FEDERAL LAND TAKEOVER WAS PLANNED FOR MONTHS 01-14-2016 10:44 am – Carli Brosseau – The Oregonian It might have looked spontaneous, but the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge this month was part of a plan Ammon Bundy and a trusted associate developed largely in secret over the past two months. Bundy, the son of controversial Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, and Ryan Payne, a militia leader from Montana, came to believe that an armed occupation was the only way to bring Read more … View Image USA :: Politics STATE OF THE UNION: BALD FACED LIES 01-14-2016 7:47 am – Frosty Wooldridge My dad told me, Son, if you tell a lie, you must keep telling more lies to cover up your original lie. Soon, you cant remember a lie from the truth. When that happens, you stumble into your own lies until you lose respect from friends and colleagues. Once that happens, you never regain their respect. My dad continued, But if you tell the truth, it Read more … View Image USA :: Preparedness Info FIVE INTELLIGENCE ESSENTIALS FOR COMMUNITY SECURITY 01-14-2016 5:44 am – Sam Culper – Oath Keeper We as veterans are blessed. Not only can we say that we answered the call and served in our nations military (many of us at time of war), but we also received some of the best training the world has to offer. I enlisted as an aimless 20 year old, and military service instilled in me discipline and taught me a skill, as well as the Read more … View Image USA :: Politics DONALD TRUMP: OUR COUNTRY NEEDS MY ANGER 01-13-2016 6:58 pm – Lisa Hagen – The Hill Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump says South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is right that he is one of the angriest voices but Trump said thats a good thing for America. She is right. I am angry, and a lot of other people are angry too at how incompetently our country’s being run, Trump said Wednesday night on CNNs Erin Burnett Outfront. I dont care, let Read more … View Image Germany :: Politics MEMBERSHIP IN GERMAN RIGHT WING PARTY SURGES AFTER RAPE EPIDEMIC BY MUSLIM IMMIGRANTS 01-13-2016 6:50 pm – The Independent UK Germanys eurosceptic right-wing party has hit a new all-time high in the opinion polls as concern about migration rises in the country. Alternative for Germany (AfD) would take 11.5 per cent of the vote is a federal general election were held today, according to a poll for Bild magazine. The party is in third place after Angela Merkels CDU/CSU, who are on 35 per cent. The Read more … View Image USA :: Constitutional Issues STANDOFF IN OREGON CENTERS ON LAND OWNERSHIP AND CONTROL 01-13-2016 6:31 pm – John McManus – John Birch Society Understanding the resistance to federal agencies currently shown in headlines and newscasts nationwide should begin with a reading of the U.S. Constitution. A good look at the venerable document will lead to the conclusion that the federal governments numerous bureaus and agencies are illicitly controlling vast parcels of land, mostly in the 12 western states. They are doing so without constitutional authority. The amount of federal Read more … View Image Netherlands :: Radical Islam GIVE WOMEN THE RIGHT TO DEFEND THEMSELVES 01-13-2016 6:13 pm – Geert Wilders “Cultural enrichment” has brought us a new word: Taharrush. Remember it well, because we are going to have to deal with it a lot. Taharrush is the Arabic word for the phenomenon whereby women are encircled by groups of men and sexually harassed, assaulted, groped, raped. After the Cologne taharrush on New Year’s Eve, many German women bought pepper spray. Who can blame them? A culture Read more … View Image USA :: Constitutional Issues OBAMA WHITE HOUSE PROMISES A DICTATORIAL 2016 01-13-2016 5:35 pm – Wallace Judging by recent remarks from his chief of staff, President Barack Obamas last year in the White House is going to be a painful one for conservatives. White House chief of staff Denis McDonough told reporters this week to hold off on declaring Obama a lame duck just yet. According to the top official, 2016 is set to be a year of audacious executive action from Read more … View Image USA :: Media Bias AL JAZEERA AMERICA TO SHUT DOWN IN APRIL 2016 01-13-2016 11:56 am – Fox News Al Jazeera America, which went on the air in 2013 — and is partly funded by the ruling family of Qatar — announced Wednesday it is shutting down at the end of April, citing the “economic landscape of the media environment.” The network said in a statement that “Al Jazeera America will cease operation by April 30, 2016,” explaining that “while Al Jazeera America built a Read more … View Image USA :: Freedom and Liberty ATF STILL SQUANDERING RESOURCES AND PADDING NUMBERS EVEN AFTER ‘FAST AND FURIOUS’ SCANDAL 01-13-2016 9:33 am – David Codrea – Oath Keepers Part of Obamas executive action overreach on guns involves an increased role for ATF. In order to make that happen, his 2017 budget include[s] funding for 200 new ATF agents and investigators. They just dont have enough money. Before that the excuse was they just didnt have a permanent director. That the corruption and incompetence continued and expended under the management of B. Todd Jones, and Read more … View Image USA :: Freedom and Liberty IT’S TIME FOR AMERICA TO GET UP OFF THE MAT 01-13-2016 9:16 am – Michael Savage In todays issue: Dr. Savage recalled some of the wisdom he gleaned from his years growing up in New York City that apply to the nations current, dire political and social situation. One particular source of wisdom was the owner of a bar on New Yorks Upper East Side with whom Savage and some of his middle-school aged friends would hang around. This guy was a Read more … View Image USA :: Economy U.S. ECONOMIC POLICY NEEDS A RESET 01-13-2016 4:17 am – Jason D. Meister – Fox Business News With a new year underway and the Obama administration winding down we now focus on the 2016 election. Primaries are just around the corner and will set the tone for the New Year as the race for the White House heats up. This week FOX Business Network will host the sixth Republican presidential primary debate in North Charleston South Carolina just two days after President Obama Read more … View Image USA :: Immigration Issues IT’S TIME TO END CHAIN MIGRATION INTO THE USA 01-12-2016 9:16 am – Numbers USA Chain Migration refers to the endless chains of foreign nationals who are allowed to immigrate because citizens and lawful permanent residents are allowed to bring in their non-nuclear family members. Chain Migration is the primary mechanism that has caused legal immigration in this country to quadruple from about 250,000 per year in the 1950s and 1960s to more than 1 million annually since 1990. As such, Read more … View Image USA :: Freedom and Liberty BULDOZING MONUMENTS AND THE WAR ON AMERICAN HISTORY 01-12-2016 9:05 am – Jarret Stepman – Breitbart.com On December 17, the New Orleans City Council voted to remove four Confederate statues from the city, using obscure nuisance laws to strip these over 100-year-old historic monuments from their places of display. Mayor Mitch Landrieu said it was a courageous decision to turn a page on our divisive past and chart the course for a more inclusive future. Of course, the plan to remove the Read more … View Image Worldwide :: Radical Islam WHY ARE WESTERN LEADERS SELLOUTS TO ISLAM? 01-11-2016 7:28 pm – Nonie Darwish Is someone holding a gun to the heads of Western politicians, forcing them to state immediately after every Muslim terror attack that Islam has nothing whatsoever to do with terror? Who cares about whether Islam has or has not something to do with terror? The only people who care about Islams reputation are the so-called moderate Muslims who have been making excuses for jihad terror, and Read more … View Image USA :: Immigration Issues REPORT: THE U.N. – NOT THE U.S. GOVT – MAKES FIRST DECISION ABOUT WHICH MUSLIM REFUGEES CAN COME TO AMERICA 01-11-2016 7:20 pm – Leah Barkoukis – Town Hall If Americans were already concerned about the U.S.s vetting process for Syrian refugees, theyre really not going to like to hear what a new report says about how those refugees are initially selected in the first place. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, the U.S. relies on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to make first selections about who has the potential to come Read more … View Image Germany :: Radical Islam GERMAN CITIZENS PROTEST AGAINST MUSLIM REFUGEES AND VIGILANTES ATTACK SOME MUSLIM REFUGEES 01-11-2016 7:07 pm – Daily Mail UK Thousands of protesters have waved anti-migrants signs and xenophobic flags in the eastern German city of Leipzig as they demonstrated against a record refugee influx they blamed for sexual violence at New Year’s Eve events in Cologne. The rally was organised by LEGIDA, the local chapter of xenophobic group PEGIDA, the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident. Many chanted ‘We are the people’, ‘Resistance!’ Read more … View Image USA :: Freedom and Liberty OREGON STANDOFF UPDATE: THREE PERCENTERS – OATH KEEPERS AND OTHERS TRY TO MEDIATE SITUATION 01-11-2016 6:39 pm – Pacific Patriots Network Pacific Patriots Network and affiliates (Idaho and Oregon III%, Josephine county Oath Keepers, and others), made a showing of presence today at the Malheur wildlife refuge. Due to threats to members of our network and local residents, and as a deterrent to fringe groups that may have malicious intent, we arrived at the refuge in numbers, with our security teams openly armed and in full kit Read more … View Image USA :: Criminal Acts REPORT: FBI HAS ENOUGH EVIDENCE TO PROSECUTE HILLARY CLINTON FOR PUBLIC CORRUPTION 01-11-2016 6:26 pm – John Sexton – Breitbart An investigation into possible mishandling of classified information on Hillary Clintons private email server has expanded to consider whether Clintons work as Secretary overlapped with her work for the Clinton Foundation run by her family. Fox News Catherine Herridge published the report, citing unnamed FBI sources, Monday morning. The report indicates the initial security referral looking into whether or not classified information was mishandled has expanded Read more … View Image USA :: Immigration Issues GENOCIDE OF AMERICA: A REFUGEE IMMIGRANT INVASION 01-11-2016 11:41 am – Frosty Wooldridge Over New Years, the British Broadcasting Company reported that African-Syrian refugees sexually attacked 1,0000 German women. Even CBS News reported the attacks this past Sunday night, January 10, 2015! On Saturday night, a Muslim gunman screamed praises to Allah in Philadelphia as he shot 12 rounds into a police car at an intersection in praise of the Islamic State. Miraculously, the officer survived. Whether its San Read more … View Image USA :: Gun Control DONALD TRUMP ENDORSES GRANNY OAKLEY 01-11-2016 3:57 am – Howie Carr – Boston Herald Shes Barack Obamas worst nightmare a law-abiding, self-supporting, pistol-packing, Donald Trump-supporting granny who defended herself against a jailbird mugging suspect by shooting him in the chest. Call her Granny Oakley or Dirty Harriet she answers to either name. What matters is how she handled herself late Monday night as she returned home from working the night shift to her apartment in Manchester, N.H. The Read more … View Image Worldwide :: New World Order – UN REPORT: BARACK OBAMA WANTS TO BE THE NEXT SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS 01-11-2016 3:50 am – Leah Barkoukis – Town Hall It seems President Obama has no intention of stepping out of the White House and fading from the limelight. No, hes got his sights set on the world stagethis time as secretary general of the United Nations, according to Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida. But not all world leaders are keen to see this come to fruition, including first and foremost, Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu. The Washington Times Read more … View Image Sweden :: Radical Islam MUSLIM RAPE EPIDEMIC: SWEDEN SHOCKED AGAIN AFTER WOMAN ‘RAPED TO DEATH’ BY SOMALI MUSLIM IMMIGRANT 01-10-2016 6:30 pm – MSFP News A 34 year old immigrant from Somalia was arrested for savagely attacking a woman in the parking garage of a Sheraton hotel in Sweden. The woman died while being raped. Police say the perpetrator continued to rape the womans corpse well after she had died. Swedens politicians dont care about their own people. Rather than being concerned and focus on the shocking violent crime and rape Read more … View Image USA :: Politics HOW MANY DEMOCRATS DO YOU SUPPOSE WOULD VOTE FOR DONALD TRUMP? SEE THE NEW POLL NUMBERS 01-10-2016 5:59 pm – The Blaze Nearly one in five Democrats almost 20 percent said they would switch sides and vote for Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, according to a new poll. And even though the poll shows 14 percent of Republicans say they would vote for Hillary Clinton, a much greater percentage of Democratic voters say theyre 100 percent sure of going for Trump than their Republican counterparts. U.S. Read more … View Image USA :: Gun Control WHY ARE LIBERALS SO STUPID ABOUT GUNS? 01-10-2016 11:33 am – Tim Dunkin Any normal, reasonably intelligent person who has ever had a conversation with a liberal about guns, gun control, or any related topic has probably asked himself or herself this very question. I realize that the title for this article could easily leave off the last two words, but because I want to write an article instead of a book, I will confine myself to answering the Read more … View Image

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Astronomy – Star Gazing in Northern New Jersey

 Astronomy  Comments Off on Astronomy – Star Gazing in Northern New Jersey
Jan 112016
 

For thousands of years people have looked up at night into the void of outer space and gazed at the stars and planets.

In Northern New Jersey there are quite a few of these people as evidenced by the number of amateur astronomy clubs. With a current star chart and a good cloudless night, anyone can begin learning about the universe we live in. A star chart for your area can be found on the Internet or in your local paper. The New York Times publishes a star chart weekly in the Sunday edition that is good for the following week. Binoculars are an excellent next step for beginners who then may move on to a telescope.

In 2002 and 2003, a good subject for observation is Saturn. New Jersey and the rest of the Northern Hemisphere is tilted toward Saturn where it is high above the horizon, buildings and trees. Saturn’s light is passing though the least amount of atmosphere creating the perfect conditions for viewing. Last year, Mars, named for the Roman god of war, was prominent in the sky. Now Saturn, the bringer of wisdom, rules the night sky. Saturn has the most moons of any planet with more than twenty and was one of the first objects observed by Galileo through the newly invented telescope in 1610.

To Galileo, Saturn’s unusual shape presented a mystery until another astronomer, Christiaan Huygens, correctly identified Saturn as a sphere with disc-like rings around it. The space between the outermost and the inner ring is called the Cassini Division which was discovered in 1676. The spacecraft Pioneer 11 and Voyager 2 visited Saturn between 1979 and 1981. The Cassini-Huygens Satellite is on it’s way to Saturn and it’s moon Titan to begin orbiting Saturn on July 1, 2004.

The time Saturn takes to go once around the sun, a Saturn year, is a little more than 29 Earth years. The last time Saturn and it’s rings were in the same position was 1972. During the mid to late 1980’s, Saturn was very low in the sky and viewing was diminished by the haze of the Earth’s atmosphere.

This year, the Earth will be the closest to Saturn since 1975. The rings change their tilt because Saturn’s axis, like Earth, is tilted at an angle to the sun. The rings in the current position clearly display the Cassini Division. As Saturn orbits the sun, the tilt causes it to have different seasons similar to what happens one Earth. This change is evidenced by the position of the rings. In the time lapse images above, the Hubble Space Telescope recorded this change over a five year period beginning in 1996 and continuing to the year 2000.

False color image of Saturn using the Hubble Space Telescope’s Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS), April 23, 1998.

This chart shows the predicted sky conditions for the next two days, cloudy or clear for astronomical viewing in Wawayanda State Park in West Milford, New Jersey. Each block represents the hour of day with the day and time below. The white areas represent overcast skies, light blue or indigo colored areas are partially covered skies, dark blue zones are clear skies. The “tran” is the transparency forecast of the atmosphere calculated by the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. Click on the graphic for more details.

Current Weather at Morristown, New Jersey

updated: 532 AM EST MON JAN 11 2016

TODAY

TONIGHT

TUESDAY

TUESDAY NIGHT

WEDNESDAY

Rockland Astronomy Club – Rockland, New York UACNJ Observatory and Educational Center – Jenny Jump State Forest, Warren County, NJ. New Jersey Astronomical Association Observatory – High Bridge, New Jersey Morris Museum Astronomical Society – Morristown, New Jersey

Jack Horkheimer Star Gazer International Edition – Seen on PBS stations throughout North America and Internationally via satellite, the world’s first and only weekly TV series on naked eye astronomy produced in cooperation with Miami Museum of Science and Space Transit Planetarium.

Lord of the Rings , Richard Tresch Fienberg, Sky and Telescope, February 12, 2002

sources

– Saturn Images are courtesy of the Space Telescope Science Institute, NASA, infrared image: Erich Karkoschka (University of Arizona), seasons images: R.G. French (Wellesley College), J. Cuzzi (NASA/Ames), L. Dones (SwRI), and J. Lissauer (NASA/Ames).

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Astronomy – Star Gazing in Northern New Jersey

Adoption History: Eugenics – University of Oregon

 Eugenics  Comments Off on Adoption History: Eugenics – University of Oregon
Jan 112016
 

Worries about the bad blood of children available for adoption were a prominent feature of the adoption landscape during the first four decades of the twentieth century. They help to explain why most child welfare professionals favored family preservation over adoption. At the time, a vigorous eugenics movement sought to control the reproduction of genetically inferior people through sterilization (called negative eugenics) and encourage the reproduction of genetically superior people (called positive eugenics). The movement drew support from Americans of all political persuasions. Henry Chapin, a famous pediatrician whose wife, Alice, founded one of the first specialized adoption agencies, claimed that the divergent fertility rates of rich and poor were fueling the demand for adoptable babies because citizens with better genetic endowment were more likely to suffer from infertility. For Chapin, eugenic factors always mattered in adoption. Not babies merely, but better babies, are wanted.

Fears about childrens quality or stock were shared by ordinary people as well as professionals and policy-makers. In 1928, one couple wrote to the U.S. Childrens Bureau, We are very anxious to adopt a baby but would like to get one that we know about its parentage. Are there any homes or orphanages where a person can find out whether there is insanity, fits, or other hereditary diseases in its ancestors? We would like to have one from Christian parentage. In addition to religious preferences, specifications for gender, racial, ethnic, and national qualities in children illustrated popular ideas about heredity. Physical health, mental health, criminality, educability, sexual morality, intelligence, and temperament were all associated with blood.

Before 1940, eugenic concerns were expressed frequently and bluntly. Henry Herbert Goddard, a national authority on feeble-minded children, insisted that compassion for needy children was shortsighted because adoption was a crime against those yet unborn. The eugenic threat adoption posed, according to Goddard, was directly tied to illegitimacy. Unmarried mothers were likely to be feeble-minded themselves and have feeble-minded children whose adoptions would contaminate the gene pool by reproducing future generations of defectives. Goddard advocated segregating these children and adults in benevolent institutions, where their dangerous sexuality could be contained.

Even professionals who believed in making adoption work believed that it was a social crime to place inferior children with parents who expectedand deservednormal children. Agencies sometimes required parents to return children if and when abnormal characteristics appeared and laws, such as the Minnesota Adoption Law of 1917, treated feeble-mindedness as cause for annulment. Medical writers in the popular press warned parents to be careful whom you adopt. Adopters faced frightening risks because children unlucky enough to need new parents were also unlucky enough to be genetic lemons.

Tragic stories of unregulated adoptions which ignored or overlooked the hard facts of bad heredity were publicized by reformers determined to institute minimum standards and protect couples from their own foolish desires to adopt newborns and infants. Professionals used mental tests and other assessment techniques to reveal hard-to-detect problems. Elaborate genealogies, extending well beyond parents to grandparents and other natal relatives, were considered evidence of thoroughness in child placement. Case records showed that many social workers expected anti-social behavior of all kinds to be passed intergenerationally from birth parents to children. Nature-nurture studies often reflected eugenic convictions about the heritability of intelligence and tried to establish scientifically the maximum tolerable gap between hereditary background and adoptive home.

Many people believe that eugenics disappeared in America after the specter of Nazism made eugenics synonymous with racism and genocide. While public discussion of taint and degeneration certainly decreased after World War II, blood and biology remained central themes in adoption history. Anxieties about miscegenation in transracial adoptions and international adoptions, as well as strenuous efforts to make racial predictions and offer genetic counseling in cases of mixed-race infants illustrate that eugenics did not disappear so much as change into a less aggressive, more polite form.

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Adoption History: Eugenics – University of Oregon




Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution | Transhumanism