Questions About Genocide

November 16, 2014

Periodically, the question of genocide resurfaces. What is genocide? I believe that it is quite a bit like all obscenity. A famous American judge, speaking about the latter, quipped that he knew it, when he saw it.

A problem with genocide is that mass homicidal violence can be perfectly justified. By this I mean that there are cases, in history, where it looks as if it were justified.

The vast coalition which exterminated the Assyrian empire seems to be a case in point. The vigorous way with which Charlemagne annihilated Saxon power in Northern Germany (deporting part of the population in South-West France, among other feats), is another example. The Saxons had stood in the way of civilization for centuries, when not eradicating it outright, after landing in Britannia. Charlemagne’s view was that, after trying everything else, deportation was in order.

A Cherokee Born Long After The Trail Of Tears

A Cherokee Born Long After The Trail Of Tears

A recent example of massive violence to save us from unfathomable evil was the defense against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in WWII.

A number of philosopher have struggled mightily, splitting hair to define genocide. Examples are found in Scientia Salon.

Trying to find a general definition of genocide is best done through examples: by kidnapping their children, did Australia commit genocide against the Natives in the 1960s genocide? According to the United Nations definition, it did. Or was that just a good gesture to give those children a chance?

Was what the USA do to American First Peoples genocide? If so, are there mental structures in the American psyche deriving from that?

Did the invasion of America by Europeans constitute genocide, and, if so, was the genocidal aspect necessary? Otherwise asked, was the genocidal English American invasion model superior to the French “Mission Civilisatrice” in Canada? And if so, in which sense?

Studying particular examples informs the general definition. In mathematics, physics, law, or ethics.

Exterminating the most spectacular aspects of the Aztec civilization was certainly culturocide, and, according to some, all too broad, definitions, would also constitute genocide.

In general stamping out a nasty religion, such as the Punic, Celtic, or Aztec, does not constitute genocide, just well-deserved ethical cleansing. Nobody is crying because we don’t conduct human sacrifices, Celtic, Punic, or Aztec style.

The Roman civilizing principle was that religions requiring human sacrifices ought to be obliterated. Everybody agrees (so why is Abraham, the would-be child killer, so popular?)

However, extermination of 15/16 of the Aztec population, including its leaders and thinkers, certainly constituted genocide (although how it happened was not clear: immunity was partly at fault). After a spectacular trial instigated by rancher cum adventurer and bishop Las Casas, the highest authority in Spain and the Roman Empire, Charles Quint, decided to stop the Conquista.

Revenge and exemplary killing do not constitute genocide: they may be viewed as measures to prevent future genocide, by telling future perpetrators that they could not get away with it.

An example is the 40,000 collaborators executed by France in 1944, and thereafter. Although they all got justice, as deserved, some of this justice was express justice, as deserved.

On the other hand, the behavior of Stalin in Ukraine in the 1930s, or Putin in Chechenia around 2000, seems to fit the definition of genocide. The latter case is an example where a bad man and his collaborators (say the French actor Depardieu) could be put under public disapprobation (Depardieu actually owns property in Chechenia: does that make him an accomplice of genocide, and a violator of the Fourth Geneva Convention?)

And the awkward questions keep on coming: when a nation commits genocide (say Turkey with Armenians) do other nations which conduct business with it become accomplices of said genocide?

The question of the Kurds also surfaces: by cutting Kurdistan into little pieces thrown to the four winds, did colonial powers become accomplice of conditions conducive of genocide against the Kurds?

The genocide of the Jews in World War Two was a mix of the deliberately vicious (Zonderkommandos, as early as June 1941), and deliberate happenstance (famine in 1945). The latter means that one should include in the will to genocide, the will to create such circumstances that cause in turn genocide.

The Nazis knew they were going to go extinct, in 1945. However, consumed by rage, but still full of desire to escape their well-deserved punishment, they remembered the “Trail Of Tears”.

The government of the USA had deported the Cherokee, Muscogee, Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations, among others, exterminating many in the process. One third of the Cherokees died.

Thus the Nazis decided to force march all concentration camps inmates they did not outright assassinated in a rush. Their hope was that hundreds of thousands, if not millions of these embarrassing witnesses and hated subhumans, would died. They did.

Rwanda’s Kagame is a modern example of that: after having shot down the Rwandan and Burundi presidents, or stealing through proxies the wealth of Congo, he deliberately created conditions for the evil spirits of genocide to raise.

A crime should be defined: endeavor conducive to genocide.

We need to refine our analysis not just of facts but mental plays on the fragile condition of the human spirit. This is true not just for genocide, but for war in general.

Patrice Ayme’

Shocking Arabophilia?

November 15, 2014

I do believe that there is such a thing as a superior culture, incarnated by a superior society, causing superior civilization, organized as a superior state, defended with superior skills at war. All great civilizations shared in that primary certainty: the very ancient Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Chinese, the Franks… And the Europeans, up to a recent time.

This chain of superiority is not just a belief, it has to be a requirement: when the culture fails, so, in the end, does the society, crushed by plutocracy, and then so do military defenses. That argument was made by a Mongol general to the Caliph in Bagdad, shortly before crushing him, and his family, under a carpet, with horses.

Al-Khwarizmi In Bagdad’s House Of Wisdom, Yet Not An Arab

Al-Khwarizmi In Bagdad’s House Of Wisdom, Yet Not An Arab

Here I was, enjoying the company of three superbly French fluent American girls. For some reason I forgot, the conversation veered to the French and American educational systems. I said they used to be the best, and are now going down. (See the PISA, UNESCO ratings.)

OK, as usual my conversational skills are tuned to make a good situation bad, and a bad one, worse. Something about me loving to pierce deeply the human soul with thought torpedoes. Indeed those smart and bilingual girls are enrolled in the one and only public high school in a city viewed in many places as an apex of intellect.

I added somberly that this degeneracy is particularly striking in the case of France. After all, the Franks, and then the French, were at the apex of civilization for more than 15 centuries. Education was made mandatory by the Carolingians in mid-Eight Century (before Charlemagne… whose father was strangely derelict by not teaching him how to read; but that’s another plot.)

If I expected a favorable audience. A rude surprise came my way.

I was told: ”What are you talking about?”

Well, I insisted, you know, even the USA, in more than one way, descends directly from France. After all the Franks of “Francia” not only conquered most of Europe, including Britain. They imprinted their superior Frank civilization on all of Europe. You know, Charlemagne “renovated” the “Roman empire”…

Those nice, well educated, polite girls fell on me. I had not taken the appropriate classes. They just did. Europe, the Franks, etc., were not the superior civilization. The Arabs were. The Arabs were the superior civilization, they invented all what mattered, while Europe lived in savagery.

The Arabs “invented everything, all the mathematics, the science, even the numbers and the zero. We just learned it at school.”…

“Learned it at school?” I felt like asking them if one of their professors was called Osama bin Laden Junior.

As they already looked at me as if I were an unreconstructed racist loony just emerging from a swamp somewhere in the company of a few dinosaurs, I did not try the flippant side.

Instead I asked whether they knew that, under the Arabs all women lived in slavery, and the Caliphs were obsessive about marrying Greco-Roman princesses or slaves (presumably because Arab women, having been enslaves abused and mistreated from birth were of insufficient quality; one does not imagine European lords desperate to acquire Arab slaves to marry them! Yet, that’s exactly what Arab worthies were doing; a lot of the business of Venice consisted in ferrying slaves picked-up in what is now Ukraine, and sell them to Arabs; Frankish law did not forbid that trade).

I told those students that the Greeks invented the zero, and part of the numeral system we used today. However blocked by the arrogance of Euclid, contempt for traders (who used a part modernized numeral system), and increasing fascism, the nascent numeral system was exported to India, where it was fully developed.

It’s true that Constantinople theocratic fascism had led many Roman intellectuals and their books to flee to Zoroastrian Persia. When Persia fell to the ISLAMIC STATE (no kidding!), the invading Arabs found themselves in command of many intellectuals and books (plus tens of millions of Christians, Zoroastrians, and Jews).

The Arab army conquered with unbelievable success and savagery (killing the wounded, and all military age men throughout Syria, which was very rich, and Roman Catholic). The parts of the world it had acquired possession of, Egypt, the Fertile Crescent, Persia, were, at the time, the richest (because of superior agricultural production, irrigation, and, well, civilization). Fundamentalist Islam was going to durably spoil the soup.

So did the “Arabs” invent lots of things during the Middle Ages?

Well, if you are ready to call Spaniards, North Africans, Persians, Kurds, Turks and Jews “Arabs”, they sure did.

Now, of course, if one goes to North Africa, many people call themselves “Arabs”. So it is, for example, in Algeria. However, genetic studies show that Algerians are European with 1% of Arab genes (one probably would get similar results in France… As France was partly occupied for decades in the Eight Century by the main armies from Arabia… Amusingly, because these armies were busy getting killed in France, they were NOT in North Africa…).

The girls objected that the Church killed all intellectuals in Europe. Was not Copernic killed? Was not Galileo killed, or put in jail, or something?

The truth is horrifying: Copernic was not only not killed by the Church, but he was an Abbot. He died in his bed, clutching his book, dedicated to… the Pope (that the book was plagiarized from Buridan, and that Copernic removed the thanks to Aristarchus of Samos for having invented the idea, were probably subtle maneuvers of Abbot Copernic to circumvent the crusade of the Church against the hyper genius Buridanus… Who had proven Aristotle wrong, thus was an enemy of the Church!)

Galileo Galilei was best friend to the Pope (from when they were kids). Yet they got into a tiff about the tides. Galileo was wrong, but he pulled rank, as a university professor, on the Pope, telling him he did not know what he was talking about. This goes a long way to explain why Galileo ended his life confined by law to his mansion.

Make no mistake: the Church assassinated a number of thinkers.

However, overall, intellectuals fared much worse under Islam.

You see, Muhammad was a bandit, a raider, a war chief, the head of state, a prophet, and the head of Islam all at the same time. His “successors” (“Caliphs”) were supposed to be the same: head of state, and head of the state at the same time.

The relationship of the Christian Church with the state was different in the West. First, for nearly three centuries, it was viewed as an enemy of the state (as Christian officers refused to take the military oath of obedience, and Christians had made the Church into secretive, paramilitary organization). Then Roman emperors, from Constantine to Theodosius saw they could use it to their advantage, and made “Orthodox Catholicism” into the official religion.

This led to disaster.

Basically, the problem of the Late Empire was barbarity, and plutocracy running out of control. Christianity, with its insistence on non-violence, and that this city was not worth saving, made the problem worse, and the plutocrats loved it.

In the end, after two centuries of this increasing mess, the Franks took control, and remade Christianity, and an armada of saints they invented, to reflect their own secular humanism, cynically founded as the shock part of the Roman army, ever since Constantine.

Yet Church and State became completely separated.

The Frankish state principles, freedom, tolerance, secularism, mitigated plutocracy, outlawing of slavery, became the founding principles of Western civilization.

How come none of this is taught?

And if the “Arabs” invented something, then, what is it?

Arabic numbers? Well not really. The first work in the West (meaning west of India) on the modern number system is Al-Khwarizmi‘s On the Calculation with Hindu Numerals (ca. 825).

The author, a famous thinker and mathematician was born in Eastern Greater Iran, now called Uzbekistan.

As I projected my flow of knowledge their way, far from being awed the little girls started to look at me as if they had met the Devil incarnate. One brandished Sumer.

Yes, Sumer. Sumerian cities (partly) invented many ideas at the root of civilization, including the bicameral system, and the alphabet (in collaboration with mathematically refined, inventive Egypt).

Yet, Sumerian cities have little to do with the nefarious ideology which has oppressed the Middle East for most of the last 14 centuries. Quite the opposite.

Meanwhile, in Canada, a university professor is in jail. French justice is after him for taking part in an act of terrorism which killed 4 people in Paris… 34 (thirty-four) years ago. Those people did not just happen to be Jewish, they were targeted, because they were Jewish (there is no prescription for Crimes Against Humanity; killing people because of whom they are, instead of what they did, is a Crime Against Humanity).

Canada agreed to extradite him to France. Canada, and the rest of the Anglosphere is becoming more aware of the vicious thought and mood system emanating from the (literally interpreted) Qur’an.

If no one is here to fight for civilization, it will die. It starts by calling the Barbarians barbarian, as the Greeks pointed out.

Teaching little girls that Francia was nothing and Arabia everything in the way of thinking, is uprooting their roots. It’s even uprooting the roots of civilization.

One can teach parrots French. One cannot teach parrots civilization. Time to treat young human beings with the dignity of truth, to help raise them above the status of parrots. It starts with the reality of history.

Patrice Ayme’

The (Ongoing) Evolution of Evolutionary Theory

November 14, 2014

Patrice Ayme:

The last two essays on Biological Evolution, the fruits of decades of meditation, were proximally suggested by an essay from Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher and biologist (PhD genetics) initially from Italy and now, armed with a PhD in Philosophy (PhDPh?) from the USA, a professor at CUNY.

I thought Massimo unfortunately engaged in the usual Anglosphere trick of attributing the scientific establishment of Biological Evolution to Darwin, not Lamarck. This is fraught with numerous pitfalls, and adverse consequences, not the least of which being that Evolution deniers are thick on the ground in the USA.

Indeed reducing the Evolution debate to Darwin and a handful of finches, is all too reductive. Reductive to the point of eschewing most of the debate on evolution, as I tried to explain in the preceding two essays.

Lamarck established the Foundations of Evolution, and demonstrated, first of all, that it happened. And that it happened over eons.

Darwin and other made more explicit Evolution through natural selection (which is implicit in Lamarck, who, obviously considered it self-evident from what he described).

“Do we not therefore perceive that by the action of the laws of organization . . . nature has in favorable times, places, and climates multiplied her first germs of animality, given place to developments of their organizations, . . . and increased and diversified their organs? Then. . . aided by much time and by a slow but constant diversity of circumstances, she has gradually brought about in this respect the state of things which we now observe. How grand is this consideration, and especially how remote is it from all that is generally thought on this subject!”
[Text of a lecture given by Lamarck at the Musée National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, May 1803.]

Lamarck was 57 years old when in 1801 he published his book, “The Inheritance Of Acquired Traits.”

This traits would now be called, genes, somas, prions, transposons, alleles, plasmids, and all what we have not discovered yet…

How these inherited traits are “acquired” is not clear to this day.

In recent decades, it became clear that the situation was at least as complicated as Lamarck had described it, and that the so-called “Neo-Darwinist” oversimplification of the 1960s was a grave error (ironically Darwin was on Lamarck’s side, as he tried to prove “pangenesis”! Pangenesis is pretty much a proven fact now!).

I will suggest in further essays of few more paradoxes and perspectives. Or how strict “Darwinism” contained the germ of its own de-selection as not the fittest theory.

Meanwhile, let Massimo describes it as he sees it!
Patrice Ayme’

Originally posted on Scientia Salon:

41J0nOguz-L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_by Massimo Pigliucci

Nature magazine recently ran a “point-counterpoint” entitled “Does evolutionary theory need a rethink?” [1] Arguing for the “Yes, urgently” side were Kevin Laland, Tobias Uller, Marc Feldman, Kim Sterelny, Gerd B. Müller, Armin Moczek, Eva Jablonka, and John Odling-Smee. Arguing for the “No, all is well” thesis were Gregory A. Wray, Hopi E. Hoekstra, Douglas J. Futuyma, Richard E. Lenski, Trudy F. C. Mackay, Dolph Schluter, and Joan E. Strassmann.

That’s a good number of top notch evolutionary biologists, colleagues that I very much respect, on both sides of the aisle. My own allegiances have been made clear in a number of papers [2] and a co-edited book [3]. I have been arguing for some time now for what I consider the moderate-yes side of the debate: yes, evolutionary theory does need (and is, in fact, getting) an update, but that update is yet another expansion along…

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Evolution Scientifically Established Before Darwin’s Birth

November 13, 2014

English speaking authorities found a master thinker, Darwin, He created evolution. Charles Darwin is the messiah of evolution. Any critique of this miracle, this shattering of ill preconceptions, is labelled “postmodernist”, and no doubt arises noxiously from a gross lack of non-appurtenance to the church of righteous thinking (prestigious, well-paid American academia). Or then is to be attributed to the hysterical nationalism of the French.

This roughly summarize some of the critiques American professors have made of my “Lamarck Discovered Evolution” essay. It is typical.

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck Scientifically Established Evolution By 1800

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck Scientifically Established Evolution By 1800

Paradoxically, this scornful attitude comforts religious creationism.

Why? Making Darwin into what he was not, a snow capped giant towering above a sea of error, is all too close to the terror of the religious mindset. Making Darwin into God, neglects the evolution of ideas, the giant collaborative reasoning that is science. It reintroduce the concept of the prophet: everybody got it all wrong, before, then comes miracle man, Darwin. Miraculously speaking English.

So why not Jesus for miracle man?

Or why not Muhammad? Hey, Muhammad spoke Arabic, which is obviously the language of God.

The scientists who claim Darwin did it all, are lying. Lying because they have not integrated the scientific method, and do not know how truth is established historiographically is the worst possible case.

Most of the ideas demonstrating that there had been “biological evolution” were evolved before Darwin.

The truth is that Darwin was astounded by the audacity of several of his professors who praised ‘Mr. Lamarck” for having shown how life had “evolved” from “simple worms”.

Darwin’s publications came in a full century after evolution started to be established scientifically.

Buffon introduced the idea that migration caused speciation. He illustrated this with pachyderms.

Augier introduced the “Tree of Life”, then much improved by Lamarck. Lamarck’s Tree was much more specific than the general idea that all species came from fishes (Pre-Socratic philosophers).

Lamarck had spent decades looking at life and fossils through a microscope, and he demonstrated that life had evolved over millions of years, by documenting in extreme, microscopic details the evolution of mollusks.

The great geologist Lyell got a copy of one of Lamarck’s books from a friend in 1827. He wrote back:

“I devoured Lamark… his theories delighted me… I am glad that he has been courageous enough and logical enough to admit that his argument, if pushed as far as it must go, if worth anything, would prove that men may have come from the Ourang-Outang. But after all, what changes species may really undergo!… That the Earth is quite as old as he supposes, has long been my creed…”

However, Lyell, a close friend of Darwin and Huxley, rejected evolution when he was a professor at the prestigious King’s College, London.

Lyell explained in a letter to Whewell in 1837:

“If I had stated… the possibility of the introduction or origination of fresh species being a natural, in contradistinction to a miraculous process, I should have raised a host of prejudices against me, which are unfortunately opposed at every step to any philosopher who attempts to address the public on these mysterious subjects”

When finally Lyell endorsed evolution, he endorsed Lamarck. Darwin’s daughter Henrietta (Etty) wrote to her father: “Is it fair that Lyell always calls your theory a modification of Lamarck’s?”

No wonder. Darwin revisited Lamarck’s example of the giraffe, with more details:

“The giraffe, by its lofty stature, much elongated neck, fore-legs, head and tongue, has its whole frame beautifully adapted for browsing on the higher branches of trees. It can thus obtain food beyond the reach of the other Ungulata or hoofed animals inhabiting the same country; and this must be a great advantage to it during dearths…. Those individuals which had some one part or several parts of their bodies rather more elongated than usual, would generally have survived. These will have intercrossed and left offspring, either inheriting the same bodily peculiarities, or with a tendency to vary again in the same manner; whilst the individuals, less favoured in the same respects will have been the most liable to perish…. By this process long-continued, which exactly corresponds with what I have called unconscious selection by man, combined no doubt in a most important manner with the inherited effects of the increased use of parts, it seems to me almost certain that an ordinary hoofed quadruped might be converted into a giraffe.” (Darwin 1872. Sixth edition of his seminal book, Origin of Species.)

In other words, Darwin subscribed to Lamarck’s book of 1801, on inheritability of acquired characteristics. (The whole problem now being what these “acquired characteristics”, now called “genes”, “epigenetics, transposons, prions, soma, whatever…) are and how they arise…)

Darwin had produced a toy model of evolution. Anatomist Gould told him that some varieties of birds he found in the Galapagos were different species. Yet they all belonged to the finch group. Darwin then brandished that as an example of evolution.

Darwin’s dubious birdies no doubt beat the millions of years Lamarck had uncovered. That’s the strength of the Anglo-American empire!

Darwin’s “B” notebook showed that he speculated a species could turn into another by summer 1837. He discarded Lamarck’s independent lineages progressing to higher forms, drawing a tree of life with a single trunk branching out (there too Lamarck proved right: decades behind the microscope, remember?).

On the continent, evolution was solidly established.

Cuvier discovered the “Ptero-Dactyle” (name Latinized later), and Mesosaurus (sea going giant). Cuvier also invented stratigraphy, and demonstrated species came and went.

Cuvier was a Christian fundamentalist, but a very clever one, with an open, and changing mind. He invented most of the “Creationist” Biblical arguments. Yet he explained why he could be proven wrong in the fullness of time, thanks to, say, more discoveries.

Lamarck’s reputation was soiled because Cuvier smeared it all over with “pangenesis”. The original texts make it clear that Lamarck believed in natural selection. In the case of giraffes, to put it in modern terms, he believed that giraffe ethology, and the vegetation being what it was, due to climate, put a selective pressure favoring giraffe’s anatomy, the way it was. (Cuvier later said it was all about “desire”; that’s not in Lamarck).

Darwin tried hard to prove pangenesis. A battle was engaged, still ongoing. Many of the arrogant certainties of the 1960s have been washed away. Elements of heredity are known now to travel among species, and interact with ethology.

To combat religious fanatics, we need the weight of evidence, not inappropriate celebritism. Misrepresenting those who discovered evolution only helps creationists.

Darwin is an important biologist, but evolution had been scientifically established more than a generation before he published anything.

Everything else is pathetic tribalism, and, or, making fun of the scientific process. No way to help the advancement of civilization.

Patrice Ayme’

Evolution: Lamarck’s Discovery

November 12, 2014

LAMARCK, NOT DARWIN!

Abstract: Not attributing Evolution Theory to Lamarck constitutes scientific fraud. Why it is so is explained thoroughly (including at the meta level).

Science is about truth. Thus, the history of science is about how one establishes truth. By itself that history constitutes a science, or more exactly a mine of facts and an important one, for the metascience of veracity (truthfulness).

First overall theorem? Misattributing a discovery to another place, another time, or another country is generally not happening by accident, but by propaganda.

In 1825, Darwin’s teacher of biology informed his 16 year old student that Lamarck had discovered “biological evolution.

Lamarck Tree Of Life, 1809: “…not only will there continually be found new species, new genera, and new orders, but each species will vary in some part of its structure and form…”

Lamarck Tree Of Life, 1809: “…not only will there continually be found new species, new genera, and new orders, but each species will vary in some part of its structure and form…”

That the discovery of the theory of evolution is not attributed to Lamarck, constitute scientific fraud.

Why? It has to do first with Christian fanaticism, which did its best to lie about what Lamarck discovered. Why now? Because most scientists are too busy to read original texts, and it helps that Darwin was Anglo-American.

It was not the first time the Christian fanatics struck.

An example I am fond of is the misattribution to Copernic and Newton of ideas of Aristarchus and Buridan. The Catholic dictatorship, the obsequious servant of 2,000 years of queens and kings, is the engine of this crime. A very profitable crime, as it helped keep the rabble the exploiters were exploiting, in a state of stunned stupidity. Still is.

The misattribution to Darwin of Lamarck’s discovery, evolution, is more of the same theocracy and its associated aristocracy, anxious to keep We The People in haggard dumbness, as we will see below.

Darwinism is Lamarckism, according to Wallace. Wallace was himself a great biologist, discoverer of the Wallace Line. Wallace was on Darwin’s payroll, and was also Darwin’s coauthor. That evolution was Lamarck’s idea was actually confirmed by Darwin, who let Wallace repeat everywhere that Darwin had contributed little, relatively speaking (to Darwin’s daughter’s dismay).

So what are the facts on evolution?

Evolution by artificial selection was known for millennia, and practiced for tens of millennia (the oldest dog known is Belgian, and around 35,000 year old, it was very different from a wolf, and looked like a modern, enormous war dog, showing breeding of dogs from European wolves is at least 45,000 years old, I guess).

Breeding cattle, horses, camels, evolution by artificial selection, was a well-known art, not to say science, already in the times of Xenophon (that’s what the general-philosopher-economist did when retired).

Fossils were known in Ancient Greece. They caused confusion. To remedy this, Aristotle (PBUH), sent his students to study and report on life forms, thus founding, de facto, biology. (That the universe was not in a steady state was illustrated by the fiery landing of a giant meteorite in northern Greece; it was visited for centuries.)

By 1766, after proposing that the Solar System had been accreted from a cloud of debris, Buffon proposed that animals changed: they evolved. African and Asian elephants had evolved from Siberian mammoths, due to the changing their environment that their migrations had brought, he claimed. The details are unimportant: the evolutionary horse was out of the barn. Buffon’s broad picture of environmental pressure on evolution was also to be scientifically confirmed.

The full blown theory of evolution was proposed by Lamarck. This was a great conceptual breakthrough.

To this Massimo from Scientia Salon replied: “It was also the wrong theory, unfortunately.”

Massimo, do you mean that evolution theory is the wrong theory? Lamarck’s main body of work humbly established “the theory of evolution”, as Darwin’s personal teacher named it.

Lamarck did this, in part, by examining carefully under the microscope the evolution, over millions of years of mollusks species.

Lamarck suggested several evolution mechanisms, jointly operating (his detractors focused on one particular idea Lamarck floated in 1801).

When Copernic, copying Buridan and Aristarchus, proclaimed heliocentrism, nobody asked him for a mechanism. Still, one attributes heliocentrism to Copernic. While Copernic did not discover General Relativity, one still do not attribute heliocentrism to Einstein.

Yet those who claim Lamarck did not provide the most modern mechanism for evolution do just this.

One of Lamarck’s book, “Philosophie Zoologique” was published in 1809. The year Darwin was born. Here are some extracts:

“as new modifications will necessarily continue to operate, however slowly, not only will there continually be found new species, new genera, and new orders, but each species will vary in some part of its structure and form … individuals which from special causes are transported into very different situations from those where the others occur, and then constantly submitted to other influences – the former, I say, assume new forms, and then they constitute a new species…. [Species form] “a branching series, irregularly graduated which has no discontinuity in its parts, or which, at least, if its true that there are some because of lost species, has not always had such. It follows that the species that terminate each branch of the general series are related, at least on one side, to the other neighboring species that shade into them” [Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, 1809.]

Lamarck, employed as one of the world’s first research professors, demonstrated both the immense age of the Earth, and natural evolution, by studying fossilized mollusks.

Lamarck was so towering in biology, that he himself coined the word “biology”. Here it is, in his own words, in the original French, in Lamarck’s “Origine Des Animaux Sans Vertebres” [1815]:

« Tout ce qui est généralement commun aux végétaux et aux animaux, comme toutes les facultés qui sont propres à chacun de ces êtres sans exception, doit constituer l’unique et vaste objet d’une science particulière qui n’est pas encore fondée, qui n’a même pas de nom, et à laquelle je donnerai le nom de biologie

Yes, Lamarck also named and distinguished, “invertebrates”.

Lamarck suggested that the way animals lived could directly affect their genetics. A scientifically confirmed way to get this effect is now called “epigenetics” (“above genetics”). Considering how adaptative life is revealing itself to be, it is likely that more and more “epigenetics” will be uncovered.

It is ironical that Cuvier and his ilk made fun of Lamarck claiming that psychology could leave a trace in the progeny of a creature. Yet, this has been very recently confirmed: Lamarck, a hero for our times.

Lamarck got hated for all this by the forces of Christianity. The idea that a living creature, could, by the way it lived, CREATE its own features was revolting to those who promoted the Christian god.

What Lamarck was saying, philosophically speaking was that the living creature acted as the creator.

No need for a cross, a father, a son, an omnipotent god. Napoleon hated Lamarck. The Church hated Lamarck. British universities, (Oxford, Cambridge, etc.) which, at the time, were bastion of imperial Christianity hated Lamarck.

Really great minds are measured by the disapprobation they entail.

Lamarck proposed that the long necks of giraffes evolved as generations of giraffes had to reach for ever higher leaves.

The Church and Lamarck’s enemies made fun of that (some still do, following the Church!). Lamarck was deliberately mistranslated in English to make readers believe that he suggested the effort of the giraffe somehow directly passed over in its genetics.

In truth, what Lamarck truly said was 100% compatible with 2014 evolution theory: “…s’efforcer continuellement d’y atteindre. Il est résulté de cette habitude, soutenue, depuis longtemps [by giraffes]… que ses jambes de devant sont devenues plus longues…”.

Similarly, Lamarck suggested that there are flying squirrels, because squirrels tried to fly for generations (natural selection does not contradict this).

Lamarck did not just propose that evolutionary was driven by behavior. Following Buffon, Lamarck believed life started with spontaneous creation (this is the present view: laboratory studies and the most recent theory show that, in the early Earth’s environment, cellular life would appear spontaneously; fossils show it went fast: chemoautotrophs may have appeared 4 billion years ago).

Lamarck proposed that, insensibly, each baby was more complex than the preceding baby, so evolution would be characterized by an increase in complexity (as it indeed is).

Lamarck suggested birds descended from reptiles.

Lamarck went further than strict “Darwinists” go. He suggested that biology was an increase in complexity that could not be avoided, a sort of anti-Second Law Of Thermodynamics. Lamarck made life into a “force qui va” (to quote Victor Hugo).

This is a piece of philosophy, but one that has probably a great future: the Second Law of Thermodynamics is often quoted against life, but everything indicates that life swims up the stream of the Second Law, as the salmon swims up the river.

After 1815, reaction came over Europe. Jews got discriminated against by the Middle European dictatorship (they could not be doctors, lawyers, etc.). Lamarck, being an enemy of god, was made into an object of scorn.

The bloody dictator Napoleon launched Lamarck bashing: “[this book] … déshonore vos vieux jours… Ce volume je ne le prends que par considération pour vos cheveux blancs.”

The lies about Lamarck were deliberately crafted by a Christian fanatic, the biologist Cuvier. Cuvier, in charge of Lamarck’s eulogy misconstrued monstruously what Lamarck said about giraffes, and ill-intentioned unwitting parrots have been repeating Cuvier’s lies, ever since.

Cuvier totally believed that God had created all the species. Cuvier’s arguments are used by Christian fanatics to this day.

For example, after looking at mummies, and recent remnants, Cuvier pontificated that, as there was no evidence of recent evolution, there could be none. Lamarck retorted that Cuvier’s argument was mathematically stupid. Instead, unwittingly, Cuvier had proved, what Lamarck demonstrated first, that the Earth was very old, many millions of years old.

Lamarck being French, some feel more appropriate to attribute the discovery of evolution to the rich English gentleman Darwin, who, besides, was the heir of a financier, and not a vulgar research professor, as Lamarck was.

If Darwin’s teacher taught Darwin in 1825 that Lamarck had established “evolution”, why should we say now that “evolution” was established by the student of the student? Because, being in the Anglo-Saxon realm, we have to be Anglo nationalists? Is it all about tribalism?

As I mentioned this, EJ Winner objected that: “Patrice suggests that the bias against Lamarck is culturally determined (because he was French). This is simply and only post-modernism, in the least convincing sense. Need we really come to this?”

Well, I am not the one who came that way. Christian fanatics showed the way.

It is not because post-modernism is often wrong, that it is always wrong. Science and mathematics are, first of all, tribal phenomena. Sociologically speaking.

Lamarck was lodged at the Museum d’ Histoire Naturelle until his death at 85. Perhaps from spending too much time looking into microscopes, he was blind in his last decade.

Ideas are hard, especially when revolutionary. Parodying Lamarck’s ideas the way the Church did means that no meta-lesson was learned. Those who introduce the greatest new ideas, like evolution, deserve the greatest respect. Not showing respect for geniuses such as Lamarck is not to show respect for what makes civilization advance. Attributing Lamarck’s evolution to Darwin, just as universal attraction to Newton, belittles both Darwin and Newton, as it boils down to calling them liars. And it allows the real enemy to escape unscathed (religious and tribal fanaticism made into the dominant moods).

Attributing Lamarck’s discovery and affirmation of evolution to someone else, sixty years later, constitute scientific, and philosophical fraud. For want of a nicer way to put it.

That this is used to comfort the general intellectual aura of Anglo-American mental imperialism makes it worse. Ninety-six years ago, the First World War finished with a cease-fire. It had not solved the fundamental problem, namely that German speaking people confused dictatorship and republic. That lack of truth led them to have another go at it, 20 years later.

Ignoring truth is costly. Science, and metascience, can teach truth, and how to get to it. This is nicer in the longer term, as human beings are truth machines. Short term, it is anything but.

Truth does not have to be nice. It just is.

Patrice Ayme’

“American” Way Of What?

November 9, 2014

New Zealand’s Ian Miller, an esteemed commenter, says:

“Patrice, you seem to be against the American way of life. Horrors! It has always been like this… Now you cannot get anywhere near power without the expenditure of massive amounts of money, so your friendly plutocrats are a necessity. As an aside, I do not admire this way of doing things at all, and I feel that America would do better by cleaning up its own system than trying to impose “democracy” on others. As for the “progressives”, in that system of entrenched interests, how could they possibly change anything?”

Let me answer Ian’s main points. First a graph and a question: if Americans own nothing are they still Americans?

No Wealth, No Power, No Democracy

No Wealth, No Power, No Democracy

[If the graph was extended to the left, in earlier times, one would observe the richest Americans used to be not even half as rich, for the first 130 years of the USA. The wealthiest European 2%, in feudal times, that is the aristocracy, used to be about as rich as they are now, relatively speaking! Under Obama, the lines have strongly crossed the .1%, the very wealthiest, are richest than ever. No wonder even the “blacks” refused to vote for Obabla this time!]

***

“Patrice, you seem to be against the American way of life”:

I don’t know what the American way of life is. In 1940, the population of the USA was around 120 million. In 1980, it was around 250 million, and now it is around 330 million (there are 11 million Obama wants to make official; some objects).

Since I got to California, the population more than doubled. So what is California? Many of the recent immigrants are desperate to exhibit their Americaness, and are more American than the (“real”) Americans. So they go around, barely speaking English, and exhibiting the flags of the local “Baseball” team. They just arrived from Cuba, and the nine year old son spends (wastes) his weekend in “Baseball” practice.

“Baseball”, being a completely uninteresting activity, is perfect to judge the dedication of overseas self-propelled slaves at becoming thoroughly “American”…

There are many American way of lives, and American ways of thinking and feeling. . Many Americans, even in California, even born there, are dirt poor. Then you can meet people who immigrated from Germany or France to Silicon Valley, made a small fortune, and are now dejected, because they complain there are too many Asians, too many too rich Asians, competitive too much, educated too much, Asian too much…

The Silicon Valley, the USA’s main engine, is, first of all, an international phenomenon. I would even say a post-national phenomenon. The USA is a world-country.

However, simultaneously, plutocracy is growing, and Obama is its prophet (now past expiration date).

***

“Horrors! It has always been like this.”

Yes and no. True, Washington was from a prestigious colonial family (an ancestor had been general, etc). However, English America, after the “Barbarian Years” of endured servitude, did not present the sort of gigantic gap in wealth observed today.

Colonel, and then rebel and president Washington was pretty demoniac, and a plutocrat in that sense. Washington finished as maybe the richest man in the USA. However, he owned only 200 slaves or so, and his fortune paled, and was even insignificant, relative to the richest Europeans. Tolstoy was probably richer. The Tsar owned things all the way to America.

The first American billionaire was Carnegie, and he was to the left of the entire Democratic Party. Actually he was so much left, and persuasive, that the first generation of American plutocrat was genuinely philanthropic.

One can say that, for half of its life, the USA was strongly democratic (barring racial slavery, and religious, sexual discriminations).

The USA had, initially, a very strong unionized workforce.

Plutocracy became powerful in the USA, after the USA flew to the rescue of victory in 1918. I have explained this in detail in the distant past (I should have written a book from these essays, but did not find the time!) Basically the sacred union between politics and plutocrats allowed to first confiscate, and then control, Germany. The result was Nazism, which, fortunately, but not accidentally, for the USA, and its plutocrats, ran out of control, devastating Europe, and allowing them to control the entire world. For a while, a succession of presidents (FDR, Truman, Ike, JFK, Johnson) was able to shield the USA from its own plutocracy.

But Nixon changed all that, as he remade the healthcare system and put plutocrats such as his friend Kaiser (well named!) in charge, thanks to subsidies. After that, it was all the way down.

***

“Now you cannot get anywhere near power without the expenditure of massive amounts of money, so your friendly plutocrats are a necessity.”

That was Obama’s trite excuse. That’s why he spent his presidency begging the wealthy. Actually it’s a stratagem, so he will be rich thereafter, like Clintons. (And very differently from Truman, an ex-Senator, who lived extremely modestly after his presidency. When asked why he did not cash on his career, he replied that it was a question of dignity of the office.)

When Obama got to power, everything could be done, the situation was ideal. However, the head of the “Democratic” Party was 100% rotten. All they could say, was that they needed the Republicans to agree. At that point, progressives ought to have gone in the streets, and protest. But they did not, because they had not enough education to know what was wrong, and not enough passion to care.

***

“…I feel that America would do better by cleaning up its own system than trying to impose “democracy” on others.”

Yes and no. If one had not intervened in Syria, or Ukraine, one would have encouraged Putin to become Hitler some more. In Libya, it was important to take the mad Khadafy down. (I know it’s a mess, but I have explained for years, one has to get rid of Islam as a political force, and this is part of it; the Punic and Berber civilization that is 3,000 years old, has more rights than the Islamists, whom I detest as much as Middle Age Catholics.)

Earth is a very small planet, not one of these aqueous giant Neptunes just discovered. We are all neighbors. Although I am pro-Iranian, I am against Iran getting nukes, because it would be nuke state too far. Many Iranians, even in the government, probably feel this, and they are delighted the P5 + 1 group is contracting the Iranian government on this (the We The People of Iran, ill-informed, want nukes, not reflecting that just one nuke can take Teheran out, killing ten millions).

***

“As for the “progressives”, in that system of entrenched interests, how could they possibly change anything?”

As I have said many times, the “Progressive Movement” has to think, and feel right, first. The problem of “progressives” all around the world (not just the EU and the USA), is that they do not have a clear, logical wish list.

Many “progressives” are fanatically anti-nuclear. But there is no solution to the CO2 Armageddon without nukes: known nukes… for example Thorium, or Fusion. Armageddon is around the corner, and it will not be progress (at least, not the easy way). OK, we are incredibly lucky that the Sun is getting quiet. See my 2009 essay:

http://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2009/05/31/sun-cooling-ice-melting/

Many “progressives” are completely unaware of the fabulous heist of 2008=2009. They are like babes, and their meal was stolen by financial plutocrats, and they do not have enough knowledge of even know that!

“Austerity”, truly more and more theft by the richest, is stealing their jobs, their futures, their hopes, and soon, everything else.

I made hard changes myself. When I discovered Obama had turned to the Dark Side (for help, advice, hope and shelter), I got literally depressed (fortunately I am a mountain runner, and that can be even more depressing, when the night comes, and the cold, and thunder).

It’s enlightening to follow Paul Krugman’s evolving thinking; the more time goes, the more he comes my way, away from plutocrats, towards “Synthesis Found: Governmentalism”(hence Krugman’s recent apology to Japan)… but he still has a long way to go!

A logical, futuristic wish logic is what I am trying to suggest.

I say: The first thing “Progressives” have to change, is their minds. The world will follow.

Meanwhile, for relaxation, and physical exercise, let me suggest that European “progressives” go down in the streets, and get rid of the Thief In Chief, Jean-Claude Junker, just elected head of the European Commission. That is also a problem for the USA: we pay more and more taxes precisely because the greatest fortunes in the world do not pay any tax (or get subsidies!). Some of the stealing goes through that den of thieves Luxembourg, one of several (including Great Britain and the USA: see my old: USA, Den Of Thieves: https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2013/11/02/usa-den-of-thieves/).

All they got to know is the boss, same as the old boss, because they don’t know what hurts them.

Pain is not just a feeling, it is a knowledge.

Patrice Ayme’

Tax Theft: Luxembourg. Impotence: All Over. Culprit: GOP?

November 8, 2014

Great Evasions From Taxes And Responsibility. Krugman Accuses Republicans Of Everything

When cheating is legal, is it cheating? Many worthies in Europe are affecting surprise that Luxembourg allowed hundreds of the greatest plutocratic corporations to escape amounts in taxes similar to the “austerity” they try to impose. That means that tax evasion by the richest is paid by the poorest.

Tax avoidance, through Luxembourg alone, by the richest persons in the world, are of the order of 10% of the yearly Federal Budget of the USA (you will not see this in the newspapers, I computed it myself).

Burning Cars May Move Minds (Brussels, 11/6/14)

Burning Cars May Move Minds (Brussels, 11/6/14)

People are starting to see through this Kabuki theater. While Luxembourg flaunted its criminal nature, there was a bloody demonstration in Brussels against renewed “austerity” (from a new “conservative” government). No less than 20% of the capital’s population was in the streets, French and Flemish speakers united. Two police officers were grievously hurt.

Demonstrators burned cars, but did not set fire (yet!) to the European Commission and Parliament buildings. Let me be clear: the European Commission and the European Parliament have known, for years, of Luxembourg’s dirty nature. I have written of this institutionalized thievery, for years. It has been known, for years. All the politicians are accomplice… Indeed, none of them protested stridently against institutionalized tax stealing.

Jean-Claude Junker was the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, for 19 years, and, thus, Luxembourg’s thief in chief (plus 5 years, prior, as Luxembourg finance minister). Junker’s punishment? He is now head of the European Commission. It eerie, surreally obscene, a bit as if Himmler had been made president of Israel (in the last few days of WWII, Himmler cooperated with the Swedes to save thousands of Jews!).

Satanic corporate officers would show up in Luxembourg, and, within the same business day, organize the tax evasion of their employer, with the full participation of the authorities of Luxembourg.

Luxembourg whined that an illegal act had been committed: state documents had been revealed (28,000 pages on 340 companies, obtained by a consortium of journalists, ICIG; they have a consortium… to escape national censorship; many firms paid less than 1% on profits, whereas the law is 12.5%; other countries are cheating, including, Eire, the Netherlands, and the UK). Infamy knows no shame.

But one does not need to rob the state thugs of Luxembourg to expose the truth about Luxembourg. The industry of Luxembourg is organized crime.

According to the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis about $95 billion of profits moved into Luxembourg from U.S. companies in 2012 alone. In Luxembourg, those $95 billion of profits were basically not taxed. Direct investment from the U.S. into Luxembourg in 2013 was $416 billion. More than 200 U.S. companies operate there.

Luxembourg’s GDP per capita in 1961 was $2,200 (yes, two thousand dollars). Now it is more than 120,000 dollars. Only the tax cheaters Liechtenstein (140 K) and Monaco (180 K) are richer. What to do, when a country thrives from thievery? Why don’t the French and Germans send a few special forces?

Here is a description from the prime financial channel of the USA, CNBC. Here is the start of the associated text: “Here’s an international money riddle for you: What country is smaller than Rhode Island yet is the most attractive place for companies and investors to park their money, behind the United States? Ireland? Cayman Islands? Try Luxembourg.”

Notice that CNBC admits implicitly that the world’s greatest tax cheat is the USA itself (banking secrecy is often total in the USA, with shell companies, “charities”, “trusts”, and “Dark Pools”). And so it is.

So don’t ask why Obama did nothing for the USA. Ask why he should have done something against his sponsors.

And then rolled another editorial of Paul Krugman, accusing the Republicans of the “Triumph Of Wrong”. Said he :

“From Day 1 of the Obama administration, [republicans] have done everything they could to undermine effective policy, in particular blocking every effort to do the obvious thing — boost infrastructure spending — in a time of low interest rates and high unemployment.

This was, it turned out, bad for America but good for Republicans. Most voters don’t know much about policy details, nor do they understand the legislative process. So all they saw was that the man in the White House wasn’t delivering prosperity — and they punished his party.”

The usual flood of comments approving that childish and irresponsible vision flooded in, as a self-congratulatory orgasm of surrealism. My own comment was completely lost in that self-loving flood.

The truth, though, is that the democrats were in total control of Congress, the White House, and had a super-majority in the Senate (allowing to override filibusters), in the beginning of Obama’s reign. That was highly problematic, as the Democratic Party is controlled by plutocrats.

What were they going to do? Legislate against themselves? Discover that Delaware enables even more tax evasion than Luxembourg, as long as one is really very rich? Not embarrassed, the plutocratic owners ad operators of the “Democratic” Party accused Republicans “of doing everything they could”, to have, presumably, psychologically forced Democrats to do nothing anti-plutocratic.

I pointed out that, on November 5, 2008, Obama went to work at a hedge fund, in Chicago. That should have alerted the so called “progressives”, that something was not quite right (I certainly noticed!). But it did not. Even six years later, the (pseudo-) progressives still do not get it.

How long will it take for We The People to realize the present governmental set-up, complete with its attending pundits, is a plutocratic mood organization? I guess, as long as the New York Times keeps on censoring me, there is little hope. But then, why do I send money there?

Habits are hard to break. Ultimately, ideas break down, when people start breaking things down. This is how it was always done. Ultimately, violence is not just a political activity, but a psychological one, because it requires a lot of energy to break out of old systems of thought, and even more, out of old systems of mood.

Let see what Europeans worthies do, having named a thief in chief as head of the European Commission, and now seeing the rabble raise in a fury. A hint: if next time demonstrators make it to the European Parliament, breaking and burning, said Parliament may reach a clearer, and more cautious mood.

Austerity? You want austerity? Then why not start with the plutocrats?

Patrice Ayme’

Science: Magical Common Sense

November 7, 2014

Science Goes Beyond Common Sense Systematized

Some say that science destroyed our old illusions with relentless explanations:

“Geocentrism”, the illusion that the Sun turns around the Earth, is often quoted as an example:

However, geocentrism appeared only after it became clear that the Earth was a rounded sphere. That revelation came from observing the Earth’s shadow (prehistoric man has got to have thought that the Earth was flat). It confirmed what looking at ships already indicated.

Soon after, by studying the shadows more carefully, the distance of the Sun was found to be at least three million kilometers. Hence, shortly after the Earth was found to be round, it was found that the sun was bigger than Earth, thus it was more natural to suppose that Earth was rotating around it.

Aristarchus of Samos actually proposed exactly this theory, within at most three centuries from the earliest suggestion of the geocentric theory.

So geocentrism was not common sense, far from it. Common sense displaced it nearly immediately after its creation.

So why did geocentrism triumph so long?

It is actually the establishment of political dictatorship, indeed outright plutocracy, and the intellectual eclipse it entailed, that brought the neglect of heliocentrism. That was accentuated by the forceful imposition of the divine character of Aristotle’s physics… Aristotle, whose plutocratic political philosophy fit dictators like a glove (hence dictators loved everything Aristotle, and felt we should share the love too).

Dictators wanted We The People to believe everything about Aristotle, as if he were wisdom incarnated including his completely silly, easy to disprove, physics.

That was no unfortunate accident. It is precisely the very fact that Aristotle’s physics was stupid which made it an instructive example: believe what your master tells you to believe, even, and, especially, if it looks idiotic; thus your mind shall be like that of a dog! Masters need dogs. (The Trinity played a somewhat similar role, of training to violate credulity.)

Heliocentrism was reborn after Buridan, around 1320 CE, introduced inertia (Anglo-Saxons call this “Newton’s First Law”). Buridan was immensely famous, so the Church suppressed him, actively, five generations after his death. As part of the Church’s general crackdown on intellectuals (started with treacherously burning Hus alive.)

Buridan’s work is now attributed to Copernicus. (So the Church is still winning that one! Just as it does every day it forces to celebrate the monster Saint Louis as a “saint”.)

In truth, much common science is just common sense, systematized. A lot of modern mechanics and aerodynamics was perfectly mastered, intuitively, by Genghis Khan’s archers (say). A Mongol prince hit a dummy with an arrow, in a competition, at a distance of half a mile. The archers did not know the equations, but they knew what they say.

The rise of modern mechanics came from Middle Ages gunnery, especially after the French invention of field guns around 1430. Gunners quickly found that Aristotle’s physics was wrong, and established their own empirical science.

Commodity traders anxious to know first what the ships carried, developed telescopes. Galileo perfected them later (and had a scientific fight with his friend the Pope… about tides, and Galileo was wrong…)

Did the discovery of genes change everything?

That’s what snake oil salesmen want us to believe. Read Dawkins:

“… when you are actually challenged to think of pre-Darwinian answers to the question ‘What is Man?’ ‘Is there a meaning to life?’ ‘What are we for?’, can you, as a matter of fact, think of any that are not now worthless except for their (considerable) historic interest? There is such a thing as being just plain wrong and that is what before 1859, all answers to those questions were.” (Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, p. 267)

What is he saying?

That Englishman Darwin found all wisdom prior was worthless. Darwin, who thought of himself as a Lamarckian (and so did Wallace about Darwin!), would have been shocked.

The Anglo-Saxon debate about Darwin is a funny thing: in this vision, religiously propagated by Dawkins, evolution was discovered in 1859, by the British empire. (Dawkins may despise the Christian god, but he reveres the English empire.)

Why was Lamarck  so hated after 1815? For the same reason that anti-Judaism was made into the law over most of German speaking Europe, at the same time (thanks to Metternich and company).

It was the same mood: the Lord of Heavens, Jesus Christ, was back, complete with anti-Judaism, and research professor Jean-Baptiste Lamarck’s evolution theory (which Lamarck demonstrated by studying fossilized mollusks, around 1800), which had attacked so fiercely the Christian god, was out. Teaching evolution was strictly forbidden in British universities. (Darwin turned around that, two generations later, by not being a vulgar professor.)

Britain had been allied, used and encouraged as a weapon, the anti-Judaic, anti-Slav, rapacious kingdom of Prussia, since 1756. The dirty evolutionary, over-intellectual, anti-lord, and anti-plutocratic French theories were anathema. Especially in the Anglo-Saxon world (nevertheless, they percolated, from Darwin, to geologist Lyell…)

But did not science’s evolution theory, Lamarckian or not, debase man, by showing man was just an animal?

No. British universities forbid the teaching of Lamarck for two generations because evolution theory debased Christianity, which says god looks like man. Thus, god was a monkey, or dog. But that would not have shocked Indians, just stiff upper lip Brit, whose empire depended upon smooth sailing between lord in heavens, sovereign and force.

Most of the 10,000 religions or so that we know, did not make a sharp distinction between the human and animal realms. Many saw a continuity, a complicity, a coming and going between beasts, men, and gods, with various transmutations.

Evolution was known, de facto, for millennia:

Even large prehistoric dogs, 35,000 years ago, were obtained with heavy breeding from wolves (they did not look like wolves at all). Xenophon and Macedonians, obsessed by the breeding of horses, knew perfectly well that artificial selection worked. Natural selection was an obvious extension: the Spartans themselves used it sociologically in their eugenics program.

So science is very far from having “de-legitimized” all of the theories that came before. And some of these theories seemed most likely even tens of thousands of years ago: a discipline such as ethology had to be well mastered, for prehistoric man to survive, let alone thrive. Practice often primes theory (even the thinking cow, Martin Heidegger, guessed that one).

Practice precedes theory: it is particularly true in mathematics, where detailed examples suggest general theories.

Physics and biology confirm, systematize much of what men have observed, ever since there are men, and they think. Many phenomena are simply better observed, and understood.

So nothing is new under the sun?

Not quite. What science brought that’s really new, like neurons, or Quantum Physics, if anything, has made the world into an ever more complex, mysterious, magical place.

The more  we see, thanks to science, the more beautiful, and complex, it gets. Who needs gods, when we have what we found? And is now part of us?

Patrice Ayme’

Elect Ideas, Not Clowns

November 6, 2014

Obama Versus Brown. Obama’s  Inexistence Made Blatant. Last Twitches Coming?

Obama, the Resident of the White House, said something particularly deep and clever today:”… to the two-thirds of Americans who did not take part in the process yesterday, I hear you too!”

Which process is Obama alluding to? Voting. Two-thirds of eligible Americans did not vote. American citizens are voting out the conventional electoral process. Although I always voted, and although I spent two years, and a fortune, in effort and treasure, to get Obama elected, eight years ago, this time I did not vote.

Your humble servant, and We The People have had enough of electing little dictators.

Antares Rocket, One Of Obama's Pluto Pet, Goes The Way Of His Presidency

Antares Rocket, One Of Obama’s Pluto Pet, Goes The Way Of His Presidency

If one wants democracy, We The People has got to vote on (most) laws. Politicians ought not to be called “legislators”. Instead, they should be just in charge of the details.

In the meantime, refusing to vote is a king of sitting in the middle of the street.

Brown is Obama’s skin: it turned out that color of the skin did not bring change. Duh. Brown is also the name of the governor of California, re-elected in a triumph, for the FOURTH time.

Brown did two terms as California governor, three decade ago. When he was re-elected 4 years ago, the situation was abysmal. Several governors could do anything to the California deficit. To raise taxes required 2/3 majority (66% for).

What did Brown do? He said: ”I’m raising taxes on the rich. You better vote for it. If you, Californians do not vote at more than 66% for that, I will close all your state parks.”

Californians love their parks. They screamed, and then voted as told. Plutocrats had said they would flee California. Guess what? They found they had nowhere else to go.

(BTW, had a referendum about taxing the plutocrats been proposed, I would have gone to vote.)

Brown spent 4 years training as a Jesuit for priesthood, in silence, prayer, and Latin. Later he went to UCB, became a lawyer, and worked, and studied (including Zen) in many countries (including Mexico and Japan).

He was not born yesterday.

Obama looked condemned to me the day after he got elected, 6 years ago: he went to work at a hedge fund. Hedge Fund: money changers, as president Roosevelt called them contemptuously (and FDR was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and basically brought up by Teddy Roosevelt, himself president of the USA).

That Obama went to work at a hedge fund told me he had understood nothing. Or, rather, strong supporters such as me, had understood nothing: Obama was the plutocrats’ candidate.

(That Obama was facing the wealthy Senator McCain, who did not even know how many mansions he had, does not make him any less the plutocrats’ candidate. Passing remark: Seneca, the philosopher, and Nero’s teacher, chuckled that he had no idea how many giant agribusinesses and properties he had on the various continents. Those who partake in the Stoic Religion, worship Seneca. And that’s a basic problem with the (hypocrisy of) stoicism.)

The leader of the Republicans, McConnell, Senior Senator of Kentucky, just said the Senate needed to be fixed. “We have an obligation to change the Senate”. He said he was going to fix the Senate, making it work on Fridays, even at midnight, and also Saturday, if need be.

McConnell’s head is entirely white: he has been elected to the Senate continuously, for 30 years. Hardly not an insider.

Question: what happened to the Tea Party? Well, it never really existed. It was one of the tricks used by Obama’s political allies to do nothing.

McConnell was asked whether he was afraid of Obama’s veto. He smiled: “the president vetoed 2 little bills in 6 years. In the first 2 years, he loved everything he saw.”

And nothing happened.

(Obama would say Obamacare happened. Or, as he calls it, proudly, in a marked cognitive dissonance, Romneycare. Even November 4, 2014, Obama gave a whole lesson to the press corps on how much Obamacare was actually his “former opponent” creation. That Obamacare was actually Romneycare should have told progressives something. In truth, Obamacare is an excellent deal for health care plutocrats. Everybody else? Not that much: the deductible on my health insurance is something like $9,000. So my family has to spent $9,000 from our pockets, before reimbursements kick in. That means if I spend $9,000 in the next 7 weeks in a hospital, I have to pay the whole thing. The clock restarts January 1. That, by the way, is on an expensive plan, $1,500/month.)

Nothing could happen under Obama, because he was, whether he realized it, or not, an agent of Wall Street, and various other plutocrats. Same problem with the Clinton. The Clintons’ “Global Initiative” has offices a rock throw from Wall Street.

Obama showed this in a telling way, supporting short term tweak to existing and past technologies, calling this support for Research (support for private entrepreneurs to get to orbit, such as the Antares rocket which exploded a week ago, is exhibit number one; the government of the USA ought to support only fundamental research, such as for thermonuclear fusion, or through schools).

We are still waiting for the reform of the financial system. It was not difficult: president Roosevelt’s system had to be dismantled. But then that would have dismantled Clinton Global Financial Initiative (I’m ironical).

And this is not just a USA problem. The European Central Bank just mentioned hundreds of billions of “financial derivatives” that European banks hold. Well, that cancer which spread form Chicago ought to be unlawful: banks ought to invest in the real economy, not in a parallel universe.

In case you wonder why financial derivatives billionaires give multi-million dollar prices for the Multiverse in physics, I just gave you the reason.

Is there anything to save from this Obama shipwreck?

Well, and this is what the colossal abstention vote is suggesting, we have to change the Constitution (all over; not just the USA and France, or Britain). No need to scream in my face, as a very busy San Francisco’s architect once did, and pontificate that this is not serious, and nobody would take me seriously, if I persist with my folly. It is. The best way is to do as Switzerland is doing, that is sensibly, and insensibly.

The Swiss Constitution was not designed for direct democracy, it’s just growing into one, with ever more referenda of We The People, on all important issues.

Interestingly (one of the) the “votation” coming in three weeks has to do with limiting immigration. It will not pass, but it has furthered an even more sophisticated reflection on the subject (a Swiss referendum against immigration from (the rest of) the European Union passed last year; negotiations Swiss-EU on it are intense).

Referenda are healthy. In Great Britain, immigration is a burning hot subject (people hate it). But because We The British People cannot vote directly on the issue, they have made the European Union (which has little to do with it) into the scapegoat.

We have to ask more from politics. This starts by voting out the conventional electoral process.

Elect grand ideas, not clowns.

Patrice Ayme’

Is Philosophy The New Science?

November 5, 2014

A provocative title, assuredly, while science is everywhere, and philosophy, in appearance, some will say, nowhere. But actually our world owes even more to philosophy than to science: after all, according to my convoluted theories, the rise of Europe is greatly due to the push of the Franks against slavery, and towards less sexism. (It will not escape the cognoscenti that the great dynasty of the Tang in China, in the same period, was marked by powerful empresses.)

Science and philosophy are basically methods at both extremities of the same spectrum.

The age of science is upon us, thus the age of philosophy.

Science is about what is true. Philosophy is about what could be true.

Science is about realistic circumstances, philosophy is about imagining them. Science is about knowing, philosophy about guessing.

Neither goes without the other, since there have been baboons, and they think.

Homotherium Kept Yesteryear’s Thinkers Honest

Homotherium Kept Yesteryear’s Thinkers Honest

All animals with advanced brains have to be scientific enough to catch dinner, have sex, play hard to get, and they have to be a bit philosophical. However both science and philosophy took gigantic dimensions, once the genus Homo made culture into, well, a science.

With its intricate brains, Homo Sapiens could create, in said brains, entire world of ideas, neurological structures constructed by experiences, the world of tangibles, the world of truth, science. But it could also instruct, from the same, more free form structures, the world of imagination, where philosophy feeds at the trough.

In particular, 10,000 religions blossomed, and many a virgin perished in their names.

So what now?

Some say philosophy is dying. What they mean, is that they are dead.

This is the age of science, the age of truth. Much is known, but it’s nothing relative to what is coming. What is coming is automatic science. It’s not yet here, but some computer scientists are working on machines to prove theorems, automatically.

That does not mean mathematics would become meaningless, impotent, just the opposite. Mathematicians will devote themselves to the imagination, in other words, to the philosophy. Machines will see if it (mathematical philosophy) works.

In the myth of the singularity, dear to some “futurists”, science starts to progress so fast, that all becomes a blur. We are not yet there: electronic chips’ speed has stalled (from overheating), and multi-core programming is hard. However, even with slower progress, all mundane intellectuals tasks will fall to machines pretty soon.

And all over the world of inquiry, so it will be. Even in law, machines (computers) will be able to fill in all the details, check, in advance what are the consequences of imaginable laws.

All over, the imagination will be the specific human impulse. In other words, philosophy.

If one considers prehistoric man, one is considering a scientist: knowing what was true allowed survival. Being seriously wrong did not mean one’s “paper” would be rejected by a prestigious journal, but that one would be torn apart by a Homotherium pack.

There was little time and inclination for wild guesswork about the nature of the universe. Now is just the opposite: Homotherium has got extinct 10,000 years ago, with a whole panoply of terrible predators. Machines, increasingly, bring food and medicines.

We have all the time in the world to go on a rampage of guesswork.

This is already happening in physics: Strings, Superstrings, Supersymmetry, and their ilk are theories that were launched on the thinnest philosophical fumes.

For example, symmetries allowed to guess the existence of a few particles. So why not suppose that there is a symmetry (whatever that means) means the two main types of particles, Fermions and Bosons? That would remove an “infinity” or two which plagues the computations. Thus the idea of “Supersymmetry’.

Here is another example of stealth, wild philosophizing in physics, the idea of “A Universe For Nothing”.

(That’s described in the eponymous book of a professional salesman, Lawrence Krauss.) Wild guessing, if there ever was any. It makes Middle Age theologians, with their angels on pinheads, sound boring.

The Universe-for-nothing folks have prestigious chairs in the most prestigious universities in the world, and got multi-million dollars prizes (from plutocrats, of course). They use, in their despair, a completely idiotic argument about potential energy. Or, let’s say, a philosophical argument. That allows them to pretend it should cost nothing, energy-wise, to create a universe. Or a zillions of them per nanometer, actually, in every instant of time.

15,000 years ago, thinkers that crazy, arguing that Homotherium was created from nothing, would have been promptly swallowed by a pack of the saber tooth, social felids.

Science used to keep us alive, now we can afford to live by ridiculous philosophies. All the more reason, as the Seventh Extinction, the one of the Anthropocene, looms, to create some which are as serious as our ancestors needed to be.

And to those who thought our ancestors were not brainy: it seems their brains, all things equal, were 10% larger. Fortunately, things are going to get very serious, very soon. And while machines will do most of the science, our thinking, and guessing, will have to be wilder and deeper, than ever.

Philosophy is the new science.

Patrice Ayme’


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