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Darwinism designates a distinctive form of evolutionary explanation for the history and diversity of life on earth. Its original formulation is provided in the first edition of On the Origin of Species in 1859. This entry first formulates ‘Darwin’s Darwinism’ in terms of five philosophically distinctive themes: (i) probability and chance, (ii) the nature, power and scope of selection, (iii) adaptation and teleology, (iv) nominalism vs. essentialism about species and (v) the tempo and mode of evolutionary change. Both Darwin and his critics recognized that his approach to evolution was distinctive on each of these topics, and it remains true that, though Darwinism has developed in many ways unforeseen by Darwin, its proponents and critics continue to differentiate it from other approaches in evolutionary biology by focusing on these themes. This point is illustrated in the second half of the entry by looking at current debates in the philosophy of evolutionary biology on these five themes.
Dave Lindorff writes at CounterPunch:
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A tectonic shift is occurring suddenly in the debate over climate change.
Only a year ago, at least in the US corporate media, there was always a rough equivalence accorded to those experts who were warning about a looming climate disaster facing mankind, and those who called the whole thing a “conspiracy” by corrupt scientists and politicians (albeit without ever explaining a motive).
Suddenly, though, that rough equivalence in the coverage is gone. The climate deniers are now exposed as charlatans in the pay of energy companies, and the coverage has shifted to talking about climate disaster being closer than we had been being told. If there is a “conspiracy,” we are now learning, it may be that climate scientists, afraid of creating a sense of hopeless and doom among the public, have been soft-pedaling their warnings, stressing the need to quickly cut back on the use of greenhouse-gas-producing fuels in order to try and keep global warming below 2 degrees centigrade (roughly 4 degrees fahrenheit), when they all really know that a 4-degree centigrade rise is already “baked into” the earth’s near-term climate future, perhaps by as early as 2100.
The Duggar family has been tearing up the Internet of late. Never one to be left behind in the race to jump on a rapidly vanishing meme, Gawker goes deep into what it calls the “bizarre horrors of the Advanced Training Institute, its founder Bill Gothard, and its many overpopulated families”:
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You know about the Duggars, the evangelical Christian family whose 19 children catapulted them to fame through Discovery Health specials and TLC show, 19 Kids and Counting, and you know about Josh Duggar, the eldest son, who admitted last week to molesting several underage girls as a teen—including his own sisters.
You’ve seen some examinations of the dangerous, backwards logic that helped fuel that systematic and highly preventable sexual abuse, and some explorations of the culture of authority and fear promulgated by the Duggars’ uniquely patriarchal brand of Christianity.
A dozen years before his recent sentencing to a 42-month prison term based on a jury’s conclusion that he gave classified information to a New York Times journalist, former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was in the midst of a protracted and fruitless effort to find someone in Congress willing to look into his accusations about racial discrimination at the agency.
ExposeFacts.org has obtained letters from Sterling to prominent members of Congress, beseeching them in 2003 and 2006 to hear him out about racial bias at the CIA. Sterling, who is expected to enter prison soon, provided the letters last week. They indicate that he believed the CIA was retaliating against him for daring to become the first-ever black case officer to sue the agency for racial discrimination.
As early as 2000, Sterling was reaching out toward Capitol Hill about his concerns.… Read the rest
Even when the mainstream corporate media gets something right, they’re still not telling you the whole story. There is one deep, dark issue about the mainstream media that is almost never talked about. Lee Camp shows the biggest Media Fails ever.
Going full on into a shamanic or Occult practice is beyond weird, because the vast majority of people think you’re completely nuts for gasp, actually paying attention to your inner world (let alone blasting it all over Facebook, friend me). “Do you mean that stuff is real?” they’ll ask. Well, yeah, but ultimately insisting on dividing thoughts and visions into convenient categories of “real” or “not real” is a pretty ridiculous way of conceptualizing consciousness. Aaaand you’ve already lost them. Which is why maybe the best thing you can do as a mystic is point out over and over how utterly batshit and illogical western spiritual thought is in the first place. We should never ever forget that this is the refractive lens through which we view everything having to do with the soul. In a culture that prides itself on a bizarro academic sense of rationality, there is zero rationality in the popular way we view spirituality period.… Read the rest
Andy Nowicki writes at Alternative Right:
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It is not enough, after all, simply to buck the trends of the times. Determined and thoroughgoing defiance does show guts, of course, and this is something to be praised and admired in and of itself, to be sure. But he who would be an caroler of dissidence ought not merely assign himself the task of being as offensive as possible with his song of sublime subversion, rendering himself a mere aural nuisance or (to shift to a different metaphorical sense) an “eyesore in the architecture.” Instead, the willingness to offend, even mortally offend, must be accompanied by an awareness that one isn’t primarily addressing himself to those of his time. Topicality must ever be tempered with patient comprehension of the arc of history. “Today is not forever,” as the saying goes; put otherwise, the temporal is not the eternal.
As grating as present preoccupations of our would-be rulers can be, their prescribed ideologies ought not vex us too greatly, because these gruesome manifestations of “totalitarian humanism” possess no intellectual heft whatsoever; they amount to little more than shoddily-constructed fortresses made of mud, which have no chance of surviving the soon-to-be incoming tide.
Brave New Films just released a new short film about police brutality with a call for us all to do our civil duty and film the police:
From Brave New Films:
Some lawmakers are still pushing to criminalize the recording of police activity in public – and because we know we need more, not less, police accountability, we made this short film to share online!
In 12 states, it is illegal to record audio of police without permission and these states and others are now pushing for further laws criminalizing recording outright.
Filming the police is a right. And it is the only thing bringing the severe injustice of current policing tactics to light.
Did you know that vampire myths may actually have come from Medieval fears of a rare genetic disorder called porphyria? Guardian Liberty Voice has the story:
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The origin of the vampire myth may not have come only from the excitable minds of Middle Age peasants. Instead, a rare genetic disorder called porphyria might have started the tales, according to biochemist Dr. David H. Dolphin of the University of British Columbia and other scientists.
Porphyria is a rare group of at least eight blood disorders. A patient is diagnosed with porphyria if any of the eight different enzymes that create porphyrin, a body chemical which transforms into heme (another chemical the body needs) when in contact with iron, are affected. A patient lacking in any one of the eight enzymes is not able to produce heme, which is responsible for items such as cell differentiation and protein synthesis.
“Shadows of Liberty reveals the extraordinary truth behind the news media: censorship, cover-ups and corporate control. Filmmaker Jean-Philippe Tremblay takes a journey through the darker corridors of the US media, where global conglomerates call the shots. For decades, their overwhelming influence has distorted news journalism and compromised its values.”
Ron Placone and Jean-Philippe talk details about the film, the Media Reform movement in the United States, theories on why the film received so much attention world-wide but little in the US, and what this grassroots film-screening tour has been like.
If the above player does not work, go here.