Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Wolf Moon

The 2010 Wolf Moon appeared big and very bright on the 29th. Last night also was amazing. The first full moon of the year is also known as the wolf moon. The moon appears wider and fuller than any other moon of the year. The name wolf moon came from the hungry wolf packs that howled at the moon near Native American villages hundreds of years ago. Wolf Moon is also referred to as the old moon and moon after Yule. This full moon appeared 14% wider and 30% brighter than a typical full moon, according to

Candlemas Day - February 2 is known in the USA as Groundhog Day!

If Candlemass day be dry and fair,
The half o' winter to come and mair
If Candlemass day be wet and foul.
The half o' winter gane at Yule.

Candlemas is the last festival in the Christian year that is dated by reference to Christmas; In the West, the date of Christmas is now fixed at December 25, and Candlemas therefore falls the following February 2. In Christian eyes this festival celebrates the presentation of Christ in the Temple in Jerusalem 40 days after his birth, as Jewish custom required, and the purification ceremony of the Virgin Mary at the same time. It was believed that women were impure for six weeks after giving birth and after the birth of their children, all Jewish mothers went to the Temple for the ceremony called the Purification.

The English name, 'Candlemas, refers to the custom of blessing and distributing candles and carrying them in procession before the mass. The light of the candles is symbolic of Christ as the light of the world all the candles should be made of beeswax.

On the Pagan side it occurs in the middle of winter, with the promise of spring. Due to the poor weather at the time of year, it was almost impossible to have a bonfire festival and candles are thought to have been used as a replacement to move the ritual indoors. Some people believe that the Celtic Sabbat of Imbolc, which was celebrated in pre-Christian Europe (and especially the British Isles) at about the same time of year. This festival marked the mid-way point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. The term "Imbolc" translates as either "in milk" or "in the belly," and marked the birth and nursing of the spring lambs as a sign of the first stirrings of spring in the middle of winter. It may also have been celebrated with the lighting of candles, as slightly longer days begin to be noticable at this time of year.

The eve of Candlemas was the day on which Christmas decorations of greenery were removed from people's homes and churches. If all traces of berries, holly and so forth weren't removed there would be a death among the congregation before the year was out.

A rhyme called "Ceremony upon Candlemas Eve" by Robert Herrick (1591 - 1674) goes:-

"Down with the rosemary, and so
Down with the bays and misletoe ;
Down with the holly, ivy, all,
Wherewith ye dress'd the Christmas Hall."

Another tradition holds that anyone who hears funeral bells tolling on Candlemas will soon hear of the death of a close friend or relative; each toll of the bell represents a day that will pass before the unfortunate news is learned.
Bad Luck

Sailors are often reluctant to set sail on Candlemas Day, believing that any voyage begun then will end in disaster — given the frequency of severe storms in February, this is not entirely without sense.

"If Candlemas Day is bright and clear, there'll be two winters in the year."-Scottish saying

How Did the Groundhog Get a Day of His Own?

The lowly groundhog, often called a woodchuck, is the only mammal to have a day named in his honor. The groundhog's day is February 2. Granted, it's not a federal holiday; nobody gets off work. But still, to have a day named after you is quite a feat.

How did the groundhog come by this honor?

It stems from the ancient belief that hibernating creatures were able to predict the arrival of springtime by their emergence.

The German immigrants known as Pennsylvania Dutch brought the tradition to America in the 18th century. They had once regarded the badger as the winter-spring barometer. But the job was reassigned to the groundhog after importing their Candlemas traditions to the U.S. Candlemas commemorates the ritual purification of Mary, 40 days after the birth of Jesus.

Candlemas is one of the four "cross-quarters" of the year, occurring half way between the first day of winter and the first day of spring. Traditionally, it was believed that if Candlemas was sunny, the remaining six weeks of winter would be stormy and cold. But if it rained or snowed on Candlemas, the rest of the winter would be mild. If an animal "sees its shadow," it must be sunny, so more wintry weather is predicted:

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again.

The groundhog and badger were not the only animals that have been used to predict spring. Other Europeans used the bear or hedgehog--but in any case the honor belonged to a creature that hibernated. Its emergence symbolized the imminent arrival of spring.

Traditionally, the groundhog is supposed to awaken on February 2, Groundhog Day, and come up out of his burrow. If he sees his shadow, he will return to the burrow for six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow, he remains outside and starts his year, because he knows that spring has arrived early.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cold Night in January

It's bitter cold here tonight. It's dipping close to 10F already. The poor animals outside are really having to work to conserve heat. I feed out allot of whole corn to the sheep when its this bitter. The chickens and horse too get allot of extra feed and whole corn.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Orthodox song byzantine chant

This has a nice collection of Christian Icons that change with the music.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Secular Humanism vs. Chrstian Humanism

Secular humanism is very popular with so called "academics" and social activists today and there is a reason that the word secular is used with the word Humanist. It is to distinguish from the root movement known as Christian Humanism. The first Humanists were Christians. It is revisionist history to deny the moral impact of traditional Christianity on today's morality and culture in the West but it is widely done. Humanism as it is understood today actually has its roots firmly based in Christianity and it's beginning can be traced back as early as the second century. Taking faith out of the equation and claiming it for its own American and European (non-believing) academics have in fact been perpetuating lies or at best half truths. Christian humanism may have begun as early as the 2nd century. Jesus himself used Greek thinking and logic in his approach to teaching. Ironically Christianity is responsible for the way much of mainstream academia today looks at the world.

It should be noted here that after the conquest by Alexander the Great in the third century BC, Greek culture and language made increasing inroads in Palestine. The Palestinian Judaism of Jesus' day was known as Hellenistic Judaism. Some new Greek cities were founded in Palestine during this period as well. Greek culture and language affected Jews, especially in Jerusalem where about 16,000 people spoke Greek. The Judaism of Jesus had been already deeply changed by its contact with the Greek and Roman world.

The contemporary academics who teach secular humanism as the only way and as being superior intellectually to Christianity are wrong. It is not more just or legitimate than Christian morality is, in fact people who do this are disregarding their own social history and culture and are perpetuating half truths or even blatant lies. Their patronizing and smug criticisms are a violation of the very reasoning they claim to advocate. There is a conscious effort in many academic circles to demonize and marginalize spirituality and faith today. Some would even have Christianity marginalized to the point that all practicing Christians be ridiculed and dismissed as superstitious and backward.

It cannot be disputed world cultures have always blended and changed over time. All religions and movments have borrowed from others. Greek culture and thought was spreading rapidly to the far reaches of the Roman empire at the time of Christ. The land of Jesus was in fact multicultural at the time Jesus was teaching and the world Jesus knew was evolving rapidly. It has only been since the 70s that universities in the US began removing Christian Civilization from their required studies. The loss of the knowlege of our culture's Christian history has proved disastrous. It should be noted here that even though Christianity was deeply influenced by its Greco-Roman and Germanic environment, there is no doubt that it adopted a number of important philosophical ideas and ethical concepts that were uniquely Jewish and that had no real precedent in pagan European religions. The idea of history as a linear process of progress toward a specific end goal came from Judaic elements influencing mainstream thought.

It sometimes seems that our modern historians are trying to wipe out centuries of history to advance their pet theory that there is no God and that Christianity is inherently evil or superstitious at best. Apparently they feel threatened by the teaching of the humble carpenter. Ironically this mirrors what the Soviets did in Eastern Europe and Russia after the dissolution of Czarist Russia. My question is, If you are free thinking why would you fear and suppress religion and Christian influence in modern society? Our forefathers here in America spelled out that there should be freedom to practice one's religion without persecution. It was not their intention to stifle or ban religion from the public realm or drive it underground.The thinly veiled hate of Christians in the West by the far left truly is frightening to me. The fact is progressives and liberals are increasingly advocating that Christians be persecuted in the name of "Reason". The whole idea of progressive history is Christian! How very unreasonable!

I used to consider myself liberal and truly believed the progressive liberal impulses in our society were noble and truly moving us in the right direction but the attacks on all religion by a very large portion of the left has left me no choice but to chart a new coarse. I am not going to join the conservatives but I do not belong in circles where religion is portrayed as backwards and no longer relevant or righteous. My faith in God has been my rudder and Christ is the center of my universe. I believe I am a good person for being faithful to the faith my parents imparted to me and that the teachings of Jesus have served as the best guide possible to living a good life allowing me to contribute very positively to society and giving me great satisfaction and joy in the process. Perhaps this is my confession of faith. If we ban God from mainstream culture it does not mean He does not exist. What then shall they replace God with? Materialism has already brought the West to it's knees.

As I have said before on this blog, the hatred of all religion is the new religion. It's zealots are as angry and hate filled as the the Grand Inquisitor. It's practitioners think they are in fact saving humanity. The world has never needed the Prince of Peace so much, methinks.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Dr. William Maxwell of Kirkconnell, Burns Physician

Dr. William Maxwell. 1760-1834
His association with Burns and with the early days of the first revolution in France, assured him of a permanent place in history. Dr. Maxwell wa both friend and physician to Robert Burns.

William Maxwell to Robert Burns
By Robert D. Thornton
Published by John Donald Publishers, Ltd. Edinburgh, 1979, 263 pages including index.

“As a first biography of Dr. William Maxwell of Kirkconnell, this book leads to careful consideration of the inextricable intertwining of the doctor’s life with that of Scotland’s foremost poet. A detailed, factual account based upon such primary sources as the Kirkconnell family papers, never before made available to a Burns scholar.” (from the book)

Happy Birthday Robert Burns

"Is There for Honest Poverty", commonly known as "A Man's a Man for A' That", is a Scots song by Robert Burns, famous for its expression of egalitarian ideas of society, which may be seen as anticipating the ideas of liberalism that arose in the 18th century, and those of socialism which arose in the 19th century. The poem also encompasses many freemasonic ideals and symbols.

A Man's a Man for All that
(Robert Burns)

Is there for honest poverty
That hangs his head, an' a' that
The coward slave, we pass him by
We dare be poor for a' that
For a' that, an' a' that
Our toil's obscure and a' that
The rank is but the guinea's stamp
The man's the gowd for a' that

What though on hamely fare we dine
Wear hoddin grey, an' a' that
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine
A man's a man, for a' that
For a' that, an' a' that
Their tinsel show an' a' that
The honest man, though e'er sae poor
Is king o' men for a' that

Ye see yon birkie ca'd a lord
Wha struts an' stares an' a' that
Tho' hundreds worship at his word
He's but a coof for a' that
For a' that, an' a' that
His ribband, star and a' that
The man o' independent mind
He looks an' laughs at a' that

A prince can mak' a belted knight
A marquise, duke, an' a' that
But an honest man's aboon his might
Gude faith, he maunna fa' that
For a' that an' a' that
Their dignities an' a' that
The pith o' sense an' pride o' worth
Are higher rank that a' that

Then let us pray that come it may
(as come it will for a' that)
That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth
Shall bear the gree an' a' that
For a' that an' a' that
It's coming yet for a' that
That man to man, the world o'er
Shall brithers be for a' that

As published in Currie's 1800 edition of Burns' works
Other editions are slightly more or less "Scottish" (e.g.
reading "brothers" for "brithers" in last line.
Sometimes titled "For A' That and A' That"
composed January 1795
Based on "The Bard's Song" in "The Jolly Beggars" RW

bear the gree: Take first place, be foremost
birkie: person
coof: fool, idle/worthless fellow
fa': fault
gowd: gold
hamely: homely, humble
hoddin grey: coarse wool
mauna: must not

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Cult of Reason – The Dark Side of the Enlightenment

From the desk of Fjordman on Wed, 2009-12-09 01:23
There are few books published these days that are worth a second look, but The Suicide of Reason by Lee Harris is one of the exceptions. Many observers currently sense – correctly in my view – that something is fundamentally wrong with the Western world, but they differ substantially in their analysis of the cause(s) of this. The First and Second World Wars were horrible, and most thinking people agree that something went wrong with the Western Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and 70s, which unlike the Chinese Cultural Revolution became institutionalized. But does that mean that everything was fine in the 1950s?

The Communist Manifesto was written already in 1848 by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, and Marx published Das Kapital in 1867. There are those who believe that Marxism could only have been born in a Christian environment, and there are also those who claim that the real father of Communism was Plato in ancient Greece, not Karl Marx. So where exactly did the West go wrong, and just how far back do we have to go before things were “right”? 1950? 1850? Before the Enlightenment and industrialization? Before Christianity? Before Plato?

Even Christian conservative writer Lawrence Auster admits that modern liberalism “would not have come into existence without Christianity, and liberalism can fairly be described as a secularized offshoot of Christianity,” but he thinks that this does not necessarily mean that all forms of Christianity in every context have been or need to be suicidal, which may be true.

The jury is still out on whether Christian universalism is suicidal for Europeans in a world of global communications where most Christians are non-Europeans, yet I am convinced that we must take a look at a dark side of the Enlightenment which can be dubbed the Cult of Reason.

In some Western countries – the United States in particular – the term “Judeo-Christian” is frequently evoked. This makes sense in some contexts but not in all. The European artistic legacy from the medieval era on could be more accurately described as “Helleno-Christian” since figurative art never held a prominent place in traditional Jewish culture. While it is possible that elements of Jewish chant were incorporated into early Christian religious music, the tradition of polyphony which led up to Bach, Mozart and Beethoven was a unique Christian European development of the Middle Ages with no direct counterpart in Judaism.

Although Christianity was deeply affected by its Greco-Roman and Germanic environment, there is no doubt that it adopted a number of important philosophical ideas and ethical concepts that were uniquely Judaic and had no real precedent in pagan European religions, for instance the idea of history as a linear process of progress toward a specific end goal. Author Henry Bamford Parkes writes in Gods and Men - The Origins of Western Culture:

“The most significant feature of the Jewish heritage, however, was its view of history. Other ancient peoples had believed in a golden age, but had always located it in the past at the beginning of time. Israel alone looked forward to a golden age in the future and interpreted history as a meaningful and progressive movement toward this Messianic consummation. Originating in tribalistic loyalty, and reflecting the determination of a weak people to retain its identity in spite of conquest and enslavement, the Messianic hope was given universal scope by the prophets and became the end toward which all earthly events were moving. In various manifestations, religious and secular, spiritual and materialistic, it became one of those dynamic social myths which give meaning and direction to human life and which have more influence on human action than any rational philosophy. Unless its importance is understood, the development not merely of the Jewish people but also of the whole Western world becomes unintelligible.”

Lynn White, a prominent American professor of medieval history, states that “The victory of Christianity over paganism was the greatest psychic revolution in the history of our culture,” and its effects are clearly apparent even in our supposedly post-Christian culture: “Our daily habits of action, for example, are dominated by an implicit faith in perpetual progress which was unknown either to Greco-Roman antiquity or to the Orient. It is rooted in, and is indefensible apart from, Judeo-Christian theology.” The fact that Marxists share this concept of a nonrepetitive and linear progression where history moves inexorable towards a specific end demonstrates to Lynn White that Marxism “is a Judeo-Christian heresy.”

In Defending the West, author Ibn Warraq argues that the “golden threads” of Western culture can have negative side effects: “It could be argued that the three defining characteristics of the West – rationalism, universalism (with its underlying or implied liberalism), and self-criticism – can lead to their opposites, or to other undesirable consequences.”

The Dutch-Somali ex-Muslim and Islam-critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali in a review of The Suicide of Reason in The New York Times states that Lee Harris is correct that many Western leaders are terribly confused about the Islamic world. “The problem, however, is not too much reason but too little. Harris also fails to address the enemies of reason within the West: religion and the Romantic movement. It is out of rejection of religion that the Enlightenment emerged; Romanticism was a revolt against reason. Both the Romantic movement and organized religion have contributed a great deal to the arts and to the spirituality of the Western mind, but they share a hostility to modernity. Moral and cultural relativism (and their popular manifestation, multiculturalism) are the hallmarks of the Romantics.”

While I have tremendous respect for Ali’s personal courage, her simplistic understanding of this period resembles Enlightenment fundamentalism, and her dismissal of religion as inherently anti-rational is a caricature. Rémi Brague, a French professor of religious philosophy, notes that the connection between rationalism and irrationalism is quite complex:

“Two examples: the high point of magic is not situated in the Middle Ages, but just before and just after. The first high point was late Neoplatonism: Proclus (d. 485) placed magic (or ‘theurgy’) higher than all human knowledge; the second came in Renaissance Florence of the fifteenth century. Nor should we forget the contents of Newton’s famous trunk. That great thinker was just as interested in an exegesis of the Book of Revelation as he was in celestial mechanics. Magic and science are twin sisters, but one prospered while the other declined. The real danger lies in the paradox of your formula: ‘believe in reason.’ For the ideology of the Enlightenment, which is still widespread among the intellectual proletariat, it is one thing or the other: either one believes, or one is rational. Reason is expected to destroy belief and replace it with knowledge. That reason itself is the object of a belief is a bit hard to swallow. Still, Nietzsche had already identified in the belief in the truth a final echo of a belief that was first Platonic, then Christian (‘Platonism for the people’). Many of those who think themselves rationalists [are] just as irrational as their targets.”

Scholars such as Edward Grant and David C. Lindberg have convincingly demonstrated that European scholars placed unusual emphasis on reason by global standards even during the medieval era. This Helleno-Christian stress on logic was a critical factor in the rise of modern science and the concept of a world governed by natural laws that could be discovered and described by humans. The nineteenth-century German philosopher and atheist Arthur Schopenhauer wondered where the European notion of a law-governed universe came from.

According to Lee Harris, “No scientist can possibly argue that science has proven the universe to be rule-governed throughout all of space and all of time. As Kant argued in his Critique of Judgment, scientists must begin by assuming that nature is rational through and through: It is a necessary hypothesis for doing science at all. But where did this hypothesis, so vital to science, come from? The answer, according to Schopenhauer, was that modern scientific reason derived its model of the universe from the Christian concept of God as a rational Creator who has intelligently designed every last detail of the universe ex nihilo. It was this Christian idea of God that permitted Europeans to believe that the universe was a rational cosmos. Because Europeans had been brought up to imagine the universe as the creation of a rational intelligence, they naturally came to expect to find evidence of this intelligence wherever they looked--and, strangely enough, they did.”

Harris emphasizes the Socratic basis of Western thought. In his essay Socrates or Muhammad? he states that after Kant, from the point of view of modern reason, all religious faiths are equally irrational. Yet if the individual is free to choose between violence and reason, it will become impossible to create a community in which all the members restrict themselves to using reason to obtain their objectives. The rational man’s choice must be that “If you are given a choice between religions, always prefer the religion that is most conducive to creating a community of reasonable men, even if you don't believe in it yourself.”

Johann Herder, one of Immanuel Kant’s most illustrious students, pondered what kind of culture had been necessary to produce the European Enlightenment. His conclusion was that Europe alone had achieved “cultures of reason.” In the vast majority of human societies, men were governed by a blind adherence to tradition or by brute force. Modern scientific reason was the product of European cultures of reason, the outcome of an encounter between Biblical faith and Greek philosophical inquiry “with the subsequent addition of the Roman heritage.”

In ancient China, the leading Confucian thinker Mencius believed that man’s nature is innately good, something which many post-Enlightenment Western thinkers would agree on. An echo of Thomas Hobbes’ darker view of “war of all against all” can be detected in the dark novel Lord of the Flies by the English author William Golding (1911-1993), published in 1954 after the atrocities of the Second World War made it difficult to uphold the most positive views of man’s nature. In the novel, a group of British schoolboys are plane-wrecked on a deserted island. Their attempts at rational self-rule soon deteriorate into pure savagery.

The Russian ex-pat author Alexander Boot, who fled from the Communist rule of the Soviet Union, sees Western history as a prolonged internal struggle between two different beings which he calls Modman and Westman. Modman saw himself as close to divine; Westman had a humble respect for tradition that made him immune to the “self-deification” of Modman: “…the humility of a Bach is alien to a Modman; his pride, the hubris of someone who is his own God, cannot accept the existence of a hierarchy in which he himself is not at the top.”

While the emphasis on human reason has been a key factor of Western thought for many centuries, two new developments took place following the Enlightenment. The belief in man’s innate goodness became more widespread, in contradiction of Christian doctrines, and belief in God declined. Man became his own God with the ability to create his own reality. By far the most influential and arguably the most destructive of the new post-Enlightenment ideologies addicted to the “self-deification of mankind” was Marxism.

The great Polish philosopher Leszek Kolakowski (1927-2009) was born in the city of Radom, south of Warsaw. After the Germans invaded the country in 1939 at the beginning of the Second World War his father, a political writer, was killed by the Gestapo and his family was exiled to a primitive village in eastern Poland. There the young Leszek found a library in the house of a minor nobleman and started educating himself. After the war he got a doctorate at Warsaw University and became professor of modern philosophy in 1964.

He began as an orthodox Marxist but in 1968 moved to the West. His most influential work was a three-volume history of Marxism – Main Currents of Marxism (1978). He called this philosophy “the greatest fantasy of our century” and argued that Stalinist repression was not a perversion of it but its natural conclusion; the abolition of private property and the subordination of the market to state control provided “a good blueprint for converting human society into a giant concentration camp,” and the “belief in laws of history was a Hegelian and Marxian delusion.” He was severely critical of Western apologists who suggested that (imaginary) economic progress in Communist countries justified the lack of political freedom and dismissed the idea of democratic Socialism as just as “contradictory as a fried snowball.”

Kolakowski saw Western relativism as corrosive, too. The post-Nietzschean faith of postmodernism which said there are no facts, only interpretations, “abolishes the idea of human responsibility and moral judgments.” According to this view, “There are no valid rules for establishing truth; consequently, there is no such thing as truth. There is no need to elaborate on the disastrous cultural effects of such a theory.” In the Enlightenment tradition we can encounter disrespect for historical knowledge, yet “The history of past generations is our history, and we need to know it in order to be aware of our identity; in the same sense in which my own memory builds my personal identity, makes me a human subject.”

As writer Roger Kimball puts it, “In ‘Man Does Not Live by Reason Alone’ (1991), Kolakowski argues that ‘mankind can never get rid of the need for religious self-identification: who am I, where did I come from, where do I fit in, why am I responsible, what does my life mean, how will I face death? Religion is a paramount aspect of human culture. Religious need cannot be ex-communicated from culture by rationalist incantation. Man does not live by reason alone.’ He shows how the tendency to believe that all human problems have a technical solution is an unfortunate inheritance from the Enlightenment—‘even,’ he notes, ‘from the best aspects of the Enlightenment: from its struggle against intolerance, self-complacency, superstitions, and uncritical worship of tradition.’ There is much about human life that is not susceptible to human remedy or intervention. Our allegiance to the ideal of unlimited progress is, paradoxically, a dangerous moral limitation that is closely bound up with what Kolakowski calls the loss of the sacred.”

In 1793, during the bloody period of the French Revolution known as the Reign of Terror, Reason with a capital “R” was literally elevated to the status of a goddess in Paris and other cities in a new religion or Cult of Reason. All revolutionaries since then have sought to destroy the old world and establish a new order on the basis of reason alone. According to author Lee Harris, “All modern revolutionary movements since the French revolution have displayed the same unrealistic overconfidence in the power of pure reason. All revolutionary movements aim to liberate the people from their inherited traditions and create a new man.”

They also invariably bring about the same result, a return to the law of the jungle, as reliance on reason alone invariably fails. Harris believes that “The West, uniquely, had even used reason to try to prove the existence of God, as Anselm attempted in the eleventh century. Other peoples simply took the existence of the gods for granted. But in the West, it was not enough to be told there was a God; we must be able to convince ourselves, by reason alone, that such an entity existed. What other culture has been annoyed by such doubt?”

This does in no way imply that other cultures could not produce great logical thinkers, but the Western tradition of critical reason is indeed unique. Confucius used reason to defend the traditional values of Chinese civilization, but it would never have occurred to him that reason alone could provide the basis of an entire society, as the revolutionaries did during the French Revolution. The Western tradition of reason and logic is thus an ambiguous legacy:

“The West is unique in preserving, however fitfully, the tradition of critical reason – the reason exhibited by Socrates, for example, in his critique of the Greek pantheon of oversexed and rather adolescent gods and goddesses. Yet the West is also unique in making a virtual fetish of reason, in deifying it, believing that reason and reason alone could be the final judge of all human thought and conduct.”

The emphasis on logic and reason is one of the golden threads running through Western history, from Greek geometry and the logical works of Aristotle to the modern world. It is one of the main reasons why the ancient Greeks created a uniquely sophisticated natural philosophy and why modern science was born in Europe. Yet traditionally, reason was looked upon by the ancient Greeks as the distinguishing characteristic of only a small minority of the human race. Aristotle famously argued that slavery was a natural condition for those who could not control their impulses. The Enlightenment elevated belief in reason as a supposedly universal human trait to new and perhaps unrealistic heights even by Western standards.

Just as the limits imposed on the use of human reason by a Creator God were seemingly removed, a new set of limitations were introduced by Charles Darwin. If you believe Darwin's theory of evolution then we are, in fact, modified apes and at least partly animals, if not fully so. As reader Eileen comments at the Gates of Vienna blog, “We are not, though, partly animals. If we are going to discuss humans from a naturalistic viewpoint, then humans must be wholly animals. There is no other option.” Moreover, “not only are we modified apes, we ARE apes! Again, quite extraordinary apes, but apes nonetheless.”

Ape Genius is a documentary by National Geographic which demonstrates certain intellectual skills exhibited by apes. According to blogger Conservative Swede, “apes do not mindlessly ape, but humans can easily be made into doing that. Whatever an ape does, it has to have an objective purpose, given reality and his biological interest.” Human beings can learn from teachers and have more respect for authority figures. This “opens up all sorts of possibilities, including the building of a symbolic world for the collective mind, that is a virtual Platonic cave, where the shadow figures displayed by the masters are observed rather than reality.”

Genetic evidence indicates that the DNA of human beings is between 94% and 99% identical to that of chimpanzees, our closest biological relatives closely followed by gorillas. In Spain, the governing Socialists want to grant human rights to great apes. The dilemma is that it will then become rather difficult to claim that human beings are 100% rational if we are at the same time 98% or so identical to chimpanzees, who have been observed to conduct war against members of the same species. If you believe Lee Harris, the general revulsion many people feel by observing apes and monkeys explains some of the resistance to Darwinism:

“For the basis of this revulsion is none other than ‘the civilizing process’ that has been instilled into us from infancy. The civilizing process has taught us never to throw our feces at other people, not even in jest. It has taught us not to snatch food from other people, not even when they are much weaker than we. It has taught us not to play with our genitals in front of other people, not even when we are very bored. It has taught us not to mount the posterior of other people, not even when they have cute butts. Those who are horrified by our resemblance to the lower primates are not wrong, because it is by means of this very horror of the primate-within that men have been able to transcend our original primate state of nature. It is by refusing to accept our embarrassing kinship with primates that men have been able to create societies that prohibit precisely the kind of monkey business that civilized men and women invariably find so revolting and disgusting. Thou shalt not act like a monkey—this is the essence of all the higher religions, and the summation of all ethical systems.”

In light of evolutionary biology, John Locke’s “blank slate” theory from the Enlightenment cannot be fully correct. Human beings are not blank slates, biologically speaking. That doesn’t mean that we don't have a rational and uniquely human side. We do. It’s called “civilization.” The problem is that after the Enlightenment - and remember here that Marxism itself is a post-Enlightenment ideology - it became popular in the West to assume that man is by nature good and rational. This again paved the way for a Cult of Reason which at times amounted to the deification of the human intellect. The Protestants talked about Sola Scriptura, “by Scripture Alone,” but the post-Enlightenment view became “by Reason Alone.” I have no idea what that is in Latin as my Latin is a bit rusty these days.

This view is not compatible with traditional Christianity. All Christian denominations assume that man is sinful and flawed. However, it is not compatible with the theory of evolution, either. This insight is of profound importance and in my view explains the origins of virtually all the failed Western ideologies of the past two hundred years, from Communism to Multiculturalism: Their basic assumptions about human nature were and are fundamentally wrong. Freed from the chains of civilization we will not become “noble savages.” On the contrary; these chains restrain our inner ape, which will be unleashed if they are removed. This is why all Marxist ideologies end in a return to the laws of the jungle: They unleash our inner ape, which will naturally try to get back to and recreate the jungle where it came from.

The English biologist Thomas Henry or T. H. Huxley, known as “Darwin’s Bulldog” and the man who coined the term agnostic, offered a Darwinian interpretation of Saint Augustine’s doctrine of “original sin.” Unlike the Biblical account of the Fall of Man from the Book of Genesis where Adam and Eve were expelled from Paradise, for Huxley our original sin is that we are born not as humans but as primates. Lee Harris again in The Suicide of Reason:

“Today, many quite intelligent men believe that the doctrine of original sin is sheer nonsense. But what arguments could any modern skeptic use against Huxley’s version of original sin, which, unlike Augustine’s, does not require us to believe in a fable about talking serpents and forbidden fruit, but simply the matter-of-fact acceptance of the law of natural selection? If, for Huxley, our original sin is to be born as primates, then the only cure for it is to be made to feel ashamed of our primate nature. It is shame, not reason, that elevated us above the animal. Because Huxley accepted ‘the reality at the bottom of the doctrine of original sin,’ he was forced to recognize that any society, if it hoped to cooperate and thereby survive as a society, had to develop internal defense mechanisms that could keep in check the human animal’s ‘innate tendency to self-assertion.’ For Huxley, the only viable societal mechanism that could perform this task was shame – emotionally wrenching and physiologically manifested shame. Children, from a young age, had to be taught to be ashamed of their inborn animal desire ‘to do nothing but that which pleases them to do.’”

As I argue in my online essay Why Did Europeans Create the Modern World?, the West is now dominated by Darwinists who don’t believe in the theory of evolution, or rather, fail to accept the logical consequences of this theory when applied to human beings. I stand by my previous statement that if you believe that human beings are the product of evolutionary pressures then there is no such thing as “racism,” which is a totally anti-scientific term.

Various human groups will during thousand and tens of thousands of years of natural selection have adjusted themselves to different natural environments, with results that don’t merely include superficial differences such as skin color but probably also mental differences. Yet absurdly, saying this makes you vilified and labeled a “Nazi” in Western countries today.

I have struggled to explain why. My conclusion is that we live in a society where the ideal is not merely Reason Alone but Thought Alone; we are supposed to create an entire society and physical reality purely by thought, which should result in perfect, cosmic, universal justice and equality for all. Anything and everything that impedes with our ability to create this reality must be banned as “irrational” or “hate.” If God and religion prevent us from creating what we want then God and religion must be removed; the theory of evolution can take care of that for us. However, we must be careful not to follow this theory to its logical conclusion because then biology instead of God would inhibit our ability to create perfect equality between men and women and between humans of all races. In short, we must ban reality.

This is in essence what Political Correctness is all about: Banning any discussion of reality so we can create a perfect world based on Thought Alone. In a strange sense this could ironically be seen as the final culmination of millennia of Western use of reason until we finally succeeded in creating a society based on Reason Alone. Although I cannot pinpoint exactly how I suspect you could successfully argue that there is a form of Platonism underlying this mental construct. After all, in Plato’s world the perfect, unchanging Ideas were physically separated from observed reality. In a way this is exactly what the modern West has created.

The dream of a perfect world of absolute equality may be a beautiful dream but it is a dream, based on many different false beliefs. It will quickly turn into a very real nightmare if you try to implement it. Among the largest of these false beliefs is the idea that man is naturally good and a perfectly rational being. I am personally not ready to embrace the opposite claim either, that man is by nature evil or sinful. My preferred view is that man is flawed and imperfect, yet that is quite sufficient to show that you can never create a perfect society with universal justice, just like you cannot create a perfect building using imperfect building materials.

The perfect world of Reason Alone is beautiful in all its symmetry and mathematical precision. There is only one problem with it: It is a lie. Unfortunately, the media, the political and intellectual leaders as well as the education system have become passionately dedicated to preserving and upholding this lie as The Only Truth and will ruthlessly harass any dissenters who suggest alternative ideas. This means that there will be no reality check until the entire mental bubble is punctured through a painful crash with actual reality. By the time that happens, the collapse may well take much of the edifice of Western civilization with it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

There is no conflict betwen science and faith

Science will never be able to answer the one big question, why? Why did the whole Universe start and why are there living things in it? There is no conflict between Science and Faith. Faith is why allot of people want to know about our world and how it was made. My Father was a man of deep faith and a man of science. The great mysteries of the Universe are inspiring. Science always changes as more things are discovered and so does Faith. Religion evolves and always has. You can see the changes say in a country like India over many centuries. It is most fascinating. If you cling to old ideas and do not live in a fluid way religion can be a shackle but its liberating when the mind remains open to the possibilities of the Universe and the the Creator! Both science and religion are about wonder and awe! My Father was religious and taught Sunday school on Sundays and chemistry and physics during the week. There is no conflict. My Father was a free thinking Christian as am I. We are Presbyterians with social activist roots going back several generations. Only fundamentalists have problems reconciling faith with science.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Livestock being frozen to death in their thousands

As heavy snow brought more chaos to Scotland yesterday, upland sheep farmers in particular feared that their flocks could be killed as a result of the longest cold spell to hit Scotland's agricultural industry for decades.

The prolonged Arctic blast is now the worst seen in Scotland since 1963, according to First Minister Alex Salmond, who praised workers for keeping key roads open, despite widespread anger that many roads and pavements remain ungritted.

The cold spell is now threatening the lives of thousands of farm animals across the country.

Upland sheep farmers fear that their flocks could be killed as a result of deep snow. Those in hilly areas of the country, where snow drifts are already up to 4ft deep, are finding it increasingly difficult to get vital feed to their herds of cows and flocks of sheep.

Pat Withers, the chief executive of the National Farmers' Union of Scotland, told The Scotsman: "We have some fields where farmers are looking out and can't get to their flocks. They can just see the heads of their sheep poking up above the snow. One more snowfall there – and a bit of wind picking up – and they will lose them."

Mr Withers said the problem was particularly acute in the Highlands, Moray, Aberdeenshire and the Borders.

Some farmers have been unable, for up to eight days, to get vital supplies of supplementary feed to their livestock. They are also being hit by delays in suppliers reaching them along treacherous rural routes.

Rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead, who is being kept fully briefed on the deteriorating situation, said: "Scotland is in the grip of the harshest winter weather conditions in decades, which is adding to the weight of challenges faced by farmers at this time of year.

"I have been in contact with farmers and industry organisations to keep abreast of the problems created by this unusually bad weather."

Schools and roads all over the country were closed yesterday, with the Borders, North-east and Highlands bearing the brunt of the bad weather.

Last night, several hundred homes in the Kelso and Duns areas of the Borders were without electricity after heavy snow brought down power lines.

A ScottishPower spokesman said engineers were trying to restore supplies as quickly as possible.

Heavy snow and temperatures as low as -11C caused further disruption to roads, railways and airports across the country.

A woman died in a car crash in Shetland, while a 59-year-old pedestrian was seriously injured when he was hit by a car in Aberdeen. Both accidents are believed to be weather-related.

The Met Office said its predicted low of -20C by the weekend would hit sheltered inland areas such as Braemar, with parts of the Central Belt down to -11C by tonight.

The Borders was worst hit by yesterday's snowfall, with major routes such as the A7, A68 and A702 blocked or extremely hazardous.

Police said drivers should not take to the roads "unless it is a life-or-death situation", while all the region's First bus services were cancelled.

The A9 – the main route to the Highlands – reopened, but conditions were "atrocious" and other roads in the north and North-east remained blocked.

Farmers' fears

ABERDEENSHIRE farmer Tom Johnston spoke of the concerns facing farmers.

Mr Johnston, North East regional chairman of the National Farmers' Union of Scotland, said: "With the volume of snow there is no feed (for animals] except for the feed that you are taking out to them. With lambs and ewes it's important to keep them on a good ration and you have to get feed out on a daily basis. The job is extremely difficult because of the snow and ice.

The danger is that if we get windy weather and the snow blows you get drifts and sheep can actually be buried in the snow."

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


God, bless to me the new day
Never vouchsafed to me before;
It is to bless Thine own presence
Thou hast given me this time, O God.

Bless Thou to me mine eye,
May mine eye bless all it sees;
I will bless my neighbour,
May my neighbour bless me.

God, give me a clean heart,
Let me not from sight of Thine eye;
Bless to me my children and my wife,
And bless to me my means and my cattle.

Dhe, beannaich dhomh an la ur
Nach do thuradh dhomh roimhe riamh;
Is ann gu beannachadh do ghnuis,
Thug thu 'n uine seo dhomh, a Dhia.

Beannaich thusa dhomh mo shuil,
Beannaicheadh mo shuil na chi;
Beannaichidh mise mo nabaidh,
Beannaicheadh mo nabaidh mi.

Dhe tabhair dhomh-sa cridhe glan,
Na leig a seall do shula mi;
Beannaich dhomh mo ghin's mo bhean,
'S beannaich domh mo nearc's mo ni.

THIS poem was repeated the first thing on the first day of the year. It was common throughout the Highlands and Islands.

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