Thursday 28th of May 2020

evolution and the fossilisation of god...

old fossil...

The new pope is a cunning thieving idiot. Actually he may be a clever man but that does not excuse his latest elevated confused ramblings delivered in order to catch more flies... No, dear Francis, we don't believe that god is a magician who created the world with a magic wand in seven days... And yes, the big bang contradicts the divine act of creation, despite your uttering to scientists, to the contrary.

To claim that the evolution theory and the dogma of creation are compatible or are both "right" is an insult to clear minded people. As an atheist, I mean it and I feel insulted. 

Sure, there are many people who are muddled-headed wombats with no idea about the whatever and with no desire to know anything else, except the quick godly fix with pre-muched illusions. It's a lazy undemanding option and I am prepared to believe that there is a lot of real people who can see that evolution and creation are not the other and vice-versa, and that the two of them do not make any sense together.
The idea of god does not make sense anyway. The other, evolution, actually demands a far greater open mind and an extremely precise understanding of reality.
So please, hear me out again: god does not exist. There is zilch reason for the existence of god. 
It does not make any sense for a "superior perfect being" to create a weird trial-and-error space for a species of stupid monkeys to cut their teeth on a dictatorial morality that would give them access to paradise or hell, according to a set scale of sins... 
Despite having been accepted and promulgated by some "intelligent" men, in order to tell other people what to do... This concept is super-idiotic.
The theory of evolution is the closest interpretation of reality that explains life on earth from 4.6 billion years ago to today. No angels, no cherubs, no demon, no god, no trumpets. Only a self generated set of molecules that started to duplicate themselves — with no intent — just in an accidental resonance with a "suitable" environment.
Nothing else, nothing more — except to say this duplication became more complex "in evolution" (devolution and extinction) over aeons, until a greater "self-awareness" of more "evolved" species, about defence, attack and receptive mechanisms, allowed for better survival. This evolution also led to the development of a greater structured memory, which contains the species reactive mechanism of survival, and which for humans has entered a greater gamut of uncertainty. There is no godly aspect to this construct.
Memory of association is the key to complex evolution, though in real term, there is no reason to believe that humans are a superior species. To the contrary, most animal species have achieved the ultimate survival strategies in a set of specific environmental factors, including their own genetics — while humans are still a work in progress, while humans also change their own environment to defeat the shortcomings of the species.
That the pope believes in god in his own dogma is his own barrow. But trying to appropriate the reality of evolution into his moralisationing dogma is idiotic. There is no morality in evolution. There is success or failure. 
Morality came when humans had a bit more time to think about their unsettled relationships in survival situations — unsettled mostly due to the "natural" imperfections of the species in a changing environment. Protection of the species mostly in small tribes started to include a form of "compassion", in which the weak had to be protected from the "finally-strong", because it is possible the survival of the species depended on greater numbers and thus depended on the weak as well as the strong. As well the need for greater nurture made the distinction between genetic success and failure less obvious while the young were growing up... This notion developed with more cunning and became encoded with various dictum that also ended up giving more power to males than females. Compassion evolved into "humanism" in which humans believe in the value of human life from a human perspective, not from a godly point scoring exercise that give us access to a better after-life. 
There is no after-life. 
The religion of the pope is segregating humans in its moralisationing and it also reinforces sexism. 
There is no meeting point between the theory of evolution and a godly dogma that promotes morality... Rack off, Francis. There is no purpose, nor any meaning to life, except the meaning in which we humans decide to be sharing or not with no other purpose than to provide each others with comforts — that is to say better survival chances...
Mixing evolution and creation is an insult to my pea-brain intelligence...

Gus Leonisky
Your local soup kitchen scientific atheist

Note: if god existed she would be female...

Francis, 77, said it was easy to misinterpret the creation story as recounted in the book of Genesis, according to which God created heaven and Earth in six days and rested on the seventh.

“When we read the creation story in Genesis we run the risk of imagining that God was a magician, with a magic wand which is able to do everything,” he said.

“But it is not so. He created beings and let them develop according to internal laws which He gave every one, so they would develop, so they would reach maturity.”


crackpots as well...

Today in unnerving statistics, a poll has found more Britons believe in aliens and ghosts than God.

The survey of 1,500 adults and 500 children, carried out online for Ripley’s Believe It or Not! by OnePoll, found more than half of adults believe that there is alien life, while only a quarter believe in God.

Of the children polled, 26 per cent believe aliens are disguised as humans while one in 20 thought they knew an alien - and of those, one in 20 suggested their mother as the likely culprit.

In the 2011 census 59.3 per cent of the population described themselves as Christian - but that doesn’t necessarily mean they were believers. A YouGov poll of 1,500 Anglican clergy this week found one in 50 priests believe God to be a human construct, while 16 per cent of priests say they are unclear on what they think about God.

looking after the poor...


In one his longest speeches as Pope, the Holy See outlined his views on a wide range of issues– from poverty and the injustices of unemployment to the need to protect the environment.

"Today I want to unite my voice with yours and accompany you in your fight," he said to participants at the World Meeting of Popular Movements, which is holding a three-day conference in Rome involving groups including trade unions, peasant farmers, and domestic workers.

Among those in the audience were Argentine "cartoneros," who live off the sale of recyclable goods they salvage from rubbish. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was particularly close to the cartoneros; as pope he has maintained his support for their plight.

Anticipating how his letter would be received by his critics, Francis declared that “land, housing and work are increasingly unavailable to the majority’ of the world’s population,” but said “If I talk about this, some will think that the Pope is communist.”

"They don't understand that love for the poor is at the centre of the Gospel," he said. "Demanding this isn't unusual, it's the social doctrine of the church."

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Of course... the poor... who shall inherit the earth... At least the pope is showing our Turdy Tony how "it's done"... Turdy Tony wants to destroy unions, bury the poor in more debts and give moneys to his rich mates in a stupid costly direct action that will do nothing against climate change — which the Turd does not believe in. But the Tony Turdy is a full-blown lying Christian fascist-capitalist, while the pope seems to be a mini-socialist who cares.


relative concerns versus full-blown illusions....


Conflict or Mutual Enrichment? Why Science and Theology Need to Talk to Each Other

Alister McGrath

I simply cannot express in words the overwhelming feeling of awe I experienced that night - a sense of exaltation, amazement and wonder. I still feel a tingle, a shiver of pleasure, running down my spine when I recall that desert experience, all those years ago

"Scientific truth is characterized by its precision and the certainty of its predictions. But science achieves these admirable qualities at the cost of remaining on the level of secondary concerns, leaving ultimate and decisive questions untouched."




My own rediscovery of the enriched understanding and appreciation of the world made possible through belief in God took place at Oxford University. It was a somewhat cerebral and intellectual conversion, focussing on my growing realization that belief in God made a lot more sense of things than my atheism. Having already discovered the beauty and wonder of nature, I realized that I had - as T.S. Eliot put it - "had the experience but missed the meaning." I gradually came to the view famously and winsomely expressed by C.S. Lewis: "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it, I see everything else." It was as if an intellectual sun had risen and illuminated the scientific landscape before my eyes, allowing me to see details and interconnections that I would otherwise have missed altogether.

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Gus: there is nothing to talk about, between science and religion... Science is the study of what is, while religion is high-illusionary speculation on the value of life. Religion, as a monotheistic belief, is quite recent in the history of humankind. Science is not a belief system. 

Religion is mostly designed to give us an inflated value to our existence by inventing an alliance with a superior being (Christian, Jewish and Muslim religions) or an array of superior beings (Roman, Nordic and Greek religions). The purpose of such religious beliefs is to elevate us: we are better than roaches that crawl inside our cupboards. Sure, may be, but we do not need religion to make us feel this good.

In fact, the human species is not the top of what it could be. It is imperfect and, in part, it is this imperfection that may have led us to the necessity of lies and deception to survive while inducing further human evolution, which possibly also led to the development of a greater memory than is necessary to survive. We thus fill the extra memory space with illusions/lies/porkies.

We, humans, are a work in progress. Religion is part of this invented deception — which to say the least has become less and less necessary as we UNDERSTAND MORE AND MORE, scientifically to the point that religion should be seen as the greatest deception of all. 

In desperation, possibly due to the increasing possibility of becoming irrelevant, the religious mob still throws discreet punches, pushes and shoves in order to retain the high moral ground against a secular humanism that should and will use science to make humans better. 

On this level, all religions have failed to raise humanity beyond a point, despite their mantra, dogma and theatrical rituals. ISIL is a case in point. The time of the Inquisition and the wars against the Cathars and between each splinters were cases in point for the Christians. The "my god is better than yours" or "my way to god is better than yours" have always been stupid motivations in religious beliefs, still current unfortunately. These motivations have a lot to do with controlling more people, especially reproduction rights, than the "other" and getting a lot of cash in the process. If there was no "reward" (illusion thereof) for being religious, religions would have died in the bum a long time ago. Yet there is no reward in being an atheist. That's where the concept lacks traction, except knowing that knowledge in uncertainty is better than imbecilic illusionary dogma.

Religious people often claim atheism is a form of religious belief. This is a grave insult. atheism has no religious intent — not in controlling people nor in making cash like churches do — including that church of "scientology". And please do not associate communism and atheism in the same breath either. 

Life has no meaning and adding religious meaning to it can lead — and has led — to atrocity and excess like those of religious fanatics. But then what is fanaticism in religion? Do we become "relatively" religious or fully committed — following the dogma to the letter? In this case the Old testament is an ugly book, inciting to revenge and bigamy. Or has there been an evolution of religious beliefs that allow us some variations, like "you shall not kill" but then give sanctification to wars? Religious beliefs are the summit of hypocrisy in many regards.

It's time for the religious mob to try and stop mixing science and beliefs. They do not mix. Science is about the investigation of doubt with repeatable experiments that can confirm a concept to a point. Religion is a dogma that has no reality in it, only illusions to which morality has been tacked on.

Science does not give us morality but explains pain and contentment and their deviations. From there, humanly, we can see that seeking contentment may be better than seeking pain. In religious concepts, seeking pain or inflicting pain is often seen as a way to glory to an after-life. Martyrdom beckons. 

There is no after-life. All life on earth, from the basic earth worms to humans are individually doomed to disappearance. Individual death is final. Species death (extinction) is also final but can occur millions of years after the species evolved appearance in the gamut of DNA. There is no mystery with this concept of science. 

Only our illusionary in uncertainty "bugger-that attitude, I want to live for ever" give us the idea to invent eternity — in which our all-good god is a full-blown sadist as well, for having invented hell and eternal damnation. Idiocy plus.

We're idiots should we try to incorporate science and religion. One of them does not make sense and it ain't science.

see also: and god createth the fanatic...


the battle of the biologists...

The war of words between the biologists EO Wilson and Richard Dawkins has reignited after the Harvard professor described his Oxford counterpart as a “journalist”.

In an interview with Evan Davis on BBC2’s Newsnight to promote his latest book, Wilson was asked about his differing view of natural selection compared with that of Dawkins.

Wilson answered: “There is no dispute between me and Richard Dawkins and there never has been, because he’s a journalist, and journalists are people that report what the scientists have found and the arguments I’ve had have actually been with scientists doing research.”

Shortly after the programme was broadcast, Dawkins tweeted: “I greatly admire EO Wilson & his huge contributions to entomology, ecology, biogeography, conservation, etc. He’s just wrong on kin selection.”

A second tweet said: “Anybody who thinks I’m a journalist who reports what other scientists think is invited to read The Extended Phenotype.”

He was referring to his 1982 book, a sequel to his previous work, The Selfish Gene. The earlier book is considered by the high-profile Darwinist to be his principal contribution to evolutionary theory.

Wilson was asked about his current views on the concept of a selfish gene, to which he replied: “I have abandoned it and I think most serious scientists working on it have abandoned it. Some defenders may be out there, but they have been relatively or almost totally silenced since our major paper came out.”

The paper he referred to was a 2010 study published in Nature entitled The evolution of eusociality.

Dawkins later posted a third tweet with a link to his devastating Prospect magazine review of Wilson’s 2012 book The Social Conquest of Earth, which he described as “a brief account of EO Wilson’s misunderstanding of kin selection theory”.

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One has to know that E O Wilson is a god believer... And Dawkins as an atheist is correct on evolution.

the first wings...


Insects developed wings before any other animals so they could keep up with the growing height of land plants, a new study suggests.

The discovery, by an international team of researchers, comes from a massive new analysis of insect genes which has provided the clearest picture yet of how and when insects evolved.

The research is published today in the journal Science.

"Insects are the most species rich organisms on earth," says CSIRO entomologist and co-author of the new study, Dr David Yeates. "One in every two animals is an insect."

But because insects are so diverse and have been on planet Earth for so long it is very hard to draw their family tree, he says.

Yeates and colleagues from the 1K Insect Transcriptome Evolution project have now created the most detailed ever insect evolutionary tree.

Their research suggests insects evolved from marine crustaceans earlier than previous studies have found.

"Insects appeared around 500 million years ago, just as the first land plants and stable terrestrial environments evolved," says Yeates, who is director of the Australian National Insect Collection.

"And as soon as these early plants started to develop height, which is about 400 million years ago, insects developed wings."

As plants grew taller, insects could have crawled to their tops and jumped off, at first gliding, before later evolving to flap their wings, he says.

By flying, insects would then have been able to exploit the growing diversity of tall plants.

Yeates says evidence to date suggests that because insects are so small and fast at reproducing they are good at exploiting new environments, even those created by mass extinction events.

"Dinosaurs went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous, but this time seemed to be an opportunity for insects, which kept diversifying along with flowering plants," he says

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tax on god...


Ms. Müller said she and her husband left the Protestant church this spring after their bank informed them they would have to reveal their religious affiliation and begin paying the church tax on income from their retirement fund.

While the church tax had officially always been due on capital gains, it had never been properly enforced. Under the new rules, which the churches lobbied for, banks will be required to report their customers’ religious affiliations, rather than wait for customers to volunteer the information.

“We’re not doing it for the additional revenue,” said Thomas Begrich, finance chief for the Protestant Churches of Germany, or EKD, defending the change. “The wealthy need to pay their fair share.”

The church tax issue has become a big deal with the German Catholic bishops taking the lead in trying to liberalize the universal Catholic church’s rules on married and divorced people receiving communion. Look at this report from the National Catholic Register:

In response to the numbers de-registering, the German bishops issued a decree in September 2012 calling such departure “a serious lapse” and listing a number of ways they are barred from participating in the life of the Church.

The decree specified that those who do not pay the church tax cannot receive the sacraments of Confession, Communion, Confirmation, or Anointing of the Sick, except when in danger of death; cannot hold ecclesial office or perform functions within the Church; cannot be a godparent or sponsor; cannot be a member of diocesan or parish councils; and cannot be members of public associations of the Church.

Gus: The catholic church has always "charged" a charitable contribution of a portion of income... Even collection plates are charged at 10 per cent to pay for the Pope's enterprises (First, the vast majority of money washing through the church remains on the local level, especially the parish. In the United States, more than 90 percent of revenues collected by parishes remains there) .... Church tax is common throughout Europe...



insulting grannies...


The love-in with Pope Francis is over; or at least it is as far as this Catholic feminist is concerned. On Tuesday he addressed the European parliament in Strasbourg, 27 years after a speech there by his predecessor John Paul II. That was an historic occasion, and this week’s speech was widely touted as something similar: a groundbreaking moment for the pontiff to lay out his stall on Europe and its political direction.

First came entirely laudable entreaties: European politicians, he said, should pull together a united response to assist the boatloads of impoverished and miserable people who come in search of a new life, rather than leaving them to drown on the high seas. There should be more jobs, and better conditions for workers. Europe was failing in these respects, and he wanted it to pull its socks up.

So far, so very good indeed. But then came his massive faux pas. Speaking of the need for Europe to be invigorated, he described the continent as a “grandmother, no longer fertile and vibrant”, and went on to say it risked “slowly losing its own soul”.

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paradise has plenty of trees for dogs to cock a leg against..


Animals, too, go to heaven. That, at least, was one interpretation of remarks made b yPope Francis in his weekly general audience in the Vatican.

The endlessly controversial 77-year-old pontiff said: “The holy scripture teaches us that the fulfilment of this wonderful design also affects everything around us.”

The pope went on to quote from St Paul, St Peter and the Book of Revelation in support of the view that “what lies ahead … is therefore a new creation”.

He added: “It is not an annihilation of the universe and all that surrounds us. Rather it brings everything to its fullness of being, truth and beauty.”

Italian daily Corriere della Sera was in no doubt about his meaning. “It broadens the hope of salvation and eschatological beatitude to animals and the whole of creation,” wrote the paper’s Vatican specialist in an article published on Thursday.


I know. You should see the beatified pink-eyed slime in heaven and the specially designated giant cupboards for the cockroaches in St Peters quarters. Amazink... And poopa scoopa is automatic.

But above all, I believe paradise will eschatologically happen when people stop killing each others and manage the planet with better table manners...

spiritual Alzheimer’s, existential schizophrenia and more...

Pope Francis’ Christmas greeting to the Vatican bureaucracy this year was an extended warning against a host of spiritual ills to which he said Vatican officials are prone, including “spiritual Alzheimer’s”, “existential schizophrenia,” publicity-seeking, the “terrorism of gossip” and even a poor sense of humour. 

The pope made his remarks on 22 December, in a biting half-hour speech to heads of the Roman Curia, the church’s central administration, and to cardinals resident in Rome. 

Popes have often used their annual Christmas speech to review events of the previous year and lay out priorities for the next. Pope Francis’ nine-member Council of Cardinals is currently working on an overhaul of the Curia, but the pope’s speech did not address specific reforms. Instead, he spoke in general terms of virtues and values, saying he hoped his words might serve officials as a “support and stimulus to a true examination of conscience” in preparation for the sacrament of reconciliation. 

The pope, who has made criticism of the church’s leaders a common theme of his preaching, called the Curia a “dynamic body” naturally vulnerable to “maladies, to dysfunction, to infirmities”.

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the missing eukaryote link...

Unlike bacteria, humans have big, complex cells, packed with nuclei containing DNA and mitochondria that produce energy. All so-called eukaryotes share our cellular complexity: animals, plants, fungi, even single-celled protozoans like amoebae.

Scientists estimate that the first eukaryotes evolved about 2 billion years ago, in one of the greatest transitions in the history of life. But there is little evidence of this momentous event, no missing link that helps researchers trace the evolution of life from simple microbes to eukaryotes..

On Wednesday, a team of scientists announced the discovery of just such a transitional form. At the bottom of the Arctic Ocean, they found microbes that have many — but not all — of the features previously only found in eukaryotes. These microbes may show us what the progenitors of complex cellular organisms looked like.

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three is a crowd...



Still, this isn't a revolution. This pope may be a free spirit, but he's also conservative and doesn't appear to be poised or able to change much of the church's fundamentals. That, indeed, may be the source from the very beginning of one of the greatest misconceptions about Francis: the fact that he tries to be close to the church's followers and keep a distance from its apparatus doesn't necessarily mean he'll stray far from its doctrine and dogmas.

This year will be a decisive one for the pope. On Dec. 8, exactly 50 years after the closing of the Second Vatican Council -- which focused on the relationship between the Catholic Church and the modern world -- an extraordinary Holy Year will begin. With this scheduling, Francis wants to convey the message that he does, in fact, want to be a reformer. But in the process, he will have to battle the somnambulistic pace of the Catholic Church apparatus. Effecting change to the spirit of the Vatican requires years in office, the appointment of new cardinals and reforms. Francis may not have that much time. So far, the pope has only appointed 31 of the 120 cardinals entitled to vote for a successor.

Much will now hinge on how the pope continues to endure his 18-hour days. Francis is 78 years old and has lived for decades without part of his right lung. He also struggles with back pain. When he climbs up to the altar in front of St. Peter's Basilica, he sometimes starts wheezing heavily. It appears that Francis often thinks about throwing in the towel, and he's even open about it. He has publicly stated that "my pontificate will be a short one." But even if that turns out to be the case, there is one thing people will be able to say about his pontificate: that he has shown that the church can have a different feel to it than many people who had given up on it thought.

"Morto un Papa, se ne fa un altro" -- is a common saying in Rome that means, literally translated, if a pope dies, then the next one comes. It's as flippant as it is pious. When people first came up with the saying, nobody would have thought there could ever be two living popes, let alone three.

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redeeming himself?...

Pope Francis has said it is better to be an atheist than one of the “many” Catholics who live a “scandalous” hypocritical life.

The pontiff made the comments during a private mass in his residence on Thursday morning in which he criticized some of the 1.2 billion members of the Roman Catholic Church by saying: “It is a scandal to say one thing and do another. That is a double life.”

Pope Francis has previously lamented parishioners who become “parrots” who indulge in prayer but do not perform good deeds in the service of God.

“There are those who say 'I am very Catholic, I always go to Mass, I belong to this and that association'," said the Pope during the impromptu sermon on Thursday, according to a Vatican Radio transcript.

But, the pontiff added, these people “don't pay [their] employees proper salaries, exploit people, do dirty business, launder money… a double life. And so many Christians are like this, and these people scandalize others."

“How many times have we heard – all of us, around the neighborhood and elsewhere – ‘but to be a Catholic like that, it’s better to be an atheist.’ It is that, scandal,” he added.


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Has the old man flipped? Or is he trying to get a bit more fervour out from the sheep? See toon at top. Imagine the Grand Mufti saying something like "it's better to be an atheist that a terrorist Muslim"!  Wow... With Donald Trump as the captain of the free world and of gendered pissoirs, this planet has gone quite loony... Luckily we can rely on the brain-dead not to ask any questions...

multicellularity made easy...

The momentous transition to multicellular life may not have been so hard after all

Billions of years ago, life crossed a threshold. Single cells started to band together, and a world of formless, unicellular life was on course to evolve into the riot of shapes and functions of multicellular life today, from ants to pear trees to people. It's a transition as momentous as any in the history of life, and until recently we had no idea how it happened.

The gulf between unicellular and multicellular life seems almost unbridgeable. A single cell's existence is simple and limited. Like hermits, microbes need only be concerned with feeding themselves; neither coordination nor cooperation with others is necessary, though some microbes occasionally join forces. In contrast, cells in a multicellular organism, from the four cells in some algae to the 37 trillion in a human, give up their independence to stick together tenaciously; they take on specialized functions, and they curtail their own reproduction for the greater good, growing only as much as they need to fulfill their functions. When they rebel, cancer can break out.

Multicellularity brings new capabilities. Animals, for example, gain mobility for seeking better habitat, eluding predators, and chasing down prey. Plants can probe deep into the soil for water and nutrients; they can also grow toward sunny spots to maximize photosynthesis. Fungi build massive reproductive structures to spread their spores. But for all of multicellularity's benefits, says László Nagy, an evolutionary biologist at the Biological Research Centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Szeged, it has traditionally "been viewed as a major transition with large genetic hurdles to it."

Now, Nagy and other researchers are learning it may not have been so difficult after all. The evidence comes from multiple directions. The evolutionary histories of some groups of organisms record repeated transitions from single-celled to multicellular forms, suggesting the hurdles could not have been so high. Genetic comparisons between simple multicellular organisms and their single-celled relatives have revealed that much of the molecular equipment needed for cells to band together and coordinate their activities may have been in place well before multicellularity evolved. And clever experiments have shown that in the test tube, single-celled life can evolve the beginnings of multicellularity in just a few hundred generations—an evolutionary instant.

Evolutionary biologists still debate what drove simple aggregates of cells to become more and more complex, leading to the wondrous diversity of life today. But embarking on that road no longer seems so daunting. "We are beginning to get a sense of how it might have occurred," says Ben Kerr, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Washington in Seattle. "You take what seems to be a major step in evolution and make it a series of minor steps."


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a saul to francis poor conversion...




Here it’s important to note that the pope’s radical political metamorphosis preceded his ascension to the papacy.  According to Vallely, it was not until Jorge Maria Bergoglio (the future Pope Francis)  was nearing 50 years old that he fully grasped that capitalism was to blame for making and keeping people poor. And it wasn’t a Saul to Paul on the road to Damascus moment.

Bergoglio had been elected Procurate of Argentina’s Jesuits in 1987 but it was a rocky tenure and he later acknowledged making “hundreds of errors,” including a rigid and authoritarian leadership style that was offputting to his fellow Jesuits. His own journey to a profound personal change began when his superiors in Rome sent him to the Argentine city of Córdoba, a forced exile during which time he was virtually ignored by the Church hierarchy.

During this period of intense soul-searching and close interaction with ordinary people on the street, he gradually underwent an inner transformation and a radically altered political vision. He returned as an auxiliary bishop and in 1998 was named Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Bergoglio’s actions soon earned him the informal title “Bishop of the Slums” while his strong social advocacy which employed the language of Liberation Theology, earned him the intense enmity of Argentina’s most influential economic actors.

Bergoglio became Pope Francis in 2013, the first Jesuit and first non-European to be elected in over 1,200 years. From his first day in office, those who believed he’d follow in the conservative tradition of John Paul II and Benedict were quickly disabused of that notion. From washing the feet of a young female Muslim prisoner to his first visit outside Rome to the “boat people” island of Lampedusa where he expressed solidarity with illegal African economic refugees, Francis sided with the wretched of the earth. But it was his excoriating, systematic critique of global capitalism and free market fundamentalists when he linked symptoms and cause, that alarmed global economic elites:

+In his papal exhortation “Joy of the Gospels,” he wrote “We have to say ‘Thou shalt not kill’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills.”

+ He wrote that some people defend “trickle down theories which have never been confirmed by facts…and express crude and naive faith in the goodness of those wielding power.” In his home country, Francis had observed the cruel consequences of IMF policies on the most vulnerable.

+ He described an amoral, throwaway culture where the elderly are deemed “no longer useful” and the poor are “leftovers.”

+ Offshore banking, credit default swaps and derivatives were described as “proximate immorality.”

+ His encyclical, Laudatory si’: On Caring for our Common Home,” named capitalism as a primary cause of climate change and in preparing the document Francis consulted with Brazilian theologian Leonardo Boff, the leading theorist of Liberation Theology.

+ Echoing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the pope proclaimed that “Working for a just distribution of the fruits of the earth and human labor is not mere philanthropy. It is a moral obligation. For Christians, the responsibility is even greater. It is a commandment.”

+ Francis directly challenged Washington’s rationale for its war on terrorism by saying that because “the socioeconomic system is unjust at its root, violence and conflict are inevitable.” Further, wars in the Middle East are not about Islam but a consequence of political and economic interests where disenfranchised people turn to desperate measures. He concluded that “Capitalism is terror against all humanity.”

Given the intellectual heft of his argument, the fact of some 1.3 billion Catholics and possessing, arguably, the world’s foremost moral credentials, the pope’s political enemies were at a disadvantage in fighting ideological battles on his turf. While biding their time, as John Gehring noted in The American Prospect, major Catholic businesspersons threatened to withhold sizable financial donations to the Church. Influential Catholics and publishing outlets set out to discredit the revolutionary pope. For example, the Heritage Foundation’s Stephen Moore, a Catholic, wrote in Forbes Magazine that Francis had “aligned himself with the far left and has embraced a philosophy that would make people poor and less free.”

To obtain a more decisive impact, the pope’s enemies needed to conjure up an issue or wait for one. Vagano’s allegations about a Vatican cover-up either fell or were deposited in their laps. If Francis could be smeared over this matter, his moral authority on matters closer to their hearts would be tarnished. And barring a definitive resolution, doubts could be sown as a default strategy.


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naturally genetically modified sparrows...

Sparrows in the mining towns of Broken Hill and Mount Isa have adapted to avoid the uptake of lead, according to a new genetic study of the birds.

Researchers from Macquarie University compared the genomic data of sparrows from the mining towns in New South Wales and Queensland respectively, with sparrows from nine other regional and urban centres.

Professor Simon Griffith from Macquarie University said it was the first evidence of animals adapting to lead contamination in heavily polluted areas of Australia.

"Heavy metals such as lead and zinc are toxic to most organisms," he said.

"What we've found is a signature in the genes whereby in Mount Isa and Broken Hill there are 12 genes which in other organisms are associated with the transport of metals through the cell membranes.

"Those genes are at different frequencies in those two towns compared to other towns where we don't have high levels of zinc and lead in the environment."

He said that adaptation was essential to the sparrow's survival in the towns, which have high lead levels from historic and ongoing mining practices.


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another painful article on boiling lobsters...



He emphasises this is not just a question of computational power, or the kind of software that is used. “The physical architecture is always more or less the same, and that is always not at all conducive to consciousness.” So thankfully, the kind of moral dilemmas seen in series like Humans and Westworld may never become a reality.

It could even help us understand the ways we interact with each other. Thomas Malone, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for Collective Intelligence and author of the book Superminds, has recently applied the theory to teams of people – in the laboratory, and in real-world, including the editors of Wikipedia entries. He has shown that the estimates of the integrated information shared by the team members could predict group performance on the various tasks. Although the concept of “group consciousness” may seem like a stretch, he thinks that Tononi’s theory might help us to understand how large bodies of people sometimes begin to think, feel, remember, decide, and react as one entity.

He cautions this is still very much speculation: we first need to be sure that integrated information is a sign of consciousness in the individual. “But I do think it’s very intriguing to consider what this might mean for the possibility of groups to be conscious.”

For now, we still can’t be certain if a lobster, computer or even a society is conscious or not, but in the future, Tononi’s theory may help us to understand ‘minds’ that are very alien to our own.


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This article is quite shallow, despite digging some deep holes into nothing and boiling lobsters. See all articles on memory/consciousness, on this site. See also how large bodies of people react, on this site: "the greater the number (beyond three people), the more moronic the behaviour."


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on the unicorn trail...


crawling like god-bless-america critters...


prisons for whales...


of this and that...


our ship looks a bit tattered...




the red or the blue pill? fake news or alternative facts? intravenous "reality TV" or hospital cable feed?...


breaking windows...


on the pavement of learning something...


The greater meaning of meaninglessness...


a bee in the bonnet between "scientia" and "religio"...


masters of the world...


armour-plated like Cryptocheilus bicolor... while talking about poison...


humans are killing species...


of soup and lilith...


happy days...


evolution of hominids: when the ancestors stopped nit-picking...


home invasion...


glory, pain, steal and death...


god is a tired sitting down comedian...


— this universe of one and only living reason?...


and suddenly, the dawn of having to fart around for a crust is rising from becoming obsolete...


great apes anticipate that other individuals will act according to false beliefs...


a lot of brain power used in a pea-shooting competition between somophores...


the old silly question...


and nobody seems to have noticed...


and plenty plenty more, some more on subject than others... including:


it is our ethical duty to stop our destruction of species... biodiversity is our responsibility...

god moves in mysterious ways and so does the lift...

Pope Francis explains why he was late for weekly prayer...

Pope Francis has apologised for arriving late for his weekly prayer in St Peter's Square, saying he got stuck in a lift in the Vatican.

The 82-year-old pontiff said he had been trapped in the lift for 25 minutes because of a power outage before he was freed by firefighters.


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Having been stuck in a posh apartment block lift for a couple of hours, I can say the experience is not pleasant and demands calm and composure, especially when the lift is full of 13 adults, some of them a bit pissed after a joyous night out. It's of course the night when the only emergency crews on duty live on the other side of the planet. The air soon becomes saturated with CO2 (and alcohol fumes that would explode the gauging gizmo used by the coppers). With a bit of brute force, the doors were slightly opened to get a bit of fresh air, though the concrete of the lift-shaft was as inspiring as a prison wall.