Question of the Day

by craig on February 24, 2012 7:23 am in Uncategorized

Why is self-determination an inalienable right for the people of the Falklands, but a gross example of Iranian meddling for the people of Bahrain?

Answers on a postcard please with a twenty pound note and framed photo of William Hague to Wars’R'Us, Oil and Armaments Ltd, House of Lords.

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320 Comments

  1. because nuclear programme shariah law gay rights ayatollah wipe israel off the map something something

  2. Not to mention not being on offer to Chagossians.

  3. Both Bahrain and the Falklands are of increasing strategic and economic importance. Bahrain has oil, the Falklands may have oil.

    In Bahrain crushing the democratic rights of the population serves our interests, in the Falklands supporting the same rights, serves our interests.

    We have inalienable interests, and that’s all that really matters. That, under differing contexts, and conditions, they are pursued in wildly contradictory ways, bordering on the grotesquely hypocritical and criminally cynical, is of secondary importance.

  4. Writerman: I suppose you could say, with Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), in his 1841 essay on “Self-Reliance”, that:

    .

    “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. ‘Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.’ Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”

    .

    So, that’s all right then. Some people once thought that Tony Blair was a pure and wise spirit. Thank goodness that they were not prevented by a foolish consistency from changing their minds.

  5. writerman

    How very well put!

  6. I thought this little piece from the Global research site, might function as an antidote, or another, ‘sober’ perspective, at the least, on the fiendishly complex situation in Syria.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29461

  7. The Falklands are the last vestige of British imperialism – what really got started during the Napoleonic Wars, and its investiture there.

    Keeping it is just an anti-French gesture in the name of self-determination, and democracy is a fraud for anyone who follows its pathetic results.

    Wars, what the fatcats want, and the bureaucrats dream of always take precedence over the alleged results of any election process.

    The West should get over it, as even the Greeks learned long ago.

    P. s. Would send this long as I do have a £20 note, but won’t give up by authographed photo of wee Willie, as it is the only one I have.

  8. Skipjack : you are either naive or do not read serious blogs and press. Every Islamic country (including Egypt, and others) have their constitution based on Sharia law, but Iran laws in many aspects are much more democratic than many of the others (UAE, Saudi, Qatar,etc).. Re Iran government (which btw I despise) threatening to wipe out Israel, well I leave that for you to go and research, Wetern media have a habit of misquoting Ahmadi Nejad. Re Nuclear Weapon, let Israel get rid of theirs first! have you heard “what is good for goose is good…”

    Writeman: Bahrain does not have oil (very little), but Bahrain has been supporting USA Naval activities since 1947 (before it even became indepenant of Iran), that is why MSM are more or less deaf and dumb when it comes to daily demonstration and Khalifa’s government atrocities. Majority of Bahrainis are Iranian (not Arab origin) and Shiaa. Bahrain became fully independant in 1971. the puppet Shah of Iran, like a good little puppy listened to what his masters told him and raised no objection. Had there been a fair, proper referundum, I doubt Bahraini of 1971 would vote to be separated and independant from Iran.

  9. Satire is dead. Some award winners of the incestuous Royal Television Society.

    .
    News Coverage – International
    Libya, Sky News
    .
    “At the heart of the winning entry was a series of reports that called for extraordinary bravery, endurance and outstanding judgment, not to mention some brilliant achievements in just getting to the right places at the crucial moment. The judges praised the powerful journalism by a team of correspondents, camera crews and producers, reporting from the front line of a brutal civil war.”
    .

    News Programme of the Year

    Newsnight, BBC Two
    .

    “The judges felt the winner stood out as the main forum for the live studio encounters of the year. Together with some edgy exposés and analysis from first-rate specialists, it made them the “must-watch” news programme.”
    .
    Television Journalist of the Year

    Alex Crawford, Sky News
    .
    “The judges recognised the extraordinary achievement of not only Alex Crawford but also her team in getting unique access to the frontline in Libya – in particular capturing the first proof that Ghaddafi was attacking his own people. It was brave, vivid conflict reporting of the highest order: compelling viewing on a story of major importance.”
    .

    http://www.rts.org.uk/rts-television-journalism-awards-2010-2011

  10. I like to tell myself Craig that one day when humanity has suffered enough a great majority will stand up and refuse to allow all of this to continue any further, but when I look at history with even my limited knowledge of it I see through the endless cycle of power, greed and billions of deaths and suffering that if that were true then it would have happened long before now.
    .
    I am not religious or part of any cult organisation, but due to a very strange conversation I had with a 4 year old some years ago where he described in very sincere and rather great detail that he should not have possessed the story of “When he was a grown man like me and a soldier”, I am pretty much convinced that we live more than one life, infact I think we live quite a few.
    .
    I have come to believe that what we really are is energy, the physical body little more than a container from within which we experience lifetime after lifetime in what I think is nothing more than a process of aversion therapy and the transition from childhood to adulthood. The earth is a Kindergarten my friend, a huge playground for the demented child kings of energy to play out their childish greed, cruelty, self interest/obsession and throw their silly little tantrums whilst segregated from the great collective consciousness, where they can do no real harm to the universe and replay over and over those same childish mistakes until they are so sick of the repercussions of it that the folly of it all finally dawns on them and they no longer replay it at all.
    .

    In the end this insanity on earth will not be stopped, too many young souls driven by power, greed and possession, the endless cycle of learning that in reality all of those things are counter productive and we never truly possess anything, we just covet things for a brief moment in time like little children who see an ice cream in the hand of another and want not only that, but as much ice cream as we can lay our hands on,,,, we want it all with such obsession that we never truly appreciate or value anything we have because we are far too busy coveting that which we have not to see that which we have. lol
    .
    I am not saying that trying to change things is futile, far from it actually, it`s an important part of the transition from childhood to adulthood, it`s the very important stage of adolescence where we have become no longer the self obsessed child and have begun to see there are things that matter far more than just what we want in this world. It`s a painful but very necessary point in out ultimate development, the point where we have begun to understand that everything we do has an effect on others and we are no longer comfortable piling up the ice cream because we realise that in doing so others will never have any ice cream at all. The road to empathy is a very arduous road indeed lol.
    .
    There is a short passage in Erasmus`s work “In Praise Of Folly” which I suspect alludes to it all, though as is everything that is open to interpretation, it can be taken many ways,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,’If a person were to try stripping the disguises from actors while they play a scene upon stage, showing to the audience their real looks and the faces they were born with, would not such a one spoil the whole play ? And would not the spectators think he deserved to be driven out of the theatre with brickbats, as a drunken disturber ?… Now what else is the whole life of mortals but a sort of comedy, in which the various actors, disguised by various costumes and masks, walk on and play each one his part, until the manager waves them off the stage ? Moreover, this manager frequently bids the same actor to go back in a different costume, so that he who has but lately played the king in scarlet now acts the flunkey in patched clothes. Thus all things are presented by shadows.’
    .
    There will always be another war, another sad little twisted Bush or Blair that wants all the ice cream and sets off with childish ignorance to get it all. But pity them Craig, at their stage of development they are going to have to come back and swim in this shit for far longer than you and though the manager may have given them the kings robes of scarlet in this life, they will be wearing the patched clothes on many occasions too. lol
    .

  11. The problem with all our great aspiration and fine protestations of human rights is this. We are actually a bunch of apes who have vastly outgrown the environment in which we evolved to survive. Many people reject such a description emotionally, lashing out in the belief that there is a vast gulf between homo sapiens and the gorilla, chimp, bonobo, or orang utan. Superficially, yes: we wear clothes and jewellery, drive cars, fly planes, sit in important meetings, learn poetry, walk (some of us) on the Moon. And we aren’t obviously so hairy, we have lost the strength and agility that allows apes to swing so gracefully through the trees, we have gained speech and writing and “civilisation”.

    All true, but don’t forget this: inside every human brain lie the instincts of an ape. Apart from orang utans, apes are social beings, but their society is markedly different from our ideals. (Although strangely similar to our actual practice). Each band requires a leader, and falls into disorder and decline if it lacks one. At times of crisis, what we all yearn for deep down inside is a strong, powerful, decisive boss – “a man on a horse”. All apes have strong pecking orders within their bands, and we need that too. That is why people are forever “judging” one another and struggling for relative position in the eyes of their community.

    One of the strongest instincts of a group of chimps, for instance, is to defend their own territory and (if possible) take that of other, weaker, bands. They define themselves by not being the “other”; they pride themselves on vanquishing the other.

    Good luck building any society that doesn’t take these facts into account.

  12. Hotting up in Afghanistan.
    .
    Two U.S. troops are shot dead by Afghan ‘ally’ as Obama expresses his ‘deep regret’ to Afghan President for Koran burning by American soldiers
    Two U.S. troops killed by Afghan soldier after Taliban calls to arms
    Violence expected to flare across the country after Friday prayers
    .
    Racist ‘black dog Obama’ effigy burned in the streets amid anti U.S. protests
    .
    Obama sends letter to Afghanistan apologising for Koran burning
    Eleven people dead and dozens more injured as thousands vent fury
    Troops torched copies of the Koran scrawled with ‘extremist’ messages in a ‘burn pit’
    .
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2104801/Afghanistan-Koran-burning-protests-Effigy-Black-Dog-Obama-set-alight.html

  13. Self-determination in Bahrain is BOTH and inalienable human right and an excuse for cynical self-interested outside interference. What’s new? Did the USSR support universal suffrage and fair elections, for South Africa? Did Louis XVI support “no taxation without representation,” for British North America?

  14. Maybe we should ask the former Diego Garcians, “Why is self-determination an inalienable right for the people of the Falklands, but a gross example of Iranian meddling for the people of Bahrain?”.

  15. It’s difficult to work out when we’ll reach peak hypocrisy but my guess would be that it will be during the revolution in Saudi Arabia, whenever that eventually happens. Russia and China will propose a no-fly zone which the US and Britain will veto resulting in the spilling of 10 000 barrels of irony a day.

  16. Read quite a funny articel about how Argentina was approaching Alex Salmond.
    In a paragraph at the bottom it stated that Scotland was claiming the Falkland Islands as their own because they were discovered by a Scot and subsequently settled by Scots. Most of the present day population are descendents thereof.
    Wouldn’t it be funny if the Falkland Islanders inalienable right to self determination allied themselves with Alex Salmond and they became independent of England ? Wonder how Cameron would react.There’s no disputing that Falkland is a Scottish name.

  17. Writerman: In Bahrain crushing the democratic rights of the population serves our interests, in the Falklands supporting the same rights, serves our interests.

    .
    I think you’re right which is why the Falklands should be defended and Bahrain should be left to do what comes naturally. Of course, it is important to make sure that the Bahrainis want to be invaded by Iran, which is what seems to be assumed in Craig Murray’s post. If they do then I am more than happy to see it happen. If not then it is a false analogy.

  18. Keith Robinson

    24 Feb, 2012 - 11:28 am

    The best put down I have heard in years was when Robert Fisk of the Independent was being interviewed on the crisis in Syria.
    He said “William Hague, who spends most of his time impersonating himself”
    Don’t know how origianl it was, but it deserves a mention.

  19. Just found this video clip, completely consistent with the man’s views which nontheless I thought worth posting here just because it conflicts wildly with one charge made against him. For those who are impatient you may skip ahead to 2:20.
    .
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=QuCyjqUZhzA&NR=1

  20. Watch your backs ISAF aka the coalition of the willing. Helicopter on the roof time?
    .
    24 February 2012 Last updated at 12:49
    Two dead as Afghan Koran protests rage for fourth day
    Several protests across north and east Afghanistan turned violent on Thursday
    .
    Afghanistan War – 10 years
    Nato’s tipping point?
    Why Taliban are so strong
    Graphic: How have Afghan lives changed?
    Everyday Afghanistan – six ordinary voices
    .
    Two people have been killed in the Afghan city of Herat as protests continue for a fourth consecutive day over the burning of Korans by American troops at a US air base.
    .
    Gunfire broke out near the US consulate in the city, a security official said.
    .
    Crowds are heading towards the centre of Kabul and protests are taking place in several other Afghan cities.
    .
    /..
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17152705

  21. Angrysoba

    I don’t suggest the Bahrainis want to be invaded by Bahrain. I suggest they did not want to be invaded by Saudi Arabia, and wanted to choose their own government.

  22. DonnyDarko – I’d be very surprised if the Falklanders chose to ditch the military and diplomatic support of South Britain to throw their lot in with the sparsely populated North Britain.

    Apparently there have been intermittent proposals to make Turks & Caicos a province of Canada, – that one might make more sense as Ottawa is significantly closer than London. Swapping London for Edinburgh wouldn’t make a lot of sense, though.

    In terms of dealing with small islands with oil reserves, the Scots might have more on their plate with the Shetlands than with a Falklands (oil) pipe dream. Indigenous Shetlanders aren’t really Scottish so if Scotland went independent they might well take the view “why not us too”.

  23. A important link Writerman – Thank-you – Sharmine’s email has immense factual strength of reasoning and I particularly liked this paragraph;
    .
    ‘The problem with foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East, is ultimately about the kinds of people making the decisions – ideologues with clear agendas: against Iran and for Israel; against the Syrian “dictator” but in favor of the Saudi, Bahraini, Yemeni, Qatari ones; against Iranian nuclear capability, defending 200 nukes in Israel; abusing UN veto power (80+ times), deriding others for exercising a veto (Russia, China), and so on and so forth.’
    .
    Sharmine Narwani is a smart lady, a political analyst with narrative clout and insight that cuts through propaganda hasbara like a sharp knife without the usual ad hominem attacks. In 2006 she agreed that ‘the War on Terror fails to distinguish between real terrorists and “legitimate resistance movements.” She points out that two of America’s major allies (Egypt and Saudi Arabia) are anything but free, and are in fact very tyrannical. She says, “..the wars that the United States and it’s allies have fought to help Muslims have in many cases brought more harm than good.”
    .
    Her new blog is here:
    .
    http://english.al-akhbar.com/blogs/sandbox/veteran-us-diplomat-questions-syria-storyline
    .
    She asked to be forgiven for this rather poignant but passionate nuance:
    .
    “But, the current Jordanian establishment, like many other Arab and Muslim elitists, is so far up the collective US, Israeli and Saudi arse, it would take major surgery to find it, let alone free it.”

  24. It’s obvious. The Falklanders are British. The other ones are Arabs. How can you equate the two?

  25. Are the Friends of Syria the same as the Friends of Israel?
    .
    Syria unrest: Opposition seeks arms pledge
    The humanitarian situation in Homs is reported to be worsening every day (photo)
    .
    Syria Crisis
    Syrians flee
    Tribute to Colvin
    Guide to opposition
    Civil war?
    .

    The main Syrian opposition group has asked for rebel fighters to be allowed to import weapons.
    .
    The plea came at a major international “Friends of Syria” conference being held in Tunisia to seek a breakthrough in the increasingly bitter conflict.
    .
    A declaration is expected later, calling on Syrian forces to declare a ceasefire and allow humanitarian access to the worst-hit areas.
    .
    Syrian state TV said the conference was a meeting of “symbols of colonialism”.
    ,.
    Those attending, it said, were “historic enemies of the Arabs”.
    /
    /..http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17144805

  26. Self-determination does not apply to lesser peoples. Only civilised Westerners.

    Incidentally, the Argentine approach is the clever one. Increase the diplomatic pressure and financial burden on the UK who are already spending $130 million per annum maintaining 1300 soldiers in the Falklands ($100,000 per per soldier per annum – real value for money!). That will become increasingly hard to justify as schools shut down and hospitals cut services in the UK.

  27. Michael Stephenson

    24 Feb, 2012 - 3:42 pm

    In the mentions and non-mentions thread Craig posted:

    “Annie
    We are working very closely together, don’t worry. On fact the next revelation will be in the Eye this Friday. I know what it is but my lips are sealed till then!”

    Which was odd because the Eye is published fortnightly and the next release would not be that week, so anyway the new one is out now, and there is no mention of Werritty (Except in the Letters section where someone points out that Universal Exports is cover name the name used in the Bond novels)
    What gives? Are the eye going to publish the new information or not? If not what is preventing you from publishing?

  28. Michael,

    What prevents me is simply that I am in Ghana and haven’t had a chance to talk to them about it. I don’t know why they didn,t run it yet.

  29. Michael Stephenson

    24 Feb, 2012 - 3:58 pm

    That’s disappointing that they didn’t run it. Was it something that could have had potential libel issues?

  30. Bahrain is the home for the US fifth fleet, obviously no need to invade the place or bomb the place into democracy. However because the pesky Bahrainis have bought into the cock and bull story of “democracy, freedom, self determination” lark, there is a need to put these jumped up villains/rioters/militia/illegal demonstrators/terrorists in their place; killing a few hundreds, maiming a few thousands, jailing a bunch. As well as copious applications of the the usual general coercion and harassment campaigns that Saudi do best, all out, in the open, can be a bit of bad mark for the dictator of Bahrain who is our very own hand picked dictator and does not dictate anything that we don’t tell him.
    ,
    Blame the Iranians, and the problem is solved, in fact I hear that Argentinians had been talking to Iranians before deciding to start the Malvinas lark again. However, as we all know the two hundred Bennies in Falklands are indeed in need of “freedom and democracy” from the mullahs in Iran. Ergo problems solved. The short answer: Save the Bennies, kill the Arabs and blame the Persians for all the mishaps.
    ,
    Where do I apply to get me fiver?
    ,
    ,
    PS even with so much loot stolen from various vanquished nations, the bunch of pratts running the show still have fucked up their economies so bad to the extent of the current deep shit they are to be found. How can these incompetent bastards get away with mass murder is beyond logic?

  31. For that matter, why is self determination an inalienable right for the people of the Falkland islands, while we Brits are deemed not competent to choose for ourselves whether we want the EUSSR to absorb and govern us. Politicians are a breed that make it up as they go along according what suits them best. Treason’s'us.

  32. Red card or No Red Card-question of the day

    24 Feb, 2012 - 7:39 pm

  33. “That will become increasingly hard to justify as schools shut down and hospitals cut services in the UK.”
    .
    Err – they don’t need to justify anything. Everyone who votes will be voting for them (Lib/Lab/Con) at the next general election, just as they did at the last, just as they will at the next after that, and after that and after that. They have a permanent electoral mandate. Kings were legitimised by religion, democratic governments are legitimised by the same ignorance. They have no more validity than voodoo.
    .
    Darwin’s natural selection doesn’t mean that we shall ascend, discarding our weaker traits, evolving and strengthening. Most species that appeared have already disappeared. We’re like to join them.

  34. A4E Give it a few years and we will be reading the same sort of thing about the ‘health’ outfits.
    .

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/feb/24/emma-harrison-quits-chairman-a4e
    .
    Will Harrison be refunding any of the £180m she has extracted from the HMG? Is Cameron’s face even more red? Probably not.

  35. I was wrong. A4E’s take is £234m.
    .
    …a firm whose £234m turnover depends entirely on government contracts and yet repeatedly fails to meet its targets.
    .
    http://www.private-eye.co.uk/sections.php?section_link=in_the_back&

  36. Craig. Humans have an inalienable right to worship their sole Creator on His Own. That’s their fitra, their birth-right and internal programming. Shi’a place the blood descendants of our prophet SAW, over those who adhere to the religion in its rules of Justice and how to treat other human beings. They worship saints in their graves instead of the Living God.
    .
    Saudi Salafism has completely failed to deliver the justice of Islam, but it tries to deliver the inalienable right of Tawheed, monotheism.
    .
    Sheep on the other hand have an inalienable right to eat grass, whether they are in a paddock in Kent or in the Falkland Islands. I wouldn’t send a battleship to fight over the ownership of the grass or the oil.
    .
    Similarly until and unless the regime in Saudi Arabia protects the central core of Justice in the religion of Islam, I wouldn’t join its mercenaries in Syria to fight over the ownership of that country. Without reform they will just be replacing one form of dictatorship with another. Shi’a shirk or Al Qaida Stupidism. Maybe the names on the arms/oil contracts will change.

  37. bonifacegoncourt

    25 Feb, 2012 - 1:53 am

    Despite my leftist instincts, I’m for the Bennies. They are not depriving any Argentine of his dinner. I had to spend a lot of time in Argentina in the 1970s. They are pretty nuts. At that time, they were claiming the S Pole was Argentinian, since an air force wife had given birth to a son on an Antarctic base. Argentinian blood had sanctified the national territory! Real Blut und Boden Nazi stuff. Trouble is, the Args have a huge chip on the shoulder. They imagine themselves a world power but have used their army only to slaughter their own natives. Their
    neighbours laugh at their pretensions of being an outpost of white European culture, while they sneer at their ‘mestizo’ neighbours, and resent it when the Americans dismiss them as another bunch of greasers. The problem with the Falklands is that it is not a real, cohesive place. There is no ‘there’ there. The island of Mauritius at 2,000km2 has a population of 1.2 million, while the Falklands, at 12,000km2, have a permanent population of less than 2,000. Unlike, say, the Bahamas,there is no nationhood or identity, suitable for statehood. They have built no roads or towns. The place is the size of East Anglia, yet apart from Stanley, a sort of Butlin’s holiday camp, there is nobody there. The UK will inevitably revert to indifference. However the Args are terrified of the
    efficient Chileans and back off from any dispute. Therefore the best future for the islands would be as an extra province of Chile, next to Magallanes…..Tierra de los Bennios!

  38. bonifacegoncourt

    25 Feb, 2012 - 2:03 am

    A propos, how come the Benny population is so low after 160 years? There should be loads of them. Don’t they breed? Where do they put the children? It all seems a bit ‘Village of the Damned’….

  39. Oilbaron McJock of the Isles

    25 Feb, 2012 - 2:30 am

    Sandman, only in the fantasies of the Unionist Labour, Tory and Liberal Democratic parties which delusions you presumably share; your point about the Shetland Islands is straight out of the McCrone report, which infamous paper tries, as you do to foment differences where none exist between mainland Scotland and the Islands Of Orkney and Shetland. I’ve no doubt these approaches from the Falkland Islanders are another red-herring and their instigation probably stems from Whitehall Machiavellianism rather than Falkland Island sentiment.

    Having around 8 percent of the UK population Scotland can expect around 8 percent of the Falkland Islands as with all other joint possessions, to dispose of in due course as they will. England, outside of the city of London has nothing in common with the elitist cabal of politicians and fatcats within, there’s a far stronger argument there for separation, infact these crooks have already set themselves apart from everyone else and in truth do not belong and England would be better without the capital lording it over them as no doubt would everyone else here and around the world.

    I am of course sympathetic to the plight of England and Wales, left all on their own, subjected exclusively to the torments of the tyrants of Westminster and Whitehall after Scotland has broken free; by then most of the UK’s foreign buccaneering will also be at an end as the US partner in crime implodes into very uncivil well-armed fratricide, roughly half-an-hour after they run out of motor fuels for civilian use. Westminster will then turn on their remaining English and Welsh captives, their first and ultimately also last victims, and only outlet, with a vengeance and with impotent and terrible rage.

  40. bonifacegoncourt

    25 Feb, 2012 - 2:41 am

    Furthermore, what about the fool Tappin, now languishing in a hellhole in El Paso? No UK government ['Better live on your knees than die on your feet'] can be anything but abject towards Amerika, but had this Brit no wit? He’s 65 FFS! Rather than dying in an Amerikan jail, he had plenty of time to sell up and disappear to Dublin, or Paris, or the Costa del Crime. Presumably not short of money, he could then plan a sunny non-extraditable retirement in Malaysia, Venezuela, Brazil…etc…
    A genuine passport from Belize, Jamaica, or Montenegro is available at reasonable cost. FFS what was wrong with him? It is a genuine question. Anybody sane would be on their toes.
    Even Belgium wouldn’t extradite him.

  41. Bonifacegoncourt: at 1.53 am on 25 Feb you wrote:

    .

    “The problem with the Falklands is that it is not a real, cohesive place. There is no ‘there’ there. The island of Mauritius at 2,000km2 has a population of 1.2 million, while the Falklands, at 12,000km2, have a permanent population of less than 2,000. Unlike, say, the Bahamas,there is no nationhood or identity, suitable for statehood. They have built no roads or towns. The place is the size of East Anglia, yet apart from Stanley, a sort of Butlin’s holiday camp, there is nobody there.”

    .

    Having visited the Falklands and having friends there who perfectly rationally and emotionally regard “there” as their home, I find it hard to know which of your strange points to deal with first. Some people will tell you that most of the 700 or so islands in the Falklands archipelago are “uninhabited”. That’s only true if only humans count as inhabitants.
    .
    Nor do I see why density of human population should be regarded as making a place more real or cohesive. Mauritius, where I also have friends, is regarded by many of them as considerably lacking in cohesion – those descended from indentured labourers from India, from Chinese emigrants, from colonial French stock – as well as Chagossians dumped by HMG on the quayside of Port Louis (go and see “A Few Man Fridays” at the Riverside Studios, Hammersmith before 10 March; and listen to the Radio 4 “Midweek” interview on 22 Feb with a Chagossian exile and the author of the play): these people often get on badly with each other. And ask those in Rodrigues how much they appreciate the cohesiveness of rule from Port Louis.

    .
    If the Falklands had as large a population as Mauritius there would be considerable environmental degradation; and if Mauritius had the population of the Falklands it would be a far pleasanter place in which to live – and, as well as humans, there would be extensive endemic fauna and flora, perhaps including the Dodo.

    .

    Why not deal with the world as it is rather than pretend that places don’t exist and that large human populations make places more real? And talk to the Tierra del Fuegians – if you can find any – about the benefits of colonization by Europeans and Argentines of European origin.

    .

    PS The food in the Falklands is as far away from Butlin’s bangers and mash as the islands are from Billy’s beach chalets. Indeed, it is almost as good as the best restaurants in Mauritius.

  42. OT, but on the subject of yesterday’s Extradition of the 65 yr old British Chap who allegedly exported batteries to Iran.

    A BBC reporter called ‘Andrew’ has just said on their breakfast program ( 7:23am ) “he had no idea these batteries were to be used in a nuclear missile”

    ‘nuclear’ !!!!!!!! – Deliberate propaganda. sigh.

  43. Oilbaron McJock of the Isles

    25 Feb, 2012 - 7:55 am

    I read they hadn’t had fresh eggs or salad vegetables in the Falklands for almost two years prior to the future King Billy’s impending arrival there, and that a South American trading boycott of the islands has bitten hard. Not being familiar with the restaurants of Mauritius, I can’t comment on the lack of choice or nutrition there or the merits of the different methods of rendering mutton almost palatable. I can hardly believe its far flung parts being some sort of unspoilt nature reserve is a justification for the continued burden, and sheep I doubt were indigenous to the Falklands. Strange how we’re left with all the cold wet and windy places post-empire, yet gave away jewels such as Palestine at a bankers whim. As Europeans, we’re not known for our philanthropy or over-burdened by concern for the natural world or its diversity, preferring it hunted, shot skinned, under a glass slide or stuffed and mounted, humans included, else herds of buffalo would still roam North America.

  44. Oilbaron McJock Of The Isles [which isles would these be then?]: I can assure you that the food is excellent, especially the seafood and Roast Upland Goose. For a taster, go to http://www.falklandislands.com/contents/view/58 .

    .

    Don’t be so dismissive of “wet and windy places”:

    .
    This darksome burn, horseback brown,
    His rollrock highroad roaring down,
    In coop and in comb the fleece of his foam
    Flutes and low to the lake falls home.
    .
    A windpuff-bonnet of fáwn-fróth
    Turns and twindles over the broth
    Of a pool so pitchblack, féll-frówning,
    It rounds and rounds Despair to drowning.
    .
    Degged with dew, dappled with dew
    Are the groins of the braes that the brook treads through,
    Wiry heathpacks, flitches of fern,
    And the beadbonny ash that sits over the burn.
    .
    What would the world be, once bereft
    Of wet and of wildness ? Let them be left,
    O let them be left, wildness and wet ;
    Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.
    .
    Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) “Inversnaid”

    .

    Most humans – and not just Europeans, though they indulged in species-cleansing with the greater efficiency of their firearms (cf big game hunters like the Duke of Edinburgh) – have wrought havoc on the natural world. However, attitudes are changing. The Falkland Islanders have an excellent record – far better than the UK – in conservation, human rights and non-aggression.

  45. Thanks Iain. I like the alliteration there and the imagery.
    Not bad for such a wee chap, only 5’2″. And such a short life sadly.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerard_Manley_Hopkins

  46. DownWithThisSortOfThing

    25 Feb, 2012 - 9:50 am

    I read they hadn’t had fresh eggs or salad vegetables in the Falklands for almost two years
    .
    The Falklanders are being denied egg and cress sandwiches. The UK government’s response of sending nuclear powered and armed forces is well considered, balanced and justified.
    .
    It is another fine judgment by closet homosexual and alleged Foreign Secretary William Hague. The British people can be proud to have this man representing them on the world stage.

  47. Guano, I was brought up as a Shia, although, and as I grew up, I found out for myself that Sunni is most likely to be the true path of those who are Muslim, I am not practicing either and prefer to follow path of humanity, but I can assure you, Shiaa Do not worship anyone but Allah, and believe he is the only one and do not see anyone else as his equal. Yes there is lot nonsense there, 1400 years later they still mourn the grandson of the prophet, but there is a clear line drawn between Allah and his prophet or descendants of him. There are times I believe that theocracy in both spread this nonsense for power.

  48. Just had to leave this reply to Simon Tisdalls article, though I do not expect the Goniad to let is sully their pristine hasbara forum.
    .
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/24/iran-war-buildup-iraq

    Fact Persia/Iran has never attacked another nation for 2500 years, although it had to defend itself against aggressors from outside and it did.
    .
    “The regime in Iran is extraordinarily unpopular and corrupt. It is a vile, vile government.” dualismn wrote.
    .
    Poppycock propaganda
    .
    Ahmadinedjad was re-elected, despite the 400 million/annum spend on undermining his regime since 2004 and I do not agree that his regime is more vile than that of the Shah. It was the Shah who left Bahrains shia’s to suffer under its sunni rulers, not khomeni.
    .
    Vile practises in Iran will be tackled by its people, society is far more modern than that of any other Arab enforced regimes and the electoral process is also better than anything Saudi can come up with.
    .
    What is vile is thst the same leviathan politicians who had no regards for Iraq’s future when they attacked Baghdad, are using the same lame excuses to wind up and provoke Iran/Persia into a response.
    .
    Whilst we have no problems seeing the Falklands as ours, Bahrain, inhabited largely by Iranian shia’s, was part of Iran until 1951, did we hear any claims made by Irans so called regime?
    .
    Iran is being bullied into a war by a small group of vested interests and neocon war mongers, so fret you not, we are proposing nothing more than violence and death for amny more civilians and those who crow for the use of nuclear weapons on Iran are clearly mad or psychopathic, because they are proposing to pollute and contaminate third parties with isotope they have no conmtrol over, criminal would be another word for it.
    .
    The UK/US and its western vasall NATO are now the tools for oppression, like mafiosis who rather shoot than pay the full price for others resources, we are now judge juror and executioners, just to get our way. It is despicable that our newspapers are part of this agenda, as is the BBC.
    .
    Finally, this continuous baying for more violence against Arabs who are able to hold their own in the ME, will work against our long term aims and objectives, it will sour relations with Muslim/Arab countries for decades, if ever reparable, not a good example to set for our children, we are increasing our own unsustainable lifestyles at their peril making their future life’s hell on earth.
    .
    We must never forget that Persia has never attacked another nation, it is one of the oldest civilisations on earth, its ancient breadbasket and bringer of poetry, matmatics. Persia’s constitution safeguards minorities rights, for hundreds of years, when the buffaloes still roamed the American plains and its indigenous Indian populations was able to live sustainably.

  49. Actually I should mention that my son (who is a practicing Sunni), has studied both (in original text in Arabic), also confirms that there is nothing in any of the these books to demonstrate what many are claiming. Shiaa religion was invented to divide the Muslims of the world and it has achieved its goal!

  50. Top story in the New York Times:
    ‘U.S. Agencies See No Move by Iran to Build a Bomb’ tinyurl.com/74k9t2r

  51. Azra
    would it not be a good idea to practise?
    Thanks for your clear explanation of Shi’a belief.
    Can you tell me what distinguishes the Alawi sect from others please?

  52. O/T GB February 2012
    Loan sharks. Payday loans threats and intimidation
    When her account was eventually passed on to debt collectors, her original £100 loan had spiralled to £750. She is now paying back £50 a month.
    .
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17127951
    .
    Workfare.
    The scheme, aimed at 16- to 24-year-olds on jobseeker’s allowance (JSA), allows them to do unpaid work experience with a company for up to eight weeks – without losing their benefit and potentially with some expenses paid. But if jobseekers choose to take part and then fail to turn up without good reason after the first week, their benefits could be docked for a period. This has led critics to question whether the placements are really “voluntary”.
    .
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17150593

  53. Mary
    Gerard Manley Hopkins
    Glory be to God for dappled things, or The Windhover
    These amazing poems and psychedelia fashion and hard rock are part of my childhood. They simply blow the mind, but nothing touches the Qur’an for totally blasting one’s mind into outer space.

  54. bonifacegoncourt,
    Not having traveled along with the Gaucho on the plains of Argentina, I take your word for their hubris and arrogance. However due to the endemic fascist tendencies fostered and promoted by the School of Americas in US, we can safely assume that regardless of Argies or Chilean taking the mantel of power over the Bennies their lot would be the same.
    ,
    However, given that the costs of keeping the Bennies all democratic and free is getting born by the unemployed, the sick, the retired, and the school children, on the mainland. Further, without much of returns in any tangible way. It is high time that the oligarchs either started to exploit the resources of that god forsaken corner of the Earth, instead of trooping up to the mid east and fighting over the access to oil, or sell/lease the Bennies as they did with the Scots and the Irish.
    ,
    The grand notions of dominions and shite may have been appealing to those free loaders who did not traipse around the world looking for fights and wars, but the current batch of free loaders taking the piss by burning the candle at th both ends cannot justify the extra costs of keeping the Islands and best to either hand these over or start drilling pronto.
    ,
    ,
    ,
    Oilbaron McJock of the Isles,
    Ditto
    How come the banker gets the cream and honey, and we are left with the afterbirth?

  55. Oilbaron McJock of the Isles: the notion that Scotland would take 8% of each of the UK’s overseas territories is a ludicrous one.

    I live in Bermuda, which is 21 sq miles. Which 8% is going to go Scotch?

    The overseas territories are largely autonomous, with Westminster having a say in foreign affairs, etc. They are also all common law jurisdictions. Doesn’t sit easily with Scotch civil law.

    If Scotland went independent, it would have no bearing on the overseas territories. The Queen would still appoint the Governor, and Scotland would have no say in the matter.

    I am ambivalent about Scotch independence – it’s a matter for the Scotch, just as Shetlands independence is a matter for the Shetlanders (if I were Shetlander, I’d be seriously considering campaigning for the Shetlands to be an autonomous overseas territory if Scotland goes independent, like its close neighbour the Faroes).

    But the Scotch can keep their hands off Bermuda – it’s nothing to do with you!!!

  56. Azra, Guano,
    his prophet or descendants of him…….. Shiaa religion was invented to divide the Muslims of the world and it has achieved its goal!
    ,
    Fact that Saudi have proved to be the perfect Muslims and custodians of all things Islamic, proving their devotion through their shameless hiring out of; Allah and profit Muhammad to the Yanks and the ziofuckwits. That in turn clarifies the notions of a unified Muslim brotherhood would have spelled out the total and abject subjugation of all Muslims to the AIPAC ran US control constructs.
    ,
    Often those expounding worship for the sake of worship, are the agents of reaction or caught up in the torrents of propaganda, that discounts/forget the basic tenets of religion being a set of rule to be abided by all of the members of a society/group in the way of facilitating a harmonious life and coexistence.
    ,
    Therefore religion is politics, and judging by the dogmatic mumbo jumbo passed as the political debate evidently politics is a religion too, hence the almost automatic disdain of the politicians for the religious lot. Furthermore given the excess of the Caliphates that rendered the Islamic world to be so underdeveloped due to the lack of foresight and forethought brought on by the constant state of intoxication of the various Caliphs in their respective harems, the best that could have happened to Islam was the advent of the Shia, that to date keeps the corrupt bastards from degrading Islam further. Although this latter point is debatable given the Saudi efforts in this direction.
    ,
    Shia rejection of Ab Bakar (Muhammad’s father in law) being the first Caliph ( he actually became the first Caliph), instead accepting the choice of Muhammad who appointed Ali his son in law as the first Caliph (theoretically) has nothing to do with idolatry and or saint worship but getting back to the basics of the choice of the prophet at the time of his death.

  57. Guano, As you are aware Iranian are not Alawi and what I was taught in my younger years is what you call 12 imams shiaa (nearly all the Iranian Muslim follow this branch of Shiaa) therefore I really do not know what distinguish Alawis from others. I need to ask my son, he will know I am sure .
    Passerby : I agree, those who worship for sake of worship, are easily corrupted, whether they call themselves Muslim, Jews or Christians..

  58. Passerby,
    Why do you keep calling the Falklanders Bennies? I know where the term originated from, but it is the height of dis-respect.

  59. Sandman,
    If you have more than twelve rooms in your house on Bermuda you will have to give one up for the “Scotch” Lairds when they come to collect the rent.

  60. Saudi help for the Yanks and ziofuckwits was engineered by Zionist T.E.Lawrence who photographed them in compromising circumstances and blackmailed them thereafter. They did the same to Blair.
    That’s why they are called ziofuckwits, because they offer the political classes obscene amounts of money and dollops of lust, which they would be ashamed to be exposed indulging in.
    Praise be to God for the sexual and financial liberalisation revolution which has made it much more difficult to control politicians through blackmail.
    If I had a choice between myself or my wife being exposed doing something filthy, horrible and dirty, and sending Iraq, Libya or
    Syria to decades of bloody civil war, I hope I could find the honesty to save the lives of millions at the expense of my own pride, and to expose the blackmailers who offered the temptations and caught me with my trousers down.
    Blair has still not found the courage to do so, relying on the blood of Jesus for redemption, which I suspect Jesus pbuh him would rather prefer to keep circulating in his own body than waste on tramps like Blair.

  61. For Mary regarding Workfare:
    .
    .
    The government have been consistently claiming that the Work Experience Scheme and the Work Programme are entirely voluntary, and that only Mandatory Work Activity is compulsory. They were lying, and now we have proof.
    .
    .
    http://www.latentexistence.me.uk/dwp-edits-documents-to-pretend-work-placements-werent-compulsory/
    .
    .
    .
    Arbeit Mach Frei

  62. Thanks. The jargon within is worthy of the Third Reich. They also liked to make lists and notes.
    .
    Work will set you free: from welfare to workfare Debbie Jolly
    http://www.digitalvoice.eu/?p=172

  63. Rob Royston – I shall remember to tug my forelock and avert my gaze when the Lairds come a’calling in Bermuda, or the 8% of it that will presumably be known as New Benbecula.

    Seriously though, I thought Scottish nationalism was about self-determination. Didn’t realise they had aspirations to annex autonomous territories thousands of miles away.

  64. I see that Barbados is being visted by these royal hangers on. What goodies will they return to the UK with? Or it is only outfits like Bahrain that dole them out to the likes of ‘Edward’ and ‘Sophie’?
    .
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2106246/Prince-Edward-Sophie-wear-ordinated-outfits-attend-Barbados-state-dinner.html

  65. Charity begins at home The back to work (now there is a novelty, great assumptions; there exists work”) Tsar adhering to the great principles of crony capitalism got busy squeezing every penny towards good causes; her bank account. Has resigned but the stink goes on.
    ,
    Great ploy, anyone who thinks there are any jobs ought to have stepped off a banana boat, or a Martian Explorer. Therefore to appoint a greedy patsy who will take on finding work for the millions of unemployed is the first step in the elaborate scam, then the second step is to expose the misconduct, and malfeasance of the greedy patsy, the third and final step: everyone starts fighting about the monies being spent to find work for the lazy layabout who don’t want to go to work, and no one talking about where are these jobs suppose to be fucking at?
    ,
    Job’s a gooden and problem of doing away with the benefits solved, done and dusted. Soon we will be reaping the benefits of the model economy we have followed for years: families dying together in their homes because of hunger and cold.
    ,
    Family of three dies from apparent starvation in Japan
    ,
    {http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/feb/24/family-die-starvation-japan}
    ,
    I suppose one way of reducing the calls on the nation’s purse. Kill the poor over there in the wars of choice, apply the same formula to the “spongers” over here too, calling it war on fraudsters/layabouts/spongers

  66. bonifacegoncourt

    25 Feb, 2012 - 11:08 pm

    @Iain Orr

    But ‘uninhabited’ does normally mean ‘humanless’! It would be nice if the FIs could be subsidized forever in their idyllic peat bog, but realpolitik enters the frame. Two thirds
    of their income is from selling fishing licences, notably to
    the Spanish, who come to scoop the calamares, but could the FIs collect without Royal Navy enforcement…paid for by UK?
    Mauritius is a member of the Commonwealth, African Union etc, has no known predators, and its 2,000 strong paramilitary police/coast guard is trained and equipped by UK, US,
    France, India. It exports a lot of products. It pays for itself. What hope for an independent FI, which does have a known predator, no industry, no distinctive culture, and only a few thousand people? What have they been doing for 170 years?

    France’s overseas territories thrive because they are
    actually parts of the French Republic. London has no interest
    in hanging on to Tristan da Cunha, St Helena, or the FI, while Bermuda, Caymans, and Turks and Caicos are just for money-laundering. Is Britain going to make FI a shire? No. Perfide Albion will always let you down [cf the disgusting betrayal
    of the Chagossians]! Passerby’s rather brutalist take is about right. It’s money. You cannot just recite ‘we’re sooo British’ and expect a meal ticket. Most Brits don’t want to pay for Wales, let alone Marmite-munchers on the other side of the world, and even less so as 1982recedes into ancient history. Anyway, why are the FIs still ‘British’? In 170 years they could have evolved a new identity, like Canadians or Australians. Or, they could have reached out to their neighbours and become South Americans. At least they could have
    populated the place and built a few towns. Eventually London will dump the FIs, or at least offer them an identical peat bog in Scotland or Co Tyrone. Suddenly the Hobnobs and Shippam’s meat paste won’t taste so good, and they’ll wish they had become part of Chile.

    @Azra

    There are only two kinds of godworshippers, the conmen and the conned. All religion is vanity. All worship is self-worship. ‘Allah’ is merely the right hemisphere of your brain.

    @Sandman

    “I live in Bermuda, which is 21 sq miles. Which 8% is going to go Scotch?”

    Sandman I have many fond if glazed memories of your island. Bermudians have no need to go to Scotland since most of the scotch is in the Bermudians.

  67. I’m sorry that several contributors have such narrow views of the UK’s overseas territories. Most sound like the FCO, which has indeed tried – but failed, with the recent exception of Hong Kong – to get rid of most of them. Quite apart from the territories rich biodiversity (conservatively 20 times the endemic species of the metropolitan UK) they have many historic buildings and sites with much of value for those who have any sense of British history.

    .
    A particularly striking example is Rupert’s Valley in St Helena recently excavated to reveal the bones of many liberated slaves when St Helena became a focal point for the Navy’s suppression of the slave trade from West Africa. See the article by Andrew Pearson in the March-April 2012 issue of “British Archaeology”. He will also be launching his book on the excavations in St Helena with a lecture at 17.00 on 9 March at Bristol University.

    .
    Other territories remain of far greater interest than as offshore tax havens. The Cayman Islands operates a more effective Freedom of Information Act than does the UK. Bermuda has a fine artistic traditions and a magnificent Maritime Museum. Montserrat has an active volcano – where can vulcanologists go in the UK?

    .
    I have doubts myself about whether it would be sensible – for them or for Scotland – for any of the present overseas territories to shack up with Wee Eck. An Independent article of 1 July 2006 showed that Scots were better at seeking fame and fortune within the British Empire than running their own. See http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/uk/the-complete-guide-to-the-scottish-empire-407924.html . I’m not enough of a lawyer to know whether the Scottish legal system could easily adapt to taking on the “sacred trust” (UN Charter) of giving paramount importance to the interests of any overseas territories (aka colonies).

    .
    However the section “What Next?” in the article does show the considerable Scottish links with Tristan da Cunha and the Falklands. In his dreams I bet Wee Eck would love to get his hands on Diego Garcia and then sell it to China!

  68. bonifacegoncourt

    26 Feb, 2012 - 12:26 am

    @Iain Orr

    It’s nice to be romantic but you can’t eat sentiment. When the Rothschild regime in London finishes robbing the British people, why will they bother about useless remnants of empire? You won’t need to travel to the 3rd world to view imperial relics, for Britain will be in the 3rd world.

  69. Ass.District Commissioner

    26 Feb, 2012 - 12:48 am

    One of the NuLab Party’s crimes against humanity:
    http://www.chagossupport.org.uk/

  70. Ass.District Commissioner

    26 Feb, 2012 - 1:04 am

    Just in case you didn’t scroll down that far, watch this. And be prepared to vomit (preferably) at the sight of the former Labour MP for Harlow, Bill Rammell, now Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Plymouth:

    http://vimeo.com/17401157

  71. Bonk-face Gonk-ort.
    ‘There are only two kinds of godworshippers, the conmen and the conned. All religion is vanity. All worship is self-worship. ‘Allah’ is merely the right hemisphere of your brain.’
    .
    By that logic, the whole outside world is an illusion. When you get into a plane and fly over the English channel it’s reassuring to find that it doesn’t just exist on a map. Or is that the same as my Tom Tom? It still thinks it’s steaming up the M40 after I’ve put it to bed in a chest of drawers at home.

  72. I suppose we now know why Hamas quit Damascus:
    .
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/hamas-ditches-assad-backs-syria-revolt-1.414701
    .
    The divorce between Hamas and Damascus had been coming for months. The Palestinian group had angered Assad last year when it refused a request to hold public rallies in Palestinian refugee camps in Syria in support of his government.

    Hamas’s exile political leader Khaled Meshaal and his associates quietly quit their headquarters in Damascus and have stayed away from Syria for months now, although Hamas tried to deny their absence had anything to do with the revolt.

    Haniyeh visited Iran earlier this month on a mission to shore up ties with the power that has provided Hamas with money and weapons to fight Israel. It is not clear what the outcome of his visit has been, though the tone of the latest Hamas comments is hardly compatible with continued warm relations with Tehran.


    .
    It will be sad if Hamas and Iran also fall out. :D

  73. Scotch is a drink,Scottish is a nationality.
    .
    For the umpteenth time y’all….:-)

  74. Guano and Azra,
    The shia do not worship the dead, they ask the dead to help deliver their prayer (dua) to Allah (God), in other words they associate smn in asking Allah. This is called shirk and Allah says in the Quran He forgives sins of humans (provided they repent) except for shirk.
    Passerby: there is no documented fact that prophet Muhammad did appoint Ali as calif at his death. However, there are documented facts that only Abu Bakr was alllowed to lead congregation prayers in the mosque of the prophet when he was severely ill. Leading the congretaion prayers meant being a leader at that time, and there were two or three cases when prophet was not able to lead the prayer at the time of his death and asked Abu Bakr to go for it. Therefore, after death of prophet people chose Abu Bakr to become calif. Besides, Abu Bakr was one of the ten people whom Muhammad prophesized to see in paradise.
    Insinuation of the shia that Abu Bakr, Umar and other califs went againts wishes of the prophet is pure madness driven out of political objectives to divide muslims.
    Allah says in the Quran that prophet Muhammad does not say things out of his desire, meaning that everything prophet says or does is because of instructions from Allah. If prophet allowed Abu Bakr to lead the nation at that time he did so because of instructions from Allah. Denying this is denying the Quran.
    Peace.

  75. Craig Murray: Angrysoba

    I don’t suggest the Bahrainis want to be invaded by Bahrain. I suggest they did not want to be invaded by Saudi Arabia, and wanted to choose their own government.

    .
    Yes, I too want Bahrainis to choose their own government. And Iranians to be able to do so too. But I don’t understand this comparison:
    .
    Why is self-determination an inalienable right for the people of the Falklands, but a gross example of Iranian meddling for the people of Bahrain?
    .
    I think you are referring to some comment in which it was considered hypocritical for Iran to call for Bahraini freedom and decry the brutal crackdown of the demonstrators there while treating its own citizens no differently.

  76. Bonifacegoncourt, Britain will fight to hold the Falkland Islands for the same reason it did in 1982; there is oil there.
    .
    I think you should think again about why people believe in “God”. Of course religion is used to con people. But your statement “There are only two kinds of godworshippers, the conmen and the conned” ignores two important groups; those who are both, and those who are neither. These are not empty sets.
    .
    The term “worship” has very negative connotations in this modern age. Fake worship of one’s self is vigorously promoted by commercialism. There is no profit to be made from promoting respect, reverence and awe for whatever it is that makes our Universe consistently, continually and superlatively creative. To do so would detract from commercialism, which promotes the lie that creativity derives solely from itself. Commercialism claims to be the “producer”, and that all us people are mere “consumers”; there is no room for The Creator in that relationship.
    .
    Huge damage is done by the various religious descriptions of “God”. As soon as people decide that they know what “God” is, they can disagree and argue over it and ultimately fight and kill (and a definition of “God” as non-existent is just more of the same). Yet we all know, if we look into our hearts, that fighting and killing are in opposition to creating. We know that we are most creative ourselves in a peaceful and supportive environment. We feel happy when we create, and we are hurt when that which we have created is destroyed.
    .
    “God” is just a word for That Which Creates. We all know when we are acting creatively; we don’t need anyone to tell us. Thus, it is correct to state that God is within us all. All the Universe is creative, so it is correct to state that God is everywhere. We should treat any person or group that claims to speak on God’s behalf with vigorous skepticism. Always, the responsibility to act morally is personal. Paradoxically, we cannot escape our free-will, our own God-ness. We can choose to follow someone else’s laws, rules or advice, but whose to accept is still our own choice. So the only inescapable “commandment” is:
    .
    THOU SHALT…
    Decide for thine self!

  77. Angrysoba: “It will be sad if Hamas and Iran also fall out. :D
    .
    It is both sad and extremely dangerous that so many in the Middle East are “falling out”. I really don’t see anything positive in any of it at present. Support for Hamas and its extremism is a reaction to extreme oppression by Israel. Israeli oppression will not disappear even if Hamas does become more isolated. Rather, the attitudes of Hamas’s supporters are likely to harden if Hamas’s isolation increases, leading to yet greater oppression from Israel. This looks very bad for the people imprisoned in Gaza.

  78. Unsurprisingly Liam Fox did not take part in the debate in Westminster Hall on 22 February on Human Rights in Sri Lanka.
    .
    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201212/cmhansrd/cm120222/halltext/120222h0001.htm#12022246000001
    .
    Reminder that he and Werritty had/have connections.{http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/oct/13/adam-werritty-liam-fox-sri-lanka}

  79. Miles Goslett is on the BBC’s case. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2103258/BBC-pays-1-8million-legal-help-stars-pay-confidential.html
    .
    BBC pays £1.8million legal bill to help keep stars’ pay confidential
    By MILES GOSLETT – 19/02/2012 Figures obtained by The Mail on Sunday show that the BBC Trust – the body that has overall control of the public broadcaster – paid an average of almost £20,000 a week to the London office of Baker & McKenzie during the past two years

    .
    The Berghaus Broadcasting Corporation: Presenters accused of ‘advertising by the back door’ as BBC gets massive discounts on designer winterwear
    By RUSSELL MYERS,MILES GOSLETT – 15/02/2012 The Corporation has spent thousands kitting out staff on its most popular programmes in a range of the Berghaus brand’s latest jackets and fleeces.
    .

    MPs say BBC must reveal details of journalists’ commercial deals
    By MILES GOSLETT All By This Author – 13/02/2012 Radio 4′s Sarah Montague (pictured) and Newsnight’s Gavin Esler have been paid to speak at medical conferences organised by the NHS.
    .
    http://tiny.cc/6lfco

  80. We have discussed Somalia here before. As someone said, it’s always about OIL.
    .
    ‘The Observer can reveal that, away from the public focus of last week’s summit, talks are going on between British officials and Somali counterparts over exploiting oil reserves that have been explored in the arid north-eastern region of the country. Abdulkadir Abdi Hashi, minister for international cooperation in Puntland, north-east Somalia – where the first oil is expected to be extracted next month – said: “We have spoken to a number of UK officials, some have offered to help us with the future management of oil revenues. They will help us build our capacity to maximise future earnings from the oil industry.”
    .
    British involvement in the future Somali oil industry would be a boon for the UK economy and comes at a time when the world is increasingly concerned about the actions of Iran, the second-biggest oil producer in Opec.’
    .

    Britain leads dash to explore for oil in war-torn Somalia
    Government offers humanitarian aid and security assistance in the hope of a stake in country’s future energy industry
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/feb/25/britain-oil-dash-somalia
    .
    Note the little throwaway phrase on Iran. That’s right Guardian. Keep up the pressure and keep the propaganda flowing.

  81. Get the soar-away Sun TODAY! Yes, SUNDAY! That’s right, you’re not hearing things.
    .
    This is truly historic, you can tell by the media’s 24 hour display of continuous astonishment.

  82. what a lovely uneventfull sunday, had to put in my earlies yesterday, The sun is shining on my back and TV viewer is rupturing his little brain in excitement over some artificial hype about nothing, nothing at all.

    Hamas jumped before it got involved in this sectarian brawl between Saudi’s paid mercenaries, their money and Russian arms, I call this a wise choice. What is important is that Hamas and Fatah are growing together their real politic, something Israel is trying to break up at every opportunity.
    The danger of increasing isolationism of armed factions in the ME could mean a re run of sectarian violence ala Lebanon during the early 1980′s, a collapse of past peace alliances. We in the west know very well how to support such kind of instability, as it serves our aim and plans to intervene for our own reasons.

    Craig, have you found Adam Werritty in Ghana? If he’s not there, maybe we have misread his relationship with Liam Fox, he could well be lavishing it away in some spanky dungeon of his own liking, ready to be released from his leash.

  83. Clark: Bonifacegoncourt, Britain will fight to hold the Falkland Islands for the same reason it did in 1982; there is oil there.

    .
    I was only five years old at the time of the Falklands War so I don’t remember the debates at the time. And yet, this claim seems to me to be so radical as to be almost entrepreneurial. Could you elaborate on it a little? I didn’t know oil was known to exist in such large quantities off the Falklands at the time.
    .
    However, just for the sake of argument, if we assume that the existence of oil was not known to exist there would there have nontheless been a case for expelling an invading army directed by a fascist regime in Argentina?

  84. Clark: It is both sad and extremely dangerous that so many in the Middle East are “falling out”. I really don’t see anything positive in any of it at present.
    .
    I would suggest that if Iran did not provide Hamas with rockets then there would be something positive to be said for the split.

  85. Bonifacegoncourt: I’m partly happy to accept your implication that I’m romantic [you at 26 mins into today]; but I don’t think that regarding different parts of the world in their own terms is romantic. Throwing stink-bombs such as “imperial relics” and “Britain will be in the 3rd world” is far more romantic, in the sense ” having no basis in real life”.

    .
    However I’d rather call you catalytic (others might say “cataleptic”), especially for eliciting Clark’s reflections on God, creativity and non-empty sets.

    .
    You are, of course, right that “uninhabited” normally means “with no humans there”. My phrasing was meant to be an antidote to rampant anthropomorphism; but it seems to have worked in your case as an injection of anthrax (“an often fatal infectious disease…caused by a spore-forming bacterium and capable of being transmitted to humans”.) You are an earthling aren’t you, rather than a transvestite Martian?

  86. Off Topic: As frauds go, no one touches Ponzi Street (Wall Street) for blatant arrogance, and funnily enough a pat on the back for getting away with it.

    When you thought it couldn’t become funnier, the MF Global scandal steps in, and then a Lord of the British realm steps forward with some more scandalous news.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eL5hqvTWkYg

  87. Rap News 10 is out featuring OWS and Noam Chomsky (he even raps). Check it out, one of their best videos yet:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-rxe9Ayb8c
    .
    Rap News 11 is also out (but perhaps a little Aussie-centric for this forum). *Warning, contains Australian language*:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRhBRg-XkWY
    .
    I think these are the best vids you can find on youtube.

  88. Angry:
    .
    Your last post seems to ignore that Israel has a long and sordid history of undermining Palestinian non-violent resistance. With that in mind, why is it good that the Palestinians are made even more defenseless? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like violent conflict or random rocket fire, but I am also painfully aware that the strength of Hezbollah does deter Israel from waging further war against Lebanon.
    .
    AmnestyUSA on Palestinian non-violent resistance:
    http://blog.amnestyusa.org/middle-east/palestinian-nonviolent-resistance-has-strong-roots/
    .
    Foreign Policy on Palestinian non-violent resistance:
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/05/18/palestines_hidden_history_of_nonviolence?page=0,0

  89. Bonifacegoncourt: it’s very insulting to people who live in places like Bermuda and Cayman to say that these places exist for money laundering. I wish that Brits would actually take an interest and learn the facts about the overseas territories. You even say you’ve visited Bermuda, so you should know better.

    Bermuda is self-sufficient financially but is too small to be independent. Most Bermudians welcome the ties to the UK because it helps to guarantee rule of law. The Governor appoints judges, oversees the police force and deals with foreign affairs. Bermuda is a very sophisticated jurisdiction for reinsurance. Its reputation would be destroyed if it was complicit in money laundering.

  90. Sandman: Bermuda is self-sufficient financially but is too small to be independent. Most Bermudians welcome the ties to the UK because it helps to guarantee rule of law.
    .
    The UK is only interested in Bermuda’s oil. Everyone knows this.

  91. Boniface: However the Args are terrified of the
    efficient Chileans and back off from any dispute. Therefore the best future for the islands would be as an extra province of Chile, next to Magallanes…..Tierra de los Bennios!

    .
    Any future war there would have to be known as the Fray Bentos.

  92. Cheebacow: Your last post seems to ignore that Israel has a long and sordid history of undermining Palestinian non-violent resistance. With that in mind, why is it good that the Palestinians are made even more defenseless? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like violent conflict or random rocket fire, but I am also painfully aware that the strength of Hezbollah does deter Israel from waging further war against Lebanon.

    .
    I don’t think that is true. Why did Israel ever go to Lebanon?

  93. But, what I would say is that the US, the EU and other countries need to get tough with Israel on settlements in the West Bank. My thinking is that Hamas and Hizbollah are counterproductive to this because they couldn’t appear more like a typical bunch of terrorists in the public mind if they tried. They look like they are straight out of central casting; almost a parody of a Hollywood cliche; beards, suicide bombing, dressing in black, goose-stepping around giving Nazi salutes; firing AK47s in the air to celebrate. You may look down on “the general public” but unfortunately for the Palestinians their self-appointed guardians such as Hamas and Hizbollah simply look like foam-flecked nutters. And that’s partly because that is what they are. While lots of commenters here clap themselves on the back for their pleasingly feel-good radical notions that black is white and white is black most other people simply see Hamas and Hizbollah as theocratic terrorists. And ultimately that is why the Palestinians don’t get the sympathy they deserve.

  94. I read in the Mirror on Sunday in a cafe this morning that Bliar is speaking to groups of Labour MPs and is thinking of making a comeback to frontline politics. Milipede Jnr is said to be relaxed about it. God help us all.

    .
    In addition to those items in the Mail I posted earlier about the BBC, I saw in the Mirror that those who work outside 9-5 get £4,000 pa extra to compensate!

    .
    The Mirror did have a good double page spread on the proposed annihilation of the NHS and the opposition to the bill. It is not online except for this article.
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/three-key-royal-colleges-prepare-743780
    .
    PS Don’t waste time with Angry. Only here to disrupt and divert.

  95. Angrysoba, I didn’t take much notice of politics at the time of the UK’s war over the Falklands. I have no memory of oil being mentioned in the mainstream media. However, I do remember a word-of-mouth rumour of untapped oil deposits; maybe it was something mentioned in the more in-depth reports.
    .
    The big question at the time seemed to be why so little effort in negotiation was made by the UK, and the generally accepted answer was that Thatcher wanted a war in order to look strong, and thus made no effort to avoid one. Oil, if indeed that was a reason, would provide a more objective and less personal explanation as to why negotiation could have been futile from the start.
    .
    This would further imply that current conflict in the Middle East was anticipated decades ago, and that the failure to develop alternatives… What can I say? Sometimes it feels like fate, like a car crash in slow motion, where it looks like there is time to change things, but that in fact the point of inevitable disaster has long since been passed. I accept that this could just be my own crazed musings, brought up as I was to believe in an immanent Armageddon.

  96. Spot on here Ahmadinejad.
    .
    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says arrogant powers will never achieve their objective of rescuing the “evil and inhumane” Zionist regime of Israel.

    .
    “The goal of arrogant powers is to save the Zionist regime [of Israel], but they will certainly not fulfill this wish of theirs, because the world has changed and their era has come to an end,” Ahmadinejad said in a meeting with Lebanese Defense Minister Fayez Ghusn in Tehran on Sunday.
    .
    +++“The Zionist regime is an evil and inhumane creature that will massacre all regional nations if it is given the opportunity,” Ahmadinejad said.+++
    .
    The Iranian President further expressed confidence that a “just and humane order” will prevail in the world in future in place of the current rule established by arrogant powers.
    .
    For his part, the Lebanese defense minister hailed the resistance of the Iranian nation against Israeli aggressions saying that today Tel Aviv will think twice before attempting an invasion anywhere in the world for fear of the Islamic Republic.
    .
    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/228736.html

  97. A Question for SUNday. Have you all observed the boycott of the Sunday Sun? I have. However, I not only looked at the front page: I was complicit in agreeing to my wife’s blackleg request that I buy her a copy. Now I understand fully the gravamen of Craig’s charges against Jack Straw, the FCO, the intelligence services and HMG.

    .
    Disappointingly, in my local newsagents the pile of unsold Observers over-topped that of the Sunday Sun tenfold. The best gloss I can provide is that Murdoch’s hybrid will probably prove infertile; and that it was selling like cheap [50p] bags of horse manure.

    .

    Bought a “Top Cat” National Lottery Scratchcard to reward myself for observing the boycott. Won zilch. Condign punishment for complicity. All I can salvage of self-respect is that I can easily top the Sunday Sun’s front-page scoop – “Amanda Holden: My Heart Stopped for 40 Seconds”. When I had a quadruple by-pass on Friday 13 January, my heart was stopped for far longer than that.

    .

    Non-God in his Non-Heaven: Arsenal 0 Spurs 1 (Saha). This cannot now be an empty set, Clark.

  98. Clark: Angrysoba, I didn’t take much notice of politics at the time of the UK’s war over the Falklands. I have no memory of oil being mentioned in the mainstream media. However, I do remember a word-of-mouth rumour of untapped oil deposits; maybe it was something mentioned in the more in-depth reports.
    .
    The big question at the time seemed to be why so little effort in negotiation was made by the UK, and the generally accepted answer was that Thatcher wanted a war in order to look strong, and thus made no effort to avoid one. Oil, if indeed that was a reason, would provide a more objective and less personal explanation as to why negotiation could have been futile from the start.

    .
    This sounds far more qualified than the earlier, bolder statement you made:
    .
    Britain will fight to hold the Falkland Islands for the same reason it did in 1982; there is oil there.

    .
    Don’t get me wrong, I do think you are entitled to your opinions but I find it very confusing when you state them as if they were documented fact. The thing is that I had never heard the oil argument for the Falklands War but if there was one then I would be interested to know of it. Yet, as I said, it seems more likely that an invasion by the Argentinian regime which was itself beset with internal problems and was itself a fascist regime that “executed” its leftist opponents by rounding them up, flinging them naked and screaming from transport planes into the Atlantic Ocean.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_flight
    .
    I think the most controversial point at the time was the sinking of the Belgrano which was seen as an unnecessarily provocative escalation of the conflict which, as you say, could arguably have been ceased through a peace plan of some kind. Yet the reason for the UK’s desire to fight the war is far more explicable as an obvious response to not just as act of war but an all-out invasion by an aggressive nation. This combined with the obvious loss of national prestige if the UK had failed to react makes any other explanation superfluous. Though some people naturally thought Margeret Thatcher had engineered something to help her re-election bid.

  99. Mary, I think Angrysoba’s points deserve to be engaged with. He is right about widespread public perception of Hamas and Hizbollah. However, I think that many of the points in his 1:23 comment take complex, convoluted causes and effects, and point them all in one direction: extremism both causes and is caused by oppression and the closing of other avenues, and Hollywood “terrorists” are of course modeled on images from the news, and the “news” media love to dramatise and oversimplify.
    .
    Conflict resolution is so much harder than conflict escalation. As conflict progresses the injustices inflicted upon both sides accumulate. Resentment and its consequence, prejudice, both increase. Any resolution has to address all this accumulated anger and prejudice. That, or one side or the other needs to be utterly annihilated, and I don’t think that has ever been achieved, nor should it be. Or did Britian manage it with the Tasmanians?

  100. Angrysoba, you’re right, I was being very brief. I was really only replying to this by Bonifacegoncourt: “Eventually London will dump the FIs, or at least offer them an identical peat bog in Scotland or Co Tyrone.”
    .
    Sorry, I can’t help with my own oil argument. As I said, I encountered that argument through word of mouth only. There are other readers of this blog who are more knowledgeable about oil reserves and when they were discovered or suspected. Maybe one of them can help.
    .
    This discussion has reminded me of an e-mail I received from an acquaintance, mostly concerning a different subject; I quote one paragraph:
    .

    This is not to deny the existence of the subversive geopolitical forces which have been activated here and which have been operating in the middle east (formerly known as the near east) for decades. I believe that the creation of the state of Israel was at least in part designed to destabilise the region and prevent the creation of rich, powerful Arabic states that would be a real threat to America, and very successful it has been, in those terms.

  101. Ass. District Commissioner

    26 Feb, 2012 - 2:57 pm

    Urban terror & super-injunction news:
    What’s all this about, then??
    http://tinyurl.com/7bdnh9z

  102. Angry said: “My thinking is that Hamas and Hizbollah are counterproductive to this because they couldn’t appear more like a typical bunch of terrorists in the public mind if they tried.”
    .
    Like I said earlier, Israel has made a point of brutally putting down non-violent Palestinian resistance. When non-violent resistance is continuously ignored by the West, and crushed by Israel, it’s no wonder groups like Hamas become so extreme. I would argue that this is the intended consequence of Israeli government actions. The Israeli government does not desire peace, it wants to expand its territory (as made plainly evident by refusing to define borders, torpedoing peace talks with impossible demands). Is it a good thing that the entire Palestinian population is so weak that they are forced to accept any Israeli demand? Sounds like ‘creating a desert and calling it peace’ to me.
    .
    It is also highly dependent on your point of view. Your above quote could easily reflect the views of the global ‘South’ on America. Which public mind do you speak of?

  103. Ass. District Commissioner

    26 Feb, 2012 - 3:15 pm

    More studious scandal-seekers will find that Jersey resident Mark Burby’s highly astonishing but strangely under-publicised evidence starts on page 50 of this document:
    http://tinyurl.com/7axcygk

  104. The Zionist plan for the Middle East. Fragment, divide, etc.
    .
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/pdf/The%20Zionist%20Plan%20for%20the%20Middle%20East.pdf

  105. “they couldn’t appear more like a typical bunch of terrorists in the public mind if they tried”
    .
    Is that right? You learn something every day. I thought Hamas was elected and was mostly concerned with trying to rebuild Gaza. I thought that without Hizbollah Lebanon would not exist and was the only military force with the ability to resist Israeli attack. Tut tut!
    .
    Neither seem like terrorists to me. Kind of bureaucratised governmental/resistance group hybrids in my view but I admit that “terrorist” is more emotive and slips off the tongue easier.

  106. From Dennis Thatcher’s obituary. My bet is that Burmah Oil knew something about the oil reserves in the Falklands.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/politics-obituaries/1434154/Sir-Denis-Thatcher-Bt.html.
    .
    ‘For the next quarter of a century, while his wife advanced politically (entering Parliament as MP for Finchley and Friern Barnet in 1959; the government in 1961; and the cabinet in 1970), he kept a low profile, successfully developing his business.
    ,
    Under his guidance, its paints, wood preservatives and other coatings were sold across the world. By 1957 the Atlas factory had expanded to 60,000 sq ft and the company employed some 200 people. Thatcher himself worked long hours, and had to spend much of his time abroad on sales drives. In 1964, suffering from what appeared to be exhaustion, he had to take a sabbatical in South Africa.
    .
    On his return, he decided to sell up and, in 1965, Atlas was taken over by Castrol, who paid £530,000 (earning Thatcher himself £10,000). The new owners appointed him a director and, when Castrol was taken over by Burmah Oil, he was appointed divisional director of planning and control and joined its board. Burmah’s headquarters was at Swindon, 83 miles from London; Thatcher drove there and back every day.’
    .
    Burmah was eventually taken over by BP Amoco, now BP.

  107. Some recent posts on the Falklands War are wide of the mark. I’m in a good position to say so: at the time I had security clearance up to Top Secret and was in charge of information work in the British Embassy in Dublin. Our main task was to get the UK position across to the Fianna Fail government and the Irish media. Above all, we had to keep Charlie Haughey tied in to the generally helpful but precarious EU consensus. He was finally able to take up the anti-British position that came naturally to him when the Dublin newsagents were full of the Sun’s “Gotcha!” headline. Ironically, this was long after the headline had been changed in later editions of the Sun in the UK, as recounted by the then editor some years ago at a British Library debate on the best 20th century headlines.

    .

    Accounts at the time and immediately after the 1982 war were often less than accurate; nor were they free from bias, in various directions. Some fresh information was circulated in the 2 January 2012 issue of a newsletter on the Argentine media which I find well-informed and reliable in its facts and judgements. These concern both Mrs Thatcher’s role in developments before the Argentine invasion and the circumstances surrounding the decision to sink the Belgrano when it was outside the unilateral UK “exclusion zone”. Here are some extracts:

    .
    “There have been three minor Falklands related stories recently in the Argentine media.

    .

    “Last Wednesday Clarin published a short account of the new information regarding the sinking of the General Belgrano in 1982 – that it was not returning to Ushuaia when it was torpedoed and sunk but had orders to proceed inside the Falklands exclusion zone. Clarin says it was going to a port in the Islands (although the British accounts just say to a pre-arranged rendez-vous there). The story was taken from the Daily Telegraph review of David Thorp’s book “Silent Listener”, and records that Thorp was part of a group decoding Argentine signals on board HMS Intrepid during the1982 war.

    .

    “Then last Thursday Clarin and other papers reported the death by drowning of a canoeist near Isla de los Estados in Tierra del Fuego . The drowned man and his companion, who survived, were veterans of the Falklands War. They had intended to canoe all the way to the Falklands! Their motive was a silly plan to “link” Tierra del Fuego with the Falklands .

    .

    “Then last Saturday Clarin and other papers carried reports of the revelation in documents released in the British National Archives under the 30 year rule that Margaret Thatcher had been specifically warned in 1981 that the plan to decommission HMS Endurance could encourage the Argentine Junta to believe that Britain was less interested in the Falklands and their defence. The articles report how Foreign secretary Lord Carrington wrote to Defence Secretary John Nott specifically warning about the danger from Argentina of decommissioning the Endurance and reducing the fleet then. This, I think, is hardly news now, but it’s interesting to see it confirmed.”

    .

    Once the invasion happened, it was trebly likely that Mrs Thatcher would try to recapture lost British “possessions”. First, it was in her character. See, for one of several provocative but closely argued interpretations, pages 80 to 88 of Leo Abse’ s “Margaret, daughter of Beatrice – A Politician’s Psycho-Biography of Margaret Thatcher”, Jonathan Cape, 1989. Second, a military victory would be immensely important for this chippy and proudly lower middle-class Boadicea in her twin battles, electorally against Labour and for the soul of the Conservative party against muttering critics, chauvinists and lukewarm compromisers. Third, only a decisive victory could save her from impeachment for putting support for her Chancellor, Sir Geoffrey Howe, ahead of the defence of the realm. No wonder her “Gotcha!” was: “Rejoice! Rejoice!”

    .
    PS: With the final result Arsenal 5 – Spurs 2, I have to confess to hubris of Blairite proportions. How’s that for humble pie?

  108. There is certainly plenty in the Petrology literature to suggest large deposits of hydrocarbons in the South Atlantic. While at BP Exploration in the 90s I came across some of it. Just about everywhere has been assessed for possible hydrocarbon-bearing formations, but not everywhere has been drilled, or had seismic run on it.

  109. bonifacegoncourt

    26 Feb, 2012 - 4:42 pm

    @Clark
    I agree with you about the horrors of commercialism. However with all this ‘creativity’ you are begging numerous questions.
    “All the Universe is creative, so it is correct to state that God is everywhere.” Who says? What does that even mean? Why should you feel ‘awe’ for the universe, just because it is bigger than you? The universe is an incompetent and wasteful piece of design, all those explosions and collisions and massive wastes of energy giving no clue [unlike other machines] what it is actually for. It is totally absurd, which is what makes cosmology so interesting. Bringing ‘god’ into the frame, as always, just makes it dull. The G-word is meaningless because it is the only word that cannot be defined, explained, illustrated, exemplified, or described, except in terms of itself, eg ‘our own godness’. Eh??? Wassat??? ‘God’ comes from the right hemisphere of the brain, along with fairies, UFOs,
    and inability to read maps. Religion is vanity. ‘Look at me, god loves me, I’m special’. Free yourself from the meaningless ‘god’ monosyllable and unclutter the mind. BTW you say “I believe that the creation of the state of Israel was at least in part designed to destabilise the region” – It was designed to provide national sovereignty as a shelter for the
    customary dismal crimes of the master race. The poor saps living on stolen land will be left high and dry on Der Tag, when Big Zion moves the money elsewhere.

    @Sandman

    Why so coy? Bermuda is not too small to be independent [Nauru? Monaco? Andorra?] but people might wonder where all the money came from. Behind Disneyfied Englandland, bright-eyed bonhomie and baby-blue shorts ‘n’ socks, Caliban’s charming isle is indeed “a very sophisticated jurisdiction for reinsurance”. Or, in English, ‘Another Daiquiri, Mr Gambino, old boy?’

    @Jives “Scotch is a drink,Scottish is a nationality.” Both Dr Johnson and George Orwell advised that the best way to annoy a Scotchman is to call him a Scotchman….

    OT SPOILER! If you’ve been watching the current Iswaili-Amerikan ‘Honey-I-shot-the-president’ yawnmaker ‘Homeland’, [see TV page of the Goydian] know that the ending is a total copout. When our Damian tries to blow up the vice-president his explosive vest doesn’t work. He is in the lavvy trying to rewire it when his missus calls toremind him about dinner. So he goes home for dinner! There is already a second series where he is a talk jockey for Fox News or something. Woteva. There, you no longer have to watch this fascist dross and I have given you back ten hours of your life. You’re welcome.

    @guano
    @Iain Orr

    I’d love to debate, but both you gents are a wee bit too surreal for moi.

  110. Israel did not ‘go’ to lebanaon, buit attacked it, more than once, During its last major attack it cause some 6 billion worth of economic damage, not to speak of the casulties.

    To say that Hamas and Hezbollah look like archetypal terrorists proof that cliche’s work and prejudices can be used as propaganda. Israel cannot ignore one UN resolution after another and then hope that the world will side with its fascist policies, violence and land stealing. There are UN violations every day and not a single sanction has been proposed. The UN has been corrupted and used for criminal intent to be caused on others, its business is akin to horse trading, except the latter is open and visible.

    Hamas was founded by the intention to create a second power structure, it divided Palestinians who are only now finding common points and israel does not like it, hence the disproportional violence in Ghaza and the Westbank of late.

  111. bonifacegoncourt

    26 Feb, 2012 - 5:52 pm

    From one of our Muslim bros on here, I come across;
    “nothing touches the Qur’an for totally blasting one’s mind into outer space.” That would explain an awful lot. Alawi, Sunni, Shia, who cares? It’s all primitive fantasy. I’ve actually read the Q, sadistic nonsense for people with a mental age of five. The Beardy One was a certifiable nutjob, who invented the Q when they shut him up in a cave to cure his mad fits. Meanwhile, mutilation, stoning and 100 lashes all round!
    Only murderous zionism is more noxious than this islam rubbish. Beware of anything from a desert.

  112. Donald at 4:05, thanks. If you saw it in the ’90s, it was probably already known in 1982; can you pin it down any more accurately? We already know of BP’s connections with the secret services and influence over over British foreign policy. Very useful, therefore, for Britain to have an outpost at the Falkland Islands, eh?
    .
    Bonifacegoncourt, I’ll try to come up with a reply that won’t make too long a comment, but I might be a while; these matters are difficult to put into words. But as a start, remember that according to our best physical theories, everything remains a mere superposition of probabilities until observed. You simply cannot dissociate Universe from Mind. So whose mind would that be, then? Yours? Mine? There’s more to belief in The Creator than superstition and manipulation of the masses, though I agree that religion is widely used for that purpose – but then, that’s just what we should expect, isn’t it? Propaganda is ubiquitous.

  113. Bonifacegoncourt, my above mentioned reply will be for your 4:42 pm comment, not your 5:52 pm one, which I hadn’t seen when I posted mine at 6:34 pm. I don’t know much about Islam, or any religion really, except ’70s Jehovah’s Witlessism.

  114. Oh, I should mention that you shouldn’t be too critical of Islam. It’s considerably younger than Christianity, so to make a fair comparison you have to look at Christianity a few centuries ago. They did a lot of burning people, I think, but they grew out of it eventually.

  115. As far as I remember, the exploratory geology was done in the 70s, including drilling. There are associated formations all the way across into the South American mainland. Some of this stuff was in reports, some of it was in articles on the online databases I had access to; some were old enough to have turned up in monographs by then. Oh to have access to such resources now! Working for Big Oil had many compensations…

  116. Mary, thanks, and Donald, thanks again. Angrysoba, that’s good enough for me. The UK knew the Falklands could be useful for oil extraction. None of which detracts from Iain Orr’s insider knowledge, but Prime Ministers don’t make decisions in a vacuum.

  117. Hope you had the use of one of those long spoons Iain in your dealings with Haughey.
    .
    Haughey is generally regarded as the dominant Irish politician of his generation, as well as the most controversial. Upon entering government in the early 1960s, Haughey became the symbol of a new vanguard of Irish ministers, with a promising future in service to the Republic. As Taoiseach, he is credited by some economists as starting the positive transformation of the economy in the late 1980s. However, his career was also marked by several major scandals. Haughey was implicated in the Arms Crisis of 1970, which nearly destroyed his career. His political reputation revived, his tenure as Taoiseach was then damaged by the sensational GUBU Affair in 1982; his party leadership was challenged four times, each time unsuccessfully, earning Haughey the nickname “The Great Houdini.” Revelations about his role in a phone tapping scandal forced him to resign as Taoiseach and retire from politics in 1992.Further scandals emerged after Haughey’s retirement, when revelations of corruption, embezzlement, tax evasion and a 27-year extra-marital affair destroyed his reputation. Still mired in scandal, he died of prostate cancer in 2006 at the age of eighty.

  118. bonifacegoncourt

    26 Feb, 2012 - 7:41 pm

    @Clark
    If you don’t know much about religion, why not keep it that way? It just makes people unhappy, and have nervous breakdowns. Avoid the meaningless, eg ‘You simply cannot dissociate Universe from Mind.’ Eh?? ‘The God Delusion’ by Prof Dawkins is an agreeable and non-preachy read. Science answers questions and make things simpler. Religion creates puzzles, and makes things more complicated. BTW I always like Muslim countries and
    Muslims generally. It’s the mumbo-jumbo I avoid.

  119. Donald wrote: “There are associated formations all the way across into the South American mainland. Some of this stuff was in reports, some of it was in articles on the online databases I had access to; some were old enough to have turned up in monographs by then. Oh to have access to such resources now!”
    .
    Where might be a good place to start looking?

  120. bonifacegoncourt, I’ve read The God Delusion. Very entertaining, and the points about discrimination against atheists really needed to be clearly stated.
    .
    The point of understanding a religion is that doing so enables one to converse with its adherents from the basis of their preexisting beliefs. In every religion you’ll find plenty of moral concepts that enable the promotion of ethical behaviour. Using these is far more efficient than trying to convert everyone to atheism and then persuading them to become Humanists. Atheistic beliefs are as corruptible as those of any religion. Look at how some capitalists have drawn upon Darwinism to justify oppression of “inferior” people on the basis of “survival of the fittest”.
    .
    There is nothing meaningless about ‘You simply cannot dissociate Universe from Mind.’ Presumably, you haven’t appreciated eighty years-worth of quantum physics. Bohr, Einstein, Heisenberg, Planck, Schrödinger and others struggled for decades to separate the observed from the observer. They really tried their best to preserve the “objectivity” of the old, classical physics. That argument became testable with Bell’s inequality theorem, and was finally laid to rest by the experiments of Alain Aspect – and it can’t be done. Observation of a system is what collapses the wave function. How one observes affects the experimental system. That, or you need to postulate an infinity of universes, each sprouting a further infinity of universes at every infinitesimal instant, all of which except “this one” are entirely inaccessible to us even in principle, such that every possibility at every instant all occur – an article of faith if ever I encountered one. Dawkins entirely missed this point in The God Delusion. But then, he’s not a physicist.
    .
    Yes, religion makes some people unhappy. My religious upbringing made me very unhappy, and it took me decades to escape it. However, religion also makes other people very happy. Each to their own, I guess, though it isn’t for me. I do hope that one day, children will no longer be indoctrinated into religious belief.
    .
    I think you have two essential problems in this conversation with me.
    .
    (1) You seem unable to separate religion from the concept of “God”. I’ve tried to emphasise this distinction. I wrote ‘Huge damage is done by the various religious descriptions of “God”’ and ‘We should treat any person or group that claims to speak on God’s behalf with vigorous skepticism.’ In my opinion, religion, by and large, hijacks people’s natural, intuitive reverence for That Which Continually Creates. Effectively, religion usurps “God” and sets itself up in the space thus cleared. No surprise there, then! Just the usual pursuit of power.
    .
    (2) You think of “God” in the way taught by most religions, as a sort of “person” who existed outside the Universe, and then “created” it, and then sort of retired. There’s a very funny section in The God Delusion that describes exactly this attitude. It’s in complete contradiction to all that science has taught us, which is that the Universe evolves, continually and at every point within it. Two more points follow from this:
    .
    (1) Science has clearly shown us why things decay; it’s just a set of statistical rules known as thermodynamics. However, no clear mechanism – nor even an unclear one, so far as I’m aware – has been so much as proposed for the constant creativity of inorganic evolution.
    .
    (2) The biologists (which includes Dawkins) get an easy ride on this. Where you have life, you do have a good mechanism for the creativity of evolution. But so far as we know, life is the exception rather than the rule – enormously so. And yet the inanimate universe is full of diversity that just keeps getting more and more diverse. Life just speeds up this process a lot.

  121. Bonifacegoncourt; I feel that I should deconstruct some of your earlier comment:
    .
    Why should you feel ‘awe’ for the universe, just because it is bigger than you? – Well yes, there’s its size, of course, but it’s the huge amount of increasing diversity, i.e. creativity, that I find truly stunning. Is there nothing that awes you? That would be a shame.
    .
    The universe is an incompetent and wasteful piece of design, – Well, it isn’t designed, it’s spontaneous. I find physical law and natural forms beautiful and elegant, not incompetent. I don’t know what you mean by “wasteful”. I think that’s a perspective us humans acquired because we tend to want too much stuff and our technology is too energy-inefficient to give it to us all. Besides, remember the conservation of mass/energy. Our Universe is neither wasteful nor acquisitive.
    .
    all those explosions and collisions and massive wastes of energy giving no clue [unlike other machines] what it is actually for. – Ah, you’re looking for a purpose in the Universe. Well, maybe it has one, and it’s beyond your understanding. Do you think evolution stopped when it got to humans i.e. that there can never be better understanding than our own? Or maybe it just diversifies because that is better than not diversifying, i.e. it’s for the “Greater Good”. And the Universe is not a machine i.e. it is not a device. Those subject-object style creation myths are rubbish, ignore them.
    .
    Bringing ‘god’ into the frame, as always, just makes it dull. – Yes, but only if “God” is used as a spurious explanation, thus quenching the spirit of inquiry. But then if someone wants to be lazy of mind, that’s their own problem; they should take responsibility and not use “God” as an excuse.
    .
    The G-word is meaningless because it is the only word that cannot be defined, explained, illustrated, exemplified, or described, except in terms of itself, – Science, like language, defines and describes things in terms of other things. But neither are concerned with ultimate explanations, they’re more like maps. The fundamental things are like the key to the map, or like the axioms we use in maths. We don’t have any good reason why, say, 1 + 1 = 2, we just define it that way because it seems right, and then make use of it from there.
    .
    ‘God’ comes from the right hemisphere of the brain, along with fairies, UFOs, and inability to read maps. – Hey, that’s half of your own brain you just discounted!! Do yourself a favour. Also from the right hemisphere we have intuition (see Penrose’s ideas about mathematical creativity), music, singing, poetry, dance… I don’t see how an inability comes from there; are you suggesting that the right hemisphere prevents the left hemisphere from learning to map-read? Incidentally, I map-read pretty well, even though I try to say my prayers.
    .
    Your misunderstandings of “God” seem to derive entirely from religious ideas. Misapplied religion really can do vast damage to people’s relationship with God.

  122. bonifacegoncourt

    27 Feb, 2012 - 1:23 am

    @Clark
    Yes, yes, old Uncle Tom Heisenberg and all…quantum godbanging is no less daft than the traditional smells and bells. I don’t have a “relationship with God” because ‘god’ is imaginary, or maybe you missed that part. Clark you seem sincere but lighten up or you’ll end up on the Goydian’s CiF Religion, godbangers droning on about their favourite subject, themselves. That’s the appeal of the nonexistent sky wizard to lazy minds. He makes you seem important. He makes the universe seem important. He even makes ‘god’ seem important.

  123. Bonifacegoncourt, “smells and bells” is my thing, or rather sound and lights, sets and props. Most of my work has been as a theatre technician, doing the best I can to make people believe in make believe, for an hour or two at a time. It’s honest work, and not for the lazy of mind.
    .
    What’s that little saying? Something like: Most journalists convince people of lies by telling selected truths, whereas novelists try to convey important truths by telling a pack of lies. It’s all about who is being honest about what they’re really up to. Theatre is one of the better aspects of religion, something a bit special each Sunday. Religious manipulation to provoke immoral behaviour is one of the worst. I know, the one is too often used for the other. Yes, the “sky wizard” is imaginary, but I wasn’t writing about him. That’s the trouble, the turds are all mixed in with the treasure.
    .
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9gq-ANfjc0

  124. DownWithThisSortOfThing

    27 Feb, 2012 - 4:11 am

    Only murderous zionism is more noxious than this islam rubbish. Beware of anything from a desert.
    .
    Zionism is from Europe.

  125. Clark, I think it can be made simpler by realizing that atheists don’t believe in the monotheistic God, nor polytheistic gods, nor the type of cosmic-y Goddish gods that are believed in by those attempting to split the difference. Atheists just don’t believe in any of those and will not find your religion (or religion-like beliefs) any more compelling than say Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Scientology, Tenri-kyo, Caodaism, Satan-worship, Mormonism, Jainism, Tarot reading, Hindusim, Sikhism, Shintoism. To the extent that I understand your theories it sounds nothing more than another “God-of-the-gaps” argument which insists that that which is not explicable must be explained by God.

  126. Clark: Angrysoba, that’s good enough for me. The UK knew the Falklands could be useful for oil extraction.
    .
    I’m not sure what you mean. Are you saying it is good enough to believe your initial assertion that the UK fought the Falklands War in 1982 because of oil?
    .
    Well, fine. But we’re obviously going to disagree on that too. I think it had nothing to do with oil.

  127. Cameron and Hague will love the ezistence of this testimony about Argentina in the 80s. More grist to the mill. Stolen babies, etc.
    .
    http://www.zcommunications.org/elliott-abrams-dark-history-in-latin-america-and-the-struggle-for-justice-by-cyril-mychalejko

  128. Voila
    What you say is correct, but this lot are not interested in these facts. Are you Muslim, or just very well informed?

  129. Oil, water, and the Antarctic
    .
    As fishing reserves dwindle, securing oil and fresh water reserves has become the main strategic role of the Falklands for Britain. Though it had long been suspected there were large oil reserves around the islands, exploration has only begun in the past few years. In February of 2010, British Desire Petroleum began drilling 60 miles from the capital of the Falklands, Port Stanley, for what may be 200 million barrels of oil worth 17 billion pounds. By May, British Rockhopper Exploration joined the frenzy, along with a host of other companies that have won large contracts for oilrig and equipment services.
    .

    Great oil and gas reserves also lie underneath the Antarctic, a continent Britain has also set its sights on. Thanks to its control of the Falklands, it has claimed 660,000 miles of Antarctic territory. In May of 2009, before the deadline for countries to make submissions to the U.N. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, it submitted an additional claim of 386,000 miles of ocean off of its Antarctic holding. Many, including Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund, condemned the U.K. in what is seen as an environmentally dangerous move to secure access to oil, water, and other natural resources.
    .

    The Antarctic is also the continent that holds 70 percent of the world’s fresh water reserves, a resource becoming scarcer and more valuable each year. The Antarctic Treaty signed in 1959 has thus far protected the continent’s environment from resource extraction and military activity, however, it neither affirms nor denies territorial claims currently held by seven countries. As access to fresh water becomes more critical, the treaty may become another ideal purported on paper but trampled in practice.
    .
    /…
    http://upsidedownworld.org/main/argentina-archives-32/2987-resource-control-and-military-might-the-future-of-the-malvinasfalkland-islands.
    06 April 2011
    .
    Francesca Fiorentini is a freelance journalist based in Buenos Aires. She is also an editor of Left Turn magazine and a regular contributor to WarTimes.org.

  130. Voila said;”Denying this is denying the Quran.”
    Bullpucky, there is no mention of the Abu Bakar in the Quran, and further there are documented Hatdith as for the preference of Muhammad for Ali as the first Caliph.
    ,
    As for disunity of the Muslims to be blamed on Shia it is the most anti Islamic statement ever made, but there again whilst the Saudis are at the vanguard of the Muslims anything is possible. Included is the negative and almost maniacal image of Islam that is so prevalent across the globe. What has the money and power of the Saudis achieved for Islam?
    ,
    Whilst Rome/Baghdad/Damascus/Sana’a/Manama is burning the Islamic “leaders” are jockeying for power, by their contemptuous and unforgivable support for the zionist mafia.
    ,
    So spare me the carp about Muslim brotherhood, and start looking around you, to see how the Muslims are perceived?
    ,
    ,
    The ziofuckwit commenting here about the “terrorist” this and “terrorist” that, goes unchallenged, about the illegitimate apartheid theocratic regime that is based on terrorism; Irgun, et al. Whilst Muslim brotherhood is debated, you cannot make this shit up!

  131. Angrysoba, you should examine the context of my comments on this thread. I was initially responding to this, from Bonifacegoncourt:

    There are only two kinds of godworshippers, the conmen and the conned. All religion is vanity. All worship is self-worship. ‘Allah’ is merely the right hemisphere of your brain.

    That is a very strong statement. It also looks likely to be offensive to many people, and to act as a block to constructive debate of many other subjects. If someone opens their discussion with a statement like “you only believe what you believe because you’re stupid and gullible”, they’re expressing an arrogance that is likely to provoke a similar counter-reaction. They’ve initiated disrespect.
    .
    I am not trying to convince anyone of the existence or non-existence of any kind of god. I’m trying to demonstrate that strong belief in the non-existence of, er, I’m going to have trouble with words here, aren’t I? If I write “God” or “god”, you’ll criticise my argument on the basis of a “sky wizard” who imposes will on the Universe from outside of it, and that really isn’t what I mean. Anyway, I’m trying to show that strong belief in this non-existence is a type of faith, it is a belief not backed by evidence.
    .
    And like other faiths, this faith can lead to passionate battles over dogma, and to offensive forms of argument. I see no reason that this could not escalate, in extremis, to actual violence. That may seem unlikely to you*, but I see the same mechanisms at work as in battles between religions. It starts with disrespect, the looking down on someone for some reason, holding them to be inferior. The opponent, of course, is likely to respond similarly, and it’s all downhill from there.
    .
    My argument is not a “God of the Gaps” argument; quite the opposite. Bell’s inequality theorem pitted a “gap” (Einstein’s “hidden variables”) against the correctness of quantum physics. The “gap” lost when the Aspect results came in. That left consciousness as a fundamental element in our Universe, rather than the “emergent phenomenon” as postulated by Dawkins etc. I’m prepared to accept that result (provisionally, of course). The strong atheists aren’t.
    .
    *[Actually, it shouldn't seem unlikely. We know that atheists have been persecuted for their atheism; i.e. this conflict has already occurred; that the atheists suffered is due to them being in a minority. And after the Russian Revolution, wasn't all religion banned? Atheism does not hold a monopoly on morality.]

  132. Clark,
    Just so that we can clear up a few things:
    1. Atheism is not a faith. There doesn’t have to be evidence for atheism. What is lacking is evidence against atheism.
    2. Atheism doesn’t come with an a morality attached to it. There are various people who are atheists who have various different systems of morality.
    3. Communism =/= atheism.
    4. In the developed world, there is almost no existence of persecution of atheists. It’s hyperbolic for atheists to claim persecution in the developed world except possibly in the Southern states of the US. Obviously it is not hyperbolic to say there is persecution in some parts of the Islamic world for any kind of heresy including athesim.
    5. Unfortunately, those most prone to be offended will be offended almost no matter what someone says. If being an atheist offends someone then that’s their problem. Not mine.

  133. Guano, I am interested in the debate about branches of Islam that is proceeding on this thread. However, I am ignorant of these matters so I have nothing to contribute. It is good to see debate to identify where violence of Muslim vs. Muslim is coming from. I strongly get the impression that this is a morally motivated debate intended to reduce conflict and increase unity.
    .
    Passerby, your apparent prejudice against Angrysoba seems to be causing you to throw away the treasure along with the turds. I disagree with Angrysoba in both degree on some matters and in principle on others, but he has written the following (26 Feb, 1:23 pm):

    …I would say is that the US, the EU and other countries need to get tough with Israel on settlements in the West Bank.

    And:

    …the Palestinians don’t get the sympathy they deserve.

    A “ziofuckwit” would have written neither of those. And his assessment on the cause of public perceptions of Palestinians hasn’t gone unchallenged. MJ, CheebaCow and myself have all disagreed.

  134. Angrysoba, to take you points out of order,
    .
    (2) Atheism is increasingly coming with arrogance and rudeness attached to it, as demonstrated on this thread. Glenn does it to, and you usually challenge Glenn, but not on this matter.
    (1) When atheists direct arrogance and rudeness at others, it looks increasingly like a faith – “By their works shall you know them” – they must have a belief or they wouldn’t feel so righteous!
    (3) No, Russian “communism” was not atheism, but it did try to enforce atheism.
    (4) This point contradicts much that Dawkins documented in The God Delusion, though it’s more discrimination than outright persecution – but that is merely a matter of degree.
    (5) I didn’t accuse you of offensiveness, I accused Bonifacegoncourt. Your attribution of the entire sense of offence to non-atheists seems like prejudice to me. Bonifacegoncourt attempted offence; that seems quite clear. He provoked a bit of a response from Guano.

  135. I shall attempt to clarify my position. My provisional theory is that there is something inherently creative about the Universe, and that people (and everything else) have a non-local type of connection to it which they sense intuitively. They give it various names, and amongst those names are “God” and “The Creator”. Whatever it is, people agree that it must be supremely powerful.
    .
    People get together and express their reverence for creation and whatever marvelous something brings it about. This is the start (but only the start) of that ubiquitous Human phenomena called religion.
    .
    Some people then attempt to write definitive things about “God”. Such attempts are inevitably inaccurate and incomplete. Creation occurs in the interface between the future and the present. You can study that which has already happened, but that which creates is always just out of reach.
    .
    Those who seek power over people see some powerful opportunities. They see widespread belief in this powerful creator-thing, and they see a load of vague writings, grasping at an ungraspable concept. Whoa, ripe for propaganda, or what? We are familiar with what happens next.
    .
    Note that everything beyond my second sentence is likely to happen whether my concept of a creative something-or-other has any truth to it or not.

  136. Clark said: “your apparent prejudice against Angrysoba seems to be causing you to throw away the treasure along with the turds.”
    ,
    prejudice defined as per dictionary:

    1.an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.
    ,
    2.any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable.
    ,
    3.unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, especially of a hostile nature, regarding a racial, religious, or national group.
    ,
    ,
    I don’t have to explain myself to you or anyone else, however for the record, if the millions of dispossessed and displaced Palestinian refugees (made refugees in the unprovoked attacks of the ziofuckwit thugs posing as an army) are not reason enough. If knowledge of knowing that millions more Palestinians are incarcerated in open air concentration camps, under a siege conditions and surrounded by the armed to the teeth ziofuckwits bent on stealing their lands and chattel, are not reason enough. If the constant attacks of the demented and aggressive ziofuckwits on their immediate neighbours are not reason enough. If the corruption of our political systems by the advocates of these murderous bunch of ziofuckwits who suffer en mass from masada complex whilst they are armed to the teeth and being in possession of a filled arsenal of atomic, and hydrogen bombs, as well as having the means of delivering these deadly payloads in addition to being capable of secondary retaliatory action, ie ziofuckwit submarines can still blow up the planet, post destruction of Isreal, are considered to be an acceptable and mundane affair. Then your assertion of prejudice obtains valid.
    ,
    Stop shilling for the ziofcukwits, you may prefer to engage these scum bags in debate, however do not prescribe your preferences to all and sundry.

  137. bigbuachaille

    27 Feb, 2012 - 3:35 pm

    Can we have some self-determination too? Send it in an envelope to the Parliament building just opposite the Queen’s impressive pile in Holyrood Park.

  138. Passerby, no, you don’t have to explain yourself to me. However, I assume you’d like as many people as possible, including me, to give your viewpoint serious consideration. If you appear prejudiced you alienate some of your potential audience.
    .
    You list many crimes attributable to aggressive Israeli foreign policy. Trivially, Israel has never held a monopoly on such atrocities; similar behaviour can be found throughout history across many societies.
    .
    More importantly, you seem to think that a list of Israeli crimes justifies your abuse of Angrysoba. But wait and think. Look at the UK mainstream media. With near saturation pro-Israeli propaganda, do you not expect some people to be less critical of Israel than they maybe should be? Maybe many support Israel who wouldn’t if they were presented with more of the facts.
    .
    Why treat Angrysoba as part of your enemy? In doing so, you risk discrediting yourself with any non-commenting readers who identify with Angrysoba’s viewpoint. There could be hundreds or even thousands of these.
    .
    Now you accuse me of being a shill for Israel. Well, it’s odd that I was on the demonstration opposing Operation Cast Lead, then, isn’t it? Maybe you want to alienate me as well. For goodness’ sake think!

  139. bonifacegoncourt

    27 Feb, 2012 - 4:12 pm

    Clark, if you agree the sky wizard is imaginary, why are you bollocking on about it? It’s your own time you’re wasting. Why not study something useful? I advise against namedropping Bell, Aspect etc – a little learning is a dangerous thing. I fear you
    might be at home amongst the wibble-wabblers on the Goydian’s CIF religion.

    Atheism is not a ‘faith’ any more than not smoking is a faith. Godbangers invent their meaningless monosyllable and try to shoehorn reality in order to make it mean something. [Why is god called god? Why not bip?] See St Augustine’s ‘Confessions’. Tragic case of brilliant mind wasted by madness. God is like heroin. Just say no.

    I am very glad to give offence to freaks with no foreskins. The more annoyed they get the better, whether those perverts who mutilate, flog and stone little girls, or the eternally
    bloodthirsty ZioNazi master race with their Final Solution for Palestinians. The only use for quran or torah is when printed on extra-absorbent two-ply tissue.

  140. Passerby, I respect Angrysoba because he responds to debate. He used to maintain that Ahmedinejad called for the destruction of Israel on the basis of that well-known (i.e. propagandised) biased translation. People here engaged him in debate. This was sufficient to prompt Angrysoba to search out an Iranian and ask for a translation. He returned to the thread and wrote that he’d changed his mind.
    .
    And that is what it’s all about; changing minds. But, to engage in that honestly, you have to be prepared to have your own opinions changed, too. Otherwise, you’re just engaged in yet more propaganda.

  141. Bonifacegoncourt, thanks for the offensive language. You have revealed your prejudice. Jewish boys are circumcised as infants when they have no choice in the matter, and it doesn’t grow back. You’re right, I’ll waste no further time on you, unless you develop some maturity.

  142. bonifacegoncourt

    27 Feb, 2012 - 5:02 pm

    @Clark
    Good. Offence may be the spur to clarity.

    Whatever happened to the Bennies and the Argies with their Plankton Wars? I was getting to enjoy that.

  143. Arison now has to deal with Argentina turning away two of his ships.
    .
    Falklands tension: Argentina turns away cruise ships
    This April marks the 30th anniversary of the start of the Falklands War
    .
    Falklands tensions
    Competing claims
    Tensions alive in Buenos Aires
    Life on the islands
    Falklanders confident about future
    .
    Two cruise ships carrying almost 3,000 passengers have been turned away from an Argentine port, apparently because they had visited the Falklands.
    .
    The Adonia and the Star Princess had arrived off Tierra Del Fuego, on the country’s southern tip, on Monday but were prevented from docking in Ushuaia.
    .
    British diplomats in Argentina are trying to clarify what happened.
    .

    Tensions have risen recently, as the 30th anniversary of the Falklands war approaches
    /..
    The Adonia and the Star Princess, which are both operated by the Carnival Group, arrived off the port of Ushuaia on Monday morning.
    .
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-17184955

  144. @bonifacebenny, offence ‘may be’ the spur to clarity, but honesty and looking within oneself provides you with a light so bright you wish you ‘d be a torch.
    Spirituality is within us all, it is the engine that encourages us to care, the basis to intuition and resolve wherever we rest and stay, from one horizon to the other, it has nothing to do with books and prophets and what others tell you to believe.

    nevertheless accepting other views for what they are, rude in your case and that of passerby, regardles of the deatnh and history and whats done to whom where, is the first basis of sitting around the table. Those who don’t want results, use the numbersgame to perpetuate the past.

  145. Clark: Passerby, I respect Angrysoba because he responds to debate. He used to maintain that Ahmedinejad called for the destruction of Israel on the basis of that well-known (i.e. propagandised) biased translation.
    .
    Thanks for the compliments, Clark, but you shouldn’t waste your time trying to make me and Passerby play kissy-face. I can quite handle being called a “ziofuckwit” and other things as it takes a lot to make me cry. In fact, I think that one of the main problems with the religious debates is that too many people are ready to whine and cry and bawl on the slightest pretext always claiming to be offended and victimized and usually when the apparent offendee is bending over backwards to proffer the kind of tolerance that wouldn’t be reciprocated if the religious nuts had their way. Indeed, the very all-loving, compassionate, merciful God that most of them believe in would sooner throw people into an eternity of pain and suffering if they offended His vanity. It seems quite obvious that there is some projection going on where ultra-religious turn out to be deeply, deeply sensitive about their beliefs and seem to presume the divine entity they believe in would be equally petulant. Talk about small gods!
    .
    By the way, on the Ahmadinejad quote thing, you got some of that story right but you still gave it a tinfoil twist which I can’t accept. There’s no doubt Ahmadinejad does want the destruction of Israel and his repeated “Marg Bar Israel!” calls and his government’s insistence that Israel will not be recognized and there can be no peace with Israel demonstrates this well enough. Also, the “biased translation” was initially printed in Iranian media, as I said at the time. Somehow, in your mind, you have formed a narrative around this which pleased you better in which Western media initiated this “wiped from the map” meme and yet it is commonly translated as this in Iran. I pointed out that my friend had gone through the phrase and made it clear that “disappear” closer to the correct translation, because it was intransitive, and the rest was indeed literally “pages of time”.
    .

  146. I live in Buenos Aires.

    Argentines can be cocky but they are not fools. There is zero appetite for a military invasion. In fact, the state the Argentine military is currently in, there is a greater threat of invasion from the Falklands.

    The great Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges once described the Falklands War as 2 bald men fighting over a comb. Most Argentines today would agree but rightly or wrongly, Argentina will never renounce its claim to the Malvinas. The strategy appears to be to make the comb as expensive as possible for Britain. Britain maintains an overwhelming military edge but Argentina’s soft power has increased dramatically since the days of the dictatorship. Diplomatically and economically, Argentina is in a much stronger position than 30 years ago. That will probably count for more as time goes by. But no Argentine is under any illusion that the albiceleste will fly over Stanley anytime soon. The question for Britain is whether the kelpers should have a veto over a compromise with Argentina which might be in Britain’s longer-term interests.

    For nearly a century Argentina and Britain were close friends. The respect that many Argentines show for British culture and its place in Argentine history is something that continues to surprise me.

    There will be no war. And I have faith that both countries will one day find a way to “share the comb” and return to warm relations.

  147. Angrysoba:

    “Imam goft een rejeemeh ishqalqar al-Qods bayad az safeyeh ruzgar mahv shavad”

    The Imam (Khomeini) said that the regime which occupies al Qods (Jerusalem) should vanish from the pages of history.

    Ahmedinejad was calling for regime change in Israel. Now let me think…who else calls for regime change…hmm…….

  148. Angrysoba:

    Iranians at rallies regularly shout Marg Bar Amrika! Does that mean they are going to destroy America?

  149. angrysoba: There’s no doubt Ahmadinejad does want the destruction of Israel
    .
    Njegos: Iranians at rallies regularly shout Marg Bar Amrika! Does that mean they are going to destroy America?

    .
    Please notice the difference between what I said and your propagandistic, biased rephrasing. Just like a lot of “anti-Zionists”, he wants Israel, the state, to no longer exist. That is perfectly in line with the correct translation of the quote.

  150. Angrysoba:

    Your dismissive tone may work wonders on that cess-pit Harry’s Place but cut no ice with me.

    Ahmedinejad called for regime change. The US constantly calls for regime change. Who is claiming that America wants to wipe Iran off the map?

    Don’t reply if you are not prepared to address the point I have raised.

  151. Angrysoba, none of what I wrote was specifically for your sake, apart from the fact that you are a person. So your opinion has only very slight bearing upon whether or not I wasted my time.

  152. Angrysoba, thanks for reminding me that the Iranian media propagandised that statement. I had forgotten that. The Western media also spread it far and wide; the two are not mutually exclusive, and it’s odd that these apparently diverse interests converge. Maybe if you and Passerby meet, you can enjoy inflicting injuries upon each other. I will choose not to watch. However, if you begin using each other’s loved ones as proxy targets, and it is within my power to stop you, I will do so.

  153. Clark: “My provisional theory is that there is something inherently creative about the Universe, and that people (and everything else) have a non-local type of connection to it which they sense intuitively. They give it various names, and amongst those names are “God” and “The Creator”. Whatever it is, people agree that it must be supremely powerful.”
    .
    Well, that’s hardly a rational basis for a theological paradigm, now, is it? As it happens, I spent years researching intuition and creativity, and in my opinion they don’t necessitate warping the foundations of scientific knowledge by appealing to a spiritualistic ontology. Intuitive judgements clearly reflect individual personalities and are prone to psychological effects such as semantic priming and backwards masking, which can be manipulated experimentally. Creativity incorporates this same evaluative system into a powerful feedback circuit that facilitates the offline manipulation of mental imagery, unconstrained by perceptual input. Elementary examples can be modelled using connectionist circuits, for example in PDP++.
    .
    And yes, it is a powerful phenomenon, though I’d hesitate to use the (heavily loaded) word “supreme”. “Impressive”, yes, but there’s no special “God” module involved. As an innovative programmer, I’d be reluctant to relinquish the title “The Creator” too readily, especially to some undefined spiritual construct. There’s an interesting thought, though! Imagine what programmers could achieve if they could write API calls that consisted mostly of prayers: the code may be a lot shorter but the results would be quite unpredictable, vulnerable to the whims of whichever computational god you invoked. (Mind you, the Windows environment is so poorly documented it sometimes feels a bit like this – the supreme creator Bill Gates isn’t the most reliable deity in the OS universe). If there was any mileage in the concept of prayer programming, I bet Steve Jobs would have trademarked it before heading off to meet his own maker.
    .
    But you are of course free to create your own explanatory paradigm by conjuring up combinations of images that seem intuitively satisfying and which resonate with your understanding of your own experiences. I think that’s the ultimate act of Creativity.

  154. Good to hear from you nextus, I was wondering how long it will take before you would join in on this subject.
    Hope you are well and your spiritual level has been rejuvenated up there between the glens.
    My question is more profound, it does not revolve around set spirituality as said by… for me its more interesting to see whether this emotional state is a default for some other notion, a corrective escape of sorts. And whether it has, like other pre programmed genetic abilities and disabilities, a history within evolution and within related species.

    Does spirituality occur in any other animals, or is this what really sets us apart?
    We know that primates and other mammals use implements and can make tools, just as we can, but is there more? We have managed to train certain animals well, we know of their intelligence, but this emotional state, as I may call it, which can lead us humans into irrational thoughts, or bliss for that matter, can we see any of this in other species?

    maybe in 20 years time we will be able to distinguish whether our evolutionary development has an equivalent emotionary development running concurrently, but no doubt, this subject will always intrigue.

  155. Salute, Ingo. Spirituality is probably a uniquely human phenomenon because it requires the conceptual ability to ascribe intentional predicates to non-perceptual entities (basically, anthropomorphising thin air, or believing in some holistic connecting force. There is no evidence that non-human animals can do so. Some apes can be tricked into treating objects as intentional agents, but it is has to be perceptual – either a thing or a representation of a thing.
    .
    I actually think ‘spirituality’ is an important dimension of human experience. It serves many personal and social purposes, from emotional sustenance to ethical guidance. Contrary to Dawkins, I don’t think it’s wise to dispense with it entirely. The Humanist Society doesn’t have any notion of spiritual connection, and its meetings are ‘supremely’ dull; there isn’t much to lift the spirits. However, the ‘Sea of Faith’ network, which is kind of like an atheist church, promotes an atheist notion of spirituality. It recognises that religion is a human creation, but an important one nevertheless.
    .
    For the philosopher-psychologist William James, spirituality comprised the thoughts, feelings and acts directed towards whatever was considered divine. This can include pantheistic notions of transcendental ‘love’ or ‘harmony’, as well as the traditional sky-wizard. His book “The Varieties of Religious Experience” is a kind of philosophical bible on this topic, and it includes a good chapter on mysticism. It’s a sophisticated and respectful text. (In comparison, the Holy Bible reads more like “Spirituality for Idiots”).
    .
    Some people claim to have had intense religious experiences, with perceptual and noetic characteristics. Science currently suggests that these religious epiphanies are caused by epileptic seizures in the temporal lobe … these can account for all the phenomenological elements that have been described, and the effect has been demonstrated experimentally. Interestingly, certain key figures in the history of religion (naming no names) have exhibited other traits that would suggest temporal epilepsy. It’s one explanation, anyway.
    .
    Here ends today’s sermon. God bless.

  156. Clark,
    Glad to see you have made head ways in your debate, as the latest interactions manifestly show!
    ,
    Until such a time that zionism or the most rotten human sentiment is destroyed and the adhering there of the apartheid theocratic regime is dismantled, any supporter of the said sentiments and the said barbaric regime is a ziofuckwit and beneath any contempt. There ought not be any dialogue with any such cretins.
    ,
    Normality dictates in human societies those transgressing the red lines set, ought to be shunned and ignored, not engaged with and encouraged. On one hand you admit that the ziofuckwits’ immersion propaganda has been obfuscating the truth about these beastly supremacists who are the epitome of perversion of all that is good. On the other you then proceed to denounce me for my “apparent prejudice”, this is an intolerable situation in which I am being coerced by the likes of you to remain silent and not to be verbose about fucking zionism, the obscenity here is the zionist creed somehow is forgotten in this melee.
    ,
    Furthermore, in support of your strong arming, you then dangle the morsels of other silent readers opinions about me. Fact that any Lilly livered sensitive soul who stands offended and upset by my comments, and does not join the growing tide of the opponents of the most rotten human sentiments or zionism, in the face of the daily murder and land theft in Palestine, then so fuck, is my answer to you and them.
    ,
    If these monstrous Tartuffe are upset at my strong expressions of disdain and protest, how could these sit back and witness the carnage that is being wreaked upon the beleaguered nation of Palestine?
    ,
    The simple fact that any anti zionist is held to higher standards of behaviour and conduct, is yet another example of supremacists swinging their dick and using the conventions to make it an acceptable and tolerable affair.
    ,
    You are debating with a ziofuckwit cretin with a moniker of “angry”, and you expect to attain some kind of understanding? Indeed only an optimist can think on these lines. Evidently you are blissfully unaware that every board has its resident ziofuckwit settler to push the same shite that is getting pushed 24/7/52, so stop kidding yourself and me about any dialogue, these bastards are here to reinforce the message that is getting drummed into every tv watching, news paper reading soul, in case these deviate from the path and passive participation in the ziofuckwits evil enterprise of genocide on industrial scale and waging aggressive wars on the nations of the mid east.

  157. Thanks for that nextus, so our current knowledge of animals shows no sign of a similar genetic timeline for this poorly understood emotional state.
    With some mamals having much larger brains and much better powers of rememberance, elephants for example, a sort of spirituality could be present, but we have not observed it as yet.
    Another example would be whales, when they are diving for squid, a cool dive of a couple of miles at a time, physiology changing during descend and pressure bearing on them, what changes are happening in their brains, or are they switched off alltogether, a pre programmed dive that is undertaken whilst dreaming up the illusion of squid? :)

    btw. Norfolk’s beautifull in spring.

  158. Nextus, I don’t know; aren’t we at crossed purposes? You studied human creativity. My musings are about the creativity of the Universe, or reality. I disagree with some atheists in this way: I think people respond to that creativity with a belief in something that gets labeled “God”. Aforementioned atheists seem to think that people make up “God” and impose it on others at a remarkably high success rate for a deception, or that some deficiency in everyone’s brains but those of atheists makes them believe in “God”. And they seem to see nothing remarkable about the Universe. I don’t understand. I probably don’t belong amongst people.

  159. Clark:

    A question for you: How does beauty fit into an atheist’s conception of the world? We all have different tastes and opinions but, for instance, most people can recognise the beauty of a certain work of art, or a particular woman, or a piece of music, or even a gesture. Similarly, we recognise ugliness and dissonance. Is there an evolutionary need for beauty? And if so, why?

  160. Njegos: Your dismissive tone may work wonders on that cess-pit Harry’s Place but cut no ice with me.


    .
    Whatever!

  161. Ingo, yes, I think there may be a form of proto-theism in non-human animals. In a previous post I alluded to the matriarchal nature of cat theology; humans groom them like their mothers did when they were kittens, and demonstrate superior powers (opening doors and tins of cat food). But it’s still a bit of a stretch to transfer that kind of emotional bond to a non-perceptual spiritual entity, which I’m sure they can’t conceive. I doubt whether whales or even apes can either. But maybe evidence will one day suggest otherwise.
    .
    Clark, I don’t think most people in the secular proportion (i.e. the majority) of society are so arrogant or condescending towards ‘believers’. (Dawkins’s militant secularism is the exception rather than the rule.) It’s fair to allege that fundamentalists have been hoodwinked by a dogmatic authoritarian programme (an example has been aptly provided for us here); but most other people are just trying to make sense of the world and their place in it. Some people decide that belief in a spiritual entity best fill the gaps in their conceptual scheme and helps to resolve their existential predicaments. Fair enough, as long as you don’t impose it on others by coercion or social pressure. Secularists aren’t pursuing a social mission to convert believers – there is no divine atheist dictate. The objective for most is to redress the institutional bias towards religion and encourage humanistic morality. And I don’t know what you’re getting at with “nothing remarkable about the universe”. (To be pedantic, science literally comprises remarks about the universe!) What makes you think atheists don’t marvel at art, music, beauty, sensation, love, (human) creativity, and the wondrous patterns of nature? Atheists are not anaesthetised, or even un-aesthetic. They have feelings too.

  162. Clark: Maybe if you and Passerby meet, you can enjoy inflicting injuries upon each other. I will choose not to watch. However, if you begin using each other’s loved ones as proxy targets, and it is within my power to stop you, I will do so.

    .
    Hmmmm…. I didn’t know that we were doing that.
    .
    Could I just come back to those 5 points again, quickly:
    .
    (2) Atheism is increasingly coming with arrogance and rudeness attached to it, as demonstrated on this thread. Glenn does it to, and you usually challenge Glenn, but not on this matter.
    (1) When atheists direct arrogance and rudeness at others, it looks increasingly like a faith – “By their works shall you know them” – they must have a belief or they wouldn’t feel so righteous!
    (3) No, Russian “communism” was not atheism, but it did try to enforce atheism.
    (4) This point contradicts much that Dawkins documented in The God Delusion, though it’s more discrimination than outright persecution – but that is merely a matter of degree.
    (5) I didn’t accuse you of offensiveness, I accused Bonifacegoncourt. Your attribution of the entire sense of offence to non-atheists seems like prejudice to me. Bonifacegoncourt attempted offence; that seems quite clear. He provoked a bit of a response from Guano.

    .
    1) I think you are trying to open up the word “faith” to be so wide as to almost lose all meaning. The point is that religious people often do talk about faith as something they have in God’s will, His grace, His purpose, His Creation, His Divine Judgment etc… and when it is pointed out that there is no evidence for Him and therefore no evidence for all His other attributes and there is no reasonable / rational basis for a belief in Him (i.e atheism/agnosticism) then the answer is that doubt should be suppressed with Faith! If you are trying to use the word differently then you are making a Humpty Dumpty argument and blurring the lines of discussion.
    (2) Just because some atheists are rude doesn’t mean there is some code of conduct that they all sign up to. Now, obviously some things do follow from being an atheist. For example an atheist cannot claim that homosexual marriage is wrong on the basis that God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve, and therefore will either have no grounds for a moral objection unless they make one up (usually through some misuse of Darwinism, etc…) Religious types may, on the other hand, declare homosexuality an abomination and have homosexuals stoned, hanged, burnt at the stake or walls topple on them and claim they are only acting in accordance with Divine Law. Oh really? And how do you know this Divine Law exists? We may ask. Some religious type can then claim his faith tells him so. Now, maybe you can see why that type of reasoning makes atheists angry and less bothered about “causing offence”!
    (3) I don’t know why there are scare quotes around Communism. Certainly it sounds like a dirty word nowadays what with having failed to live up to its billing of providing mankind with a material utopia but yes, I agree that the Soviet Union was mostly hostile to religion. I don’t think it was completely banned throughout its history; it turned out to be more popular than Communism in the end. My point was that just because Person X or Ideology Y is atheist it doesn’t follow that it is good or representative of all atheists/atheism. This is why I would repeat that atheism is not a belief system or a faith or have a particular code of morality or conduct.
    (4) I don’t remember Dawkins’ claims of persecution. I would be surprised if it rose to that level in the developed world, outside of the Southern United States. Do you have any particular examples that you can remember. Bear in mind, I am here” arguing against interest”, in a sense, given that it seems to be de rigeur to claim personal persecution these days and I am merely saying that I can claim none.
    (5) Well, I am sorry if Boniface made Guano break a nail or they both turned up in the same party frock or whatever else Guano claimed to be outraged by. If I was a religious person who was constantly finding offence all the time I would pray for the Lord to give me thicker skin. Remember, we are not talking about persecution here.

  163. Going back to Craig’s original posting on 24 Feb, I notice how short his question was and how long most of the answers are. Few would fit on postcards. It would take extremely skilled editorial skills to extract from the disparate contributions on this thread the valuable insights that are there. Pehaps you, Craig – as a pretty good self-editor and with your FCO training – should set yourself (with some volunteers) the task of producing an Annual Despatch for the website. We don’t ever want to hear again your depressive suggestion of some months ago that a Valedictory Despatch might be in the offing.

    .
    I thought of you, Nadira and Cameron when I was in my local independent Herne Hill bookshop – brilliant stock – and saw a free ad on the wall for Brixton Bellydance – see http://www.smallworldbellydance.com (Tel 07984-114-679). Unfortunately it seems that James Castle’s “The Society for the Protection of Unwanted Objects” current programme came to an end the day this topic started. However, I shall discover when the next Unwanted Objects will be celebrated by ringing 07817-538-872.

    .

    The bookshop is a bad place for people like me. I could not resist the brilliantly titled and produced “BRUTAL SIMPLICITY OF THOUGHT – how it changed the world”, Ebury Press 2011.

    .

    There’s a good entry on “How do you wage war without violence?” And an even better one on “How do you hear from the dead? How do you speak to the unborn? [Answer] “Without writing, every generation would have to start from scratch. Philosophers would have no Plato; mathematicians, no Newton; scientists, no Einstein; actors, no Shakespeare. And your descendents wouldn’t even know where you were buried. Or that you lived at all. But more important, we wouldn’t be meeting on this page now. “

  164. bonifacegoncourt

    28 Feb, 2012 - 3:27 pm

    What is going on here? I turn my back and the place is taken over by epistemologists. ontologists and woo merchants. Clark and Ivan Jellical chums, please haul ass over to the Goydian,
    where there is a exquisitely meaningless thread on ‘Are Christians Being Marginalised?’ In only 4 hours it already has 360 comments, so you are wasting your loquacity here.

    Back to the Cruise Ships of Ushuaia. My first reaction is that the Bennies should do a bit of guerilla twittering. Promote Argentina as a gay vacation spot, the campest place south of San Francisco. Prance in the Pink House! Grab yourself a gay gaucho! Peron was a maricon! Join the Argie Army, we’d rather bum than fight! Etcetera. But that might be a bit childish. Better persuade the Argies to emulate the Irish Republic. In order to achieve peace in the north, they changed their constitution to no longer claim the territory of N Ireland but kind of ‘they can join us if they feel like it’. The Brits could suggest that the Pink House [oo, Matron!] recognise Brit ownership in return for first dibs on the place should the Brits decide to pack up.

    Iswail has crept in here as usual. Whatever was said about the future of Al-Quds, every decent person wishes the excision of the zionist cancer in Palestine. Why not dump all the Iswailis in West Falkland? That will keep even the Argies away. Problem solved!

  165. Put them all on a Costa cruise ship and send them all to Tel Aviv bonifacegoncourt. Wonder what the Palestinians think of the decadence.
    .
    http://telavivgayvibe.atraf.com/

  166. Ingo,
    .
    I’ve been meaning to thank you for your uplifting comments (especially 26 Feb 9:48 am and 27 Feb 7:41 pm), but I’ve been too busy arguing, or rather defending myself and all those billions of people who still believe in anything other than absolute aspritual atheism.
    .
    Nextus,
    .
    Thanks for your 1:14 pm comment, with which I pretty much agree. Dawkins seems to have achieved a remarkable own-goal in encouraging a minority of atheists to feel justified in bigotry similar to that of the religionists that he criticises.
    .
    “I don’t know what you’re getting at with “nothing remarkable about the universe”. From Bonifacegoncourt: “Why should you feel ‘awe’ for the universe, just because it is bigger than you?”.
    .
    Njegos,
    .
    I don’t think the aggressive atheists really accept beauty and aesthetics at all, but I think their argument has something to do with being well adapted, or whatever. That argument helps a bit, for instance it obviously helps to explain why men find women beautiful, though not why some seem more beautiful than others. Thus I think it is inadequate. For my part, I favour Persig’s “Quality” as described in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
    .
    Angrysoba, 1:29 pm:
    .
    “Hmmmm…. I didn’t know that we were doing that.” – Well, it seemed to be the direction you both wanted to go. You both had a go at me for trying to stop your row. I suppose I need more faith that you will stop escalation at some point. Many don’t.
    .
    “(1) I think you are trying to open up the word “faith” to be so wide as to almost lose all meaning.” – No, you’re using it to mean only religious faith. Why should believing that something definitely doesn’t exist (to the point of calling those who disagree stupid and gullible), when either its existence or its non-existence is compatible with available evidence, not be termed “faith”?
    .
    You can cite that one can’t prove a negative, and I can respond with a probabilistic argument. For instance, prior to the development of rocketry, there was almost certainly no “Celestial Teapot” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celestial_teapot – but now, asserting the Teapot’s definite non-existence would be more an article of faith that no one had launched one. If teleportation were developed a Celestial Teapot would become even more likely, and denial of the possibility even more an act of faith.
    .
    A “sky wizard” is pretty incompatible with current science, but my “creative something” is to some extent supported, as (1) a principle seems needed to counter thermodynamics, and (2) quantum physics seems to suggest the necessity of mind (or better, Mind) for the existence of the Universe.
    .
    “(3) I don’t know why there are scare quotes around Communism.” – your observation that follows describes the reason for my quotes.
    .
    “(4) I don’t remember Dawkins’ claims of persecution.” – He claimed that admission of atheism amounted to professional suicide, particularly in US politics. As I said, this is more discrimination than persecution, but there was also more. Parents rejecting their children, for instance, and more that I don’t remember.
    .
    (5) – Your attitude here still looks like pro-atheist prejudice. The religious may be offensive to each other and you’ll claim that’s a fault of religion, but when an atheist initiates offensiveness it is still apparently religion’s fault. I think offensiveness is a personal fault. You’re using atheism just as the religious use their beliefs, to excuse and justify your co-believer’s poor behaviour.

  167. @bonifacegoncourt

    “My first reaction is that the Bennies should do a bit of guerilla twittering. Promote Argentina as a gay vacation spot, the campest place south of San Francisco. Prance in the Pink House! Grab yourself a gay gaucho! Peron was a maricon! Join the Argie Army, we’d rather bum than fight!”

    The kelpers would be doing Cristina a huge favour. The country is looking at every means of keeping dollars flowing into the country.

    As I said earlier, the name of the game is economic and diplomatic. The military dimension simply doesn’t count. The strategy is to make Britain feel the Falklands in its wallet – always Britain’s Achilles Heel. They are in it for the very long haul.

    @Clark:

    I agree with your comments about atheism and beauty. The atheist fundamentalists haven’t figured out the role of aesthetics in evolution. Doubt they ever will.

  168. bonifacegoncourt

    28 Feb, 2012 - 7:41 pm

    Atheism is not a ‘faith’ any more than ‘not-farting-in-the-bath’ is a faith. Not smoking does not make you an atobacconist. Atheists are simply people who do not buy a lot of tedious, egotistical rubbish – not paying, not playing, not interested, better things to do. Godbanging is a form of insanity. “The atheist fundamentalists haven’t figured
    out the role of aesthetics in evolution.” What is aesthetic
    about a slug? Unless you are another slug.

  169. @Bonifacegoncourt

    You prove my point.

  170. bonifacegoncourt

    28 Feb, 2012 - 8:39 pm

    Eh? You sound a bit bonkers. ‘The Aesthetics of Evolution’??? By, for and about the hot air merchants.

  171. Clark: I’ve been too busy arguing, or rather defending myself and all those billions of people who still believe in anything other than absolute aspritual atheism.
    .
    Oh Good God! How utterly self-aggrandizing and melodramatic! And how dishonest, too! You keep hopping from the religious to the non-religious camp. Maybe you think it is a good tactic as it is difficult to hit a moving target but you are just tying yourself up in knots.
    .
    Clark: I don’t think the aggressive atheists really accept beauty and aesthetics at all
    .
    This is false. And a typical strawman conceit.
    .
    Passerby: Well, it seemed to be the direction you both wanted to go. You both had a go at me for trying to stop your row. I suppose I need more faith that you will stop escalation at some point. Many don’t.
    .
    I thanked you for your effort but suggested it was misplaced. I was only trying to assure that I am not as fragile as you supposed. The idea I would escalate it to “targeting” Passerby’s loved ones is a prejudice of yours it isn’t about needing “more faith” that I won’t.
    .
    Clark: (1) No, you’re using it to mean only religious faith.
    .
    Of course, I am. That is my point. If you use different senses of the same word then you can’t claim to be talking about the same phenomenon. Otherwise you are being disingenuous and you are equivocating again. If I say, “I have faith in my co-workers” then this is a broader sense of the term “faith” and you are just being foolish or smart-alecy if you say, “I thought, according to you, atheists didn’t have faith?”
    .
    You can cite that one can’t prove a negative, and I can respond with a probabilistic argument. For instance, prior to the development of rocketry, there was almost certainly no “Celestial Teapot” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celestial_teapot – but now, asserting the Teapot’s definite non-existence would be more an article of faith that no one had launched one. If teleportation were developed a Celestial Teapot would become even more likely, and denial of the possibility even more an act of faith.
    .
    Now, you’re just being silly. Are you arguing that the probability of there being a Celestial Teapot is now higher than there not being and therefore it is only a declaration of faith in asserting that the Celestial Teapot does not exist? This is one of the most absurd misuses of the term “faith” I have heard, I am afraid.
    .
    A “sky wizard” is pretty incompatible with current science, but my “creative something” is to some extent supported, as (1) a principle seems needed to counter thermodynamics, and (2) quantum physics seems to suggest the necessity of mind (or better, Mind) for the existence of the Universe.
    .
    This is just more equivocation. You want to use the term “Mind” and yet claim you are not talking about God. You are trying to have things both ways again by ditching religion and claiming that your own view is far more evidence-based and yet at the same time what you are trying to do is rescue blind-faith (of the religious) from the charges of atheism that religion is silly/untrue etc… Again, why don’t you stand by a position instead of drifting all over the shop.
    .
    “(3) I don’t know why there are scare quotes around Communism.” – your observation that follows describes the reason for my quotes.
    .
    I only said “Communism =/= atheism” then you put it in scare quotes. I wonder why. You haven’t explained.
    .
    He claimed that admission of atheism amounted to professional suicide, particularly in US politics. As I said, this is more discrimination than persecution, but there was also more. Parents rejecting their children, for instance, and more that I don’t remember.
    .
    There are atheists in US politics. Also, until ten years ago you may have argued that a black man could never become president in the US. I certainly heard it said right up until Barack Obama’s election.
    .
    1. (5) – Your attitude here still looks like pro-atheist prejudice. The religious may be offensive to each other and you’ll claim that’s a fault of religion, but when an atheist initiates offensiveness it is still apparently religion’s fault. I think offensiveness is a personal fault. You’re using atheism just as the religious use their beliefs, to excuse and justify your co-believer’s poor behaviour.

    .
    You don’t get the point that atheism is not a creed. Atheists don’t justify their atrocities (although no doubt some do commit them) on the basis of God’s word. This is what atheists have a hard time with. And no, I am not “using atheism to justify” anyone’s poor behaviour. When have I done that? If you answer the question seriously you will have to show that my “justifying” derives from my atheism.

  172. @Bonifacegoncourt.

    Not surprised you can’t keep up. Perhaps you are too busy try to being clever instead of reading what people have written. Maybe you should stick to the anti-Argentine stand-up material. There must be someone here who appreciates it.

  173. Bonifacegoncourt:
    .
    “What is aesthetic about a slug?” – Try looking closely. You’ll find that common slugs carry a beautiful, intricate and highly ordered pattern. I’ve no idea why.
    .
    What about atheistbanging? That must be OK I suppose, because you’ve been doing a lot of it. Not that you’re the slightest bit egotistical, of course. Only religionists suffer from that fault, as you’ve proven by endless repetition.
    .
    Angrysoba,
    .
    you are mistaken, my argument has not changed. Despite me writing it out for you repeatedly, also in our private communications, you still miss my point. I can’t tell if this is willful on your part or just a problem with comprehension. Whatever, I give up, believe whatever you like about my standpoint, life is too short, and besides, you’re probably just trying to wind me up.
    .
    (No. Patience, Clark, patience. One last time….)
    .
    (1) Belief in a Universal creative something-or-other is not in itself unreasonable, nor incompatible with modern science. This belief is a widespread part of the natural human condition, and is not a human artifact.
    .
    (2) Religion is dependent upon the aforementioned belief, not vice-versa. Religions, including their related descriptions of various gods, are human artifacts, and as such are corruptible, and indeed have been widely abused.
    .
    (3) Again, in case you missed it: belief in something labeled “God”, and belief in the teachings of a religion, are separate, though related, phenomena.
    .
    (4) In point (3), the latter creates problems between members of different religions. The former doesn’t, and used appropriately can help to solve those problems.
    .
    If you can understand this short section, you should then be able to understand all the stuff you’ve been arguing against above. Basically, you’re confusing two different things; the gods in bibles and other holy books, and the creative whatever-it-is that people label “God, the Creator”. I admit that this confusion is widespread. You can help to solve this problem by making a clear distinction. If you refuse to make this distinction, there is no point in my discussing it further with you.
    .
    Njegos,
    .
    thanks for keeping me sane. Maybe these people like conflict and wish to create more of it.

  174. Angrysoba, when someone has been conditioned into a set of beliefs, directly attacking those beliefs is counter-productive. The beliefs carry “immunisation” against such attacks, and your attempt will just get you labeled as “an agent of the Devil” or some such. As you know, I speak from personal experience due to my religious upbringing.
    .
    Also from experience, I can tell you what does work. Start from morals. Once the dogma is seen to be morally deficient, the “immunisation” I mentioned then works in your favour.
    .
    Whether atheism is like a religion or not depends upon the individual atheist. It’s entirely possible to believe in the non-existence of any God or god without examining any evidence whatsoever. Atheism is pretty obviously a faith for Bonifacegoncourt. You can tell from the inflamatory language.

  175. Clark:
    .
    As far as I am concerned, you are crystal clear. Actually it’s sad to watch atheist fundamentalists in action. It’s a bit like watching Americans who cannot grasp why people do not want to be American. It also seems to be an article of their faith that you cannot believe in a god and be happy. No wonder they guffaw at the mention of aesthetics, beauty and spirituality. It’s a nervous laugh. They consider themselves scientists but they have no satisfactory scientific tools with which to explain some very special yet irrational qualities of human existence.

    Most atheists I know are reasonable, intelligent people who have unanswered questions. But at the extreme, as you say, is the atheistic religion whose exponents bore the hell out of me with their superiority complex. For me they will always be a freak show alongside their Christian fundamentalist alter egos.

  176. Clark: Angrysoba, when someone has been conditioned into a set of beliefs, directly attacking those beliefs is counter-productive. The beliefs carry “immunisation” against such attacks, and your attempt will just get you labeled as “an agent of the Devil” or some such.
    .
    Yes, I know full well that defensive strategies are built in to religious beliefs. That’s what the whole faith thing is all about. A pathetic trump card to use in lieu of rational arguments. The same is true with Truthers who assume everyone who disagrees with them is a “shill”. But that’s fine. I am not seeking to convert anyone and I think that most people don’t want to change anyway. I think that Dawkins and co. have argued that while they may have changed some people’s minds their main purpose is in either showing “closet atheists” that there are others who think the same way, or for it to act as a consciousness raiser, for those who simply haven’t considered atheism and presumably also to show that invoking God is not legitimate in academic debates about evolution etc…
    .
    There are also others who simply say that the Church and State should be separate and that laws should not be made on religious grounds. I agree with that too.
    .
    Whether atheism is like a religion or not depends upon the individual atheist.
    .
    Which is as close to saying that atheism is not a religion as anything. You couldn’t argue that Christianity is a religion depending upon the adherent or Islam is a religion dependent on the adherent. All you can do is point to some individuals and say “Wow! They are very fervent in their behaviour. Almost as though they act with religious devotion.” But I think that only shows that atheism itself is not a religion and not a faith.
    .
    Also from experience, I can tell you what does work. Start from morals. Once the dogma is seen to be morally deficient, the “immunisation” I mentioned then works in your favour.

    .
    I don’t understand what this means. How can you show an observant believer that a religious moral dogma is morally deficient?
    .

  177. Clark: Basically, you’re confusing two different things; the gods in bibles and other holy books, and the creative whatever-it-is that people label “God, the Creator”.
    .
    Are you serious? The gods in bibles and other holy books are exactly the gods that the vast majority of people on this planet believe in. The confusion is not mine!
    .
    I admit that this confusion is widespread. You can help to solve this problem by making a clear distinction. If you refuse to make this distinction, there is no point in my discussing it further with you.

    .
    Really? And when was the last time you went to a mosque, synagogue or church and told the congregants there that they are confusing the real God with the God of the Koran, the Talmud and the Bible? In the interests of science I’d like to hear what reaction you get.
    .
    But to get back to your own argument:
    (1) Belief in a Universal creative something-or-other is not in itself unreasonable, nor incompatible with modern science. This belief is a widespread part of the natural human condition, and is not a human artifact.

    .
    The concept of “universal creative something-or-other” is vague in the extreme. If you define it as the Big Bang, then maybe it is not incompatible with science but you seem to be defining it as some kind of universal consciousness which is something as yet unsupported by science. Certainly it is unproven and not at all widely assented to by scientists. From what I gather, you seem to have latched on to certain fringe theorists who have extrapolated beyond the scientific evidence and made highly speculative claims. By the way, you point out that belief in religion is widespread, in all cultures, and therefore is not a human artifact. Yet, something tells me that this only shows just how human it really is. Do other animals exhibit any belief in a creator? Do they have religious rituals? It seems not, yet humans do everywhere. It seems to me that religion in almost all its forms tends to have this anthropocentric view of universalizing a human concept.
    .
    (2) Religion is dependent upon the aforementioned belief, not vice-versa. Religions, including their related descriptions of various gods, are human artifacts, and as such are corruptible, and indeed have been widely abused.
    .
    Religion certainly is a human artifact and has as its core another human concept which is a God or gods. If you notice something about the gods it is that they tend to reflect the societies in which they are created in. The monotheistic Judeo-Christian-Islamic God is a bad-tempered autocratic King who capriciously makes up lots of inexplicable rules and smites and smites and smites and plays horrible tricks on his subjects and goes off into tremendous wobbly fits of anger. And he regularly commands his subjects to commit acts of genocide on pain of death. The Greek Gods, on the other hand, had various different attributes and seemed to sit around discussing things in civilized, democratic discourse. I like those ones better. The Japanese gods spent a lot of their time getting drunk, sumo wrestling and having filthy orgies. I like those the best. But clearly they are made up by the society in which they came from and the creation myths around them were too. In my view creation myths and the positing of a creator are a simple by-product of other intelligent faculties that humans acquired in their struggle for survival. This cannot be proved, of course, but a reasonable argument can be made. I think it is more likely than the alternative which is that all human societies had some way of peering into the Universal Consciousness (which somehow eludes other animals) and came up with their own versions of it.
    .

  178. Clark: (3) Again, in case you missed it: belief in something labeled “God”, and belief in the teachings of a religion, are separate, though related, phenomena.
    .
    (4) In point (3), the latter creates problems between members of different religions. The former doesn’t, and used appropriately can help to solve those problems.

    .
    I’m afraid this just comes across as naive. It seems to me you are trying to find some grand unified theory of religion to replace all the other religions which is something that has been tried many times in the past only for the new religion to fall into conflict with the others or to schism into various parts.
    .
    You may say that you are only interested in the God-like entity at the heart of creation and claim this does not make it a religion and yet at other times you really have made claims to know the mind of God in that you have attributed benign intent to this creator and some knowledge of his plan and how he can be known. And of course, the idea that we are all part of a collective mind that we must ally ourselves with was one of the other pronouncements you made which I remarked on before as a religious belief (and one which I considered incoherent and contradictory).

  179. Clark:

    I can understand your frustration.

  180. bonifacegoncourt

    29 Feb, 2012 - 3:10 am

    The nutty are usually highly egocentric and unable to listen. No matter how often you explain that atheism is not a ‘faith’, but an avoidance of nonsense, the godfellas bleat: ‘Atheism is a faith, I tell ‘ee!’ Then, they froth about the mysterious
    ‘fundamentalist atheist’ [who he?], although you can no more be a fundamentalist atheist than you can be a fundamentalist piano-tuner. And of course the godworshipper thinks aesthetics and beauty belong to him alone, and no one else…outside the chosen fairy-tale believers! It’s a psychiatric thing, much like the loopy Argies rattling on about their ‘sovereignty’
    over some bit of distant unseen peat bog. I repeat – gents, haul your egos over to Goydian CiF Belief, where you can spend weeks and months on this tosh, and the bollox is infinite.

  181. @Bonifacegoncourt

    You are the classic party bore.

  182. Clark. Most of what you say is reiterating the standard distinction between theological belief and religious dogma. No quibbles there.
    .
    Let me restate your point (1) more carefully, though. Belief in a Universal Creative Whatever is theoretically commensurable with the canon of modern scientific knowledge, yes, but is not supported by it. Furthermore, the belief is not compatible with the principles of scientific epistemology, because it makes causal claims with no evidential basis. This Universal Something is not observable or testable, we only see what you construe as its effects. But it isn’t a necessary theoretical postulate by any means; you are inferring a distinct cause for emergent behaviour. The belief in this Universal Something is profoundly metaphysical, not scientific.
    .
    You seem to be trying to assert that it is a scientific belief, contrary to the predominant views in theology and the philosophy of religion. But in doing so you are watering down your concept so much it’s becoming theologically irrelevant.
    .
    As I understand it, you suggest there must be a Universal Creative Something to counteract the second law of thermodynamics. So are you saying the law doesn’t actually apply – or doesn’t apply at local level?? (Remember that it is only applies at the level of closed systems so local variations do not contradict it in any way.) In any case, if something did “counteract” it, surely it would have the same ontological status: it would be a physical law describing the behaviour of matter, not a spiritual Something. Why call it “God” at all … unless you’re trying to slip in some pagan notions of magical causality along with it?
    .
    You are referring essentially to self-organising behaviour, which emerges like a fractal anywhere there is a non-chaotic regularity, like a Mandelbrot set. The complex order that emerges from very simple artificial models – like the game of life (where little patterns fly around and eat up other patterns), or ‘boids’ (where little blobs display seemingly co-ordinated flocking behaviour) – is indeed amazing, but it isn’t evidence of a supernatural creative force, nor even an artificial intelligence. With those very simple systems we can trace exactly what’s going on and how it happens (but’s it’s still amazing!). With much more complex systems, physical or biological, the amazement becomes awe-inspiring, but again it doesn’t constitute evidence of the hand of God, or indeed any kind of ontological Something. If anything, these emergent enigmas highlight the processing limitations of our finite cognitive systems.
    .
    When you refer to “people’s natural, intuitive reverence for That Which Continually Creates” it sounds like you’re trying to revive something like St Anselm’s Ontological argument: i.e. we are disposed to conceive of a very impressive Universal Something, therefore there must be a very impressive Universal Something that causes us to think of it; now, this Universal Something must exist because it’s so very impressive (after all, it wouldn’t be very impressive if it didn’t exist). That fallacious nonsense can be easily Quined out of existence. It’s used as a philosophy exercise for 7 year olds. Like other fictions, the concept has sense but (arguably) no reference. It implies an empty set; furthermore, there is no epistemic path back to evidence that would populate that set. That’s why theology is not a science. Believe what you want to believe, metaphysically. Perhaps the only benchmark is whether you find it satisfying, and it doesn’t compel you to immoral behaviour.
    .
    “This belief … is not a human artefact.” Are you some kind of radical neo-Platonist? Of course it’s a human artefact, like every other belief. Would the belief exist if there were no humans to think it? (Hey, maybe there are lots of beliefs floating around in some Platonic realm, and when they congregate in sufficient clusters they constitute a human mind?) Now, that’s metaphysics for you!

  183. Going back to Craig’s original question and the second comment (mine), part of the answer is given in a book about the Chagossians which you should all ask any library which you can influence to purchase. If you go to my review at http://www.amazon.com/review/RYB86BM8R18LT , please click the “Helpful” button (if you agree).
    .
    Note that my review on the Amazon.co.uk website has not yet appeared. That’s because UK sites need to worry more about the UK’s libel laws. I have reviews on both Amazon sites of “Murder in Samarkand” – but the original UK one was censored because I was critical of Tony Blair. Comparing the two reviews is instructive.
    .
    The reason the 2004 Orders in Council denying the Chagossians their right to return were racist is how they were used. Even though the FCO originally wanted to negotiate shared sovereignty with Argentina, ministers would never have been able to impose a settlement on the white Falkland islanders by using these arcane colonial procedures.

  184. @angysoba
    “My thinking is that Hamas and Hizbollah are counterproductive to this because they couldn’t appear more like a typical bunch of terrorists in the public mind if they tried.”
    .
    You call that thinking? It’s called brainwashing you dope.

  185. 29 February 2012
    Falklands dispute: Argentina ‘urges UK import ban’
    On Monday two cruise ships were refused entry to Argentina after visiting the Falklands
    .
    The Argentine government is calling on the country’s top companies to stop importing goods from the UK, according to the state news agency Telam.
    .
    Industry Minister Debora Giorgi called the bosses of at least 20 firms to urge them to replace imports from Britain with goods produced elsewhere, it said.
    .
    The move is linked to the dispute with Britain over the Falkland Islands, which Argentina claims as the Malvinas.
    .
    Tension has been rising ahead of the 30th anniversary of the Falklands war.
    .
    The industry ministry is trying to reduce Argentina’s trade deficit with the UK and establish policies that favour countries that recognize Argentina’s territorial claim, Telam reported.
    .
    /..
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-17200528

  186. Nextus writes in relation to belief in a deity:
    .
    “Of course it’s a human artefact, like every other belief. Would the belief exist if there were no humans to think it?”
    .
    It is and it isn’t. This belief is strictly speaking human artefact but beauty isn’t. Beauty exists. Humans didn’t invent it yet we recognise it. Since science cannot explain beauty, some ascribe it to a “deity”. To me, this a very different proposition from religious beliefs which, for example, ascribe miracles to phenomena that have scientific explanations.

  187. Mary –

    Apparently William’s “I am just an ordinary serviceman in the Falklands” pose has been spoiled by the 20 or so SAS bodyguards who are protecting him against the possibility of an Argentine assassination attempt.

    http://www.lanacion.com.ar/1452308-el-principe-guillermo-con-custodia-especial-en-malvinas

    His mission is to thwart any possible threat from Argentina.

    Jesus what a total waste of taxpayer’s money.

  188. bonifacegoncourt

    29 Feb, 2012 - 5:06 pm

    @Njegos
    Humourless knowalls are never able to answer simple questions. They just huff and puff. Now it seems ‘Science cannot explain beauty.’ And you know this how? Poor Clark’s confusion shows the harm this ‘god’ nonsense can do to impressionable minds. Remember: “A toothache cures all philosophy”. BTW if the Brits want to spend money to protect the life of their future king, what business is it of you Argies?

    @BDSM Kontakte
    Faszinierender Name! Sollen wir etwas Aufregendes erwarten…?

  189. Bonifacegoncourt,
    .
    of course there can be a “fundamentalist piano tuner”. Say I have an antique pipe organ tuned to A=451Hz, and I buy a piano. I call out a tuner and ask him to tune my new piano to match my pipe organ. The tuner starts to lecture me that concert pitch is A = 440Hz, refuses to tune my piano to A=451Hz, and offers, for an enormous fee, to weld little extensions to all the tubes of my pipe organ to bring it down concert pitch. I decline this offer and say that I’ll call a different tuner, upon which he calls me stupid and mental etc, and demands a call-out fee because I wasted his time.
    .
    I’m not sure of the definition of “fundamentalism”, but I think most people would agree that fundamentalists expect everyone else to think and/or do things their way, and are likely to get abusive to various degrees otherwise. Recognise yourself in that at all? Probably not. Fundamentalists generally don’t recognise their own fundamentalism.
    .
    Angrysoba and Nextus,
    .
    thanks for your replies. I’m feeling unwell, so I’ll leave it at that for now.

  190. More gross hypocrisy from Cameron and the FCO on the Falklands. Of course Cameron and co have done nothing whatsoever to aggravate the situation.
    .
    Argentina pursuing policy of confrontation, says No 10
    Downing Street has accused Argentina of pursuing a “policy of confrontation” over the Falkland Islands.
    .
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17205918

  191. bonifacegoncourt

    29 Feb, 2012 - 6:31 pm

    @Clark
    So not wasting your time on rubbish makes you a ‘fundamentalist’. Fairy tale jockeys seem to need labels for everyone. Why so paranoid? Living without labels is a lot healthier. Have a few beers, do some gardening, get laid. Chill.

  192. @Bonifacegoncourt

    Go on then clever clogs. Give me the scientific explanation for beauty (this should be good!)

    As it happens, I am not argentine but please feel free to bankrupt yourself on behalf of your beloved kelpers who appear to enjoy having Britain by the balls.

  193. bonifacegoncourt

    29 Feb, 2012 - 7:09 pm

    Too much hot air about the Falklands. Remember Ockham’s Razor, which invites us to keep things simple. Every event has a gist. Here it is the Widow Kirchner, suffering from Empty Pussy Syndrome. In World War 2, RAF officer and babe magnet Roald Dahl was tasked with knobbing his way through Washington society to make them pro-British. We need a similar
    smooth-talking SAS dude to slip la Kirchner the salami, and get her mind right. Or dishy Prince Will might do. @BDSM-Kontakte, can you arrange a good spanking for her?

    Why do you think Mrs Thatcher was so slavishly pro-American, after meeting all those GIs in Oxford in 1944? But that’s another story.

  194. Njegos, I had to wonder whether you were serious. It seems you are. First, you assert the objectivity of a quality that is famously “in the eye of the beholder” and subject to cultural conditioning, to a significant degree; then you claim that modern science has no answer to explain this mysterious objectivity. Have you ever actually bothered to read anything about the philosophy of aesthetics or the psychology of beauty?
    .
    In fact, there is indeed a degree of concordance (not ‘objectivity’) in what people find beautiful, and in some cases that agreement even transcends culture. That’s just the kind of phenomenon that is ripe for a psychoevolutionary explanation. Watch the following TED animated presentation by Dennis Dutton:
    .
    http://www.ted.com/talks/denis_dutton_a_darwinian_theory_of_beauty.html
    .
    And yes, I think it is good. Certainly interesting, whatever your paradigmatic prejudices.
    .
    If that’s not enough science for you, maybe you should delve into the cognitive science of aesthetics, e.g. the neuroscientist Ramachandran has examined how aesthetic experiences are processed in the brain. Go seek. Take some responsibility for your own education.

  195. Nextus,
    .
    I’m not really trying to assert much at all. This all started because Bonifacegoncourt chose to be abusive when some people were discussing the differences between branches of Islam. This blog often touches on matters in Islamic countries, and I think that we are fortunate to have contributors who are either practicing Muslims or are knowledgeable about Islam. These religious variations are being exploited by various powerful groups to further their own power. Much death and destruction results.
    .
    I wrote a comment trying to show that people may believe in “God” for reasons other than gullibility or deception, and that a lot of these differences amount to little more than varying usages of language (26 Feb 3:56 am). Bonifacegoncourt attacked that without ever having appreciated my point, and then continued with further abuse of Islamic ideas. He later chipped in with his highly offensive “freaks without foreskins” remark, as if a procedure forced upon infants could disqualify those people from serious discussion for the rest of their lives. He has since suggested that his offensiveness is actually some kind of humour. Unfortunately for me there was another “radical atheist”, Angrysoba, waiting in the wings to leap to Bonifacegoncourt’s aid, but fortunately for me there was you and Njegos.
    .
    I’m quite open minded about most of this myself. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics doesn’t convince me outright that there must be a “creative something”, but I do find “Universal Mind” to be a possible solution to the paradox of Wigner’s Friend, etc. Now, if “Universal Mind” is compatible with the most successful scientific theory formulated to date, I find it grossly arrogant of people to dismiss belief in “The Creator” (as opposed to religious dogmatic descriptions of assorted gods) as a mere “fairy tale”, or worse, a con-job.
    .
    I regard human belief in a “Creative Something” as not an artifact due to its ubiquity. The belief seems so widespread that it appears to be a natural human attribute rather than an idea that spread. Something like Chomsky’s universal grammar, or even language itself, could be comparable. Similarly, the division of functions between left and right brain hemispheres is not an artifact. Interestingly, Bonifacegoncourt has rubbished the functioning of the entire right hemisphere! I wonder if Bonifacegoncourt hates and/or dismisses all music, poetry and art.
    .
    Regarding possible evidence for Universal Mind in animals, we have migration patterns, behahiour of herds and schools of fish, and the much debated “hundredth monkey effect”. We see no reverence / worshipful behaviour in animals, but we see only limited and debatable artistic, musical or other aesthetic creativity as well. Possibly the needs of survival leave insufficient resources for these, but they blossom in the environment of plenty that human organisation has achieved. Or maybe we’re just not looking the right way. Like I said, I prefer to remain open minded.

  196. Angrysoba, thanks for clarifying your arguments somewhat. They are very scientific arguments, but I’m not engaged in science here. I’m trying to defend some common ground for discussion between people of widely differing beliefs. It’s more a sort of diplomacy than science.
    .
    Since science (so far) leaves room for a Creative Something, and since many people here have such a belief, I think it’s daft to try to demolish such a belief with a scientific approach that is incapable of doing so in any case. It just does damage to other, more important discussions.
    .
    To consider a few of your points:
    .
    “[Faith is a] pathetic trump card to use in lieu of rational arguments…” – Well, for something “pathetic” it carries a lot of power. Maybe we should try to engage rather than dismiss.
    .
    “Are you serious? The gods in bibles and other holy books are exactly the gods that the vast majority of people on this planet believe in.” – No, they believe in an amalgam. Maybe you’re unaware of the complexity of religious belief. Most religions have mechanisms for discussing the conflicts inherent in their various beliefs. Certain ideas are considered more fundamental than others.
    .
    “when was the last time you went to a mosque, synagogue or church and told the congregants there that they are confusing the real God with the God of the Koran, the Talmud and the Bible? In the interests of science I’d like to hear what reaction you get.” – Please, Angrysoba, don’t be daft. Entering a place of worship and attacking the predominant beliefs there would be provocative in the extreme. I’m talking about discussion in a mixed environment such as this one, and I’m just saying that (1) we can have moral discussions with religious people without sharing all their beliefs, (2) that we will find those discussions more productive if we don’t immediately attack the core belief and thereby invoke the “immunisation” mechanisms, and (3) that we are scientifically unsupported if we insist that their belief in a creator is entirely primitive superstition.
    .
    “The concept of “universal creative something-or-other” is vague in the extreme. If you define it as the Big Bang, then maybe it is not incompatible with science but you seem to be defining it as some kind of universal consciousness which is something as yet unsupported by science” – How much have you looked into quantum physics? You really can’t eliminate mind; that is what the old objectivists were so upset about.
    .
    “The more I think about the physical part of the Schrödinger theory, the more detestable I find it. What Schrödinger writes about visualization makes scarcely any sense, in other words I think it is shit“. Heisenberg to Pauli, 1926.
    .
    “Quantum physics thus reveals a basic oneness of the universe.” – Erwin Schrodinger.
    .
    “Bohr was inconsistent, unclear, willfully obscure and right. Einstein was consistent, clear, down-to-earth and wrong.” John Bell to Graham Farmelo.

  197. @Nextus:

    “That’s just the kind of phenomenon that is ripe for a psychoevolutionary explanation.”

    Psychoevolutionary is obviously a word you atheo-fundies enjoy tossing around and I give you credit – it’s sounds very, very impressive but in the end it’s just a theory of how art got started. And although it seems quite plausible (glad you enjoyed the video, btw. I liked it too) in the end it misses its target because art does not necessarily equal beauty and beauty does not necessarily equal art.

    “Have you ever actually bothered to read anything about the philosophy of aesthetics or the psychology of beauty?”

    Beauty is something multi-faceted and indefinable but I like to think that it is somehow linked to an ideal. Some ideals are, we might say, more “objective” or universal than others. I was introduced to this idea many years ago when reading Albert Camus’ thoughts on aesthetics and rebellion.

    “If that’s not enough science for you, maybe you should delve into the cognitive science of aesthetics, e.g. the neuroscientist Ramachandran has examined how aesthetic experiences are processed in the brain.”

    Please tell me that this was not your “scientific trump card”. Or are the 8 Laws of Aesthetics your Holy Bible? Where does neuroscience account for originality? Where does it account for creativity and inspiration?

    Hmm. Well I think that is enough for now. Thank you so much for your not-in-the-least-bit condescending attempt to “educate” me.

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