67 thoughts on “A Blair Foundation with Purpose

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  • Other John

    FRANK VERISMO, just glimpsed at your comment and saw you weren’t attacking me. A lot of people got very personal on another site, so I’m now not looking at any responses – even though it was quite a long time ago! My apologies to anyone else who responded – probably no one! 😉

    Craig hasn’t deleted my post, so I commend him for that, and he also allowed someone to use his articles freely without imposing copyright restrictions.

    Chomsky is worth reading. But you need to move beyond him, and not turn him into a hero.

    I have no problem with what Dawkins wants to believe. I’m agnostic, NOT religious. But we had Thatcher experiment on British society – promoting selfishness – and now Dawkins is trying to carry out his own “little” experiment – converting everyone to atheism.

    Someone told me that a group of atheists – a group that Dawkins belongs to – has paid for advertisements to be put up in public places that read, “There probably is no God.” Notice the “probably” – that’s because science cannot prove or disprove the existence of a creator.

    Britain doesn’t need anymore strong-willed individuals carrying out potentially destructive experiments on society. However, that doesn’t mean I pander to religious groups, either.

    An interesting dissident was Fela Kuti, a Nigerian (died 1997). He was a renowned musician, invented his own style of music called Afrobeat, but he was also outspoken about the corruption in Nigeria, and his songs were both great to listen to as just songs, but also brilliant at arousing the emotions. Fela was scathing of the Nigerian regime, but he also criticised Western interference in his country, particularly over oil (Nigeria is a major supplier of oil to the U.S).

    After hearing “Zombie”, a song that mocked the Nigerian army, a group of soldiers marched upon Fela’s house, beat up all the occupants, threw Fela’s mother out of a second-floor window, and arrested Fela. His mother later died in hospital from the injuries she sustained. The Nigerian government claimed an “unknown soldier” was responsible, and no one was charged.

    For speaking out to fellow Nigerians, Fela was imprisoned, beaten (in one interview he shows his back to the camera, and you can clearly see the scars), and harassed.

    I found out about Fela because I liked African music. I knew nothing about Nigeria, but Fela ensures everyone who hears his songs can’t fail to be enlightened (wiki have a page all about him).

    There’s not a great selection of his songs on youtube, but the “Zombie” song is on there (the zombies are Nigerian soldiers: “Zombies don’t stop till you tell them to stop; zombies don’t think unless you tell them to think – go quench! Go kill! Go die!” Fela sings) – search for it on youtube, using “fela kuti” and “zombie” as the search terms, and see how great it is. His songs have long – sometimes ridiculously long – introductions. Go 5:15 minutes into the audio file to hear the song itself. If you’re having a bad day, Fela re-energizes you.

    I should add that Fela was no saint, and his son had some harsh words to say about him. He also had an interesting life, marrying – I think! – 27 women in a single ceremony.

  • cantor

    @Other John

    ‘Someone told me that a group of atheists – a group that Dawkins belongs to – has paid for advertisements to be put up in public places that read, “There probably is no God.” Notice the “probably” – that’s because science cannot prove or disprove the existence of a creator.’

    A Christian group is countering with advertisements reading: “There definitely is a God.”

    The power of faith over science!

  • mary

    More hypocrisy and chutzpah from the Blairs – this time the wife.

    Channel 4 next Sunday March 1st

    Leading British lawyer and committed Catholic Cherie Blair investigates Christianity over the last 100 years and explores its future prospects.

    She examines the challenges to Christianity posed by the trauma of war** and political oppression in the 20th century, which culminated in the genocide of the Jews in the Holocaust.

    Into the huge God-shaped hole fell the modern ‘faiths’ of materialism and secularism. Christianity was becoming and more isolated by so-called ‘progress’, and this marginalisation was exacerbated by the new hedonistic anything-goes society of the 1960s.

    But there is one part of the Western World where Christianity has bucked the downward trend and has never been stronger – the USA.

    Cherie uncovers the reasons for its continued success there and looks at what the future holds for Christianity. Are we living in a post-Christian age? Or is the 21st Century really going to be the Christian century?

    ________________________________________

    **Will she be including Tone’s contributions in Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, the Balkans and Iraq?

  • Other John

    A poster above said Richard Dawkins is a man of conscience. No, he isn’t. He is an atheist – he doesn’t believe he has a conscience. I’ve read his books. He doesn’t even believe in altruism.

    Altruism, according to Dawkins, is a manifestation of selfishness. Your genes are forcing you to help others in order to assist your own survival. In the past, when we lived in close-knit communities, such kindness increased our status amongst other members of our group, and hence increased our survival chances.

    Well, this is what Dawkins believes, anyway. And he believes that, today, humans continue to help others, even when they don’t have to – even when it does NOT assist their survival – because those old genes are still residing in us, still forcing us to behave this way.

    So, according to Dawkins, we are nothing more than ZOMBIES controlled by our genes, and consciousness doesn’t exist ?” at least, not as something that affects the functioning of the mind.

    How can Dawkins, therefore, be a man of conscience when the only thing he believes in is SELFISHNESS. His book, “The Selfish Gene”, was distored by the Conservatives to promote a selfish society, and, now, having made that wonderful contribution to British life, Dawkins is on a crusade to convert everyone to atheism.

    So, let’s see. There is NO creator (science can’t prove this, but Dawkins doesn’t care about science anymore, not since he became all political), we are controlled COMPLETELY by our genes (Dawkins doesn’t know the mechanism by which the genes control our behaviour, but let’s forget that’s a problem – Dawkins is playing politics, remember!), and EVERYTHING we do is for selfish reasons, even if we say otherwise.

    Looks like Dawkins is taking us down a path of complete cultural annihilation.

    You have to ask yourself, is a man who believes all this, capable of making any personal sacrifices that will benefit society, generally – which is what men of conscience try to do?

    The strange thing is, though, Dawkins says we should fight our tendency to be selfish. But, given all that I quoted above, how does Dawkins think we can do this? Perhaps, Dawkins doesn’t believe everything he says, after all.

    The next step is universal euthanasia: anyone who wants to end their life should be allowed to. Atheists can’t have it both ways! Either we’re not much different to rocks, or we are TRULY ALIVE, and conscious experience is not merely dead matter moving about inside us.

    However, if we ARE, effectively, equivalent to stones – which is what Dawkins believes – then why let someone live who doesn’t want to? When we are dead, we are dead! According to Dawkins, however, we aren’t really alive to begin with.

    Of course, we know why politicians recoil from euthanasia – it’s NOT because they have any concern for human life – it’s because they want to keep up the pretence that they are individuals with a conscience.

    We now have Alan Sugar – a man who got rich from selling things designed and built by others (hardly a great achievement!) – telling politicians they are CEOs.

    So, in the 21st Century, we are EMPLOYEES not citizens, the people in government are OUR BOSSES, and the country is a CORPORATION, and just as in any corporation, we do EXACTLY AS WE ARE TOLD.

    Isn’t it time for us to rebel, and stop listening to Chomsky and Dawkins who are just keeping us passive.

    If we aren’t going to rebel, we might as well euthanize ourselves.

  • Other John

    I wrote: “Your genes are forcing you to help others in order to assist your own survival.”

    That’s actually wrong. It’s in order to assist the genes’ survival. According to evolution, our body is just a shell, a vessel for genes to inhabit temporarily. Our shell becomes redundant as soon as our genes have jumped ship into other bodies – into our children! Although, not all of us decide to have children. The original shell then shrivels up and dies.

  • Other John

    Without realising it, I gave an example of how we do override our genes: someone can choose not to have children! They might do so because of how the world is, or because of how they suffered. And suffering is a conscious experience. Of course, someone can also choose not to have kids for selfish reasons. But whatever the reason, it looks like clear evidence that consciousness does play a role in controlling our behaviour – which means we CAN overrule our genes, CAN be genuinely altruistic, and CAN truthfully give a damn about others.

  • Other John

    I’ll conclude my posts above by quoting from a review of a book, “The Private Life of the Brain”, written by Susan A Greenfield, professor of synaptic pharmacology at Lincoln college, Oxford. She’s a neuroscientist, and rejects the “it’s all in the genes” idea:

    “The idea that the brain works like a computer is rapidly passing into intellectual history…nobody has produced a machine with anything remotely resembling even rudimentary intelligence, never mind consciousness. The reason is that the computer model – proselytised by writers such as Daniel Dennett and Douglas Hofstadter – is plainly wrong…

    “…Susan Greenfield [has] decisively rejected the computer model…the collapse of the computer model has sent us back to square one, and now every book on brain science seems like a new, tentative beginning…

    “…We can study the firing of neurons and the cascades of neurotransmitters and hormones…What these seem to show is an ever-changing ballet of interactions which seems to bear little relation to that most bizarre phenomenon of all – the sense of the continuity of the self over time.

    “…The attraction of Greenfield’s approach is that she avoids the more obviously implausible simplifications that have so often discredited research into the mind. It is not ‘all in the genes’; indeed, other than creating the basic chemical constituents, it is hard to see the genes as being anything more than bit players in this drama.

    If you read research papers by Semir Zeki, another neuroscientist, consciousness gets even more bizarre.

    There is no easy answer. We aren’t even close to understanding consciousness, or the human mind.

    Dawkins has simplified things to such an extent, it doesn’t resemble reality any longer. Being cynical, I would say he doesn’t care, as it suits his political agenda – to convert everyone to atheism!

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