Archive for December, 2010
In which I agree with Vox Day

I’ve been reading the comments over at Vox’s blog, and it’s pretty hilarious, not to mention providing double your recommended minimum daily dose of irony. For example, here’s Vox attacking the person who brought up my TIA series:

You’re absolutely wrong. Terrible example and you have apparently not read TIA nor understood that Duncan doesn’t even begin to rebut its arguments. He does not show that religion was involved as a pretext in more than 7 percent of the wars in recorded human history. Nor does he explain why no military tactician or strategist has EVER incorporated religion into their military tactics or strategy. His critique is totally invalid.

Now stop making groundless assertions and be specific. Precisely what about that his argument that religion causes war do you find persuasive?

Notice, the primary crime he accuses his critic of is a failure to read and understand the opposing point of view. He then insists that I failed to rebut his argument, and he demands to know what is so persuasive about my argument that religion causes war. Does he have a point? Does my argument—meaning the argument I actually made, not the one Vox attributes to me—fall apart when examined in the light of the evidence Vox cites?

Turning back to the post in question, what I originally wrote is this:

His main point is that religion is not the primary cause of most wars, which is perfectly reasonable and accurate. [Emphasis added.] Unfortunately, he pretends that Harris and Dawkins and company are claiming that eliminating religion would eliminate war, which is a pretty blatant straw man. (He even admits at one point that Harris and Dawkins “[never] state that they believe religion is the direct and primary cause of war.”)

Yep, as usual, Vox has not a clue what he is talking about. He claims that none of my posts rebutted anything he said, but has he even read what I wrote? Or is he the one who is failing to read and understand what the opposing side is saying? He’s so desperate to dismiss me as “unintelligent, ignorant, and intellectually dishonest” that he completely fails to notice the fact that I agree with him about religion as a false cause of war. In fact, I think Vox is overstating the influence of religion by about 7%.

Let’s ignore, for the time being, the issue of battlefield generals using or not using religion as a tactic or strategy. By the time the generals are on the field attacking the enemy, the war has already been caused. There’s clearly no point in seeking the cause of a war amongst the choices generals make after the war is already underway.

But aside from that, Vox and I are pretty much in agreement as regards the role of religion in the events leading up to the wars of history. My chief critique of Vox’s argument was that he failed to spend any time at all discussing the role(s) that religion did, could, or should play in times of national crisis leading up to possible war. I’m not saying that religion does have such a role or roles, I’m merely pointing out that Vox’s analysis failed to document some very important considerations, not to say the MOST important consideration, in determining what connection, if any, exists between religion and war.

If we do take this into account, though, we can begin to document how really impotent and useless religion is in matters of genuine significance. War is a pretty big deal, as far as the real world is concerned. It changes boundaries, destroys people and lands, changes customs and sometimes even languages. We would expect, if any world religions incorporated a deity Who genuinely cared about mankind (or about good and evil), that at least some religions ought to have an unmistakable or even supernatural influence on the course of events leading up to (or away from) a war.

Naturally, there are may roles that religion could play. For example, if there were a genuine deity to pray to, then national leaders would be able to pray for guidance. If divine wisdom were bestowed on them from above, advising them on whether or not their cause was just and their chance of victory secure, then this would indeed put religion in a highly influential role with respect to the circumstances leading up to (or away from) the war. Likewise if there were practical advice/wisdom to be gleaned from a study of the religion’s holy scriptures, either by the leaders or (in a democracy) by the voters.

Another role religion could play would be the very important role of uniting people into a common body, i.e. a united front with which to face the enemy. Religious faith could play a vital role in supplying manpower for the war effort, as people were led by their god to make personal sacrifices and commitments for the greater good of all. With a real god behind it, religion might influence wars by miraculous means, such as, oh, making the invading soldiers all go blind so that they couldn’t fight.

If religion did indeed have any substantial, real-world influence over the course of events, then (a) Vox would be wrong, but more importantly (b) it would matter which religion were the true religion. After all, if we’re going to fight wars over religion, we don’t want to fight for the wrong one, eh?

What Vox has discovered, though, is that in every real-world case, the true power lies, not in religion, but in purely secular, materialistic factors. Religion is a passive, empty symbol, which men invest with whatever meaning or interpretation suits the need of the moment. And, as Vox has shown, the need of the moment is dictated by secular factors, like politics, or economics, or sheer human cussedness. Casual observers might be fooled by the apparent role of religion in war, but to jump to that conclusion is to stop too soon and to fail to apprehend the purely secular factors that are driving and controlling the religious aspect. Religion is the passive puppet of greater, real-world forces.

Ironically, Vox concludes that Islam is the only religion with any significant influence over whether or not nations will go to war. I think it’s safe to say, however, that that’s more an emotional reaction against 9/11 than a serious historical analysis. In the 93% of wars he says were not caused by religion, he cites geopolitical, ethnic, economic and other secular factors as the real causes, yet if we look at the 7% of wars that are allegedly religious, we’ll find the same factors at work, with religion serving merely the same empty, symbolic role as the colors on the national flag.

It’s as foolish to insist that someone must be wrong all of the time as it is to insist that someone must be right all of the time. (I realize that in saying that, I’m rebutting the theme, if not the whole thesis, of TIA, but I digress.) Not everything Vox says is wrong, and in this case I think he’s a lot more correct than even he gives himself credit for.

The circumstances leading up to (away from?) international war are very momentous and vitally important circumstances. Vox is doing a great service both to believers and to unbelievers by documenting the fact that religion plays no role at all—”does not play a secondary contributory role in war. It does not play a tertiary contributory role in war,” as he says. Religion is utterly passive and irrelevant, a sock puppet that merely “speaks” whatever words it pleases men to put into its mouth.

And that goes for more than just war too. Thanks for the help, Vox. ;)

Hi Vox.

Well, it looks like Vox Day is once again sending me a bunch of new visitors. I’m afraid the poor fellow hasn’t quite forgiven me for my critique of his sad little book. He has become wise enough not to try any specific refutations of my rebuttals, at least. Stick to the vague, disparaging dismissals, that’s the safest thing.

Eh, Vox?

The Most Paradigm-Shifting News Stories of 2010

2010 has been an incredibly eventful year and there have been many paradigm-shifting things that have occurred. Out of the hundreds of stories to have come to the forefront of human consciousness, we picked out several that we feel are the most significant news stories to have happened in this past year. While reading these stories, take a few moments to reflect on each and discover what insight you can get out of them for the betterment and improvement of your own life. You just might discover something paradigm-shifting for your own personal development.

General Paradigm-Shifts

Things that we touch affect our judgments and decisions

When you pick up an object, you might think that you are manipulating it, but in a sense, it is also manipulating you. Through a series of six psychological experiments, it has been discovered that the properties which we feel through touch – texture, hardness, weight – can all influence the way we think. Some of the findings:

  • Weight is linked to importance, so that people carrying heavy objects deem interview candidates as more serious and social problems as more pressing.
  • Texture is linked to difficulty and harshness. Touching rough sandpaper makes social interactions seem more adversarial, while smooth wood makes them seem friendlier.
  • Hardness is associated with rigidity and stability. When sitting on a hard chair, negotiators take tougher stances but if they sit on a soft one instead, they become more flexible.

Stereotyping has a lasting negative impact

New research this year out of the University of Toronto Scarborough has shown us that prejudice has a lasting negative impact on those who experience it. Even after a person leaves a situation where they faced negative stereotypes, the effects of coping with that situation remain. People are more likely to be aggressive after they’ve faced prejudice in a given situation. They are more likely to exhibit a lack of self control. They have trouble making good, rational decisions. And they are more likely to over-indulge on unhealthy foods.

Teenagers cannot concentrate because their brains are undeveloped

New research from the UK has found that teenagers and young adults find it hard to concentrate because their brains are more similar to those of much younger children than those of mature adults, with more grey matter but lower efficiency. The findings suggest the brain is not fully developed until people reach their late twenties or even early thirties, which is much later than previously thought. This should show that prescribing amphetamine salts to teenagers because they are unable to concentrate during a class that is sometimes over 2 hours long is the wrong approach to the issue.

Brain Synchronization Between People a Reality

When two people experience a deep connection, they’re informally described as being on the same wavelength. Recent research has found that there is neurological evidence to support this. Brain scans of a speaker and listener showed their neural activity synchronizing during storytelling. The stronger their reported connection, the closer the coupling. The activities of speaking and listening used common rather than separate neural subsystems inside each brain. Even more striking was an overlap between the brains of speaker and listener. When post-scan interviews found that stories had resonated, scans showed a complex interplay of neural call and response, as if language were a wire between test subjects’ brains.

GPS Systems Erode Part of the Brain

Three studies by McGill University researchers presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience showed that using GPS systems affects just how well our brains function as we age — particularly the hippocampus, which is linked to memory. There is a significant chance of hippocampus atrophy, a risk factor for cognitive problems in normal aging and in Alzheimer’s disease. The studies also suggest that using spatial memory may increase the function of the hippocampus and increase our quality of life as we age, which was based on the discovery that there was a greater volume of grey matter in the hippocampus of older adults who used spatial strategies.

Emotional Stress Can Cause Cancer

Scientists have discovered that everyday emotional stress is a trigger for the growth of tumors. They discovered that any sort of trauma, emotional or physical, can act as a pathway between cancerous mutations. The findings show for the first time that the conditions for developing the disease can be affected by your emotional environment including every day work and family stress.

Our state of mind affects our ability to heal

A new study published this year in the journal Diabetologia has found that one’s mental state of mind affects his or her ability to heal from an illness. People with diabetes who develop foot ulcers, for example, can stall proper healing of their condition because they become upset and depressed. The study evaluated diabetes patients on all levels of the depression spectrum and found that those with the worst depression were the least likely to heal quickly from their foot ulcers. This verifies the age-old concept of a person’s thoughts shaping his or her reality.

Nature Paradigm Shifts

Plants Have the Ability to Think and Remember

Scientists have discovered this year that plants transmit information about light intensity and quality from leaf to leaf in a very similar way to our own nervous systems. These “electro-chemical signals” are carried by cells that act as “nerves” of the plants. In an experiment, the scientists showed that light shone on to one leaf caused the whole plant to respond. The response, which took the form of light-induced chemical reactions in the leaves, continued in the dark. This showed, they said, that the plant “remembered” the information encoded in light.

Dolphins Use Diplomacy in Their Communication

Biologists have found that Burst-pulsed sounds are used in the life of bottlenose dolphins to socialize and maintain their position in the social hierarchy in order to prevent physical conflict, and this also represents a significant energy saving. According to the experts, the tonal whistle sounds (the most melodious ones) allow dolphins to stay in contact with each other (above all mothers and offspring), and to coordinate hunting strategies. The burst-pulsed sounds (which are more complex and varied than the whistles) are used “to avoid physical aggression in situations of high excitement, such as when they are competing for the same piece of food.

Astronomy & Physics Paradigm Shifts

Hidden Symmetry Observed for the First Time in Solid State Matter

Researchers have for the first time observed a nanoscale symmetry hidden in solid state matter. They have measured the signatures of a symmetry showing the same attributes as the golden ratio (~1.618) famous from art and architecture. On the atomic scale particles do not behave as we know it in the macro-atomic world. New properties emerge which are the result of an effect known as the Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle.

Light Has the Ability to Bend Matter

Light can twist matter, according to a new study that observed ribbons of nanoparticles twisting in response to light. Scientists knew matter can cause light to bend – prisms and glasses prove this easily enough. But the reverse phenomenon was not shown to occur until recently. The researchers assembled strings of nanoparticles, which are tiny clumps of matter on the scale of nanometers (one nanometer is one billionth of a meter). In a darkened lab, the scientists linked nanoparticles together into ribbons. At first the nano ribbons were flat, but when a light was shone on them, they curled up into spirals.

Quantum Teleportation Achieved Over 10 miles of Space

Scientists have recently had success teleporting information between photons over a free space distance of nearly ten miles, an unprecedented length. The researchers who have accomplished this feat note that this brings us closer to communicating information without needing a traditional signal, and that the ten miles they have reached could span the distance between the surface of the earth and space.

Astronomers Find First Evidence Of Other Universes

It was announced this year that scientists had found patterns of concentric circles in the cosmic microwave background, the echo of the Big Bang. This, they say, is exactly what you’d expect if the universe were eternally cyclical. By that, they mean that each cycle ends with a big bang that starts the next cycle. In this model, all previous universes are contained within the current one.

Another group says they’ve found something else in the echo of the Big Bang. Using the model called eternal inflation, the universe we see is merely a bubble in a much larger cosmos. This cosmos is filled with other bubbles, all of which are other universes where the laws of physics may be dramatically different to ours. These bubbles probably had a violent past, jostling together and leaving “cosmic bruises” where they touched. If so, these bruises ought to be visible today in the cosmic microwave background.

There are now researchers who say that they have found tentative evidence of this bruising in the form of circular patterns in cosmic microwave background. In fact, they’ve found four bruises, implying that our universe must have smashed into other bubbles at least four times in the past. This is an extraordinary result: the first evidence of universes beyond our own.

Archeology Paradigm Shifts

Neanderthal Genes Found in Modern Humans

Extinct human species such as Neanderthals may still be with us, at least in our DNA, and this may help explain why they disappeared from the fossil record around 30,000 years ago. An examination of the DNA of 1,983 people from around the globe suggests that extinct human species such as Homo neanderthalensis or Homo heidelbergensis interbred with our own ancestors during two separate periods, and their genes remain in our DNA today. The research was carried out by a group of genetic anthropologists from the University of New Mexico, and leader of the team, Jeffrey Long, said the findings mean Neanderthals did not completely disappear, but “there is a little bit of Neanderthal left over in almost all humans.”

Scientists Confirm Bosnian Pyramids Are Oldest Ones Known in the World

Pyramid experts from all over the world have confirmed the existence of the Bosnian pyramids. In addition, 90% of all these experts said that the the Bosnian pyramids are by far the world’s largest and oldest pyramids. There are five (5) pyramids in Bosnia and it is said that they are 12000-26000 years old. In 2010 UNESCO added the Bosnian pyramids into their World Heritage sites. UNESCO and the CIA are planning to make the Bosnian Pyramid Valley the world’s largest and most valuable historical monuments by 2012. The Bosnian Pyramid Vally consists of the five following pyramids:

  • Pyramid of Sun (world’s oldest and largest pyramid)
  • Pyramid of Moon (world’s second oldest and largest pyramid)
  • Pyramid of Love
  • Pyramid of Earth
  • Pyramid of Boson

Further examination of the artifacts uncovered at the pyramids has produced stunning results. It turns out that the megalithic blocks used to create the massive pyramid are 30,000+ years old.

A Newly-Discovered Species of Humans Interbred With Us

Scientists say an entirely separate type of human identified from bones in Siberia co-existed and interbred with our own species. The ancient humans have been dubbed “Denisovans” after the caves in Siberia where their remains were found. There is also evidence that this population was widespread in Eurasia. A study in Nature journal shows that Denisovans co-existed with Neanderthals and interbred with our species – perhaps around 50,000 years ago. According to the researchers, this provides confirmation there were at least four distinct types of human in existence when anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) are believed to first leave their African homeland.

Health & Wellness Paradigm Shifts

Fluoridated Water Causes Brain Damage in Children

A new study pre-published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives confirms that fluoridated water causes brain damage in children. The most recent among 23 others pertaining to fluoride and lowered IQ levels, the new study so strongly proves that fluoride is a dangerous, brain-destroying toxin that experts say it could be the one that finally ends water fluoridation. This is the 24th study that has found this association. Though there have been numerous studies over the years the identify fluoride as a neurotoxin, most mainstream medical professionals in the U.S. have ignored them and continue to support water fluoridation.

Coffee Does Not Make the Brain More Alert

Scientists found the so-called “caffeine high” is just a reaction to the body craving the drug. The research found that coffee lovers were no more awake than those who did not drink caffeine in the morning. In fact, the study of 379 people showed, regular coffee drinkers needed a hit of caffeine to bring them up to the same level of alertness as non-coffee drinkers. The study shows that we don’t gain an advantage from consuming caffeine.

Average Age of Girls Starting Puberty Falls Below 10

More and more girls are hitting puberty before the age of 10, while they are still at primary school, a Danish study has found. A study of 1,000 girls found that breast development now begins on average a year earlier than 20 years ago – around the age of nine years and ten months. The research underlines a long-term trend that has seen the average age at which girls start puberty falling sharply. In the 19th century it was around 15 – six years later than now. There are fears that early puberty could put girls at higher risk of breast cancer and heart disease because of the increased exposure to oestrogen.

Computer Games May Increase Brain Power and Cure PTSD

A study earlier in the year by Oxford University demonstrated that computer games could help treat traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and help remove the memory of trauma, if the same is played immediately after a stressful event. Previous research determined that video games can increase brain activity and create structural changes in the brain. Games that use puzzle skills and geometric problem solving have been shown to be the best to aid memory retention.

Overprotective and Neglectful Parents Slow Brain Growth in Children

Overprotective parents inhibit more than their kids’ freedom: they may also slow brain growth in an area linked to mental illness. A study conducted this year found that those with overprotective parents had less gray matter in a particular area of the prefrontal cortex than those who had had healthy relationships. Neglect from fathers, though not mothers, also correlated with less grey matter. Children whose parents are overprotective or neglectful are believed to be more susceptible to psychiatric disorders – which in turn are associated with defects in part of the prefrontal cortex.

Short Bursts of Exercise as Good as Hours of Training

The body can get as much benefit from a short but intensive bursts of exercise lasting ten minutes than it can from ten hours of moderate training. The technique not only takes less time but also involves much less physical effort. Researchers believe their findings “blow away” the belief that staying in shape is a time-consuming affair. The findings also meant that a lack of free time was no longer an excuse for refusing to exercise, the researchers said.

XFiles Weekend: The power of Evil

(Book: Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis, book II chapter 2, “The Invasion”)

C. S. Lewis continues his patricidal/fratricidal assault on classic dualism this week, and this time he’s got a really good argument. Not flawless, mind you, but clever and even a little surprising, at least for me. As before, his reasoning suffers significantly from his failure to consider any non-superstitious alternatives, but he proposes, or at least popularizes, a view of evil that many modern evangelicals still promote today, and so it’s worth taking a look at in the light of the real-world evidence.

One of the problems with popular Christianity is that Evil, as personified by the devil and his demons, tends to be more of a cartoon villain than a realistic opponent. By that I mean that Satan is envisioned as being someone who exults in evil for its own sake, wantonly sowing destruction and corruption for no better reason than to do as much evil as possible. Evil, described in such terms, is easy to communicate and popularize, but childishly one-dimensional and unrealistic.

Lewis, to his credit, recognizes this as a problem, and tries to take advantage of it.

If Dualism is true, then the bad Power must be a being who likes badness for its own sake. But in reality we have no experience of anyone liking badness just because it is bad. The nearest we can get to it is in cruelty. But in real life people are cruel for one of two reasons—either because they…have a sexual perversion which makes cruelty a cause of sensual pleasure to them, or else for the sake of something they are going to get out of it—money, or power, or safety.  But pleasure, money, power, and safety are all, as far as they go, good things.

Notice how Lewis gets things right here. He takes the superstitious notion (that evil is due to a supernatural Person), and measures the plausibility of that claim by comparing it to what we actually experience in reality. Bravo, Prof. Lewis! But look where he goes with it.

[W]ickedness, when you examine it, turns out to be the pursuit of some good in the wrong way. You can be good for the mere sake of goodness: you cannot be bad for the mere sake of badness… In other words, badness cannot succeed even in being bad in the same way in which goodness is good. Goodness is, so to speak, itself: badness is only spoiled goodness. And there must be something good first before it can be spoiled… you can explain the perverted from the normal, and cannot explain the normal from the perverted. It follows that this Bad Power, who is supposed to be on an equal footing with the Good Power, and to love badness in the same way as the Good Power loves goodness, is a mere bogy. In order to be bad he must have good things to want and then to pursue in the wrong way: he must have impulses which were originally good in order to be able to pervert them. But if he is bad he cannot supply himself either with good things to desire or with good impulses to pervert. He must be getting both from the Good Power.

Hence Lewis’ conclusion that Evil is not independent; it can only exist as a kind of moral parasite attached to a Good host. And many today echo that same claim (especially as it applies specifically to atheists).

I’ve got to admit, that’s actually a pretty clever refutation of dualism. Not flawless, like I said before, but very clever and even persuasive. It sounds so reasonable. A devil who loved being bad would be inconsistent, because love is good and hate is bad. The devil ought to hate being bad, because by definition he prefers bad actions (hating) to good ones (loving). But if he hates being bad, that’s good! Yikes!

This works as a refutation, not because dualism is less reasonable than monotheism (as we shall see shortly), but because dualism, like monotheism, is a superstition, an attempt to understand evil by imagining a supernatural Person behind it all. And that’s not what “evil” really is. The facts don’t fit the story because the story is not an accurate description of the facts.

Lewis tries to make Christianity sound like a superior alternative to dualism, but in doing so he creates new and even worse problems for himself. That’s partly because he’s not proceeding from a very sound foundation. For example, he’s assuming his conclusion that all things were originally good and remain good by default unless and until they are corrupted by the evil one. But would it not be more correct to say that most things (such as pleasure, money, power and safety) are morally neutral, and only become good or evil according to how they are used?

It’s just a slight change in viewpoint, yet it is crucial to Lewis’ argument, because once you admit the possibility of morally neutral things, it becomes possible that either Power could have created them for its own purposes, only to have them subsequently suborned by the other Power. At that point Lewis’ argument falls apart: the Evil Power no longer needs to depend, parasitically, on the Good Power for things He can put to evil purposes. We’re back to a pair of alleged deities, at least potentially equal in power.

He also assumes that the good things must have come first, and then the Evil One perverted them. That’s not necessarily a given. Let’s imagine, for example, a Klingon theologian, for whom Satan is the true and mighty God, and Jehovah the perverted parasite, whose goal is to take the strength and power of the True God and weaken it, burdening it with arbitrary constraints like mercy and comfort. By this sort of theology, it might very well be Lewis’ “evil” things which came first, and which were then turned into something contrary to the will of the True God. Could our Klingon theologian make the same argument as Lewis, only with the 2 gods reversed? Indeed he could, and it wouldn’t be all that difficult, given a harsher and less comfortable definition of “good.”

The bigger problem for Lewis, though, is that he proposes a kind of unequal dualism in which the Good Power and the Bad Power do both exist, but one is much stronger than the other. Think about it. Lewis is proposing that God must have come first, and then Satan came along and corrupted what God had done, because you can make a good thing into a perversion, but you can’t make a perversion into a good thing. In other words, the Evil Power has the ability to transform good things into evil, but the Good Power has no ability to turn evil things into good ones. Evil thus has more power than Good! Yikes again!

That’s not at all what Lewis wants to say, of course, but he’s committed to it regardless. Otherwise, if it were possible for God to take Satan’s evil creations, and turn them into good things, then Lewis’ whole argument falls apart yet again. He argues that “you can explain the perverted from the normal and cannot explain the normal from the perverted,” but how does he know which version is the “normal” one and which the perversion?

If God had the power to “pervert” Satan’s “normal” design for evil things, and turn them into good things, then it’s just as possible that evil is “normal” and that “good” exists only as the result of a parasitic God “perverting” Satan’s original creation. Lewis would be right back in the same problem he had last week: without a reality-based standard of right and wrong, there’s no non-tautological way to define which side is really the right one, and hence no way to prove which Power is the host, and which the parasite.

There are bigger and deeper issues here that Lewis does not even allude to. For example, Lewis claims that the Evil Power cannot provide himself with either good things to desire or good impulses to pervert, and therefore “must be getting both from the Good Power.” What’s more, Lewis proposes that, “To be bad, he must exist and have intelligence and will,” all of which, according to Lewis, are given to him by the Good Power. Yes, that’s right: it’s the “Good” Power that is secretly empowering and enabling the Evil one!

That’s a pretty corrupt “Good” Power, wouldn’t you say? Lewis wants to make a distinction between Zoroastrian-style dualism and Christian-style dualism, but the only way he can do that effectively is to make the Good Power ultimately responsible for the existence and activities of the Evil power. Doing so brings him a bit closer to the truth, but it’s a truth that contradicts the Christian premise of a God Who is purely good. Good and evil come from Alethea, from Reality itself, and not from any superstitiously invented supernatural powers. No matter how you distance Him from His Zoroastrian ancestry, the Christian God is still just a myth.

Lewis also has problems distinguishing between evil as a cause and evil as an effect. It’s all very well to speak of evil as being some good thing that was pursued “by the wrong method, or in the wrong way, or too much.” That doesn’t really account for the existence of evil, though, because if you were a perfect angel, created by God to be perfectly good, then why would you ever want to pervert good things in the first place? Lewis tries to belittle Satan as a mere corrupter of good things, but who corrupted Satan? To say he corrupted himself is to assume that he must have been evil first, so that he would want to corrupt himself. But if he was already evil, then the original question is still unanswered.

Nor does it help to introduce the idea that Satan was somehow flawed, and the flaw led to his downfall. To make that one work, Lewis must argue that flaws are somehow good, and/or that it is good for God to create flawed angels. Remember, evil is not really evil, it’s just something good pursued in the wrong way. That’s Lewis’ definition anyway, and it doesn’t really apply to flaws, so flaws must be good (or God must be evil).

But then, assuming Lewis’ definition of evil were correct, how would we explain the doctrine of eternal judgment? If you’re an omnipotent God, and you see one of your angels pursuing good things in an incorrect manner, what’s the point of becoming angry and creating a lake of fire? Just show them how to do it the right way, and then they can continue to pursue the good things. If You’ve created flawed angels, just correct the flaw. There’s no need to go all violent and everlasting on them.

Thus, Lewis invents an explanation of evil that works, for the nonce, as a refutation of classical dualism, but in the process he leaves God without a good reason for allowing evil to exist all. Not, of course, that God ever had a good reason. The superstitious account of Good and Evil never has gotten around that one sore point.

Reality provides us with both good things and bad things, and the better we understand the real world and the real source of good and evil, the better we’ll be able to maximize the good and minimize the bad. Christianity is of no help, and is indeed a rather malignant distraction, in the search for that better understanding, as Lewis demonstrates by wasting his cleverness trying to make one superstitious myth sound better than another.

The Transpersonal Nature of Consciousness

Humanity is now in a period where it faces several serious threats to its survival and conscious evolution. The disconnect that is experienced by many because of the stranglehold that the concept of money has on them is one of the primary drivers of this disconnect to the interconnected aspect of human consciousness. There is no effect without a cause. Everything affects everything else. There are connections among all manifestations of consciousness, whether it be the connection between the sun and the earth via magnetic portals or between people no matter how far apart they may be separated. A transpersonal connection is a non-local one. Something transpersonal transcends or reaches beyond the personal or individual. It deals with embracing all the aspects of ‘you’, facilitating the transformation of the personal you and allowing you to see the greater wholeness, not only of you, but of humanity and beyond.

The evidence for such a transpersonal reality, which comes in through many avenues such as anthropology, archeology, and laboratory studies, demonstrates the reality of transpersonal connections between individuals and entire cultures. While indigenous peoples and those who maintain a sense of connection with the earth and their environment still experience the transpersonal nature of consciousness firsthand, others are not as fortunate, given the wide array of activities, perceptions, and technologies that enforce the illusory veil of separateness. It can be said that modern society has lost access to transpersonal awareness but has not lost the ability to do so, which gives us enormous hope, both individually and collectively. Under the proper conditions though, most individuals are able to become aware of the somewhat vague but meaningful images, intuitions, and feelings that come to them from the environment and from others.

There are many interesting aspects of these transpersonal connections that we all share. Beyond the capability of being able to contact and communicate between the consciousness of one another, repeatable and measurable effects can be also be transmitted from the consciousness of one person to the body of another. In one particular piece of research that has demonstrated this reality, it was discovered that the thoughts of a healer (such as a shaman) are mimicked in the patient…almost as if they were both right next to each other, no matter how far apart they may be in reality. In nonlocality, distance is essentially meaningless. Mental images from the sender could travel through space to cause changes in the physiology of the receiver, wherever they may be. This can be described as being a telesomatic connection and has been verified by the most progressive scientific studies as being something very real.

Contrary to what may be perceived as being true by some, we can now understand what processes are underlying the nonlocal coherence of the human body and all forms of life, the quantum, and also the universe as a whole. A proposed theory by evolutionarily revolutionary thinker Dr. Ervin Laszlo uses something known as the Akashic Field, or A-Field for short, in order to explain how the transpersonal nature of consciousness is possible. It can explain the nonlocality of even the smallest measurable units of the multiverse as well as its largest manifestations therein. This A-Field can explain the coherence of living organisms and their coherence with the environment in which they live and evolve. It can also explain the coherence of the human brain (and it’s associated consciousness) in regard to the brain and consciousness of others…even the world as a whole. Lastly, it can explain why the physical parameters and configurations of the universe are so finely adjusted that consciousness can manifest itself into sentient living organisms and develop such advanced things as culture and philosophy.

By opening up our awareness to the reality of consciousness being transpersonal in nature, we can regain the access to the vast A-Field in which lie infinite possibilities. As demonstrated earlier, we can empower ourselves by using our thoughts to shape the reality around us and the reality of others. We can enhance the relational and connectedness feelings between each other. We can help others to realize the transpersonal reality of consciousness so that our collective future is a bright one. Each of us contains the information about the entire universe and all of existence, has potential experiential access to all its parts, and in a sense is the whole cosmic network, as much as he or she is just an infinitesimal part of it, a separate and insignificant biological entity. Lift the veil of separation and become aware of the reality that everything is connected and one. Do it for yourself, do it for humanity.

Reply to Col. Maxey

Via Ed Brayton’s blog comes this letter from Lt. Col. Stacy Maxey, as reported by guest blogger Chris Rodda.

Letters to the Editor, December 15, 2010So let me see if I understand this: The Defense Department is proposing to let people who choose to live a homosexual lifestyle serve “openly” in the armed forces (per the Dec. 2 article “DADT study group: Full integration is best”), but won’t allow Christians such as myself the freedom to “openly” share the good news of Christ with our co-workers — as the faith we’ve chosen requires?

DOD officials plan to tell servicemembers who have a problem with those living a homosexual lifestyle to “learn to deal with it,” but they are prepared to counsel and/or slap Christians with paperwork if someone feels “offended” by our witness? Wearing sexual lifestyle choices on your sleeve is OK, but not your faith?

Military chaplains who teach that homosexuality is antithetical to and incompatible with Christianity (which it is) can either muzzle their objections or “leave,” but gays will be permitted to parade their lifestyle choices in front of all?

Bottom line: So I’m free to express myself if I’m a homosexual, but not if I’m a Christian? What disgraceful hypocrisy.

Here’s the truth: I will continue to witness to who I want, when I want and where I want. My commitment to my God supersedes my commitment to the DOD and, if officials are upset about that, then I guess they can “learn to deal with it.”

Department of Defense? More like the Department of Double Standards.

Lt. Col. Stacy L. Maxey
Afghanistan

I feel like writing back to the good colonel and clarifying one or two matters about which there seems to be some confusion.

Dear Col. Maxey;

Regarding your letter of Dec. 15 to the Stars and Stripes, it seems you are offended by the double standard involved in repealing DADT. I’m sure you will be delighted to find out that a fair compromise is easily available that removes all of the issues of double standards between Christians and gays in the military. All we need to do is apply the same standard to both. With the repeal of DADT, the following will be possible:

  • If someone asks whether you are a Christian, you will not have to lie and say that you are not, just as gays will no longer have to lie when asked if they are gay.
  • If the military discovers that you are Christian, you will not automatically be discharged, just as gays will no longer face immediate discharge upon discovery that they are gay.
  • If you are seen openly participating in casual Christian activities, such as going to church or carrying a bible, you will not need to fear immediate exposure and discharge, just as gays who are seen associating with others of the same sex will not need to fear immediate exposure and discharge.
  • Any prayers, Bible studies, or other Christian activities which you engage in on your own time, in private, will not be any of the military’s business, just as it is none of the military’s business what homosexual soldiers do in private, on their own time.
  • If you have a fellow soldier or superior officer who is pressuring you to engage in homosexual activities against your will, you will have the same freedom to file a complaint as a gay soldier has to complain about a fellow soldier who is pressuring them to engage in Christian activities against their will.
  • If a superior officer unfairly penalizes you for failure to engage in homosexual activities, by giving you unfavorable performance reviews, withholding promotion, or giving you punitive work assignments, you will have the opportunity to apply for a redress of your grievances, just as gays will in the case of superior officers who penalize them similarly for failure to engage in Christian activities.
  • Military chaplains who advocate Christian conduct, as well as those who advocate homosexual conduct, will be free to speak as their conscience demands when conducting designated services where attendance is voluntary, but may face pressure, reprimands, or even discharge if they abuse their position to advocate Christianity or homosexuality among those who do not wish to participate in such exchanges.

Granted, you may be required by regulations (if not by ordinary courtesy and professionalism) to make certain concessions. For example, to promote team cohesion and unit effectiveness, you may not be allowed to single out certain members of your team for public humiliation and harassment just because they are gay. But even here, the same standard works the other way: your team members will be required not to single you out for public humiliation and harassment just because you are a bigot and/or have chosen a bigoted religion.

You are right: there have been some serious and injurious double standards in the military. I’m sure that with your interest in justice, fairness, and service, you will be delighted now that these double standards are being ended, and the samel rules applied equally to all service members.

Sincerely,

Deacon Duncan.

XFiles Weekend: Dueling with dualism

(Book: Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis, book II chapter 2, “The Invasion”)

According to C. S. Lewis, we have a problem.

What is the problem? A universe that contains much that is obviously bad and apparently meaningless, but containing creatures like ourselves who know that it is bad and meaningless.

In the real world, this is hardly a problem: meaning is inherent in the law of cause and effect, because it creates predictable (and therefore meaningful) connections between causes and effects. Likewise, meaning is inherent in the fact that truth is consistent with itself: the self-consistency creates relationships between truths, and these relationships are what we call “meaning”. Lewis’ problem is simply that he has a superstitious answer to sell, and therefore he needs to manufacture some sort of question he can respond to.

Predictably, he recognizes only two possible explanations for this “problem.” One is the Christian view that the world is a good creation gone bad, and the other is Dualism, “the belief that there are two equal and independent powers at the back of everything, one of them good and the other bad,” each one believing itself to be the “good” god. No non-superstitious explanations need apply, apparently. Everything has to be “explained” in terms of magical, invisible beings. Oh well.

It might be interesting, given Christianity’s ancestry, to explore the conflict between Lewis’ beliefs and classical dualism. Unfortunately, Lewis makes a very serious strategic mistake: he attacks dualism from the perspective of asking what makes the good deity good and the bad deity bad. In a way, it’s a natural extension of his rhetoric in book 1, but it’s a fatal error nonetheless.

Lewis praises dualism for being, in his words, “the manliest and most sensible creed on the market,” though he doesn’t explain why he thinks so. I presume it has something to do with the fact that Christianity is also dualistic, except for the part about the good deity and the bad deity being co-equal and co-eternal. So what’s not to like, eh? Here’s Lewis explaining what he sees as being “the catch.”

[W]hat do we mean when we call one of them the Good Power and the other the Bad Power? Either we are merely saying that we happen to prefer one to the other—like preferring beer to cider—or else we are saying that, whatever the two powers think about it, and whichever we humans, at the moment, happen to like, one of them is actually wrong, actually mistaken, in regarding itself as good. Now if we mean merely that we happen to prefer the first, then we must give up talking about good and evil at all. For good means what you ought to prefer quite regardless of what you happen to like at any given moment. If ‘being good’ meant simply joining the side you happen to fancy, for no real reason, then good would not deserve to be called good. So we must mean that one of the two powers is actually wrong and the other actually right.

But the moment you say that, you are putting into the universe a third thing in addition to the two Powers: some law or standard or rule of good which one of the powers conforms to and the other fails to conform to. But since the two powers are judged by this standard, then this standard, or the Being who made this standard, is farther back and higher up than either of them, and He will be the real God.

If you just experienced a loud bang, a sudden flickering light, and a noisy crash, that was C. S. Lewis shooting down his own Moral Law argument in flames. The strategic error Lewis made here is in attacking one of the many areas that dualism has in common with Christianity. In book 1, Lewis made the claim that the universe was created by a “good” God; here in book 2, he points out the flaw in that reasoning. Dualism’s “evil god” is irrelevant, because with or without a dualistic alternative, the crucial question remains: what does it mean to call God “good”?

Lewis points out the two ways we could answer this question. We could say that God simply chose whatever He preferred, for no particular reason, and called it “good” (and arbitrarily imposed that definition on us as well). Alternatively, we could say that “good means what [He] ought to prefer,” and therefore God demonstrated His goodness by defining “good” according to that standard.

In the first case, it is meaningless to call God “good,” because He’s just doing whatever He happens to fancy, for no real reason. In this case, His self-professed “goodness” is only an arbitrary, selfish, tyrannical “good,” with no true moral merit. On the other hand, as soon as you say God was only doing what He ought to do, you are putting into the Universe a power greater than God, a Being who made a standard that even God has to measure up to. That being would have to be the true God, and for Lewis’ Moral Law argument to work, He would have to be a good God as well. But what does it mean to call this new God “good”?

Such is the trap that superstition lays for the naive and shallow-minded. God cannot both be “good” in any meritorious sense of the word, and also be the Author of the standard of what “good” is. Either “good” is entirely arbitrary and up to whatever God’s whim is at the moment (in which case it doesn’t deserve to be called good), or else there is some greater power than God, and that greater power is setting standards that even God has to obey. But if that greater power is to be called “good” in any meaningful sense, then there must be an even greater power above that, and so on ad infinitum.

Lewis has dug himself into a hole he cannot dig himself out of, but there are actually two ways a more rationally-minded person could escape this dilemma. One is by acknowledging that Alethea must be the Ultimate God: Reality itself is the supreme power that imposes standards which even gods (lesser gods) must live up to, or fail. Alethea alone is the God Who can define both good and evil without Herself being altogether good or altogether evil.

Or if you prefer to address the issue in less mystical/mythic terms, you could just say that good is defined by the shared experiences of countless individuals interacting with one another and seeking a common approach that benefits everyone. There’s a certain Darwinian dynamic at work, because a moral principle only spreads when people see some sort of benefit in it, and that’s more likely to happen if the principle has some real, tangible benefit. Principles that benefit more people will spread to more people, whereas if a principle tends to harm more people than it helps, fewer people will want to adopt it, and more people will want to actively discourage it.

Thus a moral consensus will emerge that is neither “whatever we humans happen to like at the moment” nor some divine list of do’s and don’ts. It may be good and wise, or it may be tainted with superstition and cultural biases, but it won’t be a matter of individual/arbitrary preference nor will it be some universal Moral Law that applies equally to all men at all times in every circumstance. It’s a consensus based on common, real-world experiences, relentless, undirected, and inescapable. Some of us can influence it, but no one, not even Jesus, can control it.

That’s why not even God can be good unless He (or She) conforms to our accumulated “moral” experience of what’s really beneficial and what isn’t. The ancient slave-owning Israelites could have a “good” God who had no problem with slavery, but that’s because of their narrow and self-centered concept of “good,” which only took the slave owner’s benefit into account. After the Enlightenment and the rise of humanism, with its views on the equality of all men, a pro-slavery God could no longer be “good,” and God had to change. Reality, including the reality of human experience, is a God that even Jehovah must submit to.

It’s sad, really. Not only is C. S. Lewis smart enough to have the potential to see the flaws in his Moral Law argument, but here in this chapter he explicitly details one of them for us. He not only should know better, he does know better. And yet, because of his Christian faith, he has compartmentalized this information out of the way, isolating it from the things he wants to believe, and using it only as a criticism of a very similiar religious belief.

There’s just no way around it. Christianity does not make you less intelligent, but as Prof. Lewis demonstrates, it can prevent you from enjoying the benefits of a good mind. Truth is knocking at the door, but Jesus has thrown the bolt.

The Complementary Aspects of Mind and Matter

It is a recurring point made not only on Peace and Loveism, but in texts written thousands of years ago by sages and mystics who have realized, learned, and informed themselves about the fact that ‘all that is’, differs only in how consciousness, in its infinite nature thanks to its infinite Source, is manifested. Consciousness has always been. There is nowhere we can draw a line and declare everything below is devoid of consciousness whereas everything above has consciousness. In thinking about the grand scheme of things and the big picture, reason can demonstrate more credence to the natural application of universal truths in Reality. One such truth is that everything is consciousness, obtaining its individuality by manifesting in different configurations of dense and subtle energy. Instead of the mind emerging sometime down the timeline of evolution, mind has existed for all time, and before.

All aspects of reality (even the basic self-organized structures such as molecules) that exist have the capacity to ‘know’ and although it is very true that these lesser evolved expressions of consciousness have quite a basic form of knowing (they know to combine into cells), they still possess a degree of consciousness. When we look at cells we see that they know how to reproduce and fight off intruders that would harm them. When we look at plants we see that they know to turn towards the sun in order to receive sustaining energy. When we look at birds we see that they know they have to fly south in the winter in order to survive. Consciousness does not have to be on par with human awareness in order for it to exist within other manifestations of energy such as the ones just mentioned.

All that exists, from the smallest quanta to the most massive galaxy, has a degree of ‘materiality’ as well as ‘interiority’. Mind and matter are not separate distinct realities but rather complementary aspects. When we shift our position of awareness in order to realize this universal truth, we can much more easily understand the ‘big picture’ and experience a shift in consciousness. This shift streams into our mind when we see all things as being part of the whole…part of the Supermind of Reality. With the ability as human beings to be able to experience non-locality through deep meditation and entheogens, one can perceive and experience existence from any position of awareness. Try and experiment on your own to see this fantastic reality become an ingrained realization within your mind. You just might experience a paradigm shift of epic proportions.

XFiles Weekend: It’s all so simple!

(Book: Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis, book II chapter 2, “The Invasion”)

When I was young, I happened to encounter a layman’s version of Occam’s Razor, which told me that, other things being equal, the simpler explanation was more likely to be correct. I was skeptical at first. It seemed too good to be true, like some kind of magic was going on to make life easier for humans to understand. And how could the blind forces of nature know what a human would or would not find easier to understand?

The answer, of course, is that the forces of nature don’t know. Nevertheless, the Razor is right, because the difference between truth and falsehood is that truth is consistent with itself, whereas falsehood is not consistent with the truth. Any false explanation will therefore produce further inconsistencies that require additional explanation, thus making the false explanation inevitably more complicated than the true one. Q. E. D.

The catch is that the Razor is a tool for making comparisons between two competing explanations, not a tool for assessing the validity of one explanation taken in isolation. In this week’s installment of Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis takes two approaches to try and dull the edge of the Razor: he uses last week’s rationalization to arbitrarily dismiss atheism in toto so that we have no alternatives to choose from, and he then argues that it’s not wrong for a religion to be, in his words, “complicated.”

Last week, you may recall, he claimed that atheism was “too simple” because it failed to explain where justice came from. Or rather, he tried to make that claim—his argument started to fall apart the farther he got, and he ended up appealing to the superstitious idea that “meaning” must be created by some kind of god. But whatever. Atheism is “too simple,” and we’ll just have to take his word for it.

Meanwhile, let me share with you some writing that is really quite good.

[R]eal things are not so simple. They look simple, but they are not. The table I am sitting at looks simple: but ask a scientist to tell you what it is really made of—all about the atoms and how the light waves rebound from them and hit my eye and what they do to the optic nerve and what it does to my brain—and, of course, you find that what we call ‘seeing a table’ lands you in mysteries and complications which you can hardly get to the end of… If we ask for something more than simplicity, it is silly then to complain that the something more is not simple.

Marvelously clear thinking from Prof. Lewis, and it’s too bad he didn’t put this at the front of his book instead of trying to reduce morality to a simple list of rules that people are just supposed to follow no matter what. But alas, while I can praise the clear thinking that Lewis put into the above discussion, I can’t praise his application of it, because the only reason he brings it up is to dismiss the concept of “simple religion.”

[A]nother view that is also too simple…is the view I call Christianity-and-water, the view which simply says there is a good God in Heaven and everything is all right—leaving out all the difficult and terrible doctrines about sin and hell and the devil, and the redemption…

A child saying a child’s prayer looks simple. And if you are content to stop there, well and good. But if you are not—and the modern world usually is not—if you want to go on and ask what is really happening—then you must be prepared for something difficult.

The problem with Christianity is not so much that it is complex, but rather that it embodies the accumulated inconsistencies and contradictions of literally millennia of myth-building. Mix a tribal blood-sacrifice cult with Zoroastrian monotheistic dualism and a mish-mosh of pagan ideas about the afterlife, and you end up with a God Who loves us enough to become one of us and die for us, and yet Who finds associating with us so distasteful and onerous that it’s presumptuous to even notice His failure to show up in person in our lives. And that’s just the first sip of an ocean of Christian “difficulties.”

Lewis tries to brush off this problem by painting critics (and liberal believers) as silly critics who are trying to make Christianity too simple. In fact, he takes it even further. In a passage that must surely be quoted in the Fox Employee Handbook, he writes:

Very often, however, this silly procedure is adopted by people who are not silly, but who, consciously or unconsciously, want to destroy Christianity.

OMG, it’s a conspiracy! Having read the first part of Mere Christianity, I’m almost tempted to call that a confession, because Lewis is certainly insisting that Christian morality requires a much simpler explanation than the real-world is willing to support. But perhaps “projection” would be a better word than confession. Lewis doesn’t come right out and admit that he’s sinning against the truth, but he has no trouble charging others with his own tactics. For example, here’s how he describes people who object to the inconsistencies (or “difficulties” as he calls them) in Christian teaching.

You must be on your guard against these people for they will change their ground every minute and only waste your time.

Yo, dude, I so have been there. (Hi, cl! :) )

Unconscious irony also abounds. Having railed against those who expect simplicity in a world where the truth is more complicated, it turns out that it’s really very simple, after all, to know that that Christianity is true. Yeah, really. Reality itself tells us.

Besides being complicated, reality, in my experience, is usually odd. It is not neat, not obvious, not what you expect…

Reality, in fact, is usually something you could not have guessed. That is one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It is a religion you could not have guessed.

Quick, out of Mormonism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Rastafarianism, Pastafarianism, Scientology, and Fred Phelps’ church, which of them is the religion you would have guessed? Amazing, isn’t it, how only one religion is actually false, and all the rest are true? I would never have guessed that this was the truth about religion. Hey, that means that must be true too! I would never have guessed it would all be so simple…

What Lewis is doing here, of course, is trying to create at least a feeling of having addressed (sorta) the inescapable “difficulties” that arise when you try to treat Christianity like it was the truth about the real world. Christianity is never the simplest explanation, and thus by a trivial application of Occam’s Razor it is an obvious falsehood. To rationalize his refusal to accept this conclusion, Lewis first isolates Christianity from its most potent competitor (atheism), and then attempts to downplay the value of simplicity in determining which explanation is more likely to be true.

Lewis is superficially correct in stating that reality is often more complicated rather than less. Where he fails to be intellectually honest is in treating simplicity as an issue to be addressed in a vacuum, rather than as a criterion for comparing two competing explanations. Rationalization has an infinite capacity for extending the complexity of the “explanation” as each new falsehood introduces new inconsistencies that require additional explanation. It’s no good claiming “reality is complicated” as an excuse for preferring a rationalization over the simpler, self-consistent truth.

But Prof. Lewis is damn well gonna try, even if—despite everything he has just said—his attempt requires oversimplifying the problem and artificially excluding reasonable alternative explanations. Stay tuned.

Notice: Peace and Loveism Censored in China

We would like to take a moment and address a sad reality, as the situation currently stands. The Chinese government, through the use of their nationwide firewall, has censored Peace and Loveism by effectively banning access by anyone within the country of China, minus Hong Kong which has its own laws thanks to it being a Special Administrative Region. In case anyone does not know, The Golden Shield Project (the Great Firewall of China) is owned by the Government of China (MPS) and was started in 1998. The firewall system blocks website content by preventing IP addresses from being routed through and consists of standard firewall and proxy servers at the Internet gateways of China’s ISPs. Pictured below are the results of tests we have conducted to determine our suspicions that this form of censorship is indeed occurring.

The way we found out that this was occurring was that we had noticed a slight drop in our traffic that was large enough to become noticeable and affect our global traffic rank on Alexa from around 1,100,000 to 1,600,000 currently. It must be noted however, that Alexa is known to be incorrect with its traffic rankings, and this is just one indicator of many that we look at. It actually is contrary to the site traffic we actually are receiving this month, which is increasing rather than decreasing, so we are slightly confused as to what is going on (perhaps Alexa has changed how they are ranking sites and as a result our ranking with them has fallen). We have also noticed in our internal logs that visits from China have completely vanished within the past few weeks whereas visitors from all other countries have been unaffected. Although we are a bit saddened that this has occurred, we are more disappointed in the Chinese government for censoring a website that is centered and focused on Peace and Love…it’s even in the very name of our website/organization! If you live in China, which is a 1,000,000,000+ person market, you cannot access this website. That is quite a market share of potential visitors and we are really disappointed in the Chinese government (minus Hong Kong) at banning a website that promotes things that revolve around the self-growth of the individual…are these such radical thoughts for a person in China to read about? Apparently they are. Around 1 in 6 people on Earth lives in China. This means that over a billion individuals on this planet cannot visit Peace and Loveism.

We do wish that there was a means to change the situation but China has something that other countries do not have…a nationwide firewall that makes it difficult to reach out to this website and others censored by the Chinese government unless one hacks their way through it. We will continue to follow our vision, mission, and goals regardless of this but we will look into ways in which the people of China will be able to access the information and material on Peace and Loveism, since self-growth and information pertaining to it is something everyone should have open access to. We wish to thank all our supporters and those who believe in the creation of a global shift in consciousness, since without such a shift, our future will not be a desirable one.

Update: We have found out that China has been recently blocking access to foreign media and has intensified a crackdown on activists because of a Nobel Prize given to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. Whether this incident is related to this development in China is uncertain, but it is definitely a point of interest.

Update 2: Thanks for a generous donation from somebody that believes in the manifestations of our goals, we have been able to purchased a dedicated server for Peace and Loveism and as a result have recovered the 1.5 billion person Chinese market and we are seeing the positive results already.