If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out through writing, or sing in writing, then don't write, because our culture has no use for it.

Anais Nin

Tuesday, November 30, 2010




From the Associated Press:

Interpol has placed the Australian-born founder of WikiLeaks on its most-wanted list after Sweden issued an arrest warrant against him as part of a drawn-out rape investigation.
The Lyon, France-based international police organization has issued a "red notice" for 39-year-old Julian Assange, the equivalent of putting him on its most-wanted list.
The issuance by Interpol was expected after a Swedish court in mid-November approved a motion to have Assange brought in for questioning. The notice, posted on Interpol's site Tuesday, is likely to make international travel more difficult for him.
Assange, whose whereabouts are unknown, is suspected of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion. He has denied the allegations, which stem from his encounters with two women during a visit to Sweden in August.

In October 2010 Julian Assange won the Sam Adams Award for Integrity. He has also been awarded the 2009 Amnesty International Media Award and the Economist Index on Censorship Award in 2008. It is important to remember that accolades such as these do not come without tremendous hard work.

The expose of the Afghan War Diaries was a moment of media history, orchestrated by Julian Assange. He brought together The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel, three of the world’s most reputable newspapers to collaborate with WikiLeaks on exposing more than 90 000 secret significant action reports by the United States relating to the war in Afghanistan. This involved a huge amount of administration in order to co-ordinate all four media partners’ publishing schedules and a lot of time to carefully construct the levels of trust needed to bring together three major newspapers who were also competitors.

Since 2007 Julian, WikiLeaks and the Sunshine Press have been behind international front page stories that have changed the world. However, every story exposing abuses by powerful organizations, whether they be from New York or Nairobi results in a counter attack. Such the importance and veracity of revelations must be defended. Immediately after the Afghan War Diaries he conducted seventy-six interviews in three days maximizing the impact of the disclosures. It is very important for WikiLeaks to create a global platform with which to reach all corners of the earth. This demonstrates to those who wish to expose wrongdoing and misconduct that there is a way to do so without putting themselves at risk. He remains a messenger who big governments and their agencies can, and constantly do, attack while all the time keeping the source of the information published safe.

Because of the nature of the work performed by WikiLeaks both the organization and Julian Assange are constantly under attack. Their servers are under attack. Their security is under attack and their work resources and finances are under attack. This results in a lot of time-consuming administration and means working through a lot of bureaucratic steps to re-establish the efficient running of an organisation. When finances are frozen, as was the case with Money Brokers Limited in August this year (the WikiLeaks account was closed because of “watchlisting” by the US after publication of the Afghanistan documents) it resulted in many letters back and forth, instructing a legal team to administer the situation and still to date there has been no resolution. In just the last 14 days he has met with more than 9 lawyers (excluding Swedish lawyers) in in defense of WikiLeaks’ publishing activities, agreements and sources. Similarly, Julian Assange is subject to these sorts of attacks on a personal level.

He and WikiLeaks both have been attacked in the media by Leon Panetta, Director of the CIA, Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and highest ranking officer in the US and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates not to mention the well recognized media personalities such as Marc A. Thiessen, a former bush administration chief speech writer and currently a Washington Post columnist who wrote “Assange is a non-U.S. citizen operating outside the territory of the United States. This means the government has a wide range of options for dealing with him.” Christian Whiton, a Fox News contributor, said “WikiLeaks should be declared ‘enemy combatants’,” indicating they should be dealt with outside the law and Jonah Goldberg, a conservative syndicated columnist asked “why wasn’t Julian Assange garroted in his hotel room years ago?”

Attacks such as these create an extreme need for security and he must always be conscious and personally vigilant – a task that is both time consuming and mentally exhausting. The major government players such as the CIA and the Pentagon do not stop at just Julian but also target many WikiLeaks volunteers or associates. Two volunteers and an American WikiLeaks spokesperson have been detained and questioned in the United States along with other individuals alleged to be participant to his publishing activities such as Bradley Manning, an alleged source who is being held as a political prisoner in the United States. Mr Manning’s mother’s house in Wales was raided by the FBI together with local police earlier this year.

The result is a constant need for legal and political support and managing this from afar and throughout many continents is no small task. Furthermore Julian Assange does not take these matters lightly having been privy to bad experiences in the past – while working on the extra judicial assassinations taking place in Kenya, two WikiLeaks’ affiliates being assassinated.

Since the false allegations made about him in Sweden this August Julian has also needed to work extremely hard at ensuring the smear campaign launched against him has not affected the WikiLeaks brand. Making many public appearances and conducting interviews is absolutely necessary not to mention maintaining relationships with media partners who are so easily affected by such events.

In spite of the attacks against him, Wikileaks successfully released the Iraq War Logs in late October – a cache of over 400 000 US military intelligence reports relating to the war in Iraq. Due to the false allegations mentioned above the management of this leak was extremely difficult. However, he successfully made new lasting relationships and expanded the media partners to include Al Jazeera, Le Monde, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, SVT and also brought in Public Interest Lawyers and NGOs such as Iraq Body Count. The documents’ release was increased to television as well as print media with two full-length documentaries being commissioned.

Julian Assange also readily offers to speak at many public events; especially those he feels will have a resonating effect on people’s rights and liberties, ideals he holds close to his heart. Recently he presented at the United Nations Universal Periodic Review against the United States in Geneva where he offered up evidence from the Iraq War logs of the human right abuses such as the 109 000 deaths, 185 000 casualties, 66 000 civilian deaths and countless cases of torture conducted by America. The speech he gave lasted over two hours alone and the preparation for such an event is mammoth. During his stay in Geneva the Swiss government was so fearful for his personal security that they offered two International Police and two Swiss Police as his bodyguards for the duration, yet another indication of the severity of the danger he encounters on a daily basis. In late September he spoke in London for Index on Censorship regarding Security and censorship in the age of WikiLeaks.

And now they move to assassinate his character, and the timing is more than suspicious, it is obvious as hell. That they allowed the charges to remain latent for a month or more is fair evidence of their lack of veracity. They just happen to be compelling enough, now that Wikileaks is dumping incriminating evidence on the better part of the world’s governments.

Defy this attempt to silence the truth.


And now for something sublime

It is cruel, you know, that music should be so beautiful. It has the beauty of loneliness of pain: of strength and freedom. The beauty of disappointment and never-satisfied love. The cruel beauty of nature and everlasting beauty of monotony. Benjamin Britten

Culture is a weapon I sometimes wield at my heart.
The point I make with the title of my blog is that our human constructs cause us to judge our natural proclivities and those of others, and can bring to bear manifest maladaption.

It's also given us great beauty.

Selections from the Brandeburg Concertos, by J. S. Bach

Sunday, November 28, 2010

"Defamation of Religions Resolution" UN to vote in December on latest anti-blasphemy law

A resolution combating the "vilification of religions" was adopted Tuesday by a United Nations committee. The resolution by Islamic countries is scheduled to be considered by the U.N. General Assembly in December.

There was a time not long ago that I would have voiced support for those defending the burqa. With a new proximity to modern-day theocratic state regression, along with help from a good friend experienced in dealing with the very real consequences of Islam's cruel doctrines, Neurilemma, it has become increasingly apparent how little we can afford the rampant political correctness that clears the way for the perpetuation of cultural enslavement.

Atheists stateside are being accused of misrepresenting Islam as well. The American Humanist Association  has begun a holiday season campaign to raise awareness of dangers of religion as well as the prevalence and ethical fidelity of secular view points. (click here for full press release )

A national multimedia ad campaign – the largest, most extensive ever by a godless organization - launches today and will include a spot on NBC Dateline on Friday, November 12, as well as other television ads, that directly challenge biblical morality and fundamentalist Christianity.  The campaign, sponsored by the American Humanist Association, also features ads in major national and regional newspapers and magazines demonstrating that secular humanist values are consistent with mainstream America and that fundamentalist religion has no right to claim the moral high ground.
“Scholars” defending faith have objected to what they consider a misrepresentation of contemporary religious belief, offering nuance to excuse the obvious violence of their doctrines.
For example,  the humanists quote a verse in the Koran that has been used by Islamic extremists to justify terrorism against the West:
"I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every finger."

Dr. Juhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, says, "It's key to separate history from religion."
The verse the Humanists use, he says, refers to a battle in 632 A.D.
(take our pick? 632: Battles of Zu Qissa and Abraq. Battles of Buzakha, Zafar and Naqra. Campaigns against Bani Tamim and Musailima, the "Liar.")
"Yes, maybe God said that," Jasser says, but "terror is better translated as fear."   ?
"Clearly Islam is not a passive religion, but humanists are exploiting religious scripture that looks at a 7th century just war, and [trying] to use it to portray all religions as bad."
Humanists are using your text, Doctor! They are misrepresenting nothing, simply parroting verbatim that which you claim to believe and which has been employed to poison minds and justify brutal violence.

Christian author and pastor Dr. Timothy Keller says modern people should exercise a little "cultural humility" when reading the Bible and all ancient texts. 
He says people need to understand that there are words, idioms, metaphors and cultural norms in the ancient world that offend many people today, and that many of our modes of language today would be difficult to comprehend centuries from now.
Keller also points out that there's a difference in the Bible between what is descriptive and what is proscriptive, meaning what the Bible describes as happening, did happen, could happen or will happen is different from what God is actually condoning or commanding. The problem here is that the text provides no standard for making these distinctions, and many of the prescriptive statutes are as divorced from reality as those claimed to be descriptive or metaphorical—they are simply less of a political liability. The bodily resurrection of Jesus is a biological and historical absurdity, yet this doctrine is central to Christian belief. To decry the belief system is a perfectly rational act, not slander or misunderstanding.

Defamation of religion is an issue that has been repeatedly addressed by the United Nations since 1999. Several non-binding resolutions have actually been voted on and accepted by the UN condemning "defamation of religion," (an impossible slander.)

The motions, sponsored on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, aim to prohibit expression that would, "fuel discrimination, extremism and misperception leading to polarization and fragmentation with dangerous unintended and unforeseen consequences."

What circumstances are these? What language do they find so assaultive, and find justification to ban under international edict? This body is a PR firm for Islamic states, a lobby that attempts make acceptable the patently oppressive.

And yet now my new home, Britain, is continuing the tradition of accommodation.

In their second meeting in six months, Ihsanoglu and Warsi discussed opportunities for deepening UK-OIC relations. In addition, Baroness Warsi expressed her firm support for the recent agreement between the UK's Department of International Development and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to send a secondment from DFID to the IDB, which was announced during Secretary of State Andrew Mitchell's visit last month.

Islamic states have expressed concerns that Islam is sometimes associated with terrorism and human rights violations, especially after the attack on the twin towers, and argue that the resolutions are necessary to combat Islamophobia.

These resolutions amount to blaspemy laws, which are already exploited throughout the Muslim world. Blasphemy laws in Pakistan have often been abused by Muslims who use them as tools of revenge against Christians and other minorities in disputes over land and other matters. No evidence is needed to accuse someone of blasphemy and have them arrested.
Ruqqiya Bibi and her husband Munir Masih were sentenced on 3 March to 25 years imprisonment under Section 295-B of the Pakistan Penal Code for defiling the Quran. They were arrested by Mustafabad police in December 2008 for touching Islam's sacred scripture without ritually washing. Punishment for defiling the Quran is 'life imprisonment', which means 25 years in Pakistan.
The couple were accused of using the Quran for black magic and that in the process Ruqqiya touched the Quran without ritual cleansing. They were also accused of writing the creed of Islam on the walls of their house. The couple's lawyer said the accusation arose from an argument between Muslim and Christian children which turned into a clash between their parents.
Source: Compass Direct News
In Karachi, the Additional District and Sessions Court on 25 February 2010 sentenced Qamar David to 25 years in prison and fined him 100,000 rupees (GBP £1,400) after he was convicted without basis of sending blasphemous text messages in May 2006.

David was convicted under Section 295-A of the blasphemy statutes for "injuring religious feelings of any community", and also under Section 295-C for derogatory remarks against Muhammad. Maximum punishment for violation of Section 295-A is life imprisonment, and for Section 295-C the maximum punishment is death, though life imprisonment is also possible. David received the sentence of life in prison.

His lawyer, Pervaiz Aslam Chaudhry, told Compass that the conviction was without basis as all 16 witnesses at the trial testified that it was not David but the owner of the cell phone, (who is also the subscriber to the SIM card through which they received the blasphemous messages),who was guilty. The SIM card and the cell phone are owned by a Muslim, Munawar Ahmad, who was named with David, said the lawyer.  Ahmad was cleared of all charges despite the evidence against him.

Compass Direct News

Mohammed, by Gustave Dore
Dante's La Divina Commedia

The response of the US delegation is uncharacteristically appropriate:

John F. Sammis
United States Deputy Representative to ECOSOC
U.S. Mission to the United Nations

New York, NY

November 23, 2010


Thank you Mr. Chairman,

as we have done in the past, the United States will be voting against this resolution on “defamation of religions.”

For some time, the United States has participated in a variety of discussions with many delegations about this resolution, in an effort to find concrete cross-regional solutions to the core problems we believe this resolution springs from - religious intolerance and hatred. We share with the sponsors a deep concern about the proliferation of discrimination, and the targeting of individuals based on their religion.

Our goal has always been to find common ground sufficient to overcome our differences and negotiate a resolution that could be adopted by consensus – thus strengthening the voice and power of this resolution. As President Obama said recently in Jakarta, we can either "choose to be defined by our differences, and give in to a future of suspicion and mistrust. Or we can choose to do the hard work of forging common ground, and commit ourselves to the steady pursuit of progress. [And t]he United States is committed to human progress."

In this vein, we appreciate that Morocco and others in the OIC have made changes to the resolution. There has been some openness to discuss our views with key parties to this negotiation, which is a very welcome and positive development, considering our serious concerns with the approach this resolution takes each year. However we are disappointed to see that despite our efforts and discussions on this resolution, the text once again seems to take us farther apart, rather than helping to bridge the historical divides.

Most importantly, the resolution still seeks to curtail and penalize speech. The changes that have been made from the original tabled version, while representing an important gesture, unfortunately do not get the heart of our concerns - the text's negative implications for both freedom of religion and freedom of expression. For example, the resolution continues to request that governments prohibit or punish offensive speech, including creating laws to do so. It also continues to refer to the problematic defamation concept, excludes many religions or belief systems, and equates defamation to a human rights violation or incitement. Additionally, as we have discussed in this year’s negotiations, human rights are held by individuals - not by governments, institutions, or religions – and language in the resolution that addresses human rights should reflect this.

We look forward to continuing to work with the OIC and all delegations to find an action oriented approach that can inclusively combat religious intolerance, while not penalizing those who exercise the freedoms of speech or religion, keeping in mind that such a consensus must be forged not through negotiations within one group, but through negotiations among groups. Such talks will take time, and demand patience and understanding on all sides. In the meantime, we will continue to cast our vote – and encourage others to do the same - against a resolution that can be used to justify the infringement of human rights under the guise of promoting human rights.

That about says it.
This resolution is not about protecting speech, nor have been any which penalize criticism of an idea.

My good friend Tauriq Moosa addresses this issue with wonderful insight.

"Spontaneous Evolution" Maybe one day, but still just not real. More not science.

I was writing and playing with picasa web albums some, and came across the site for Dr. Bruce Lipton's latest book, Spontaneous Evolution. I also wrote these words on this cat picture. You can do unicorn stickers and stuff too.

Something is certainy ridiculous. Read on:

From the website of Dr. Bruce Lipton, advertising his new book.

Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future and a Way to Get There from Here
by Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D., Steve Bhaerman

We’ve all heard stories of people who’ve experienced seemingly miraculous recoveries from illness, but can the same thing happen for our world? According to pioneering biologist Bruce H. Lipton, it’s not only possible, it’s already occurring.
In Spontaneous Evolution, this world-renowned expert in the emerging science of epigenetics reveals how our changing understanding of biology will help us navigate this turbulent period in our planet’s history and how each of us can participate in this global shift
By questioning the old beliefs that got us to where we are today and keep us stuck in the status quo, we can trigger the spontaneous evolution of our species that will usher in a brighter future.
It begins like a fable, with an advertisement wedged at the end. The classic self-help mantra, I suppose. From “I’m ok, you’re ok” to “breaking the bonds of biology,” there have been such  slogans, some more propagandist, some less, as long as there has been straight to consumer marketing of unreviewed—heavy on the quotation marks—“science.”

(I will not mention snake-oil, or use the word carpet-bagger. That would be a shameful ad hominem)

We now have enough information to know that we are under threat of cataclysm, and we’ve been invited to a revelation.

By questioning the old beliefs that got us to where we are today and keep us stuck in the status quo, we can trigger the spontaneous evolution of our species that will usher in a brighter future.

Well. This is just a lie. But it’s also not a questioning of the status quo--the practice of scientific research is really not that emotional, or it certainly isn’t supposed to be. Don't get me wrong--the experience of discovery is often justifiably ecstactic. I love it for the moments of “finally the nerds win.” When they send a signal that navigates a satellite with a nudge of acceleration-from a distance of 8.8 AU (around 800,000,000 miles), it’s fine if they crack open some bubbly and all kiss. The “family portrait” of our inner solar system that gave Sagan his pale blue dot , which we attained in the act of utilising the gravity of Saturn to change the trajectory of the craft to it’s course through the distant gas giant twins and the has-been and sometime superlative outlander, to finally overtake Pioneer 1 in 1998 (at around 66. AU’s distance.) is cause for celebration.

It’s a lie because the causation is never included, he never follows through, Dr. Lipton fails to discuss it. The expanded description is epically large for its actual content.

Infused with intelligence and wit, Spontaneous Evolution is an insightful, playful, and ultimately hopeful look at the unfolding destiny of our species-and how you can play an active role in birthing the evolution of humanity.

Dr. Bruce Lipton is an internationally recognized leader in bridging science and spirit. He has been a guest speaker on hundreds of TV and radio shows, as well as keynote presenter for national and international conferences.

Dr. Lipton began his scientific career as a cell biologist. He received his Ph.D. Degree from the University of Virginia at Charlottesville before joining the Department of Anatomy at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine in 1973. Dr. Lipton’s research on muscular dystrophy, studies employing cloned human stem cells, focused upon the molecular mechanisms controlling cell behavior. An experimental tissue transplantation technique developed by Dr. Lipton and colleague Dr. Ed Schultz and published in the journal Science was subsequently employed as a novel form of human genetic engineering.

In 1982, Dr. Lipton began examining the principles of quantum physics and how they might be integrated into his understanding of the cell’s information processing systems. He produced breakthrough studies on the cell membrane, which revealed that this outer layer of the cell was an organic homologue of a computer chip, the cell’s equivalent of a brain. His research at Stanford University’s School of Medicine, between 1987 and 1992, revealed that the environment, operating though the membrane, controlled the behavior and physiology of the cell, turning genes on and off. His discoveries, which ran counter to the established scientific view that life is controlled by the genes, presaged one of today’s most important fields of study, the science of epigenetics. Two major scientific publications derived from these studies defined the molecular pathways connecting the mind and body. Many subsequent papers by other researchers have since validated his concepts and ideas.

Dr. Lipton’s novel scientific approach transformed his personal life as well. His deepened understanding of cell biology highlighted the mechanisms by which the mind controls bodily functions, and implied the existence of an immortal spirit. He applied this science to his personal biology, and discovered that his physical well-being improved, and the quality and character of his daily life was greatly enhanced.

Dr. Lipton has taken his award-winning medical school lectures to the public and is currently a sought after keynote speaker and workshop presenter. He lectures to conventional and complementary medical professionals and lay audiences about leading-edge science and how it dovetails with mind-body medicine and spiritual principles. He has been heartened by anecdotal reports from hundreds of former audience members who have improved their spiritual, physical and mental well being by applying the principles he discusses in his lectures. He is regarded as one of the leading voices of the new biology. Dr Lipton’s work summarizing his findings, entitled The Biology of Belief. 
It is a list of qualifications, and it is not shabby in that regard (which makes it all the more tragic--the man must know what what he is doing). He’s not an MD, but he has an impressive resume of involvement with innovation and legitimate academic employment with no record of “heresy” therein (notice it’s only a religious bent that has one condemning SPEECH as evil). However, he is practicing medicine, without a license. He is telling people that they can be cured by their will of pernicious pathologies. He discredits himself by claiming the title of ferryman, with the manipulative conceit of "bridging science and spirit."
There is no such field.
There is philosophical language for science, to be sure, but this transcendental grandstanding is a theology. It's a good thing biology has far fewer dramatically metaphoric purveyors than physics.

I first encountered Lipton when good friend Tauriq Moosa, writer for 3 Quarks Daily and other widely read rational humanist blogs, shared aan article with me concerning the publication in a Swedish journal of the work of two slightly less eschatological researchers in the field of epigenetics. In the insuing research on the pop perception of this budding science, I encountered Lipton. I was appalled, and addressed the scientific impotence of his claims:

Dr. Lipton describes in the opening of Where Mind and Matter Meet three primary mistakes that his “New Edge” approach to biology and health can correct towards a healthier, smilier future: the retention of a Newtonian concept of physics, adherence to a gene determined expression of phenotype, and the Darwinian paradigm as a whole in favor of Lamarck.

First, let us contend with those three “mistakes,” starting with the Newtonian anachronism. The cry of quantum revolution, liberation a la Heisenberg and Copenhagen, was an inane and abrasive bugling to my ears long before I heard it invoked here by Lipton.
The reality is, Dr. Lipton never involves quantum physics by invoking more than its name as authority, as with his allusive discussion of epigenetics. He mentions the very complex and long known functions of formative genetics such as methylation and chromatin formation. We are learning much more, and seeing with more clarity the immense influence, of extra- or epigenetic influences in many processes, but we have not found an "immortal soul," we shall not with well wishes untie the Gordian coil.

again, from my earlier post

At conception the human is little more than DNA. A zygote acquires all of its formative physical material from without, first through the placenta and after birth through the consumption of resources, mostly in food or drink, but we are increasingly seeing the effect on our systems which our dispositions influence. Oxytocin, serotonin, adrenal hormones, and all manner of endocrine hormones in interplay with our emotional affect are being described with more and more detail, to the level of a dendrite. A continual augmentation of our knowledge in this regard will certainly expand our ability to treat and prevent human disease, and all ethical investigation of both epigenetic and genetic influence ought to be encouraged

I’m not arguing against the fervent investigation of any new or newly realized modality of treatment.
But Dr. Lipton, qualified scientist that I believe he is, is not an ethical practicioner.. He is not a rebel against the “status quo,” he is an opportunist. At $25 dollars a book, it pays to promise much, and deliver little. Why would the greater body of science not wish to prophet, I mean profit, by this.
You may buy the book if you wish, but there are good reasons we don’t allow people to practice medicine without a license.

If you are a researcher, practicioner, journalist, or avid non-professional interested in improving science and denouncing charlatans, the brilliant Emma (Neurilemma) and brilliant Barrett Brown may have some thing for you. For more information on the Science Journalism Improvement Project, email Emma or Barret with a short list of interests. Be glad ya did.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Islam and rational fear, and the throwing about of words

Draw a map of the brain when fear and anxiety are involved, and the amygdala -- the brain's almond-shaped center for panic and fight-or-flight responses -- looms large.
Fear is an adaptive response, essential to the survival of many species. This behavioural adaptation may be innate but can also be a consequence of conditioning, during the course of which an animal learns that a particular stimulus precedes an unpleasant event. There is a large amount of data indicating that the amygdale is strongly involved during the learning of "conditioned" fear. Shown to play a key role in the processsing of emotions, the amygdala forms part of the limbic system.

In humans and other animals, this subcortical brain structure is linked to both fear responses and pleasure. Its size is positively correlated with aggressive behavior across species. Research shows that specific phobias express in this region of the limbic system. A phobia is a fear which is caused by a specific object or situation. The fear may be by the actual presence of, or by, the anticipation of the presence of that object or situation. Anxiety, triggered by the fear, may approach the intensity of panic.

In cognitive psychology, the criteria for a diagnosis of specific phobia involves the following differential:
·         The patient experiences a strong, persistent fear that is excessive or unreasonable. It is cued by a specific object or situation that is either present or anticipated.
·         The phobic stimulus almost always immediately provokes an anxiety response, which may be either a panic attack or symptoms of anxiety that do not meet criteria for a panic attack.
·         The fear is unreasonable or out of proportion, and the patient realizes this.
·         The patient either avoids the phobic stimulus or endures it with severe anxiety or distress.
·         Patient is under the age of 18, but must have had the symptoms for 6 months or longer.
·         Either there is marked distress about this fear or it markedly interferes with the patient's usual routines or  social, job or personal functioning.
The term Islamophobia dates back to the late 1980s, but came into prolific usage after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, to refer to types of political dialogue that appeared prejudicially resistant to “pro-Islamic argument."
Professor Anne Sophie Roald writes that steps were taken toward official acceptance of the term in January 2001 at the "Stockholm International Forum on Combating Intolerance", where Islamophobia was recognized as a form of intolerance alongside Xenophobia and Antisemitism.
In 1997, the British Runnymede Trust defined Islamophobia as the "dread or hatred of Islam and therefore, to the fear and dislike of all Muslims," stating that it also refers to the practice of discriminating against Muslims by excluding them from the economic, social, and public life of the nation. It purports to include the perception that “Islam has no values in common with other cultures, is inferior to the West and is a violent political ideology rather than a religion.” The trust’s website boasts the accomplishment-
 “Through the work of the Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia, Runnymede achieved tangible response from policy makers and the general public. For example, the Government approved the first state funding for specifically Muslim schools in late 1997, and there has been some improvement in media portrayals of Islam. The UK National Census in 2001 contained a question on religion.”

Ignoring for a moment the very dubious success of having isolated Muslims in order to accommodate polity, a quick look at the text of this supposedly victimized orthodoxy is in order. We shall assume that Muslims hold the words of the Qu’uran to be the word and command of their god, Allah, for them to follow of their intrinsic merit by virtue of their source.
"...now that a Book confirming their own has come to them from God, they deny it...they reply: 'We believe in what was revealed to us.' But they deny what has since been revealed, although it is truth...Say: 'Whoever is an enemy of Gabriel' (who has by God's grace revealed to you [Muhammad] the Koran as a guide...confirming previous scriptures)..will surely find that God is the enemy of the unbelievers.'...And now that an apostle has come to them from God confirming their own Scriptures, some of those to whom the Scriptures were given cast off the Book of God behind their backs...The unbelievers among the People of the Book, and the pagans, resent that any blessings should have been sent down to you from your Lord. " (Surah 2:88-, 98-, 103-)
"The only true faith in God's sight is Islam." (Surah 3:19)
And what is this pristine and invulnerable divine codification?
The Qu’uran proscribes:

"Slay them wherever you find them...Idolatry is worse than carnage...Fight against them until idolatry is no more and God's religion reigns supreme." (Surah 2:190-)

"Fighting is obligatory for you, much as you dislike it." (Surah 2:216)

"Seek out your enemies relentlessly." (Surah 4:103-)

"Believers, do not make friends with any but your own people...They desire nothing but your ruin....You believe in the entire Book...When they meet you they say: 'We, too, are believers.' But when alone, they bite their finger-tips with rage." (Surah 3:118, 119)

"If you should die or be slain in the cause of God, His forgiveness and His mercy would surely be better than all the riches..." (Surah 3:156-)

"Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends." (Surah 5:51)

"Men are tempted [in this life] by the lure of women...far better is the return of God. Say: 'Shall I tell you of better things than these, with which the righteous shall be rewarded by their Lord? Theirs shall be gardens watered by running streams, where they shall dwell for ever: wives of perfect chastity..." (Surah 3:14, 15)

"Try as you may, you cannot treat all your wives impartially." (Surah 4:126-)

“Believers, when you encounter the infidels on the march, do not turn your backs to them in flight. If anyone on that day turns his back to them, except it be for tactical reasons...he shall incur the wrath of God and Hell shall be his home..." (Surah 8:12-)

"Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God's religion shall reign supreme." (Surah 8:36-)
"If you fear treachery from any of your allies, you may fairly retaliate by breaking off your treaty with them." (Surah 8:51-)

"...make war on the leaders of unbelief...Make war on them: God will chastise them at your hands and humble them. He will grant you victory over them..." (Surah 9:12-)

"Fight against such as those to whom the Scriptures were given [Jews and Christians]...until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued." (Surah 9:27-)

"If you do not fight, He will punish you sternly, and replace you by other men." (Surah 9:37-)

"Prophet make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home." (Surah 9:73)

"Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them." (Surah 9:121-)

"Muhammad is God's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another." (Surah 48:

Well, this hardly sounds the attitude that would lead one to accommodate your ideological “foes” with a school of their own, so they can be free from pestering!
While I most definitely do not support the discrimination, legal or social, of any person on the basis of their ethnicity or race, or place of origin, the protective attitudes of many regarding Islam fall well short of the criteria for a phobia.The argument that the practices of honor killing, death for apostasy, female genital mutilation, and the overall subjugation of women that occurs in Islamic nations and within Muslim enclaves is a matter of "cultural" tradition is meaningless. Religious customs help make up the culture. Holy writ that promotes hate will spawn hate in its followers.
Does fear of the above sound irrational to you?

I am not singling out Islam to distinguish it from other religions in its nature--it is, like all supernatural dogma, a mental virus. This virus has some frightening particulars, and the pernicious nature of religious moralism combined with the singularly brutal and regressive orthodoxy of this faith make it a perfect storm, a tempest of deranged behaviour and social attitudes. These traditions incubate in isolation, protected from the demands of society's cultural selection. And some think it wise to mandate its enclavement among children, the most vulnerable to cognitive infection?
Islam is an ideology. Rejection of an ideology is not, excecpt as ad hominem, classified as phobia. To call the opponents of an ideology phobic is a fallacy. All ideologies have their critics and opponents but we do not hear Christians calling the critics of Christianity Christianophobe, communists calling their critics communitophobe or Hindus calling theirs hinduphobe. The term "Islamophobia" is both technically and logically incorrect and misleading.  Nor do we refer to the Allies as Fasciphobes, Naziphobes, or Nippophobes. This is an attack on the source of criticism, resulting from a lack of ammunition to attack the critique itself.

On the whole, humans start establishing control over their offspring’s behavior by imposing fear as soon as, in some ways before, their progeny can comprehend. There is a reaction to fear that could be summed up as reflex (call it “Fight or Flight”).
A broad secular education can undermine dogmatic religious faith. Knowing this, many Muslims clerics will mandate their followers to isolate their children intellectually through homeschooling or enrolling them in religious private schools and Muslim colleges. Such children can reach adulthood without ever being challenged to think critically about their religious or political beliefs.  These children will have very little chance of breaking free of the bonds of their neolithic enculturation. The  Runnymede Trust has done these children and indeed all of Britain a disservice.
Stop saying Islamophobe regarding those who don't wish to accomodate a brutal regression, the neologism "Islamophobia" implies that Islam is not dangerous and the fear of it is irrational.

This claim is  not supported rhetorically sound or agreed upon clinically. There are many  logical arguments to posit the claim that Islam is dangerous. (click the link to read Neurilemma's brilliant and incisive article on the issue) Irrespective of whether the critics of Islam are right about  Islam's danger, the term“phobic” implies that  criticism has been already refuted and the irrationality of  fear of Islamic threat has been established, that the apprehension  is not a rational reaction but a mental disorder, a priori.
All ideologies have  opponents. It is myopic and arrogant, to say the least, for criticism of any ideology to be characterized as phobia.      

As Russell Blackford said in his recent article More on the Islamophobia question: 
"Even where racism has been fueled by doctrinal disagreements, as with Christian anti-Semitism, it is possible to distinguish between doctrinal disagreement and racial hatred. Admittedly, some dislike of Islam, or impatience with Muslims and their spiritual leaders, may have a quasi-racist character, grounded in parochialism and xenophobia, and perhaps a dislike of Arabs in particular. But Islam also contains ideas, and in a liberal democracy these are fair targets for criticism or repudiation."
As a post script, I'd like to quote Miss Neurilemma:
And another thing, this whole bit about ooh "we mustn't criticise Islam because its, like you know, its a religion and we must respect that and we must show religious tolerance because... " Yes? "Well because, its a religion and somebody once said its just not nice to question someones beliefs." Really, that's the reason? "Yes, that's the reason. " Well, no, rhetorical device, no, that's a load of bull, actually. Why must I stop my critical thinking faculties at the door of the church /mosque /synagogue/ temple? 

The answer is I shouldn't. But it seems some people think I should. People who do not think about things very deeply conflate racism with religion and are so scared that they will be called racist that they abandon their critical thinking abilities, if they have any, take what is written in the Press as their *bible*, no pun intended and follow the herd. So if the BBC says there is such a concept as Islamophobia, weak minded people will immediately switch off their brains, sink into the comfort zone of being told what to think and stop analysing exactly what constitutes Islam, over and above its claim to be the *uncreated word of *God* (as if that wasn't enough meat to get our teeth into right there, the *uncreated word of *God*, really?)"
Thank you, Emma-emma-emma.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Limbic System and Temporal Lobe


      The limbic lobe is a complex set of three C-shaped structures containing both gray and white matter. It lies deep within the brain and includes portions of all the lobes of the cerebral hemispheres. A myriad of fiber tracts (These are non-neural tissues that provide structural support) connect the limbic lobe with numerous deep nuclei and the olfactory apparatus (posterior cerebral lobe) to form the limbic system. 

     Phylogenetically, the limbic system is one of the more primitive parts of the brain. It has a central role in memory, learning, emotion, neuroendocrine function, and autonomic activities. Clinical conditions involving the limbic system include epilepsy, congenital syndromes, dementias, and various psychiatric disorders.



      Limbic System

   The outer arc of the limbic system (also called the limbic gyrus) includes the subcallosal area, the cingulate gyrus, the isthmus of the cingulate gyrus, and the parahippocampal gyrus, including the uncus and subiculum. The subcallosal area includes a cluster of small septal nuclei that lie immediately anterior to the paraterminal gyrus and anterior commissure. The septal nuclei receive input from multiple midbrain nuclei, the substantia nigra, the CA1 region of the cornu ammonis, the subiculum, amygdala, lateral hypothalamus, cingulate gyrus, and mamillary bodies. Efferent fibers project to the entire hippocampal formation, the habenula, hypothalamus, thalamus, amygdala, mamillary bodies and the cerebral cortex. 
      The middle arc (also referred to as Broca’s intralimbic gyrus) consists of the paraterminal gyrus, the indusium griseum, and the hippocampus. The paraterminal gyrus is wedged between the septal nuclei and the anterior commissure. Posterior to the anterior commissure is the hypothalamus. The indusium griseum, extending from the paraterminal gyrus, consists of gray matter and white matter tracts named the medial and lateral longitudinal stria. The indusium griseum is closely applied to the superior surface of the corpus callosum. Posteriorly, it courses around the splenium and inferiorly merges with the tail of the hippocampus.
      The mamillary bodies, fornix, alveus and fimbria form the inner arc. The alveus and fimbria are the major efferent fibers tracts of the hippocampus. Posteriorly, the fimbria form the crura of the fornix that continue upward deep to the splenium of the corpus callosum. As the two crura converge, a thin triangular sheet of fibers passes to the opposite side to form the commissure of the fornix. The crura merge as the body of the fornix, which continues forward along the inferior edge of the septum pellucidum and roof of the third ventricle. At the foramen of Monroe, the fornix divides into two columns which course inferiorly. Just superior to the anterior commissure, the columns divide into pre- and postcommissural tracts. The precommissural fibers connect to the septal nuclei and anterior hypothalamic nuclei. The postcommissural fibers continue inferiorly to end in the mamillary bodies.