evolution

Percentage of Republicans who believe in evolution is shrinking A Pew study finds that the percentage of Republicans who believe that Darwin’s theory of evolution is correct has dropped 11 percent in about five years. That is suggestive of the … Continue reading

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Percentage of Republicans who believe in evolution is shrinking

A Pew study finds that the percentage of Republicans who believe that Darwin’s theory of evolution is correct has dropped 11 percent in about five years. That is suggestive of the country’s broader polarization, the authors say.

By , Staff writer / December 31, 2013

Those with the most pronounced skeptical views on human evolution remain white evangelical Protestants, who are a potent force in conservative politics and a key base of support for the tea party movement.

“God’s word is true. I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the big bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell,” said tea party Rep. Paul Broun (R) of Georgia in a 2012 speech. “It’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”

Almost two-thirds of white evangelical Protestants say humans existed in their present form since the beginning of time, while nearly 8 in 10 “mainline” Protestants believe in evolution. In fact, though half of black Protestants are skeptical of human evolution, no other religious group in the country has a majority doubting human evolution.

Scholars point out, too, that Darwinism was one of the galvanizing issues in the evolution of contemporary evangelical Protestantism. As Protestants began to grapple with a changing modern world in the early 20th century, “mainline” and Evangelical divisions began.

In a series of essays called “The Fundamentals” from 1910 to 1915, conservative Presbyterians, mostly, railed against the “decadence of Darwinism” and modern scholarship. The term “fundamentalism,” now used as a fungible catch-all for most any conservative religious group, derives from these famous tracts.

And after the Scopes trial in 1925, which began to turn public opinion toward the acceptance of teaching evolution, conservative evangelicals were not a major force in public up to the 1970s, reemerging with the election of Ronald Reagan and becoming one of the more significant forces in American politics.

Los Corruptores

Zepeda Patterson o la realidad de la fic​ción​

Un ‘De tour’ por la ficción para llegar a una explicación más profunda de la realidad

“Prácticamente todos los poderes fácticos, empezando por los líderes sindicales, los gobernadores, algunos empresarios y los carteles de la droga. Ninguno de ellos es enemigo frontal, pero todos resentirían el regreso del presidencialismo imperial.

“–Se supone que eso querían ¿No? De nuevo un presidente fuerte– dijo Mario.

“–Sí y no; todos esos poderes crecieron con el vacío que generó la debilidad presidencial durante los doce años del panismo. Nuestros millonarios entraron en la lista de Forbes y los sindicatos nunca fueron tan poderosos, por no hablar de los narcos, pero al final todos estaban un poco fatigados por la falta de un árbitro que hiciera más eficientes las negociaciones– dijo Tomás” (Jorge Zepeda Patterson, “Los Corruptores”, México: Planeta, 2013, p. 219).

En los diálogos políticos de los personajes de la primera novela del periodista Jorge Zepeda, el lector va a encontrar, como explicación del regreso del PRI a la dirección de la vida pública mexicana al final de 2012, la creciente necesidad de los “factores de poder” de volver a contar con un gran árbitro capaz de mediar entre ellos y de mantener excluidos a todos esos que desde hace mucho tiempo lo han estado.

Por su parte, ese gran árbitro –un “Presidente Prida” al que ningún lector tendrá dificultad en identificar con Enrique Peña Nieto– tiene como proyecto propio uno tan simple como contundente: retornar al pasado aprovechando que el público realmente democrático en México aún es reducido y en cambio es grande la necesidad de esos poderes fácticos –los tradicionales y los nuevos– de volver a contar con un entorno predecible, manejable y claramente cargado a su favor.

Una Presidencia nuevamente dominante y autoritaria, según la trama de esta novela, sería apoyada por los pocos que realmente cuentan en la toma de decisiones en México. Para esas minorías con mucho por preservar y por tanto que perder, la actual competencia salvaje entre ellos no es una situación deseable.

Para esa élite del poder, ese tipo de competencia se asemeja menos al ideal de Adam Smith y mucho al de Hobbes: a un “todos contra todos” del estado de naturaleza. Y tampoco ven con simpatía la posibilidad de una auténtica lucha democrática porque los muchos con poco o nada pueden llegar a tomar conciencia de su capacidad para modificar una realidad donde por largo tiempo las cargas y los beneficios se han repartido de manera muy inequitativa.

La libertad de una ficción descarnada

El fondo de lo discutido por los personajes de Zepeda no es nuevo ni muy diferente de la visión presentada por la no ficción, pero la forma sí: el argumento se vuelve más contundente e inmediato. Y es que al transformarse de periodista –y muy bueno– en novelista, Zepeda amplió enormemente el campo de su libertad de expresión. Es ahí, en ese nuevo espacio, donde se da una interesante contribución del sinaloense tanto a la literatura en el campo de la novela negra como al análisis y a la denuncia de la realidad del poder en México de nuestros días.

En una nota breve añadida al final de la novela, Zepeda señala que su ficción es real: “Gran parte de las situaciones aquí descritas son absolutamente ciertas. Están cambiados los nombres y los lugares geográficos… [p]ero las descripciones sobre la clase política, los escándalos y el análisis de los procesos históricos derivan en gran medida de la experiencia de mi ejercicio como periodista durante más de veinte años”.

Y vaya que si aprovechó su experiencia en el diario español El País, como fundador y director de dos periódicos en Guadalajara y luego, por un tiempo, como director de otro nacional.

En una presentación de su libro, Zepeda explicó que un motivo para escribir “Los Corruptores” fue tener material sobre la parte negra de la realidad del poder en nuestro País, pero no poder usarlo en su calidad de periodista por la obligación de presentar las pruebas según las reglas del oficio. Sin embargo, al transformarlo en ficción –una alternativa perfectamente válida si se tienen buena pluma e imaginación para hilvanarlo– nos lo puede ofrecer sin problemas.

Lo negro y revelador de la novela negra

Liberado de las reglas del periodismo, pero fiel a las reglas de la novela, Zepeda le da al lector acceso a su archivo. Y es así como entramos en el mundo de personajes que florecen en un sistema político descompuesto en grado alarmante, donde la corrupción penetra en todos los ámbitos de la cosa pública y del espacio privado.

La corrupción y su acompañante, la impunidad, es lo que realmente prospera en una sociedad de economía estancada y con un entramado institucional corroído hasta la médula. Esas condiciones dan origen a acciones y a personajes realmente monstruosos. Personajes surgidos lo mismo de la base de la sociedad que de sus sectores medios y altos. Corruptores y corrompidos, todos, toman decisiones de vida o muerte sin que realmente les preocupe la ética ni el supuesto, pero inexistente “Estado de Derecho”.

Y en el curso de los acontecimientos, ese ambiente de corrupción e impunidad lo mismo explica que el robo de combustible de los ductos de Pemex lo haga un Gobernador, que las explosiones en Guadalajara en 1992, y que dejaron cientos de muertos y miles de casas destruidas, sean resultado de la decisión de echar por los ductos de la ciudad gasolina y solventes para evitar que una auditoría descubriera en una planta almacenadora un enorme excedente de combustible procedente de Salamanca y no reportado.

Ese mismo factor explica que los servicios de inteligencia norteamericanos tengan lo que oficialmente se niega: capacidad de operar grupos armados dentro de México.

Explica también que el espionaje cibernético de gran penetración y fidelidad sea una actividad que no sólo la desempeña la NSA norteamericana o el Cisen, sino organizaciones privadas que se sirven de ese medio para sus propios fines o para el de terceros y a las cuales no les es difícil reclutar por las buenas o por las malas a jóvenes hackers talentosos.

Igualmente explica que ciertos dueños de medios de comunicación tengan poca o ninguna lealtad a los códigos de ética, que usen su empresa para chantajear y luego sean chantajeados.

Naturalmente la corrupción explica que el narcotráfico posea redes de espionaje que penetran hasta los más altos niveles del Gobierno y que conocen y explotan las intimidades y debilidades incluso de los personajes más encumbrados de la estructura del poder, sean civiles o militares, y que sea capaz de eliminar incluso a miembros del Gabinete.

Esa corrupción omnipresente explica que el operativo de 2012 en Los Cabos, BCN, contra “El Chapo” Guzmán, fracasara, pues había penetrado a los niveles más altos de las propias agencias de seguridad; explica que un ex Gobernador sirva de contacto entre un cártel y los círculos del Gobierno mexicano y agencias norteamericanas, etc.

En suma

La buena novela negra –y “Los Corruptores” lo es– resulta una forma perturbadora, pero útil para entender el daño de la corrupción, sea en la Suecia ejemplar (la obra de Stieg Larsson) o en el México contemporáneo.

agenda_ciudadana@hotmail.com​

Zepeda Patterson o la realidad de la fic?ción?

Un ‘De tour’ por la ficción para llegar a una explicación más profunda de la realidad

“Prácticamente todos los poderes fácticos, empezando por los líderes sindicales, los gobernadores, algunos empresarios y los carteles de la droga. Ninguno de ellos es enemigo frontal, pero todos resentirían el regreso del presidencialismo imperial.

“–Se supone que eso querían ¿No? De nuevo un presidente fuerte– dijo Mario.

“–Sí y no; todos esos poderes crecieron con el vacío que generó la debilidad presidencial durante los doce años del panismo. Nuestros millonarios entraron en la lista de Forbes y los sindicatos nunca fueron tan poderosos, por no hablar de los narcos, pero al final todos estaban un poco fatigados por la falta de un árbitro que hiciera más eficientes las negociaciones– dijo Tomás” (Jorge Zepeda Patterson, “Los Corruptores”, México: Planeta, 2013, p. 219).

En los diálogos políticos de los personajes de la primera novela del periodista Jorge Zepeda, el lector va a encontrar, como explicación del regreso del PRI a la dirección de la vida pública mexicana al final de 2012, la creciente necesidad de los “factores de poder” de volver a contar con un gran árbitro capaz de mediar entre ellos y de mantener excluidos a todos esos que desde hace mucho tiempo lo han estado.

Por su parte, ese gran árbitro –un “Presidente Prida” al que ningún lector tendrá dificultad en identificar con Enrique Peña Nieto– tiene como proyecto propio uno tan simple como contundente: retornar al pasado aprovechando que el público realmente democrático en México aún es reducido y en cambio es grande la necesidad de esos poderes fácticos –los tradicionales y los nuevos– de volver a contar con un entorno predecible, manejable y claramente cargado a su favor.

Una Presidencia nuevamente dominante y autoritaria, según la trama de esta novela, sería apoyada por los pocos que realmente cuentan en la toma de decisiones en México. Para esas minorías con mucho por preservar y por tanto que perder, la actual competencia salvaje entre ellos no es una situación deseable.

Para esa élite del poder, ese tipo de competencia se asemeja menos al ideal de Adam Smith y mucho al de Hobbes: a un “todos contra todos” del estado de naturaleza. Y tampoco ven con simpatía la posibilidad de una auténtica lucha democrática porque los muchos con poco o nada pueden llegar a tomar conciencia de su capacidad para modificar una realidad donde por largo tiempo las cargas y los beneficios se han repartido de manera muy inequitativa.

La libertad de una ficción descarnada

El fondo de lo discutido por los personajes de Zepeda no es nuevo ni muy diferente de la visión presentada por la no ficción, pero la forma sí: el argumento se vuelve más contundente e inmediato. Y es que al transformarse de periodista –y muy bueno– en novelista, Zepeda amplió enormemente el campo de su libertad de expresión. Es ahí, en ese nuevo espacio, donde se da una interesante contribución del sinaloense tanto a la literatura en el campo de la novela negra como al análisis y a la denuncia de la realidad del poder en México de nuestros días.

En una nota breve añadida al final de la novela, Zepeda señala que su ficción es real: “Gran parte de las situaciones aquí descritas son absolutamente ciertas. Están cambiados los nombres y los lugares geográficos… [p]ero las descripciones sobre la clase política, los escándalos y el análisis de los procesos históricos derivan en gran medida de la experiencia de mi ejercicio como periodista durante más de veinte años”.

Y vaya que si aprovechó su experiencia en el diario español El País, como fundador y director de dos periódicos en Guadalajara y luego, por un tiempo, como director de otro nacional.

En una presentación de su libro, Zepeda explicó que un motivo para escribir “Los Corruptores” fue tener material sobre la parte negra de la realidad del poder en nuestro País, pero no poder usarlo en su calidad de periodista por la obligación de presentar las pruebas según las reglas del oficio. Sin embargo, al transformarlo en ficción –una alternativa perfectamente válida si se tienen buena pluma e imaginación para hilvanarlo– nos lo puede ofrecer sin problemas.

Lo negro y revelador de la novela negra

Liberado de las reglas del periodismo, pero fiel a las reglas de la novela, Zepeda le da al lector acceso a su archivo. Y es así como entramos en el mundo de personajes que florecen en un sistema político descompuesto en grado alarmante, donde la corrupción penetra en todos los ámbitos de la cosa pública y del espacio privado.

La corrupción y su acompañante, la impunidad, es lo que realmente prospera en una sociedad de economía estancada y con un entramado institucional corroído hasta la médula. Esas condiciones dan origen a acciones y a personajes realmente monstruosos. Personajes surgidos lo mismo de la base de la sociedad que de sus sectores medios y altos. Corruptores y corrompidos, todos, toman decisiones de vida o muerte sin que realmente les preocupe la ética ni el supuesto, pero inexistente “Estado de Derecho”.

Y en el curso de los acontecimientos, ese ambiente de corrupción e impunidad lo mismo explica que el robo de combustible de los ductos de Pemex lo haga un Gobernador, que las explosiones en Guadalajara en 1992, y que dejaron cientos de muertos y miles de casas destruidas, sean resultado de la decisión de echar por los ductos de la ciudad gasolina y solventes para evitar que una auditoría descubriera en una planta almacenadora un enorme excedente de combustible procedente de Salamanca y no reportado.

Ese mismo factor explica que los servicios de inteligencia norteamericanos tengan lo que oficialmente se niega: capacidad de operar grupos armados dentro de México.

Explica también que el espionaje cibernético de gran penetración y fidelidad sea una actividad que no sólo la desempeña la NSA norteamericana o el Cisen, sino organizaciones privadas que se sirven de ese medio para sus propios fines o para el de terceros y a las cuales no les es difícil reclutar por las buenas o por las malas a jóvenes hackers talentosos.

Igualmente explica que ciertos dueños de medios de comunicación tengan poca o ninguna lealtad a los códigos de ética, que usen su empresa para chantajear y luego sean chantajeados.

Naturalmente la corrupción explica que el narcotráfico posea redes de espionaje que penetran hasta los más altos niveles del Gobierno y que conocen y explotan las intimidades y debilidades incluso de los personajes más encumbrados de la estructura del poder, sean civiles o militares, y que sea capaz de eliminar incluso a miembros del Gabinete.

Esa corrupción omnipresente explica que el operativo de 2012 en Los Cabos, BCN, contra “El Chapo” Guzmán, fracasara, pues había penetrado a los niveles más altos de las propias agencias de seguridad; explica que un ex Gobernador sirva de contacto entre un cártel y los círculos del Gobierno mexicano y agencias norteamericanas, etc.

En suma

La buena novela negra –y “Los Corruptores” lo es– resulta una forma perturbadora, pero útil para entender el daño de la corrupción, sea en la Suecia ejemplar (la obra de Stieg Larsson) o en el México contemporáneo.

agenda_ciudadana@hotmail.com?

la virtualidad social

¿CREES QUE NADIE SABE DE TI?

La verdad del Facebook: Escalofriante
LASTIMOSAMENTE LAS COSAS BUENAS QUE UNOS HACEN, OTROS LA APROVECHAN PARA HACER EL MAL…

En dias pasados, en la televisión hubo reportaje todos los días con Joaquín López Dóriga (periodista mexicano) sobre Facebook, Hi5, Myspace, Sonico, etc. y lo peligroso que son. Vino un reportaje diario en el periódico MILENIO, sobre como los secuestradores tienen como fuente de información directa y confiable los blogs, el Facebook y el Hi5.

Entrevistaron a unos secuestradores y dicen que entran a la red y ven los ROSTROS, la casa, los carros, las fotos de viaje y saben el nivel social y económico que tienen quienes ahí aparecen. Ya en televisión uno de ellos había declarado que antes batallaban mucho para reconocer a los candidatos a secuestros, pero que ahora con el Facebook y la información que ponemos voluntariamente en la red, ya no se confunden ni tienen que investigar en donde viven o en que escuela estudian y a donde viajan y quienes son sus papas, hermanos y amigos. Eso pasó con Alejandro Marti, (Joven mexicano muerto por sus secuestradores) que de todo ponía. La familia acaba de cerrar su blog después de darse cuenta de la cantidad de información potencialmente peligrosa que el joven había puesto ahí con alegría y sin sospechar que estaba armando a quienes lo mataron. Protejan a sus hijos y protéjanse ustedes; ya no pongan información peligrosa en la red.

LA VERDAD SOBRE ‘FACEBOOK’
Facebook está vendiendo la información de sus usuarios al mejor postor. Cito textualmente: ‘Lo que muchos usuarios no saben es que de acuerdo a las condiciones del contrato que virtualmente asumen al hacer clic en el cuadro ‘acepto’, los usuarios le otorgan a Facebook la propiedad exclusiva y perpetua de toda la información e imágenes que publican.’

De hecho, resalta el experto, los afiliados ‘automáticamente autorizan a Facebook el uso perpetuo y transferible, junto con los derechos de distribución o despliegue público de todo lo que cuelgan en su página Web.’ Los términos de uso le reserva a Facebook el derecho a conceder y sub-licenciar todo ‘el contenido del usuario’ a otros negocios.

Sin su consentimiento, a muchos usuarios les convirtieron sus fotografías en publicidad, transformando un comercio privado en endosos públicos.

De repente todo lo que sus afiliados publicaron, incluyendo sus fotografías personales, su inclinación política, el estado de sus relaciones afectivas, intereses individuales y hasta la dirección de la casa, se envió sin su autorización expresa a millares de usuarios.

Hay que creerle a Mr. Melber cuando asegura que muchos empleadores gringos al evaluar hojas de vida revisan Facebook para conocer intimidades de los solicitantes. La prueba que una página en Facebook no es para nada privada se evidenció en un sonado caso donde la Universidad Brown expulsó a un estudiante cuando descubrió una foto que colgó en Facebook vestido de travesti. Otra evidencia sucedió cuando un agente del Servicio Secreto visitó en la Universidad de Oklahoma al estudiante de segundo año Saúl Martínez por un comentario que publicó en contra del presidente. Y para colmo de males, el asunto no termina si el usuario se decide retirar, Aun cuando los usuarios cancelan la membresía, sus fotos e información permanecen abordo, según Facebook, por si deciden reactivar su cuenta. Es más, el usuario no es retirado inclusive cuando fallece. De acuerdo a las ‘condiciones de uso’, los dolientes no pueden obligar que Facebook descuelgue los datos e imágenes de sus deudos, ya que cuando el finado aceptó el contrato virtual le otorgó a Facebook el derecho de ‘mantenerlo activo bajo un status especial de conmemoración por un período de tiempo determinado por nosotros para permitir que otros usuarios puedan publicar y observar comentarios sobre el difunto.’

Sepan los usuarios de Facebook que son partícipes indefensos de un escenario y los académicos califican como el caso de espionaje más grande en la historia de la humanidad. De paso se convierten de manera inconsciente en los precursores del fenómeno de ‘Big Brother’ te está observando. Alusión directa a la intromisión abusiva del estado en los asuntos privados del ciudadano común para controlar su comportamiento social, tema de una novela profundamente premonitoria escrita en 1932 por el británico Aldous Huxley: ‘Un Mundo Feliz.’


30 Julio, 2013 – 09:47
Credito:

El presidente de la Fundación de Software Libre de Europa (FSFE), Karsten Gerloff, ha denunciado que “para Google y Facebook somos productos, no clientes” y ha alertado de que esas mismas compañías, “sin ningún aviso previo, están nutriendo a los servicios secretos”.


Asimismo, ha considerado que “Microsoft desaparecerá en cinco o diez años” y Facebook, en tres.

En su ponencia, pronunciada en la Euskal Encounter que se celebra hasta este domingo en el BEC de Barakaldo (Bizkaia), Karsten Gerloff ha criticado duramente a las multinacionales del sector y ha dicho que “algunas corporaciones roban nuestra información. Nosotros no solo les damos datos, sino también nuestra confianza, pues pensamos que van a proteger nuestra privacidad”.

Sin embargo, ha denunciado que esas mismas compañías, “sin ningún aviso previo, están nutriendo a los servicios secretos”. “Para ellas somos productos, no clientes. Tus datos son el producto que vende Google”, ha advertido.
El experto internacional ha añadido que estas multinacionales “han cogido nuestras computadoras, nuestras redes, y encima han erigido unas estructuras de control”, y ha explicado que en este reparto de tareas “Facebook define quiénes somos. Amazon establece lo que queremos y Google determina lo que pensamos“.

El presidente de FSFE ha calificado la situación actual de “traición”, y ha puesto como ejemplo “la entrega por parte de Yahoo! de información confidencial de sus clientes al Gobierno chino”. “Ahora lo hacen todos”, ha lamentado.

También ha arremetido contra los dirigentes políticos, a los que censura su “ausencia total de conciencia” en cuestiones relacionadas con los derechos humanos básicos. “Una vez que han entendido cómo funciona Internet, lo han convertido en una herramienta de opresión. Ahora mismo sabemos que nos escuchan, que no somos libres”, ha denunciado.

Pese a todo, no ve tan claro el futuro de dichas compañías. “Si Google quiere sobrevivir a largo plazo, tendrá que reinventarse. Microsoft todavía no lo ha hecho. Por eso, creo que va a desaparecer dentro de cinco o diez años”, ha dicho.

Por otro lado, ha considerado que cuando Facebook “vaya cuesta abajo, será muy rápido”. “A Facebook le doy tres años. Es una ley matemática. Pasó con MySpace y sé que volverá a pasar”, ha augurado.
El objetivo de su fundación es que “la gente sea consciente de que puede decidir cuál va a ser la tecnología de mañana y en qué tipo de mundo vamos a vivir”. Por ello, el experto alemán ha señalado que “siempre hay que estar alerta y observar los nuevos sistemas”.

“Tienes que preguntarte: ¿Quién lo controla?”. Asimismo, planteó que “se pueden hacer cosas muy sencillas” para evitar dicho control, tales como construir sistemas “que no tienen punto central de control, en los que cada uno de nosotros habla con el otro. Eso ya no es una utopía”, ha señañado.

Por tanto, Gerloff anima a todo el mundo “a poner un servidor en cada casa. Los routers, por ejemplo, pueden funcionar como pequeños servidores”. De esta forma, ha dicho, “sería posible dar otros pasos, como salir de Facebook, o cambiar el correo electrónico a una compañía pequeña”. “El software libre nos da todas las herramientas para hacerlo”, ha asegurado.
En alianza informativa con
MFH


Si el público asistente a La Ciudad de las Ideas es representativo de la población mexicana en torno del tema de si están a favor o en contra de las redes sociales, entonces, tras un debate informado e inteligente, la gente prefirió a quienes se manifestaron en contra de las redes sociales, en particular, Facebook.

Así es, el segundo país con más usuarios de Facebook en el mundo, según nos informó Randi Zuckerberg (hermana de Mark –creador de la red social-, productora de realities y una de las participantes en el debate) aplaudió más al equipo que defendió la posición en contra de Facebook. Sin embargo, de ésos que aplaudieron casi ninguno, salvo dos o tres personas, está dispuesto a dejar de usar Facebook o a no usarlo jamás. Es decir, en realidad no están en contra.


La vocación fundamental del lenguaje no es la comunicación, sino la manipulación simbólica, la manipulación de modelos. Por eso las palabras son SIEMPRE fuente de malos entendidos y el 90% de la comunicación entre personas es no verbal.

¿Cuál es entonces la función del facebook, por ejemplo, sino alienarnos con la ilusión de pertenecer y compartir? Pareciera entonces que las redes sociales virtuales son relevantes como instrumento de interacción solo como componentes de redes sociales físicamente activas.

¿Porqué la palabra siendo tan estéril es temida y reprimida con tanto vigor? El miedo a la obscuro y la conciencia de los poderosos y los violentos de la fragilidad real de su posición.

¿CREES QUE NADIE SABE DE TI?

La verdad del Facebook: Escalofriante
LASTIMOSAMENTE LAS COSAS BUENAS QUE UNOS HACEN, OTROS LA APROVECHAN PARA HACER EL MAL…

En dias pasados, en la televisión hubo reportaje todos los días con Joaquín López Dóriga (periodista mexicano) sobre Facebook, Hi5, Myspace, Sonico, etc. y lo peligroso que son. Vino un reportaje diario en el periódico MILENIO, sobre como los secuestradores tienen como fuente de información directa y confiable los blogs, el Facebook y el Hi5.

Entrevistaron a unos secuestradores y dicen que entran a la red y ven los ROSTROS, la casa, los carros, las fotos de viaje y saben el nivel social y económico que tienen quienes ahí aparecen. Ya en televisión uno de ellos había declarado que antes batallaban mucho para reconocer a los candidatos a secuestros, pero que ahora con el Facebook y la información que ponemos voluntariamente en la red, ya no se confunden ni tienen que investigar en donde viven o en que escuela estudian y a donde viajan y quienes son sus papas, hermanos y amigos. Eso pasó con Alejandro Marti, (Joven mexicano muerto por sus secuestradores) que de todo ponía. La familia acaba de cerrar su blog después de darse cuenta de la cantidad de información potencialmente peligrosa que el joven había puesto ahí con alegría y sin sospechar que estaba armando a quienes lo mataron. Protejan a sus hijos y protéjanse ustedes; ya no pongan información peligrosa en la red.

LA VERDAD SOBRE ‘FACEBOOK’
Facebook está vendiendo la información de sus usuarios al mejor postor. Cito textualmente: ‘Lo que muchos usuarios no saben es que de acuerdo a las condiciones del contrato que virtualmente asumen al hacer clic en el cuadro ‘acepto’, los usuarios le otorgan a Facebook la propiedad exclusiva y perpetua de toda la información e imágenes que publican.’

De hecho, resalta el experto, los afiliados ‘automáticamente autorizan a Facebook el uso perpetuo y transferible, junto con los derechos de distribución o despliegue público de todo lo que cuelgan en su página Web.’ Los términos de uso le reserva a Facebook el derecho a conceder y sub-licenciar todo ‘el contenido del usuario’ a otros negocios.

Sin su consentimiento, a muchos usuarios les convirtieron sus fotografías en publicidad, transformando un comercio privado en endosos públicos.

De repente todo lo que sus afiliados publicaron, incluyendo sus fotografías personales, su inclinación política, el estado de sus relaciones afectivas, intereses individuales y hasta la dirección de la casa, se envió sin su autorización expresa a millares de usuarios.

Hay que creerle a Mr. Melber cuando asegura que muchos empleadores gringos al evaluar hojas de vida revisan Facebook para conocer intimidades de los solicitantes. La prueba que una página en Facebook no es para nada privada se evidenció en un sonado caso donde la Universidad Brown expulsó a un estudiante cuando descubrió una foto que colgó en Facebook vestido de travesti. Otra evidencia sucedió cuando un agente del Servicio Secreto visitó en la Universidad de Oklahoma al estudiante de segundo año Saúl Martínez por un comentario que publicó en contra del presidente. Y para colmo de males, el asunto no termina si el usuario se decide retirar, Aun cuando los usuarios cancelan la membresía, sus fotos e información permanecen abordo, según Facebook, por si deciden reactivar su cuenta. Es más, el usuario no es retirado inclusive cuando fallece. De acuerdo a las ‘condiciones de uso’, los dolientes no pueden obligar que Facebook descuelgue los datos e imágenes de sus deudos, ya que cuando el finado aceptó el contrato virtual le otorgó a Facebook el derecho de ‘mantenerlo activo bajo un status especial de conmemoración por un período de tiempo determinado por nosotros para permitir que otros usuarios puedan publicar y observar comentarios sobre el difunto.’

Sepan los usuarios de Facebook que son partícipes indefensos de un escenario y los académicos califican como el caso de espionaje más grande en la historia de la humanidad. De paso se convierten de manera inconsciente en los precursores del fenómeno de ‘Big Brother’ te está observando. Alusión directa a la intromisión abusiva del estado en los asuntos privados del ciudadano común para controlar su comportamiento social, tema de una novela profundamente premonitoria escrita en 1932 por el británico Aldous Huxley: ‘Un Mundo Feliz.’


Credito:

El presidente de la Fundación de Software Libre de Europa (FSFE), Karsten Gerloff, ha denunciado que “para Google y Facebook somos productos, no clientes” y ha alertado de que esas mismas compañías, “sin ningún aviso previo, están nutriendo a los servicios secretos”.


Asimismo, ha considerado que “Microsoft desaparecerá en cinco o diez años” y Facebook, en tres.

En su ponencia, pronunciada en la Euskal Encounter que se celebra hasta este domingo en el BEC de Barakaldo (Bizkaia), Karsten Gerloff ha criticado duramente a las multinacionales del sector y ha dicho que “algunas corporaciones roban nuestra información. Nosotros no solo les damos datos, sino también nuestra confianza, pues pensamos que van a proteger nuestra privacidad”.

Sin embargo, ha denunciado que esas mismas compañías, “sin ningún aviso previo, están nutriendo a los servicios secretos”. “Para ellas somos productos, no clientes. Tus datos son el producto que vende Google”, ha advertido.
El experto internacional ha añadido que estas multinacionales “han cogido nuestras computadoras, nuestras redes, y encima han erigido unas estructuras de control”, y ha explicado que en este reparto de tareas “Facebook define quiénes somos. Amazon establece lo que queremos y Google determina lo que pensamos“.

El presidente de FSFE ha calificado la situación actual de “traición”, y ha puesto como ejemplo “la entrega por parte de Yahoo! de información confidencial de sus clientes al Gobierno chino”. “Ahora lo hacen todos”, ha lamentado.

También ha arremetido contra los dirigentes políticos, a los que censura su “ausencia total de conciencia” en cuestiones relacionadas con los derechos humanos básicos. “Una vez que han entendido cómo funciona Internet, lo han convertido en una herramienta de opresión. Ahora mismo sabemos que nos escuchan, que no somos libres”, ha denunciado.

Pese a todo, no ve tan claro el futuro de dichas compañías. “Si Google quiere sobrevivir a largo plazo, tendrá que reinventarse. Microsoft todavía no lo ha hecho. Por eso, creo que va a desaparecer dentro de cinco o diez años”, ha dicho.

Por otro lado, ha considerado que cuando Facebook “vaya cuesta abajo, será muy rápido”. “A Facebook le doy tres años. Es una ley matemática. Pasó con MySpace y sé que volverá a pasar”, ha augurado.
El objetivo de su fundación es que “la gente sea consciente de que puede decidir cuál va a ser la tecnología de mañana y en qué tipo de mundo vamos a vivir”. Por ello, el experto alemán ha señalado que “siempre hay que estar alerta y observar los nuevos sistemas”.

“Tienes que preguntarte: ¿Quién lo controla?”. Asimismo, planteó que “se pueden hacer cosas muy sencillas” para evitar dicho control, tales como construir sistemas “que no tienen punto central de control, en los que cada uno de nosotros habla con el otro. Eso ya no es una utopía”, ha señañado.

Por tanto, Gerloff anima a todo el mundo “a poner un servidor en cada casa. Los routers, por ejemplo, pueden funcionar como pequeños servidores”. De esta forma, ha dicho, “sería posible dar otros pasos, como salir de Facebook, o cambiar el correo electrónico a una compañía pequeña”. “El software libre nos da todas las herramientas para hacerlo”, ha asegurado.
En alianza informativa con
MFH


Si el público asistente a La Ciudad de las Ideas es representativo de la población mexicana en torno del tema de si están a favor o en contra de las redes sociales, entonces, tras un debate informado e inteligente, la gente prefirió a quienes se manifestaron en contra de las redes sociales, en particular, Facebook.

Así es, el segundo país con más usuarios de Facebook en el mundo, según nos informó Randi Zuckerberg (hermana de Mark –creador de la red social-, productora de realities y una de las participantes en el debate) aplaudió más al equipo que defendió la posición en contra de Facebook. Sin embargo, de ésos que aplaudieron casi ninguno, salvo dos o tres personas, está dispuesto a dejar de usar Facebook o a no usarlo jamás. Es decir, en realidad no están en contra.


La vocación fundamental del lenguaje no es la comunicación, sino la manipulación simbólica, la manipulación de modelos. Por eso las palabras son SIEMPRE fuente de malos entendidos y el 90% de la comunicación entre personas es no verbal.

¿Cuál es entonces la función del facebook, por ejemplo, sino alienarnos con la ilusión de pertenecer y compartir? Pareciera entonces que las redes sociales virtuales son relevantes como instrumento de interacción solo como componentes de redes sociales físicamente activas.

¿Porqué la palabra siendo tan estéril es temida y reprimida con tanto vigor? El miedo a la obscuro y la conciencia de los poderosos y los violentos de la fragilidad real de su posición.

Boxing

This is what happened when a young man broke into his neighbor’s house! The 23 year old intruder had a knife, but 72 year old Frank Corti, a former junior boxing champion, had his fists!The punks name is Gregory McCallium from England. Frank Corti the …

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This is what happened when a young man broke into his neighbor’s house! The 23 year old intruder had a knife, but 72 year old Frank Corti, a former junior boxing champion, had his fists!

The punks name is Gregory McCallium from England. Frank Corti the 72 year old knocked him down with 2 punches, then sat on him until the police arrived. The judge had no sympathy for the punk and said he got what he deserved. 4-1/2 years in jail.

Annie Laurie

Annie Laurie, cantada en las trincheras

Un exitoso concierto con armónicas, peines y papel de seda e incluso silbidos fue dado por los guardias británicos en las trincheras de primera línea cerca de Loos. Tocaron viejas melodías inglesas, armonizadas con gran emoción y habilidad técnica.

Esto atrajo a un público inesperado: Los alemanes hacinados en su línea frontal – no muy lejos – aplaudían cada número.

Repentinamente, en buen Inglés, una voz alemana gritó desde su trinchera: “Tocad ‘Annie Laurie’ y yo la canto”.

Los Ingleses tocaron ‘Annie Laurie’, y un oficial alemán se puso de pie sobre el parapeto – el sol de la tarde de color rojo brillaba trás de él – y cantó la antigua canción escocesa, admirablemente, con gran ternura.

Al terminar hubo aplausos en ambos lados.

Nota histórica: ‘Annie Laurie’ es una vieja canción escocesa, basada en un poema de un tal William Douglas (1672?–1748). La melodía de la canción fue creada por una tal Alicia Scott quien modificó los versos originales de Douglas allá por 1850. Puede oírse una de las versiones de esta popular vieja canción aquí.

Annie Laurie, cantada en las trincheras

Un exitoso concierto con armónicas, peines y papel de seda e incluso silbidos fue dado por los guardias británicos en las trincheras de primera línea cerca de Loos. Tocaron viejas melodías inglesas, armonizadas con gran emoción y habilidad técnica.

Esto atrajo a un público inesperado: Los alemanes hacinados en su línea frontal – no muy lejos – aplaudían cada número.

Repentinamente, en buen Inglés, una voz alemana gritó desde su trinchera: “Tocad ‘Annie Laurie’ y yo la canto”.

Los Ingleses tocaron ‘Annie Laurie’, y un oficial alemán se puso de pie sobre el parapeto – el sol de la tarde de color rojo brillaba trás de él – y cantó la antigua canción escocesa, admirablemente, con gran ternura.

Al terminar hubo aplausos en ambos lados.

Nota histórica: ‘Annie Laurie’ es una vieja canción escocesa, basada en un poema de un tal William Douglas (1672?–1748). La melodía de la canción fue creada por una tal Alicia Scott quien modificó los versos originales de Douglas allá por 1850. Puede oírse una de las versiones de esta popular vieja canción aquí.

REUNIONES EN LA TIERRA DE NADIE

A medida que se acercaba la Navidad de 1914, una serie de treguas improvisada estallaron en el frente occidental en los que las tropas alemanas y británicas intercambiaban saludos, canciones, e incluso alimentos. El riflero Oswald Tilley de la Brigada de Rifleros de Londres escribió a sus padres el 27 de diciembre en relación con un incidente ocurrido cerca Ploegsteert, justo al norte de la frontera franco -belga:

“La mañana de Navidad, ya que habíamos dejado prácticamente de disparar contra ellos, uno de ellos comenzó haciéndonos señas, por lo que uno de nuestros soldados salió de nuestras trincheras a su encuentro a mitad de camino en medio de vítores. Después de un poco algunos más de nuestros soldados salieron al encuentro de otros más hasta que, literalmente, cientos soldados de cada lado estaban en la tierra de nadie saludándose e intercambiando cigarrillos, chocolate y tabaco, etc … Sólo piensen que mientras ustedes estaban comiendo pavo yo estaba afuera hablando y dando la mano a los mismos hombres que había estado tratando de matar un par de horas antes… Fue asombroso!”

En los años siguientes las autoridades trataron de desalentar esas treguas. Porque además de romper la disciplina, se tenían problemas para que la guerra se reiniciara.

A finales de 1915 Ethel Cooper, una mujer australiana que vivió en Alemania, conoció a un soldado de permiso del Cuerpo de Saxon XIX que le dijo que su unidad había fraternizado extensamente con un batallón británico durante dos días a partir de la víspera de Navidad. Ella escribió: “El problema comenzó el día 26, cuando se dio la orden de disparar, fue un duro golpe para los hombres. Herr Lange dice que nunca había escuchado el lenguaje empleado por los oficiales y que logró, como único resultado, la siguiente respuesta de los soldados: ” No podemos dispararles- son buena gente , y no podemos hacerlo”. Finalmente, los oficiales volvieron con los soldados, “Disparan, o nosotros lo hacemos y no contra el enemigo”. Ningún disparo había venido del otro lado, pero al fin iniciamos las hostilidades, y posteriormente no llegó un fuego de respuesta, pero ningún un hombre caía. “Pasamos ese día y al día siguiente desperdiciando municiones disparándole a las estrellas del cielo”

A medida que se acercaba la Navidad de 1914, una serie de treguas improvisada estallaron en el frente occidental en los que las tropas alemanas y británicas intercambiaban saludos, canciones, e incluso alimentos. El riflero Oswald Tilley de la Brigada de Rifleros de Londres escribió a sus padres el 27 de diciembre en relación con un incidente ocurrido cerca Ploegsteert, justo al norte de la frontera franco -belga:

“La mañana de Navidad, ya que habíamos dejado prácticamente de disparar contra ellos, uno de ellos comenzó haciéndonos señas, por lo que uno de nuestros soldados salió de nuestras trincheras a su encuentro a mitad de camino en medio de vítores. Después de un poco algunos más de nuestros soldados salieron al encuentro de otros más hasta que, literalmente, cientos soldados de cada lado estaban en la tierra de nadie saludándose e intercambiando cigarrillos, chocolate y tabaco, etc … Sólo piensen que mientras ustedes estaban comiendo pavo yo estaba afuera hablando y dando la mano a los mismos hombres que había estado tratando de matar un par de horas antes… Fue asombroso!”

En los años siguientes las autoridades trataron de desalentar esas treguas. Porque además de romper la disciplina, se tenían problemas para que la guerra se reiniciara.

A finales de 1915 Ethel Cooper, una mujer australiana que vivió en Alemania, conoció a un soldado de permiso del Cuerpo de Saxon XIX que le dijo que su unidad había fraternizado extensamente con un batallón británico durante dos días a partir de la víspera de Navidad. Ella escribió: “El problema comenzó el día 26, cuando se dio la orden de disparar, fue un duro golpe para los hombres. Herr Lange dice que nunca había escuchado el lenguaje empleado por los oficiales y que logró, como único resultado, la siguiente respuesta de los soldados: ” No podemos dispararles- son buena gente , y no podemos hacerlo”. Finalmente, los oficiales volvieron con los soldados, “Disparan, o nosotros lo hacemos y no contra el enemigo”. Ningún disparo había venido del otro lado, pero al fin iniciamos las hostilidades, y posteriormente no llegó un fuego de respuesta, pero ningún un hombre caía. “Pasamos ese día y al día siguiente desperdiciando municiones disparándole a las estrellas del cielo”

home-cooked chicken

Mother’s Bistro chef Lisa Schroeder shares her professional, culinary skills in the making the quintessential home-made chicken soup. Not only does Schroeder offer easy recipes to follow (see link below), she provides shortcuts to save time and effort …

Mother’s Bistro chef Lisa Schroeder shares her professional, culinary skills in the making the quintessential home-made chicken soup. Not only does Schroeder offer easy recipes to follow (see link below), she provides shortcuts to save time and effort along the way, and delivers additional dishes for making so much more from the chicken soup stock, and a great way to create your own healthy fast-food alternatives.

Heston Blumenthal takes off his chef whites and steps into a domestic kitchen to show viewers how to inject some Heston-style magic into homemade cooking Note: Copyright Holder is Channel 4, UK.

The Morality of Evolution

As a watchman on the tower, I feel to warn you that one of the chief means of misleading our youth and destroying the family unit is our educational institutions. There is more than one reason why the Church is advising our youth to attend colleges close to their homes where institutes of religion are available. It gives the parents the opportunity to stay close to their children, and if they become alerted and informed, these parents can help expose some of the deceptions of men like … Charles Darwin.

Ezra Taft Benson

More than other modern societies, United States relies, even depends, on myth to cement its confidence. Americans are profoundly ahistorical.

Our national myths are representations of identity and the actual instrument of acculturation. This process of acculturation through myth, moreover, is achieved through entertainment: television and movies. The culture of a society—its ethos—defines distinctive patterns of individual and group behavior. Culture shapes the way we look at the world. Whatever our immediate group membership, our final sense of identity is shaped by larger cultural patterns. If we define ourselves according to myth, what kind of worldview has it given us?

First, at the core,  the United States has an essentially religious value system. The primal myth of our origin is that of the “Pilgrim’s Progress,” with the Plymouth Colony completely overshadowing Virginia and its lineal transplanting of British class and caste. We believe that the source and inspiration of America is bound up in religion: religious freedom, but also the moral vantage of Calvin. The impact of Protestant thought is felt in the ways we talk about mission, service, sacrifice, restraint. It underlies the sense that Americans share of serving a higher calling. This underpinning remains dominant today even though it is highly secularized, and transmuted into legal, constitutional language.

Second, Americans still hew a set of specific myths about the United States. One of these is that America is the source of human progress and can achieve perfection as a society. Americans believe that there has never been a society quite like our own. This American “exceptionalism” suggests that we are a people graced with unusual natural endowments. We think of ourselves literally as a “people of plenty.” But our mythology also reminds us that this land was a great “untamed wilderness,” a “land of savagery.” It was the exceptional will, unity and vision of the American people and their beliefs that transformed the landscape. The twin icons of national bounty and national achievement have inspired two senses of an American national purpose: a conviction that the United States should serve as an example to the world, that America and its people are the model for all human development; and an impulse to change the world for good, to become the active agency of human progress. Tyranny and resistance to change are so entrenched in the world that only direct American intercession can shift the direction of history. America’s gifts demand that it assume a missionary role.

In the United States at the turn of the 20th century, Darwinism was greeted with glee because it seemed so compatible with the prevailing ideology of theday,  where robber-baron capitalists like the Carnegies, Mellons, Sumners, Stanfords and yes, even Jack London, could not stop rattling on about how the “survival of the fittest” justified crushing unions, exploiting immigrant labor or being left unregulated to amass huge fortunes while administering monopolies. In the popular ethos of the United States, there is a confusion of Capitalism with the American worship of the individual and the nuclear family. It can be argued that these ideas are related but they are different and independent. According to the American work ethic you only get what you work for, but this is not what Capitalism is. Capitalism is the idea that market forces, carried out by intelligent agents looking for profit (self interest), let by themselves will generate wealth and prosperity for society as a whole. The dichotomy Capitalism/Socialism is actually dated. If one understands socialism as government control of the economy, all, 100%, of the world’s governments are socialist to some degree. In any case, we now live in a competitive society and are often told that to get ahead we require drive, commitment and determination, that we must expend a great amount of energy and, if necessary, use force to get what we want. A ‘survival of the fittest’ mentality is deeply entrenched in our culture. Despite the fact that this Wild West mentality  is a historical byproduct, it is now attributed to Darwin’s Origin of the Species.

Religious fundamentalists are sincere on their view of the World as a battleground between Good and Evil. For them anything that undermines faith in God, specially with regards to children, is utterly evil. The teaching of Science to children, in particular Evolution, is seen as a threat to children indoctrination. Nonetheless,  the attack on Evolution is an attack on Science as a whole. Science is not about what to believe but rather a method to perceive Reality. It is the critical objective look at reality aspect of Science that is perceived as a treat by the religious establishment. However, teaching religious ideas as an alternative to factual descriptions of reality undermines science education by misinforming students about the scientific method — the basis for science literacy.

The scientific method teaches students the fundamentals of science — how to observe data, perform experiments and form scientific theory. Religious explanations for creation are not science – they cannot be confirmed or denied by the scientific method. Teaching them as science confuses and misleads students about the scientific method, thereby warping their ability to live in a technology-driven society

Most people don’t read scientific papers because they are extremely complex. Even college science students have a hard time digesting scientific papers. But what is easy to understand is that, since the bible says this, science says that, therefore science is the devil, and since we hate the devil and our job is to fight him, we must hate science and fight it. Christian leaders can be blind sighted to the outside world at times. All this commotion about a science that goes against the bible. The Bible today, still says that the Earth does not move around the sun as much as it did thousands of years ago. The Bible did not change. At the end of the Middle Ages, Christian leaders threatened heavy punishment to Galileo for suggesting that, based on his scientific evidences, the Earth revolved around the Sun. 

Any effort to introduce a theological doctrine into public school science curricula would inevitably offend some teachers and students. After all, a Protestant fundamentalist’s “literal” reading of Genesis would likely differ markedly from that of a Catholic or an Orthodox Jew. Both public school educators and religious leaders should be concerned about the prospect of biology lessons degenerating into debates on Biblical or religious interpretation.

Evolution by natural selection, at its core, works like this: living organisms are characterized by heritable variation for traits that affect their survival and reproductive abilities. This heritable variation originates from the (truly random) process of mutation at the level of DNA. The process of evolution turns out to be largely the result of two components: mutations (which are random) and natural selection (which, again, is not random). It is the joint outcome of these two processes that—according to evolutionary theory—explains not only the diversity of all organisms on Earth, but most crucially the fact that they are so well adapted to their environment: those that weren’t did not survive the process. Because the environment changes overtime, and therefore, what characteristics of life forms are better changes, and it cannot be said in absolute terms that extinct forms are inferior to those present today.

You may find it intuitively difficult to believe that two relatively simple natural processes can produce the complex order we observe in living organisms. But the beauty of science is that it so often shows our intuitions to be wrong. Because nature does not always function according to our common sense or intuition, the scientific method a necessity on the quest of the human race for survival.

Evolution is both a theory and a fact, contrary to simplistic creationist views. How can this be? Evolution is a fact in the sense that it is beyond reasonable doubt that living organisms have changed over time throughout the history of the earth. It is a theory in the sense that biologists have proposed a variety of mechanisms (including, but not limited to, mutation and natural selection) to explain the fact of evolution.

The theory of evolution is a fundamental concept of biology and it is supported by the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence. Simply eliminating evolution from the public school curriculum in order to ease community tensions would do a great disservice to all students. It would deny public school students an adequate science education – which is more and more becoming a necessity for professional success in a high-tech world.

It must be said that there is a propagandistic perversion of language, and there are religious groups that use the language of science to mislead and actually undermine a scientific conceptualization of Reality. Religious opponents of evolution have cloaked religious beliefs in scientific sounding language and then mandating that schools teach the resulting “creation science” or “Intelligent Design” as an alternative to evolution. Intelligent Design organizations are fundamentalist religious entities that consider the introduction of creation science into the public schools part of their ministry. Creation science rested on a “contrived dualism” that recognized only two possible explanations for life, the scientific theory of evolution and biblical creationism, treated the two as mutually exclusive such that “one must either accept the literal interpretation of Genesis or else believe in the godless system of evolution,” and accordingly viewed any critiques of evolution as evidence that necessarily supported biblical creationism. Creation science is simply not science because it depends upon supernatural intervention, which cannot be explained by natural causes, or be proven through empirical investigation, and is therefore neither testable nor falsifiable.

The argument for Intelligent Design (ID) is not a new scientific argument, but is rather an old religious argument for the existence of God, traced back to at least Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century, who framed the argument as a syllogism: Wherever complex design exists, there must have been a designer; nature is complex; therefore nature must have had an intelligent designer. Although proponents of ID occasionally suggest that the designer could be a space alien or a time-traveling cell biologist, no serious alternative to God as the designer has been proposed. The writings of leading ID proponents reveal that the designer postulated by their argument is the God of Christianity. Dramatic evidence of ID’s religious nature and aspirations is found in what is referred to as the “Wedge Document.” The Wedge Document, developed by the Discovery Institute’s Center for Renewal of Science and Culture. The Discovery Institute, the think tank promoting ID whose CRSC developed the Wedge Document, acknowledges as “Governing Goals” to “defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies” and “replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.”

ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science. They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980’s; and (3) ID’s negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community.

Because Science wins over Religion on factual description of Reality, the attack on Science is made nowadays on moral grounds.  From the point of view of religious fundamentalists, Science is a competing religion, although a silly one at that. Then the scientific community is under attack with this straw-man argument against evolution:

But if design, conversely, is rational, why do so many scientists reject it? Because this is not an issue of science, but of religion. Their religion is that of materialism and naturalism, and they are under no illusions as to the implications of design.

James M Tour, in the blog entry Layman’s Reflections on Evolution and Creation. An Insider’s View of the Academy, claims insufficient understanding of what he calls Macroevolution. Macroevolution is evolution on a scale of separated gene pools.[1] Macroevolutionary studies focus on change that occurs at or above the level of species, in contrast with microevolution,[2] which refers to smaller evolutionary changes (typically described as changes in allele frequencies) within a species or population. However, contrary to claims by creationists, macro and microevolution describe fundamentally identical processes on different time scales.

Russian entomologist Yuri Filipchenko first coined the terms “macroevolution” and “microevolution” in 1927 in his German language work, “Variabilität und Variation”. Since the inception of the two terms, their meanings have been revised several times and the term macroevolution fell into limited disfavour when it was taken over by such writers as the geneticist Richard Goldschmidt (1940) and the paleontologist Otto Schindewolf to describe their orthogenetic theories.[7]

A more practical definition of the term describes it as changes occurring on geological time scales, in contrast to microevolution, which occurs on the timescale of human lifetimes.[8] This definition reflects the spectrum between micro- and macro-evolution, whilst leaving a clear difference between the terms: because the geological record rarely has a resolution better than 10,000 years, and humans rarely live longer than 100 years, “meso-evolution” is never observed.[8]

As a result, apart from Dobzhansky, Bernhard Rensch and Ernst Mayr, very few neo-Darwinian writers used the term, preferring instead to talk of evolution as changes in allele frequencies without mention of the level of the changes (above species level or below). Those who did were generally working within the continental European traditions (as Dobzhansky, Ernst Mayr, Bernhard Rensch, Richard Goldschmidt, and Otto Schindewolf were) and those who didn’t were generally working within the Anglo-American tradition (such as John Maynard Smith and Richard Dawkins). Hence, use of the term “macroevolution” is sometimes wrongly used as a litmus test of whether the writer is “properly” neo-Darwinian or not.

At the end of his article, Tour makes a reference to the movie, “Expelled. No Intelligence Allowed.” He asserts that a subset of the scientific establishment is retarding the careers of Darwinian skeptics. He closes citing  Viktor Frankl , The Doctor and the Soul with the comment If Frankl is correct, God help us:

“If we present a man with a concept of man which is not true, we may well corrupt him. When we present man as an automaton of reflexes, as a mind-machine, as a bundle of instincts, as a pawn of drives and reactions, as a mere product of instinct, heredity and environment, we feed the nihilism to which modern man is, in any case, prone.
“I became acquainted with the last stage of that corruption in my second concentration camp, Auschwitz. The gas chambers of Auschwitz were the ultimate consequence of the theory that man is nothing but the product of heredity and environment; or as the Nazi liked to say, ‘of Blood and Soil.’ I am absolutely convinced that the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Maidanek were ultimately prepared not in some Ministry or other in Berlin, but rather at the desks and lecture halls of nihilistic scientists and philosophers [emphasis added].”

The movie Expelled main theme is that what it calls Darwinism inherently contain the seeds of Nazism, and even more Darwinism equals Nazism. This frighteningly immoral narrative is capped off a la Moore, with shots of the Berlin Wall, old stock footage of East German police kicking around those trying to escape through the wall to the West and some solemn blather by Ben, who calls upon each one of us to rise up in defense of freedom and knock down a few walls in order to get creationism back into the curriculum at American Schools.

There were many nations, such as Britain which embraced Darwinism but saw a considerable number of their population killed trying to eliminate Nazism. There were other nations, such as the Soviet Union, where Darwinism was seen as so dangerous and subversive to State sponsored dreams of social engineering that those who espoused it were killed or exiled and a complete biological fairy tale, Lysenkoism, put into classrooms and agricultural policy ultimately leading to the deaths of millions from starvation.

Now, Christian groups are tying a neutral scientific theory to racism, antisemitism and xenophobia.That is extremely irresponsible and untrue. In fact, Christianity has a stronger link to anti-semiticism and xenophobia than Evolution which is a scientific theory that purports every man is from the same ancestor.
Throughout history, especially in the Crusades, European Christianity has consistently been a xenophobic culture – Jews were expelled out of England, were treated as second class citizens by Christians, and were not allowed to own lands. Black people were expelled by the Protestant Queen Elizabeth during the food shortage in England. Nazi Hitler, had Christianic themes in support of his treatment of the Jews.

The linking of Nazism to Evolution is a dishonest and cheap attempt at trying to personify a scientific theory as the root of all evil in the world. Evolution implies is that every human came from a single
ancestor. Darwin himself was anti-slavery and he said that there was “no clear distinctive characteristics to categorize races as separate species, and that all shared very similar physical and mental characteristics
indicating common ancestry”. However this went against Christian beliefs of that time. A German philosopher, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, who wrote “Life of Jesus”, “The Positivity of the Christian
Religion” and thought to be Christian by many critics believed that scientific racism – or the use of science to propose that other races such as blacks are of different heritage and descended from apes “fitted well with the Christian belief of a divine Creation following which all of humanity descended from the same Adam and Eve.

The Bible sanctions slavery, and from the 1820s to the 1850s it was cited in the Southern States of the United States of America to support the idea that negroes had been created unequal, suited to slavery, by writers such as the Rev. Richard Furman, Joseph Smith Jr. and Thomas R. Cobb.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_racism).

Christians are very uncomfortable with the idea that Adam and Eve were Africans – who, by the now debunked scientific racism are deemed to be descendants of apes. This was a central Christian tenet for much more years than evolution was around, and it was the catalyst for the systematic degradation of a particular group of people – the fact that black people were descendants of apes, gave Christians the biblical right to rule over them. Now that evolution has equalized and showed that all men are equal, and given the current taboo of identifying oneself as racist as well as the demise of Scientific racism. Many xenophobic people turn to Intelligent Design as their last ditch attempt to salvage some element of supernatural support for dominion over a certain group of people. This does not mean all Intelligent Design supporters are racists, but it is certainly a comfortable place for xenophobic individuals to channel their energies to.

As a watchman on the tower, I feel to warn you that one of the chief means of misleading our youth and destroying the family unit is our educational institutions. There is more than one reason why the Church is advising our youth to attend colleges close to their homes where institutes of religion are available. It gives the parents the opportunity to stay close to their children, and if they become alerted and informed, these parents can help expose some of the deceptions of men like … Charles Darwin.

Ezra Taft Benson

More than other modern societies, United States relies, even depends, on myth to cement its confidence. Americans are profoundly ahistorical.

Our national myths are representations of identity and the actual instrument of acculturation. This process of acculturation through myth, moreover, is achieved through entertainment: television and movies. The culture of a society—its ethos—defines distinctive patterns of individual and group behavior. Culture shapes the way we look at the world. Whatever our immediate group membership, our final sense of identity is shaped by larger cultural patterns. If we define ourselves according to myth, what kind of worldview has it given us?

First, at the core,  the United States has an essentially religious value system. The primal myth of our origin is that of the “Pilgrim’s Progress,” with the Plymouth Colony completely overshadowing Virginia and its lineal transplanting of British class and caste. We believe that the source and inspiration of America is bound up in religion: religious freedom, but also the moral vantage of Calvin. The impact of Protestant thought is felt in the ways we talk about mission, service, sacrifice, restraint. It underlies the sense that Americans share of serving a higher calling. This underpinning remains dominant today even though it is highly secularized, and transmuted into legal, constitutional language.

Second, Americans still hew a set of specific myths about the United States. One of these is that America is the source of human progress and can achieve perfection as a society. Americans believe that there has never been a society quite like our own. This American “exceptionalism” suggests that we are a people graced with unusual natural endowments. We think of ourselves literally as a “people of plenty.” But our mythology also reminds us that this land was a great “untamed wilderness,” a “land of savagery.” It was the exceptional will, unity and vision of the American people and their beliefs that transformed the landscape. The twin icons of national bounty and national achievement have inspired two senses of an American national purpose: a conviction that the United States should serve as an example to the world, that America and its people are the model for all human development; and an impulse to change the world for good, to become the active agency of human progress. Tyranny and resistance to change are so entrenched in the world that only direct American intercession can shift the direction of history. America’s gifts demand that it assume a missionary role.

In the United States at the turn of the 20th century, Darwinism was greeted with glee because it seemed so compatible with the prevailing ideology of theday,  where robber-baron capitalists like the Carnegies, Mellons, Sumners, Stanfords and yes, even Jack London, could not stop rattling on about how the “survival of the fittest” justified crushing unions, exploiting immigrant labor or being left unregulated to amass huge fortunes while administering monopolies. In the popular ethos of the United States, there is a confusion of Capitalism with the American worship of the individual and the nuclear family. It can be argued that these ideas are related but they are different and independent. According to the American work ethic you only get what you work for, but this is not what Capitalism is. Capitalism is the idea that market forces, carried out by intelligent agents looking for profit (self interest), let by themselves will generate wealth and prosperity for society as a whole. The dichotomy Capitalism/Socialism is actually dated. If one understands socialism as government control of the economy, all, 100%, of the world’s governments are socialist to some degree. In any case, we now live in a competitive society and are often told that to get ahead we require drive, commitment and determination, that we must expend a great amount of energy and, if necessary, use force to get what we want. A ‘survival of the fittest’ mentality is deeply entrenched in our culture. Despite the fact that this Wild West mentality  is a historical byproduct, it is now attributed to Darwin’s Origin of the Species.

Religious fundamentalists are sincere on their view of the World as a battleground between Good and Evil. For them anything that undermines faith in God, specially with regards to children, is utterly evil. The teaching of Science to children, in particular Evolution, is seen as a threat to children indoctrination. Nonetheless,  the attack on Evolution is an attack on Science as a whole. Science is not about what to believe but rather a method to perceive Reality. It is the critical objective look at reality aspect of Science that is perceived as a treat by the religious establishment. However, teaching religious ideas as an alternative to factual descriptions of reality undermines science education by misinforming students about the scientific method — the basis for science literacy.

The scientific method teaches students the fundamentals of science — how to observe data, perform experiments and form scientific theory. Religious explanations for creation are not science – they cannot be confirmed or denied by the scientific method. Teaching them as science confuses and misleads students about the scientific method, thereby warping their ability to live in a technology-driven society

Most people don’t read scientific papers because they are extremely complex. Even college science students have a hard time digesting scientific papers. But what is easy to understand is that, since the bible says this, science says that, therefore science is the devil, and since we hate the devil and our job is to fight him, we must hate science and fight it. Christian leaders can be blind sighted to the outside world at times. All this commotion about a science that goes against the bible. The Bible today, still says that the Earth does not move around the sun as much as it did thousands of years ago. The Bible did not change. At the end of the Middle Ages, Christian leaders threatened heavy punishment to Galileo for suggesting that, based on his scientific evidences, the Earth revolved around the Sun. 

Any effort to introduce a theological doctrine into public school science curricula would inevitably offend some teachers and students. After all, a Protestant fundamentalist’s “literal” reading of Genesis would likely differ markedly from that of a Catholic or an Orthodox Jew. Both public school educators and religious leaders should be concerned about the prospect of biology lessons degenerating into debates on Biblical or religious interpretation.

Evolution by natural selection, at its core, works like this: living organisms are characterized by heritable variation for traits that affect their survival and reproductive abilities. This heritable variation originates from the (truly random) process of mutation at the level of DNA. The process of evolution turns out to be largely the result of two components: mutations (which are random) and natural selection (which, again, is not random). It is the joint outcome of these two processes that—according to evolutionary theory—explains not only the diversity of all organisms on Earth, but most crucially the fact that they are so well adapted to their environment: those that weren’t did not survive the process. Because the environment changes overtime, and therefore, what characteristics of life forms are better changes, and it cannot be said in absolute terms that extinct forms are inferior to those present today.

You may find it intuitively difficult to believe that two relatively simple natural processes can produce the complex order we observe in living organisms. But the beauty of science is that it so often shows our intuitions to be wrong. Because nature does not always function according to our common sense or intuition, the scientific method a necessity on the quest of the human race for survival.

Evolution is both a theory and a fact, contrary to simplistic creationist views. How can this be? Evolution is a fact in the sense that it is beyond reasonable doubt that living organisms have changed over time throughout the history of the earth. It is a theory in the sense that biologists have proposed a variety of mechanisms (including, but not limited to, mutation and natural selection) to explain the fact of evolution.

The theory of evolution is a fundamental concept of biology and it is supported by the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence. Simply eliminating evolution from the public school curriculum in order to ease community tensions would do a great disservice to all students. It would deny public school students an adequate science education – which is more and more becoming a necessity for professional success in a high-tech world.

It must be said that there is a propagandistic perversion of language, and there are religious groups that use the language of science to mislead and actually undermine a scientific conceptualization of Reality. Religious opponents of evolution have cloaked religious beliefs in scientific sounding language and then mandating that schools teach the resulting “creation science” or “Intelligent Design” as an alternative to evolution. Intelligent Design organizations are fundamentalist religious entities that consider the introduction of creation science into the public schools part of their ministry. Creation science rested on a “contrived dualism” that recognized only two possible explanations for life, the scientific theory of evolution and biblical creationism, treated the two as mutually exclusive such that “one must either accept the literal interpretation of Genesis or else believe in the godless system of evolution,” and accordingly viewed any critiques of evolution as evidence that necessarily supported biblical creationism. Creation science is simply not science because it depends upon supernatural intervention, which cannot be explained by natural causes, or be proven through empirical investigation, and is therefore neither testable nor falsifiable.

The argument for Intelligent Design (ID) is not a new scientific argument, but is rather an old religious argument for the existence of God, traced back to at least Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century, who framed the argument as a syllogism: Wherever complex design exists, there must have been a designer; nature is complex; therefore nature must have had an intelligent designer. Although proponents of ID occasionally suggest that the designer could be a space alien or a time-traveling cell biologist, no serious alternative to God as the designer has been proposed. The writings of leading ID proponents reveal that the designer postulated by their argument is the God of Christianity. Dramatic evidence of ID’s religious nature and aspirations is found in what is referred to as the “Wedge Document.” The Wedge Document, developed by the Discovery Institute’s Center for Renewal of Science and Culture. The Discovery Institute, the think tank promoting ID whose CRSC developed the Wedge Document, acknowledges as “Governing Goals” to “defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies” and “replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.”

ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science. They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980’s; and (3) ID’s negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community.

Because Science wins over Religion on factual description of Reality, the attack on Science is made nowadays on moral grounds.  From the point of view of religious fundamentalists, Science is a competing religion, although a silly one at that. Then the scientific community is under attack with this straw-man argument against evolution:

But if design, conversely, is rational, why do so many scientists reject it? Because this is not an issue of science, but of religion. Their religion is that of materialism and naturalism, and they are under no illusions as to the implications of design.

James M Tour, in the blog entry Layman’s Reflections on Evolution and Creation. An Insider’s View of the Academy, claims insufficient understanding of what he calls Macroevolution. Macroevolution is evolution on a scale of separated gene pools.[1] Macroevolutionary studies focus on change that occurs at or above the level of species, in contrast with microevolution,[2] which refers to smaller evolutionary changes (typically described as changes in allele frequencies) within a species or population. However, contrary to claims by creationists, macro and microevolution describe fundamentally identical processes on different time scales.

Russian entomologist Yuri Filipchenko first coined the terms “macroevolution” and “microevolution” in 1927 in his German language work, “Variabilität und Variation”. Since the inception of the two terms, their meanings have been revised several times and the term macroevolution fell into limited disfavour when it was taken over by such writers as the geneticist Richard Goldschmidt (1940) and the paleontologist Otto Schindewolf to describe their orthogenetic theories.[7]

A more practical definition of the term describes it as changes occurring on geological time scales, in contrast to microevolution, which occurs on the timescale of human lifetimes.[8] This definition reflects the spectrum between micro- and macro-evolution, whilst leaving a clear difference between the terms: because the geological record rarely has a resolution better than 10,000 years, and humans rarely live longer than 100 years, “meso-evolution” is never observed.[8]

As a result, apart from Dobzhansky, Bernhard Rensch and Ernst Mayr, very few neo-Darwinian writers used the term, preferring instead to talk of evolution as changes in allele frequencies without mention of the level of the changes (above species level or below). Those who did were generally working within the continental European traditions (as Dobzhansky, Ernst Mayr, Bernhard Rensch, Richard Goldschmidt, and Otto Schindewolf were) and those who didn’t were generally working within the Anglo-American tradition (such as John Maynard Smith and Richard Dawkins). Hence, use of the term “macroevolution” is sometimes wrongly used as a litmus test of whether the writer is “properly” neo-Darwinian or not.

At the end of his article, Tour makes a reference to the movie, “Expelled. No Intelligence Allowed.” He asserts that a subset of the scientific establishment is retarding the careers of Darwinian skeptics. He closes citing  Viktor Frankl , The Doctor and the Soul with the comment If Frankl is correct, God help us:

“If we present a man with a concept of man which is not true, we may well corrupt him. When we present man as an automaton of reflexes, as a mind-machine, as a bundle of instincts, as a pawn of drives and reactions, as a mere product of instinct, heredity and environment, we feed the nihilism to which modern man is, in any case, prone.
“I became acquainted with the last stage of that corruption in my second concentration camp, Auschwitz. The gas chambers of Auschwitz were the ultimate consequence of the theory that man is nothing but the product of heredity and environment; or as the Nazi liked to say, ‘of Blood and Soil.’ I am absolutely convinced that the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Maidanek were ultimately prepared not in some Ministry or other in Berlin, but rather at the desks and lecture halls of nihilistic scientists and philosophers [emphasis added].”

The movie Expelled main theme is that what it calls Darwinism inherently contain the seeds of Nazism, and even more Darwinism equals Nazism. This frighteningly immoral narrative is capped off a la Moore, with shots of the Berlin Wall, old stock footage of East German police kicking around those trying to escape through the wall to the West and some solemn blather by Ben, who calls upon each one of us to rise up in defense of freedom and knock down a few walls in order to get creationism back into the curriculum at American Schools.

There were many nations, such as Britain which embraced Darwinism but saw a considerable number of their population killed trying to eliminate Nazism. There were other nations, such as the Soviet Union, where Darwinism was seen as so dangerous and subversive to State sponsored dreams of social engineering that those who espoused it were killed or exiled and a complete biological fairy tale, Lysenkoism, put into classrooms and agricultural policy ultimately leading to the deaths of millions from starvation.

Now, Christian groups are tying a neutral scientific theory to racism, antisemitism and xenophobia.That is extremely irresponsible and untrue. In fact, Christianity has a stronger link to anti-semiticism and xenophobia than Evolution which is a scientific theory that purports every man is from the same ancestor.
Throughout history, especially in the Crusades, European Christianity has consistently been a xenophobic culture – Jews were expelled out of England, were treated as second class citizens by Christians, and were not allowed to own lands. Black people were expelled by the Protestant Queen Elizabeth during the food shortage in England. Nazi Hitler, had Christianic themes in support of his treatment of the Jews.

The linking of Nazism to Evolution is a dishonest and cheap attempt at trying to personify a scientific theory as the root of all evil in the world. Evolution implies is that every human came from a single
ancestor. Darwin himself was anti-slavery and he said that there was “no clear distinctive characteristics to categorize races as separate species, and that all shared very similar physical and mental characteristics
indicating common ancestry”. However this went against Christian beliefs of that time. A German philosopher, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, who wrote “Life of Jesus”, “The Positivity of the Christian
Religion” and thought to be Christian by many critics believed that scientific racism – or the use of science to propose that other races such as blacks are of different heritage and descended from apes “fitted well with the Christian belief of a divine Creation following which all of humanity descended from the same Adam and Eve.

The Bible sanctions slavery, and from the 1820s to the 1850s it was cited in the Southern States of the United States of America to support the idea that negroes had been created unequal, suited to slavery, by writers such as the Rev. Richard Furman, Joseph Smith Jr. and Thomas R. Cobb.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_racism).

Christians are very uncomfortable with the idea that Adam and Eve were Africans – who, by the now debunked scientific racism are deemed to be descendants of apes. This was a central Christian tenet for much more years than evolution was around, and it was the catalyst for the systematic degradation of a particular group of people – the fact that black people were descendants of apes, gave Christians the biblical right to rule over them. Now that evolution has equalized and showed that all men are equal, and given the current taboo of identifying oneself as racist as well as the demise of Scientific racism. Many xenophobic people turn to Intelligent Design as their last ditch attempt to salvage some element of supernatural support for dominion over a certain group of people. This does not mean all Intelligent Design supporters are racists, but it is certainly a comfortable place for xenophobic individuals to channel their energies to.

Three Wise Men

  The Magi (/ˈmædʒaɪ/ [1] or /ˈmeɪdʒaɪ/; Greek: μάγοι, magoi), also referred to as the (Three) Wise Men or (Three) Kings were, in Christian tradition, a group of distinguished foreigners who visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, … Continue reading

 

The Magi (/?mæd?a?/ [1] or /?me?d?a?/; Greek: ?????, magoi), also referred to as the (Three) Wise Men or (Three) Kings were, in Christian tradition, a group of distinguished foreigners who visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. They are regular figures in traditional accounts of the nativity celebrations of Christmas and are an important part of Christian tradition.

According to the Gospel of Matthew, the only one of the four Canonical gospels to mention the Magi, they were the first religious figures to worship Jesus. It states that “they” came “from the east” to worship the Christ, “born King of the Jews.”[2] Although the account does not mention the number of people “they” or “the Magi” refers to, the three gifts has led to the widespread assumption that there were three men.[3][4] In the East, the Magi traditionally number twelve.[4] Their identification as kings in later Christian writings is probably linked to Psalms 72:11, “May all kings fall down before him”.

While traditional nativity scenes depict three “kings” visiting the infant Jesus on the night of his birth, in a manger accompanied by the shepherds and angels, the Biblical account simply presents an unnumbered party of unnamed “wise men” visiting much later after his birth, with Jesus described not as a baby but a child, and residing in a house, not a stable, with only “his mother” present.

The Magi are popularly referred to as wise men and kings. The word magi is the plural of Latin magus, borrowed from Greek ????? magos,[7] as used in the original Greek text of the Gospel of Matthew. Greek magos itself is derived from Old Persian magu? from the Avestan magâunô, i.e., the religious caste into which Zoroaster was born, (see Yasna 33.7: “ýâ sruyê parê magâunô” = “so I can be heard beyond Magi”). The term refers to the priestly caste of Zoroastrianism.[8] As part of their religion, these priests paid particular attention to the stars and gained an international reputation for astrology, which was at that time highly regarded as a science. Their religious practices and use of astrology caused derivatives of the term Magi to be applied to the occult in general and led to the English term magic. The King James Version translates the term as wise men, the same translation is applied to the wise men led by Daniel of earlier Hebrew Scriptures (Daniel 2:48). The same word is given as sorcerer and sorcery when describing “Elymas the sorcerer” in Acts 13:6–11, and Simon Magus, considered a heretic by the early Church, in Acts 8:9–13. Several translations refer to the men outright as astrologers at Matthew Chapter 2, including New English Bible (1961); Phillips New Testament in Modern English (J.B.Phillips, 1972); Twentieth Century New Testament (1904 revised edition); Amplified Bible (1958-New Testament); An American Translation (1935, Goodspeed); and The Living Bible (K. Taylor, 1962-New Testament).

The phrase from the east (??? ????????), more literally from the rising [of the sun], is the only information Matthew provides about the region from which they came. Traditionally the view developed that they were Babylonians, Persians, or Jews from Yemen as the kings of Yemen then were Jews, a view held for example by John Chrysostom. There is an Armenian tradition[19][specify] identifying the “Magi of Bethlehem” as Balthasar of Arabia, Melchior of Persia, and Gaspar of India. Bible historian Chuck Missler has also written[20] about this tradition. Historian John of Hildesheim[21][specify] relates a tradition in the ancient silk road city of Taxila (near Islamabad in Pakistan) that one of the Magi passed through the city on the way to Bethlehem.

On finding him, they gave baby Jesus three symbolic gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Warned in a dream that Judean king Herod intended to kill the child, they decided to return home by a different route. This prompted Herod to resort to killing all the young children in Bethlehem, an act called the Massacre of the Innocents, in an attempt to eliminate a rival heir to his throne. Jesus and his family had, however, escaped to Egypt beforehand. Afterward these events passed into obscurity.[22] The story of the nativity in Matthew glorifies Jesus, likens him to Moses, and shows his life as fulfilling prophecy.

Sebastian Brock, a historian of Christianity, has said: “It was no doubt among converts from Zoroastrianism that… certain legends were developed around the Magi of the Gospels”.[24] And Anders Hutgård concluded that the Gospel story of the Magi was influenced by an Iranian legend concerning magi and a star, which was connected with Persian beliefs in the rise of a star predicting the birth of a ruler and with myths describing the manifestation of a divine figure in fire and light.[25]

A model for the homage of the Magi might have been provided, it has been suggested, by the journey to Rome of King Tiridates I of Armenia, with his magi, to pay homage to the Emperor Nero, which took place in 66 AD, a few years before the date assigned to the composition of the Gospel of Matthew.[26][27]

There was a tradition that the Central Asian Naimans and their Christian Kerait relatives were descended from the Biblical Magi.[28] This heritage passed to the Mongol dynasty of Genghis Khan when Sorghaghtani, niece of the Kerait ruler Toghrul, married Tolui the youngest son of Genghis and became the mother of Möngke Khan and his younger brother and successor, Kublai Khan. Toghrul became identified with the legendary Central Asian Christian king, Prester John, whose Mongol descendants were sought as allies against the Muslims by contemporary European monarchs and popes.[29] Sempad the Constable, elder brother of King Hetoum I of Cilician Armenia, visited the Mongol court in Karakorum in 1247-1250 and in 1254. He wrote a letter to Henry I King of Cyprus and Queen Stephanie (Sempad’s sister) from Samarkand in 1243, in which he said: “Tanchat [Tangut, or Western Xia], which is the land from whence came the Three Kings to Bethlem to worship the Lord Jesus which was born. And know that the power of Christ has been, and is, so great, that the people of that land are Christians; and the whole land of Chata [Khitai, or Kara-Khitai] believes those Three Kings. I have myself been in their churches and have seen pictures of Jesus Christ and the Three Kings, one offering gold, the second frankincense, and the third myrrh. And it is through those Three Kings that they believe in Christ, and that the Chan and his people have now become Christians”.[30] The legendary Christian ruler of Central Asia, Prester John was reportedly a descendant of one of the Magi.[31]

“Long before the time of Christ, India had trade relations with Palestine; much of the commerce between the Orient and the Mediterranean civilizations (including Egypt, Greece, and Rome) passed through Jerusalem”, so it is very likely that Wise Men could have been “great sages of India”, as Paramahansa Yogananda wrote in his “The Second Coming of Christ – The Resurrection of the Christ Within You” (2004, pp56–59).

The Magi are described as “falling down”, “kneeling” or “bowing” in the worship of Jesus.[2] This gesture, together with Luke’s birth narrative, had an important effect on Christian religious practices. They were indicative of great respect, and typically used when venerating a king. Inspired by these verses, kneeling and prostration were adopted in the early Church. While prostration is now rarely practised in the West, bar kneeling in front of statues in Catholic worship,[32] it is still relatively common in the Eastern Churches, especially during Lent. Kneeling has remained an important element of Christian worship to this day.

Three gifts are explicitly identified in Matthew: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Many different theories of the meaning and symbolism of the gifts have been brought forward. While gold is fairly obviously explained, frankincense, and particularly myrrh, are much more obscure.

The theories generally break down into two groups:

  1. All three gifts are ordinary offerings and gifts given to a king. Myrrh being commonly used as an anointing oil, frankincense as a perfume, and gold as a valuable.
  2. The three gifts had a spiritual meaning : gold as a symbol of kingship on earth, frankincense (an incense) as a symbol of deity, and myrrh (an embalming oil) as a symbol of death.
  • This dates back to Origen in Contra Celsum: “gold, as to a king; myrrh, as to one who was mortal; and incense, as to a God.”[33]
  • These interpretations are alluded to in the verses of the popular carol “We Three Kings” in which the magi describe their gifts. The last verse includes a summary of the interpretation: “Glorious now behold Him arise/King and God and sacrifice.”
  • Sometimes this is described more generally as gold symbolizing virtue, frankincense symbolizing prayer, and myrrh symbolizing suffering.

Myrrh was used as an embalming ointment and as a penitential incense in funerals and cremations until the 15th century. The “holy oil” traditionally used by the Eastern Orthodox Church for performing the sacraments of chrismation and unction is traditionally scented with myrrh, and receiving either of these sacraments is commonly referred to as “receiving the myrrh”. The picture of the Magi on the 7th century Franks Casket[3] shows the third visitor – he who brings myrrh – with a valknut over his back, a pagan symbol referring to Death.

It has been suggested by scholars that the “gifts” were medicinal rather than precious material for tribute.[34][35][36]

The Syrian King Seleucus II Callinicus is recorded to have offered gold, frankincense and myrrh (among other items) to Apollo in his temple at Miletus in 243 BC, and this may have been the precedent for the mention of these three gifts in Gospel of Matthew (2:11). It was these three gifts, it is thought, which were the chief cause for the number of the Magi becoming fixed eventually at three.[37]

This episode can be linked to Isaiah 60 and to Psalm 72 which report gifts being given by kings, and this has played a central role in the perception of the Magi as kings, rather than as astronomer-priests. In a hymn of the late 4th-century hispanic poet Prudentius, the three gifts have already gained their medieval interpretation as prophetic emblems of Jesus’ identity, familiar in the carol “We Three Kings” by John Henry Hopkins, Jr., 1857.