31 March 2009

On Torture

Readers of the old Urban Mystic know my stance on waterboarding: plain and simple, waterboarding is not torture. By the same vein one could say baptism is torture and some highly litigious "advocacy" group should be organizing a class action lawsuit against the Catholic church for torturing millions of babies every year. Joseph Farah at Human Events.com writes:

Americans simply are losing their ability to distinguish right from wrong."

He goes on to explain why waterboarding is not torture:

Here's why waterboarding is not torture:

"Do you know the U.S. military waterboards hundreds of our own soldiers every year? It is part of the conditioning Special Forces troops undergo to prepare for battle and the possibility of capture by the enemy. In other words, it's OK for us to do this to America's best and brightest, but it's too horrible for our worst enemies? Does this make sense to anyone?

"Many Americans are simply confused about the real definition of torture. Because so little sacrifice is required of most Americans today and because so few have experienced combat, they equate momentary discomfort or fear with torture. They are not the same.My definition of torture is simple: It involves physical or mental abuse that leaves lasting scars. Cutting off fingers, toes, limbs -- that would be torture. Forcing prisoners to play Russian roulette -- that would be torture. Sticking hot pokers in the eyes of prisoners -- that would be torture.

I'm posting this because when AOL Journals closed down all the entries I posted on waterboarding went out the window (they're still saved at a secure location, don't worry).


29 March 2009

Science is a Process, NOT a Position - Evolution

The debate regarding Darwinism has taken a turn for the good! Texas high schools now require teaching scientific criticism of Darwinian evolution, thereby bringing the subject into the realm of REAL science, not scientism (the religion of reductionist materialism masquerading as science)! From Uncommon Descent (from Evolution News):

Big Win in Texas as State Now Leads Nation in Requiring Critical Analysis of Evolution in High School Science Classes Robert Crowther

In a huge victory for those who favor teaching the scientific evidence for and against evolution, Texas today moved to the head of the class by requiring students to “critique” and examine “all sides of scientific evidence” and specifically requiring students to “analyze and evaluate” the evidence for major evolutionary concepts such as common ancestry, natural selection, and mutations.

“Texas has sent a clear message that evolution should be taught as a scientific theory open to critical scrutiny, not as a sacred dogma that can’t be questioned,” said Dr. John West, Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute. “Contrary to the claims of the evolution lobby, absolutely nothing the Board did promotes ‘creationism’ or religion in the classroom. Groups that assert otherwise are lying, plain and simple. Under the new standards, students will be expected to analyze and evaluate the scientific evidence for evolution, not religion. Period.”

The new requirements were contained in revised science standards approved today by the Texas State Board of Education. The science standards include language requiring students to “analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations…including examining all sides of scientific evidence… so as to encourage critical thinking by the student.” Equally important, the high school biology standards now require students to “analyze and evaluate” the scientific evidence for key parts of evolutionary theory, including common ancestry, natural selection, and mutations.

Discovery Institute has long endorsed the idea that evolution should be fully and completely presented to students, including its unresolved issues.


Also, we here at The Urban Mystic have received our first ever comment on the post regarding Sri Adi Da. To Anonymous, thank you for your comment. We look forward to your patronage.


28 March 2009

The Four Kinds of Leaders

An Excerpt from "Discipline and Leadership," Pages 46-50, from A Student in Arms by Donald Hankey.

Of course the types vary enormously. At first it is generally the men who want promotion that obtain the stripe, and they mostly belong to one of two classes. They are either ambitious youngsters or blustering bullies. The youngster who wants promotion has probably been a clerk and lived in a suburb. He is better educated and has a smarter appearance than the general run of the men. He covets the stripe because he wants to get out of the many menial and dirty jobs incidental to barrack life; because he thinks himself "a cut above" his fellows and wants the fact to be recognized; because, in short, he thinks that as a lance-corporal he will find life easier and more flattering to his self-esteem. He soon finds his mistake. He annoys the sergeant-major by his incompetence and the men by his superior airs. Soon he gets into a panic and begins to nag at the men. That is just what they hate. The whole situation reminds one of nothing so much as of a terrier barking at a heard of cows. As soon as the cows turn on him the terrier begins to waver, and, after trying to maintain his dignity by continuing to bark, ends by fleeing for dear life with his tail between his legs. So the young lance-corporal begins by hectoring the men, and, having roused them to a fury of irritation, ends by abject entreaty. Finally he is reduced to the ranks. The career of the bully is different. He is generally a vulgar, pushing fellow, who likes boasting and threatening, likes to feel that men are afraid of him, likes to be flattered by toadies, and likes getting men punished. The men hate him; but he sometimes manages to bluff the officers and sergeants into thinking that he is a "smart N.C.O." Usually he comes to a bad end, either through drink or gambling. When he is reduced to the ranks his lot is not an enviable one. A deplorable number of those who are first promoted finish by forfeiting their stripe. Then comes the turn of the man who does not covet rank for its own sake, but accepts it because he thinks that it is "up to him" to do so. Generally he is a man of few words and much character. He gives an order. The man who receives it begins to argue: it is not his turn, he has only just finished another job, and so on. The N.C.O. looks at him, and repeats: "Git on and do it." The man "curls up," and does as he is told. An N.C.O. of this sort is popular. He saves any amount of wear and tear, and this is appreciated by the men. He gets things done, and that is appreciated by the sergeants and officers. Finally, there is the gentleman, who is the most interesting of them all from our point of view. He is generally a thoroughly bad disciplinarian in the official sense, and at the same time he is often a magnificent leader of men. He is fair and disinterested. He has a certain prestige through being rather incomprehensible to the average private. He does not care a scrap for his rank. He is impervious to the fear of losing it. He takes it from a sense of duty, and his one idea is to get things done with as little friction as possible. He often succeeds in gaining the confidence of his men, so that they will work for him as for no one else. But, on the other hand, his methods are apt to be quite unorthodox and highly prejudicial to the cause of discipline as a whole. His authority is so personal that it is very hard for anordinary N.C.O. to take his place.

26 March 2009

The AIG Update

Here is the full 15 minute version of the video, in new embedded format.


22 March 2009

Challenging The Aryan Invasion Theory

"The aryan invasion theory has been one of the most controversial historical topics for well over a century. However, it should be pointed out that it remains just that – a theory. To date no hard evidence has proven the aryan invasion theory to be fact. In this essay we will explain the roots of this hypothesis and how, due to recent emergence of new evidence over the last couple of decades, the validity of the aryan invasion theory has been seriously challenged."

When the Europeans came to India in the wake of imperialism (the Europeans who came over during the Roman and Hellenistic times heaped nothing but reverence upon Indian culture) they had to justify their racial superiority, and so they created the myth that people from either eastern Europe or central Asia moved into India and displaced the native population. They based this on the similarity between European, Iranian, and Indian languages. These languages needed a common source, and they all knew at the time that it couldn't be India, so they settled for central Asia. The new old langage they invented - "Proto-IndoEuropean."

Unfortunately none of the cities Indus Valley Civilization show signs of having been attacked by invaders. "
Despite the extensive excavations at the largest Harappan sites, there is not a single bit of evidence that can be brought forth as unconditional proof of an armed conquest and the destruction on the supposed scale of the Aryan Invasion," Describes Prof. G. F. Dales.

Furthermore, none of the Vedas make refrences to places outside of India. If they had been written by invading Aryans the Vedas would speak of an Aryan homeland outside of India, which they don't, and they would spea, of religious sites and cities outside of India, which they also don't.

The Puranas refer to migrations of people out of India, which explains the discoveries of treaties between kings with Aryan names in the Middle East, and references to Vedic gods in West Asian texts in the second millenium BC. However, the indologists try to explain these as traces of the migratory path of the Aryans into India."

Although the article presented at the top of the page (and again HERE) does tend to use some loaded language (isn't that my job?) it is a very good place to start your search into the truth about the Indian origin of Indian culture.


The True Aritst

An Excerpt from "A Sense of the Dramatic," Pages 173-174, from A Student in Arms by Donald Hankey.

A sense of the dramatic is, of course, closely connected with a sense of humor. If you have this faculty for getting outside yourself and criticizing yourself, you will be pretty sure to see whether you look ridiculous. If you are a real artist in the exercise of the gift, you will also see yourself in your right perspective with regard to other people. The artist must not be an egoist. He must not allow the limelight to be centred on himself. He will see himself, not as the hero of the story, but as one of the characters – the hero, perhaps, of one chapter, but equally a minor character in the others. The greatest artist of all, probably, is the man who prays, and tries to see the story as the Author designed it. He will have the truest sense of proportion, the most adequate sense of humor of all. Undoubtedly prayer is the highest form of exercising this sense of the dramatic.

19 March 2009

Thoughts on the AIG

these are my thoughts on capitalism, "American capitalism," Rush Limbaugh, AIG, and celebrities who get paid a lot more than they deserve. To see the full video please see this link (the site won't let me embed it).


09 March 2009

Global Waffles?

From the Global Warming Petition Project now signed by over 31,000 American scientists*: "We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.

There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth."

*Some "concensus"